Lockheed Martin wins $3 billion telecom contract

Lockheed Martin Corp. beat a pair of telecom giants to win the Postal Service's $3 billion contract for its telecommunications infrastructure.

Robert Otto, USPS' chief technology officer, said the deal, which could stretch out for 18 years, would consolidate dozens of existing contracts for voice, data, wireless, managed services and network access across the third-largest network in the world.

"Lockheed's team put together the best package for the Postal Service from a technical and financial perspective," Otto said. "We will save 20 percent to 30 percent over the previous contracts. This offers us a greater service than we have today."

Lockheed beat out teams led by traditional telecommunications providers MCI Communications Corp. and Sprint Corp. MCI was the incumbent for many of the contracts USPS is consolidating, including the network operations center.

The Bethesda, Md., company's team includes AT&T Corp., BellSouth Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Hughes Network Systems Inc., Qwest Communications International Inc., SBC Communications Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.

Otto said USPS employees will see the difference in the new contract within the next month. He said Lockheed Martin's team will begin upgrading some facilities immediately.

"We have thousands of sites across the nation where the nodes are being saturated, and we will be upgrading the bandwidth into that site," Otto said. "It may be as simple as turning a switch on with the new telecommunications company or more complex like changing routers and switches."

Otto said the full transition to the new providers will take between two and three years, which is the reason for the longer-than-usual duration of the contract

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