Sprint will not protest Networx Universal

The General Services Administration learned late last week that Sprint Nextel will not protest its loss of Networx Universal, a major network services contract that GSA awarded to three Sprint competitors in late March.

Had Sprint chosen to protest, it could potentially have delayed GSA's ability to issue a Notice to Proceed on the contract, forcing the winners to wait at the starting line while Sprint's challenge was heard. GSA officials said they expected to issue the NTP within 30 days of the contract award.

GSA held a debriefing for Sprint earlier this month, and the company saw nothing to object to, said Tony D'Agata, vice president of Sprint's federal government busiiness unit. The company knew its pricing was slightly higher than some of the winning companies, and has chosen to pin its hopes to Networx Enterprise, the other contracts in the Networx program, which GSA expects to award in May.

"We were really interested in moving forward and not dwelling on the past," D'Agata said. "I think GSA wanted to validate the procurement process, and we would have had to go through a process of proving our price was fair and reasonable."

GSA awarded the Universal contract to Qwest Government Services, AT&T and Verizon Business Services.

Networx Universal will take over for the expiring FTS 2001 contract as the primary contract vehicle for agencies to use in procuring telecommunications and network services.

John Johnson, GSA's assistant commissioner for integrated technology services at the Federal Acquisition Office, was pleased with Sprint's decision.

"I think the fact they don't want to protest or chose not to would indicate there are not any irregularities," he said. "We always valued our relationship with Sprint, and they still are providing services under extension bridges for FTS 2001."

Johnson also said the program is moving along well and he expects a notice to proceed shortly.

Jason Miller is assistant managing editor of Government Computer News, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Authors

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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