The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has awarded Telstra a $17.7 million contract for the provision of mobile devices and services, spanning three years and ending 18 September 2020.
The AFP has carried out reviews that showed existing radio communications have significant limitations and do not effectively meet the diverse communication needs of front line law enforcement.
"For example, national changes to the communications spectrum mean existing AFP radios will be required to cease operating on the current frequency as of 31 December 2018," an AFP spokesperson told ARN.
As a result, the AFP has identified a number of communication capabilities available to significantly enhance its investigative and response activities.
The contract is part of a two-phased Unified Operational Communications project that will deliver a suite of operational communications systems to replace existing radio systems and associated hardware
The contract awarded to Telstra is first phase of the Unified Operational Communications project. Capabilities will include advanced dispatch consoles, GPS location, and a new Command and Control system.
"This new approach will allow the harmonisation of AFP communications nationally and greater interoperability with law enforcement partners. It will be key in day-to-day policing operations," the spokesperson said.
Specifically, the procurement was carried out via an open tender process through the Federal Government's Mobile Panel, which currently sits under the jurisdiction of the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA).
Counting no fewer than 19 other panellists, the procurement panel includes other mobile services providers such as Macquarie Telecom and Optus Networks.
The mobile panel was established in September 2014 and since then, Telstra has been awarded with several contracts at different dates for the provision of mobile phones and services, totalling at least $7.3 million worth of procurement dollars.
The most recent contract was awarded in June for the supply of mobile devices, with the deal worth $1.7 million.
Telstra's latest contract win comes after the AFP went to market for a supplier to provide it with a mobile phone forensics tool at the end of August.
As previously reported by ARN, such tools are typically used by law enforcement entities and other appropriate agencies to essentially hack into mobile devices and extract data for investigation purposes.
The AFP is looking to engage a phone forensics tool provider for an initial contract period of two years, with the option to extend the terms for a further two years and then additional periods of one year at a time.
Telstra is not the only tech provider cashing in on contracts by the AFP. In August, Canberra-based managed services provider, Citadel Group, reported $98.8 million in total revenue for the 2017 financial year ended 30 June.
The IT services provider's growth was partially attributed to a $24.8 million contract with the AFP awarded in December.
Citadel is part of the Provision of ICT Services Panel Arrangement, along with 131 suppliers. The contract runs until December 2018.
The article has been updated at 9:15 AM on 11 October 2017 to include the AFP comments.