AT&T is a global provider of telecommunications, media and technology services. In 2017, AT&T merged its state, local, and education business with its federal business to create the AT&T Global Public Sector organization.
Within this organization, AT&T’s federal business provides services in wireless connectivity, voice over IP, data, IT security, cellular equipment, cloud solutions, and network operations and maintenance. The federal business reportedly employs 4,000 personnel, 85% of which have security clearances. According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 lists, AT&T’s federal business has remained stagnant from federal FY2015-FY2018, in earning approximately $1.9 billion each year in prime federal contract obligations.
Core Federal Customers
According to USAspending.gov data, AT&T’s largest federal customer is the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Within the broad DoD customer, AT&T has realized prime contract obligations of approximately $380 million from the U.S. Army, $325 million from the U.S. Navy, $312 million from the U.S. Air Force, and $142 million from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). The remainder of the company’s top federal customers include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Department of Treasury (USDT), and the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ).
AT&T holds several large federal prime contracts to include:
- U.S. Department of Defense, GREENWAY Program Regional Infrastructure Services (RIS) I – In January 2018, AT&T began work in support of a 10-year, $2.5 billion ceiling value contract to provide infrastructure support for the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Central Security Service. AT&T operates, maintains, and modernizes the NSA/CSS enterprise IT environment and deliver selected IT services in three service areas: end user, enterprise management, and connectivity.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Cellular and Wireless Services — In August 2018, AT&T was awarded a 4-year, $83 million contract to provide the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with cellular and wireless services and devices. On this contract, AT&T provides voice, text, and data services as well as labor, management, tools, and equipment to the VA’s approximately 84,000 mobile devices.
- U.S. Department of Justice, Network and Technology Modernization — In July 2019, AT&T was awarded a 15-year, $984 million contract with the DoJ to provide network function virtualization, managed IP voice services, and to enable the DoJ’s cloud connectivity across major cloud providers. AT&T won the award through its position on GSA’s Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract vehicle.
Research and Development Capacity
According to its FY2019 annual report, AT&T increased its investment in Research and Development (R&D) in 2019 by approximately 7%, for a total of $1.28 billion. The company’s R&D spending will reportedly invest inIP networking, network design and architecture, cyber security, network operations support systems, satellite technology, and data analytics. AT&T has already invested in some of these priorities by creating its system foundry innovation centers. The innovation centers focus on creating new solutions and technologies in the areas of Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, edge computing, cyber security, and more. In the past few years, AT&T has won notable contracts which require the development of innovative solutions to include:
- U.S. Department of Commerce, First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) – In March 2017, AT&T was awarded a 10-year, $100 billion potential ceiling value contract to establish, deploy, and operate the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). The NPSBN is a high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network that was co-built by AT&T and a federal agency. The network was created for first responders to ensure that public safety communication is reliable, fast, and secure. AT&T provides FirstNet services through multiple other contracts with various customers, including the DoJ, DHS, and the DoD.
- U.S. Department of the Air Force, Enterprise IT as a Service- Network as a Service (EITaaS-NaaS) – In September 2018, AT&T was awarded a $87.4 million ceiling value Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) to support the Air Force Network as a Service (NaaS). On this OTA, AT&T supports the Air Force’s objective to create a more reliable, secure network by developing an experimental network which can access DoD data and applications from DoD facilities and from mobile and remote locations.
The FedSavvy Strategies Takeaway
- AT&T’s visible and unclassified federal prime contract obligations has remained stagnant from FY2015- FY2018. While some many perceive this as a weakness, it also demonstrates the company has held its ground in a competitive environment.
- Compared to most federal contractors, AT&T has significant capacity for innovation as enabled by significant R&D budget and its foundry innovation centers. AT&T may argue these investments have paid off as evidenced by their wins of the FirstNet network and their U.S. Air Force EITaaS-NaaS OTA.
- AT&T will likely pursue other contracts utilizing their unique size and scale along with increasing emphasize on technology development as opposed to the predominant GOVCON focus on large scale systems integration.
Stay focused. Do your homework. Happy hunting!
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