O2 looks to grow public sector share following PSN win


Operator sets up business unit to grow market share in local and central government after winning Public Services Network supplier status in seven sectors

O2 is preparing to challenge for public sector contracts with the launch of a business unit specifically targeted at the market, which O2 business director Ben Dowd says presents a huge growth opportunity for the network.

With the Government said to be looking for a ‘disruptive’ player to drive down costs, according to Dowd, O2 have been successful in securing approval in more Government Procurement Services Public Services Network (PSN) Lots than its rival operators and he is confident the network can be a strong challenger in the sector.

The new business unit will be led by managing director Billy D’Arcy and will work within the firm’s enterprise division to grow the operator’s share within local and central government, where it currently holds less than two percent of the market share outside of core mobile services.

The PSN is a list of preferred suppliers for Government and other public sector organisations in the IT and communications industry. Each supplier can apply for approval in as many sections as they wish but officials decide which ones each firm qualifies for.

The industry is split into 10 sections: Lot 1 – Voice; Lot 2 – CCTV and security; Lot 3 – Conferencing; Lot 4 – Managed equipment room; Lot 5 – Call and contact centre services; Lot 6 – Mobile; Lot 7 – Paging and messaging; Lot 8 – Managed LAN; Lot 9 – Secure gateways; and Lot 10 – Unified services.

O2 have been approved in seven lots, while Vodafone were appointed to six of the categories last month.

We’ve ended up with more Lots than the other guys (operators), so this is a huge opportunity for us as our share is low in the public sector,” Dowd told Mobile News. “The challenge from Government is that they are looking for cost savings, so this gives us a great opportunity to be a big challenger in that space, to be disruptive.

With our unified comms Lot we’ve currently got zero share. This is a £3.5 billion market in its own right and the feedback from the Government is that they’ve been over-paying for many years. Now all of a sudden they are looking for someone who can mix it up and be a bit of a challenger. It’s a great opportunity for us, we’re creating a separate business unit and expect it to be a huge growth opportunity for us in the next five to seven years.”