FSSI Wireless FAQs
FSSI (Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative) Wireless is Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) on Schedule 70 SIN 132-53. The benefits of using the BPAs are:
- The prices are based on governmentwide volumes and should be better than an agency can get on its own.
- The BPAs save the agencies the time and resources to develop, award, and manage their own acquisitions. The BPAs represent the government’s requirements for the most common use cases and also support management of the contractors’ performance. For the majority of orders for standard cellular services, agencies simply identify the number of service plans, types of devices, and usage requirements and request a price quote. Once they’ve selected a contractor, their request becomes the order. GSA’s eBuy makes this process very easy; agencies also have the flexibility to conduct this process directly with the contractors.
- The services on the BPAs include a choice of no-cost devices to give the agency one-stop-shopping for a total solution, and the contractors can add to the devices they offer without a contract mod, which makes it easier than Networx.
- Furthermore, the FSSI Wireless BPAs include opportunities to increase savings through the following: tiered discounts as total volume increases across the government; requesting additional discounts in the request for quote during the fair opportunity process; semi-annual rate reviews with the contractors to select more cost-effective plans, and annual price benchmarking by GSA and the contractors to compare prices.
The FSSI Wireless BPAs include improved data and billing reports the agency can use to manage its services. The FSSI Wireless BPAs also include an interface through which agencies can connect their “in-house” TEMS functions or systems to the contractors' commercially-available data. We have also included a TEMS component within our definition of Mobile Lifecycle & Expense Management (ML&EM), which is part of our Managed Mobility Program. An agency can acquire a broader or more agency-specific solution through the TEMS (or ML&EM) providers under IT Schedule 70, Special Item Number (SIN) 132-51, 52, or 53, or through the Connections Program.
Yes. The contracting officer at GSA has modified the Period of Performance language (1.5 of the RFQ) with all vendors to state that "Task orders may not exceed more than five years beyond the term of the BPA. Task order option periods, if included at initial issuance of the task order, may be exercised after the expiration date of the BPA, but may not extend beyond five (5) years after the expiration of the BPA."
At a minimum, an RFQ must include the description and quantity of supplies to be delivered or the services to be performed and the evaluation criteria upon which the evaluation will be based.
Preference is to submit the RFQ (Request for Quote) on eBuy to all four awardees; however, in accordance with FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) 8.405-3 (ii)(B), the Ordering Activity does not need to contact each of the multi-award BPA (Blanket Purchase Agreement) holders before placing an order if information is available to ensure that each BPA holder is provided fair opportunity to be considered for each order. The Ordering Activity’s CO is required to document the circumstances when restricting consideration to less than all BPA holders.
It should be reasonable for the complexity of the requirements. For a simple requirement, you should allow a minimum of two days.
The RFQ can specify the timeline for a phased approach. For total quantities that may be unknown, the agency’s RFQ could include a base requirement and options for additional quantities, if exercised.
Yes, so long as you let the vendors know ahead of time how the competition will be conducted there is nothing that restricts this practice. Carrier service is not ubiquitous across the country, and it is normal and expected that an agency with a diverse geographic footprint, or with personnel who travel frequently, would have more than one carrier contract. These task orders can be issued off the same RFQ provided it is stated up front in the RFQ or SOW document.
At the task order level, the ordering agency can supplement but cannot contradict the requirements, terms, or conditions of the BPA. For example, an agency may state that a shorter refresh period is highly desirable and will be considered a strength in evaluating quotes. A contractor may propose a shorter refresh period in its response to a task order but is not required to do so.
Yes. Each agency should be seeking discounts at the task order level that address their particular requirements, as well as the agency's larger goals. Tiered discounts at the task order level would be dependent on the size and volume of the order, but there is nothing that prohibits agencies from structuring their CLINs accordingly. If the agency strategy is to consolidate all agreements under the FSSI while maintaining funding and obligations responsibility at the agency component level, then standardized language that the agencies can include on all task orders can bridge this requirement between orders. Some vendors are explicit about allowing for agency level pooling, and will respond with their tiered structure beyond what is called for in the particular task order. Others can choose to either comply, offer no discounts, or refuse to bid. This can be a point of consideration at the evaluation stage of the procurement.
Task orders under BPAs can be protested. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has indicated it will, and has, entertained a protest for task orders regardless of the amount. Agencies must follow FAR guidance as well as their evaluation plan.
The FSSI Wireless BPAs are set up to include no-cost devices as service enabled devices which are included with the purchase of service plans. In addition, there are options to purchase additional devices. This requirement should be stated in your RFQ depending on the requirements of your agency. Note: It is likely that the no-cost devices the contractor offers will not be the higher-end or latest-release devices. Open market items can be included as a requirement of your agency and purchased through the BPA.
The FSSI Wireless BPAs offer no-cost devices that are included with the purchase of service plans. Each contractor will maintain a list of devices offered and will update the list anytime the contractor decides to add or remove a device. The ordering entity can select a device at the time of ordering a corresponding service plan. (Note: It is possible that the no-cost devices the contractors offer will not be the higher-end or latest-release devices.)
Agencies requiring devices that are not offered on the FSSI Wireless BPAs may consider purchasing them as open-market items or allowing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for use with the BPAs' service plans, according to agency policies. "For-cost" devices may be included on a BPA order if they are marked as “Open Market Items” (see FAR 8.402(f)). More broadly, the BPAs allow the ordering entity to use Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) devices with the BPAs' service plans, regardless of how the ordering entity acquired those GFE devices; however, the devices the agency wishes to supply for use with the BPAs' service plans must be compatible with the Contractor's network technology for the Contractor to offer their use with its service plans. GFE may be active on a pre-existing service agreement.
When obtaining a new device, rather than disposing of the previously-used device, the agency may choose to retain the previously-used device for seed stock.
Devices offered on the FSSI Wireless BPAs are excluded from TAA coverage. The GSA Schedule contractor has modified the contract to include zero dollar (no-cost) service enabling devices (including, but not limited to cellular phones), bundling the devices with service. The service enabling devices are offered on an as-available basis and may or may not be domestic end product or end product of a designated country.
The devices are not available through this contract apart from ordering cellular service. Cellular service is one of several services excluded from the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement and the other Free Trade Agreement executed by the United States Government. See FAR 25.401 (b). The wireless service offered under this contract has been determined by the GSA Schedule Contracting Officer to be domestic in origin. See FAR 25.402 (a)(2).
As cellular service is excluded from TAA coverage, GSA has used the group offer analysis provided by FAR 25.503 (c)(1) to determine that the value of the domestic end product exceeds 50 percent of the total proposed price of the group; therefore, the bundled cellular service and service enabling device group offer is evaluated as domestic.
Yes. However, the basis of purchase dictates the application of the credit. Credits associated with service enabling devices (SEDs), a service component of FSSI Wireless, obtained via FSSI Wireless may yield credits toward FSSI Wireless purchases. All other device credits must be applied toward open market purchases that may be executed by the agency. The receiving agency will oversee the receipt and allocation of this credit.
Yes. These FSSI Wireless Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) are anchored to GSA's IT Schedule 70 contract, making them eligible for Cooperative Purchasing. Under Cooperative Purchasing, state, local, and tribal governments also have access to specific Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs). BPAs deliver cost savings and buying efficiencies. Find more information on the Cooperative Purchasing Program.