The government marketing unit of AT&T is expected to make an announcement about receiving a $120 million contract extension for 4 years that will permit the company to continue providing its managed VPN services to the US Postal Service. AT&T had been awarded the original contract called Postal Advanced Telecommunications Network in the year 2003. PATN is an extensive network, which covers around 5,500 US Postal Service facilities across the country with VPN equipment and services.
AT&T provides these facilities along with managed VPN services using its Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network simultaneously with firewall, IP address and router management services. The PATN contract also covers engineering, network design and interactive voice response services. Because of the PATN contract, AT&T's has included the US Postal Service in its list of largest customers all over the world.
"The Postal Service — from its breadth and size and reach across the U.S. and elsewhere — is a very challenging, large and very important customer, not just to AT&T Government Solutions but to all of AT&T," expressed the sales center VP for Government Solutions at AT&T, Stacy Schwartz. She further added that a challenge to support AT&T is to provide network access to number of retail points of sale all over the country. "Managing that seamlessly and making the customer comfortable in entrusting us with that [capability] is a challenge," Schwartz added. "We have to re-earn their trust every day."
AT&T is also the provider of BlackBerry 8800 series handsets with its voice and data services to 5,400 employees of the US Postal Service across the nation through another contract awarded to it in the year 2007. FedSources, a company that conducts market research, has estimated that the US Postal Service spends around $600 million every year on telecommunications services, which includes data, voice and video. The agency spends an additional $135 million on traditional IT services, which does not include its postal automation investments. "USPS doesn't report spending on specific contracts, so we don't know for sure what each vendor gets," exclaimed Ray Bjorklund, senior VP of FedSources.