A key award that has lasted just four months. Correos has just canceled the signing of its ‘mega contract’ with Telefónica for the telecommunications service and management of its integrated support center. The public company has accepted the allegations of Orange, expelled from the tender for alleged breaches. But the actions cannot be taken back to the presentation of offers, the French would already know what the owner of Movistar put on the table to take charge of all the works included in the different lots.
Last February, the tender that began in the summer of last year to provide technological coverage to this telecommunications division, which is called to lead the long-awaited diversification with which to cover the large losses accumulated in recent years, culminated. The object was to contract the telecommunications services and the support center that the company “needs to carry out its business activity with guarantees of quality of service.”
The deadline for the submission of offers in this negotiated process ended in early January. Subsequently, the contracting body of Correos Telecom terminated Orange as an applicant, alleging several breaches of the prerequisites. The French company presented allegations. But in parallel, at the beginning of February, the public company decided to award Telefónica and its main subsidiaries the five lots into which the contract was divided. He did so, according to those deadlines, before the result of the claims fulfilled by the Wales was really known.
After studying these allegations, it agreed with Orange and at first the actions were taken back to the bid submission period to thus return to square one. However, Correos Telecom corrected itself and assured that it was not possible to go back in this way. The reason: the only offer that has been made public is that of Telefónica, so it does not have equal conditions with respect to the French, whose content of its proposal was not shown because it was previously expelled. “It would mean a violation of the principle of equal treatment of bidders,” he says in the resolution, dated May 11.
The output has been the declaration of the void contract. The contracting body has opted for not formalizing the contract, as reflected in said resolution. This is an option contemplated in the Public Sector Contracts Law. They allege public interest and annul the entire process after more than nine months. In the same document, Correos assures that it will indemnify both companies for the damages and expenses that they may have incurred throughout the process.
Now, with this decision by Correos, one of the most relevant and large public contracts in the telecommunications sector remains up in the air. This non-formalization executed would make it necessary to redo the bidding for these services from the beginning, with a completely new procedure. Due to the importance of the services, it should be resumed. But logically this should generate a significant delay. The public company has not confirmed in any of the resolutions if the contract will be resumed and in what way.
The contract was divided into five lots: connectivity of centers and services; fixed connectivity, smart grid, contact center and mobility; performances in the LAN network; business text message (SMS) service; and maintenance equipment and tools. Specifically, the public company provides service through its telecommunications subsidiary to a total of 3,433 active offices throughout Spain, as will be reflected in the technical specifications of the now canceled tender.
It must be taken into account that since mid-2020, the Correos group assigned this telecommunications division, as a specialized company, the competence to manage the needs in the field of telecommunications. It is in charge of network management and corporate services. It does not have its own infrastructure sufficient to provide service. In fact, its infrastructure is limited to several hundred cell towers and 3,000 kilometers of fiber. Therefore, this contract will make it possible to offer this service to the entire public holding company.