In Arkansas, the Office of State Procurement (OSP) handles cell phone contracts for state agencies. The OSP is part of a group of states that form the Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA), an organization formed to allow states to cooperatively negotiate contracts with big vendors in order to keep costs down. The OSP negotiates rates with three providers: AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. Agencies then choose the plans that are right for each employee. In the fiscal year of 2010, state agencies had a total of 15,074 lines (meaning cell phone plans, data plans and portable wireless internet devices for laptop computers) at a cost of $8,921,915.95.
The OSP gave the Times
documents obtained from the telephone companies, showing the highest number of lines each agency had at any one time during the year and the total annual cost of those services. The number of lines used by each agency changes from month to month depending on the agency’s needs.