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  • Chris Bratton - Tech Journalist

Vodafone sues the UK as Fujitsu won the $254 million networking contract

The rivalry heated up as the UK government was sued for going with Fujitsu. The networking contract had a threshold to be filled, Vodafone and Fujitsu both were incapable of filling the requirements, but the UK government gave the contract to Fujitsu anyway. It is causing chaos all over IT and especially the networking sector.

Vodafone made an official statement suing the UK court before Justice Kerr between Vodafone Limited and Secretary of state for foreign, commonwealth and development affairs and the British Council as defendants.

The notice mentioned competitive procedure with negotiation as the right to award a framework agreement to the highest scoring tenderer, meaning the networking company which scores the highest according to the law should get the tender. Both companies scored exceptionally low, and Vodafone scored much lower, so the tender was given to Fujitsu. As both were low and couldn't' make it to the threshold count, there should be another way to decide the fate of millions of dollars but the UK government decided to give the funding to Fujitsu anyway, which is the source of this issue.

Both bidders wanted the contract to provide a hack-proof communication system for Britain's diplomats but failed to meet minimum requirements. Fujitsu Services Ltd. is a Tokyo-based company that received the 184-million-pound contract to upgrade secure network around 532 UK embassies and other locations, but in the process, Vodafone sued the funding.

Echo 2 is the name of this high valued contract worth fighting for as it helps connect to staff and agents of embassies of over 170 countries and the British Council.

After losing the contract for acquisitions of cable and wireless connection, legal proceedings are not just a matter of that specific business, but whoever holds the contract for government at this level is thought prestigious. If worked out well, it will be a continuous business.

Vodafone spokesman said, "we do not believe this procurement process has been run properly", and "the procuring authority themselves stated the Fujitsu Solution is 'not fit for the purpose'."

The historical ground for Fujitsu with the UK government is quite shaky as the company also created the Horizon accounting system in 1999 for the Post Office. It was used to convict 736 postmaster fraud cases from 2000 to 2014.

Paragraph 6.6 mentions stage three of initial tender (optional), which states in that "The Initial Tender meets the Minimum Requirements;" and "The Draft Contract is capable of being awarded without negotiation."

Lawyers on foreign offices said in Fujitsu may not meet the minimum requirements to pass the tender, but they were not unfit to get the job done. A full trial will take place on January 2022, which will give the UK government a "conditional contract."

System upgrades are part of significant networking improvement facilitating both security and reliability of communication medium. The current one that the embassies use is outdated, causing disputes to the mobile carrier. Securing embassies network is essential as national security concerns may arise from this point and "could be useful to persons wishing harm to this country", said Judge Timothy Kerr.

Section 19, quality evaluation or quality assessment, require the meeting of Level 3 Criteria, and tenders need a method statement to evaluate against various scoring. Another table containing goals from 'good,' 'adequate,' 'poor,' 'very good and so forth, and both companies were on the same mark, but adequate is the minimum requirement here to pass Level 3 Criteria.

Vodafone said the contract was given to Japanese rival Fujitsu Ltd without further negations as per court filings. Point 59 of the legal notice says the defendant's application was made first and must be considered separately from Vodafone's application for a preliminary issue trial.


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