Slovak Procurement Office scrutinises school internet bids

Monday 3 April 2017 | 11:34 CET | News

Slovak operator Swan offered the cheapest internet service for schools in the tender for Edunet, after O2 Slovakia's cheapest bid was refused for formal shortcomings, reports Zive.sk. 

After more than one year, the Ministry of Education opened the first bids by operators for internet and supplementary services for schools. 

Of the offers that proceeded to the round of opening envelopes, Swan submitted the lowest price at EUR 64.4 million. The estimated budget was EUR 81 million. Therefore, the offer of Swan would represent a saving of 20.5 percent compared with the original budget. The company Swan is also behind the fourth mobile operator 4ka, and belongs to the holding Danubiatel, taking part in big tenders in the field of the information society. 

However, there is only a little price difference compared with the other participants in the tender: Slovanet required only EUR 753,000 more and Slovak Telekom, ranking third in the tender, would require another EUR 806,600. 

The price estimate of Edunet was based on a market survey, explained the spokeswoman of the Ministry of Education. Three potential suppliers have been addressed and the arithmetic means calculated. 

O2 Slovakia participated in the tender, but the operator is not listed in the results. The ministry did not even mention the operator in its press release. The spokeswoman of O2, Tereza Molnarova, confirmed to Zive.sk that O2 had been excluded even before the publishing of the bids, allegedly for 'formal reasons'. O2 offered the very lowest price at EUR 56.7 million, which is 30 percent less than the estimated budget. 

O2 is convinced that the offer formally met the requirements and the solution was technically fully feasible to meet the objectives of the educational network Edunet. 

The ministry stated that an expert committee will now examine individual items in the bids and check the documents again to make sure they meet the requirements for participation in the tender. The ministry has been studying the dossiers so far and justified the lengthy process of the tender's evaluation with the complexity of the documents. 

At the same time, the ministry wants to wait for the results of the examination by the Public Procurement Office. According to Education Einister Peter Plavcan, it is a very important project and he wants to wait for the results of the check. He said he would sign the contract if the conclusion is that the procurement was all right. 

If shortcomings are revealed, the minister said there would be a new procurement round. 

The Government claims that the project Edunet will provide a sufficient internet speed for schools. However, a private operator and an academic association, which also connects schools, has a different opinion. 

The check began in March. The first objections were delivered to the Public Procurement Office at the end of 2015, but the proceeding was initiated only in January this year. The proceeding was closed immediately in February, as the objections have been withdrawn by the proponent.

In March, another check was started, upon the proposal of the Fair-play Alliance and the Association Slovensko.Digital from February 2016. Fair-play Alliance and Slovensko.Digital object that the state has put smaller operators at a disadvantage in the big tender, and that many schools already use services of other providers, as well as the current project Infovek 2.

In spite of that, the ministry claims that it is convinced the public procurement is beneficial. 

The summary of prices offered in the tender by individual operators is as follows: O2 – EUR 56.7 million (bid excluded), Swan – EUR 64.4 million, Slovanet – EUR 65.2 million and Slovak Telekom – EUR 66 million. The estimated value of the contract was EUR 81 million. 

Free Headlines in your E-mail

Every day we send out a free e-mail with the most important headlines of the last 24 hours.

Subscribe now

::: add a comment