recommended reading

USDA slashed its mobile phone bill $400,000 per month


The U.S. Agriculture Department has saved about 20 percent of its mobile phone costs by consolidating mobile service contracts, federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel told Nextgov.

The total savings amount to about $400,000 per month, an Agriculture spokeswoman said.

"Over the past year, USDA has moved from over 700 separate mobile service plans with three carriers that account for the largest portion of USDA cellular services to 10 service plans in three contracts at an estimated 18 percent to 20 percent savings," she said in an email.

The new slate of contracts is costing USDA about $1.2 million per month compared to about $1.6 million for the legacy plans, she said. The actual month-to-month costs vary because some staff retire or quit, others join the department and still others switch from standard mobile phones to smartphones, she said.

Reducing the number of mobile contracts within agencies is expected to be a major priority of VanRoekel's mobile roadmap for the federal government due in April. Consolidating mobile contracts could lead to significant savings governmentwide, the CIO has said, an idea that seems to be borne out by Agriculture's experience.

As of mid-March, about 98 percent of USDA mobile devices had been moved to the new contract structure, the department spokeswoman said.

Agriculture also was among the first departments to move to a unified cloud-based email system. USDA consolidated 21 legacy email systems as a result of that transition.

(Image via AigarsR/

Threatwatch Alert

Social Media Takeover

Qatar News Agency Says Hackers Published Fake Stories

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.