New Delhi: The country’s largest mobile phone company by subscribers, Bharti Airtel Ltd may soon finalize a multi-million dollar deal with France’s Alcatel-Lucent to outsource the management of its national wireline network.
The deal, which is expected to cover at least 2.7 million wireline and broadband customers, is likely to see the Paris-headquartered Alcatel-Lucent, which describes itself on its website as specializing in providing solutions to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users, manage the entire network on Bharti’s behalf.
Akhil Gupta, deputy chief executive officer and managing director of Bharti Enterprises Ltd, the parent company of Bharti Airtel, said: “I cannot comment on whether there is a specific decision. At this point of time, there is no firm plan to do so. The details can be only given when something finally emerges.”
Gupta, however, said that Bharti “does look at such activities to decide whether it is best to manage networks in-house or outsource them.”
People familiar with the matter said that Bharti Airtel has taken an in-principle decision to this effect. These people added that an announcement in this regard is imminent.
The deal may also involve around 4,000 Bharti Airtel employees being transferred to a new joint venture between the two companies, they said, requesting anonymity.
Gupta said the benefits of outsourcing network management “include better quality and costing, as well as enhanced economies of scale”.
Bharti Airtel has already outsourced its information technology operations to International Business Machines Corp. and its wireless network, which supports around 97 million users, to Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks.