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Major Outsourcing Up for Grabs

Ray Le Maistre

11:50 AM -- Two of India's largest carriers, Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) , are looking to outsource the operation and upkeep of their long-haul transport networks, with each seeking to sign a five-year deal valued at about $1 billion, according to the Economic Times.

For Bharti, the obvious first point of call would be the joint venture it formed in April 2009 with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) to manage its fixed access and voice infrastructure. (See AlcaLu, Bharti Form Joint Venture.)

But it's not a foregone conclusion, as there's likely to be fierce competition (for both potential deals) from Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Nokia Networks , which both have existing mobile network managed services deals with Bharti. (See Ericsson in $1B Bharti Expansion, Ericsson Expands Bharti, Nokia Snags New Bharti Deal, and Nokia Wins $125M Bharti Deal.)

And then there's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , which is looking to beef up its professional services business, and which has already landed a managed services deal with Bharti in Sri Lanka. (See Huawei Plays Managed Service Catchup.)

As for which company BSNL might turn to, that's anyone's guess. The state-owned operator's track record suggests a deal might take a while to strike... (See IPO Not the Cure for BSNL's Ills.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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