Bharti inks JV with Alcatel for network management services

Written by Corporate Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: May 1 2009, 06:42am hrs
The countrys largest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, on Thursday entered into a $500 million, five-year services agreement with Alcatel-Lucent for the management of its fixed-line and broadband operations.

Bharti Airtel will hold a minority 26% in the joint venture, with the remainder held by the Paris-based telecom services and solutions firm. Alcatel-Lucent would run the services management operations with 4,000 staff from both partners.

Under the terms of the agreement, Alcatel-Lucent will design, plan, deploy, optimise and manage Bhartis broadband and fixed-line network across the country. The joint venture would also manage Bhartis migration to the next generation networks offering high-speed Internet, triple-play, as well as media-rich value-added services, multi-protocol label switching and virtual private networks.

Bharti has already outsourced network management for its wireless operations to Nokia Siemens and Ericsson, while IBM manages the companys IT infrastructure division. Speaking about the agreement with Alcatel-Lucent, Bharti Airtel CEO Manoj Kohli said, This move would help us accelerate performances as we migrate to next generation networks for both our broadband and telephone customers.

The partnership comes a year after Reliance Communications and Alcatel-Lucent formed a global joint venture to manage network services for both CDMA and GSM technology-enabled telecom companies. It currently manages services for RComms networks nationwide. Both companies estimated that the network managed services market would touch $16 billion globally by 2011.

The Bharti Alcatel-Lucent announcement comes a day after the domestic telecom giant posted a 21% hike in its Q4 net profit at Rs 2,239 crore and a 26% increase in revenues at over Rs 36,000 crore. The company also announced a split of every Rs 10 share into two shares of Rs 5 each, and declared a maiden dividend of 20%.

Bharti, which controls 24% of the Indian mobile market with nearly 94 million users at March-end, also has 2.7 million fixed-line users.