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The operator I work for which has already outsourced large parts of the business prefers the name "service provider" to describe what we are.

What I often wondered is how lets say an operator that has a Nokia RAN can bring in Ericsson to manage it. Surely there must some competitive advantage there for Ericsson as they can see the full implementation of a competitors solution (features, parameters, counters, hardware architecture).


Hi Martin,

Are these companies operating networks instead of the owner only network infrastructure vendors, or are there other types of company?

Also, within network infrastructure vendor companies, are there real contacts between network operation and product development? Also when the staff operating the network are coming from the operator company?


Hi Martin,

A successful case of network outsourcing is Bharti in India. It has managed capacity and managed services deals with Ericsson and NSN for GSM infrastructure and IT outsourcing deal with IBM. For the infra deals with Ericsson and NSN, there are stringent KPIs with financial penalties in place to ensure that quality of the network doesnt degrade and rewards for better performance. They have consistently outperformed their competitors in India and are the leading wireless operator with 100 million plus customers and now are in the process of a deal with MTN South Africa. It all depends on how clear the operator management is about what their core competency is, their ability to build a relationship of with their partners (i.e., suppliers) and backed up a good contract document and ultimately the inter personal relationships between people on both sides.


As someone who has worked in IT, and see outsourcing/off-shoring, and managed services deals, and has been working in telecoms for the past number of years, and has first hand experience of outsourcing in telecoms, I believe success stories in these types of deals are in the minority.

The 3rd commenter said "It all depends on how clear the operator management is about what their core competency is" I'd go further than that and say it depends on how clear, and competent the op. management is.

Outsourcing all your core technical management people, is *not* a good idea.

Just some thoughts.


No it isnt a good idea to outsource all your technical management people. That's why the smart operators (Bharti for instance) do keep a thin layer of technically competent people to ensure compliance. Cheers

Dan Iordanescu

An interesting topic indeed. I think full outsourcing is inevitable, but in operations only. Technology and technolgy-interworking it's becoming so complex that will be impossible for each operator to have people with intimate knowledge of each equipment they have in the network. To optimise a wireless network (the core is included here) you really need to know your gear. Most engineers working for operators are afraid to touch any live machine; seting a wrong value to a wrong field in the element manager can cause a whole area, not just a cell, to go down.
I said outsourcing in operations only, because for all the rest, each operator needs engineers to decide the future business, new services, supervise tests, control and measure network performance and manage the outsourcing companies.

Think that you are a business man and have a fancy aircraft, something like a space shuttle; not many people can flight that, you have to outsource piloting the machine.

To conclude, I think outsourcing will happen with tight control, detailed procedures and competent supervision.


yes, bharti is a success in india... but how does their service compare to the global standards in terms of reliablity, call completion, dropped calls etc... in my personal experience they have a *lot* of dropped calls.. poor call completion during busy hour etc...


Given the constraints of limited GSM spectrum all operators in India have, i think Bharti's network is pretty good as compared to some of the european ones with lots of spectrum available. Those KPIs are there for a purpose.



Hi David,

the companies I mentioned are network infrastructure vendors and they are not only operating equipment they manufactured themselves but also the equipment of other vendors. There are also non-vendor service providers but they seem to deal with other types of network equipment, i.e. billing.



Is this spectrum or outsourcing causing this...





Interesting articles...While it is true Indian operators are relatively spectrum starved, it is also true that they are *always* lacking in network capacity due to this outsourcing model.. All they need is one of the newcomers to focus on network quality and not bollywood or cricket stars in their marketing..


Guess if they were lacking in network capacity, the operator in India that has outsourced both its network and IT ..ie., Bharti wouldnt be the No1 operator in India today. The model allowed them to take leadership position in the market.



ok by lacking i meant not having enough capacity to provide a quality experience. they have barely enough capacity and so the user experience is not hassle free or quality in any respect. as the survey shows.

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