Bharti Airtel is reportedly looking to outsource the management of its inter-city fiber network, in a deal worth around $500 million over five years.
Airtel is in talks with several major telecom companies over the contract, an unnamed executive told the Economic Times. The agreement would cover over 80,000km of cable.
The most likely candidate for the contract is the JV between Airtel and Alcatel-Lucent, in which Airtel holds a 26% stake, the report states.
Airtel was a network outsourcing pioneer, awarding contracts to manage its mobile network to Ericsson and NSN. The company also outsources its IT requirements to IBM.
Airtel's closest competitor, Reliance Communications, is reportedly also seeking to outsource its network management.
And fellow Indian operator MTNL has in the past month launched separate tenders for telecom companies to run its 3G and Wimax networks, although these arrangements will likely be more all-encompassing than the outsourcing deals.