FT Deutschland reports that E-Plus, a unit of Dutch operator KPN, is to outsource the running of its mobile network to French-US vendor Alcatel-Lucent. The three-year deal, the first of its kind in Germany, is said to be worth EUR1.5 billion (USD1.97 billion) and could save E-Plus 20% of its present network costs, savings which it intends to pass on to customers. Under the agreement, E-Plus would continue to own the network, with Alcatel-Lucent responsible for its control and maintainence. This would enable E-Plus to concentrate on sales and product development. Other bidders for the contract were Ericsson and Nokia, but Alcatel-Lucent made the best offer. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, E-Plus had 12.65 million GSM customers at the end of 2006.