Irish mobile operator O2 Ireland is to outsource 450 jobs within its IT services and network management departments in a bid to cut costs. 230 IT jobs will be transferred to IBM by Q2 2008, while a further 220 posts at its networks unit look set to be outsourced to Ericsson once negotiations with the Swedish firm are concluded. ‘Following O2’s announcement earlier this year that the company intended to explore the possibility of outsourcing its technology function, O2 Ireland can now confirm that the company has entered exclusive negotiations with IBM to supply and manage O2 Ireland’s IT services,’ a spokesperson for O2 told ElectricNews.Net. The negotiations with Ericsson are expected to complete in four weeks. Following the outsourcing, O2 Ireland’s workforce will be cut to 1,200. The trend of telcos outsourcing their IT staff is becoming more prevalent in the increasingly competitive Irish mobile market where the arrival of Hutchison 3G Ireland and the growing strength of Meteor Mobile have forced Vodafone and O2 to drop prices to remain competitive. In June, Vodafone announced it was outsourcing around 200 IT jobs to IBM to cut staff numbers.