BSNL mulling tower management and maintenance outsourcing

28 Sep 2009

Indian state-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) is planning to outsource the management and maintenance of its towers and cable networks in a bid to better compete with private rivals, the Economic Times reports. According to reports BSNL will outsource more than 50,000 towers and in excess of 100,000km of fibre-optic cable, with any deal expected to be worth more than INR50 billion (USD1 billion) over a five-year period. The telco is thought to be in the final stages of preparing the tender conditions for inviting bids for the contract. One potential roadblock, however, is that of expected resistance from BSNL employees; any outsourcing will likely see a reduction in the staffing levels at BSNL, with up 30,000 jobs possibly at risk. In an attempt to head off such opposition to the deal BSNL is expected to train and redeploy a large number of employees to marketing roles.

BSNL had initially considered the option of hiving off its towers and other related infrastructure into a separate company, but it recently halted work on these plans, claiming that it would be difficult to unlock value in this manner due to falling valuations for the tower sector.

India, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL)