Hollow Operator Service Deals Are Not Necessarily a Cash Cow

Back in 2009, I first reported on a growing trend of network operators outsourcing their network operation to third party companies, thus in effect becoming "Hollow Operators". The main drive for some network operators to doing so was to reduce their costs. With companies like Alcatel Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, NSN and others eager to pick up such deals, competition must have brought down prices quite a bit, so perhaps they even got that.

But now it seems that many of these deals have not been very profitable for some of the service companies. Light Reading reports that Alcatel Lucent wants to get rid of or re-negotiate 25% of their managed service deals as they are not profitable. Other companies also seem to have a difficult time with some of their service contracts as the report notes.

By now, however, it's likely that a significant amount of local talent previously operating a network is gone, long having been replaced by supposedly cheaper labor in far away countries. Best of luck to those hollow operators who are now faced to re-integrate their network operation or to negotiate a service deal with someone else who will not take over resources not working locally anymore. Another choice is to obviously pay a higher price for ALU to continue the operation.

I wonder how that new price now compares with how much network operation cost while it was still done in-house including the speed, flexibility and control the company had while doing so!? It was not too long ago, so perahaps someone will still remember and have a metric or two.