Sprint hands wireless and wireline network keys to Ericsson

After months of speculation, Sprint made it official today that it will be outsource its wireless and wireline network operations to Ericsson. Calling the deal "Network Advantage," Ericsson, under the terms of the seven-year deal, will assume responsibility for the day-to-day services, provisioning and maintenance for the Sprint-owned CDMA, iDEN and wireline networks. Although Sprint will retain full ownership and control of its network assets, 6,000 Sprint employees will begin performing their network functions as Ericsson employees in Q3 2009 under the Ericsson Services Inc. brand.

While the service provider community remains divided on whether to outsource their network operations to an outsider, Ericsson along with competitors Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks have continued to garner network deals in both the U.S. and with international carriers. BT last year awarded Alcatel-Lucent a deal to run some of its global operations, while the former EMBARQ awarded Nokia Siemens Networks a contract to manage its voice network.

Ericsson's deal with Sprint comes only a day after it announced a five-year contract to manage Nigerian wireless operator Zain's GSM/WCDMA network, which covers around 18 million subscribers. Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless' senior vice president and CTO said the operator has no desire to outsource its network operations to an integrator.

For more:
- here's the official release

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