* Overall spending by telco operators seen flat in 2012
* Says on track with divestments, restructuring
* India headcount to rise
By Harichandan Arakali
BANGALORE, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Mobile network equipment
maker Nokia Siemens Networks is in talks with various
companies to sell its business support systems (BSS) unit, its
chief executive said, as it looks to ditch some product lines
and focus on mobile broadband.
Formed by Nokia and Siemens in 2007,
Nokia Siemens has struggled for profitability due to pricing
pressure from Chinese rivals ZTE Corp and Huawei
Technologies Co Ltd and Sweden's Ericsson in
a broad economic downturn that has crimped spending by telecoms
Overall spending by telecom operators is expected to be flat
this year, CEO Rajeev Suri said in Bangalore on Tuesday,
although Nokia Siemens sees "some rebound" in investments by
customers in the United States in the current second half.
To improve profitability, Nokia Siemens is selling non-core
units and laying off about a quarter of its staff.
"I would say overall we have about six divestments that
already took place," Suri told reporters. "They're either not
core to our mobile broadband or we see that the profitability is
not where we want it to be."
The company has sold off its network equipment for wired
networks and exited the market for WiMax, a wireless technology
that has failed to win as much support among carriers as Long
Term Evolution (LTE).
Earlier this month, Ericsson was reported to be in pole
position to buy Nokia Siemens' BSS unit, which provides billing
and charging systems for telecoms operators.
Suri said the group's restructuring was on track, with the
company about six months ahead of its plans. He expects
headcount in India to increase after the restructuring, as the
company scales up its offshore services capabilities in the
country. The company currently has around 10,000 staff in India,
plus another 5,000 contractors.
The restructuring seems to be paying off with Nokia Siemens
generating positive cash flow for three straight quarters, and
Suri expects that to be sustainable.
"We've taken out significant amount of headcount already,
we're on track in the business line divestiture as well. As I
said, we have a couple more (divestments) to go, but we're on
track there as well."