* Signs five-year contract with Nokia Siemens Networks
* Marks first full-scale outsourcing deal by Russian telecom
* Aimed at cutting costs, focusing on core business
(Adds details, background)
MOSCOW, April 23 (Reuters) - Russia’s top wireless carrier, MTS (MBT.N), said Nokia Siemens Networks [NSN.UL] will operate part of its mobile telecoms networks after it signed the first full-scale outsourcing deal in the Russian telecoms sector.
Telecoms operators globally are aiming to slash costs and focus more on consumers and services, so outsourcing their network operations is an increasingly popular scheme.
MTS, part of services conglomerate Sistema (SSAq.L), said on Friday that under a five-year deal Nokia Siemens will operat and service its mobile networks in 16 central Russia regions. A source close to MTS said the 16 regions accounted for 10 percent of the company’s overall Russian business.
The deal also includes the transfer of 250 employees to the Finnish company’s staff, MTS said in a statement.
Rival Vimpelcom VIP.N is studying the possibility of outsourcing the operation of its telecoms network, the company said in emailed comments on Friday, adding it has already outsourced some functions requiring additional licences.
MTS had about 102 million subscribers at the end of March, including 69 million in Russia, according to AC&M consultancy. (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by David Holmes)