The paper discusses the experience of the mobile telecom sector in India in terms of its business organization. There is a high level of outsourcing of activities, including those such as network management, which would usually be included within the core competence of mobile telecom companies. This outsourcing strategy, pioneered by Bharti Airtel, has resulted in considerable cost savings and increased profits for a small number of core employees of the lead firm. At the same time, in some outsourced activities, such as tower construction, there is a large incidence of casual and contract labour, all forms of precarious employment of the informal variety. However, because of the high level of oligopolistic competition among mobile telecom service providers, some of the benefits of lower cost have been passed on to consumers in the form of low-cost services. But the Bharti Airtel outsourcing strategy is important in pushing the limits of what could be called core competence in a business model dominated by outsourcing.
Sumangala Damodaran. New strategies of industrial organization: outsourcing and consolidation in the mobile telecom sector in India. (2013) 20 pp. ISBN 978-1-909336-87-2 [Capturing the Gains Working Paper 2013/32]