Ericsson (ERIC +0.3%) says it's "in discussions" with AT&T and Verizon about deals to manage their mobile infrastructures. Given Ericsson's 7-year managed services deal with Sprint (a smaller carrier) is worth $5B, the size of any contract with AT&T or Verizon could be massive.
Ericsson, hungry to cut its hardware dependence by growing higher-margin software and services sales, forecast last November the telecom services market would show a 5%-7% CAGR through 2016. That's better than the 3%-5% CAGR expected for carrier networking equipment.
Managed services chief Claude Geha argues a broader trend is afoot among carriers to outsource network management, and points to a new 7-year deal with Greek carrier OTE as proof. Geha suggests the deal creates opportunities for Ericsson do more work for Deutsche Telekom, which owns 40% of OTE.
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Update: Ericsson says it's not in "specific discussions" with AT&T/Verizon about managed services deals.