Nokia Siemens might layoff 2,000 employees in India

Telecom equipment maker Nokia Siemens Networks is likely to lay off nearly 2,000 employees, or 20% of its direct workforce in India as part of a global restructuring exercise aimed at cutting losses.

The company, a joint venture between Finland's Nokia Corporation and Siemens AG of Germany, had last week said that it intends to cut 17,000 jobs globally. Nokia Siemens has been struggling against rival network companies in recent years.

Bulk of the cull in India will involve wireline assets, deemed non-core and out of sync with the company's focus on mobile broadband and services. Nokia Siemens has internally classified as "old tech" several business verticals in its Indian arm. These include its fixed-line voice over internet protocol ( VoIP), wireline broadband access, WiMAX, carrier ethernet, business support systems (BSS), microwave transport and the communications & entertainment solutions businesses, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

"We cannot provide a breakdown of headcount reduction by geography, but we are very clear that mobile broadband and services will drive our forward strategy," one of these people said. "So, most changes by way of workforce cuts will be in areas that don't fit well with these lines of business."

These people, however, said the company has no immediate plans to lay off 5,000 indirect staffers in India, although they did not rule out the possibility of some cuts in future.

"Appropriate measures will be taken after considering the individual circumstances and opportunities in each business," said a top Nokia Siemens India executive closely involved in the process.

Revenue of the company's Indian unit fell 5% to Rs 6,177 crore in 2010-11, fromRs 6,500 crore in the previous fiscal, according to industry reports. India, however, remains key to Nokia Siemens as its services division, that contributes nearly 50% of its global revenues, is headquartered here.

The company has no plans to cut jobs at its 3,000-strong research and development centre in Bangalore or its Chennai manufacturing unit that employs over 1,000 executives. Job cuts are also unlikely at the 300-member R&D centre in Hyderabad, which came under its fold when it acquired Motorola's worldwide wireless network assets for $1.2 billion in 2010.

Some industry executives familiar with Nokia Siemens said that indirect employees, or those hired from thirdparties, may get hit first and that the company may also freeze hiring in India. But this could not be independently confirmed by ET.

Another industry executive claimed the company might may merge its circle-wise support systems enabling it to reduce headcount across multiple layers of engineering, operations & maintenance, third-party network upgradation and support verticals, which were created to support the 24 telecom zones in India.

Source: Times of India