Thursday, February 23, 2006

BT to raise India outsourcing, plans research centre

Britain's top fixed line telecoms firm the BT Group is planning to increase its outsourcing to India and may set up a research and development centre in the country, a top company official said on Thursday.

Group Strategy Director Clive Ansell told Reuters on the sidelines of a software industry conference in Mumbai that BT was looking at investing more in India, attracted by the skill sets of its workforce.

"Given the skill base it makes real sense to look at India very seriously to do some of our research," he said.

He said BT spends about $450 million on off-shoring in India and that was going to rise: "It clearly will go up, it will go up fairly significantly, but it will be on a growth curve."

"The average skill set per dollar outsourced is rising all the time and at the moment, India seems able to deal with that."

The company also has technical support centres in some east European countries.

"However, the bulk of the software required to upgrade our existing fixed line network in the UK will be developed in India," Ansell said.

The proposed research centre will initially be a small one involving an investment of under $10 million, he said.

The BT Group spends $50 million in pure research every year and around $250 million on development.

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