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TOP handset maker Nokia has outsourced its desktop maintenance and support in 76 countries to HCL Technologies in a multimillion dollar contract spread over five years and starting this April. The deal also involves transfer of employees from Nokia.

The contract will be serviced from India, China, Poland, Finland and US. It involves three parts—providing multilingual helpdesk services in 13 languages, creating and maintaining new user accounts, and workstation management and security. The value of the contract and the number of employees being transfered to HCL Technologies was not disclosed.

The contract is moving from Nokia’s existing vendors and HCL Tech said it had won the deal against competition from global and Indian players. Among the factors that helped the company bag the contract was it transformational capability, ecosystem of global partners allowing it to provide onsite support, and cost optimisitation, said HCL Tech senior VP (infrastructure services division) for Europe Pradeep Bindal.

“This is one of the largest IT infrastructure management deals in the global arena.... We will be setting up a 100-person centre in Finland to service Nokia and our other customers in the Nordic countries.” Mr Bindal said from London.

HCL Technologies, through its subsidiary, HCL Comnet, has been an early mover in providing infrastructure management services as compared to other IT services players. The Nokia deal is part of the $ 1 billion worth of contracts that the company had announced at its earnings call earlier (see related story).

Infrastructure management deals, which involve taking over assets such as data centres and workstations, are typically much larger since the value of the asset is also included in the deal value. However, the profit margins in these deals are lower. Mr Bindal said HCL’s contract with Nokia was a pure services deal and did not include any asset transfer.

Billing will be based on the number of workstations and other devices that are to be supported as well as parameters such as the number of helpdesk requests, according to him.

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