Thursday, January 4, 2018

AT&T updates its 5G and FTT rollout plans

AT&T confirmed plans to roll out mobile 5G service in a dozen U.S. markets by late 2018, making it the first U.S. carrier to do so. The initial launch is aimed at consumers. Trials of 5G business applications are also planned this year.

The company also updated its plans in the following areas:

  • LTE-LAA - AT&T, which deployed its first commercial LTE-Licensed Assisted Access (LTE-LAA) site in downtown Indianapolis in November 2017, now says it intends to launch the technology in at least 2 dozen additional metros this year. LAA offers theoretical peak speeds of up to 1 Gbps. In previous field tests, AT&T observed actual peak wireless speeds of 979 Mbps. 
  • AT&T 5G Evolution - this series of upgrades based on LTE-Advanced technologies launched in 23 major metros in 2017. Further rollouts are underway. 
  • LTE-M - AT&T's nationwide, low-power, wide-area LTE-M network went live in 2017. LTE-M supports large-scale IoT applications, like smart city services, smart metering, asset tracking, supply chain management, security and alarm monitoring, and personal wearables. 
  • Fixed Wireless Internet - in 2017, AT& launched high-speed internet access to over 440,000 locations across 18 states in mostly rural areas through technologies like Fixed Wireless Internet, as part of the FCC Connect America Fund. In 2018, AT&T plans to reach over 660,000 total locations in 2018 and 1.1 million locations by the end of 2020 in those 18 states.
  • Fixed 5G and AirGig - AT&T has pre-standard 5G fixed wireless trials underway in Austin, Texas; Waco, Texas; Kalamazoo, Michigan and South Bend, Indiana with residential, small business, and education customers. The company has also announced 2 trials of its AirGig technology, which targets transport for ultra-fast low latency internet over power lines. 
  • Fiber for Consumers and Businesses - AT&T Fiber currently reaches more than 7 million locations across 67 metros nationwide. This year, AT&T plans to add 3 million more locations on. By mid-2019, AT&T Fiber should reach at least 12.5 million locations across at least 82 metro area/ 
  • G.fast - In 2017, AT&T launched G.fast service supporting Internet speeds up to 500 Mbps for multifamily properties across 8 metro areas outside of its 21-state traditional service area. AT&T now to extend G.fast to apartment communities.


AT&T to boost CAPEX by $1 billion, issue $1,000 bonus to 200K employees

In recognition of the new tax reform legislation, AT&T announced plans to boost its 2018 CAPEX by $1 billion and to pay a special $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 of its U.S. employees — all union-represented, non-management and front-line managers.

“Congress, working closely with the President, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by U.S. businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “This tax reform will drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs. In fact, we will increase our U.S. investment and pay a special bonus to our U.S. employees.”

Verizon picks Samsung as a supplier for Fixed 5G

Verizon has selected Samsung Electronics America as a supplier of commercial 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network solutions. Verizon will begin by launching commercial 5G services in Sacramento, California in the second half of 2018. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Specifically, Samsung will provide Verizon with commercial 5G home routers (CPEs), 5G Radio Access Units (RAN) comprised of a compact radio base station and virtualized RAN elements, as well as 5G radio frequency planning services. Samsung said it has leveraged in-house technology and assets to develop the first commercial ASIC-based 5G modems and mmWave RFICs.

Samsung and Verizon began 5G customer trials across seven U.S. cities in early 2017, and have successfully tested and verified 5G performance using millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequency to provide FWA pre-commercial service. These trials were conducted in California, Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas, and Washington D.C.

The companies cited the following findings from their 5G testing:

  • A single 5G radio has been able to reach the 19th floor of a multi-dwelling unit (MDU).
  • Broadband service has been achieved in line of sight (LOS), partial LOS and Non-LOS connections.
  • Environmental factors, including rain and snow, have not interrupted services.

“The industry has been discussing 5G connectivity for years, and through our joint collaboration with partners like Samsung, we are beginning to make it a reality for our customers," said Ed Chan, Chief Technology Architect and Network Planning, Verizon.

“Together with Verizon, we have explored the vast potential of 5G through market trials across the U.S.,” said Mark Louison, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Networks Division, Samsung Electronics America. “At the same time, Samsung applied lessons learned from these real-world trials to ensure that our complete end-to-end 5G portfolio is ready for commercial service. We are delighted to work with Verizon on this journey to create unprecedented user experiences powered by 5G.”

Verizon readies 5G fixed residential service launch in 2018

Verizon's first 5G application will be a fixed residential broadband service.

The first commercial launch will occur in Sacramento, California during the second half of 2018. Additional markets are also expected to launch in 2018.

Verizon did not disclose the performance characteristics of its 5G residential service but said it will provide unprecedented wireless speeds for Internet access.

Verizon estimates the market opportunity for initial 5G residential broadband services to be approximately 30 million households nationwide. The company also noted that the 5G residential rollout will not have a material impact on Verizon’s consolidated capital expenditures in 2018. CAPEX is expected to be consistent with the past several years.

Verizon tests FDD Massive MIMO with Ericsson, Qualcomm

Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies conducted the first FDD Massive MIMO trial with a fully compatible customer device in December.

The test used the latest Ericsson Massive MIMO software and hardware on Verizon's network, along with a mobile test device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with X20 LTE using TM9 (Transmission Mode 9). TM9 is an enhancement for consumer devices that will make them fully compatible with Massive MIMO, enabling a better experience.

Verizon said the achievement builds on the momentum from the deployment of FDD (Frequency Division Duplexing) Massive MIMO (Multiple Input – Multiple Output) on Verizon's wireless network in Irvine, California.

"Massive MIMO is a critical component of our 4G LTE Advancements and will play an important role in 5G technology that will result in single digit latency and scalability in the billions of connections," stated Nicola Palmer, Chief Network Engineer and Head of Wireless Networks, Verizon.

AWS Direct Connect adds ten more locations worldwide

AWS announced ten more locations where its Direct Connect service is available. AWS Direct Connect provides secure 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps connections from inside a colocation data center or from a service provider.

Here are the latest AWS Direct Connect locations:


  • Bangalore, India – NetMagic DC2 – Asia Pacific (Mumbai).
  • Cape Town, South Africa – Teraco Ct1 – EU (Ireland).
  • Johannesburg, South Africa – Teraco JB1 – EU (Ireland).
  • London, UK – Telehouse North Two – EU (London).
  • Miami, Florida, US – Equinix MI1 – US East (Northern Virginia).
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota, US – Cologix MIN3 – US East (Ohio)
  • Ningxia, China – Shapotou IDC – China (Ningxia).
  • Ningxia, China – Industrial Park IDC – China (Ningxia).
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Equinix RJ2– South America (São Paulo).
  • Tokyo, Japan – AT Tokyo Chuo – Asia Pacific (Tokyo).



Brazil's Oi advances its bankruptcy restructuring plan

Oi, the largest telecommunications company in Brazil and South America, announced a major advancement in its bankruptcy restructuring, as creditors voted to approve a plan that reduces debt by approximately 65 billion reais (US$20 billion). The restructuring is believed to be the largest in Latin America to date.

The restructuring paves the way for a possible investment of acquisition by China Mobile, although no official confirmation has been forthcoming from the companies.


China Mobile looks to buy Oi Brasil

China Mobile is negotiating to acquire the mobile division of Oi, the largest telecommunications company in Brazil and South America, according to report in The China Daily.


The deal has not been finalized. China Mobile might have to pay US$3.5 billion in fines owed by Oi to the Brazilian telecoms authority, known as Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes, or Anatel.

If it goes through, the deal would be historic on several fronts. None of the Chinese telecommunications carriers have acquired other carriers in other countries. China Mobile, which is already the world's largest mobile operator, would add nearly 41 million mobile subscribers in Brazil.

Oi, which was once known as Telemar, was formed through the merger of 16 state-owned incumbent local exchange carriers. The company was re-branded as "Oi" in 2007. In June 2016, Oi filed for bankruptcy protection, citing US$19 billion (R$65 billion) in debt. The case is still pending in the Brazilian courts.



Barracuda acquires Phishline for security awareness

Barracuda Networks has acquired PhishLine, a start-up offering a SaaS platform for social engineering simulation and training that delivers security awareness for better phishing protection. Financial terms were not disclosed.

PhishLine, which is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers data analytics and reporting to allow customers to measure and report on risks at macro and micro levels across the human and process layers. The company has three issued and eight pending patents for its SaaS platform, which includes multivariable attack simulations across email, text message, voice, and USB/mobile media; best-in-class data capture, analytics and reporting; and continual, complex analysis of employee performance. PhishLine was launched in 2011.

With this transaction, Barracuda said now delivers gateway security, data protection, AI-based targeted threat protection, and user awareness training for comprehensive protection against email-borne threats.

"Security awareness training is an important and quickly evolving area, particularly with increasingly targeted attacks making the human element a critical link in the security value chain," said BJ Jenkins, president and CEO at Barracuda. "PhishLine has a culture of developing innovative email protection solutions, including social engineering and data analysis offerings. Combining the power of the Barracuda security technologies with PhishLine's capabilities gives us the opportunity to deliver integrated, adaptive security training aimed at preventing email security threats."

Terahertz multiplexer achieves 50 Gbps wireless transmission

An international research team from Brown University and the Institut d'Electronique de Microélectronique et de Nanotechnologie (IEMN), CNRS/University of Lille, in France, has reported the first transmission of two real-time video signals through a terahertz multiplexer at an aggregate data rate of 50 Gbps.

The breakthrough, which was reported in the journal Nature Communications, combined radio transmission techniques with photonic-based THz circuits to achieve high-data rates. Tektronix played a key role in the demonstration, supplying its DPO70000SX 70 GHz Oscilloscope and its AWG70000 arbitrary waveform generators (AWGs).

The researchers used a waveguide system involving two metal plates in parallel to encode two high-definition television broadcasts onto terahertz waves of two different frequencies: 264.7 GHz and 322.5 GHz. QPSK modulation was used.

"The bridging of fiber optics and radio technologies using photonic-based THz circuits to achieve high-data rates is an area of continuous innovation and this is another example of how test and measurement enables innovation. Advanced test tools are needed today to generate and characterize signals at 100G, 400G and beyond and Tektronix offers a wide portfolio of optical communication test solutions, including those used on this ground-breaking research effort," stated Dean Miles, market development manager in Europe, Middle East and Africa for Tektronix.

Sercomm debuts LTE-M IoT button with 3-year battery life

Sercomm, which is a global manufacturer and supplier of telecom equipment and devices, introduced an LTE IoT button device,

The button connects to the cloud via LTE Cat M1 (any carrier frequency worldwide), and is designed to sustain up to two thousand clicks. It measures 65 x 65 x 25 mm.

As a "one-click button" the device could be programmed for a range of IoT applications, such as mobile ordering of products or supplies, triggering of automatic alerts, or provisioning of logistical services or maintenance tasks that occur at irregular intervals.

The button was designed and manufactured by Sercomm and based on Sequans’ Monarch LTE Cat M1/NB1 Platform, which provides support for power saving mode (PSM) and extended discontinuous reception (eDRX) to enable the long battery life needed by many IoT use cases. Battery life is estimated 3 years. Sequans’ Monarch is already certified by Verizon and AT&T and in the certification process with many other carriers.

Xilinx names Victor Peng as its new CEO

Xilinx named Victor Peng as its next president and chief executive officer, replacing Moshe Gavrielov, who will step down as CEO and from the board of directors on January 28th.

Since joining the company in 2008, Peng has spearheaded industry-leading strategy and technical shifts across the company’s portfolio of products and services, resulting in three consecutive generations of core product leadership and significant technology breakthroughs in integration and programming.  Most recently,

Peng joined Xilinx in 2009 and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer. He was appointed as a member of the board of directors in October 2017. Before joining Xilinx, Peng served as corporate vice president of the graphics products group (GPG) silicon engineering at AMD.

Swarm64 raises $12.5M for FPGA acceleration for databases

Swarm64, a Norwegian company with operations in Berlin, Germany secured a Series B funding round of US$12.5 million for its scalable data accelerator (SDA) for relational databases.

Swarm64 leverages an FPGA-based accelerator and real-time database software to perform analytics for high velocity and big data applications in PostgreSQL, MariaDB, and MySQL .


The funding round was led by Intel Capital and Investinor. Also participating in the round were Alliance Venture and Target Partners.

"We are very glad to welcome Intel Capital as a new investor. The cooperation with Intel will help us serve a global market with the most advanced technology.” says Karsten Rönner, CEO of Swarm64. “Many industries face an explosion in their data processing needs, be it from growing numbers of connected ‘things’, expanding business models that include data analytics or staying competitive in markets with ever higher data processing needs. The Swarm64SDA enables anyone with basic skills in relational databases to gain deep new business insights in less time.”

Mavenir acquires Aquto for mobile sponsored-data platform

Mavenir has acquired Aquto, a start-up based in Boston that offers a cloud-based sponsored data platform that helps mobile operators to increase marketing and advertising revenue. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Sponsored data enables users to gain cellular data connectivity through 3rd party sponsorships. Aquto said operators can use data sponsorships as a form of currency to improve mobile engagement across any type of mobile campaign (app downloads, in-app engagement, media, etc.).

Aquto's SaaS Platform Distribution is available either as a white-label Sponsored Data platform to enable single MNO or group of MNOs or as Global Sponsored Data Platform connected to all MNOs.

“What’s critical to the subscriber is mobile data connectivity and what’s important to carriers is monetization and loyalty,” said Pardeep Kohli. “In this marketplace, operators can monetize sponsors through the value exchange model - where mobile data is the primary currency. Enterprises can attach data rewards to a specific call to action (CTA). Users/consumers, when provided with sponsored data services, engage more with the operator and ultimately buy more data from the operator (i.e. reduced churn by 5% and increased ARPU by 15% for prepaid subscribers).”

Aquto was co-founded and led by Susie Kim Riley. Investors in Aquto included Matrix Partners, North Bridge Venture Partners, Iris Capital, and STC Ventures.

Nokia and Huawei sign patent license agreement

Nokia signed a multi-year patent license agreement with Huawei. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Nokia said it would begin seeing revenue in Q4 2017, including an element of non-recurring catch-up revenue.

"Huawei is one of China's largest companies and is among the world's leading smartphone manufacturers and we are delighted to welcome them to our family of patent licensees," said Maria Varsellona, chief legal officer at Nokia.


Sprint names Michel Combes as president and CFO

Michel Combes has been appointed President & Chief Financial Officer of Sprint, reporting to company CEO Marcelo Claure. Combes will also be appointed to Sprint's Board of Directors at a later date.

Combes previously served as CEO of Altice N.V., a convergent global leader in telecom, content, media, entertainment, and advertising, and as chairman and CEO of SFR Group, a leading French telecommunications and media company.  Earlier in this career, Combes served as CEO of Vodafone Europe and chairman and CEO of TDF, a French tower company. Combes also served as an advisor to Brightstar, the company founded by Claure, to support its global expansion. He is a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique and Telecom ParisTech.

"Michel is an extremely capable and accomplished global telecom and cable industry leader and I know bringing him on board will help to accelerate our progress as Sprint begins the next chapter of our transformation," said Claure. "He is a visionary executive with a proven track record of successfully transforming leading telecom and media companies and will help us to execute our strategic plan and strengthen our team."

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