Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Octasic Offers Music Protection for Echo Cancellation Silicon

Octasic introduced a Music-Protection feature in its echo cancellation silicon. This software feature for the OCT6100 Series of Octasic echo cancellers ensures that both recorded background music heard while on hold, and live music heard in the background of conversations are not clipped or incorrectly handled, as is the case with echo cancellers currently in use.

Traditional echo cancellers do not distinguish between music and generic background noise when processing residual echo. Instead, the typical echo cancellation algorithm replaces the entire signal with white (or similar) noise while trying to remove the echo. This results in music sounding unrecognizable, or as though the connection itself was "bad". Callers hearing such a result get annoyed or worse yet, end their calls assuming something is wrong with the connection.

Octasic's Music Protection software is able to recognize that music is on the line and process it accordingly resulting in a natural-sounding connection while still removing the echo.

The company has set up two demonstration phone lines - one with Music Protection enabled on the echo canceller and the other without any Music Protection functionality.

  • Line without music protection: 514-597-0864 OR 866-334-5402

  • Line with Octasic Music Protection enabled on the OCT6100 Series: 514-597- 2802 OR 866-550-5402

(When calling, please ensure that you are using a standard analog or digital phone and not a wireless or IP-based phone.)

Telia to Launch 24 Mbps ADSL2+ Service

Later this month, Telia will begin offering 24 Mbps ADSL2+ services in Sweden. By February, the company plans to offer the service to customers within 2.5 km of its switching centers in 101 municipalities across the country.

The monthly fee is SEK 449 kronor (US$64), not including a one-time connection charge of SEK 695 (US$100)..

Deutsche Telekom Reaches 5.4 Million DSL Subscribers

Citing growth in its T-Mobile and T-Online divisions, Deutsche Telekom reported Q3 revenue of EUR 14.5 billion, up by EUR 0.4 billion or 3.2% year-on-year. Some highlights:

  • Revenue at T-Com decreased by 4.2% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2004. However, the rate of decrease slowed to 5% compared with the first nine months of 2003 after a decline of 5.4% in a year-on-year comparison of the first six months.

  • T‑Systems kept its revenue stable compared with the respective prior-year periods.

  • International revenue increased by over 8% in a quarter-on-quarter comparison. The key factor behind this is primarily the sustained positive development of revenue at T-Mobile USA.

  • Net income increased by EUR 0.9 billion year-on-year to EUR 1.4 billion. An increase of EUR 0.5 billion to EUR 1.0 billion was achieved in adjusted net income.

  • Net debt was reduced again in the third quarter of 2004 to just under EUR 40.8 billion.

  • T-Com added 489,000 in Q3, giving it a total of 5.4 million lines . This corresponds to an increase in the customer base of 42.4% compared with the same period in 2003. As a result of the active marketing of the "three times zero" offer, the number of DSL lines in operation in Germany increased by over 40.1% or 458,000 since June 30, 2004, bringing the total to 5.2 million. This figure also includes for the first time 85,000 DSL lines T-Com sold to competitors under its resale offers.

  • T-Mobile also substantially increased revenue by 9.4% in the third quarter of 2004 to almost EUR 6.5 billion. The number of mobile subscribers served by T-Mobile's majority-owned subsidiaries increased by around 1.6 million in the third quarter to 67.2 million. Of these, almost 1.3 million signed fixed-term subscription contracts. Year-on-year, the number of subscribers increased by 9.6 million, an increase of over 16%. T-Mobile added around 300,000 new subscribers in Germany in the third quarter.

  • Revenue at T-Online increased year-on-year by 2.4% in the third quarter of 2004 to EUR 464 million due to the growth in the subscriber base. T-Online achieved record growth in the number of customers using DSL rates. The number of DSL subscribers in the T-Online group increased from 2.4 million at year-end 2003 to 3.2 million at the end of the third quarter.

SBC Outlines Aggressive IPTV Plans

SBC Communications outlined operational and financial details on Project Lightspeed, its plan to deploy IPTV and other advanced residential services over an upgraded fiber access infrastructure. In a conference call to investors and the media, SBC executives said Project Lightspeed would not be "a me-too undertaking" but would radically transform the market by delivering an integrated "Digital Lifestyle." The company believes its can achieve a true competitive advantage by tightly integrating IP voice, data, video and its Cingular wireless services.

SBC is setting an aggressive rollout schedule. Project Lightspeed will include both FTTN and FTTP deployments. Lab and field trials are currently underway and network construction is scheduled to begin in Q1 2005. Commercial launch of IPTV services is slated for Q4 2005. SBC is aiming to reach some 90% of its "high-value" residential customers by 2007 -- about 18 million households.

Some highlights of the announcment:

  • the FTTN service will deliver 20 to 25 Mbps to each user with "Everything over IP." The FTTP service will deliver up to 39 Mbps to the customer.

  • the IPTV service will deliver 4 high-quality TV streams, including HDTV and VOD.

  • the network will provide full-featured IP voice capabilities. SBC will provide integration with its Cingular wireless service.

  • the data service will provide 6 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream. SBC will also provide additional bandwidth-on-demand for additional fees.

  • in existing neighborhoods, or "overbuild" situations, SBC plans to use an FTTN architecture, which on average takes fiber to within 3,000 feet of homes being served. the company expects that FTTN deployment can be completed in one-fourth the time required for an FTTP overbuild and with about one-fifth the capital investment. FTTP will be used in new housing developments, as well as in some multi-dwelling units.

  • the 3 year deployment plan calls for 17 million FTTN homes and over 1 million FTTP homes.

  • customers will be migrated to the network on their schedule.

  • the three-year deployment costs for Project Lightspeed are expected to be approximately $4 billion, at the low end of SBC's previously announced range of $4 billion to $6 billion. In addition, there will be customer-activation capital expenditures of approximately $1 billion spread over 2006 and 2007. Because a significant portion of capital expenditures for Project Lightspeed will replace and refocus ongoing spending for its current network, SBC expects incremental capital investment for this project to be relatively small.

  • the new network is expected to deliver substantial operating cost savings in installation, maintenance and customer care. FTTN is expected to provide approximately 70% of the network operational expense savings available from FTTP.

  • SBC's video network architecture will include 2 national "Super Head Ends" where national content will be aggregated and VOD encoding will occur. SBC will build 40 Regional Video Hub Offices, which will provide video content storage, time-shifted TV and interactive applications. Local content aggregation will also occur in the Regional Video Hub Offices. The SBC video network architecture will also have a large number (about 140) Video Serving Offices for local distribution.

  • expected deployment costs per subscriber are about $1,100 in new builds for FTTP. For overbuilds, the cost is $250 for FTTN and $1,350 for FTTP.

  • per subscriber installation costs (including set-top-box, home gateway, in-home wiring and truck roll) are estimated $500-600 in 2005, declining to $300-450 by 2007. Within five years, SBC expects technology will have advanced sufficiently to provide a low-cost system-on-a-chip for the CPE functionality.

  • in 2005, SBC expects that its total capital expenditures will be at the high end of its 2004 guidance range of $5 billion to $5.5 billion.

  • the U.S. video market is expected to grow from $54 billion annually in 2004 to $63 billion in 2008.

  • the U.S. broadband market is expected to grow from $16 billion in 2004 to $29 billion in 2008.

  • SBC expects to be the second largest video provider within its fiber footprint within five years. This assumes a 20% market share within five years.

  • regarding the home gateway, SBC expects to make its first vendor selections early next year. The in-home wiring is likely to leverage both existing twisted-pair (phone or Cat 5 wiring) or existing coax cabling. The gateways are also expected to have Wi-Fi capability.
  • In October, SBC Communications selected Alcatel as its primary network infrastructure and services supplier for Project Lightspeed. The deal is estimated to be worth $1.7 billion to Alcatel over the next five years. Specifically, Alcatel will supply access and fiber technologies, IP routing and Ethernet switching solutions, and network systems integration services. Specifically, Alcatel will provide SBC with its remote 7330 IP DSLAM solution, which is capable of supporting wire speed triple play services and multiple variations of DSL for SBC's Fiber to the Neighborhood architecture. In addition, Alcatel provides its 7340 Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) solutions. SBC has selected Alcatel's 7750 Service Router and 7450 Ethernet Services Switch which will enable SBC to offer differentiated IP-based services, such as video. Additionally, Alcatel will work with SBC to ensure seamless video systems integration.

  • SBC is currently testing Microsoft's IPTV platform.

  • In October, the FCC voted to relieve incumbent local telephone companies of most obligations to lease advanced fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network facilities to competitors at a regulated, cost-based price. Specifically, incumbents are relieved from unbundling requirements for fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC) loops, where fiber is extended within 500 feet of a customer's premises. The new rules free companies to choose between FTTH or FTTC networks based on marketplace characteristics, rather than disparate regulatory treatment.

T-Mobile USA Adds 901,000 Net Customers in Q3

T-Mobile USA added 901,000 net new customers in Q3, compared with 1,092,000 added in the second quarter of 2004 and 670,000 in the third quarter of 2003. About 90% of the growth in the third quarter of 2004 came from new postpay customers, which currently comprise 89% of the customer base. Some highlights for the quarter:

  • $788 million in Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization (OIBDA) in Q3 2004, reaching a record OIBDA margin of 30%

  • Net Income was $254 million

  • T-Mobile USA service revenues, which consist of postpay, prepaid, and roaming and other service revenues, were $2.61 billion in Q3, up from $2.46 billion in Q2 2004 and $1.90 billion in Q3 2003. In addition to high customer growth, revenue increases in 2004 reflect inclusion of two new components compared to 2003: Universal Service Fund ("USF") recovery fees and regulatory cost recovery fees.

  • Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) was $55 in the quarter, consistent with $55 in Q2 2004 and up from $54 in Q3 2003.

  • Postpay churn averaged 2.6% per month in the quarter, up from 2.4% in Q2 2004, and down from 2.7% in Q3 2003. Blended churn, a mix of postpay and prepaid customers, was 3.0%, up from 2.8% in Q2 2004 and down from 3.3% in Q3 2003.

  • The average cost of acquiring a customer, Cost Per Gross Add (CPGA) was $301 in Q3, down from $318 in Q2 2004, and $334 in Q3 2003.

  • The average cash cost of serving customers, Cash Cost Per User ("CCPU", as defined in the footnotes to the Selected Data, below), was $24 per customer per month in Q3, an increase from $23 in Q2 2004 and consistent with $24 in Q3 2003.

  • Capital expenditures were $453 million, down from $664 million in Q2 2004 and up from $407 million in Q3 2003.

ECI Reports Fifth Consecutive Quarter of Growth

ECI Telecom reported Q3 revenues of $128 million, compared with $95 million in Q3 2003 and $121 million in Q2 2004. This represents the fifth consecutive quarter of increased revenues for the company. Net profit for the quarter reached $6 million, or $0.05 per share on a fully diluted basis, as compared with a net loss of $14.7 million in the third quarter of 2003 and a $3.5 million loss in the second quarter of 2004. Some highlights:

  • the Broadband Access Division recorded revenues of $54 million in the quarter, a 35% increase from a year ago and a 7% rise from last quarter. Operating income for the Division reached $6.4 million, compared to $2.3 million in the third quarter of 2003 and $5.3 million in the second quarter of 2004. The division said it is seeing sustained demand from its two largest customers, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom, as well as with other operators. BT is now testing its FTTP solution.

  • revenues for the Optical Networks Division jumped 46% from a year ago and reached $69 million for the quarter, compared to $47 million in the third quarter of 2003 and $61 million in the second quarter. The Division reported continued improvement in profitability, reaching an operating profit of $2.2 million for the quarter, as compared with a $6.8 million loss in the third quarter of 2003 and an operating profit of $1.1 million in the second quarter. The division cited strong demand in emerging markets in the Asia Pacific region, particularly India, as well as Russia and Ukraine and other European countries

  • sales to Veraz Networks totaled $4.5 million in the third quarter of 2004, as compared with $6.5 million in the third quarter of 2003 and $8.3 million in the second quarter of 2004. ECI manufactures and sells products to Veraz for resale to its customers and holds 43% of privately held Veraz Networks.

"Our continued growth in both revenues and net profit is in large measure a result of the strategic choices we made during the telecom crisis. We focused on the geographies and products that proved to be areas of significant growth. As a result, ECI's current growth is outpacing the average growth in our sector," said Doron Inbar, President and CEO.

Occam Hires Sun Microsystems Veteran to Lead Engineering

Occam Networks announced that Dave Mason, former vice president of engineering for Sun Microsystems, Inc., has joined the company as vice president of engineering. He joins the company from a 10-year career at Sun Microsystems, where he most recently managed large, multiple engineering teams responsible for developing and maintaining Sun server and workstation products in the U.S. and the U.K.

Nortel Cites Further Delay in Re-filing of Financials

Nortel Networks announced a further delay in the filing of its past financial statements. The company, which had earlier promised restatements in October and then Novembers, said it is targeting completion within 30 to 60 days. Nortel noted that it must file its 2003 report with the SEC by December 15 or the New York Stock Exchange may commence suspension and delisting procedures.

BroadLogic Secures $20 Million for Broadband Silicon

BroadLogic Network Technologies, a start-up based in San Jose, California, raised $20 million in Series C funding for its broadband chipsets. BroadLogic supplies chipsets for subscriber-premises devices such as cable modems, advanced digital set-top boxes, DVRs, and new service platforms.

The new funding was led by Time Warner Investments and Rho Ventures. Also joining in the round are previous BroadLogic investors Cisco Systems and Intel Capital as well as August Capital, CDIB Venture Management, Levensohn Venture Partners, Presidio Venture Partners, and Walden International.
  • BroadLogic is developing "WideBand" technologies to "deliver unprecedented levels of performance when compared to conventional implementations of tuning, demodulation, MPEG decoding and NTSC/PAL/SECAM encoding. "

Vonage Partners with MediaWorks, a Cable Provider

MediaWorks, a cable operator service multi-tenant properties in the southeastern U.S., will deliver Vonage's alternative home telephone services to its broadband subscriber base. The product will be branded "VoiceWorks powered by Vonage," and is expected to launch in mid-December.

MediaWorks currently serves about 40,000 units in southeast markets such as Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Raleigh and West Palm, Florida.

Alcatel and Datang Enter TD-SCDMA Alliance

Alcatel Shanghai Bell and Datang Mobile announced a partnership to foster the introduction of TD-SCDMA in China. Under the deal, Alcatel will invest EUR 25 million in Datang Mobile, including share holding, product planning, system integration and manufacturing. Alcatel will support the research and development of TD-SCDMA and become the privileged partner of Datang Mobile for industrialization of TD-SCDMA products in China.

In addition to the partnership with Datang, Alcatel has recently commenced TD-SCDMA interoperability testing with China's Ministry of Information Industry.

Telefonica Reaches 3.4 million ADSL Subscribers

The Telefonica Group reported revenue of EUR 21,926.5 million for the first nine months of 2004, a rise of 5.2% over the same period of 2003. Stripping out the negative currency impact and changes to the consolidated group, revenues advanced 8.5%, due mainly to the contribution from the cellular telephony business and from Telefonica Latinoamerica. Some highlights:

  • ADSL connections in Spain and Latin American at 30-September-2004 amounted to 3.4 million, year-on-year growth of 62.4%. In Spain there are 2.2 million (1.4 million twelve months ago), giving the company an estimated 73.5% share of the broadband market. The Telefonica Group's retail ADSL customers in Spain total 1.7 million, an estimated 58.1% share of the total market. In Latin America, the number of ADSL connections has risen by 85.1% since September 2003 to 1.2 million, of which 0.7 million are in Brazil (Telesp, 0.4 million in September 2003).

  • Telefonica Moviles recorded net adds of 3 million customers in the last quarter and 11 million in the last year, achieving a total managed customer base of 58.8 million at 30 September

  • Total customers, both for fixed and mobile telephony and pay TV, including the customers of BellSouth's Latin American operators, amounted to 115 million.

  • By geographical areas, 61.5% of consolidated revenue came from Spain.

  • Operating profit was EUR 5,420.5 million year to date, 18.1% more than in the same period of last year.

  • Net debt fell by EUR 1,258.7 million (-12.2%) from December 2003, totaling EUR 17,976.6 million.

Verizon Wireless Names CFO

Verizon Wireless named John Townsend Vice President and CFO, replacing Andrew Halford, who has been named Group Financial Director Designate for Vodafone Group Plc. Townsend joined Vodafone in May 1993. He has held a number of senior positions within the Group, including Chief Financial Officer of EURpolitan Holdings AB in Sweden and Chief Financial Officer of Vodafone Australia, and most recently, Financial Director of Vodafone UK.

BellSouth Leverages Nortel Multimedia Communication Server

BellSouth is using Nortel Networks' Multimedia Communication Server (MCS) 5100 as a customer premises equipment solution for enterprise voice and data convergence. The customer premises equipment operates on a SIP-based platform with customized call management and advanced routing capabilities. Enhanced collaboration is made possible through sharing services such as file exchange, Web pushing and white boarding.

Wireless Facilities Hires Cingular's CTO

Wireless Facilities, an independent provider of systems engineering, network services and technical outsourcing for wireless carriers, hired William E. Clift as president of its U.S. Professional Services group. Most recently, Clift served for four years as chief technology and strategy officer for Cingular Wireless. During Clift's tenure, Cingular was the second largest wireless carrier in the U.S. until its recent merger with AT&T Wireless Services, making it the largest domestic wireless carrier. Clift was responsible for driving the adoption of new technologies which have had a significant impact on the wireless industry as a whole, including Adaptive Multi-rate Vocoders, GSM at 850 MHz and the EDGE packet data standard. Before Cingular, Clift most recently served at BellSouth Wireless Services as president of American Cellular Communications Corporation and BellSouth Mobility DCS.