Sunday, July 31, 2005

HNS to Use Intelsat's Newly Launched IA-8 Satellite

Hughes Network Systems (HNS) will use Intelsat's newly launched IA-8 satellite to support its DIRECWAY broadband satellite service across North America. Specifically, HNS will use multiple Ku-band transponders on IA-8 to support its enterprise, SOHO and consumer offerings, and will begin serving new customers using IA-8 capacity now that the satellite is operational. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • In June 2005, Intelsat Americas-8 (IA-8), a high-power satellite built for by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), was successfully launched on a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket from the Odyssey Launch Platform, positioned on the equator in the Pacific Ocean. The IA-8 satellite carries 28 C-band and 36 Ku-band transponders, as well as 24 Ka-band spot beams and will have total end-of-life power of 16 Kw -- making it one of the most powerful communications satellites to date. The satellite will provide coverage of North and South America, Alaska, Hawaii and the Caribbean from its orbital slot at 89 degrees West longitude. IA-8 will be the fifth Intelsat satellite in the North American arc and the 28th satellite in Intelsat's global fleet.

New Longer Distance Version of FireWire (800 Mbps at 100m) Gains Traction

Leading motherboard and computer makers are adopting the high-bandwidth, long-distance version of the 1394b (FireWire), according to the 1394 Trade Association, and shipment volumes of 1394b devices will reach at least 5 million within 18 months.

The 'b' version of the FireWire standard operates at up to 800 Mbps and enables product connectivity at distances up to 100 meters without repeaters. Products using the 1394b audio-video connection can operate with legacy systems that use the original FireWire version, 1394a, including notebook computers, desktops, storage devices and a complete range of consumer electronics, including HDTVs and set top boxes. The FireWire standard will soon enable 1.6 Gbps data transfers and, over the intermediate term, will reach 3.2 Gbps capabilities.

"1394b is now being designed into high-end motherboards and computers to deliver top speed and bandwidth for a new generation of computing products," said James Snider, executive director of the 1394 Trade Association.

Also, Texas Instruments and Unibrain of Athens, a supplier of FireWire development software and hardware, announced they are providing a turnkey 1394b development kit for use in a variety of peripheral and motherboard applications. TI has licensed Unibrain's ubCore version 4.0 FireWire driver suite, and will bundle it with TI's 1394b devices.

Nokia Appoints Kallasvuo as Next CEO

Nokia appointed Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo
as President and Chief Operating Officer effective October 1, 2005, and President and CEO from June 1, 2006. Mr. Kallasvuo joined Nokia in 1980 and currently heads the Mobile Phones business group. Prior to this he worked as the company's Chief Financial Officer.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jorma Ollila continues after June 1, 2006 as Non-Executive Chairman. Nokia's current President, Pekka Ala-Pietila, will resign to pursue personal interests. He will take on the role of Executive Advisor as of October 1 and leave Nokia on February 1, 2006.

iPass Gains Access to KT's 14,000 Wi-Fi Hotspots

KT and iPass reached a roaming agreement to allow iPass enterprise customers to use KT's NESPOT Wi-Fi network, which includes more than 14,000 hotspots. iPass, which has 500,000 plus active monthly users, provides access to over 23,000 active Wi-Fi hotspots available in 52 countries. These hotspots come from approximately 60 providers around the world, all of which have been tested and certified by iPass as Enterprise Ready.

KT uses the 802.1x standard for authentication across its entire footprint.

XO Signs 1,000th VoIP Services Bundle Customer

XO Communications has signed more than 1,000 customers for its XOptions Flex business VoIP service in the 3 month since it launched the service nationwide. XOptions Flex is an integrated VoIP services solution that combines unlimited local and long distance calling, dedicated Internet access and web hosting services for a flat monthly price.

Axis Introduces World's Smallest MPEG-4 Network Camera

Axis Communications introduced an MPEG-4 networked video camera that is about the size of a deck of cards (approximately 2 x 1 x 3 inches). The camera is designed for indoor surveillance and remote monitoring applications for small businesses, home offices and residences.

Unlike Web cameras, the AXIS 207 operates independently of a PC and contains a built-in Web server. The camera provides full-motion video (up to 30 frames a second) using MPEG-4 compression or Motion JPEG video streaming. It also contains a built-in microphone that enables users to hear intruders or visitors, and its input/output port allows for the control of alarms, doors and locks. The high audio quality is guaranteed by built-in MPEG-4 AAC encoding technology in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS.

The AXIS 207 comes with a high-quality progressive scan CMOS image sensor to provide excellent images in lighting conditions as low as one lux. It also has a built-in ActiveX media player and is compatible with QuickTime, Real Networks, Mplayer, PacketVideo, and handheld devices such as PDAs and cell phones. Additional features include alarm and event management, video motion detection and multiple user access levels with password protection.

The AXIS 207 will be available this month through Axis' distribution channels. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $349.

TelTel Opens Network for SIP-based Applications/Services

TelTel, a provider of SIP-based global Internet telephony with presence-enabled features, announced the availability of a new Public SIP Telephone Network (PsipTN). While maintaining an interface with the PSTN, the PsipTN powered by TelTel is designed to enable a new generation of SIP-based applications and services, and create new revenue opportunities for service providers and application developers. Unlike a traditional PSTN that only handles voice traffic, the new SIP-based virtual network is capable of carrying voice, multimedia, and audio/video content.

TelTel is also using the SIP protocol to enable TelTel users, service providers, application developers, and product vendors to join together to take advantage of SIP capabilities to enable communication and commerce. The new platform provides numerous commerce and co-branding opportunities such as customizable softphones and web pages, billing, call center, and provisioning applications, as well as information/entertainment media channels for devices and services. For example, an Internet service provider can offer customers VoIP calls under their own brand and use PsipTN to route the calls and provide billing services. Additionally, vendors can offer their customers TelTel Ready handsets and personalized ring tones.

TelTel said that by taking advantage of the open SIP standard, new value-added services and products would be regularly available to its growing community.

Intel Verfies Connexion by Boeing Service

The Connexion by Boeing in-flight Internet service has successfully completed compatibility testing with common Intel Centrino mobile technology-based laptop configurations, making Connexion by Boeing the first in-flight Internet service to be verified through Intel's Wireless Verification Program.

Connexion by Boeing and Intel also said they plan to work with customer airlines to increase awareness, trial and adoption of in-flight Internet access through co-branding, promotions and educational efforts targeted at both business and leisure travelers.

Connexion by Boeing service is available today on 70 planes and more than 100 daily routes worldwide on Lufthansa Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Japan Airlines, ANA, Singapore Airlines and China Airlines. In addition, Austrian Airlines, Korean Air, El Al, Asiana and Etihad will soon begin offering the high-speed service on their long-range aircraft.

Sprint Expands Trans-Atlantic and European Capacity

Sprint announced plans to expand network capacity to and throughout Europe to address global access, performance and security requirements. Specifically, Sprint is expanding trans-Atlantic capacity by 50% to augment growth and increasing its intra-European core capacity by 100% to supplement existing points of presence. This expansion is scheduled to be completed during August.

Last fall, Sprint extended its standard MPLS VPN offering to over 100 countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America, providing a secure and highly scalable solution to support the convergence of voice, video and data onto one network- based IP VPN platform.

TiVo Reaches Distribution Deal with National Cable Television Cooperative

TiVo announced a distribution agreement with the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), an organization of independent cable television companies serving over 14 million subscribers. The deal will make the TiVo service available as a stand-alone option for subscribers throughout NCTC's more than 1,000 independent cable operators.

TiVo and NCTC have also made TiVo's interactive advertising platform available across NCTC's member multi-channel service operator's customer base. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Germany's Netcologne Selects Alcatel for VoIP

NetCologne, one of the leading regional operators in Germany, selected Alcatel for a VoIP solution that will enable it to deliver enhanced voice services over its DSL and cable networks. NetCologne, which is a facilities-based regional carrier with its own fiber network spanning more than 2,000 km, will deploy Alcatel's NGN solution, including the Alcatel 5020 Softswitch and Alcatel 7510 and 7515 Media Gateways.

The Alcatel 5020 Softswitch has received EUR-PacketCable qualification, allowing NetCologne to deliver first or second voice line services over any access including broadband cable. NetCologne will use Alcatel's fully integrated voice over DSL gateway on Alcatel's 7300 Advanced Services Access Multiplexer (ASAM), to expand its services by offering additional voice lines over the same copper telephone wire used by subscribers for Internet access. The complete solution will be managed by the Alcatel 1300 Convergent Management Center (CMC). Financial terms were not disclosed.

WebEx to Acquire

WebEx Communications agreed to acquire privately held, a leading provider of asynchronous collaboration applications for small and medium-size businesses, for approximately $45 million in cash., which is based in Burlington, Massachusetts, claims more than 300,000 paying subscribers and 10,000 corporate sites. The site provides an on-demand suite of asynchronous collaboration tools for team collaboration, project management and partner coordination. The integrated suite includes secure document sharing, group scheduling, task management, database applications, discussion forums and contact directories.

WebEx said the acquisition would enable it to offer companies of all sizes a comprehensive, cost-effective, on-demand web collaboration suite with both real-time and asynchronous capabilities.

"This acquisition secures our position at the nexus of two fast-growing market segments: web collaboration and on-demand applications," said Subrah Iyar, CEO of WebEx. "Companies of all sizes are realizing the cost and productivity benefits of on-demand solutions. WebEx is uniquely positioned to provide a new generation of web collaboration solutions that are affordable, easy-to-use and can be deployed immediately."

BT Wholesale Cuts Price for Symmetric Broadband

BT Wholesale announced a 30% price reduction for its symmetrical digital subscriber line (SDSL) service. The price reduction will apply to both connection and rental charges for BT Datastream Symmetric and BT IPstream Symmetric products. The standard connection charge for BT IPstream and Datastream Symmetric will fall from £450 to £315, while the annual rental charges for the usage and capacity based options for IPstream products will fall from £1,380 to £966. The new pricing is effective from 01-November-2005.

Cameron Rejali, Managing Director, products and strategy, BT Wholesale said: "The UK is one of the most competitive markets for broadband in the world today. The price reductions for wholesale symmetrical broadband will further stimulate that market."

Nujira Secures $7.75 Million for Wireless Power Amps

Nujira, a start-up based in Cambridge, UK, has closed a $7.75 million Series A funding round for its advanced power amplifier technology for the wireless industry. Nujira's high power High Accuracy Tracking (HAT) Modulators for WCDMA, CDMA2000 or WiMAX base stations enable infrastructure and handset OEMs to avoid the reduction in amplifier efficiency normally associated with use of these systems.

The round was co-led by 3i and Amadeus Capital Partners, who was the lead seed investor. The round included further investment by the existing investors Cambridge Gateway Fund, Cambridge Capital Group and the Cambridge Angels.

Power amplifiers are essential building blocks for wireless communication networks as they are found in every cellphone and cellular base station and are critical to the transmission of all wireless signals. Nujira has established itself as a key player in an industry currently undergoing fundamental changes as a result of the increased use of sophisticated modulation schemes.

Cox to Launch VoIP in 5 More Markets this Year

Cox Communications will launch its VoIP-based Digital Telephone service in five more markets this year: Las Vegas; Macon, Georgia; Central Florida; Gulf Coast, Florida; and Topeka, Kansas.

Cox's addition of these locations increases its total number of telephone markets to 22, or 70% of its total footprint by year-end.

Cox Digital Telephone is a lifeline service with more than 1.4 million residential customers and 140,000 business locations.

Cox's other telephone markets are Orange County and San Diego, California; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Omaha, Nebraska; Central Connecticut.; Rhode Island statewide; New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette, La.; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Wichita, Kansas; West Texas; and Hampton Roads, Roanoke and Northern Virginia.

Yahoo! News to Provide Daily Video From and ABC News

Yahoo! announced video content agreements with both and ABC News, in which both news organizations will provide daily video news feeds to Yahoo! News beginning September 2005. will offer extensive video clips daily and ABC News will offer a package of on demand video content. All of the video will be available for free to Yahoo! users, and will be advertising-supported.

Belkin Wi-Fi with MIMO Wireless Delivers 1000 Feet of Range

Belkin introduced its new Wireless G Plus MIMO line
promising up to 1000 ft. wireless range. The unit is powered by Airgo Networks' True MIMO technology and also offers improved resistance to interference from neighboring Wi-Fi systems and other 2.4GHz devices.
The MSRP is $99.99. A matching USB Adapter is priced at MSRP $89.99 and will be available December 2005.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Continuum Photonics and Polatis to Merge

Continuum Photonics and Polatis Ltd., makers of optical switch subsystems and module products, announced an agreement to merge.

Continuum Photonics, which was founded in 1998 and is located near Boston, offers a family of optical switch products based on its patented DirectLight switching technology. Due to a unique switching architecture, DirectLight provides integrated switching, optical attenuation (gain equalization), and power monitoring. Continuum has aimed its existing products at the Optical Automation Systems (OAS) market, with customers in carrier labs, data equipment companies, and telecom equipment manufacturers.

Polatis, which was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, currently offers products based on its Micro-Actuation and Sensing System (MASS) platform, including a range of optical switch systems, modules, and cards for both single mode and multimode fiber applications. The patented MASS technology provides fast and ultra-low loss matrix switching, requiring no light to establish a connection. Polatis has aimed its existing products at communications, aerospace and defense customers. In March 2005, Polatis announced a worldwide sales distribution agreement with JDS Uniphase.

Continuum's investors include Flagship Ventures, Prism Venture Partners, JK&B Capital, Boston Millennia Partners, Harris and Harris Group, GE Capital, MTDC, Arcadian Venture Partners, and Gainesborough Investments.

Polatis is funded through investments by 3i, Alta Berkeley, Prelude, and EonTech.

Xten Moves to Per-Seat Licensing for SIP Softphones

Xten Networks, a developer of SIP softphones, reported revenue of $1,029,754 for the quarter ended 30-April-2005, compared to $928,608 for the quarter ended 31-January-2005, an increase of 11 percent quarter-over-quarter.

"February 1st represented a significant change in our business model with the company moving away from selling unlimited licenses. Consistent with management expectations, we believed that one-time revenue would be impacted as the company moved to a per-seat license model with a deliberate focus on annuity revenue," stated Mark Bruk, chairman of Xten Networks.

HomePlug Powerline Alliance Proposes Command & Control Standard

The HomePlug Powerline Alliance is seeking industry input for a a new advanced command and control specification, known as HPCC (HomePlug Command & Control). This low-speed, very low-cost specification is intended to complement the alliance's higher-speed powerline communications technologies: HomePlug 1.0, HomePlug AV, and HomePlug BPL. The alliance's Technical Evaluation Group (TEG) will conduct an RFP process. Companies that elect to propose technology will need to submit and present a proposal that details the technology capabilities, and submit their technology to validation tests.

The alliance said its command and control specification will enable advanced, whole-house control of lighting, appliances, climate control, security and other devices.

"Market projections indicate that by 2007 and 2008, millions of command and control nodes will be sold each month," said Pete Griffin, chairman of the alliance and Director of Technology for Radio Shack Corporation.

"For the past thirty years, home control over powerlines has struggled to reach an significant upward inflection point," said Oleg Logvinov, president of the alliance, and also president and CEO of Arkados, Inc. "With a common technology standard, companies can compete by making great products that work together using a common underlying technology. Product manufacturers and the consumer are the ultimate winners in this expanded marketplace."
  • In July, The HomePlug Powerline Alliance announced a co-existence solution that allows all powerline communications technologies, including HomePlug 1.0, HomePlug AV, and HomePlug BPL, to efficiently share the powerline network in both to-the-home and in-the-home applications. The solution would allow multiple powerline communications technologies to share the same wire while maintaining transmission speeds and effective QoS.

    The HomePlug Powerline Alliance has been developing a new HomePlug AV specification, which promises 200 Mbps capacity for sharing HDTV, Digital Audio, and Internet access around a home.

    The new co-existence technology, which is built-in to the HomePlug AV specification, fully coexists with HomePlug 1.0 data networking devices. When 1.0 devices are detected, the network switches to a Hybrid mode, allowing HomePlug AV devices to control the 1.0 devices and direct their communications, without compromising the AV network performance.

BT Reaches 5.6 Million Broadband Users

BT reported revenue of £4,783 million, up 5% in the quarter. Group operating profit before specific items1 was £648 million, up 10%, and earnings per share before specific items was 4.5 pence, up 25%.

"This has been a great first quarter and builds on the momentum we have seen gathering for more than a year," said Ben Verwaayen, BT's Chief Executive. "The transformation of the business is delivering real value to our customers and shareholders."

BT posted strong growth in new wave revenue at £1,385 million, up 48% over last year. New wave revenue accounted for 29% of the group's revenue compared to 20% in the same quarter of last year.

Consumer revenue in the quarter was 6% lower (5% lower excluding the impact of reductions to mobile termination rates). New wave consumer revenue increased by 67%, driven by the continuing growth of broadband and mobility.

As of 30-June-2005, BT was serving 5.6 million broadband end users, of which BT Retail was serving 1,940,000 connections.

Net additions for BT Retail in the quarter were 188,000, representing a 28% share of the broadband DSL additions in the quarter.

BT's net debt stands at £8,121 million, 4% lower than the previous year, including additional finance lease liabilities recognised under IFRS.

NEC Utilizes Data Connection's Megaco/H.248 Solution

NEC has licensed Data Connection's DC-Megaco/H.248 software for use in its AM Series Multi-Service Access Platform, a high-density broadband DSL, telephony and fibre platform that supports Ethernet, IP and ATM technologies with integrated service management. NEC's platform is deployed by service providers such as PCCW, Singtel and Turk Telecom throughout Asia, Japan, Australia, Eastern Europe and the CIS states.

Data Connection's Megaco/H.248 (DC-Megaco) solution includes an integrated toolkit that simplifies the integration process. It includes sample applications/code, customization tools and testing environments. DC-Megaco is part of Data Connection's family of VoIP software solutions that includes DC-SIP, DC-MGCP, and DC-SBC (Session Border Controller).

Broadwing Sees Data/Internet and Broadband Revenue Grows 5% Sequentially

Broadwing Corporation reported Q2 revenue of $222.2 million, an increase of $80.1 million or 56% from $142.1 million in the second quarter 2004. Revenue in the second quarter 2005 was generated almost entirely from sales of communications services, which contributed $221.2 million to total company revenue in the quarter, an increase of 56% from the second quarter 2004. The year-over-year increase in communications services revenue was primarily the result of revenue contributions from Focal Communications Corporation, acquired in September 2004, and organic growth in legacy Broadwing services. Excluding the impact of acquired revenue, communications services revenue increased $18.3 million or 13% year-over-year, with strong growth in sales of data/Internet and broadband services.

The consolidated net loss for the second quarter was $38.3 million, or a loss of $0.52 per share, as compared to a reported net loss of $38.1 million, or a loss of $0.78 per share for the second quarter 2004. Net loss year-over-year was impacted primarily by increased depreciation expense related to assets acquired in the Focal acquisition, offset by higher gross margin and lower interest expense. The Company reduced its consolidated net loss by 12% from the first quarter 2005 due in part to reduced interest expense in the quarter.

Nortel Wins US$50 Million Contract in Trinidad

LaqTel, a new operator in Trinidad and Tobago, has signed a contract with Nortel, valued at approximately US$50 million, to build a 3G wireless network for nationwide delivery of mobile broadband services. Nortel will deploy its complete CDMA2000 1xEV-DO 3G wireless solution for LaqTel, including CDMA2000 1X radio base stations, base station controllers, and core network technology. The deployment is expected to be complete by the end of 2005.

France Telecom Reaches 66.7 Mobile, 6.4 Million BB and 116K TV/DSL Users

France Telecom topped earning estimates for the first half of 2005 driven strong growth in wireless and broadband services. The company also reported promising numbers for its TV-over-DSL consumer service, which has now topped 116,000 subscribers.

First half 2005 Group revenues were EUR 23.7 billion, up 2.3% on a pro forma basis (4.5% on an actual basis). France Telecom noted faster growth in Q2 2005 of 3.6%, up from 1.0% in Q1 2005 (pro forma figures). Some highlights:

Personal Communication Services:

  • 8.6% revenue growth in Q2 2005 on a pro forma basis (12.3% on an actual basis)

  • 66.7 million mobile customers at June 30, 2005 (up 16.3% on a pro forma basis compared to June 30, 2004)

  • 6.4 million broadband customers in Europe (including 3.7 million in France and 927,000 in Poland), an increase of 80% in one year

  • 116,000 TV-over-DSL subscribers (+69% in six months). Some 7 million lines are now eligible for MaLigne TV. Over 1,000 hours of VOD are currently available for subscribers.

  • In it home market, France Telecom now holds a 48.6% share of the retail ADSL market. There are now an estimated 7.8 million ADSL lines in France, of which 3.7 million are served by FT Consumer, 2.3 million are unbundled lines, and 1.8 million are other lines.

  • In Poland, France Telecom now has 888,000 ADSL customers

Enterprise Communication Services:

  • 364,000 Business Everywhere customers

  • 13% increase in revenues from services

Some additional highlights:

  • Gross operating margin of EUR 9.3 billion, up 5.1% on a pro forma basis (6.2% in actual figures)

  • Gross operating margin ratio of 39.3%, compared with 38.6% for the first half of 2004 (on an actual basis)

  • Operating income of EUR 6.5 billion, up from EUR 4.3 billion at June 30, 2004

  • Group share of net income equal to EUR 3.4 billion at June 30, 2005, up from 1.0 billion at June 30, 2004

  • CAPEX at EUR 2.7 billion, up 29.6% on a pro forma basis, with a CAPEX to revenues ratio of 11.5%

  • Organic cash flow of EUR 2.9 billion at June 30, 2005, compared with EUR 3.3 billion at June 30, 2004

  • Net financial debt of EUR 46.3 billion, with a ratio of net debt to gross operating margin of 2.50
  • In Q1 2005, 890,000 ADSL access points were added across France. This includes lines served by France Telecom and the unbundled lines served by other carriers. The total number of ADSL access points in France (including unbundled lines) topped 7.2 million, up from 4.1 million a year earlier. As of 31-March-2005, France Telecom had 5,150,000 ADSL lines in its home market, of which 3,364,000 were serviced by its own Internet service and 1,787,000 were using third party ISPs.

Vodafone Italy Deploys Marconi Optical Systems

Marconi announced the deployment of two optical line systems from the Italian mainland to the island of Sardinia for Vodafone Italy.

Vodafone Italy has deployed two links using Marconi's Multihaul 3000 photonic technology. The links have been specifically customised for submarine installations and will connect Sardinia's transport network to the rest of Italy. The first of the two links, which has been operational since May 2005, connects Civitavecchia, Lazio, to Olbia, Sardinia, over a distance of more than 280 km.

The second link connects Cagliari, Sardinia, to Mazara del Vallo, Sicily, over a distance of more than 370 km and was activated at the end of June 2005. The second link represents an important success for Marconi because it is a technological world first in terms of length and attenuation over a single span with non-amplified passive fibre, thus eliminating the need for costly regeneration.

MaxStream Offers ZigBee-Ready Stand-Alone Radios

MaxStream has released stand-alone ZigBee-ready radios that allow for quick connections to both RS-232 and USB enabled devices. The stand-alone XBee-PRO radio is compatible with networks operating on XBee and XBee-PRO technology.

The 2.4 GHz XBee-PRO stand-alone radio features the 100 mW (EIRP) XBee-PRO RF module, which is capable of transmitting up to 0.9 miles (1.4 km) in line-of-sight conditions. Communicating at up to 250 Kbps, the XBee-PRO is ZigBee-ready and will be upgradeable to the latest ZigBee compliant networking protocol as it becomes available.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

ECI Telecom Reports Revenue of $153 Million, up 26% YoY

ECI Telecom reported Q2 revenues of $153 million, a 26% increase from $121 million in the second quarter of 2004 and compared with $145 million in the first quarter of 2005. Net income was $15.6 million, or $0.13 per share on a fully diluted basis.

Some highlights:

  • Revenues for the Broadband Access Division, at $63 million for the quarter, were up 24% from a year ago and unchanged from last quarter.

  • Revenues for the Optical Networks Division increased 34% from a year ago and reached $82 million for the quarter, compared to $77 million in the first quarter of 2005.

  • Following the $88 million all-cash acquisition of Laurel Networks, ECI's cash, including short and long term deposits and marketable securities, now totals $214 million, or $1.82 per share.

Commenting on the results, Doron Inbar, President and CEO said, "We are pleased to report yet another quarter of strong growth and solid profits, as ECI continues to demonstrate leadership in its markets, which remain among the fastest growing sectors in telecom.

Telefónica Reaches 4.0 million Retail ADSL Lines

As of 30-June-2005, the Telefónica Group was serving 4.0 million retail ADSL lines in Spain, Latin America and the Czech Republic, an increase of +57.6% over last year. Telefónica's retail ADSL accesses in Spain rose to 2.3 million (+41.8% vs. June 2004), representing an estimated market share of 54.1% of the total broadband market. In Latin America, retail ADSL accesses stood at 1.7 million and grew by 70.9% over the same period last year, highlighting Telesp, with almost one million ADSL access lines (exceeded during July).

Telefónica Moviles reported strong growth across all its markets. Net adds were of 5.4 million for the quarter vs. more than 3 million in January-March of 2005, bringing its managed customer base to 86.5 million. Of the total customer base, 63.7 million corresponded to the Latin American operators, 19.4 million to Telefónica Moviles España and more than 3.4 million to Medi Telecom.

Revenues for the first half of 2005 amounted to EUR 17.359 billion , 20.0% higher than the same period in 2004. Revenues from Spain represented 55.4% of consolidated revenues, a decrease of a 6.8 percentage points over the same period in 2004. In turn, the contribution from Latin America increased to 40.6% (33.0% a year ago) due to the acquisition of the BellSouth Latin American operators. Brazil maintains its revenue contribution up to 17.4%.

Softbank BBTV Secures IPTV with NDS Content Protection

Softbank's newly launched BBTV service in Japan has deployed NDS' content protection system integrated with UTStarcom's IPTV headend system, set-top box and electronic program guide.

BBTV is using NDS's "Synamedia" software suite at the head-end and NDS smart cards in subscriber set-top boxes (STB).

BBTV will deliver more than 40 channels through STBs, offer a sophisticated electronic program guide, and provide access to more than 5,200 VOD titles.

NDS said this new contract further enhances its IPTV solution following deployments by Sistema in Russia, AUNA in Spain, CYTA in Cyprus, and recent announcements with Viasat in Sweden and SuperSun in Hong Kong. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Softbank BB's triple play service will be available in several service tiers, with pricing starting at 4540 Yen, approximately US$40.00 per month.
  • NDS is a majority-owned subsidiary of News Corporation.

Portugals' Optimus Deploys Motorola's Push-To-Talk over Cellular (PoC)

Motorola announced the deployment of a Push-To-Talk over Cellular (PoC) network for Optimus in Portugal. Optimus' subscribers will initially have a choice of PoC handsets; the Motorola V400p and Symbian Series 60 devices with the Motorola PoC Client. Each Motorola handset delivers a distinct 'walkie-talkie' experience, including one-touch access to presence-enabled phone contacts, giving subscribers flexibility and speed in how they communicate.

The PoC deployment further develops Motorola's relationship with Optimus, following Motorola's successful 3G network deployment for the operator in 2004.

WebEx Sees 23% Increase in Q2 Revenues over Last Year

WebEx Communications reported Q2 revenues of $75.3 million, a 23% increase from $61.1 million in the second quarter of 2004. Net income was $13.9 million, a 35% increase from $10.3 million in the second quarter of 2004. Diluted earnings per share, ("EPS") were $0.29, an increase of 32% from $0.22 in the second quarter of 2004.

"We had another good quarter, demonstrating the expanding market for collaborative application services," said Subrah Iyar, chief executive officer of WebEx. "As companies realize the huge cost advantages of on-demand solutions, we continue to see new customer requirements like the WebEx Retention Solution we announced during second quarter."

Alcatel Revenues Rise 8.5% YoY to EUR 3.145 Billion

Alcatel reported Q2 revenues of EUR 3.145 billion, an increase of 8.5% at a current EUR/US$ exchange rate (an increase of 10.7% at a constant EUR/US$ exchange rate). Net income (group share) amounted to EUR 196 million, or a diluted EPS of EUR 0.14 (US$ 0.17 per ADS).

Some highlights from the quarter:

  • The gross margin was registered at 35.6%

  • Operating profit amounted to EUR 263 million, representing an 8.4% operating margin.

  • Fixed communications revenues in Q2 decreased by 6.2% to EUR 1.224 billion from EUR 1.305 billion in the same period last year. The company cited good momentum in optical transmission and IP routing driven by a ramp in Triple Play deployments. The decrease in the segment's revenues is primarily due to the continued drop in traditional TDM switching, as well as some decline in broadband access revenues compared to the particularly solid second quarter 2004 in North America.

  • Volumes in DSL lines reached 5.9 million during the second quarter registering a market share gain and a return to the historical market position, with strength in Europe and China. The IP DSLAM continued to drive revenues with substantial volume deliveries during the quarter, while the market transitions to ADSL2plus technology.

  • Mobile communications revenues in Q2 increased by 34.6% to EUR 958 million from EUR 712 million in the same period last year, with growth across all product lines. Alcatel said emerging markets continued to be dynamic and hybrid 2G/3G infrastructure revenues were driven by activity in Brazil, Nigeria, Russia, and China. A new radio WCDMA customer was registered in the Middle East, confirming that a number of emerging countries are moving to 3G technologies.

  • Alcatel saw momentum continuing to build in next generation solutions, such as NGN-IMS core, where two flagship contracts were won in Western Europe and SE Asia. Over 20 trials with new customers have now been registered.

  • Mobile applications recorded significant growth with strong volumes in payment applications where the market is shifting to full converged payment solutions. Market traction was registered in video/music services where Alcatel now has over 60 customers.

  • Private communications revenues in Q2 increased by 6.5% to EUR 981 million compared with EUR 921 million in the same period last year. In the enterprise market, revenues bounced back more than expected after a slow start at the beginning of the year and voice services grew, especially in Eastern and Northern Europe.

  • IP telephony continued to register a strong progression, representing more than a third of the total shipments. Genesys again turned in a solid performance.

Serge Tchuruk, Chairman and CEO, summarized the Board's observations:

"Second quarter results came in above expectations. Sales were higher than anticipated in all three business segments. In particular, the mobile communication business grew around 30% year over year for the second quarter in a row, with a return to double digit profitability, confirming the strength of our product offering and regional strategy. While the fixed communication business continued to shrink as expected during the quarter, our market dynamics clearly point towards the forecasted rebound in the second half. We are also pleased by the return to growth of our private communication business, despite the weakness associated with the low cycle in space activities."

"We continue to operate in a competitive environment leading to pricing pressure. With product cost improvements offsetting price trends, our gross margin has been stabilizing for the last three quarters. "

Sprint to Support Comcast's Digital Voice

Sprint announced an arrangement with Comcast to provide connectivity between traditional phone providers and Comcast Digital Voice in select markets. This deal represents Sprint's continued expansion into the cable market.

BellSouth Adds Security Apps to DSL Service

BellSouth announced a number security applications designed to help keep residential and small business customers safe while online and their PCs free of spyware, viruses and tracking cookies.

BellSouth FastAccess DSL customers can add the following security applications: BellSouth Anti-Virus; BellSouth Anti-Spyware; and BellSouth Firewall.

BellSouth customers who wish to secure one computer can order individual software products for $2.99 per month, or the entire suite of three products for $6.99 per month. For customers with two to four computers, the cost to order individual products is $4.99 per month, or $11.99 per month for the entire suite. Business customers with up to 10 computers can purchase individual products for $12.99 per month, or the entire suite for $24.99 per month.

Verizon Seeks Video Franchise in Fairfax County

Verizon has submitted a cable franchise application to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, which is required before Verizon can begin to offer cable services in this county of Virginia. At its Aug. 1 meeting, the board will consider authorizing publication of the proposed franchise agreement and a Sept. 26 public hearing to consider adopting the franchise.

"We have negotiated a strong, fair agreement that paves the way for more competition in one of the nation's most technology-rich markets," said Robert W. Woltz Jr., Verizon Virginia president. "If you were impressed by the changes Verizon Fios Internet Service forced cable companies to make to their cable-modem offerings, wait until you see how Fios TV improves cable competition in the region."

TELUS Selects Alcatel's Ethernet-IP Service and Network Architecture

TELUS, the largest service provider in western Canada, will use key Alcatel technologies to support its build of a next generation Ethernet-IP service and network architecture.

TELUS plans to deploy Alcatel's Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM) solution to expand its broadband access coverage and to increase the subscriber bandwidth. The Alcatel 7302 ISAM and 7330 ISAM Fiber to the Node (FTTN) will enable 20 Mbps to the end customer, with speeds in excess of 40 Mbps where ADSL2+ bonding is employed, and over 50 Mbps using VDSL2. These access rates will enable TELUS to market new advanced broadband services to consumer and business markets.

TELUS will also deploy the Alcatel 7450 Ethernet Service Switch platform to deliver new Ethernet-IP services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

NETGEAR Reports Revenue of $107.6 million, a 21.7% YoY

NETGEAR reported Q2 revenue was $107.6 million, a 21.7% increase as compared to $88.4 million for Q2 2004. Revenue for the first quarter of 2005 was $109.0 million. Net revenue in the second quarter of 2005 derived from North America was $55.2 million; the Europe, Middle East and Africa, or EMEA, region was $ 40.4 million; and, the Asia Pacific region was $12.0 million. Net income (GAAP) was $8.3 million or $0.26 per basic share and $0.25 per diluted share.

Patrick Lo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NETGEAR, commented, "We had a strong second quarter driven by the success of some new products; such as, our RangeMax family of MIMO Wi-Fi products. NETGEAR introduced a record 17 new products in the second quarter."

Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom Launches 3G with Nokia

Chunghwa Telecom launched its 3G service in Taiwan using a WCDMA 3G network deployed by Nokia. Among the 3G services that Chunghwa will offer are 3G video call, 3G movie/TV channel and "Music station" entertainment services. Nokia served as the sole 3G network supplier to Chunghwa. Nokia provided Chunghwa with both 3G core and radio-access network equipment, including RNC, UltraSite, and MetroSite base stations as well as operator and care services. Chunghwa is Nokia's one of the world's first customers to implement 3GPP Rel'4 architecture.

Nokia has been working with Chunghwa Telecom since 1999, having supplied the operator's GPRS core network, multimedia messaging solution (MMS) and ADSL in addition to the WCDMA system.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

New Whitepaper: Swimming Upstream -- The Case for Higher Speeds

by Ikanos Communications

Business and residential subscribers are constantly demanding more bandwidth. With the Internet, where a wealth of content resides on the World Wide Web, most of this demand has historically been in the downstream direction. And that will certainly continue. But what has changed is that users are now accumulating and generating copious amounts of content of their own.

Users, carriers and equipment vendors alike have a long history of underestimating the need for speed. The root cause is innocent enough: keeping costs under control. But the inevitable "forklift" upgrades are disruptive and costly, which is quite ironic considering the original impetus involved cost savings.

The leading technology for delivering higher bi-directional bandwidth is Very-high-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL). VDSL was designed to take full advantage of a carrier's broadband infrastructure with its increasing fiber optic capacity to the node, curb or building/basement. And unlike other technologies, VDSL has the ability to deliver 100 Mbps symmetrical broadband bandwidth, which puts carrier services on par with LAN switching to the desktop. Significantly, no mass-market local loop technology has ever done that before.

GigaBeam Raises $8.6 Million for its "Wireless Fiber"

GigaBeam Corporation closed $8.6 million in financing through an offering of the company's 10% Series A redeemable preferred stock and common stock purchase warrants and a placement of its common stock and common stock purchase warrants. Several senior officers and board members, including Louis Slaughter, Chairman and CEO, and Douglas Lockie, President and CTO, participated in the financing.

GigaBeam supplies a line of "WiFiber" equipment that operates in the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz radio spectrum bands. This portion of the radio frequency spectrum has been authorized by the Federal Communications Commission for wireless point-to-point commercial use. Use of these frequency bands for commercial use was pioneered by GigaBeam's founders. GigaBeam's technology, utilizing these large blocks of authorized contiguous spectrum, enable multi Gigabit-per-second wireless communications using Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. The current speed achieved by GigaBeam's WiFiber 2 and anticipated WiFiber G Series product lines is 1 Gbps. Future GigaBeam products are expected to be capable of 10 Gbps.

Level 3 Expands Backbone Support of Comcast Digital Voice Rollout

Level 3 Communications announced that it is now providing Comcast with underlying backbone support for the rollout of its new Digital Voice service/ Level 3 said its backbone support will allow Comcast's IP-based calls to travel along a privately managed network. This will extend the capability of Comcast's existing private, advanced broadband network, allowing the IP-based voice service to enjoy quality that may not be available from non-facilities-based VoIP service providers.

Comcast Extends Digital Voice Contract with AT&T

AT&T announced a new contract with Comcast that extends an existing agreement under which AT&T supports Comcast's new Digital Voice service. The new agreement establishes AT&T Global Wholesale Services as a key supplier of the nationwide transport and termination services for Comcast Digital Voice. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Industry Reaction to Ensign Bill

Verizon: "We applaud Senator Ensign for introducing legislation to bring our communications laws into the 21st century. The Ensign bill puts consumers first by enabling people to choose from the expanding array of choices made possible by changes in technology and the marketplace. This bill recognizes that the world has changed and consumer driven markets work better than those managed by the government." Peter B. Davidson, Verizon senior vice president for federal government relations.

BellSouth: "The Ensign proposal would bring telecommunications law up to date so that consumers can make their own decisions in the marketplace free of the heavy hand of government. When enacted this bill will enhance the deployment of broadband, bring more jobs and investment. It will speed the deployment of competitive video services and provide, at last, vibrant competition in video. Technology will flourish and consumers will be the winners. This legislation will need a companion bill on universal service to complete the package." Herschel Abbott, BellSouth vice president Governmental Affairs.

NCTA: "We commend Sen. Ensign for crafting legislation that seeks to promote competition and innovation and treats like services alike. Consumers benefit when market forces are allowed to work and all providers, regardless of technology, can compete in the marketplace without government policies that pick winners and losers. While there are specific provisions we would want to work on with Senator Ensign, this is an important and constructive step forward." Kyle McSlarrow, National Cable and Telecommunications Association, President & CEO

TIA: "As the information and communications technology industry continues to rapidly evolve, TIA especially supports the goal of establishing a firm foundation that is forward-looking in encouraging competition, investment, innovation and the deployment of next-generation technologies across all segments of the industry. We look forward to examining the proposed legislation in detail and commit to working with Senator Ensign and all of his colleagues in both chambers of Congress to ensure any final telecom reform legislation that emerges is built on these principles and establishes a national framework of limited regulatory oversight of the competitive and converging broadband communications marketplace." Matthew J. Flanigan, President, Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)

CEA: "The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) commends Senator Ensign for introducing the Broadband Consumer Choice Act of 2005. This bill stands as pro-technology legislation that will advance the deployment of innovative broadband communications services. This comprehensive legislation will remove regulatory barriers and encourage investment in new communication and IP-enabled services. We strongly believe that a free-market approach will spur a revolution of new and competitive voice, data and video services. Under this bill, society will benefit from more competition and real choices in broadband. CEA believes that with intense competition and standard interfaces consumers will see new services and devices similar to when manufacturers were freed to offer choices from the standard black rotary telephone. " Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association.

iBasis Carries 1.79 Billion VoIP Minutes in Q2

iBasis reported 1.79 billion minutes of use on its international VoIP network in Q2 , a 61% increase over the 1.11 billion minutes carried in the second quarter 2004, and a 2% increase over the 1.76 billion minutes in the first quarter 2005. Average revenue per minute increased to 5.3 cents per minute in the second quarter 2005, up from 5.0 cents per minutes in the first quarter 2005. Average revenue per minute is based on our reported net revenue divided by the minutes of traffic for the applicable period.

Overseas-originated calls accounted for 48% of revenue in the second quarter of 2005, compared to 47% in the first quarter 2005. iBasis ended the second quarter with 348 wholesale trading customers, up from 309 at the end of Q1 2005. New customers announced during the quarter included African carriers Globacom and Econet, Pakistani carrier Callmate Telips, and Australian carrier Telecorp.

Financially, iBasis reported Q2 revenue of $94.6 million, compared to $61.2 million for the second quarter of 2004. Net loss for the second quarter of 2005 was $0.8 million, or $(0.01) per share, compared to net loss for the second quarter of 2004 of $5.9 million, or $(0.13) per share. The company was cash flow positive for the quarter.

Verizon Sponsors VoIP Research at Columbia University

Verizon Laboratories is partnering with the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University to conduct two research projects on VoIP.

One project will be dedicated to exploring security technologies, while the other pertains to research in the area of Presence. Verizon said the results of both of these projects will have a large impact on future services offered by softswitches.

The research is being conducted under the direction of VoIP expert, Professor Henning Schulzrinne. A $120,000 Verizon grant has been presented to Schulzrinne by Stuart Elby, vice president of network architecture and enterprise services at Verizon Laboratories. Elby received his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1994.

Centillium Supports IMS in Entropia Chipset

Centillium Communications announced 3G-NGN, an advanced software suite for the company's pioneering Entropia III system-on-a-chip (SoC) processor. Entropia's advanced VoIP processor software adapts the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architecture to support multimedia convergence services aimed at wireline and wireless next generation networks (NGN). Entropia can now support IMS Media Gateway Functions (MGF) for CDMA/3GPP2 or GSM/3GPP applications, along with all wireline requirements. In addition, Entropia supports IMS Media Resource Function Processors (MRFP), delivering such features as tones, unlimited announcements, conferencing and gaming.

Centillium's Entropia III solution integrates six SigmaPlus DSPs, plus four RISC network processors, and other advanced hardware blocks in a highly optimized architecture tuned specifically for voice convergence processing.

Luminous Secures Contract with China NetCom Shandong

China NetCom (CNC) Shandong has chosen the Luminous Networks' "PacketWave" Resilient Packet Ring (RPR, IEEE 802.17) and Pseudo-Wire based platforms for deployment in the cities of Quingdao and Yanzhou.

To meet the growing service needs of China's business and residential customers, service providers such as CNC Shandong must rapidly deploy packet-based networks. Rapid growth in residential broadband through Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) access, continues in double digit pace. This demand is driven by services such as IPTV, Internet Access and VoIP. Service providers' traditional network solutions such as SDH are not effective, either through cost or bandwidth utilization, in meeting the growing customer demand for packet-based services. Concurrently, businesses are increasingly looking to their service providers for Ethernet services such as Virtual Private Line and Virtual Private LAN.

CNC Shandong will use the Luminous platform to support rapid growth in residential broadband services and advanced business services, such as Virtual Private Line and Virtual Private LAN. CNC Shandong will primarily deploy the PacketWave E500 Series Packet Ring Access Platforms, which support speeds up to 2.5 Gbps, with both fixed and modular 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet application connections.

In addition, the E500 Series support 8 and 24 port T1/E1 modules, as well as a DS3 module. Other solutions to be deployed include the PacketWave M-Series Packet Ring Switching Platforms, with up to 16 modular slots for services and multiple, sub-tending packet rings. CNC Shandong will also utilize the Luminous Networks Management System (LMS). Financial terms were not disclosed.

Conexant Sees Quarterly Revenue Rise 16% Sequentially

Conexant Systems said quarterly revenues grew 16% sequentially to $197.5 million, compared to previous expectations of $190 million. Conexant also achieved its targeted gross margin and operating-expense improvements during the quarter. As a result, the company reduced its third fiscal quarter net loss by more than 50% sequentially.

Gross margins in the third fiscal quarter increased to 38 percent of revenues from 35.3 percent in the prior quarter. The core net loss for the quarter of 2005 was $17.6 million, or $0.04 per diluted share, better than the company's previous guidance for a loss of $0.05 per diluted share.

"During Conexant's third fiscal quarter, the pace of our recovery accelerated and we were able to exceed our prior performance expectations," said Dwight W. Decker, Conexant chairman and chief executive officer. "In DSL, we saw greater-than-expected demand, with revenues growing more than 20 percent... During the quarter, we generated significant customer interest with the introduction of a family of highly integrated 'triple-play' VDSL and VDSL2 next-generation semiconductor solutions for both central office and customer premises equipment applications... Our Broadband Media Processing business revenues were up more than 15 percent, due in part to initial shipments for a new DIRECTV set-top box application."

NetCentrex to Acquire NeoTIP for Session Border Controllers

NetCentrex agreed to acquire NeoTIP, a privately-held developer of
session border controllers, for an undisclosed sum.

NeoTIP, which is based in Lannion, France, offers a range of Session Border Controllers (SBCs) used in carrier networks. The company said claims more than 30,000 ports have been deployed to perform security and protocol translation for telephony and videoconference services in the network of a major European incumbent operator. International customer references include Telecom Brazil and Telecom Chile.

NetCentrex said the acquisition of NeoTIP would accelerate its product strategy. New network architectures such as IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) and TISPAN (Telecoms & Internet converged Services & Protocols for Advanced Networks) specify an elaborate network access layer for solving security, interoperability and QoS issues, opening up a new market for network access control devices. NeoTIP's SBCs provide the technology for both fixed and mobile networks.

NeoTIP's technology will be folded into Netcentrex IMS developments and in particular the P-CSCF (Proxy Call Session Control Function) component. It will also add new features to existing SBC functionality provided by the Netcentrex Business Services Suite and IP Trunking offerings, enhancing interoperability with IP-PBXs and adding security without increased complexity.

NetCentrex is based in Paris.
  • Neotip was founded in June 2003 by a team that previously worked for France Telecom Research and Development laboratories.

Telco Systems Acquires Integral Access

Telco Systems has acquired Integral Access, a developer of the carrier-class multi-service access platforms, for an undisclosed sum.

Integral Access offers a "PurePacket" platform, an IP-optimized system for next generation networks. It can be deployed as an access gateway for softswitch based architectures for VoIP and data services or with Class 5 central office switches. The system can be connected to the service provider's network using Ethernet based interfaces using L2 or L3 marking as well as TDM based interfaces such as DS1/E1 and DS3. The PurePacket system is designed for in-building, small campus, and co-location/central office-based deployment and service delivery.

Integral Access, headquartered in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, is a privately held company. The PurePacket system is currently deployed in more than 44 major U.S. metropolitan areas and 9 European regions.

Telco Systems said the acquisition would enable it to make further inroads with next generation network carriers, CLECs, and alternative service providers. The PurePacket platform compliments Telco Systems' existing IP product line, which includes solutions for Metro Ethernet Access Rings, Residential and enterprise VoIP, FTTx and WiFi backhaul.

Regulators Require France Telecom to Provide Access to Competitors

The European Commission will require France Telecom to provide its competitors with wholesale, nationwide high-speed access to its network for a transitional period of one year.

This regulatory measure, proposed by the French national regulatory authority for electronic communications, ARCEP, was authorised by the European Commission.

The measure will apply until competing network operators have built a sufficiently wide backbone network and a large enough customer base to enable them to invest further in regional broadband services.

The Commission asked ARCEP to review this market again within a year to fully take account of new market developments which could enhance competition in the wholesale nationwide broadband market in France.

The regulators believe that competition in this market will be facilitated if France Telecom is obliged to ensure internal accounting transparency between its wholesale network branch and its retail ISP entity, as the recent reintegration of Wanadoo into France Telecom may have potential consequences on retail competition.

"The measures authorised by the Commission today for a transitional period of one year should give market players legal certainty and confidence to invest more in regional broadband and local connection services over the next year," said Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding.

Senator Proposes a Broad Rewrite of the Telecom Act

Senator John Ensign (R-NV) proposed a bill that would eliminate the requirement that video service providers obtain a cable franchise agreement in order to provide video service. The legislation seeks to promote inter-modal competition between telcos and cable operators by making it easier for telcos to launch video services.

The proposed Broadband Consumer Choice Act of 2005 would also set federal consumer protection standards, and would assure consumer access to Internet-based phone service.

"We must not allow government regulations to be an anchor on the advance of technology if we want America to lead the world in the information age," said Ensign at a Capitol Hill press conference.

Key provisions of the Broadband Consumer Choice Act of 2005 include:

  • Deregulation: Federal, state and local governments would no longer have the authority to regulate the rates, terms, price or quality of any communications service.

    Federal, state and local governments would no longer have the authority to require any facilities-based communications service provider to provide third parties with access to its facilities.

    Federal, state and local governments would no longer have the authority to regulate the rates, terms and conditions, if any, on which a facilities based provider chooses to provide access to its facilities to a third-part provider.

    The bill would have no effect on Titles IV, V and VII of the Communications Act of 1934.

  • Seamless IP Mobility: The FCC may not take any actions that would impede "seamless mobility," which is defined as "the ability of a consumer to move easily and smoothly between IP-enabled technology platforms, facilities and networks."

  • Access to Content: A consumer may not be denied access to any content provided over facilities used to provide broadband communication services, and a broadband service provider shall not willfully and knowingly block access to such content by a subscriber unless (a) the content is deemed to be illegal, (b) such denial is expressly authorized by Federal or state law, (c) such access is inconsistent with the terms of the service plan, including bandwidth limitations and QoS constraints.

  • Walled Gardens: A broadband communications provider may offer to a consumer a customized content plan through its network and with providers of content, applications and other services, in order to differentiate its offering.

  • Access to Devices: A broadband service provider shall not prevent any person from utilizing equipment and devices in connection with lawful content and applications.

  • Access to Competitive VoIP services: A broadband service provider may not prevent a consumer from using VoIP applications offered by a competitor.

  • Video Services: A video service provider shall not be required to (a) obtain a State or local video franchise, (b) to build its video distribution system in any particular way, (c) to provide leased or common carrier access to any other video service provider.

  • Compensating Local Governments for Video Rights of Way: State or local governments may require a video service provider to pay on an annual basis a reasonable video service fee to compensate such local government for the cost that it incurs in managing the public rights-of-way used by the provider. This fee shall not exceed 5% of gross revenues. Rights-of-way disputes would be resolved by the FCC or by Federal courts.

  • Existing Video Franchises: Existing video franchises would be preempted by this legislation. Cable operators would be treated as video service providers.

  • Competition and Diversity in Video Programming Distribution: The bill would establish safeguards to prevent an MVPD programming vendor which has an attributable interest in an MVPD programming vendor or satellite broadcasting vendor from improperly influencing the decision of such vendor to set unfair prices or conditions for the sale of content to any unaffiliated MVPD. Special provisions are included to preserve and protect the competition and diversity in distribution of video programming, including live sporting events.

  • Satellite TV: No state or local government would have authority to regulate through franchise-agreements or other means Direct-to-Home satellite services.

  • Municipally Owned Networks: Any state or local government seeking to offer communications services must provide conspicuous notice of the proposed scope of the communications service, including cost, services, coverage areas, terms, architecture, etc., as well as describe any free or below costs rights-of-way, and preferential tax treatment, that the project might enjoy. Open bids must then be made available to non-government entities to provide such services on the same terms. In the event of identical bids, preference shall be given to the non-government entity. If the state or local government wins the bid, non-government entities shall have the ability to use the same facilities, and under the same conditions, as the state or local government. Existing municipally-owned networks are grandfathered, unless they substantially expand their current network or services.

  • Basic Telephone Service (BTS): Incumbent local exchange carriers would be required to offer basic telephone service (single line, traditional local calling area, access to 911, touchtone dialing and access to LD carriers) to business and residential customers throughout its territories, with rates capped at current levels, until January 1, 2010. After this date, the rates may be adjusted annually by an amount not to exceed any adjustment in the Consumer Price Index.

  • Federal Quality Standard: The FCC is given the authority to establish a Federal Quality Standard for basic telephone service (BTS) that uses technologies other than the PSTN, in terms of reasonable uptime, installation/repair intervals, and suitable voice quality. State commissions would enforce this Federal Quality Standard.

  • Billing Disputes and Other Rules: The FCC is given authority to develop rules regarding automatic dialing, cramming, slamming, E911, obscene or harassing calls; billing disputes; use of consumer proprietary network information; and disabled access. State commissions are given authority to enforce these rules.

  • Unbundled Copper Loops: Incumbent exchange carriers are required to provide unbundled access to copper loops on commercially reasonable rates, terms and conditions. ILECs are also required to provide central office collocation or virtual collocation for access to the unbundled copper loops. These obligations will terminate on January 1, 2011.

  • Number Portability: All communications service providers that use numbers or the successor to the system assigned by the North American Numbering Plan, shall provide number portability to consumers.

The full text of the proposed legislation is online (72 pages).

Monday, July 25, 2005

FT Acquires 80% of Spain's Amena for EUR 6.4 Billion

France Telecom's Orange subsidiary agreed to acquire an 80% equity stake in Auna Operadora de Telecommunicaciones S.A., the third largest mobile operator in Spain (trade name Amena), for EUR 6.4 billion. France Telecom, which currently ranks as the second largest DSL operator in Spain (the Wanadoo brand), said the acquisition would position it as a first tier competitor in Spain. Amena currently has 9.7 million mobile customers, representing a 24% market share. France Telecom serves 526,000 ADSL lines in Spain, representing 16% market share. The balance (between 20%-25%) of the shares will be held by Santander, Union Fenosa and Endesa as well as by the minority shareholders wishing to keep their participation among which certain Spanish savings banks. The deal would close after the separation of Auna's cable and mobile assets.

France Telecom sees the acquisition as a major step in the roll-out of its NExT strategy: the ability to offer convergent broadband and mobile services in another key European market with close to 10 million additional customers.

Cisco to Acquire Sheer for Network Virtualization Tools

Cisco Systems agreed to acquire privately held Sheer Networks, a developer of intelligent network and service management products for service providers and large enterprises, approximately $97 million in cash and assumed options for Sheer Networks. In addition, the acquisition price may be increased by as much as $25 million depending on the degree to which certain development and product milestones are met after close.

Sheer's network virtualization technology can adapt to network changes easily, scale to large networks, and help extend new technologies and services to simplify the difficult task of monitoring and maintaining complex networks. The virtual network model hides the complexity of physical networks in a way that makes them accessible to a variety of management applications. This Dynamic Network Abstraction layer makes them transparent and accessible to a broad range of management applications.

Sheer's flagship product is its "Sheer BOS", which provides continuous auto-discovery across multi-layer, multi-domain, multi-vendor networks and services. This enables capabilities in the areas of inventory reconciliation, service assurance and service configuration for next generation networks.

Cisco said the acquisition would strengthen its ability to provide innovative and effective network management solutions. Cisco's blueprint for network management includes a common services platform on which applications are delivered and the ability to support management applications from Cisco and other vendors.
  • Sheer Networks was founded in 1999 and has 100 employees in San Jose, Calif. and Petach Tikva, Israel.

  • In May 2004, Sheer closed its fourth round of financing led by Star Ventures. Participants in this round included JVP, JK&B, Rein Capital, Morton L. Topfer, Ray Lane, Nokia and 3Com.

Meru Offers WLAN VoIP Call Balancing and Admission Control

Meru Networks introduced a new plug-in software module for its Wireless LAN System that enables the deployment of large, pervasive wireless VoIP networks. The Meru WLAN System can now protect existing calls on the network and guarantee optimal service quality without any dependence on proprietary extensions to the client or proprietary signaling from the IP-PBX. It also can provide dynamic error correction for voice calls.

The new Voice Service Module delivers three key features, that when used with the Meru WLAN System's Virtual Cell capability, make the deployment and operation of voice over WLAN networks increase call capacity and improve the call quality. VSM transparently balances clients and calls across access points and optimizes call quality by denying overflow calls from any 802.11 VoIP device without depending upon the IP-PBX used. The key features are as follows:

  • Call Admission Control: Allows the Meru WLAN System to actively limit the calls that can be made on an area of the network at any one time, preventing additional calls from damaging the service quality of the network. Admits and presents "network busy" tones based on available resources to provide a carrier grade handling of network overload similar to the Public Switched Telephone Network. Works independently of the IP-PBX so that enterprises can select handsets and IP-PBXs without any regard to the WLAN infrastructure.

  • Call Balancing: Eliminates the contention, collisions, and generally unpredictable service quality that occur with traditional WLAN systems. Enables the Meru WLAN System to actively manage a global map of VoIP call loads and balance the active voice clients across the network. VoIP client thresholds can be set on a per access point and per Virtual Cell basis so the system can optimally balance calls throughout the network. This allows the network operator to overlay channels in an area, thus allowing 3-4 times the call density in a single area as multiple Virtual Cells can be overlayed and calls balanced between them.

  • Enhanced Call Flow Detection: The Meru VSM, using application flow detection capabilities, automatically detects call setup resources as required for the compression/decompression (CODEC) algorithm and protocol being used, provisions over-the-air QoS for that call and admits the call as per the call admission policies. This capability is available for a broad range of client handset protocols, including SIP, H.323, Cisco Skinny Call Control Protocol (SCCP), Spectralink SVP and Vocera.

  • Dynamic Error Correction: Works with the Meru WLAN System's patented Air Traffic Control technology to deliver enhanced over-the-air QoS, preventing voice calls from being lost and voice quality from being degraded. As an optional on/off feature, VSM Dynamic Error Correction allows the system to recognize when voice packets have been lost, inserting a predictive sample into the voice flow, keeping the signal continuous and preventing the receiving client from hearing gaps in the voice calls.

Tellabs Grows Revenues to $463 million

Tellabs reported quarterly revenue of $463 million and earnings of $41 million or 9 cents per share on a GAAP basis.

"Strong customer demand across multiple product lines fueled Tellabs' best revenue quarter since 2001," said Krish A. Prabhu, Tellabs president and chief executive officer. "Our solid progress with the AFC and Vinci integrations is reflected in our improved margins and lower operating expenses."

Some highlights:

  • Transport -- Revenue from transport systems totaled $159 million, down 4% from $165 million in the second quarter of 2004 and in line with $158 million in the first quarter of 2005.

  • Access -- Revenue from access products totaled $144 million, up 23% from AFC's $117 million in the second quarter of 2004. [Note: The access revenue category includes all products acquired through the acquisition of AFC, which closed on Nov. 30, 2004.]

  • Managed Access -- Revenue from managed access systems was $96 million, up 26% from $76 million in the second quarter of 2004.

  • Broadband Data -- Revenue from broadband data products was $9 million, up fourfold from $2 million in the second quarter of 2004.

  • Voice Quality Enhancement -- Revenue from voice-quality enhancement and other systems totaled $11 million, down 48% from $21 million in the second quarter of 2004.

  • Services -- Services revenue was $44 million, up 9% from $41 million in the second quarter of 2004.

Agere Reports Revenues of $433 million

Agere Systems reported quarterly revenue of $433 million, at the high end of the guidance range provided by the company in April, up from $417 million in the preceding quarter. The company reported GAAP gross profit of $185 million or 43% of revenue, GAAP operating income of $3 million or 1% of revenue and GAAP net income of $120 million or $0.66 per share.

Agere also announced plans to complete the closure of its Orlando wafer fabrication facility by Sept. 30, 2005. At present, 545 employees work in the facility.

"Our results this quarter are a significant step toward achieving our operating model goals as we achieved a quarterly pro forma gross margin of 52% and operating income margin of 11%," said John Dickson, president and CEO, Agere Systems. "The closure of our facility in Orlando represents the last major step in the restructuring efforts we have undertaken."

FLO Forum Established to Promote Forward Link Only Technology

The FLO Forum, a new non-profit industry association, has been established by key players in the wireless industry in order to promote the development of products and services related to the delivery of advanced multimedia services to wireless devices around the world using "FLO" (Forward Link Only) technology.

The FLO technology was designed specifically for a terrestrial mobile multimedia environment, making its performance characteristics ideally suited for use in cellular handset operation.

Founding members include Amoi, BBEF, Harris, Huawei, Korea Telecom, KYOCERA, LG Electronics, LG Telecom, MediaFLO USA, Pantech & Curitel, QUALCOMM, Roundbox, SANYO, Sharp and ZTE.

The FLO Forum, to be headquartered in Fremont, Calif., will work with regional and global industry consortia, regulatory bodies and designated standards organizations in support of the standardization of FLO technologies, and develop equipment compliance and certification processes for FLO products.
  • In March 2005, QUALCOMM announced plans to make the air interface specification for its FLO (Forward Link Only) technology available to an industry-led group for the purpose of bringing a cooperative specification to standards bodies for ratification. The FLO technology was designed specifically for a mobile multimedia environment and exhibits performance characteristics suited ideally for use on cellular handsets.

  • FLO uses advanced coding and interleaving to achieve high quality reception at all times, both for real-time content streaming and other data services.

  • In November 2004, QUALCOMM announced plans to deploy and operate a nationwide “mediacast�? network, delivering many channels of high-quality video and audio programming to third-generation mobile phones at mass market prices. The nationwide mediacasting network will deliver multimedia content to wireless mobile devices in the 700 MHz spectrum for which QUALCOMM holds licenses across the U.S. It will be based on QUALCOMM's "FLO" (Forward Link Only) technology and use the MediaFLO media distribution system for content aggregation, delivery and viewing. The network could support 50-100 national and local content channels, including up to 15 live streaming channels and numerous clip-cast and audio channels using QVGA video at up to 30 frames per second.

  • The mediacast network, which would be operated by QUALCOMM's new subsidiary called MediaFLO, would provide interactive multimedia services to consumers in cooperation with U.S. CDMA2000 and WCDMA (UMTS) operators. MediaFLO will aggregate and distribute the content that is available to all MediaFLO partners and will provide integration of this content with unique content that individual operators provide to maintain their competitive differentiation. MediaFLO would enable the carriers to deliver mobile interactive multimedia to their wireless subscribers without the cost of network deployment and operation.

Caspian Hires UTStarcom Exec

Caspian named Dave Robison as senior vice president of worldwide sales and support. Prior to Caspian, Robison served as vice president of international sales and marketing for UTStarcomm, and before that, as vice president of sales for Zhone Technologies and Ascend Communications.

Meru Wins Landmark Enterprise Wireless VoIP Deal in Japan

Osaka Gas, one of Japan's largest national utilities, has selected Meru Networks' WLAN System for a pervasive wireless VoIP network that will serve the organization's 50 offices, including its headquarters.

Using Meru's WLAN System and NTT DoCoMo's dual-mode Cellular/Wi-Fi service and handsets, Osaka Gas will provide converged, wireless data and voice services to employees across the organization. With the combined Meru and NTT DoCoMo solution, Osaka Gas employees can have one-number access, with voice calls running over the corporate wireless LAN indoors, and handing off to NTT DoCoMo's cellular service when roaming outdoors.

Meru said its system was selected because of its patented, Air Traffic Control technology, which brings the benefits of the cellular world to the wireless LAN environment.
  • In March of 2005, Meru announced partnerships with three of the four top VoIP systems manufacturers and solution providers in Japan: Oki Electric, Hitachi High-Technologies and Fujitsu I-Networks.

Motorola and Cisco Partner on Wi-Fi / Cellular Integration

Motorola and Cisco Systems announced a partnership to deliver a seamless enterprise mobility solution that will include WLAN IP telephony and cellular phone technologies.

The companies said that by blending key features and benefits of mobile cellular, 802.11 wireless and enterprise fixed networks, the their solution will provide "a single mobile communications device that bridges the physical and virtual-office environments to enable anytime, anywhere communications for mobile business professionals."

Plans include dual-mode cellular and Wi-Fi phones designed for enterprise users. Seamless handoffs would occur between the enterprise WLAN and the cellular telephony service. The solution will be available as an extension to the Cisco CallManager IP-based communications system, utilizing a standards-based interface.

Motorola solution elements will include dual-mode devices and network mobility enabled by their Wireless Services Manager. Cisco will provide IP telephony and WLAN infrastructure. Motorola and Cisco plan to extend the initial solution offering to include additional Cisco CallManager features and deliver the Cisco IP Communications experience to enterprise workers whenever and wherever they are needed.

The initial dual mode solution is expected to be commercially available in early 2006.

"Motorola is strengthening and expanding its enterprise offerings by developing strategic business relationships with leading companies like Cisco to help create a complete solutions portfolio," said Greg Brown, President of Motorola's Government and Enterprise Mobility Solutions business.

Motorola and Yahoo! to Offer Consumer Devices

Motorola and Yahoo! intend to collaborate to provide consumers with easy access to Yahoo!'s core products and services on millions of Motorola Linux-based mobile devices, broadband-enabled products for the connected home, and through Motorola's forthcoming iRadio solution, starting in 2006.

The companies said they would make these services available to key operators worldwide to increase consumer adoption of mobile data services. The products will also be offered directly to consumers. The first such devices are expected in 2006.

"Many of our operator customers have asked us for easier access to the types of Yahoo! services consumers know and love. By aligning with Yahoo! we're able to expand our offerings to customers, while providing a great Seamless Mobility experience for consumers around the globe," said Ron Garriques, president of Motorola's Mobile Device business.

"Yahoo! is focused on providing our millions of users with the opportunity to connect to their Yahoo! services on the devices they use. Our plans with Motorola are an important step toward making this vision a reality," said Marco Boerries, senior vice president of the Connected Life business unit, Yahoo!.
  • In February 2005, Motorola announced plans for its iRadio -- a consumer device and service that uses a high-speed Internet connection, Bluetooth technology, and a mobile phone to offer listeners a continuous entertainment experience using commercial-free Internet radio channels and/or a personal music collection. The Motorola iRadio solution aims to provide Internet broadcasters with "the ability to extend their services to the places where people listen to and enjoy music the most, such as in the car or while jogging."

  • Motorola and Apple have previously disclosed plans to offer iTunes capability on Motorola's next-generation mobile phones.

Sirenza Releases Power Amplifier for WiMAX

Sirenza Microdevices introduced a new family of high performance power amplifiers for WiMAX 802.16 applications. Sirenza's new SZA-3044 single chip amplifier is an InGaP HBT covering the 2.7 - 3.8 GHz frequency band. It is targeted at customer premises equipment (CPE), access point and base station applications.

Nominum Moves its DNS Servers onto IBM's BladeCenter

Nominum will begin offering its carrier grade DNS and DHCP servers on IBM's eServer BladeCenter systems. Nominum is offering three solutions for service providers on the IBM BladeCenter platform:

  • Nominum Foundation Authoritative Name Server, for hosting organizations that require always-on DNS for high volume/low latency networks. This server provides performance for applications such as ENUM for VoIP or IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS) networks.

  • Nominum Foundation Caching Name Server, for broadband Internet providers. This solution also offers integrated load balancing and scalability benefits while additionally allowing for the integration of new solutions for serving and growing different subscriber bases.

  • Nominum Foundation Caching Name Server and Nominum Foundation Dynamic Configuration Server, a modular approach for service providers to deploy the required DNS and DHCP functionality to new and existing Points of Presence (POP).

Cox Announces Management Changes

James O. Robbins, president and CEO of Cox Communications, will retire at the end of this year after leading the company for two decades. He will be succeeded by Patrick J. Esser, 48, who will become president of Cox Communications. Robbins, who will continue serving as a member of the Cox Communications board of directors, will become a member of the Cox Enterprises board of directors in early 2006. Esser joined Cox in 1979 as director of programming for the company's system in Hampton Roads, VA, and in 1981 was part of the original management team that pioneered Cox's local advertising sales division, CableRep Advertising. In 1991, he was promoted to vice president of advertising sales, later being named senior vice president of operations for the Western Division before serving most recently as executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Cox Communications is the third largest MSO in the U.S.

Also, Cox Enterprises (the parent company announced that Jimmy W. Hayes, 52, has been named executive vice president and will assume the role of president and chief operating officer at the end of 2005. Hayes will succeed Dennis Berry, who at year end will become vice chair of Cox Enterprises succeeding David Easterly who will retire from that position while remaining a member of the board. I

Verizon to Increase CAPEX Based on Wireless and Fios Growth

Verizon reported quarterly earnings of $2.1 billion, or 75 cents per diluted share, highlighted by a record-breaking quarter at Verizon Wireless, which added a record 1.9 million net customers during Q2. Wireline data revenues were also up 10.9 percent, driven by a net addition of 278,000 wireline broadband connections. Verizon is increasing its CAPEX plans by 15% for 2005 due to the strong growth at Verizon Wireless and increased spending for the deployment of Fios video services.

Overall, Verizon's consolidated Q2 revenues were a record $18.6 billion, increasing 4.6% compared with the second quarter 2004.

Some highlights of the quarter:


  • Verizon Wireless added 1.9 million net new customers in Q2, the largest quarterly customer increase in the history of the wireless industry. Verizon Wireless has added 6.9 million net new customers over the past 12 months and now has a total of 47.4 million customers nationwide.

  • There was record-low churn (customer turnover) of 1.2 percent. Churn in the retail post-paid segment -- a base of 44 million customers -- was 1.0 percent in the second quarter 2005.

  • ARPU increased nearly 1 percent from the first quarter 2005 and decreased 2.7 percent from the second quarter 2004 to $49.42.

  • Total quarterly revenues of $7.8 billion, up $1.0 billion, or 14.6 percent -- the 12th consecutive quarter of double-digit year-over-year revenue growth increases

  • Continued strong operating income margin of 22.7 percent

  • Verizon said it is ahead of plan with the $1 billion national buildout by year-end of its 3G EV-DO network. During the second quarter, the company expanded broadband to now include more than 50 major metropolitan markets and surrounding areas, as well as 57 airports nationwide.


  • 4.1 million total broadband connections (DSL and Verizon Fios data lines), including 278,000 net new broadband connections

  • Long-distance lines totaled 18.0 million at the end of the second quarter 2005, an 8.8 percent increase from a comparable total of 16.5 million lines at the end of the second quarter 2004.

  • Improving revenue trends: Total quarterly revenues of $9.4 billion include a year-over-year gain in the consumer business, and gains from first quarter 2005 in all major lines of business.

  • Data revenues up 10.9 percent; long-distance (LD) revenues up 6.7 percent

  • Residential wireline customer ARPU rose to $50.92 in Q2, a 6.4 percent increase compared with the second quarter 2004.

  • Approximately 60 percent of Verizon residential customers have purchased local services in combination with either Verizon long-distance or a Verizon broadband connection, or both. This compares with 49 percent in the second quarter 2004.

  • Wholesale voice connections -- which includes resale, Unbundled Network Element-Platform (UNE-P) and end-to-end wholesale voice services provided under commercial agreements -- totaled 6.2 million at the end of Q2, down 6.4 percent from the end of Q2 2004. Verizon had 50.7 million switched wireline access lines in service as of the end of Q2 2005, down 5.5 percent on a comparable basis from last year.

CAPEX Increase Verizon anticipates that 2005 capital spending will increase approximately 15 percent over 2004 expenditures of $13.3 billion. This revises its previous guidance of an increase of approximately 10 percent. The increase is attributable to the strong growth at Verizon Wireless and increased spending for the deployment of Fios video services.

Debt Verizon's total debt at the end of the second quarter 2005 was $41.8 billion, compared with $41.9 billion at the end of the second quarter 2004.

FCC Announces 30-day Extension on VoIP E911 Enforcement

The FCC's Enforcement Bureau announced a 30-day extension of its new rules governing enhanced 911 (E911) capability by VoIP providers. The Bureau has determined that it will not initiate enforcement action, until August 30, 2005, against any provider of interconnected VoIP service regarding the requirement that it obtain affirmative acknowledgement by every existing subscriber on the condition that the provider file a detailed report with the Commission by August 10, 2005.

During this brief extension, interconnected VoIP providers will have the ability to continue obtaining affirmative acknowledgements from the entirety of their customer base.

If an interconnected VoIP provider has not received subscriber acknowledgements from 100% of its existing subscribers by August 29, 2005, then the interconnected VoIP provider will disconnect, no later than August 30, 2005, all subscribers from whom it has not received such acknowledgements. As such, providers may wish to inform subscribers that their VoIP service will be disconnected if they do not provide their acknowledgements by August 29, 2005.
http://www.fcc.govOn May 19, 2005, the FCC voted 4-to-0 to adopt new rules that require all VoIP providers that permit their customers to receive and place calls over the public-switched telephone network to provide their customers with 911 access. Key provisions of the VoIP E911 order include:

  • Interconnected VoIP providers must deliver all 911 calls to the customer's local emergency operator. This must be a standard, rather than optional, feature of the service.

  • Interconnected VoIP providers must provide emergency operators with the call back number and location information of their customers (i.e., E911) where the emergency operator is capable of receiving it. Although the customer must provide the location information, the VoIP provider must provide the customer a means of updating this information, whether he or she is at home or away from home.

  • By the effective date, interconnected VoIP providers must inform their customers, both new and existing, of the E911 capabilities and limitations of their service.

  • The incumbent LECs are required to continue to provide access to their E911 networks to any requesting telecommunications carrier. They must continue to provide access to trunks, selective routers, and E911 databases to competing carriers. The Commission will closely monitor this obligation.

Ericsson and BB Mobile Show IMS Handover between 3G and WLAN

Ericsson and BB Mobile, a division of Japan's Softbank Group, announced the first seamless handover of circuit-switched voice and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) based video services between 3G mobile and wireless local area networks (WLAN). The live demonstration was carried out over Softbank BB's commercial WLAN network and BB Mobile's WCDMA 3G mobile network operating on the 1.7GHz radio frequency band. BB Mobile/Softbank supplied WiFi expertise through its commercial WLAN network. Ericsson provided the 1.7GHz WCDMA radio network, circuit-switched and packet-switched core networks, and the IMS network. The demonstration was held on July 22, at BB Mobile's test site in Saitama Prefecture, Japan.

Ericsson noted that handover capabilities for combinational services between WCDMA and WLAN networks are being considered for inclusion in 3GPP Release 8.

"The success of this demonstration is an important step towards our target to create a society where mobile broadband is a part of ever day life. New mobile communication opportunities and the convergence between broadband services, including our wireless LAN, will provide the most advanced mobility for consumers," said Hiroshi Ishihara, General Manager, Regulatory and External Affairs Division, BB Mobile.

Motorola and Vonage Offer VoIP Gateway

Vonage introduced a new Motorola VoIP gateway (VT2442) with home networking features.

The device powers up to two lines of telephone service and supports features such as call waiting, call forwarding and caller ID. It also includes a fully-featured home network router, offering four Ethernet ports and a firewall. Commercial availability is slated for the Fall.

Motorola's VT2442 incorporates Texas Instruments' TNETV1060 VoIP gateway chipset.

Conexant Debuts System-on-a-Chip for ONTs

Conexant Systems marked its entry into the fiber access market with its integrated Xenon system-on-a-chip (SoC) solution targeted at optical network terminals (ONTs) on the client-side of broadband passive optical networks (BPONs).

The Xenon processor integrates a standard-compliant ITU G.983 BPON MAC/framer and network processor into a single device for bridging and router applications. The single-chip solution is based on a high-performance dual-ARM9 core network processor. Xenon supports downstream data rates of 622 Mbps and upstream rates of 155 Mbps. An optimized version for multiple dwelling unit (MDU) applications provides 25% greater throughput, and seamlessly interfaces to Conexant's Accelity VDSL/VDSL2 chipset. The device includes support for Conexant's ISOS suite of communications software.

The Xenon processor is packaged in a 528-pin plastic ball grid array (PBGA) and priced at $29.90 each in quantities of 10,000.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Motorola Previews RAZR PDA

Motorola introduced a QWERTY mobile device based on Windows Mobile 5.0.
The forthcoming Motorola Q will be lightweight and resemble the company's RAZR line in terms of thinness. It will features electro-luminescent keys, QWERTY keyboard, thumbwheel for single-handed control, and internal antenna. Additional features include as a large, vibrant, color screen, Web surfing capabilities, a 1.3 mega pixel camera with photo lighting, video and MP3 audio capabilities, and compatible Bluetooth-enabled accessories like the new RAZRWIRE Bluetooth eyewear. The Moto Q is expected to be available in Q1 2006.

Photonic Bridges Selects DCL Routing Code

Photonic Bridges, an integrator of next generation network solutions, has licensed Data Connection Limited's (DCL's) for use in their MetroWave product family. DC-OSPF is part of Data Connection's IP routing software suite which includes DC-BGP, DC-ISIS, and DC-RIP, all of which can be integrated with DC-MPLS to form a complete integrated solution for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

New Federal/State VOIP Enhanced 911 Enforcement Task Force is Formed

The FCC and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) is forming a joint Task Force on VoIP Enhanced 911 (E911) enforcement. The Task Force was created to facilitate the timely and effective enforcement of the FCC's new VoIP E911 rules. Working together, the federal and state Task Force members will look at developing educational materials to ensure that consumers understand their rights and the requirements of the FCC's VoIP E911 Order and rules and how best to expedite compliance and facilitate enforcement, where necessary. The Task Force will also compile data and share best practices.

Staff from both the FCC and State Public Utility Commissions will serve as members, working closely with representatives from the public safety community, including the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).

FCC and NARUC Task Force members will be named shortly.

Narus Provides VoIP Traffic Assessment Tool

Narus introduced a VoIP traffic assessment tool based on its unified IP Management and Security platform to help global carriers understand and address the impact of VoIP traffic on their business.

The Narus IP Platform provides a total network view of all IP data in a carrier's network, including VoIP traffic. The system offers extensible capabilities to secure, analyze, monitor and mediate any traffic in an IP network, including H.323, SIP, and proprietary VoIP protocols including Skype.

Narus said it has deployed VoIP detection at several carriers already, producing startling results. One carrier determined that 15% of calls a day bypassed their traditional network causing a significant impact on revenue. Using Narus, this carrier recovered its losses by mitigating the traffic and passing information to the billing system to bill subscribers for the network usage.

As a result of several successful pilot implementations, Narus is initiating a VoIP business analysis program. The program will provide carriers with the information to determine the financial impact VoIP traffic has on the network. In addition, system integrator partners will offer a mediation implementation service, enabling carriers to realize revenue from all IP traffic.

Vodafone Now Reaches 165 Million Customers

Vodafone reported key performance indicators for the quarter ended 30 June 2005. The main highlights are:

  • Organic growth of 8.6% in proportionate mobile revenues year on year

  • Over 4.1 million customer organic net additions, 35% higher than for the same period last year

  • Total proportionate customer base now over 165 million, representing organic growth of 12.3% year on year, and including an additional 6 million customers added in Romania and the Czech Republic through the closing of the TIW transaction

  • Additional 1.1 million registered 3G devices, including 1 million
    consumer 3G devices. Total 3G devices now at 3.3 million, with 2.9 million consumer 3G devices

  • Over 1.3 billion shares repurchased in the financial year to date at a cost of 1.9 billion pounds Sterling

  • Vodafone Germany delivered a quarter of strong customer growth with 497,000 net additions, taking the total base to 27.7 million, 8.8% higher year on year. Blended annual churn was stable compared to that at March, with a small improvement in contract offset by a slight increase in prepaid. Proportionate net customer additions were 204,000 in the quarter. The total proportionate customer base was 17.5 million at the end of June, 6.4% higher year on year on an organic basis. Blended annual ARPU increased to EUR 360 for the year to June compared to EUR 359 for the year to March. Annual churn increased slightly when compared to March.

  • In Italy, proportionate net customer additions were 204,000 in the quarter. The total proportionate customer base was 17.5 million at the end of June, 6.4% higher year on year on an organic basis. Blended annual ARPU increased to EUR 360 for the year to June compared to EUR 359 for the year to March. Annual churn increased slightly when compared to March.

  • Vodafone UK regained momentum in the quarter with 165,000 net customers added, taking the total base to 15.5 million customers, an increase of 8.9% year on year. Annual churn increased slightly compared to March, driven in large part by an increase in prepaid churn. Blended annual ARPU reduced to 300 pounds from 306 pounds for the year to June compared to the year to March, principally due to the impact of the reduction in incoming call termination rates. The growth in average customers was substantially offset by the fall in ARPU resulting in service revenue growth of 0.6% for the quarter when compared to the same quarter last year.

  • In Japan, the closing proportionate customer base in Japan was 14.6 million. Vodafone Japan recorded positive net additions of 5,000 in June, but a net reduction of 72,000 for the quarter. Annual churn levels fell slightly compared to March, benefiting from the continued investment in customer retention activities and the introduction of new price plans and promotions.

  • Vodafone Spain continued to perform very strongly, adding a further 368,000 net customers in the quarter to June. At the end of June, the total customer base stood at 11.8 million customers, an increase of 18.9% year on year. The proportion of contract customers in the base continues to increase and churn has improved both quarter on quarter and year on year.

See also