Monday, October 31, 2005

Force10 Debuts 16-port 10GigE Card Priced at $3,600/Port

Force10 Networks has increased the 10 Gigabit Ethernet density of the TeraScale E-Series to an industry-leading 224 ports per system. The density is achieved with the introduction of a 16-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet card, which delivers a per port list price of $3,600. The high density 16-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet card for the TeraScale E1200 and E600 will be generally available December 15, 2005, with a U.S. list price of $57,500. The high density 8-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet card for the TeraScale E300 will be listed at $37,500.

Increasingly, higher capacity servers are generating traffic that is greater than one Gigabit per second, creating a bottleneck between the server and switch. The new Force10 16-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet card enables data center managers to directly connect to high performance servers to guarantee line-rate throughput between the servers and the TeraScale E-Series.

Force10 said the dramatic decline in 10 Gigabit Ethernet port prices has, in large part, driven the increasing adoption of the technology. The company predicts that as the price of a single 10 Gigabit Ethernet port falls below the cost of 10 single Gigabit Ethernet ports, adoption will continue to accelerate.
  • Force10 Networks introduced the industry's first 90-port Gigabit Ethernet line card, increasing the density of its 14-slot TeraScale E-Series family of switch/routers to more than 1,260 Gigabit Ethernet ports per chassis.

Fabric7 Debuts High Performance Servers for Fabric Computing

Fabric7 Systems, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, debuted its family of high-performance servers designed for fabric computing. Fabric7 has worked with AMD to develop a new approach to enterprise computing. Its servers leverage the AMD Opteron processor and extend its Direct Connect Architecture with networked I/O and application service resources into a dynamic fabric.

The architecture provides a highly scalable and hardware partitionable symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) complex that can be configured on demand into a flexible network of large or small servers each running Linux or Windows. A large number of QoS-capable Ethernet and Fibre Channel interfaces can be provisioned and bound dynamically to each server.

The company is introducing a high-end Q160 server that features 128 Gbps of non-blocking, switched I/O that provides up to 40 Gbps bandwidth to the processor and memory complex. The switched I/O can be extended across the fabric to provide 30 Gbps between chassis or across sites.

Fabric7 said that by unifying switching with processing in the system architecture it can dramatically improve server-to-server communication performance by removing the overhead and latency inherent in bus-based transactions and traversal of external interfaces. Fabric7 servers can be direct-connected to create a low-latency fabric that extends seamlessly across datacenters.

Fabric7 Systems has raised $32 million in private funding. Fabric7's key investors include New Enterprise Associates, Goldman Sachs, Selby Venture Partners, Vanguard Ventures, Foundation Capital, Sanmina-SCI, and Yasuda Enterprise Development Co., Ltd.
  • Fabric7 is headed by Dr. Sharad Mehrotra, who previously was also the principal Founder, Chairman and CEO of Procket Networks, which developed a high-performance router and raised a total of $272 million in venture funding before being acquired by Cisco Systems.

  • Fabric7's engineering team also includes Nakul Saraiya (Chief Software Architect), who previously was principal engineer at Akamai Technologies; Thomas D. Lovett, who previously was chief architect at Sequent Computer System and later led the development of IBM's 64-bit xSeries servers; and Kuldeep Sandhu, who previously was Executive Vice President of Storage Products at Xiotech Corporation.

BT Acquires Total Network Solution for Outsourced LAN Services

BT has acquired Total Network Solutions Limited (TNS), a provider of outsourced, networked IT services to UK corporate, public sector and service provider customers. Financial terms were not disclosed. Based in Oswestry in Shropshire, the company employs 92 people and had revenues for the year ending 31 December 2004 of £13.9 million. The company had gross assets as at 31 December 2004 of £9.1 million.

NDS Reports Increase Subscribers and Middleware Deployments

NDS Group, which supplies open end-to-end digital technology and services to digital pay-television platform operators and content providers, reported an improvement in profitability resulting from growth in middleware and PVR technologies.

Quarterly revenue was $144.5 million, up 2% year-over-year. Operating income was $35.7 million, up 41% year-over-year, and operating margin was 24.7%.

Some metrics for Q3 compared to a year earlier:

  • Smart card deliveries numbered 5.5 million down from 8.9 million

  • Authorized cards additions were 1.8 million, down from 3.8 million

  • NDS now has delivered 58.5 million authorized cards

  • Middleware deployments for set-top boxes were 6.3 million, up from 0.4 million a year earlier

  • Cumulative set-top boxes now number 26.7 million

  • PVR deployments for set-top boxes were 0.3 million and the number of cumulative set-top boxes is now 1.7 million.

  • New Zealand's SKY Television is upgrading its digital broadcasting system using the latest versions of NDS's end-to-end solutions and has selected NDS PVR solution.

  • SkyLife (Korea Digital Satellite Broadcasting), with 1.8 million subscribers, has selected NDS's XTV technology for an integrated personal video recorder service anticipated to launch in mid-2006.

  • NDS and Philips have announced the production launch of new digital MHP terrestrial receivers.

  • Nickelodeon and NDS are continuing their 6 year relationship by signing a new contract for the ongoing development and delivery of interactive games.

  • Tandberg, Pace Micro Technology and MGt have joined forces with NDS to launch an end-to-end digital pay-TV solution, NDS VideoGuard Express, which is specifically designed for smaller and mid size cable and pay-TV operators.

  • DTH Television Grup, a leading digital satellite pay-TV broadcaster in Romania, currently broadcasting to over 690,000 digital subscribers, has signed a contract with NDS to deploy VideoGuard conditional access on DTH Television Grup's digital pay-TV platform.

Qwest Adds 150,000 DSL Subscribers in Q3

Qwest Communications added 150,000 DSL subscribers in Q3 2005, bringing total lines in service to 1.3 million -- a 12.6% increase sequentially and a 40% increase over the year-ago quarter. The company's mass markets data and Internet revenues increased 8% sequentially and 38% year-over-year. Currently, DSL is available to 75% of Qwest households and 96% of qualified households are able to purchase broadband speeds of 1.5 Mbps or greater.

Financially, Qwest reported third quarter revenue of $3.5 billion, compared to $3.47 billion in the second quarter and $3.45 billion in the third quarter a year ago. This represents the sixth consecutive quarter of stable revenues, as well as continued year-over-year growth in mass markets and business revenues. Some other highlights:

  • Consumer bundle penetration expanded to 50%

  • Long-Distance penetration is at 36%

  • Operating expenses totaled $3.3 billion, a decline of 9 percent or $326 million compared to the third quarter of 2004.

  • Q3 CAPEX totaled $445 million, compared to $418 million in the third quarter of 2004

  • Qwest's wireless subscriber base grew by more than 4,000 in the quarter, bringing total wireless subscribers to 748,000. Revenues remained flat because of promotions and incentives.
    APRU increased 9 percent to $51 from $47 a year ago.

  • Total access lines were down 154,000 in the third quarter, an improvement from a loss of 231,000 lines in the second quarter (excluding the 21,000 UUNet disconnects) and 159,000 lines in the third quarter of last year.

  • Small-business access lines increased for the fourth consecutive quarter. Business retail access lines declined 14,000 in the third quarter, an improvement from year-ago declines and less than half of the loss last quarter.

  • Resold access lines declined 52,000 sequentially. Qwest continued its leadership role in working with wholesale customers by signing commercially negotiated agreements. Approximately 96 percent of the company's UNE-P revenue now comes from customers on commercial Qwest Platform Plus (QPP) contracts.

  • Qwest's DIRECTV customer net additions continued to grow in the third quarter; subscribers currently total more than 95,000. Qwest and DIRECTV's previously announced strategic relationship allows Qwest to offer DIRECTV digital satellite television services to residential customers across the western United States.

Qwest Settles Securities Class Action Suit

Qwest Communications agreed to pay $400 million in cash to settle a securities class action suit. The settlement class will consist of those who purchased Qwest securities between May 24, 1999, and July 28, 2002.

Avaya and SAP Integrate IP in Customer Relationship Management

Avaya has formed a strategic alliance with SAP America to market IP-enabled business applications. The companies will jointly market mySAP Customer Relationship Management with Avaya contact center capabilities. The solution will integrate the multi-channel communications routing and management capabilities of Avaya Interaction Center software with mySAP CRM software. Customer service agents using SAP's market leading CRM solution will have the capability to interact with customers through voice, email, and Web communication through their mySAP CRM console, enabled by Avaya contact center software. The joint solution is expected to be available in North America during Q2 2006.

AT&T to Provide Managed Hosting Services to Microsoft Game Studios

AT&T was awarded a $9.5 million, three-year managed hosting contract from Microsoft Game Studios (MGS) to support various online experiences and the infrastructure for massively multiplayer online role-playing games. The online games include the latest for both Windows and the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

Riverstone Announces Management Changes

Riverstone Networks announced that Roger A. Barnes, its Chief Financial Officer, has been appointed its Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. Michael Overby, who has been the company's Vice President of Finance, has been appointed interim Chief Financial Officer.

Huawei Offers 40Gbps per Wavelength DWDM

Huawei announced 40 Gbps per wavelength capability for its OptiX BWS 1600G and OptiX BWS 1600A DWDM transmission platforms. The Huawei solutions allows both 10 Gbps and 40 Gbps systems to co-exist on the same platform. The company said its 40 Gbps system are suited for long-haul transport networks of global carriers.

Ditech Launches Voice Quality Evaluation Program

Ditech Communications has launched a Voice Quality Evaluation Program that enables carriers to identify and remedy network impairments that affect the sound quality of mobile calls to ensure their subscribers are receiving optimal voice quality.

Ditech's Voice Quality Evaluation Program continually monitors selected areas of a live mobile network to measure acoustic and hybrid echo. Ditech's voice quality experts then work with customer engineering teams to compile a detailed assessment that pinpoints problem areas and make recommendations for network improvement.

DiTech said its program will help carriers to identify how existing voice processing equipment should be reconfigured or upgraded with better hybrid or acoustic echo cancellation capabilities. In addition, the results provide carriers with information that enables them to assess calls coming from their voice transport partners, providing a means to review the quality of the voice calls from other providers.

Microsoft Outlines Windows Live and Office Live Web Services

Microsoft previewed two new Internet-based software initiatives --"Windows Live" and "Microsoft Office Live " -- that will use technologies such as RSS and Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) to deliver personalized services online.

Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect, and Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief technical officer, demonstrated these offerings, along with Xbox Live, saying online services represent a powerful way of enabling customers to more quickly access and benefit from software innovation.

"These new offerings demonstrate how software is evolving through the power of services in ways that enable more dynamic and relevant experiences for people," Bill Gates said. "Our goal is to make Windows, Office and Xbox further come alive for our customers at work, home and play."

Windows Live

Windows Live is a set of personal Internet services and software designed to bring together in one place all of the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with more safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web.

Windows Live beta services:

  • serves as the personalized starting point or portal for Windows Live services.

  • Windows Live Mail is a new, global Web e-mail service. Existing MSN Hotmail users will be able to seamlessly upgrade to the new service. Windows Live Messenger is the next-generation MSN Messenger and will provide instant messaging, file and photo sharing, PC-based calling, and more. Calls to landline and mobile phones will be handled through Microsoft partners. It will also support live, full-screen (640x480) video, with fully synchronized audio. Windows Live Messenger will enter the beta stage later this year.

  • Windows Live Safety Center is a Web site where users can scan for
    and remove viruses from their PC on demand.

  • Windows OneCare Live is a previously announced PC health subscription that helps protect and maintain PCs via an integrated service that includes anti-virus, firewall, PC maintenance, and data
    backup and restore capability.

  • Windows Live Favorites is a service that enables individuals to
    access their Microsoft Internet Explorer and MSN Explorer favorites
    from any PC that's online.

Windows Live will be offered alongside and will primarily be delivered free to users and supported by advertising, but subscription and transaction-based services also will be available. Users will be able to run Windows with or without the Windows Live services.

Microsoft Office Live

Office Live, which is built using Windows SharePoint Services technology, will provide a set of Internet-based collaboration services aimed at the approximately 28 million small businesses worldwide that have fewer than 10 employees. These services can be used independently but also integrate with Microsoft Office programs.

There are multiple Office Live offerings. Office Live Basics helps a small business establish an online Internet presence including a domain name, a Web site with 30 MB of storage and five Web e-mail accounts at no charge through an advertising-supported model.

Office Live also provides a set of subscription-based services with more than 20 business applications to help automate daily business tasks such as project management, sales and collateral management, customer management, expense reports, time and billing management, and secure internal and external collaboration.

Microsoft is making its new live services available to developers to customize, extend and remix. These new services build upon and extend Microsoft's existing developer platform, tools and ecosystem. Windows Live and Office Live will work with Windows through publicly available application programming interfaces (APIs), available for use by the developer and partner community.
  • MSN currently claims 215 million active MSN Hotmail accounts; more than 185 million MSN Messenger contacts worldwide; and over 25 million MSN Spaces created by individuals to share their photos, and blogs.

NTT DoCoMo FOMA Handsets Powered by TI's OMAP

NTT DoCoMo's FOMA 902i series 3G handsets will use Texas Instruments' OMAP2420 application processor. Expected to launch later this year, these handsets will represent the first OMAP 2-based mobile devices on the market.

NTT DoCoMo's new FOMA series will use TI's OMAP 2 "All-in-One" entertainment architecture to deliver the latest in 3G mobile entertainment applications, such as 3D gaming, 3+-megapixel cameras, digital camcorders and TV output.

TI's OMAP2420 stand-alone application processor is the first device in the marketplace to leverage the ARM11 micro-architecture and is TI's second- generation of OMAP processors to use 90 nm technology. The OMAP2420 chip includes an ARM1136JS-F core, a TI programmable audio DSP, a TI imaging and video accelerator (IVA), an Imagination Technologies 2D/3D graphics accelerator offering up to 2 million polygons per second, integrated camera interface, "M-Shield" hardware-based security solution and more. The OMAP2420 processor is production ready now and phones are expected to ship before the end of the year.

NTT DoCoMo has more than 15 million 3G subscribers in Japan. TI's OMAP family of application processors has been used by NTT DoCoMo's handset partners for three consecutive years for NTT DoCoMo's FOMA 3G series of mobile phones. To date, TI's OMAP application processors are used in the vast majority of NTT DoCoMo's 3G FOMA handsets today, with this latest 3G collaboration building upon the long-standing relationship between TI and NTT DoCoMo. These are the first OMAP 2-based handsets available on the market and additional OMAP 2- based FOMA phones are expected to follow.

Dr. William O. Baker, 1915 - 2005, Led Bell Labs through Golden Age

Lucent Technologies' announced that Dr. William O. Baker, Bell Labs president from 1973 to 1979, died yesterday in Chatham, New Jersey. He was 90.

After receiving his doctorate in chemistry from Princeton University in the summer of 1938 Dr. Baker joined Bell Labs the following May as a member of technical staff. He became Head of the Polymer Research and Development Department at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1948. From 1951 to 1955, he was Assistant Director of Chemical and Metallurgical Research. Dr. Baker became Vice President of Research in 1955, after a short period as Director of Physical Sciences Research. He was elected President of Bell Labs in 1973 and served until 1979.

In his early research Dr. Baker focused on the development and application of polymer chemistry, resulting in crucial advancement in the development of synthetic rubber, a ubiquitous substance found throughout the world today in everything from shoes to tires. During his career, Dr. Baker was granted eleven patents for this work.

Dr. Baker was honored with the Presidential Medal of Science, the Presidential National Security Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Marconi International Fellowship Foundation, 27 honorary doctorates, and numerous professional awards from such organizations as the American Chemical Society, the Franklin Institute's Fahrney Medal, the American Institute of Chemists, the National Science Foundation, and the Materials Research Society. Dr. Baker was the first person to hold membership in all three of the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

RadioShack to Market Comcast Services, $20 HSD Intro Offer

Comcast will begin marketing its services through more than 1,800 RadioShack retail locations. Until December 31, customers who sign up for Comcast High-Speed Internet through RadioShack will receive the flagship 6Mbps Internet service for $19.99 for the first six months. They will also receive a free self-install kit, with a mail-in rebate and a free cable modem. Customers

Friendster and Grouper Target P2P Personal Media File Sharing

Friendster, a leading online community site, and Grouper Networks, a new venture launched by the founders of Spinner (now AOL Radio), announced a partnership that will allow Friendster users to share unlimited personal media files with each other using Grouper's personal sharing network.

Grouper, which leverages a distributed computing platform, enables people to share personally-created media like video and photos to the audience of their choice -- friends, family or the general public.

Friendster, the leading social networking site, provides users a built-in audience for their media -- millions of photos and thousands of videos are updated, viewed and forwarded on Friendster every day.

"Peer-to-Peer is one of those disruptive technologies, like social networking, that just changes the game. Yesterday, the game was about sharing 10 or 20 photos. Today, it's about what you can create -- there are no limits," said Taek Kwon, CEO, Friendster.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Telefónica Bids $31.5 Billion to Acquire O2

Telefónica announced plans to acquire O2 Plc, the largest mobile-phone operator in the UK, for GBP 17.7 billion ($31.5 billion). The bid represented a 22% premium over Friday's closing prices.

O2 plc has 100% ownership of mobile network operators in three countries - the UK, Germany and Ireland - as well as a leading mobile Internet portal business.

O2 UK has over 15 million mobile subscribers; O2 Germany has 8.38 million mobile subscribers; and O2 Ireland has 1.53 million mobile subscribers.

In addition, O2is a founding member of Starmap Mobile Alliance, has operations on the Isle of Man (Manx Telecom) and owns O2 Airwave - an advanced, digital emergency communications service. In addition, O2 has established the Tesco Mobile and Tchibo Mobilfunk joint venture businesses in the UK and Germany respectively.

Sprint Launches EVDO "Power Vision" Network

Sprint announced the official launch of its EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized) "Power Vision" nationwide network, featuring wireless data speeds averaging 400 to 700 Kbps with peak rates up to 2.0 Mbps. Sprint now offers Mobile Broadband in more than 75 markets nationwide. By year-end Sprint will be in over 100 major markets encompassing more than 200 strategic urban and suburban markets--covering over 150 million customers. The service is also available in major airports across the U.S.

Sprint is offering a free EV-DO capable Sprint PCS Connection Card and unlimited data access for $59.99/month.

In addition, the launch includes:

The new Sprint Music Store -- the first service in the United States that allows wireless customers to purchase and download full-length songs over-the-air for use on their phone or PC. Customers can browse, preview, purchase and listen to hundreds of thousands of full-length songs in stereo sound from virtually every genre from all the major music labels while on the go. Customers receive two copies of the song -- one formatted for their phone and another for their PC -- and can organize their music and create playlists from the phone.

On Demand is a new service that allows customers to set and then receive customized, up-to-date information based on zip code such as news, sports, weather, money and movies, on demand the way they want it. These five info-channels are included at no additional cost for customers with a Sprint Power Vision Pack. Info-channels including the Oxford American dictionary, TV Guide, unlimited directory search, and maps and driving directions are available for an additional monthly charge. The application is pre-loaded on Sprint Power Vision Phones and can be accessed from the On Demand icon on the main menu.

Sprint TV is an Emmy Award-winning service that allows customers to watch live TV on the go with full-motion video and high-quality audio on their Sprint Power Vision Phone. Customers who subscribe to the enhanced service can choose from 30 channels of live and exclusive on demand programming. Customers can choose from news, sports, weather, movie trailers and entertainment channels from major broadcasting brands including NFL Network and Fox News Channel LIVE, CNN To Go, NBC Mobile, ABC News Now, E! and Cartoon Network. The service also includes a streaming radio channel from SIRIUS.

Sprint PCS Picture Mail -- a service that makes it easier and more convenient to take, send and print high-resolution digital pictures using a Sprint Power Vision Phone equipped with a megapixel camera.

Siemens' IPTV Deployed by 75 U.S. Regional Operators

Siemens Communications provided an update on its SURPASS Home Entertainment portfolio of broadcast server provider solutions, which has now been deployed by more than 75 U.S. regional operators as well as many more worldwide. Siemens claims the most IPTV deployments in the United States to date, with two-thirds of its customers making IP television solutions commercially available to subscribers. Globally, Siemens IPTV contracts now cover more than 38 million broadband lines.

Siemens said its initial goal has been to quickly enable service providers to get up and running with IPTV home entertainment and home network communication offerings. Siemens is now working to develop broader smart home networks that can be managed by users from anywhere and from any device. The company plans to leverage relationships in the health care and security industries to help operators launch home-based health care services, including video conferencing between patients and doctors as well as remote home control and surveillance capabilities. For example, Siemens' smart home vision includes the use of a mobile device, from a remote location, to activate and set a DVR to record a show or even to turn off a stove or operate other home appliances.
  • Earlier this year, Siemens Communications has acquired Myrio, a supplier of IPTV middleware, for an undisclosed sum. Siemens Venture Capital made a strategic investment in the Seattle-based start-up in late 2003.

    Myrio specializes in middleware and applications for home entertainment solutions, which includes components to create a compelling consumer experience and provide network operators with the management systems for pricing, packaging and applications development. The Myrio IP Video Platform consists of two core products, Myrio TotalManage, the back-office subscriber and content-management application, and Myrio Interactive, the full-featured end-user application. The Java-based platform enables the carrier to add new features, such as multiple language support, client Personal Video Recorder (cPVR), and web browser enhancements.

SkyStream Report 10 New Telco Customers for its IP Video Delivery

Privately-held SkyStream announced that more than 10 telephone companies in the U.S., Europe and mainland China selected its Mediaplex and iPlex video headend systems for MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC deployments in the third quarter, and existing telco customers purchased additional headend equipment. Shipments of zBand software in July also exceeded the company's expectations--more than 30 customers have now purchased SkyStream's content delivery platform for offering PUSH video on demand services, movies-on-demand, distance learning, distributed storage, and business TV. The company also noted strong demand from the federal government through a reseller for satellite equipment for military and disaster relief purposes.

Freescale's Communications Processor Shipments Top 200 Million

Freescale Semiconductor has reached the milestone of more than 200 million integrated communications processors shipped to date, a semiconductor device category the company pioneered 16 years ago.

In June during the annual Freescale Technology Forum, Freescale marked the 10-year anniversary of the PowerQUICC processor family based on PowerPC cores. Freescale's PowerQUICC processor family has more than 5,000 communications and networking system designs. PowerQUICC processors are used in such applications as voice-enabled VPN routers, residential gateways, home media servers, IPTV set-top boxes and network storage.

SBC Trims Introductory Price of its 3.0 Mbps DSL Service

SBC Communications trimmed the price of its SBC Yahoo! DSL Pro (1.5 -3.0 Mbps) service to $21.99 a month for six months (other monthly charges apply) for new residential subscribers. Following the six-month term, the ongoing price will be $34.99 a month for month-to-month service - a 41% decrease from the previous month-to-month pricing for SBC Yahoo! DSL Pro service.

The lower speed tier, SBC Yahoo! DSL Express (384 Kbps - 1.5 Mbps), is available for $16.99 a month (other monthly charges apply) with a six-month term for new residential subscribers who order online or through select retailers or through any SBC sales channel when ordered as part of a qualifying bundle. Following the six-month term, the ongoing price will be $29.99 a month.

Taiwan's Seednet Selects Redback SmartEdge Service Gateway

Seednet, Taiwan's second largest Internet service provider, has deployed Redback Networks' SmartEdge Service Gateway platform for its next generation converged broadband service network, which will provide video, voice and advanced data services throughout Taiwan. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Seednet will offer IPTV, VoIP, and high speed Internet services for both consumers and businesses. The IPTV service, Digital Family Center (DFC), includes over 200 channels and combines both analog and digital video programming. In addition to traditional broadcast entertainment, DFC also includes personalized, on-demand video for feature length films and television shows.

Level 3 To Acquire WilTel for $680 Million

Level 3 Communications agreed to acquire WilTel Communications in a cash and stock deal valued at $680 million. Both companies own major fiber routes across the United States. The companies expect to close the deal in Q1 2006, pending state and federal regulatory approvals.

WilTel, which is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is currently owned by Leucadia National Corporation. WilTel's fiber network extends coast-to-coast and has direct access in more than 700 locations.

The Level 3 network spans 23,000 route miles in the U.S. and Europe.

The deal also includes Vyvx, a WilTel subsidiary that specializes in gathering and distributing broadcast quality live and non-live video for the media and entertainment industry. The company delivers nearly 250,000 fiber and satellite video feeds, and more than 5 million ads and promotional media content around the world each year.

The companies cited a number of expected synergies, including the improved efficiency of migrating all IP, optical and voice transport traffic to a common network. The merged network will reach 50 new markets and include 3000 new route miles compared with Level 3's pre-acquisition facilities.

The acquisition includes all of WilTel's communications business, including a multi-year contract with SBC. The acquisition does not include WilTel's headquarters building or the assumption of any of WilTel's outstanding debt or mortgage obligations.

Level 3 will pay 115 million shares of Level 3 common stock and $370 million in cash subject to certain adjustments.

"There is a unique and compelling fit between WilTel and Level 3," said James Q. Crowe, chief executive officer of Level 3. "We believe this transaction brings together the two premier providers of communications backbone services and that our customers will benefit significantly from that shared institutional excellence. We also believe the combined technical and service capabilities will help support and advance our customers' transition to IP technology and Voice over IP," said Crowe.
  • In January 2005, SBC announced its pending merger with AT&T and its intention to migrate the services provided by WilTel to the merged SBC and AT&T network. In anticipation of the successful completion of the SBC and AT&T merger, the contract between WilTel and SBC was amended. The amended SBC agreement runs through 2009 and provides for a purchase commitment of $600 million from January 2005 through the end of 2007, and $75 million from January 2008 through the end of 2009. Only purchases of on-net services count toward satisfaction of this purchase commitment. Originating and terminating access charges paid to local phone companies are passed through to SBC in accordance with a formula that approximates cost. Additionally, the SBC agreement provides for the payment of $50 million from SBC if certain performance criteria are met.

  • In February 2005, WilTel Communications confirmed that it is providing Vonage with a bundled voice and data transport solution. Vonage's service area encompasses more than 2,000 active rate centers in more than 150 global markets.

  • In October 2002, Williams Communications emerged from Chapter 11 proceedings and changed its name to WilTel Communications.

  • In 1985, the Williams Companies made the revolutionary decision to place fiber in decommissioned petroleum pipelines from Kansas City to Des Moines and Omaha to Chicago. The company subsequently formed the Williams Telecommunications as a wholesale capacity provider.

Lucent Supplies VoIP for KT

Lucent will supply its "Accelerate" VoIP products to KT to support IP-based services for enterprise customers. The contract follows September's announcement of Lucent's VoIP agreement with Hanaro Telecom, the second largest wireline and broadband service provider in Korea.

The solution for KT includes the Lucent Feature Server, the platform delivering applications such as Hosted PBX, IP Centrex and Voice VPN. In addition, the call recording server, presence server, proxy server, and location-based server developed by Lucent's local business partners in Korea are included in the total solution.

During the more than 25-year relationship with KT, Lucent has provided broadband access, optical networking, switching and software solutions. The two companies recently signed a "memorandum of understanding" to collaborate on the development of a fixed/mobile convergence architecture for KT.

Motorola and Nortel Settle Zafirovski Lawsuit

Motorola and Nortel reached a settlement in the case of Mike Zafirovskim Motorola's former president and chief operating officer, who recently was named Nortel president and CEO. In a lawsuit, Motorola alleged that Zafirovski's move to Nortel threatened an unlawful misappropriation of Motorola trade secrets and a breach of multiple non-compete, confidentiality and no solicitation agreements Zafirovski signed with Motorola.

The terms of the settlement reaffirms Zafirovski's obligations to protect Motorola's trade secrets and confidential information and restricts him from internal and customer activities that could lead to his use of and sharing of such information to Nortel's unfair advantage. The settlement also restricts certain recruiting activities by Nortel and Zafirovski. The settlement includes an $11.5 million cash payment to Motorola and requires Zafirovski to regularly certify compliance to Motorola and Nortel's board of directors.http:/

FCC Sets Conditions for SBC/AT&T and Verizon/MCI Mergers

The FCC voted to approve the acquisition of AT&T by SBC Communications and of MCI by Verizon Communications, concluding that consumers will benefit and that these mergers will create stable, reliable U.S.-owned companies that will provide improved service to government customers and benefit national defense and homeland security.

Significantly, the FCC imposed a set of conditions aimed at alleviating anticompetitive concerns. These include the following:

  • The applicants committed not to seek an increase in state-approved rates for unbundled network elements (UNEs) for two years (except for rates that are subject to current appeals in specific states).

  • The applicants committed to a one-time recalculation to exclude fiber-based collocation arrangements established by AT&T in SBC's region and MCI in Verizon's region in identifying wire centers in which SBC or Verizon claims there is no impairment pursuant to the UNE triggers in the Triennial Review Remand Order so that dedicated transport and/or high-capacity loops need not be unbundled.

  • The applicants committed to implement a "Service Quality Measurement Plan," which will provide the Commission with quarterly performance results for interstate special access services. This commitment will terminate the earlier of 30 months and 45 days after the beginning of the first full quarter following the closing of the mergers, or the effective date of a Commission order adopting general special access performance measurement requirements.

  • The applicants committed, for 30 months, not to increase the rates paid by existing in-region customers of AT&T in SBC's region or MCI in Verizon's region for wholesale DS1 and DS3 local private line services.
    SBC/AT&T and Verizon/MCI committed, for a period of 30 months, not to provide special access services to themselves, their interexchange affiliates, or each other or their affiliates, that are not generally available to other similarly situated customers.

  • The applicants committed that for a period of 30 months, before they provide new or modified contract tariffed service to their own section 272(a) affiliate(s), they will certify to the Commission that they provide service pursuant to those contract tariffs to unaffiliated customers other than each other or their wireline affiliates.

  • The applicants committed for a period of 30 months not to increase rates set forth in SBC's and Verizon's interstate tariffs for special access services, including contract tariffs, that they provide in their in-region territory that are on file with the Commission on the Merger Closing Dates.

  • The applicants committed, for a period of three years, to maintain settlement-free peering arrangements with at least as many providers of Internet backbone services as they did in combination on the Merger Closing Dates.

  • The applicants committed for a period of two years to post their peering policies on publicly accessible websites. During this two-year period, the applicants will post any revisions to their peering policies on a timely basis as they occur.

  • SBC/AT&T acknowledged: (1) that the merger does not change carrier of last resort obligations imposed by the State of Alaska on interexchange services provided by Alascom; (2) that the merger will not alter statutory and regulatory geographic rate averaging and rate integration rules that apply on the merger closing date to Alascom; and (3) after the merger closing date, they will operate Alascom as a distinct, though not structurally separate, corporate entity.

  • The applicants committed to provide, within 12 months of the Merger Closing Dates, DSL service to in-region customers without requiring them to also purchase circuit-switched voice telephone service. The companies will make the offering for two years from the time it is made available in a particular state.

  • The applicants committed for a period of two years to conduct business in a way that comports with the Commission's Internet policy statement issued in September.

Some industry commentary:

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin: "It is my expectation that these mergers will only increase the incentive and ability of the merged entities to invest in broadband infrastructure and spread the deployment of advanced services to all Americans."

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps: "These mergers can also be seen as an epitaph for the competition that many of us thought we would enjoy as a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. That legislation, I am convinced, envisioned a vastly different communications landscape than the one we find ourselves living in today.

SBC chairman and CEO Edward E. Whitacre Jr. "The commission vote demonstrates a recognition that the merger of SBC and AT&T will enhance competition, help bring new technologies to market faster, and provide real benefits to consumers and businesses."

AT&T chairman and CEO David W. Dorman: "Today's decision brings us one step closer to a new era in communications, information services and entertainment. Combined, SBC and AT&T will deliver superior network services and a portfolio of solutions that will help both businesses and consumers."

Verizon VP of Public Affairs Tom Tauke: "After two federal reviews and strong approvals by shareholders and the international community, it is clear that this combination is undeniably in the public interest."

Qwest: "Today, the FCC stood with millions of telecommunications users against two mega-firms trying to turn back the clock. By imposing meaningful conditions on the plans of SBC and Verizon to acquire their largest competitors, the FCC has reaffirmed its commitment to open and competitive telecommunications markets.

XO Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Heather Gold: "By helping safeguard competition in the wholesale market, today's decision by the FCC is an important victory for the competitive local telecom industry - and for millions of business customers... We thank the Commissioners and staff for their efforts to forge meaningful conditions designed to ensure ongoing customer choice and price competition for millions of small to medium business customers, and we hope that the FCC will vigorously enforce its actions so that these conditions are not hollow promises."

EarthLink's Chris Putala, executive vice president for public policy: "We applaud today's Federal Communications Commission decision that requires SBC and Verizon to offer Stand-Alone DSL as a condition for their separate merger approvals. As a result of this decision, more than 80 million consumers will now be able to take advantage of emerging Internet voice and data applications without also having to buy legacy wire-line local telephone service from their phone company. Today's FCC decision in favor of mandatory 'net neutrality' provisions helps guarantee the rights of all consumers to access the Internet content and applications they choose."

Global Crossing CEO John Legere: "The FCC's decisions reflect the concerns expressed by many telecommunication companies, including Global Crossing, that these mergers might alter the competitive balance in the special access and Internet backbone market. The fact that the FCC was willing to freeze special access prices for 30 months and require continued Internet peering for three years (among other important safeguards) gives Global Crossing confidence in our ability to compete on a level playing field in years ahead."

Apple's iTunes Store Sells One Millionth Video

Apple's iTunes Music Store has sold more than one million videos since the service debuted on October 12. Customers can choose from over 2,000 music videos, Pixar short films and hit TV shows for just $1.99. Top downloads include music videos from Michael Jackson, Fatboy Slim and Kanye West; Pixar's "For the Birds" and "Boundin'"; and episodes of ABC's hit TV shows "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives."

"Selling one million videos in less than 20 days strongly suggests there is a market for legal video downloads," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Our next challenge is to broaden our content offerings, so that customers can enjoy watching more videos on their computers and new iPods."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

PMC-Sierra to Acquire Agilent's Former Storage Semiconductor Group

PMC-Sierra agreed to acquire Agilent's Semiconductor Products Group, which is currently being acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Silver Lake Partners as part of a larger deal, for approximately $425 million in cash.

In August 2005, Agilent Technologies confirmed plans to sell its entire Semiconductor Products division to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and Silver Lake Partners for $2.66 billion.

The storage semiconductor business of Agilent's Semiconductor Products Group (SPG) is a long-term technology leader in Fibre Channel protocol controllers with its Tachyon product line and is developing next-generation multi-protocol controllers supporting Fibre Channel and SAS/SATA/iSCSI storage systems, as well as other storage-related products. The business operates as the I/O Solutions Division of Agilent's Semiconductor Products Group, employs approximately 240 employees and has design centers located in Santa Clara, Roseville (CA), and Singapore.

PMC-Sierra said the acquisition of this business would strengthen its position in the storage semiconductor market and create one of the industry's most complete end-to-end enterprise storage silicon solutions. When closed, the acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive for PMC-Sierra.

"PMC-Sierra offers one of the most popular lines of Fibre Channel loop switches and SAS/SATA expanders and multiplexers. Our products, architectures, and technology roadmaps are highly complementary with the storage semiconductor business of Agilent and we both have excellent enterprise storage customer relationships," said Bob Bailey, Chairman and CEO, PMC-Sierra. "The combination of the two businesses allows us to significantly expand our presence in the enterprise storage markets."

Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom Reaches 3.5 Million ADSL Users

Chunghwa Telecom. the incumbent operator in Taiwan, added 175,000 ADSL subscribers in Q3, giving it a total of 3.5 million, a 21% YoY increase. The total number of Internet subscribers was about 4mn as of 30-Sep-2005, a 7.6% YoY increase. Internet and data revenue for first nine months increased by 5.6% YoY.

Chunghwa's total fixed line subscriber base stood at approximately 13.3mn as of 30-Sep-2005, a 0.4% YoY increase.

As for mobile subscribers, as 30-Sep-2005 Chunghwa Telecom was 8.1 million, a 2.1% YoY decrease was primarily due to clean-up of inactive prepaid subscribers. 3G services were rolled out on 26-July-2005, and to date, the company has around 265,000 3G subscribers.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

MIT and Nokia Open R&D Lab

MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Nokia Research Center will establish a new research facility near the MIT campus to advance the state of the art in mobile computing and communications technologies.

The collaborative work of the Nokia Research Center Cambridge will center on a view of the future where small handheld devices such as mobile phones will become parts of an "ecosystem" of information, services, peripherals, sensors and other devices.

Research will address new user interfaces that incorporate speech and other modalities, new mobile computing platforms - including low power hardware platforms and wireless communication, as well as new software architectures. Researchers will also address new ways of managing information: The use of Semantic Web technologies - an extension of the current Web developed in part at CSAIL and at the Nokia Research Center - will enable devices to more intuitively and automatically understand interconnected terms, information and services.

The facility will host approximately 20 researchers from Nokia and 20 from MIT.

CloudShield Raises $10 Million for Deep Packet Inspection Platform

CloudShield Technologies, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, raised $$10 Million in additional funding for its multigigabit, open network services platform for security, VoIP, and traffic management applications.

CloudShield's CS-2000 platform is designed to help service providers develop custom packet processing applications for emerging content-based services. The company also sees an opportunity with federal government agencies that need to harden their network security.

The additional funding came from current investors TPG Ventures, ComVentures, Foundation Capital, and Paladin Capital all participating.

In September 2004, CloudShield delivered its third generation packet processing platform, the CS-2000, offering up to 5 gigabits of throughput and high-speed WAN interfaces in a 2RU chassis. CloudShield now has over 30 network applications either available or in development by solutions providers, systems integrators, and end users. These applications include VoIP processing and security, Denial of Service Mitigation services, and a Multi-level Security Guard.

Japan Telecom Market Share Report - Oct 2005

Market Share Report from 

Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications 

October 2005

Fixed Communications

NTT East 48.7% 
Others 2.2%

IP Telephony

NTT Communications,  24.5%
 KDDI,  13.4%
Others 18.7%

Mobile communications
-- Cellular and PHS

Vodafone 16.2%
Others 7.3%


NTT East. 20.7%
 NTT West  17.4%
Others 7.4%

FTTH -- single family
and corporate

NTT East 37.0%
NTT West 37.6%
Utility Groups

FTTH -- Apartment and
Condominium Buildings

NTT East  22.1% 
NTT West  12.9%
Utility Groups




Major industry shift as IBM embraces 10 Gigabit Ethernet in standard based xSeries server line
Leverage IBM's mainframe-inherited technologies
Leadership in I/O performance with X3 architecture and PCI-X 2.0
IBM first in the industry with:
Line-rate 10 Gigabit/sec throughput (PCI-X 2.0)
Cross-platform support (Windows, Linux,VMware)
Highest bandwidth to customers while preserving Customers investments in Ethernet

PCI-X 2.0 has more than enough bandwidth to support even the most cutting-edge technologies including 10 Gigabit Ethernet
Full Hardware Backward Compatibility
The newest, highest-performance PCI-X 2.0 adapter cards can readily operate in 3.3V PCI slots from pastgeneration computers.
Speed Mismatch Compatibility
All speed generations of PCI are interoperable.
High Bandwidth Systems Demand PCI-X 2.0

Motorola Settles Telsim Issue for $500 Million

Motorola has reached an agreement to settle financial and legal claims against Turkish cellular phone operator Telsim Mobil Telekomunikasyon (Telsim), and the Turkish Savings and Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF).

Motorola has settled its claims for a cash payment of $500 million which the company received today plus the right to receive 20% of the proceeds from the sale of Telsim assets over $2.5 billion. Motorola has further agreed to dismiss its litigation against Telsim as well as Motorola's pending demand for arbitration against the Government of Turkey at the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington, D.C. In addition, Motorola has agreed not to pursue collection efforts against certain corporate defendants under TMSF control, subject to certain conditions.

The agreement permits Motorola to continue its efforts, except in Turkey and certain other agreed upon countries, to enforce its previous judgment rendered on behalf of Motorola against the Uzan family for perpetrating a massive fraud against Motorola through their control of Telsim.
  • In August 2005, to collect the international roaming and interconnect revenues of Telsim Mobil Telekomunikasyon (Telsim), the second largest mobile operator in Turkey, as a means of enforcing its approximately $2.5 billion arbitration claim against the company.

  • On June 13, 2005, a panel of arbitrators from the Zurich Chamber of Commerce issued a final award (“the Final Award�?) in the arbitration pending between Telsim and Motorola Credit Corporation (“MCC�?) concerning the amounts due by Telsim to MCC under the financing arrangements between the parties. Telsim had borrowed nearly $2.0 billion from Motorola for the financing of a Motorola-constructed cellular telephone system and has failed to pay Motorola despite the system's operational success. Telsim had refused to pay Motorola.

Vodafone Acquires 10% of India's Bharti

Vodafone will acquire, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, an economic interest of 10% in Bharti Tele-Ventures Limited (BTVL) for a cash consideration equivalent to Rs.66.56 billion (GBP 0.82 billion or US$1.5 billion). The purchase price represents a 7.4% premium to the 5-day average share price of BTVL on 27 October 2005.

BTVL is the leading national mobile operator in India, with 14.1 million mobile customers as of 30-Sept-2005, equivalent to a 21.8% customer market share.

Vodafone said the deal provides it with a means to expand its footprint into India, which ranks as the 3rd largest mobile market in Asia with 65.1 million customers currently, after China and Japan where Vodafone is already present . India's mobile and fixed line penetration is currently at approximately 6.0% and 4.4%, respectively.

Metro Ethernet Forum Issues Asia Pacific Service Provider Awards

Hong Kong's PCCW received the Metro Ethernet Forum's "Best in Business" award and Japan's KVH received the "Outstanding Innovation" award at a ceremony in Beijing at this week's "Ethernet World" event.

Tdsoft and VocalTec to Merge

Tdsoft and VocalTec, both suppliers of VoIP gateways and other packet voice equipment, agreed to merge. Tdsoft's shareholders will be issued VocalTec shares in exchange for all of the share capital of Tdsoft. Following completion of the transaction, the shareholders of Tdsoft will own 75% of the outstanding share capital of VocalTec and the current shareholders of VocalTec will own the remaining 25%. VocalTec will remain a publicly-held company and Tdsoft will become a wholly-owned subsidiary thereof.

Following completion of the transaction, Cisco Systems International BV (a subsidiary of Cisco Systems Inc.) and HarbourVest Partners, LLC, currently major shareholders of Tdsoft, and Deutsche Telekom, currently a major shareholder of VocalTec, are expected to hold approximately 36%, 20% and 3.8%, respectively, of VocalTec's share capital.

The companies said that by combining their resources, their businesses will create a stronger player in the growing VoIP market.

Comcast Launches Amnesty Program in Wash. DC Area

Comcast will implement a cable amnesty program from November 1-14, allowing anyone who is receiving unauthorized cable service in the certain Washington D.C. area communities to turn themselves in and become authorized, paying customers with no questions asked. In 2003, the last time Comcast executed this campaign, the company received more than 8,000 calls and thousands of leads.

As part of the amnesty program, residents currently receiving unauthorized cable services may choose to become paying customers over the phone or have the unauthorized service disconnected without facing legal action. In addition, residents receiving cable television through unauthorized cable boxes will have the opportunity to turn in their boxes to Comcast in exchange for new, legal boxes.

Comcast said its amnesty program will also educate communities about "active" and "passive" cable theft. Comcast defines "active" cable theft to be when people knowingly and willfully make illegal connections to the cable system or tamper with equipment so they receive cable service without paying for it. It defines "passive" theft to be when an individual moves into a new residence where cable is already installed and fails to notify Comcast that the billing should be transferred to the new occupant.

Following the amnesty program, Comcast officials plan to complete a house-by-house electronic audit of its cable systems to identify cable thieves. As these homes and businesses continue to be identified, the information will be turned over to the appropriate authorities for possible prosecution, with possible fines and jail time if convicted.

MCI Enhances its International Private IP Service

MCI's MPLS-based Private IP service is now available directly from MCI in Kuwait, South Africa, and Turkey and through additional partner agreements in Brazil, China, India and Mexico. Additionally, the service now features Ethernet Access in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK; and adds access via MCI's IP network across Europe, as well as new application awareness features and WAN analysis reporting.

Ethernet Access into the MCI MPLS network gives customers additional access flexibility and the adaptability to undertake easier upgrades and downgrades. The availability of MCI's Private IP Network Gateway across Europe enables customers to connect to MCI's Private IP network using public IP access via dedicated access or DSL. Private IP Network Gateway leverages MCI's points of presence in more than 2800 cities globally, providing an entry level solution for remote customer sites.

A new VRF Lite (VPN Routing & Forwarding) feature allows for multiple VPN routing and forwarding features on a single edge router enabling customers to cost effectively segment their network, making provisioning and network management easier compared to a multiple customer edge router solution. MCI is also introducing a managed voice interface card for customers who want to move to a converged network at their own pace. Alternatively, MCI Advantage is available for customers that are ready to expand to a fully converged environment for both internal and external calls supported by voice specific SLAs and additional IP features.

Finally, MCI has begun offering WAN Analysis Reporting powered by Concord, which helps identify network degrading conditions and proactively plan for network capacity.

Level 3 and Cogent Reach Peering Agreement

Level 3 Communications and Cogent Communications have agreed on terms to continue to exchange Internet traffic under a modified version of their original peering agreement. The companies said their modified peering arrangement allows for the continued exchange of traffic between their two networks, and includes commitments from each party with respect to the characteristics and volume of traffic to be exchanged. Under the terms of the agreement, the companies have agreed to the settlement-free exchange of traffic subject to specific payments if certain obligations are not met.

The modified arrangement contains provision to mitigate any impact to customers' Internet connectivity as it sets forth an agreed process to protect customers upon the expiration of the peering relationship, or upon violations of the agreement that are not remedied in accordance with the revised agreement.

The specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

QUALCOMM Competitors File Anticompetitive Complaints to European Commission

Broadcom, Ericsson, NEC, Nokia, Panasonic Mobile Communications and Texas Instruments have each filed complaints to the European Commission requesting that it investigate anti-competitive conduct by Qualcomm in the licensing of essential patents for 3G mobile technology.

The companies state that QUALCOMM is violating EU competition law and failing to meet the commitments Qualcomm made to international standard bodies around the world that it would license its technology on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Absent these commitments, the WCDMA 3G standard would not have been adopted. The companies allege that QUALCOMM is infringing these rules by:

  • trying to exclude competing manufacturers of chipsets for mobile phones from the market and preventing others from entering. To this end, Qualcomm has committed a number of abuses, ranging from the refusal to license essential patents to potential chipset competitors on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms to offering lower royalty rates to handset customers who buy chipsets exclusively from QUALCOMM.

  • charging royalties for its WCDMA essential patents that are excessive and disproportionate; in particular by imposing the same royalty rate on WCDMA 3G handsets as it does for CDMA2000 3G handsets despite the fact that QUALCOMM has contributed far less technology to the WCDMA 3G standard than it has to the CDMA2000 standard.

The companies believe that Qualcomm's anti-competitive behavior has harmful effects for the mobile telecommunications sector in Europe, as well as elsewhere, because carriers and consumers are facing higher prices and fewer choices.


In response, Qualcomm issued a statement saying that the allegations are factually inaccurate and legally meritless. QUALCOMM said it has more than 130 licenses that it has granted to a broad range of companies, among them five of the six reported claimants.

QUALCOMM also disagreed with any suggestion that it has contributed less significant technology to the WCDMA 3G standard, saying "it is widely acknowledged that efforts to design around QUALCOMM's fundamental innovations in formulating the UMTS/WCDMA standard were unsuccessful."

QUALCOMM said it believes this action is nothing more than an attempt by these licensees to renegotiate their license agreements by seeking governmental intervention.

QUALCOMM also noted that contrary to the reported allegation that it is seeking to exclude chip competitors, QUALCOMM has licensed major chip manufacturers, including Texas Instruments, NEC, Infineon, Philips, Agere, Motorola, VIA and Fujitsu.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Stanford Researchers Develop Silicon Germanium Modulator

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a solid-state optical modulator made of silicon and germanium described as a major breakthrough in optoelectronics. The discovery promises a small, low-cost means of converting light beams into data streams on chip at high rates.

Conventional wisdom held that a germanium-based modulator was impossible. The key to the discovery was in understanding how the "Stark" effect, which occurs when a strong electric field causes an atom to change a wavelength of light, can be made to work in materials compatible with chip manufacturing. Silicon and germanium both belong to a group of materials where the electrons do not appear favorably arranged for the Stark effect. The researchers found that that when germanium layers are properly situated in a crystal with silicon, their electrons do not "leak" from useful levels into useless ones. They claim this effect actually works as well as in any current modulator--and better than many, paving the way for silicon germanium based modulators compatible with standard telecommunications wavelengths.

The breakthrough, which was announced in the October 27th issue of the journal Nature, was made by a research group headed by David A. B. Miller, the W. M. Keck Foundation Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford, and his colleague James Harris, the James and Ellenor Chesebrough Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford.

Telecom Italia Readies "Superphone" and IPTV Launch

Telecom Italia and TIM announced plans to launch fixed-line to mobile video-calling and image transfer services beginning in December. Under the "fixed/mobile" packages, Telecom Italia fixed-line videophones and TIM UMTS phones can video call one another.

The companies' videophone plus UMTS phone package will be available at rates starting from EUR 199. Starting in November, the companies will also allow customers to make calls at reduced prices between their home phone and three cellphone numbers of their choice and vice versa (Teleconomy Famiglia and TIM Famiglia).


In the second phase of its convergence strategy starting in 2006, Telecom Italia plans to launch the "Superphone" -- a combination home phone and cellphone. It will use UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) technology to connect to home ADSL fixed-line networks over WiFi, and work as a GSM, GPRS or EDGE phone outside the home. Calls are charged either as fixed-line or mobile calls, depending on the environment where calls are made and the customer's price plan.


By the end of December, Telecom Italian plans to introduce IPTV over ADSL home service. The company said its IPTV trials are now almost complete and that the service is scheduled for rollout in 21 Italian cities by the end of the year.

The Group is also developing technologies to distribute this content to mobile terminals. A recent non-exclusive agreement between TIM and Mediaset has paved the way for the commercial launch in Italy - the first in the world - of digital terrestrial TV service to mobile phones implementing DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcaster Handheld) technology. Starting in 2006, TIM will offer Mediaset programmes on mobile phones at a level of quality similar to that of the digital terrestrial standard.


Telecom Italia said it plans to invest EUR 10 billion in convergence activities over the period 2005-2007, representing 17% of turnover, the highest rate among the telephone operator in Europe.
  • In July 2005, Telecom Italia launched free trials of its new IPTV service in Rome, Milan, Bologna and Palermo, and said it remains on track to launch commercial services in 21 cities across the country this autumn. The commercial service will feature live TV, including Serie A TIM and B TIM Italian football, top Italian basketball, a VOD library of 600 films plus 30 new films per month, reality shows and other special events. Initially, the IPTV service will be delivered over 4 Mbps ADSL connections on Telecom Italia's network.

  • Telecom Italia's key technology partners include:

    Alcatel, which is supplying ADSL access devices and its Open Media Suite set top box video entertainment TV distribution platform.

    Microsoft, which is providing its Microsoft TV IPTV Edition software

    Pirelli Broadband Solutions, which is supplying intelligent modular routers for home networking, including multiple high-speed Internet connections, VoIP and Wi-Fi via the set top box.

  • In December 2004, Nokia and Telecom Italia reported progress on a project to drive forward mobile and fixed network service convergence. A key target of the project is the development of VoIP and other services, such as video sharing and push-to-talk, that can be provided over both mobile and fixed networks. The Nokia IP Multimedia Subsystem core network infrastructure enables Video Sharing and other rich multimedia services.

  • Nokia is incorporating Kineto Wireless' UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) Network Controller into its network convergence solutions for wireline and wireless operators.

QUALCOMM Completes CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev A Call

QUALCOMM reached a milestone in the development of CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Revision A networks and handsets -- the completion of an end-to-end call.

The Rev. A standard represents the next evolution of the EV-DO technologies that support the 3.1 Mbps forward and 1.8 Mbps reverse link data rates and higher system capacity required for next-generation wireless multimedia.

QUALCOMM completed the test calls using equipment based on its Cell Site Modem (CSM) CSM6800 chipset for base stations and the Mobile Station Modem (MSM) MSM6800 chipset for mobile handsets.

Siemens Invests in GlooLabs for Remote Access to Home Media

Siemens Acceleration in Communications has made an equity investmnet in GlooLabs, a start-up offering software for remote access to multimedia content. GlooLabs' GlooNetT is a Java-based platform that allows digital media stored on a home computer to be accessed remotely through any Internet-enabled computer, mobile phone, or PDA. The funding will allow GlooLabs to expand its product portfolio and ramp-up operations for large scale customer deployments.

Siemens said seamless access to personal media and other data has become considerably important in the converging computing and home entertainment environments. GlooLabs' architectural approach overcomes the current gap of desktop and browser based solutions by allowing end users to retrieve media files stored on various mobile devices and view or play it on any other networked device.

A public demonstration site for GlooNetT is available at the GlooLabs' website.

BT Outlines IPTV Plans Combining Broadband with Digital Terrestrial

BT outlined its vision for nationwide next generation TV delivered over broadband and incorporating digital terrestrial channels. BT, which previously disclosed plans to use Microsoft TV IPTV Edition, announced its selection of Philips to supply set top boxes. Every set top box will include a personal video recorder (PVR) capable of storing up to 80 hours of programming and capable of delivering High Definition content.

BT said its service will be a world first combining access to digital terrestrial channels, an extensive video on demand library, "catch-up" TV and a range of interactive services.

BT is planning a commercial launch across the UK from late summer / autumn 2006. Trials are slated to begin next spring / early summer.

BT's next generation TV service will be available to BT customers without the need for a subscription fee. Services available at launch or shortly afterwards will include:

  • Entertainment on demand -- an extensive library of movies, TV and music all available instantly

  • Catch-up TV -- programmes from the previous seven days broadcast schedule will be available on demand without the need to record.

  • Flexible payment -- no mandatory subscriptions. Pay-per-view options

  • Personal Video Recorder capable of storing up to 80 hours of programming

  • More than 30 digital terrestrial TV channels

  • Communication services -- instant messaging, chat and video telephony on TV

  • Interactive services -- online games, retail opportunities and community services

"We see next generation TV as a vital element of our vision for home entertainment. In an increasingly converged world, BT customers will be able to benefit from the combination of television, communications and the internet," Ian Livingston, chief executive BT Retail.

Verizon Adds 389,000 BB Customers, Cites Initial Take-up at FiOS

Verizon Communications reported Q3 oerating revenues of $19.0 billion, up 5.4% on a comparable basis from $18.1 billion last year. Q3 revenues at Verizon Wireless increased 14.2%, or $1.0 billion, to $8.4 billion, year-over-year. Q3 revenues on a comparable basis at Domestic Telecom were $9.4 billion, a 0.7% decrease compared with the third quarter 2004. Domestic Telecom revenues in the third quarter 2005 were flat with the second quarter 2005 on a comparable basis. Some highlights:


  • 1.9 million net customer additions, up 14.6 percent; 49.3 million total customers, up 17.0 percent; churn (customer turnover) of 1.3 percent

  • Total quarterly revenues of $8.4 billion, up $1.0 billion, or 14.2 percent -- the 13th consecutive quarter of double-digit year-over-year revenue growth increases

  • Operating income margin of 21.8 percent

  • Total churn rate, a key measure of customer loyalty, was 1.3 percent for the third quarter 2005, down from 1.5 percent in the third quarter 2004. Churn in the retail post-paid segment -- a base of 45.7 million customers -- was 1.08 percent in Q3 2005.


  • 4.5 million total broadband connections (DSL and Verizon FiOS data lines), including a company-record 389,000 net new broadband connections

  • Average monthly revenue per residential customer up 4.6 percent to $51.61

  • Data revenues up 10.9 percent to $2.2 billion

FiOS: FiOS activity is underway in 15 states, passing a cumulative 2.5 million homes and businesses. The company remains on track to pass 3 million homes and businesses by the end of the year with FiOS data services. The company said it plans to pass an additional 3 million homes and businesses with FiOS data services next year -- for a total of 6 million homes and businesses passed by year-end 2006. In the 35 markets where Verizon has been actively selling FiOS data services for more than six months, market penetration is approximately 12.4%-- an improvement over DSL penetration rates over longer timeframes. FiOS TV, where available, offers all-digital programming with more than 330 channels.

Total Connections: Verizon's total customer connections -- which include wireline switched access lines, wireless customers, and wireline and wireless customers using broadband connections (EV-DO, DSL or FiOS) -- increased to 103.5 million at the end of the third quarter 2005.

Switched access lines: 49.7 million at the end of the third quarter 2005, a decline of 6.2 percent compared with the end of the third quarter 2004. This has been more than offset by the increases of 42.3 percent in wireline broadband connections and 17.0 percent in total wireless customers over the same period.

Alvarion Cites Growing WiMAX CPE Shipments

Alvarion shipped 5,000 BreezeMAX PRO subscriber units, out of 10,000 ordered, since the WiMAX-compliant device became available in September 2005. Alvarion said the BreezeMAN PRO CPE was designed to 802.16-2004 specs, and that it intends to seek certification from the WiMAX Forum as quickly as possible.

OPNET Launches WiMAX Model Development Consortium

OPNET Technologies is forming model development consortium focused on WiMAX (802.16).

"The purpose of our WiMAX model development consortium is to establish a framework that is shared by leading industry and government organizations," stated Taylor Salman, Director of Business Development for OPNET. "The result will be a powerful simulation modeling suite for WiMAX network planning and design."

The consortium is led by OPNET and includes representatives from several leading technology companies, with Motorola participating as a Founding Member.

DOJ Approves SBC/AT&T and Verizon Mergers with Conditions

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) cleared the pending mergers of SBC/AT&T and Verizon/MCI with a short list of conditions. These include divesting connections to about 350 commercials buildings where each of the telecom giants would have monopolistic control. The Department of Justice said it coordinated with the FCC to investigate objections to the mergers.

The DOJ noted that Verizon, Verizon and MCI are the only two firms that own or control a direct wireline connection to hundreds of buildings in the metropolitan areas of Washington-Baltimore; Boston; New York; Philadelphia; Tampa; Richmond, Virginia; Providence, Rhode Island; and Portland, Maine. Therefore, in the absence of new entry, the merger would eliminate competition for facilities-based local private line service to those buildings.

Similarly, according to the complaint against SBC, SBC and AT&T are the only two firms that own or control a direct wireline connection to certain buildings in the metropolitan areas of Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth; Detroit; Hartford-New Haven, Connecticut; Indianapolis; Kansas City; Los Angeles; Milwaukee; San Diego; San Francisco-San Jose; and St. Louis. Therefore, in the absence of new entry, the merger would eliminate competition for facilities-based local private line service to those buildings.

Under the terms of the settlements, Verizon and SBC must each divest connections to more than 350 buildings in their respective territories, to a single buyer in each city, generally using long-term leases commonly used in the telecommunications industry, known as indefeasible rights of use or "IRUs."

As part of its investigation, the DOJ's Antitrust Division considered numerous product and geographic markets and evaluated all overlaps between the merging parties. The Division took into account competition from cable companies as well as emerging technologies such as VOIP.

The Division also considered changing regulatory requirements such as the FCC's Triennial Review Remand Order (TRRO) and efficiencies that the parties claimed would result from the mergers.

Both mergers are still awaiting clearance from the FCC, as well as from a number of states.

France Telecom Reaches 6.9 Million DSL, 142,000 MaLigne TV, 484,000 VoIP

France Telecom reported Q3 2005 revenues of EUR 12.26 billion, up 3.8% compared to EUR 11.82 billion on an actual basis in Q3 2004. However, the revenue growth was offset by a fall in earnings at TP and on a 7.4% decline in business services, prompting the carrier to cut its outlook for the rest of the year. Some highlights:

ADSL: As of 30-Sep-2005, there were 4.0 million customers in France (+61.2% year-on-year) and 2.9 million ADSL customers for the rest of Europe (up 74% year-on-year). In the third quarter of 2005, the Group had a 56.3% market share for new ADSL customers in France, compared to 42% of new ADSL customers in Q3 2004.

LiveBox: Over one million "Livebox" sold in France in early October, with sales picking up pace and a target of 1.5 million by the end of 2005. The LiveBox unifies home networks, provides the ADSL connection, VoIP, TV service, photos, music, etc. France Telecom has 134,000 LiveBox customers outside of France.

VoIP: As of 30-Sep-2005, there were 484,000 VoIP customers in France, and the new "Atout Telephone" range, which was launched in August, had 591,000 customers at the end of September. There were 67,000 VoIP customers outside of France.

TV-over-ADSL: As of 30-Sep-2005, there were 142,000 MaLigne TV customers in France (up 106% in 9 months) compared to 116,000 at the end of June, with deployment continuing (8.5 million households connectable by the end of September) for a target of over 180,000 MaLigne TV customers by the end of 2005. France Telecom will be introducing PVR capability for high-end set-top boxes. A VOD service was launched this week.

Mobile Services: As of 30-Sep-2005, there were 70 million customers (up 17% year-on-year) and in revenues on the Personal Communication Services segment in the third quarter of 2005 (up 10.1%, or up 6.7% on a pro forma basis).

Broadband Mobile: As of 30-Sep-2005, there were 643,000 Broadband mobile customers, including 424,000 in France; superseding earlier forecasts for 500,000 customers by the end of 2005

IP VPN: As of 30-Sep-2005, there were 375,000 "Business Everywhere" customers (up 22% year-on-year), alongside a 60% increase in IP-VPN connections in one year for the "Enterprise" segment.

CAPEX: CAPEX for Q3 was EUR 1.403 billion or 11.4% of revenues, compared to 9.9% in Q3 2004.

NeXT Converged OffersA new "Family Talk" package that offers unlimited calling between fixed and mobile users has 18,000 customers. An Orange/Wanadoo UK home broadband offer will provide 2 Mbps service for GBP 10.

Access Lines The total number of lines (including full unbundled lines) was 27.4 million, compared to 27.5 million a year ago.

Voice Market Share: Consumer voice market share in France was 69.8% for local, compared to 73.8% a year ago. Consumer LD market share was 58.8%, compared to 60.3% a year ago.

Enterprise: Enterprise sales declined 7.4% to EUR 1.879 billion. Fixed line telephony in France declined 10.4% compared to a year ago, while IP VPN acess, DSL and business outsourcing grew.

Alcatel Revenues Rise to EUR 3.289 Billion

Alcatel reported Q3 2005 revenue of EUR 3.289 billion, an increase of 8.8% over the same period last year at a current EUR/USD exchange rate. Operating profit was EUR 278 million, an 8.5% operating margin. Net income (group share) was EUR 266 million, with EPS at EUR 0.19, including EUR 0.07 of net one-time capital gains. However, citing higher investment costs in its mobile division and weaker sales in China, Alcatel trimmed its margin target for the year.

Serge Tchuruk, Chairman and CEO, said: "We were particularly pleased to see our fixed communication revenues start increasing again, as anticipated, reversing a four year decline. Also satisfactory was the continuation of our strong performance in mobile communications where revenues grew by 22%, way above the market for the fifth consecutive quarter. At the same time, the revenues of the private communications business were down by 3% year over year as a weak satellite market offset gains in enterprise and transport."

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