Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Optical Internetworking Forum Launches New Project

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) is embarking on two new technical projects:

  • the Architecture and Signaling working group, in conjunction with the Carrier working group, will address Neighbor Discovery as it applies to links used by the optical control plane. Neighbor Discovery is a process that allows the control plane to identify new links and to initialize the control plane to use those links. OIF working groups will seek to define Neighbor Discovery requirements based on carrier scenarios and define control plane extensions to achieve them.

  • the Physical and Link Layer (PLL) working group has begun work on a next generation TFI (TDM Framer-to-Fabric Interface) project. The project will extend the existing TFI-5 TDM Framer-to-Fabric Implementation Agreement (IA), which utilizes 2.488 to 3.1104 Gigabits per second signaling to utilize CEI signaling at 6G rates (4.976 to 6.375 Gigabits per second) and 11G rates (9.95 to 11.1 Gigabits per second). This will enable system vendors to architect next generation SONET/SDH Cross-Connect and DCS Digital Cross Connect systems with increased density and lower costs.

    • The OIF's recent quarterly meeting resulted in the reelection of the following officers, Amy Wang of Avici Systems as Interoperability Working Group Co-Chair (Networking), Doug Zuckerman of Telcordia Technologies as OAM&P Working Group Chair, Hans-Martin Foisel of T-Systems / Deutsche Telekom as Carrier Working Group Chair and Brian Von Herzen of Xilinx as Interoperability Working Group Co-Chair (Physical & Link Layer).

NEC Assembles 3G Base Stations in China

NEC has commenced production of 3rd Generation mobile radio base stations (Node-B)
at one of its production sites in China. The facility procures major core pre-product modules, such as channel coding cards and line cards, from NEC's major manufacturing sites in Japan, and other general parts such as power modules and racks from local vendors. The plant then assembles and customizes them according to the requirement of each operator.

The first lot of the products has been delivered in January to operators in Europe. The plant will also be used for manufacturing base stations for the Chinese market.

Takakuni Kuki, Executive General Manager and head of NEC's Mobile Network Operations Unit commented, "NEC hopes to take a leading position for the construction of 3G infrastructure in China... In order to accelerate the progress of the Chinese 3G market, NEC will build up its basic
production as early as possible to meet the increasing demand of the market."
  • In 2004, NEC established a 3G demonstration center in Guangdong. The center showcases NEC's 3G network solution offerings such as node-B radio base station, radio network controller and 3G terminals, and mobile internet application platform, and demonstrates attractive mobile multimedia service using the 3G technology. In addition, NEC recently established "NEC Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Limited", a mobile network operation outsourcing company to further expand the business of the new company to include 3G projects in China in the

Alcatel to Resell Widevine Cypher for TVoDSL

Alcatel has entered into a global agreement to resell Widevine Technologies' Cypher technology-Virtual SmartCard and Application Level encryption for securing content over video networks. The Widevine Virtual SmartCard solution is currently used a content security solution in the TVoDSL and FTTH markets. The companies cited Chunghwa Telecom's rollout as the catalyst for their agreement. Financial terms were not disclosed.

StarOne Selects Alcatel for South American Satellite

Star One, the largest satellite solutions company in Latin America, awarded a contract valued at US$150 million to Alcatel for the construction of a telecommunications satellite serving South America. It is the second satellite that Alcatel will build for the Brazilian operator.

Star One C2, which will be based on the Alcatel Space Spacebus 3000B3 platform, will be fitted with 44 transponders, 28 C-band and 16 Ku-band and 1 X-band. Star One C2 will replace the Star One B2 satellite in the C band for direct TV broadcasting over South America and will provide new optimized capacity in Ku band for telephony and trunking transmissions over two coverage zones: Brazil and Mexico.

Star One, which was incorporated in December 2000, is the outcome of a partnership between Embratel (controlled by US-based WorldCom) and the Société EURpéenne des Satellites SA (SES).

Siemens Sets up Carrier Ethernet Network in Kenya

Kenya Data Networks Ltd. (KDN) has commissioned Siemens Communications to deliver, install and maintain an optical network. The fiber optic rings will be installed in Nairobi and equipped with Siemens Carrier Ethernet technology. The installation is planned for completion in spring of 2005. By that time the metro network should cover a distance of 35 kilometers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The main components in the network are Surpass hiD products, which were developed jointly by Siemens and the Korean company Dasan. Siemens has been the majority shareholder in this company specializing in broadband network access since September 2004.

T-Com Selects Marconi for Europe's First 40G Optical Network

T-Com, the fixed-network unit of Deutsche Telekom, awarded a three-year contract to Marconi to build Europe's first 40 Gbps optical network. Marconi will supply T-Com with its Multihaul 3000 DWDM transmission platform and its ServiceOn Optical network management system. The Multihaul 3000 will act as an expressway carrying high-bandwidth traffic between switching nodes in the network, with a capacity of 3.2 Tbps (terabits per second) on each optical fiber pair. This will give T-Com an unrivalled capacity in its core network.

T-Com's decision to choose Marconi follows its successful involvement in the Global Seamless Network (GSN) research and demonstration project, which ran in 2003.

Marconi's Multihaul 3000 system is configurable for transmission spans of between 100 km and 4000 km. It includes a range of reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexers as well as data, Synchronous Digital Hierarchy and OTN transponders and muxponders for 2.5G, 10G and 40G bandwidths equipped with full-band tunable lasers. The Multihaul 3000's 40G transponders were developed by Marconi in cooperation with CoreOptics.

"This is an important strategic win for Marconi in that it delivers a new platform into a new and prestigious customer," said Mike Parton, CEO, Marconi Corporation plc.

CableLabs Issues Headend VoD Specs

CableLabs issued the first set of specifications to aid in the creation of next-generation Video-on-Demand (VoD) cable services through the development of headend metadata and content distribution documents. Common metadata specifications are expected to pave the way for new types of VoD application models, such as enhanced VoD, subscription VoD, advertising, and audio services in the cable headend. The newly released specifications build upon a family of specifications that currently are in use.

The ADI2.0 (Asset Distribution Interface) Asset Structure specification defines the logical organization of metadata structures (Group Asset, Metadata Asset, Content Asset) and operations to place content assets in context with one or more cable service offerings. This allows for better utilization of asset management systems at cable headends. Additionally, the specification provides a document message structure containing assets and operations that is transmitted from the content provider to the cable operator to provide initial management and validation of files and structures. XML schema formats are used to provide some of the initial validation mechanisms.

The ADI2.0 (Asset Distribution Interface) Asset Inventory Messages specification is an auxiliary document that defines messages to indicate an upcoming schedule of content distribution or messages meant to help content providers manage existing content distribution processes.

CableLabs developed the specifications working with cable operators, content providers, and hardware component developers operating under a royalty-free Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) pool.

Broadcom Reports Q4 Revenue of $539 Million

Broadcom reported Q4 net revenue of $539.4 million, a decrease of 16.6% from the $646.5 million reported for Q3 2004 and an increase of 12.6% from the $479.1 million reported for Q4 2003. Q4 net income (GAAP) was $71.1 million, or $.20 per share (diluted), compared with GAAP net income of $43.9 million, or $.13 per share (diluted), for Q3 2004.

"As discussed previously, our fourth quarter results were negatively impacted by the industry-wide inventory correction that affected all of Broadcom's business groups, but which was most pronounced within a limited number of customers in our direct broadcast satellite (DBS) and enterprise networking businesses. In addition, we continued to experience the long-anticipated decline in our chipset business for servers based on Intel processors. Our focus remains on entering new markets and bringing new products into existing markets," said Scott McGregor, Broadcom's President and CEO.

Nokia Estimates 1.7 Billion Mobile Users Worldwide

Nokia reported record mobile device volumes in Q4 2004, saying it now estimates that mobile subscriptions worldwide number 1.7 billion. The company cited the ongoing boom in growth markets such as Latin America, Russia, India and China, and brisk sales of color screen and camera phones. However, Nokia's North American phone volumes were disappointing.

Nokia's full-year 2004 mobile device market share was 32%, based on an estimated market volume of 643 million units.

Additional highlights of the quarterly report include:

  • Q4 net sales increased 3% to EUR 9 063 million (EUR 8 789 million in Q4 2003), up 8% at constant currency.

  • Q4 operating profit decreased 19% to EUR 1 357 million (EUR 1 669 million), with an operating margin of 15.0% (19.0%).

  • For Q1 2005, Nokia group net sales are expected to be in the range of EUR 7.0 billion - EUR 7.3 billion, compared with EUR 6.6 billion in the first quarter 2004.

Verizon Cites Strong Wireless Growth, Good Start for FTTP

Verizon Communications' Q4 revenues increased 6.2% to a record $18.3 billion, driven by a 10th consecutive quarter of double-digit, year-over-year revenue increases for wireless services. Wireless contributed $27.7 billion to the corporation's $71.3 billion total revenues in 2004. For the fourth quarter 2004, Verizon reported earnings of $3.0 billion, or $1.08 per diluted share, compared with a loss of $1.5 billion, or 53 cents per share, in the fourth quarter 2003. Some highlights for the quarter:

  • Verizon Wireless contributed more than 40 percent of Verizon's total revenues in the fourth quarter 2004, compared with less than 35 percent in the fourth quarter 2003. Wireless revenues were $7.3 billion in the fourth quarter 2004, a 22.7 percent increase compared with $6.0 billion in the fourth quarter 2003. Full-year 2004 wireless revenues were $27.7 billion, an increase of $5.2 billion, or 23.0 percent, compared with 2003.

  • Overall, Verizon's growth businesses -- wireless, long-distance, broadband, data and Enterprise services -- accounted for 55.2 percent of fourth-quarter 2004 revenues, compared with 49.3 percent of fourth-quarter 2003 revenues. Over the past year, revenues from these businesses have grown by 19.0 percent.

  • Operating revenues for Domestic Telecom, the company's U.S. wireline business segment, were $9.7 billion in the fourth quarter 2004, a 2.4 percent decrease compared with the fourth quarter 2003. For the year, wireline operating revenues were $38.6 billion, a 2.7 percent decrease compared with 2003.

  • Verizon Wireless added 1.7 million net new customers, the largest quarterly customer increase in the history of the company. For the year, Verizon Wireless added 6.3 million net new customers, as its total number of customers grew 16.8 percent year-over-year to 43.8 million, including 41.8 million retail customers.

  • Verizon added a net of 306,000 DSL lines in Q4 for a total of 3.6 million DSL lines in service, representing 1.2 million net additions over the past year -- a growth rate of 53.5 percent. Revenues from DSL contributed to total wireline data revenues of $2.0 billion in the fourth quarter 2004, a 9.2 percent increase compared with $1.9 billion in data revenues in the fourth quarter 2003. For the year, data revenues of $7.8 billion grew 7.4 percent compared with 2003 and now represent more than 20 percent of total wireline revenues.

  • Verizon's FiOS fiber-optic-based broadband service currently has more than 20 percent market penetration in Keller, Texas, Verizon's first market, after the first four and a half months of sales.

  • Revenues from long-distance services, including regional toll services, were $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter 2004, a 5.8 percent increase compared with $1.0 billion in the fourth quarter 2003. On an annual basis, these revenues totaled $4.2 billion in 2004, a 10.4 percent increase compared with 2003.

  • The company had 17.7 million long-distance lines in service as of year-end 2004, an increase of 342,000 lines from end of the third quarter 2004.

  • Resale and Unbundled Network Element-Platform (UNE-P) lines totaled 6.6 million at the end of the fourth quarter 2004, up from 5.8 million at the end of the fourth quarter 2003 and down from 6.7 million at the end of the third quarter 2004. UNE-P lines decreased by 93,000 from the third to the fourth quarter in 2004. The company had 53.0 million switched wireline access lines in service as of year-end 2004.

  • Enterprise revenues totaled approximately $6 billion in 2004, increasing 4.9 percent in the fourth quarter 2004 and 1.9 percent in the full year, compared with the same periods in 2003.

  • Verizon's Enterprise Solutions Group ended 2004 with more than 750 Enterprise Advance sales, meeting its year-end target of $250 million in Enterprise Advance revenues.

  • Verizon's total debt decreased $6.1 billion last year, to $39.3 billion at year-end 2004 from $45.4 billion at year-end 2003 -- reaching a previously announced target of debt levels in relation to corporate earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

T-Mobile USA Adds 1 Million Net Customers in Q4

T-Mobile USA added more than 1 million net new customers in Q4 2004, compared to 901,000 in the third quarter of 2004 and 1,015,000 in Q4 2003. The company ended the year with over 17.3 million customers.

Net new postpay customer additions amounted to 812,000 in Q4. Postpay churn was 2.6%, the same as the third quarter of 2004. Blended churn, a mix of postpay and prepay customers, was 3.1% in the fourth quarter of 2004, up from 3.0% in the third quarter of 2004, and down from 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2003.

Chunghwa Telecom Consolidates on Cisco 12800 Routers

Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom has selected Cisco Systems for an IP Next Generation Network to consolidate traffic of all its services. Cisco 12800 Series Routers will be deployed to scale company's IP backbone to support all its services including MPLS VPNs, multicast video, VoIP and other Internet-related services. Since 2001, Chunghwa Telecom's HiNet division has used the Cisco 12000 Series Routers for its broadband infrastructure.

The major installation of the CHT IP network took less than two months. The upgraded network is expected to serve more than three million customers, including the existing 2.5 million ADSL broadband users. Financial terms were not disclosed.

France's neuf telecom Expands TV-over-DSL Network

neuf telecom's has reached a major milestone in delivering broadband services throughout France with the deployment of a network connecting 3,000 cities in 18 months. neuf telecom is using Cisco equipment for the extension and expansion of its network to support local loop unbundling and to facilitate triple-play over ADSL to residential customers. Cisco's 7600 Series routers, Catalyst 3000 Series switches and Cisco IOS network infrastructure software are used to provide the QoS-enabled multi-service network, supporting intelligent video distribution using dynamic multicast.

In November 2004, the company launched neuf TV, a digital-quality TV over DSL service offering over 70 channels. The company will shortly be launching ADSL2+ services. As of the end of 2004, neuf telecom a total of 700,000 ADSL users from its retail and wholesale operations. neuf telecom reported sales in 2003 of EUR 992 million. For the first half of 2004, neuf telecom increased its sales to EUR 564 million, up 24% compared to the same period in 2003, EBITDA was up 33% to EUR 60 million and earnings of EUR 15 million.

SBC Offers Discounted 3 Mbps Service

SBC Communications trimmed the price on its fastest DSL tier for bundle customers. SBC Yahoo! DSL Pro service, which provides download speeds of up to 3 Mbps, is now $29.99 a month with a one-year term agreement and when bundled with an SBC unlimited local and long distance calling plan. Previously, the lowest price for the 3 Mbps service was $36.99 when ordered online or as part of a Total Connections bundle with a one-year term agreement

Nortel Appoints Peter Currie as CFO

Nortel Networks announced today the appointment of Peter Currie as CFO. Currie is rejoining Nortel as he had previously served as senior vice president and chief financial officer from 1994 until early 1997. He most recently served as vice chairman and chief financial officer of RBC Financial Group, one of North America's leading financial services organizations. This appointment was made following the decision by William Kerr, the current CFO, to step down from this position, which he had assumed last year to lead the completion of the restatement. At the request of president and chief executive officer Bill Owens, Kerr has agreed to serve as senior advisor to the CEO.

DIRECTV Adds 444,000 Subscribers in Q4

The DIRECTV Group added 444,000 net subscribers in Q4, driving full year 2004 additions to more than 1.7 million. As of December 31, the total number of DIRECTV platform subscribers was 13.94 million representing an annual growth rate of 14% compared to the 12.21 million platform subscribers as of December 31, 2003. Additional highlights include:

  • DIRECTV U.S. gross subscriber additions in Q4 increased by 21% to a fourth quarter record of 1,103,000 due to higher penetration rates in local channel markets,

  • Q4 ARPU was $71.92, compared to $71.75 a year earlier

  • Q4 revenues increased 22% to $3.36 billion and operating loss before depreciation and amortization(1) was $156 million compared to operating profit before depreciation and amortization of $11 million in last year's fourth quarter.
  • In Q4, The DIRECTV Group announced an agreement for the sale of substantially all of the remaining assets of HNS to a new entity that will be jointly owned by SkyTerra Communications, Inc. and The DIRECTV Group. SkyTerra is an affiliate of Apollo Management, L.P., a New York-based private equity firm.

ECI Telecom's Hi-FOCuS Employed for Video/DSL

ECI Telecom announced today that over 1 million of its installed Hi-FOCuS broadband lines will be used by carriers to deliver video over copper. The company said its customers in several countries, including Taiwan and France, have recently received approvals and licenses to deliver TV & video over broadband networks.

Novatel Wireless Raises Guidance Citing EV-DO Card Sales

Novatel Wireless increased its financial guidance citing increasing shipments of its newly introduced EV-DO cards and quad-band UMTS cards. The company is currently expecting first quarter revenues to more than double from the prior year period and range between $32 to $34 million.

PMC-Sierra Reports Q4 Revenue of $61.8 Million

PMC-Sierra reported Q4 revenues of $61.8 million compared with $71.2 million for the third quarter of 2004 and $70.6 million for the same period a year ago. This represented a decrease in revenues of 13 percent sequentially and 12 percent on a year-over-year basis. GAAP net income in the fourth quarter of 2004 was $13.1 million (GAAP diluted earnings per share of $0.07). This compares to GAAP net income of $6.3 million in the third quarter of 2004 (GAAP diluted earnings per share of $0.03).

"We believe that our revenues stabilized in the fourth quarter and industry conditions are improving," said Bob Bailey, president and chief executive officer of PMC-Sierra. "Meanwhile, our new products in Metro Transport, Storage Systems and Voice-over-IP are generating pre-production revenues, giving us confidence that our customers' next-generation systems are moving towards production."

WSJ: SBC and AT&T Holding Acquisition Talks

The Wall Street Journal reported that SBC Communications is in talks to acquire AT&T in a deal potentially valued at over $15 billion. The combination, if approved by regulators, would give SBC access to AT&T corporate and government customers, as well as the largest Internet backbone, among other assets.