Wednesday, July 12, 2006

European Commission Seeks Cut in Mobile Roaming Fees

The European Commission outlined plans to slash the consumer costs for international mobile roaming. Currently, at least 147 million EU citizens are "roaming" on a regular basis and average retail prices for calls made whilst roaming are roughly 4 times higher than the equivalent prices for domestic mobile calls. By EC estimates, operators have been charging prices 300% or 400% higher than the cost of making these calls. At wholesale level, there are no agreed inter-operator tariffs for received calls, so operators could have decreased the prices without the need to change any international agreements.

Proposed regulation would establish a price cap on the charges that one operator applies to another. The regulation also states that the mark-up used to determine retail prices that are actually charged to consumers for making and receiving a call while roaming may not exceed 30%.

Operators would be free to compete beneath the wholesale cap plus retail mark-up ceiling, by charging each other less for carrying calls, reducing their retail mark-up or differentiating the packages of services that they offer according to consumer demand.

EU Regulators May Cap Costs for Number Portability

A Court of Appeals in Brussels has ruled that EU national regulatory authorities may fix ex ante maximum prices for the transfer of a mobile telephone number from one mobile telephone operator to another. The EU's Universal Service Directive provides that all subscribers of mobile services who so request must be able to retain their number(s) when changing operator. The national regulatory authorities are to ensure that pricing for interconnection related to the provision of number portability is cost-oriented and that direct charges to subscribers do not act as a disincentive for the use of these facilities.

TI Introduces the Radiation Hardened SerDes

Texas Instruments introduced a 1.6 to 2.7 Gbps Serializer/Deserializer (serDes) device designed to support serial interfaces in high-speed data bus applications for aerospace equipment, such as satellites. The device provides very high-speed (2.5 Gbps) I/O data channels for baseband data transmission over controlled impedance media of approximately 50 ohms. The transmission media can be printed-circuit board, copper cables, or fiber-optic cable. With a 2.5V power supply and drawing less than 500mW, the device offers a lower power solution to other parallel data transmission architectures.

ZTE Selected for CDMA2000 Network in Morocco

Maroc~Connect, part of Moroccan business group ONA, selected ZTE to deploy a nationwide All-IP CDMA2000 network over the next three years. Financial terms were not disclosed.

ZTE will supply Maroc~Connect with an ALL-IP CDMA2000 voice and EV-DO network equipment, base station subsystems (BSS), core network equipment including MSCe/MGW/HLRe and an SMS Platform. The contract will be executed in several phases and network scalability will be ensured, providing the means to upgrade smoothly towards full mobility and push-to-talk functionality provided by ZTE´s CDMA2000-based GoTa (Global Open Trunking Architecture). ZTE will also provide its CDMA2000 1X voice and data handsets, GoTa handsets, and EV-DO data cards.

Tropos Develops Adaptive Tuning Software for Metro Wi-Fi Mesh Networks

Tropos Networks introduced its new Adaptive Mesh Connectivity Engine (AMCE), mesh software which provides a quantum leap in a network operator's ability to consistently deliver reliable Wi-Fi connections to a broad range of clients in a metro-scale mesh network. Tropos developed the AMCE software, which runs on Tropos MetroMesh routers, to compensate for the wide variations in Wi-Fi devices that use metro-scale mesh networks.

Tropos said networks that do not compensate for widely variable, often low power, clients cannot provide predictable connections, compromising customer satisfaction. Even traditional, standards-compliant Wi-Fi client devices, such as laptop computers and Wi-Fi bridges used to connect homes to metro-scale Wi-Fi networks, exhibit wide variability in their technical parameters. Power output can range from 10 mW to 200 mW or more. Many clients connect to metro Wi-Fi networks at lower than optimal speeds, dramatically reducing client throughput. Mobility is another area of inconsistent performance on the part of Wi-Fi clients.

AMCE uses per-packet transmission power and timing control to
compensate for low-power client devices. This enables clients to make
better decisions about which MetroMesh router offers the best
connection to the Wi-Fi network and the data rate that should be used
for the connection.

AMCE intelligently mitigates local interference, improving packet
reception. This capability delivers high throughput to client devices
in dense metro-area deployments.

Additional AMCE features improve client connections in high
user-density settings and further improve client connection
reliability and throughput.

AMCE is the second announced element of Tropos Networks' reliable
client connection initiative. The first, the Tropos Metro Compliant
Extensions (TMCX), provides a specification for the wireless modems
used for residential and small-business access to metro Wi-Fi
networks. TMCX-compliant devices can more reliably connect to these
networks. AMCE improves the connection reliability of all Wi-Fi
clients, especially those that don't conform to the TMCX

In addition, Tropos has incorporated new client reporting
capability into Tropos Insight that provides network operators with
the visibility into client operation and performance that they need to
cost-effectively manage their networks. Tropos Insight tells network
managers how many subscribers were active on the network, what type of
client they were using, how much bandwidth they used, mobility, and
what their signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and packet error rates were on
an hourly basis. It also aggregates and analyzes data across the
network, pinpointing, for example, who are the top bandwidth users,
which clients have the poorest SNR and which clients have the highest
packet error rates, again on an hourly basis.

KT Deploys Acme Packet's Session Border Controllers

KT is deploying Acme Packet's Net-Net session border controllers (SBCs) in its national VoIP network that connects its residential and business customers. The Net-Net SBC are being integrated with KT's IP softswitch platform to offer more enhanced services.

Acme Packet's SBCs are currently deployed in KT's network in Seoul, Korea, with a target to deploy in KT POPs in other major cities to offer VoIP and enhanced services in the future.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

FCC Approves Adelphia/Time Warner/Comcast License Transfer

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the sale of substantially all of the cable systems and assets of Adelphia Communications to Time Warner Inc. and Comcast Corporation, the exchange of certain cable systems and assets between affiliates or subsidiaries of Time Warner and Comcast, and the redemption of Comcast's interests in Time Warner Cable and Time Warner Entertainment Company.

The FCC determined that subscribers would benefit from the resolution of the Adelphia bankruptcy proceeding in the form of new investment and upgrades to the network. Additionally, the transactions would accelerate deployment of VoIP and other advanced video services, such as local VOD programming, to subscribers.

With respect to the potential harms, the FCC found that the proposed transactions may increase the likelihood of harm in markets in which Time Warner or Comcast has, or may in the future have, an ownership interest in Regional Sports Networks ("RSNs"). The Commission imposed remedial conditions, the same as those imposed in the News Corp.-Hughes order to address its concerns.

AT&T Licenses NFL programming for U-verse TV channel lineup

AT&T and NFL Network announced a distribution agreement to deliver NFL Network programming as part of the AT&T U-verse TV channel lineup. Standard-definition and high-definition feeds of the NFL Network, as well as video on demand programming, will be available to AT&T U-verse TV subscribers.

TI to Open New R&D Center in Chennai, India

Texas Instruments will open a new research and development (R&D) center in Chennai.

TI's history in India began with a research and development center in Bangalore more than 20 years ago and has now expanded with the new R&D center in Chennai dedicated to a platform of technologies that will span across TI's product portfolio.

Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom Tests Caspian Media Controllers

Chunghwa Telecom, the incumbent telecom operator in Taiwan, is testing Caspian's Media Controllers for deployment in its new all-IP network. Applications currently running over the Media Controllers at Chunghwa's Telecommunications Lab include video, VoIP, gaming, MPLS integration and IP virtual private networks (VPNs). The Caspian solution will provide IP flow control in the aggregation layer of Chunghwa's network for guaranteeing quality of service (QoS) levels and ensuring a rich multimedia experience for its large subscriber base.
  • Caspian has recently announced deployments by Shanghai Telecom, Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) and SK Telecom, amongst others.

Force10 Cites Gains Linking World's Largest Supercomputers

Force10 Networks' TeraScale E-Series family of switch/routers are being used as the foundation for 29 of the world's largest supercomputers, according to the most recent list from Computer clustering has become the dominant design for supercomputers, with 72 percent of the world's largest supercomputers leveraging this architecture.

Seven of the top 50 supercomputers, including IBM's top two cluster supercomputers, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (No. 11) and Indiana University (No. 23), depend on the TeraScale E-Series. Additionally, of the top 10 supercomputers that are powered by Dell, seven are anchored by the TeraScale E-Series, including Sandia National Laboratories (No. 6), the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (No. 37), the University of Buffalo Center for Computational Research (No. 57), the Texas Advanced Computing Center (No. 65) and Brigham Young University (No. 87).

U.S. District Judge Questions Telecom Mega-Mergers

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan will hold a hearing later this month to examine the effects of the recent AT&T + SBC and Verizon + MCI on telecom competition. The increased scrutiny of past telecom mergers could mean that the pending AT&T + BellSouth will face additional scrutiny.

Nortel Supplies IMS-Ready Solution for Israel's HOT Telecom

HOT Telecom, a consortium of Israeli cable service providers Golden Channels, Matav and Tevel, has selected Nortel's IMS-ready, carrier-grade IP-based solution.

The network upgrade, which is expected to be fully deployed by the end of 2006, will include the Nortel Communication Server 2000-Compact, a carrier-grade softswitch that supports industry-standard VoIP protocols and enhances revenue opportunities by making it simpler for carriers to reach new regions.

The upgrade will also include the Nortel Media Gateway 15000 Trunk Gateway, which provides a highly scalable and high voice quality solution to integrate traditional and next generation networks, and the Nortel Border Control Policy 7200, which provides an advanced media proxy designed to support VoIP services.

Nortel's Communication Server 2000-Compact softswitches have been deployed by more than 70 service providers worldwide including Verizon, BT, Telefonica and Cable & Wireless.

HOT Telecom also has an advanced converged IP telephony network at its Yakum Headquarters that uses Nortel softswitch technology. The network provides approximately 1,400 HOT Telecom employees with anywhere, anytime access to communication services such as voice, e-mail and multimedia collaboration regardless of device - telephone, computer or PDA.

Motorola Opens Branded "Flagship" Stores

Motorola launched a worldwide initiative to open Motorola branded stores in key markets with the opening of its first "Global Flagship Store" in a busy shopping area in downtown Shanghai. The Shanghai Motorola Flagship Store is the first of four planned for mainland China, with additional key locations throughout Asia and around the world to follow.

Motorola said it has spent two years in a global research and development effort around the new retail concept.

US LEC Provides Wholesale VoIP Service for SunRocket

US LEC will supply SunRocket with a customized MegaPOP VoIP solution to meet the service provider's unique needs including phone numbers available across the nation and origination access to the PSTN.

US LEC's MegaPOP VoIP, which is offered in 30 states, is a VoIP wholesale service. In addition to MegaPOP VoIP, US LEC also offers MegaPOP Dial Internet access in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.