Thursday, October 12, 2006

NTT DoCoMo Unveils 3G Handsets, Including Wi-Fi Models

NTT DoCoMo unveiled 14 new 3G FOMA handsets -- -the 903i series, SIMPURE series and N902iL -- offering a range of advanced functions, such as DoCoMo's "Chaku-Uta Full" full-track music-downloading service. HSDPA-capable models work with the Music Channel service, which enables music programs to be downloaded automatically during the night. Video downloading is also supported as a service. Some of the handset models are also equipped for DoCoMo's "One-segment" digital terrestrial broadcasting.

Other advanced capabilities available on some of models include:

  • DoCoMo's "DCMX" mobile credit card, enabling the phone to function as an e-wallet, timecard and personal identification card for accessing restricted areas.

  • "Keitai-Osagashi Service", a GPS service that enables a misplaced handset to be located with a PC.

  • The ability to create and send highly decorative "Deco-mail" Pictogram messages containing high-resolution icons that come preinstalled in the phones or are available separately via download.

  • "PushTalk" walkie-talkie communication

  • Compatibility with DoCoMo's WORLD WING international roaming service.

  • A dual-network model that can switch automatically between the FOMA network and wireless LANs. Targeted at corporate users, the model offers communication speeds of up to 54Mbps (IEEE802.11g standard), and increased voice quality and more users being able to make voice calls at the same time (IEEE802.11e) on WLANs.

  • Security features include biometric authentication (user's face) and compatibility with DoCoMo's "Omakase Lock" remote locking service, as well as the Data Security Service for backing up phonebooks and other important data on a network server.

The 14 new handsets are part of DoCoMo's plan to unveil a total of more than 20 handsets, including new models in the 703i Series, by the end of March 2007.

NTT DoCoMo and HP Develop Middleware Tying Mobile Networks to Sensors

NTT DoCoMo and HP are jointly developing a new application platform to interconnect cellular telephone systems and sensor networks. The companies are working on a middleware platform that enables interactive communication between those networks and mobile phones.

Software using this middleware is installed on both the sensor networks and the mobile phones, enabling the phones to access the sensor networks directly, across a variety of transmission methods. The phones can then be used to pull data, or even control devices connected to it. The middleware also makes it possible to develop applications and devices compatible with any sensor network, regardless of the type of transmission method it employs.

The companies said their work might be useful for a wide range of services, enabling seamless connections between mobile phones and crime-prevention equipment, home appliances, IC tag readers, and other devices.


BT Implements "Spam buster" system

BT has deployed an automated "spam buster" system to track down and tackle professional spammers and botnet-infected customers on the BT broadband network.

The "Content Forensics" system supplied by StreamShield Networks scans millions of e-mails a day, providing detailed reports on the location and size of spam-related problems originating from the BT network. This enables the operator to take action, such as terminating rogue accounts and adding offending IP addresses to industry-wide blacklists.

Tzero Raises Funding for UWB Wireless Video Silicon

Tzero Technologies, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, announced that Miven Venture Partners has made a strategic investment in the company to support its ultra wideband (UWB) wireless technology.

The investment, which is an extension of the Tzero's Series B private equity funding round, is the ninth strategic investment by Miven, and will be used to expand business opportunities and bring new products to market. The company also announced that Victor Tsao, the founding general partner of Miven Venture Partners, Linksys co-founder and senior vice president of Cisco Systems, will act as an advisor to the company. Miven Venture Partners joins existing investors in Tzero including August Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, OVP, USVP and VentureTech Alliance.
  • In June 2006, Tzero Technologies announced that it has raised $25.5 million in Series B private equity funding. The investment was led by first-time investor OVP Venture Partners, which was joined by Quilvest and all of Tzero's current investors, including August Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, U.S. Venture Partners, and VentureTech Alliance, the investment management arm of TSMC.

Memotec Licenses SPIRIT's Voice Software

Memotec, the leading supplier of voice optimization solutions for GSM cellular operators, has licensed SPIRIT's TeamSpirit Embedded voice engine to ensure the best voice performances in its Multi-service Gateways. The SPIRIT voice software is integrated into Memotec's CX Series Multiservice Gateway, which supports from 1 up to 16 T1/E1s, 30 channels digital PCM voice trunk per module, and 1 up to 4 modules per chassis, as well as various types of data and voice interfaces and protocols. It also provides GSM Abis and RAN optimization, cellular traffic aggregation, interface and protocol adaptation, switching and routing functions.

TECORE Acquires AirNet to form Wireless Systems Provider

AirNet Communications, a supplier of IP-based wireless base stations, emerged from Chapter 11 proceedings and was acquired by TECORE Wireless Systems.

"TECORE's network expertise coupled with AirNet's advanced radio technologies make this combination stronger than just the sum of the parts," said Jay Salkini, President and CEO of TECORE. "We are now not only a full-line supplier, but AirNet's latest IP-based product offerings strategically coordinated with TECORE's SoftMSC provide the most advanced network architectures available."http://www.airnetcom.com

Turkcell's Subscriber Base Reaches 30.8 Million

Turkcell, the leading mobile carrier in Turkey, reached 30.8 million subscribers as of September 30, 2006. This corresponds to an increase of 3.3% from 29.8 million as of June 30, 2006 and an increase of 15.3% from 26.7 million as of September 30, 2005. Turkcell's subscriber base consists of 5.7 million postpaid and 25.1 million prepaid subscribers.

Turkcell added approximately 1.0 million net new subscribers in the third quarter of 2006. New gross subscribers acquired in the third quarter of 2006 consisted of 91% prepaid and 9% postpaid subscribers.

In the third quarter of 2006, Turkcell's churn rate increased to 4.1%, compared to 3.6% in the second quarter of 2006, mainly due to overall high market growth in the previous quarters and competition. The company said it expects to lower quarterly churn rate for the fourth quarter of 2006 as a result of its segmented retention and loyalty programs as well as proactive churn prevention activities.

FCC Acts on QUALCOMM's MediaFLO Petition for 700 MHz Spectrum

The FCC granted in part and denied in part a Petition for Declaratory Ruling (Petition) filed by QUALCOMM regarding the requirements for interference protection in the 700 MHz band. The company lower 700 MHz Band licenses that together cover the entire United States and has announced plans to deploy, through its wholly-owned MediaFLO subsidiary, a nationwide multimedia network delivering video, audio, and data content to mobile phones. MediaFLO is designed to use Qualcomm's 700 MHz spectrum license for downlink (base station to mobile) communications and existing mobile telephone networks for uplink (mobile to base station) communications. Because Qualcomm's licenses cover TV/DTV Channel 55 of the 700 MHz Band, the company must protect broadcasters on Channels 54, 55 and 56 from interference using the criteria set forth in the FCC's rules.

The FCC acted on Qualcomm's petition seeking relief from certain provisions of these interference protection rules.

The FCC declined Qualcomm's request to declare that predicted interference to not more than two percent of the population served by a TV/DTV station is de minimis and therefore acceptable. However, the FCC granted Qualcomm a limited waiver using a measured approach where the allowable predicted interference to a TV/DTV station's service caused by the MediaFLO system will increase incrementally each year from the release of today's Order until the end of the DTV transition in February 2009.

QUALCOMM cheered the ruling saying it greatly expands the number of markets in which MediaFLO USA can operate prior to the DTV transition date.


AT&T/BellSouth Offer Concessions, FCC Postpones Decision to Nov 3

The FCC once again postponed a vote on the AT&T + BellSouth merger, as two of the commissioners sought additional time to consider the decision. FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, both Democrats, argued that serious questions remain as to whether the merger is in the public interest. They requested that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin remove the proceeding from the "Sunshine" process of open meetings, enabling the Commission to negotiate privately with the applicants and to solicit further public comment on a set of concessions offered by the companies. A new FCC meeting has been scheduled for November 3 to consider the issue.

In a press statement, AT&T said: "We firmly believe, as do three foreign countries, 18 state commissions and the Department of Justice -- every regulatory or legal entity that had an obligation to examine the benefits of this merger -- that no conditions on this merger are necessary for this combination to be a public benefit.

However, we are open to discussing with the Democratic FCC Commissioners reasonable conditions on the merger in order to obtain unanimous approval, so long as they do not affect our ability to deliver merger benefits to customers and shareowners, given the intensely competitive environment in which we operate."

In a separate statement filed with the FCC, the companies outlined a set of concessions that they abide by if the merger is approved. This list includes:

100% Broadband Coverage: By December 31 2007, AT&T/BellSouth will offer broadband (200 kbps in at least one direction) to 100% of the residential living units in its combined territory. To meet this commitment, the company will offer broadband to at least 85% of such living units using wireline technologies. The reaming units might be reached using satellite broadband or WiMAX technologies.

AT&T/BellSouth commits that for at least 30% of the incremental deployment after the merger closing date necessary to achieve the wireline buildout area commitment will be to rural areas or low income living units.

AT&T/BellSouth will provide an ADSL modem without charge (except for shipping and handling) to residential subscribers within the wireline buildout area, who during calendar year 2007, replace their AT&T/BellSouth dial-up Internet access service with AT&T/BellSouth's ADSL service and elect a term plan for their ADSL service of 12 months or greater.

AT&T/BellSouth will offer to retail consumers in the Wireline Buildout Area who have not previously subscribed to AT&T's or BellSouth's ADSL service at a speed up to 768kbps at a monthly rate of $10 per month (exclusive of taxes and regulatory fees).

Public Safety: AT&T/BellSouth will make several public safety concessions, including improving disaster response capabilities in BellSouth territory.

UNEs: AT&T/BellSouth will not seek any increase in state-approved rates for UNEs or collocations. The company will also recalculate the impairment threshold for competitors using its wire centers to exclude fiber-based collocation arrangements, entities that do not operate their own fiber but merely cross-connect, and special access lines.

Special Access: AT&T/BellSouth shall not increase the rates paid by existing customers of DS1 and DS3 local private line services.

AT&T/BellSouth shall not provide special access services to its wireline affiliates that are not available to other similarly situated special access customers on the same terms and conditions.

AT&T/BellSouth will not unreasonably discriminate in favor of its affiliates in establishing the terms and conditions for grooming special access facilities.

AT&T/BellSouth shall not increase the rates in its interstate tariffs, including contract tariffs, for special access services it provides in the AT&T/BellSouth region.

Wireless: AT&T/BellSouth shall initiate ten new trials of broadband Internet access service using 2.3 GHz or 2.5 GHz spectrum by the end of 2007. At least five of the trials will be in BellSouth territory.

Transit Service: The AT&T and BellSouth incumbent LECs will not increase the rates paid for their existing tandem transit service arrangements.

ADSL service: Within 12 months of the closing date, AT&T/BellSouth will offer in BellSouth territory ADSL service to ADSL-capable customers without requiring customers to purchase circuit-switched voice grade telephone service. AT&T/BellSouth will continue to offer this service for 30 months after the implementation date in each state.

AT&T/BellSouth will offer to ISPs, for their provision of broadband service, a wholesale ADSL transmission service that is functionally the same as the service AT&T offered within the AT&T in-region territory prior to the merger closing date.

Forbearance: AT&T/BellSouth will not seek a ruling through a forbearance petition altering the status of any facility currently offered as a loop or transport UNE.

In addition to these conditions, the companies have also discussed the other possible conditions relating to the repatriation of jobs that had been sent overseas, Internet backbone peering arrangements, network neutrality non-discrimination, and the impact of FCC forbearance decisions on any conditions that might be imposed.