Sunday, November 26, 2006

EC Asks UK Regulator to Reconsider Mobile Termination Rates

The European Commission has asked Ofcom, the UK telecom watchdog, not to include inflated 3G auction costs in termination rates for mobile phone operators.

In the Commission's view, Ofcom's proposed tariffs keep termination values higher than necessary due to 3G spectrum cost valuations which risk overestimating the costs. The Commission therefore asks the UK watchdog to reconsider the valuations. It said Ofcom's approach would be detrimental to fair competition in the UK's mobile market and lead to higher consumer prices for consumers.

Cisco Partners with Russia's Sitronics

Cisco announced a regional partnership with Sitronics JSC, a leading technology company in Russia & CIS, to offer advanced communication solutions in countries that are undergoing major economic and social transformation, including Russia, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE); and Middle East and Africa (MEA).

Initially focused on migrating existing public switched telephone network (PSTN) infrastructure to an IP network platform, the modernization solution offered will be built around Sitronics' IP-NGN soft-switching and OSS portfolio, and Cisco's core routing and switching products, including the CRS-1 Carrier Routing System. The solution is already being successfully implemented by the leading Russian telecommunications operator, MGTS that has 4.3 million subscribers in the Moscow region.

T-Mobile USA Selects Ericsson and Nokia

Both Ericsson and Nokia announced major contracts to supply gear for T-Mobile USA's 3G network deployment. Neither company disclosed financial terms.

Ericsson said it was selected for its turnkey network rollout and to serve as the prime radio provider for WCDMA 3G services in certain markets, including New York City which is scheduled to be operational in 2007.

Nokia said it will supply its Flexi WCDMA Base Station optimized for T-Mobile's newly acquired AWS spectrum bands. T-Mobile will be the first U.S. operator to deploy the fully HSPA capable Nokia Flexi WCDMA Base Station. The Nokia Flexi WCDMA Base Station enables easy deployment of WCDMA 3G in multiple spectrum bands with significantly lower base station site expenditures. Nokia also s a provider of High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) networks to T-Mobile in Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands - all of which are operational networks. In the U.S., Nokia has been a provider of 2G equipment and services to T-Mobile USA and has provided infrastructure and services to T-Mobile USA/VoiceStream since 1996.

Ericsson Appoints New Management Team

Ericsson appointed the following new group management team:

  • Carl-Henric Svanberg, Chief Executive Officer and President
  • Karl-Henrik Sundström, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

  • Kurt Jofs, Executive Vice President and General Manager, business unit Networks

  • Bert Nordberg, Executive Vice President, group function Sales and Marketing

  • Björn Olsson, Executive Vice President and deputy General Manager, business unit Networks

  • Hans Vestberg, Executive Vice President and General Manager, business unit Global Services

  • Jan Wäreby, Senior Vice President, head of business unit Multimedia

  • Carl Olof Blomqvist, Senior Vice President, group function Legal Affairs

  • Håkan Eriksson, Senior Vice President, group function Technology, and Chief Technology Officer

  • Marita Hellberg, Senior Vice President, group function Human Resources and Organization

  • Henry Sténson, Senior Vice President, group function Communications

  • Joakim Westh, Senior Vice President, group function Strategy and Operational Excellence

The company also said that it will begin a headcount reduction as a result of its reorganization.

MIT Lincoln Lab and Naval Research Lab Deploy CIENA's 40G DWDM

MIT Lincoln Laboratory and the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) selected CIENA to upgrade the Boston South Network (BoSSNET) - an applications and network test bed for researching high bandwidth (10s of Gbps per wavelength), long reach (approx. 1,000 km) all-optical transmissions - using the company's standards-based, all-optical DWDM technology.

Specifically, BoSSNET will be upgraded with Ciena's CoreStream Agility Optical Transport System, which is capable of routing wavelength services up to speeds of 40 Gbps for long-haul and ultra long-haul network routes. The platform eliminates optical-electrical-optical (OEO) signal conversions and transceivers, and lowers ongoing operational costs by automating end-to-end service provisioning and management, inventory and resource tracking, and dynamic power management. BoSSNET will also leverage CoreStream's software-defined ROADM technology to enable automated wavelength activation and reconfiguration in capacity increments of 10G and 40G today, with a clear migration path to 100G. CoreStream is also the core optical transport and switching foundation of the Department of Defense's GIG-BE network, ensuring full compatibility for BoSSNET.

BoSSNET is the research network for the Lab's Advanced Networks Group, which architects, designs and builds prototypes of next-generation optical, wireless and satellite communication networks to address critical problems of national security, while also transferring those technical advances to commercial applications.

BoSSNET spans from Boston to Washington, D.C., with local metro area connections to Lincoln Lab, New York and the D.C. area.
  • Qwest Communications supplies dark fiber for BoSSNET.

Data Connection and MetaSwitch Post Near 24% Revenue Growth

Data Connection, and its MetaSwitch division, reported record annual revenue of $87 million and earnings of $13.7 million. The company's fastest-growing division, MetaSwitch, now generates 53% of revenue. Data Connection, which is a privately-held company headquartered in London, said the past fiscal year marked one of the highest annual growth rates since the company was founded in 1981.

Some highlights:

  • MetaSwitch, the next generation softswitch division, now boasts more than 300 deployments with incumbent and competitive service providers in North America, Central America and Europe.

  • Data Connection's Network Protocols Division strengthened its leadership position in the fields of IP Routing, MPLS, VoIP and Session Border Controller source code solutions. The Division increased its year-on-year revenue by 21%, added several major new customers, and shipped new products such as IP Multicast, and increased IPv6 functionality and enhancements to the optical product family. Data Connection's VoIP technologies, which include SIP, Megaco/H.248, and MGCP, continue to enjoy strong demand from OEMs requiring core IMS technologies. DC-SBC, the industry's only portable software Session Border Controller specifically designed for OEMs, has obtained design wins with top OEM's in the industry.

  • The company's Internet Applications Division, which continues to invest heavily in IMS applications, had a successful year marked by the delivery of new enhanced voice services solutions as part of its UC-Portal applications platform, along with further customer wins and deployments among North American Tier 1 Service Providers. UC-Portal is used by Service Providers to deliver a Unified Communications service to subscribers, incorporating both multi-media messaging and innovative real-time telephony services, giving subscribers control of how they communicate regardless of whether they are served by existing fixed or mobile networks or VoIP.

  • The Enterprise Connectivity Division's strategic relationships with IBM, Microsoft, Cisco and other major OEMs continue to thrive, and the division has once again been highly profitable.

  • In accordance with the objectives of the Employee Benefit Trust, which holds 100% of the company's shares, the profits will be distributed to the employees.

Tektronix Launches Performance Monitoring/Testing for IMS

Tektronix has enhanced the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) performance monitoring capabilities of its Unified Assurance suite with additional IMS technical capabilities and protocol support.

Tektronix' network diagnostics portfolio includes IMS load test and a fully-configurable IMS functional test platform. Tektronix also supports Berlin-based Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (FOKUS) and its Open IMS Playground Laboratory, the leading IMS open test lab in Europe, with its IMS diagnostics solutions.

The Unified Assurance product suite provides network operators a vendor-independent view of the performance of IP multi-service networks and services. This provides real time, multi- protocol/interface network, service and customer monitoring of next generation IP, legacy, mobile and core networks. Key features and capabilities of the Unified Assurance suite include:

  • UA provides a proactive approach to monitor the quality of the customer experience for new IMS-enabled multi-network applications. End-to-end based key performance indicators and key quality indicators are delivered for IMS applications, such as converged voice (fixed mobile convergence); VoIP (hosted VoIP, IP Centrex); Peer to peer video services (mobile to mobile multi-media services); and presence based applications (unified messaging, push-to-talk)

  • UA's service quality visibility enables network operators to prioritize and manage operations activities according to actual service experience being delivered, and proactively track the quality of service experienced by customers to maintain high customer satisfaction.

  • UA provides unparalleled fault isolation, diagnosis and troubleshooting capabilities with its industry-leading correlation and drill-down features, allowing operators to quickly identify when network-related issues are impacting revenue generating services.

  • UA offers complete support of IMS-enabling technologies delivered over multi-technology fixed and wireless networks (2G, 2.5G and 3G), including SIP, H.248/GCP, BICC, HTTP, WAP, SMS & MMS; RTP, RTCP, RTSP; DNS/ENUM, DHCP, RADIUS & DIAMETER; GPRS/UMTS/UTRAN access networks; UMA access networks; Fixed Broadband access networks.

Terawave and K-micro Partner on GPON PHY

Terawave Communications and K-micro (Kawasaki Microelectronics) introduced a jointly developed physical layer ("PHY") ASIC built specifically for gigabit passive optical networking (GPON) optical line terminals (OLTs). The companies said their ASIC enables extremely low GPON physical layer overhead by providing fast phase locking to incoming bursts along with the associated hardware hooks to synchronize upstream traffic within a few bits at 1244 Mbps.

K-micro has integrated its burst mode clock and data recovery (BM-CDR) technology into this new ASIC. It has appeared in two previous generations: the first-generation "Copper Tub" (CT1) that runs at 1244/1244, and a later CT2 that runs at 2488/1244.

The Terawave TW-800 Family of OLTs are the first products to incorporate this technology. The TW-801 OLT is one of a series of OLT packages designed to address the emerging GPON global market. These products are completely G.984.x ITU standards compliant.


AT&T Adds NBC Universal Content to U-verse

AT&T reached a deal to deliver NBC Universal linear, high-definition (HD) and on-demand programming as part of the AT&T U-verse TV channel lineup. The agreement covers the analog and digital signals of the NBC and Telemundo owned-and-operated broadcast stations, as well as NBCU's cable properties, including CNBC, CNBC World, MSNBC, Telemundo, mun2, Telemundo Puerto Rico, Bravo, the SCI FI Channel, Sleuth, ShopNBC, USA Network, Universal HD and the Olympics on Cable. The deal also includes VOD rights for Universal Pictures' movies.

Verizon Wireless Launches LG's enV Phone

Verizon Wireless announced exclusive availability LG's new enV phone, featuring its V CAST and V CAST Music service, VZ Navigator, an integrated QWERTY keyboard, Bluetooth capabilities, dual speakers and a 2.0 megapixel camera.

The phone offers EV-DO (where available) and 1xRTT data connectivity.

EarthLink Announces Another Muni WiFi Project

The City of Alexandria, Virginia has selected EarthLink to build, own and operate a municipal wireless network. The approximately 16-square-mile Wi-Fi mesh network will provide affordable, high-speed Internet access for the residents of and visitors to the City of Alexandria.
  • EarthLink has previously been awarded muni-Wi-Fi contracts in Philadelphia; Anaheim, California; Milpitas, California; and New Orleans.

NeuStar Acquires Followap for Mobile IM Capabilities

NeuStar has acquired Followap, a UK-based provider of mobile instant messaging (IM) products in Europe and Asia, for approximately $139 million in cash.

Followap delivers interoperability between operators and Internet portals in five different functional areas: instant messaging, presence, multimedia gateways, inter-carrier messaging hubs, and services for handset clients.

Followap has a customer base of 17 mobile network operators (MNOs) that have over 160 million subscribers. Customers include Vodafone, Turkcell, 3 Group (Hutchison), Wind and Mobinil.

Followap also works closely with ISPs to connect mobile subscribers to their favorite portal-based instant messaging applications, in addition to network operator- based services such as Personal IM.

Followap's advanced IM client solutions have recently been adopted by leading handset manufacturers.

NeuStar said the acquisition furthers its strategy by extending and complementing current beachhead initiatives in new growth markets such as the GSM Association root DNS service, the acquisition of UltraDNS and the development of the SIP-IX service.

Followap will form the core of NeuStar's Next Generation Messaging group and will complement NeuStar's SIP-IX suite of interoperability product offerings and services. NeuStar's new mobile IM solution suite will now support:

  • Multimedia messaging and real-time communications

  • Mobile phone number-based addressing

  • Presence as well as soft-state availability information; turning the handset phonebook into a buddy list

  • Cross-carrier chat sessions and group messaging

  • Location-based information services using presence technology

  • Seamless interoperability amongst operators and backward
  • compatibility with existing mobile messaging services.

NeuStar projects Followap revenue to exceed $25 million in 2007 and to more than double in 2008. NeuStar affirmed the 2006 full-year guidance issued on November 2, 2006, and confirmed that the acquisition of Followap did not impact its 2006 guidance.