Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thomson and NXP to Combine Can Tuner Modules Activities

NXP Semiconductors and Thomson have agreed to combine their can tuner modules operations in a joint venture. Thomson will appoint the CFO of this new venture, while NXP will appoint the CEO. NXP and Thomson expect that the definitive joint venture agreements will be finalized and the transaction will close in Q2, subject to closing conditions, including social and regulatory approvals.

"Digital can tuners remain strategic components at a time when broadcast and broadband distribution infrastructures look to advanced delivery technologies such as DVB-S2, DVB-T, DVB-H and new cable modulation technologies," said Thomson CTO Jean-Charles Hourcade. "This combination will benefit our customers as the digital terrestrial roll-out accelerates in the U.S. and in Europe."http://www.nxp.com

STMicroelectronics Announces Near Field Communication (NFC) Chip

STMicroelectronics announced a System-on-Chip (SoC) solution for the fast emerging NFC (Near Field Communication) market.

ST said its new device, which is implemented in 0.13-micron embedded non-volatile EEPROM memory, integrates all the necessary hardware and software for a complete NFC system, including support for all the NFC proximity and vicinity standards.

NFC technology provides advanced wireless or ‘contactless' services for users, such as electronic payment via mobile phone. The device also integrates the necessary Host Controller Interface (HCI) functions, in addition to interfaces for both the I2Cbus and SPIbus, and is compliant with the ETSI specification for Single Wire Protocol (SWP), which describes the connection between a mobile phone's UICC (Universal Integrated Circuit Card) and the NFC controller.

Harmonic Delivers 1310 DWDM Forward Path Transmitters for HFC

Harmonic introduced a 1310 nm dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) forward path transmitter for existing hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) cable networks. Harmonic's new scalable DWDM transmitters combine up to eight wavelengths to deliver traffic to segmented nodes over distances of up to 30km.

Harmonic's full range of flexible fiber-based transmission solutions includes analog/digital return path, commercial services, and scalable 1310 nm and 1550 nm CWDM/DWDM digital transport systems.

Accedian Networks Raises C$7.5 Million for Packet Performance Assurance

Accedian Networks, a start-up based in Montreal, raised $CAD 7.5 million in second round venture funding for its "Packet Performance Assurance" solutions for telecom, cable and wireless operators.

Accedian Networks' Ethernet Service Assurance Platform (ESAP) provides in-service monitoring, loopback testing, remote troubleshooting, service management and network demarcation for high-performance wireless backhaul, business services and carrier hand-off applications. Accedian also supplies a line of "EtherNID" packet assurance demarcation units. Service providers can use the system to provision, manage and maintain packet-based services over Ethernet, IP/MPLS and 3G, 4G/WiMAX networks.

The new venture funds were provided by RHO Canada Ventures in addition to follow-on investments from Skypoint Capital and Solidarity Fund QFL.

European Commission Approves Proposal to De-regulate part of UK Broadband Market

The European Commission approved a proposal from Ofcom, the UK's official telecom regulator, to de-regulate the wholesale broadband market in some parts of the UK, covering around 65% of all UK homes and businesses The proposal, which is based on detailed economic evidence, wouold deregulate local exchanges with four or more actual or potential providers serving areas with more than 10,000 homes and businesses.

This is the first time that a national telecoms regulator in the EU has identified different broadband markets in different geographic areas within a country and proposed lifting regulation in those geographic areas now characterized by effective competition.
The European Commission said Ofcom's proposal represents "a reasonable move towards better targeted regulation, concentrating on those geographic areas where structural competition problems persist. "

The Commission's decision concerns the UK market for wholesale broadband access. Wholesale broadband access (or bitstream access) is, together with access to the local loop (local loop unbundling; LLU), a key input enabling alternative operators to enter the retail market and to offer broadband services to consumers.

Mexico's Telcel Selects Ericsson for 3G Network

Ericsson will supply a complete 3G network, including base stations, network controllers and extensive software functionality, to upgrade part of Telcel's existing GSM/GPRS/EDGE network in Mexico. The contract also covers a wide range of services such as deployment and integration, network design, tuning, optimization, consulting and support. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Telcel , which is a subsidiary of América Móvil, uses both the 800 megahertz and 1900 megahertz radio spectrum bands to offer TDMA, GSM/GPRS/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA services. As of December 31, 2007, Telcel had approximately 50 million cellular subscribers.

AT&T Selects Alcatel-Lucent's UMTS/HSDPA

Alcatel-Lucent announced an agreement to support the expansion of AT&T's UMTS/HSPA (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service/High Speed Packet Access) wireless network. The expansion includes the deployment of Alcatel-Lucent's UMTS/HSDPA Distributed NodeB solution, which provides operators with the flexibility to deploy 3G radio network elements in a wide array of locations including the sides of buildings, existing cell sites, remote locations and more, helping operators build out their networks more quickly and cost-effectively. Financial terms were not disclosed.

As part of the agreement - , Alcatel-Lucent has expanded the end-to-end, turnkey UMTS/HSPA solution, including messaging, voice switching and network applications and services. Alcatel-Lucent also has previously supplied AT&T with an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) service delivery solution - TDM, ATM and MPLS networking solutions, as well as ADSL/VDSL broadband access and optical advanced platforms.
  • In November 2004, Cingular Wireless announced agreements with Ericsson , Lucent Technologies and Siemens to develop and deliver the infrastructure required for a broad-scale deployment of an expanded 3G UMTS/HSDPA network. Simultaneously, Lucent Technologies unveiled its high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) solution, a software upgrade to Lucent base stations for enabling 3G UMTS services.

Comcast Revenue Increased 24% in 2007 to $30.9 billion

Comcast's revenue increased 24% in 2007 to $30.9 billion, thanks to cable acquisitions in the year, in particular the Adelphia/Time Warner transactions. For Q4 2007, Comcast reported consolidated revenue of $8.0 billion, an increase of 14%, and an increase in consolidated Operating Cash Flow of 19% to $3.1 billion compared to the fourth quarter of 2006. Net income increased to $602 million, or $0.20 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2007 compared to $390 million, or $0.13 per share, in the prior year.

"In 2007 we delivered very healthy growth in revenue and operating cash flow, added substantial revenue generating units and generated significant earnings growth - despite a weak economy and intensified competition in the second half of the year. Our goal continues to be to deliver consistent, profitable growth that builds long-term shareholder value. For 2008, we are confident about our competitive position and our ability to further grow our business, as illustrated by our outlook for 2008 free cash flow growth of at least 20%, " stated Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast.

Some highlights from the company's financial report:

  • Revenue increased 11% to $29.4 billion for the year reflecting strong demand for Comcast's services. A decline in advertising revenue and a challenging economic and competitive environment in the second half of the year adversely impacted this revenue increase.

  • Revenue generating units (RGUs) on a net basis increased 19%, or 6.0 million compared to net additions of 5.1 million last year. Comcast ended 2007 with 57.0 million RGUs.

  • In video, Comcast added 2.5 million new digital cable subscribers in 2007.

  • A total of 6.3 million, or 42%, of digital cable subscribers took advanced services such as digital video recorders (DVR) and high-definition television (HDTV) compared to 4.5 million, or 36%, a year ago.

  • Video revenue increased 7% to $17.7 billion in 2007, reflecting growth in digital cable customers and increased demand for advanced digital features including ON DEMAND, DVR and HDTV, as well as higher basic cable pricing.

  • Basic cable subscribers decreased by 180,000, or 0.7%, to 24.1 million during 2007 with 15.2 million or 63% of video customers taking digital cable services.

  • Comcast added a record 2.5 million digital cable customers in 2007, an increase of 33% from the 1.9 million digital cable customers added in 2006. Digital cable customer additions in 2007 included 1.0 million full digital cable and 1.5 million digital starter subscribers.

  • In Q4, Comcast Cable added 523,000 digital cable subscribers and lost 94,000 basic cable subscribers.

  • During the year, 1.8 million additional digital cable customers subscribed to advanced services, like DVR and HDTV, either by upgrading their digital cable service or as new customers. As of December 31, 2007, 6.3 million, or 42% of digital cable customers received advanced services, 5.4 million, or 36% received full digital cable, and 3.5 million, or 23% were digital starter subscribers.

  • Growth in video revenue also reflects increasing ON DEMAND movie purchases. Pay-per-view revenue increased 22% to $774 million in 2007.

  • For High-Speed Internet, Comcast added 1.7 million high-speed Internet subscribers during 2007 compared to 1.9 million in the prior year.
    In Q4, hHigh-speed Internet revenue increased 14% in the quarter to $1.7 billion. The growth includes the addition of 331,000 high-speed Internet subscribers and stable monthly revenue per subscriber.

  • High-speed Internet revenue increased 18% to $6.4 billion in 2007, reflecting a 1.7 million or 15% increase in subscribers from the prior year and relatively stable average monthly revenue per subscriber of approximately $43.

  • Comcast ended 2007 with 13.2 million high-speed Internet subscribers, or 27% penetration of homes passed.

  • For phone service, Comcast added over 2.5 million Comcast Digital Voice (CDV) customers compared to 1.6 million added in the prior year - an increase of 61%. The company increased CDV-ready homes passed by 9 million. CDV service is now marketed to 42 million homes representing 86% of Comcast's markets.

  • Phone revenue increased 85% to $1.8 billion due to significant growth in CDV subscribers, offset by a $229 million, or 50% decline in circuit-switched phone revenues as Comcast transitions to marketing CDV in most areas.

  • Comcast ended 2007 with a total of 4.4 million CDV customers or 10.4% of available homes. Entering 2008, Comcast has fewer than 200,000 circuit-switched customers, with the winding down of that business expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

  • Advertising revenue decreased 3% to $1.5 billion in 2007, reflecting a significant decline in political advertising, softness in some discretionary categories and one less week in the broadcast advertising calendar compared to last year.

  • Capital expenditures of $6.0 billion increased 29% in 2007, reflecting RGU growth, a 63% increase in the number of set-top boxes deployed (including over 2 million HD and/or DVR boxes), additional overhead and equipment necessary to support the higher level of RGU activity, network improvements, capital expenditures related to commercial services, as well as the integration of the acquired systems from Adelphia and Time Warner.