Thursday, August 7, 2008

Softbank Sees Continued Rise in Optical Access, DSL Declines

Softbank Corp.'s quarterly revenue fell to 647.3 billion yen ($6 billion), down 2.4% compared to last year, while reported net quarterly fell to 19.4 billion yen ($180 million) from 25.1 billion yen ($233 million) a year ago. The company recently began offering the 3G iPhone with several data plans. Meanwhile, the number of DSL users continued to decline while fiber-based customers continue to increase.


CBS News is using Fujitsu's IP-9500e MPEG-4 AVC encoder to help broadcast the Evening News with Katie Couric in high definition (HD). Specifically, CBS News is using the IP-9500e at its Washington, D.C. bureau to deliver multiple HD satellite news gathering (SNG) feeds to its new HD Control Room 47 at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York. Fujitsu said the combination of its IP-9500e and Sencore's MRD3187A Integrated Receiver Decoder (IRD)--used in New York to decode the incoming signal--creates the lowest latency of any available MPEG-4 AVC codec, enabling CBS News to cost-effectively deliver exceptional HD picture quality while using less than half the network bandwidth required for traditional MPEG-2 transmissions.

This deployment continues the CBS News rollout of Fujitsu's encoders for HD SNG. The network first used the IP-9500e to broadcast the 2008 Presidential State of the Union Address in HD, marking the first time CBS used HD MPEG-4 AVC compression for a network broadcast.

CBS News also plans to use Fujitsu's encoders for coverage of the Republican and Democratic Presidential Nominating Conventions as well as for the Presidential Inauguration. In addition, the network plans to implement the Fujitsu/Sencore HD codec solution at its London studio later this summer to facilitate HD SNG from that location.

CWA and Verizon Reach Contract Settlement

The Communications Workers of America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Verizon reached a tentative three-year contract settlement affecting 65,000 workers from Virginia to Maine.

Verizon agreed to extend union recognition to 600 former MCI technicians at Verizon Business who have been seeking representation for nearly two years. These workers, who perform the same jobs as the union workforce, have received strong support from CWA and IBEW members in a campaign to "tear down the wall" between union and non-union sectors at Verizon. The agreement also includes new opportunities for union workers to provide customer support and service at Verizon Business.

The tentative settlement also eliminates subcontracting of work in a number of job areas, converts many temporary jobs to permanent and brings additional jobs associated with Verizon's cutting edge FiOS technology into the union bargaining units. Overall, the settlement should create 2,500 new union jobs.

Verizon and the unions have agreed to meet regularly during the course of the new agreement to review technological and business developments affecting employment, which will allow the company to stay current with business opportunities while also insuring that the unions are able to continue to represent employees as the business environment changes.

The CWA said the issue of health costs and benefits was a major focus of the talks. The settlement preserves fully-paid health care premiums for all active and retired employees. Future hires will have a defined contribution formula for retirement health care with the amount of Verizon's contributions subject to negotiation in each subsequent contract.

In addition, Verizon agreed to work with the unions in a joint effort to achieve meaningful health care reform. The company will provide funding of $2 million per year to the project.

India to Auction 2.3, 2.5 GHz Frequency Bands for Broadband Data Services

India's Department of Telecommunications is planning to auction the 2.3 and 2.5 GHz frequency band for broadband data services. The WiMAX Forum said the availability of these key bands for WiMAX technology in India will provide its consumers with much needed broadband connectivity across the diverse economic and social needs of the entire population.

The auction will enable two 20 MHz blocks in both the 2.3 and 2.5 GHz bands. The government also announced that blocks in the 700 MHz and 3.3-3.6 GHz bands will be auctioned as they become available to offer Fixed WiMAX and rural wireless broadband segments to consumers.

The WiMAX Forum plans to add an Indian certification lab to its existing network by the end of 2008. The WiMAX Forum has certified a range of Mobile WiMAX products in the 2.3 and 2.5 GHz profiles and estimates that more than 1,000 Mobile WiMAX products will undergo certification by 2012.http://www.wimaxforum.org

Bell Canada Launches New Look

Coinciding with the opening day of the Olympics, Bell Canada launched its new corporate brand. The launch includes an advertising campaign and a new company logo.

"The new Bell brand underlines that we are moving forward as a company and as a service provider, with new services, a new strategy and a new goal," said George Cope, President and Chief Executive Officer of BCE and Bell Canada. "It's a straightforward and customer-focused brand that directly supports the Bell team's goal: To be recognized by customers as Canada's leading communications company."

"The taglines 'Today just got better' and 'La vie est Bell' reflect our commitment as a company and as a team to deliver
on our strategy and achieve our goal," stated Wade Oosterman, Chief Brand Officer for Bell, and President of Bell

Broadcom Prevails in GPS Patent Case Against SiRF

A U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) judge ruled that products of SiRF Technology infringe six patents related to improving global positioning system (GPS) processing and sensitivity. The patents are held by Global Locate, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Broadcom. The infringement findings cover a range of SiRF products, including those incorporating the SiRFstarIII and SiRFInstant GPS architectures.

Broadcom said the Initial Determination containing the infringement ruling followed a trial earlier this year. A Final Determination by the full six-person Commission is expected by early December.

NTT DOCOMO to Discontinue 2G mova Service

NTT DOCOMO will stop accepting new enrollments for its 2G mova mobile phone service nationwide on November 30. The company also announced that it will waive the normal charge of 2,100 yen (including tax) for any mova user who transfers to a 3G FOMA subscription beginning August 8.

NTT DOCOMO said that given that mova subscribers have been steadily migrating to its popular 3G service, FOMA, the company has decided to eventually discontinue mova and concentrate on FOMA. The timing of the mova service's actual termination will be decided depending on market factors such as how fast mova users continue to migrate to FOMA.

Additionally, DOCOMO will stop accepting applications for its car phones by the end of November.

NTT Com Launches Japanese-Chinese SNS with Translator

NTT Communications has launched a public social networking service (SNS) with a mutual Japanese-Chinese translating function The service launch coincides the opening of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Free of charge, apart from user packet charges (if any), the "talk feel" website is accessible from Japanese mobile phones as well as from PCs. In the future, NTT Com intends to make talk feel accessible from Chinese mobile phones, and from instant messengers (IMs) from both countries. Depending on customer needs, the possibilities of adding more compatible languages may be considered.

Canada's TELUS Sees Growth in Wireless Data

Canada's TELUS reported Q2 revenue of C$2.4 billion, an eight per cent increase from a year ago. The performance was driven by nine per cent growth in wireless revenue and 20 per cent growth in wireline data revenue. Wireless net additions were a second quarter record at 175,600. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) as adjusted increased by 3.5 per cent when compared to the same period a year ago. Net income in the quarter was C$267 million and earnings per share (EPS) were C$0.83, up 5.5 per cent and nine percent, respectively, compared to the same period in 2007.

Some highlights:

TELUS wireless

  • External revenues increased by $94 million or 9% to $1.14 billion in the second quarter of 2008, compared with the same period in 2007.

  • Wireless data revenue increased $55 million or 54% due to the continued adoption of full function smartphones and increased adoption of data services such as text messaging, web browsing and downloads.

  • ARPU (average revenue per subscriber unit per month) declined by 1.4% to $62.73 compared to the same quarter a year ago. The fast-growing data component of $9.17, represented 15% of ARPU, while the voice component continued to decline as a result of the increased prepaid subscriber base, lower pricing, including use of included-minute rate
    plans and lower inbound roaming .

  • Net subscriber additions increased 37% to 175,600 from the same quarter in 2007, a TELUS second quarter record. Postpaid net additions were 157,200, an increase of 59%, while net prepaid loading decreased 37% to 18,400. These results include those from TELUS' postpaid value brand and service which was launched in late March 2008.

TELUS wireline

  • External revenues increased by $76 million or 6.5% to $1.26 billion in the second quarter of 2008, when compared with the same period in 2007, as data growth more than offset the declines in local revenues.

  • Data revenues increased by $87 million or 20% due to revenues from the two January acquisitions (Emergis and Fastvibe), increased enhanced data and hosting services, as well as high-speed Internet subscriber growth. When adjusted for the two acquisitions and a regulatory adjustment in the second quarter of 2007, underlying data growth was approximately 7%.

  • Long distance revenues increased by $7 million due to a one-time negative adjustment of $13 million recorded in the same period a year ago with the implementation of a new converged billing and client care system in Alberta.

  • TELUS added 23,600 net high-speed Internet subscribers, a 70% increase from a year ago. The prior year's additions were temporarily constrained by the implementation of a new billing and client care system in Alberta that temporarily reduced order processing capability.

  • EBITDA as adjusted of $431 million declined by $2.6 million or 0.6% due primarily to increased cost of sales, including TELUS TV, and initial costs for implementing enterprise customer contracts.

  • Network access lines (NALs) declined by 40,000 in the quarter, and 3.4% from a year ago, reflecting a slight sequential improvement. Consistent with experience in recent years, residential NAL losses were due to ongoing competitive activity and wireless substitution, partially mitigated by an increase in business access lines.

Joikusoft and FON Offer Wi-Fi HotSpot Software for Mobile Phones

Joikusoft, a developer of mobile Wi-Fi HotSpot software, announces a collaboration with FON, the world's largest WiFi community. FON and Joikusoft are releasing an exclusive version of Joikusoft's mobile hotspot solution, named FonSpot. FonSpot turns a mobile phone into a Wi-Fi HotSpot, enabling any laptop, iPod Touch, internet tablet or other Wi-Fi device to connect to the Internet using any compatible mobile phone as a secure high speed Internet gateway.

FonSpot with Wi-Fi will effectively replace Bluetooth, cable and USB dongles to access the Internet using mobile phones and 3G connectivity. The companies describe FonSpot as a fully secure mobile internet HotSpot solution. It makes use of the maximum security offered by the underlying Symbian OS platform. The users have full control over who will be able to access their FonSpot's wireless internet connection.

FonSpot is an exclusive offering for members of the FON community. Foneros will be able to share their mobile Internet connection with up to 5 friends, who can connect to their FonSpot. It will be made commercially available for Foneros during 3Q 2008.

CWA Sets Bargaining Deadline in Verizon Negotiations

The CWA/IBEW Unified Bargaining Committees announced a bargaining deadline for completing contract negotiations with Verizon. That deadline is Monday, Aug. 11, 12:01 am. At that time, the existing contract that was extended last weekend will expire. The union said strike action then becomes possible if a fair settlement is not reached.

Among the critical issues: permanent, quality jobs at Verizon and other job issues, health care and retirement security, a fair wage settlement and others.

The union said a strike date will be set by the two union presidents in consultation with the bargaining committees.

The current contract, which covers 65,000 members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) was slated to expire at midnight on Saturday, August 3rd.