Thursday, October 2, 2008

Freescale Sharpens its Focus -- Considers Sales of Cellular Chipset Business

Freescale Semiconductor will sharpen its strategic focus on automotive and networking markets, where it is a leading supplier of automotive microcontrollers, communication processors and radio frequency (RF) integrated circuits (ICs) technology. It will also increase its efforts and investments in the industrial and consumer markets that utilize Freescale's microcontrollers, microprocessors, application-specific processors, analog, power and sensor ICs.

Freescale also said it will explore strategic options for its cellular handset chipset products business. The company intends to complete a sale, joint venture agreement or other transformation in the coming months. The company's cellular handset products business includes baseband processors, RF transceivers, power management/audio, software and platforms for the cellular handset market.

The company also announced it has updated its arrangement with Motorola whereby Motorola agreed to provide certain consideration in exchange for eliminating their remaining minimum purchase commitments.

Verizon Hosts Forum on Network Specifications

Verizon is preparing to host its 14th Annual Forum on Network Hardware Specifications, Standards and Testing this week in Orlando, Florida.

This year, new "topologies," or network design parameters, will be among the central topics of discussion. New network designs must reflect the growing use of fiber optics and other systems in delivering nontraditional services like video and multimedia content over transformed networks.

"Verizon is focused on the energy efficiency, service quality, reliability and environmental impact of the networks we build and rebuild, so we take communications with our suppliers about the performance we expect of them and their equipment very seriously," said Chuck Graff, conference founder and director of NEBS compliance and quality assurance for Verizon. "This year, 250 participants from nine countries, representing more than 80 manufacturers and testing labs, will meet and commit to working with us to more quickly deploy the highest-quality, most efficient gear possible."

Deutsche Telekom Cites Concern over Data Theft

Deutsche Telekom acknowledged an incident involving the theft of 17 million mobile telephone numbers.

The incident of data theft dates back to 2006 and has the attention of the public prosecutors' office. According to the magazine Der Spiegel, a storage device with 17 million mobile telephone data records is in the hands of unknown parties. The data relate to both prepay and postpay customers. Apart from names, addresses and cell phone numbers, the data, in some cases, also include the date of birth or e-mail addresses. The records do not contain bank details, credit card numbers or call data. Deutsche Telekom has no evidence to confirm that the records have led to harassment of users in 2006 or subsequent years, or that they have otherwise been misused by unauthorized parties.

Deutsche Telekom said it reported the theft to the responsible public prosecutors' office in the spring of 2006. Within the scope of their investigations, the public prosecutors' office was able to recover storage media. Extensive research conducted over several months on the Internet and in data trading places could not reveal any clues indicating that the data had been offered or disseminated on the black market. Owing to this, Deutsche Telekom assumed that there would be no dissemination of the data. However, Der Spiegel was apparently able to access the data in question via third parties.

"We are very concerned by the fact that the incident from 2006 is relevant once again. Until now, we were under the assumption that the data in question had been recovered completely as part of the investigations of the public prosecutors' office and were safe," said Philipp Humm, Managing Director at T-Mobile Deutschland. "Notwithstanding the fact that the culprits have been at work with a tremendous criminal potential, we earnestly regret to say that we have not been able to protect our customer data in line with our standards."

BT launches Etherflow Ethernet Business Service

BT officially launched "Etherflow" -- an Ethernet-based business connectivity service offering scaleable bandwidth and purchasable a month at a time. The service runs over BT's 21st Century Network (21CN).

At launch, Etherflow offers speeds from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps to customers within reach of 106 core and access nodes that cover all the major business centres across the UK. By March 2009, the range of speeds will have been extended to range from 2 Mbps to1 Gbps and the number access nodes will have been increased to over 600. By the end of 2009, it is expected that the service will be available from 1,000 21CN access nodes in the UK. BT also has plans to roll out Etherflow internationally from 2009 onwards.

With Etherflow, customers can choose from standard or premium traffic classes depending on the needs of their applications and can configure the service themselves using an online self-service portal.

Royston Hoggarth, CEO BT Global Services UK, said: "Our customers are demanding faster and cheaper Ethernet services with the performance and functionality to meet all their networked IT services needs. We have been providing Ethernet services for more than 17 years, supporting an installed base of more than 33,000 connections and employ experts who play leading roles in the development of Ethernet standards.

Alcatel-Lucent Develops More Efficient Distribution Models for Utilities

Alcatel-Lucent is working with a number of major energy suppliers on delivering smart grids -- networks that provide enhanced visibility of energy flows, more granular control of energy, pro-active real-time monitoring and enabling rapid and accurate reaction to disruption of supply when it occurs. At the Next Generation Utilities conference, which took place last week in Evian, France, Alcatel-Lucent said networking technology could help energy utilities better manage the supply and demand of energy.

Francois Loubry, Vice President of Energy in Alcatel-Lucent's Services business, told the conference that the move to a distributed generation of supply was being encouraged by increased regulatory emphasis for renewable energy. Changing patterns in energy demand also are fostering the movement.

To deliver more accurate data on consumption and supply, efficient IT systems and communications are now priorities for energy suppliers. Alcatel-Lucent has already engaged with a number of major suppliers in creating smart grids.

TI Introduces RF range extender for 2.4-GHz Low-power Networks

Texas Instruments introduced a radio frequency (RF) range extender for 2.4-GHz wireless applications, such as ZigBee networks, wireless sensor networks and industrial, consumer and audio equipment. The CC2590 extends range up to eight times the line-of-sight by integrating a power amplifier for improved typical output power of +12 dBm and a low-noise amplifier for improved receiver sensitivity of +6 dB.

In addition to a power amplifier and low-noise amplifier, the CC2590 integrates switches, RF-matching, inductors and balun. Suggested resale pricing starts at $2.25 in 1,000-piece quantities.

ITALTEL Launches New Suite of Service Enablers

At last week's Broadband Forum in Brussels, Italtel introduced new Service Enablers that allow mash up of information and data retrieved from different networks for creation of brand new services or enhancement of emerging services based on presence and group management functionalities.

The new Service Enablers Suite, which includes the Italtel Presence Server, Italtel Group and List Management Service Enabler, and the Italtel Aggregation Proxy, provide a unified service layer . This builds on "The Service Box" concept, which Italtel introduced last year at BBWF Europe 2007.

  • Italtel Presence Server (i-PS) -- the enabler responsible for managing real-time information regarding user availability, capability, and willingness to communicate. It aggregates presence information from a broad range of sources, including devices, network elements and applications, as well as external presence providers.

  • Italtel Group and List Management Service Enabler (i-GLM) -- the enabler responsible for storing, maintaining and managing group information (such as contact lists, group lists and access lists) in a central (network-based) location. Group information, represented through XML documents, can be reused and shared across multiple applications and services.

  • Italtel Aggregation Proxy (i-AP) -- the front-end for accessing enabler's specific and shared XDMS over http based interfaces; it provides authentication and TLS support for the XDM clients accessing XDM servers.

Italtel said its strategy aims at creating a unified service platform capable of supporting and optimizing management and delivery of telephone services and innovative multimedia services, suitable for all types of users.

"The convergence of Telco and IT is radically reshaping business models and competitive borders, creating a continually-changing scenario for both products and services," said Franco Serio, CTO at Italtel. "Italtel's strategy in the Service Layer enables full and seamless Telco/IT/Internet convergence and adoption of open business models in the telecom. The key benefits deriving from the adoption of this new business and architectural model are: greater coherence in networks
architecture, optimization and integration; possibility to handle in an easier way the complexity of service creation, orchestration and deployment; greater efficiency and efficacy in service creation and deployment."

TIA Urges FCC to Ensure New Rules Allow Advanced Cordless Phones to Operate

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has called upon the FCC to amend frequency rules so that advanced cordless phones can continue to operate in the AWS H Block after the FCC adopts rules for this spectrum.

The TIA argues that a change in Part 15 frequency limits is required so that cordless phones may continue to operate if the FCC changes H Block rules as it currently proposes. Cordless phones and other Unlicensed Personal Communications Services (UPCS) devices currently operate in a designated band (the UPCS band) with regulatory flexibility so that new cordless technologies can be advanced. However, TIA made clear, the FCC's proposed H Block rules will render cordless phones in the UPCS Band inoperable without changing frequency rules for UPCS devices. The FCC should, TIA argued, eliminate the threshold requirement associated with the "least interfered-channel rule" in Part 15, and reduce the minimum number of channels to be monitored under the least interfered-channel rules from 40 to 20.

U.S. Bailout Bill Extends R&D Credits

The financial bailout bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Bush last week (H.R. 1424 - Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008) includes retroactive extension of a two-year extension of the R&D Credit through the end of 2009. The package included an increase in the Alternative Simplified Credit from 12% to 14% beginning in 2009.

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) hailed the inclusion of this provision, which had been sought by many companies in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry.

"We will continue to work next year toward a permanent R&D Credit," said TIA Vice President for Government Affairs Danielle Coffey, "but TIA is pleased that the Congress has acted to reinstate the credit for the entirety of 2008 and through 2009 with an expanded Alternative Simplified Credit limit."