Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nokia Siemens Networks Updates Job Cut Plan

Nokia Siemens Networks outlined the proposed remaining headcount reductions following the merger of Nokia and Siemens last year. When the plan to form Nokia Siemens Networks was announced on June 19, 2006, Nokia and Siemens said that they expected the merger to result in a headcount adjustment in the range of 10-15 percent of the global workforce. In May of 2007, Nokia Siemens Networks confirmed that it expected the adjustment to remain within that range, at approximately 9,000 employees. To date, the company has achieved an adjustment of more than 6,000 employees and continues to expect a total synergy-related adjustment of approximately 9,000 employees.

In May 2007, Nokia Siemens Networks announced that it expected a reduction of 1,500‑1,700 employees in Finland, not including the transfer of employees to trusted partners. To date, the company has achieved approximately 500 reductions through its active restructuring process, with substantially all through the use of voluntary severance packages. Headcount in Finland has been further reduced through natural attrition and the transfer of employees to trusted partners. Nokia Siemens Networks is now proposing a maximum reduction need in the range of 750 employees in Finland, bringing the planned total reductions through active restructuring to less than 1,300. At the completion of the planned synergy-related headcount restructuring activities, Nokia Siemens Networks expects to have in the range of 7,000 employees in Finland, from an initial base of approximately 9,200.

In Germany, Nokia Siemens Networks announced in May 2007 that it was targeting active reductions in the range of 2,800-2,900 and reached agreement with employee representatives on an initial reduction of 2,300, which was completed on May 28, 2008. Since then, a further assessment of the business impact of merger-related synergy requirements, corresponding organizational and portfolio changes, and continued challenging telecommunications market conditions have shown the need for further reductions, primarily in the company's Munich Hofmannstrasse site.

As a result, the company has no alternative but to discontinue its activities at the Hofmannstrasse site. The proposed reduction will affect approximately 500 employees and is planned to be completed by the end of October 2009. The company's information technology organization located at Tölzer Strasse in Munich will not be impacted as that facility is subject to a long-planned separation from the Hofmannstrasse site.

Juniper Introduces Data Center Switching Infrastructure

Juniper Networks introduced a data center switching solution that leverages its EX series Ethernet switches, high-densities of 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports, JUNOS operating software and "virtualized chassis" technology. Essentially, the new data switching solution aims to remove an entire tier of aggregation switches and supporting security platforms typically seen in today's mid-to-large sized corporate data centers.

Juniper achieves this by allowing up to ten 48-port EX 4200 switches to be logically aggregated into a single virtual switch. This saves interconnect and uplink ports, as well as eliminates the need to deploy the typical panoply of security appliances. A single SRX-series platform can now serve this role. Juniper estimates its data center architecture can significantly reduce network complexity and total cost of ownership by up to 52 percent in capital expenditures, up to 44 percent in power, up to 44 percent in cooling and up to 55 percent in rack space.

In addition, by deploying Juniper MX-series edge routers, IP/MPLS Layer 3 VPNs can be mapped via the EX switches directly to individual servers in the data center. Mirroring and back-up applications can also be mapped via VPNs to secondary data centers.
  • In January 2008, Juniper Networks unveiled a new family of Ethernet switches running on its JUNOS software and designed to meet the technical, business and economic requirements of a service-enabling network infrastructure. The new EX-series, which includes three Ethernet switching families, the EX 3200, 4200 and 8200, are based on three key tenets -- operational simplicity, carrier-class reliability, and integration and consolidation.

    The EX 3200 series switches are fixed-configuration Ethernet platforms offering a simple, cost-effective, standalone solution for low-density regional and corporate office deployments. Installed in wiring closets to provide network access, the 24- and 48-port EX 3200 switches offer plug-and-play 10/100/1000BASE-T connectivity. Full and partial Power over Ethernet (PoE) options are available for supporting IP-enabled devices such as telephones, security cameras and WLAN access points. Optional four-port GbE and two-port 10GbE uplink modules with pluggable optics are also available for supporting high-speed connections to other switches or upstream devices such as routers.

    The Juniper EX 4200 series

    The EX 4200 series Ethernet switches with Virtual-Chassis technology combine modular systems capabilities with the economics and flexibility of stackable platforms. Target applications include data center, corporate and regional office environments.

    Like the EX 3200 switches, EX 4200 series switches offer 24- and 48-port 10/100/1000BASE-T configurations with full and partial PoE and optional GbE and 10GbE uplink modules, plus a 24-port fiber switch offering 100/1000BASE-X support.

    The Virtual Chassis technology allows up to 10 EX 4200 series switches to be interconnected over a 128 Gbps backplane, creating a single virtual switch supporting up to 480 10/100/1000BASE-T ports and up to 40 GbE or 20 10GbE uplink ports. All EX 4200 series switches include HA features such as redundant, hot-swappable internal power supplies and field-replaceable, multi-blower fan trays to help deliver maximum uptime.

    The Juniper EX 8200 series

    The modular EX 8200 series Terabit Ethernet switches are aimed at high-density 10GbE enterprise core and aggregation deployments. Juniper will offer two EX 8200 series switches -- an eight-slot 1.6 Terabit Chassis and a 16-slot 3.2 terabit Chassis.

    The EX 8200 switches will feature enterprise-class routing tables and deep, hardware-based packet buffers. Wire-speed 10GbE port densities will scale to 64 ports in the eight-slot chassis and 128 ports in the 16-slot chassis. Two fully-equipped 16-slot EX 8200 switches will fit in a single 42-unit rack, delivering 256 wire-speed 10GbE ports per rack.

Nortel Announces Q3 Numbers, Job Cuts, Reorganization

Citing a worsening of economic conditions since its last financial update in September, Nortel issued its Q3 financial report and confirmed plans for further job cuts.

Revenue in the third quarter of $2.32 billion decreased 14 percent year over year and down 1 percent on a year-to-date basis. The decline compared to the year ago quarter resulted from a challenging economic environment, competitive pressures and reduced spending by key carrier customers.

Plans call for the reduction of approximately 1,300 positions, with about 25 percent of the net reduction taking place in 2008 and the remainder in 2009. This is expected to result in annual gross savings of approximately $190 million, with total charges to earnings and cash outlays of approximately $130 million. In addition to deeper cuts in spending, the company is considering possible sales of its real estate holdings.

Effective January 1, 2009, Nortel will decentralize several corporate functions and transition to a vertically integrated business unit structure. This includes:

  • Enterprise customers will be served by a highly focused and dedicated business unit that will drive product and portfolio development, R&D, marketing and sales, partner and channel management, strategic business development and associated functions. Led by Joel Hackney it will include the entire communications solutions portfolio (voice, data and unified communications), advanced software and the associated value-added services and solutions.

  • Two business units with full responsibility for all product, services, applications, portfolio, business and market development, marketing and R&D functions will serve Nortel's Service Provider customers: Carrier Networks (consisting of wireless and carrier value-added activities), led by Richard Lowe; and Metro Ethernet Networks, led by Philippe Morin. A dedicated global carrier sales organization will support both business units, led by Darryl Edwards.

There is no update at this time on Nortel's review of the potential divestiture of the MEN business.

ShoreTel Expands its UC Suite with Conferencing and Collaboration Tools

ShoreTel has extended its Pure IP Unified Communications (UC) solutions by integrating its enhanced ShoreTel Converged Conferencing 7.1 solution with the ShoreTel 8.1 Call Manager. The combination lets users quickly host meet-me audio and web conferences, chat securely via IM, and instantly share documents -- all with a single mouse click from the same interface they use for voice communications. ShoreTel Converged Conferencing 7.1 also encrypts the instant messaging flow between enterprise users, ensuring proprietary information is safe from exposure to the open Internet.

ShoreTel Converged Conferencing 7.1 creates a single vendor solution for ad hoc collaboration, providing enterprise-grade audio, Web conferencing and secure Instant Messaging.

"In this challenging economic environment, companies are looking for communications solutions that can help them reduce costs while delivering enterprise-grade security and reliability. Today, our customers can affordably extend the tools they use for voice calls to conferencing and collaboration -- simplifying their communications, increasing productivity, and significantly driving down costs by eliminating the expense of a hosted service," stated Kevin Gavin, Vice President of Marketing, ShoreTel.

Motorola Offers IPTV Ecosystem Integration and Support Service

Motorola will begin offering an IPTV Ecosystem Integration and Support Service to help service providers design, deploy and integrate IPTV systems. The IPTV services suite can help tailor an IPTV deployment for the needs of each service provider. Motorola' said its professional design, installation and integration services can enable seamless integration with existing network infrastructure and fast rollout of new, high-quality service offerings. Benefits include:

  • Streamlined operations - A single point of contact and accountability for solution design, deployment and integration across partners and platforms.

  • Lower costs - Eliminating the need for dedicated resources reduces costs on deployment and integration for service providers.

  • Quality assurance - Optimizing operations and ensuring service quality can ultimately increase customer loyalty.

Nokia Launches Public Pilot to Gather Traffic Data using GPS-Enabled Mobile Devices

Nokia launches Mobile Millennium, a public pilot that will collect and study traffic data received from GPS-enabled mobile devices, such as the Nokia N96, Nokia N95 and Nokia E71. Based in part on the results of an earlier experiment, Nokia believes that a community of users with GPS-equipped mobile devices can help reduce traffic and the amount of time spent on the road. Providing real-time information about traffic congestion helps drivers make more informed decisions - such as whether to take alternative routes, public transport or reschedule their journey.

Nokia Research Center is collaborating with UC Berkeley's California Center for Innovative Transportation (CCIT), the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and NAVTEQ to design, execute and analyze the traffic system. The project is being funded in part by a grant award from the US Department of Transportation under the SafeTrip-21 initiative.

Using GPS-enabled mobile devices can provide a rich source of traffic data without the need to invest in expensive new infrastructure. Traffic flow data can be expanded to include city side streets, rural roads or any roadway where a cell phone can get a signal. The Mobile Millennium traffic data is based in part on the backbone technology of NAVTEQ Traffic, which provides nation-wide aggregated traffic data in the US from a variety of sources, now including real-time data from GPS-enabled mobile phones in vehicles traveling on the highways.

Participation in Mobile Millennium is open to anyone with a GPS-enabled mobile phone from a range of manufacturers, an unlimited data plan and the ability to install and run Java applications. The Java application enables participants to receive real-time traffic data and incident reports for main thoroughfares throughout much of the United States. In the Northern California area, a number of arterials and highways that are not currently equipped with sensors will begin to show traffic data as more users join the network. While the user-generated content is completely anonymous, each data point contributes a piece to the traffic picture which can benefit the entire user community. The pilot will operate over four to six months and up to 10 000 members of the public community can participate.

"The global proliferation of GPS-enabled mobile devices has driven tremendous growth in location-based experiences" said Henry Tirri, Vice President and Head of Nokia Research Center. "Mobile Millennium, with its unique collaboration of private and public stakeholders, is designed to demonstrate that everyone can help address problems such as traffic congestion. Nokia is proud to be part of this research."http://traffic.berkeley.edu

Telefónica selects Alcatel-Lucent for UC in Spain

Telefónica named Alcatel-Lucent as the sole supplier to deliver mailbox services in Spain making use of a single next generation multi-service platform. In addition to supporting the voice, video and fax mailbox services already implemented in Telefónica's networks, Alcatel-Lucent's solution will enable new, advanced messaging services such as: visual voice mail, where voice mail messages can be seen on screen, eliminating the need to dial in and listen to messages in sequence; and speech-to-text, where voice messages are converted to SMS or email. Alcatel-Lucent's solution will allow Telefónica to assign different profiles for each customer and launch segmented offers with special features targeted at consumers, enterprise users (with combined mailboxes for fixed and mobile services) and for mobile virtual network operators, all using a single platform. The companies said the platform can operate across all of Telefónica networks, both fixed and mobile, and support circuit, packet and IMS technologies as well as virtually any device subscribers would like to use to check their messages. Alcatel-Lucent will also provide project management, application and software integration skills for this solution. Additional professional services provided as part of the overall solution include installation, deployment and migration support of the various existing solutions to the new multi-service platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Alcatel-Lucent Develops "Sustainable Power" Professional Services Suite

Alcatel-Lucent will begin offering a professional service to help mobile and wireline service providers, independent telecommunications providers, government agencies, corporations, municipalities and campuses implement eco-friendly, sustainable network energy solutions in order to reduce their current energy consumption and costs.

The Alcatel-Lucent "Sustainable Power" practice is a multi-vendor solution designed for. It ranges from detailed power and battery assessment, grounding survey, power design order, equipment engineering, material sourcing services, equipment installation and equipment and battery removal and disposition. The solution also supports planning and design services, which mitigate the risk of a network outage, and business contingency plans when implementing network power solutions.

Alcatel-Lucent will now offer the following services:

  • Energy assessment service to analyze existing network power infrastructure and upgrade current systems to meet new environmental requirements

  • Expanded multi-vendor power product and services portfolio with alternative energy systems including wind, solar and fuel cell

  • Expanded equipment removal service that includes recycling capabilities to dispose of assets in a eco-friendly way that complies with U.S. federal and local regulations

"Today, energy consumption is a global business challenge dramatically impacting the bottom-line of virtually every organization. We believe energy system assessments and improvements will be critical to maintaining a competitive advantage in an era where resources are increasingly expensive and constrained," stated Andy Williams, President of Alcatel-Lucent's Services business activities.

AT&T Unveils VideoCrawler Search Engine

AT&T launched a public beta of VideoCrawler, a free Web site for people to search for, organize and share online videos and other multimedia content. Developed in collaboration with Divvio, VideoCrawler indexes hundreds of millions of video clips from thousands of sites, with new sites and millions of clips added every day. The site will be financial supported through banner adverstising.

"We want to do everything possible to connect customers to the content they want, and today more than ever, what they want online is social media," said Sean O'Leary, vice president, AT&T Business Development. "With thousands of popular video Web sites, it's become more and more challenging to find, sort and manage all of the best clips that are out there. That's exactly what we're working to solve with VideoCrawler by allowing users to search from an index of the most popular media sources from across the Web."

Texas Instruments Targets Multimedia-rich Features in Next Gen Phones

Texas Instruments is introducing a next gen IP phone platform capable of supporting rich multimedia capabilities, like streaming video, touch screen interfaces and advanced productivity applications. Specifically, TI's TNETV107x family will include the company's TMS320C64x+TM digital signal processor (DSP) and take advantage of a wide-range of TI silicon and software solutions to allow equipment manufacturers to develop a broad portfolio of BOM (bill of materials) optimized IP phones, ranging from reduced cost phones to full featured executive IP phones.

TI is also making available its Modular Open Voice Engine (MOVE) software, a highly optimized system software architecture that meets next-generation processing requirements for a broad range of IP-enabled devices utilizing a field-proven voice engine. For IP phones, TI's MOVE software equips customers with a powerful tool that allows them the option to add their own software in addition to what TI already provides. To best support the feature rich IP phones developed by OEMs, TI's new IP phone family will leverage a 3D graphics accelerator for advanced GUI (Graphical User Interface) displays, low-power consumption, support for wideband voice, advanced networking and a portable and flexible software engine that is scalable across TI's multimedia platforms.

Texas Instruments said the communications industry is now on the cusp of a significant shift in the IP phone user experience. TI envisions ergonomically designed, wired and wireless, low-power devices that offer colorful 3-D graphical displays that quickly connect users to Web-based applications with a simple touch of a screen, making their work experience easier, faster, greener and more personalized. The company also anticipates that application developers enabled by open software platforms will create new tools that allow enterprises to seamlessly access customer data, manage real-time communications or simply check calendar appointments all on a single converged device. IP phone users will also have an opportunity to experience unparalleled lifelike voice quality with high definition voice capabilities, bringing their customers and partners closer together.

TI has shipped nearly over 850 million VoIP ports to date for the IP phone, customer premise equipment (CPE) gateway and high-density infrastructure markets.

Marvell's Packet Processor Supports up to Four 10GbE Ports with Encryption

Marvell introduced its Prestera 98X2220 multiport 10Gb Ethernet (GbE) media access control/physical layer (MAC/PHY) packet processor designed to enable deployment of secure 10Gb Ethernet links in mission critical networks such as those used in the financial, defense and healthcare sectors. The device features 4 ports of 10GbE and support for line rate packet encryption and decryption capabilities.

Marvell said its Prestera 98X2220 offers one of the lowest incremental power consumption rates per gigabit of encrypted/decrypted traffic -- less than 800mW per 10GbE port. Furthermore, compliance with IEEE 802.1AE standard is anticipated to ensure compatibility with existing network security solutions and IT network monitoring tools. By maintaining authentication of networked devices and providing integrity and robustness to unsecured protocols, the Prestera 98X2220 is expected to reduce the risk of virus/worm propagation as well as Denial of Service or IP Spoofing attacks.

Virgin Mobile USA Reaches 5.2 million customers, up 6% YoY

During the third quarter of 2008, Virgin Mobile USA's net service revenue was $305.0 million, an increase of 1% versus the same period last year. Adjusted EBITDA in the third quarter of 2008 was $27.5 million, an increase of 61% compared to Adjusted EBITDA of $17.0 million in the third quarter of 2007.

During the third quarter, Virgin Mobile USA closed the acquisition of Helio, a joint venture between SK Telecom and EarthLink, and financial results for Helio are included in Virgin Mobile USA's results beginning on August 22, 2008.

Gross additions (or new Virgin Mobile USA customers who activated their accounts) during the third quarter of 2008 totaled 821,491, up 8% from 759,927 in the third quarter of 2007. Gross additions for the first nine months of 2008 were 2,345,436, down 3% from 2,426,919 in the first nine months of 2007, due to the current economic conditions and their impact on consumer behavior. The company cited encouraging results with its newly launched service plans.

The company's cost per gross addition (CPGA) for the third quarter of 2008 was $105.86, compared to CPGA of $127.35 in the third quarter of 2007. CPGA for the first nine months of 2008 was $111.50, compared to $108.10 in the first nine months of 2007. Virgin Mobile USA CPGA in the third quarter benefited from a reduction in marketing spend following investments in its new service plans in the first half of the year.

Average monthly customer turnover, or churn for the three months and nine months ended September 30, 2008 was 5.5% and 5.4%, respectively, compared with 4.9% for both the three and nine month periods ended September 30, 2007.

As of September 30, 2008, the company had approximately 5.2 million customers, an increase of 6% over September 30, 2007, reflecting, in part, the acquisition of Helio. The increase in churn was as a result of normal churn patterns that occur after new plans are implemented and was within our expectations.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) for the third quarter of 2008 was $20.19, reflecting a 2% decline from the prior year's third quarter ARPU of $20.59, and an increase of 5% from the second quarter of 2008. ARPU for the first nine months of 2008 was $19.82, a 7% decline compared to $21.31 for the same period last year. ARPU in the first three and nine months of 2007 benefited from the launch of our hybrid plans in the second half of 2006. The sequential growth in ARPU from $19.32 in the second quarter was the result of continued adoption of the new higher cost plans as well as the impact of our recent acquisition of Helio.