Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nortel Files for Chapter 11

Marking a significant chapter in telecommunications history, 113-year old Nortel Networks filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act ("CCAA") in Canada. Nortel said the filing will enable it to deal with its cost and debt burden, to restructure its operations and to narrow its strategic focus in an effective and timely manner.

Nortel said normal day-to-day operations would continue without interruption. To ensure its supply chain, Nortel has made a special arrangement with Flextronics by which Nortel agreed to purchase US$120 million of existing inventory by July 1, 2009 and to make quarterly purchases of other inventory and to terms relating to payment and pricing..

"Nortel must be put on a sound financial footing once and for all," said Nortel President and CEO Mike Zafirovski. "These actions are imperative so that Nortel can build on its core strengths and become the highly focused and financially sound leader in the communications industry that its people, technology and customer relationships show it ought to be. I am confident that the actions we're announcing today will be the fastest, most effective means to translate our improved operational efficiency, double-digit productivity, focused R&D and technology leadership into long-term success. I want to reaffirm Nortel's dedication to delivering world-class solutions and services to customers." According to industry reports, Nortel currently has about $2.4 billion in cash, a burn rate of $100 million per month and a heavy debt load of $4.5 billion. 14-Jan-09
  • In November, citing a worsening of economic conditions, Nortel 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 called 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, Nortel adopted a vertically integrated business unit structure. This includes one business unit focused on Enterprise customers and two business units focused on Service Providers: 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 was no update at this time on Nortel's review of the potential divestiture of the MEN business.
  • In 2000, the company reached a peak annual revenue rate of $28 billion. At the point, it employed 93,000 and boasted a market capitalization of nearly $250 billion, accounting for one-third the value of the entire Toronto Stock Exchange. Following the bursting of the dot-com bubble, Nortel became embroiled in an accounting fraud that led to prosecution of its key executives.
  • Founded in 1895, Northern Electric and Manufacturing traces its roots back through Bell Canada to Alexander Graham Bell.

Telegent Debuts Single-chip DVB-T + Analog TV Receiver

Telegent Systems, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, introduced a single-chip CMOS hybrid TV receiver for enabling free-to-air TV on personal computers (PCs), laptops, netbooks and other portable devices.

Telegent's new TLG2300 chip supports digital (DVB-T) and analog (PAL/SECAM/NTSC) TV and FM radio, enabling it to be used in markets across the world. In countries transitioning to DVB-T, the TLG2300 combines the benefits of digital TV with the ubiquitous availability of analog, ensuring live TV reception regardless of digital deployment. Support for analog standards extends target markets to countries where there is no imminent digital conversion, which accounts for more than 85% of the world's population through 2012.

Telegent estimates that its TLG2300 reduces power demand by 75%, size by 50% and TV feature cost by 60% relative to existing solutions while delivering industry-leading video sensitivity and picture quality with margin to key NorDig specifications. The thermal profile will enable it to be embedded into laptops and netbooks.

The TLG2300 integrates the RF tuner, demodulator, decoder, audio/video processing, FM stereo radio, and USB 2.0 interface in less than 4.25 cm2 of board space enabling a single-sided, four-layer, half-mini PCIe form factor. Sampling is underway.

"With the technical innovation delivered by the TLG2300, live TV can now become a standard feature in PCs, laptops and other portable devices" said Weijie Yun, president and CEO of Telegent Systems. "TV is a particularly intuitive feature for media-centric devices such as netbooks and MIDs that allows manufacturers to differentiate their products and penetrate non-digital and emerging markets where analog support is required."
  • Telegent Systems was co-founded in 2004 by
    Weijie Yun (CEO) and Samuel Sheng (CTO). Prior to Telegent, Yun led marketing and product management at Berkana Wireless, which developed a single-chip RF CMOS receiver for GSM/GPRS cellular applications. He also served as the founding president & CEO of AIP Networks and was a founder and director of SiTek. Prior to co-founding Telegent Systems, Sam Sheng was at LSI Logic and was responsible for architecting and implementing a series of silicon RF tuners for video-band applications, targeted for cable modems, analog/digital video over cable, and voice over IP as well as highly integrated DVD front-end technologies. Before LSI Logic, Sam co-led the ADSL front-end (AFE) development effort at Datapath Systems.

SanDisk and LGE Develop Storage-Based Services for Mobile Operators

SanDisk and LG Electronics demonstrated a new means for mobile network operators (MNOs) to offer their customers multimedia-rich services using removable flash memory cards. The memory card serves as a network node that is remotely manageable by the operator using industry-standard TCP/IP and OMA Smart Card Web Server.

Using the system, network operators could distribute preloaded and downloaded content on removable memory cards. The accessibility to the premium content is made possible by enabling memory cards to authenticate user credentials via data on the SIM card.

SanDisk and LG Electronics have implemented the technology on the LG KC910 Renoir handset. The companies said their solution brings flexible storage-based services to network operators by allowing IP connectivity to the memory card in the handset.

"With this advanced technology, handset manufacturers and MNOs will be able to meet the increasingly sophisticated demands of consumers who want easy access to premium content on their mobile devices," said Amir Lehr, senior director, business development, SanDisk. "The new LG KC910 Renoir highlights SanDisk's storage-based service delivery technology that is designed to enhance an MNO's ability to facilitate content usage in a flexible manner and lets service providers customize their method of content distribution."

Vodafone Trials HSPA+ Mobile Broadband at of up to 16 Mbps

Vodafone Spain completed a trial of HSPA+ 64QAM technology that delivered actual peak data download rates of up to 16 Mbps. Vodafone now plans to trial mobile broadband data connections with peak rates of up to 21Mbps early in 2009 using HSPA+ MIMO functionality. Vodafone conducted the tests in association with Ericsson and Qualcomm.

Vodafone estimated that the technology would be capable of delivering a typical video download experience of more than 13Mbps in good conditions and an average of more than 4 Mbps across a full range of typical cell locations including urban environments. If the trials prove a success, Vodafone said it plans to make this technology available in selected commercial networks.

Both 64QAM and MIMO features require new HSPA+ mobile broadband devices. Vodafone is working with its device vendors on the trialing, testing and validation of these devices ready for commercial availability.

Top data downlink speeds on Vodafone's network currently reach 7.2 Mbps.

Comstar Soft Launches WiMAX Network in Moscow

Comstar has "soft launched" its 802.16e WiMAX network in Moscow. The full commercial launch of the wireless network using the 2.5-2.7 GHz frequency range and based on Nortel technological solutions is expected to be implemented in the second quarter of 2009. Comstar said it invested approximately US$20 million in the project in 2008.

During the test phase, Comstar's mobile WiMAX network will be free of charge. Subscribers participating in the trial will be charged RUR 4,600.00 for a USB compatible WiMAX adapter, and pre-pay a monthly fee of RUR 200.00 for the first month of use following the full commercial launch of the WiMAX network.

DS2 Supplies Silicon for Buffalo's 200 Mbps Powerline Adapters

Buffalo has implemented DS2´s Aitana chipset to power its new Powerline Communications (PL2-UPA-L1/S) desktop adapter. The powerline adapter uses the already installed AC electricity network and wall sockets to connect network-enabled devices on the home network.

Juniper Supplies EX-series Switches for Australian Integrated Financial Group

Australian Unity, one of Australia's leading integrated financial institutions, has invested in a comprehensive range of Juniper Networks campus solutions which include switching and network security technologies. The deployment includes Juniper Networks EX-series switches, the Secure Access 2500 SSL VPN appliance, Unified Access Control (UAC), the Security Threat Response Manager (STRM) and the Network and Security Manager (NSM).

Allot Wins Fifth Tier 1 Mobile Operator in 2008

Allot Communications announced the addition of a new Tier-1 mobile customer for its deep packet inspection (DPI) platform. The mobile operator services (name not disclosed) over 60 million subscribers. The initial deal includes the Allot Service Gateway (SG) Omega and the Subscriber Management Platform (SMP). The complete solution enables the operator to generate new revenues and increase efficiency and ROI by creating tiered service plans and offering subscribers personalized services.

Digital Lightwave Announces Battery Powered 40G Test Set

Digital Lightwave introduced a battery-powered 40/43Gbps test set that enables technicians to perform tests with or without external power. Battery power also serves to protect the integrity of test results in case of unanticipated power loss during long-term tests.

The units can be equipped with different modules to support SONET/SDH up to 10Gbps, OTN up to 10.7Gbps, Ethernet 10/100/1000BaseT, Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Optical Spectrum Analyzer (OSA), Fibre Channel, DS1/E1/E3/DS3/E4 testing and more. The NIC BP can be equipped with the new Multi-Service Analyzer (MSA) or Ethernet Service Analyzer (ESA) series modules plus PDH/T-Carrier module for a flexible all-in-one testing solution.

Meraki and One Economy Partnership Targets Broadband for Low-Income Families

Meraki, a supplier of Wi-Fi networking solutions, has formed a partnership with One Economy, a global nonprofit organization, to deliver affordable broadband Wi-Fi to more than 100,000 low-income housing families in the United States and around the globe over the next two years.

As part of a multi-year agreement, One Economy will deploy Meraki solutions to low-income communities in every location it provides services, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and eventually throughout the globe. Residents of these housing developments will gain Wi-Fi access using Meraki's technology.

One Economy has already used Meraki's Wi-Fi networking solutions to bring free and low-cost broadband to more than 15,000 low-income people across the United States.

Pacific Crossing Rolls Out Gigabit Ethernet over its Undersea Cable

Pacific Crossing, which operates the PC1 undersea cable across the Pacific, has added Gigabit Ethernet access support for its carrier and ISP customers.
Pacific Crossing's new service allows customers to access the PC-1 network using a standard Gigabit Ethernet interface at the company's four Points-of- Presences in the U.S. and cable landing stations in both the U.S. and Japan. For customers in Japan, Pacific Crossing also has the ability to offer access directly to a customer's premise through a domestic partner network.

Pacific Crossing's Gigabit Ethernet service offers a standard Gigabit level port for customers and flexible bandwidth subscription options in increments of 155Mbps (STM-1). Customers may scale up their bandwidth subscriptions quickly and seamlessly during their contract period. Additional subscription options to cater for seasonal or event-specific demand are available on a case-by-case basis.

TeliaSonera Picks Ericsson and Huawei for LTE Rollout

Anticipating a commercial 4G service launch in 2010, TeliaSonera has selected Ericsson for the initial 4G city network in Stockholm and Huawei for the initial 4G city network in Oslo. An evaluation of suppliers for TeliaSonera's 4G networks in the Nordic and Baltic countries is still in progress. TeliaSonera's 4G/LTE system is based on 3GPP standards for Long Term Evolution (LTE) radio technology and System Architecture Evolution (SAE) core technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ericsson noted that this contract represents its first for commercial deployment of LTE. Ericsson is supplying TeliaSonera with an LTE system (4G), including LTE Radio Base stations, which are part of the new RBS6000 series, an Evolved Packet Core network and mobile backhaul solution including Redback's SmartEdge 1200 routers and the latest EDA multi-access aggregation switch. The LTE system is based on 3GPP standards for Long Term Evolution (LTE) radio technology and System Architecture Evolution (SAE) core technology. Ericsson will also perform network implementation services and will manage the network during the initial operation period. The agreement also includes a long-standing partnership where both parties will jointly evolve the way consumers use mobile broadband with LTE.

Huawei said it will supply an environmentally friendly end-to-end LTE solution including LTE base stations, core network and OSS (Operating Support System) covering Oslo. Huawei also provides services including network design, implementation, systems integration and support.

U.S. Stimulus Bill Includes Rural Broadband

The $825 billion economic stimulus package being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives will provide $6 billion in wireless and broadband grants. Specifically, the proposed bill (a.k.a. the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009) provides $6 billion for broadband and wireless services in underserved areas to strengthen the economy and provide business and job opportunities in every section of America with benefits to e-commerce, education, and health-care. The bills proponents said that every dollar invested in broadband the economy sees a ten-fold return on that investment.

Outgoing FCC Chairman to take Fellowship at the Aspen Institute

FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin announced his resignation from the Federal Communications Commission, effective January 20, 2009. Martin has taken a new position as a Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C.

He is the fourth consecutive FCC chair to accept this fellowship after ending the chairmanship, including Reed Hundt and Michael Powell.

Chairman Martin stated that his philosophy during his tenure at the FCC "has been to pursue deregulation while paying close attention to its impact on consumers and the particulars of a given market, to balance deregulation with consumer protection." He stated that he "approached his decisions with a fundamental belief that a robust, competitive marketplace, not
regulation, is ultimately the best protector of the public interest and the best method of delivering
the benefits of choice, innovation, and affordability to American consumers."

Martin was nominated by President George W. Bush to a Republican seat on the Commission, and was sworn in on July 3, 2001. He was designated chairman by President Bush on March 18, 2005. Chairman Martin was re-nominated for a second term as commissioner and chairman by President George W. Bush on April 25, 2006.