Wednesday, January 21, 2009

AIRCOM Launches Intelligent Optimization Service for Mobile Operators

AIRCOM International introduced a new platform that analyzes and optimizes cellular network performance, detects network problems and limitations, and reduces capital expenditures for network growth and 3G migration.

The key components of the AIRCOM IQ toolset include: a hardware audit that analyzes network and planning data and consolidates datasets, identifying missing and incomplete information; a measurement collection function that uses customer mobile measurement reports to characterise network performance and build analysis; an automated and flexible analysis toolset that detects network problems (e.g. swapped sectors, faulty transceivers, etc.); and automatic optimization that enhances performance by improving the configuration of the network.

AIRCOM said its new IQ optimization service would help mobile operators address the need for efficient optimization and management of their network infrastructure. Changes in business conditions, such as spectrum refarming and sharing, mean that 2G networks need to be revisited quickly and efficiently. AIRCOM IQ uses mobile measurement reports to determine 2G network performance as seen by terminals and for all users, both indoor and outdoor. Using a combination of switch and probe measurements, the AIRCOM solution provides optimization that is both accurate and simple. While the initial functionality of AIRCOM IQ is geared toward 2G networks, future enhancements will include 3G and 4G optimization, antenna reconfiguration, capacity management that leverages traffic information to provide new insights on user locations, parameter optimization and LTE/HSPA+ optimization.

"With 2G technologies still generating most of the revenue for operators and these networks requiring continuous optimization to respond to subscriber growth, AIRCOM IQ offers an ideal solution to reduce network-oriented operational expenditures through increased optimisation efficiency, capacity gains and better traffic management," said Marty Smuin, president of the Americas for AIRCOM International. "By creating efficient services that guarantee 2G performance improvements, operators can focus their operating expenditures on 3G and 4G technologies, new service offerings and network infrastructure growth."

AIRCOM IQ will be available from March 2009.

Cable&Wireless Rolls out Multi-Services in India

Cable&Wireless has received all the necessary security clearances from the Government of India's Department of Telecommunications to launch advanced IP-based solutions delivered directly by Cable&Wireless in India.

The company will offer Managed IP Services, such as Ethernet-based solutions, value-added communications applications, and International Private Leased Circuits (IPLCs), to multi-national and local customers. Cable&Wireless has set up its own International gateways (two in Mumbai and two in Chennai) and has received the Lawful Interception and Monitoring Solution (LIMS) clearances. Cable&Wireless has been offering virtual private network-based (VPN) services such as Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS), IP- VPN QoS, ATM etc since February 2008, when it was first awarded the International Long Distance and National Long Distance licenses.

Veraz Announces Nortel DMS Replacement Program

Veraz Networks announced a program for replacing Nortel's legacy DMS circuit switches to quickly migrate to a next-generation IP network powered by Veraz's MGN portfolio.

Veraz's program will help Nortel customers migrate traffic from their legacy infrastructure while simultaneously putting in place a cost-effective next-generation IP platform that scales to handle new traffic and services. Veraz said it is launching the program in light of Nortel's recent bankruptcy filing and shift in focus toward enterprise customers.

Veraz noted that over 100 wireline and wireless service providers worldwide already use its MGN portfolio.

WiMAX Forum Sets up Global Roaming Program

The WiMAX Forum is establishing a Global Roaming Program that allows operators and vendors to obtain the information required to establish WiMAX roaming services. The WIMAX Forum Global Roaming program, which is now live, includes several documents for WiMAX Forum member companies implementing roaming services, including technical specifications, a test plan, a roaming contract template and a guide to follow when implementing roaming.

"Member companies have yet another tool to facilitate the advancement of their WiMAX technology innovations and make 4G a seamless experience for customers," said John Dubois, Global Roaming Director of WiMAX Forum. "We are already beginning to see how WiMAX technology will drastically improve the next-generation of broadband applications and services, and this roaming readiness program is another example of how the WiMAX ecosystem is working to extend the availability of services to subscribers."

The WiMAX Forum noted that there are more than 407 WiMAX deployments in 133 countries.

Freescale Draws $184 Million Under Revolving Credit Agreement

Freescale Semiconductor has received approximately $184 million by making a draw under its $750 million revolving credit facility under its Credit Agreement, which expires in 2012.

"This action improves the company's financial flexibility as we continue to execute our business plans," said Alan Campbell, senior vice president and chief financial officer.

The company had cash and cash equivalents totaling approximately $1.4 billion at the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2008. The company's revolving credit facility includes a $60 million commitment from Lehman Commercial Paper, Inc., which filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 5, 2008. The company's borrowing request was not honored by Lehman Commercial Paper. The company previously received $460 million under its revolving credit facility in Oct. 2008 and has approximately $23 million in letters of credit outstanding under the revolving credit facility.

T-Mobile Set to Launch G1 Android Phone in Europe

Following the successful market launch of this unique handset in the United States and the United Kingdom,

T-Mobile is now launching the T-Mobile G1 Android phone in Germany -- as well as Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland and the Netherlands. The handset is available exclusively from T-Mobile for as little as EUR 1 with a qualifying two-year service plan.

Joachim Horn Steps Down as CTO of T-Mobile International

Joachim Horn will step down as Chief Technology Officer and Member of the Executive Committee at T-Mobile International at the end of March to pursue a new professional opportunity outside of Germany. A successor for him will be announced in the near future.

During his tenure at T-Mobile Joachim Horn was responsible for realizing a large scale network modernization in the core, radio and service platforms. He also laid the foundation for a successful Mobile Broadband business at T-Mobile by introducing both HSPA and Edge in the European networks. He also served as GSMA board member and was the chairman of the GSMA strategy committee.

Qualcomm Appoints New Head for FLO TV

Qualcomm has appointed Bill Stone as the new senior vice president and president of FLO TV, replacing Gina Lombardi who has led FLO TV for the past three years. Most recently, Stone held the position of chief executive officer for Handango. Before that, Stone was president of Amp'd Mobile, where he was responsible for the company's strategy, planning and operations, technology, marketing, sales, content and business development.

BT to take £340 Million Charge for Global Services Unit

BT will take a one-off financial charge of £340 million to write down the value of its BT Global Services (BTGS) unit. The company said the rest of its business units are performing ahead of financial expectations with EBITDA for rest of group expected to be up 5% over the same period last year.

"The first job of the new management team in Global Services and the new group finance director has been to review the financial position of Global Services and its major contracts. These ongoing reviews reflect changed circumstances and a more cautious view of the delivery of cost efficiencies and contract performance, particularly in the light of the current economic climate. We have also initiated a review of Global Services' operations which will help us drive our cost savings initiatives and further enhance our ability to serve customers. BT remains committed to the success of Global Services and I believe these changes will create a stronger business that can deliver positive cash flow and excellent customer service," stated Ian Livingston, Chief Executive of BT.
  • In October 2008, BT cut its financial outlook citing trouble with its Global Services unit. The company announced that Fran├žois Barrault had resigned as Chief Executive, BT Global Services and as a BT Group plc Board director on October 30th. He has been replaced by Hanif Lalani, currently Group Finance Director.

Nokia Expects 10% Decline in Devices, 5% Decline in Infrastructure in '09

Citing weakened macro economic conditions, Nokia reported Q4 2008 net sales of EUR 12.7 billion, down 19% year on year and up 3% sequentially (down 18% and up 1% at constant currency). While noting the extremely limited visibility, Nokia now expects 2009 industry mobile device volumes to decline approximately 10% from 2008 levels. Nokia expects the decline to be greater in the first half than in the second half of the year. This is an update to Nokia's earlier estimate that 2009 industry mobile device volumes would decline 5% or more from 2008 levels. Furthermore, Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks continue to expect the mobile infrastructure and fixed infrastructure and related services market to decline 5% or more in Euro terms in 2009, from 2008 levels.

"In recent weeks, the macroeconomic environment has deteriorated rapidly, with even weaker consumer confidence, unprecedented currency volatility and credit tightness continuing to impact the mobile communications industry. We are taking action to reduce overall costs and to preserve our strong capital structure. This is clearly our top priority in the current economic environment. However, it is important for Nokia to continue investing at the proper pace in future growth," said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Nokia's CEO.

Some highlights from the quarterly report:

  • Devices & Services net sales of EUR 8.1 billion, down 27% year on year and down 5% sequentially (down 25% and 8% at constant currency).

  • Services and software net sales of EUR 158 million, up 37% sequentially.

  • Estimated industry mobile device volumes of 305 million units, down 9% year on year and down 2% sequentially.

  • Nokia mobile device volumes of 113.1 million units, down 15% year on year and down 4% sequentially.

  • Nokia estimated mobile device market share of 37% in Q4 2008, down from 40% in Q4 2007 and down from 38% in Q3 2008. The full year 2008 estimated market share was 39%.

  • Nokia mobile device ASP of EUR 71, down from EUR 72 in Q3 2008.

  • Devices & Services gross margin of 33.8%, down from 36.5% in Q3 2008.

  • NAVTEQ net sales of EUR 205 million, up 31% sequentially from EUR 156 million, and non-IFRS operating margin of 25.7% (18.5% in Q3 2008)

  • Nokia Siemens Networks net sales of EUR 4.3 billion, down 5% year on year and up 24% sequentially (down 4% and up 23% at constant currency).

  • Nokia Siemens Networks achieved substantially all of the EUR 2.0 billion of targeted annual cost synergies by the end of 2008.

  • Operating cash flow was negative EUR 0.3 billion, including the one-time EUR 1.7 billion lump-sum cash payment made to Qualcomm as part of the previously announced license agreement. Excluding the Qualcomm payment, operating cash flow was EUR 1.4 billion.

  • Total cash and other liquid assets of EUR 6.8 billion at the end of Q4 2008.

India-UK Centre of Excellence in NGNs Gains Funding

A new India-UK Centre of Excellence has been established by the UK and Indian Governments, along with universities and ICT specialists in both countries, to foster Next Generation telecom networks. The consortium is being led by Professor Gerard Parr at the University of Ulster in the United Kingdom and Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras India, together with Professor Nader Azarmi of BT Innovate at Adastral Park UK. BT will take part in the project.

The wider IU-ATC consortium currently comprises nine UK universities, six Indian research Institutes, seven industry partners in both countries including BT, InfoSys, Wipro, Sasken, Tejas and Midas and a number of small business partners.

The grant money includes £5m jointly from the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Digital Economy Programme, led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the Indian Government's Department of Science and Technology (DST). This is matched by a further contribution of over £4m from a consortium of the IU-ATC academic and industrial partners.

The funding bid was led by Professor Gerard Parr at the University of Ulster in Coleraine and Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, together with Professor Nader Azarmi of BT.