Monday, February 16, 2009

Ireland Opens Radio Frequency Spectrum for Equipment Testing

Ireland's radio spectrum regulatory agency, the Commission for Communications Regulations (ComReg) is promoting Ireland's radio spectrum as a test-bed to companies and organizations who wish to test and trial wireless projects across all spectrum ranges. The regulator is in the process of opening various bands for testing purposes, including the UHF band -- which is suitable for mobile TV -- as well as the 900 MHz and 2300 MHz bands -- which are suitable for mobile communications services via technologies such as GSM, 3G, LTE, WiMAX etc.

ComReg said Ireland is particularly suited as a wireless testing environment as it has a wide range of clean radio frequencies available for test and trial. This unique advantage stems from Ireland's low use of spectrum for defense purposes, its geography, as an island Ireland is relatively free of radio spectrum interference from other countries, and Ireland's relatively low population density. This means that organizations can test and trial wireless devices in almost any part of Ireland's radio spectrum, including highly valued spectrum bands such as the 700 MHz band.

Over a longer timeframe, ComReg is investigating the release of spectrum in other bands. Investigations are currently focused on the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz bands, all potentially suitable for mobile communications services.

"Ireland's radio spectrum test-bed presents a unique opportunity for companies in the U.S. to test and trial innovative wireless products. Tests can be carried out in almost any part of Ireland's radio spectrum so products and services can be tested for the North American, European, and Worldwide markets" said Alex Chisholm, Commissioner, ComReg.

"The use of Ireland's radio spectrum as a test-bed is a unique opportunity for companies who want to test, trial or launch wireless services. With the growth of 4G and next generation services worldwide, this programme is a valuable resource that promotes the development of world-class technology" said David Smith, SVP for Telecoms, Enterprise Ireland.

The fee for a test license is 200 Euro (approx $298) for a year; a trial license, which also includes the opportunity to garner customer feedback, costs 500 Euro (approx $747) for a year. Both licences can be obtained in as little as 10 days.

Alcatel-Lucent Appoints Rajeev Singh-Molares as President, Asia Pacific region

Alcatel-Lucent has appointed Rajeev Singh-Molares as President of the Asia-Pacific region, replacing Sean Dolan, effective February 1, 2010.

Rajeev Singh-Molares is currently the Chief Strategy Officer for Alcatel-Lucent, responsible for identifying new development opportunities, new areas of consumer interest, and new markets for industry expansion. In this role he has been the leader in defining, communicating, and overseeing the execution of the company's new strategy - driven by its Application Enablement vision.

He will continue to be a member of the company's management committee and will be based in Shanghai.

Ericsson Achieves 42 Mbps with HSPA Evolution

Ericsson achieved a peak downlink rate of 42 Mbps in a public demonstration of HSPA Evolution technology. The demonstration, which was conducted near Stockholm, was attended by Telstra and other mobile operators.

It was the first time in the world such speeds was achieved on commercially-available products. Until now, consumers have seen network speeds of 28Mbps at best.

HSPA Evolution is a new dual carrier technology that can be implemented with a software upgrade and doubles the speed for users everywhere in the cell of the mobile network, even for users at the edge of the cell, where performance is generally lower. This will also increase the capacity and operators can deliver more gigabytes per base station, hence reducing the cost of delivering mobile broadband to consumers.

Ericsson said its commercially-available hardware and software were used with the first commercial chipset for 42Mbps dual carrier technology. The average consumer download speed achieved in the demo was a 41.5Mbps. 42Mbps is the peak network downlink speed. Actual customer download speeds are less and can vary due to congestion, distance from the base station, local conditions, hardware, software and other factors.

Ulf Ewaldsson, Vice President and Head of Product Area Radio at Ericsson says: "Our studies show that consumers are thirsty for higher speed and choose operators that can offer the best performance for an attractive price. Our HSPA technology for 42Mbps is now available for deployment."

Sycamore Expands its Ethernet Capabilities

Sycamore Networks introduced Ethernet service enhancements for its SN 9000 Intelligent Multiservice Switch. The new 8-port Multirate Ethernet Card supports Ethernet line rates from 10/100/1000 Mbps to 10 Gigabit Ethernet. It supports carrier-class Ethernet Private Line services, as defined by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), and delivers optimal levels of resource utilization and service resiliency via implementation of standards-based Generic Framing Procedure (GFP), Virtual Concatenation (VCAT), and Link Capacity Adjustment Scheme (LCAS) protocols. The card uses small form-factor pluggables (SFPs) to support 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet services for both optical and electrical configurations. Each port can be provisioned for a different type of Ethernet service, allowing operators to meet site-specific capacity and service requirements with maximum configuration flexibility.

BridgeWave Powers Wireless Video Surveillance at Inauguration

BridgeWave Communications' gigabit wireless products provided the network backbone to support mission-critical video surveillance traffic run by local and national security agencies during the 2009 U.S. presidential inauguration.

In January 2009, more than one million people witnessed President Barack Obama's historic inauguration in Washington, D.C. Connectivity Solutions Inc. (CSI), a Value Added Reseller specializing in the design and deployment of wired and wireless solutions, was tasked with implementing the mission critical video surveillance project. CSI used BridgeWave'shigh capacity, high performance radios for the backhaul network, supporting video traffic from surveillance cameras. CSI had 10 days to build out the network before the inauguration activities began. The locations for installing the radios were in highly protected government areas with limited access, making complex product installations too difficult, costly and time-consuming. CSI set up two AR80X links and two AR80 links on various roof top locations spanning a range of one to three miles. Despite having to install the radios in rain, snow and six-degree weather, CSI had the entire solution up and running in five days. When the inauguration activities were underway, the cameras operated flawlessly garnering high praise from law enforcement officials.

Telco Systems and Sun Partner on Carrier-Grade Ethernet

Telco Systems today announced that they have successfully certified interoperability of Sun Microsystems' Netra carrier-grade rack server platforms have completed interoperability testing with Telco Systems Carrier Ethernet/IP solutions. The combination of Sun's Netra servers and Telco Systems BiNOS-powered Carrier Ethernet switches offers service providers a highly reliable configuration for delivering high-bandwidth, mission-critical applications to their subscribers. The testing performed demonstrated interoperability for streaming video, remote client, large file transfers and server/switch redundancy applications. Throughput testing and interoperability between the Sun Netra T5220 and X4250 servers and Telco Systems' BiNOS-powered switches included both ring and LAG protection scenarios to observe failover effects on applications running from server to server and server to Internet.

Telefónica Demos 21 Mbps HSPA+ with Sierra Wireless

At this week's Mobile World Congress, Telefónica is demonstrating HSPA+ using the new Sierra Wireless USB 306.

Sierra Wireless' USB 306 offers peak downlink speeds of 21 Mbps and uplink speeds of 5.76 Mbps. It offers backward compatibility to HSPA, UMTS, EDGE, and GPRS networks where HSPA+ coverage is not available.

Sri Lanka's Dialog Telekom to Deploy Solar/Wind-Powered Base Stations

Sri Lanka's Dialog Telekom will deploy ten solar and wind-powered base stations with funding from the GSMA's Green Power for Mobile programme. The trial, which will deploy five off-grid and five on-grid base stations, has seen two sites go live this month and a further eight sites will go live in March and April this year. The goal of the trial is to use a number of different scenarios with equipment from eight different vendors to demonstrate the range of options available and the commercial viability of rolling out mobile networks using renewable forms of energy.

"Being able to utilise practical, cost effective and renewable sources of power is crucial for operators wanting to provide a broad range of mobile coverage, over vast rural areas, far beyond the reach of national electricity grids," said Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer for the GSMA. "Dialog Telekom, as part of the GSMA's Green Power for Mobile programme, has used a number of different scenarios to prove to the industry that renewable energy is a real and viable alternative to on-grid and generator power."

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Fund Financial Services through Mobiles

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will support a new program aimed at expanding the availability of financial services to millions of people in the developing world through mobile phones. The Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) programme, supported by a US$12.5 million grant from the foundation, will work with mobile operators, banks, microfinance institutions, government and development organizations to encourage the expansion of reliable, affordable mobile financial services to the unbanked.

The MMU programme will fund regulatory and market research to help overcome some of the barriers of providing these services and demonstrate the business case for serving this market. The programme includes a US$5 million fund to catalyse a new wave of mobile money innovation, encouraging mobile network operators to create new services for previously unbanked people in emerging markets. The MMU programme will support approximately 20 projects in developing countries, focusing on Africa, Asia and Latin America, with the goal of reaching 20 million previously unbanked people with mobile financial services by 2012.

"There are over 1 billion people in emerging markets today who don't have a bank account but do have a mobile phone," said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board of the GSMA. "This represents a huge opportunity and mobile operators are perfectly placed to bring mobile financial services to this largely untapped consumer base. Based on the initial findings of research conducted with the microfinance centre CGAP and McKinsey & Company, we believe that mobile money for the unbanked has the potential to become a US$5 billion market opportunity over the next three years."


Mobile Operator in Vanuatu Powers 60% of Systems with Wind/Solar

Digicel, supported by the GSMA Development Fund, has completed the second phase of its green power network implementation and is using wind and solar energy solutions to power 25 base stations on the Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu. Digicel, which is the leading mobile operator in Vanuatu, now carries more than 60% of its network traffic on base stations powered by renewable energy sources.

Digicel's approach of using solar, wind and hybrid power is more cost-effective and reliable solution than either solar cells or wind turbines alone. , to bring GSM coverage to some of the most remote communities in Vanuatu. Typically, off-grid base stations have been powered by generators running on diesel, which is increasingly erratic in price, is costly to distribute and generates carbon dioxide emissions.

Digicel, which launched commercial service in June 2008, recently completed the second phase in the project, bringing the current number of green-powered base stations to 25. Additionally, in 2009, Digicel plans to install a new wind turbine to an existing wind farm to power a portion of its sites, enabling the operator to further reduce its annual power bill.

"The GSMA created the Green Power for Mobile programme with two objectives in mind: to promote the use of green power to expand mobile networks into regions currently lacking coverage, and to facilitate the systematic reduction of reliance on diesel by operators," said Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer for the GSMA. "Our work with Digicel further demonstrates the commercial viability of implementing renewable energy systems on a broad scale and has helped establish best practices for future green power projects."

Digicel has current operations in Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. The company was recently granted licenses by the Governments of Fiji and has commitments from several other countries in the Pacific.

Digicel is also the largest operator in the Caribbean operating in 23 markets and rolling out new operations in Central America.

Alcatel-Lucent Base Station Software Upgrade Reduces Power Consumption up to 27%

Alcatel-Lucent announced a Dynamic Power Save (DPS) enhancement to its GSM/EDGE mobile networking portfolio that can reduce power consumption by up to 27 percent, offering significant energy and cost savings for mobile operators. The power reductions were demonstrated during January field trial this year with China Mobile in the country's Jiangsu province. On average, a 24 percent power saving has been achieved.

Alcatel-Lucent said its Dynamic Power Save capability involves switching off the power amplifier in GSM transceivers. It enables the base station to monitor traffic activity on the network and when there is no information to transmit, even for very short periods of time, the amplifier is switched off. This process offers substantial cost savings at night when calling volumes are naturally lower, but also, because of the sensitivity of the monitoring techniques, considerable power savings are available during busy times as well. These saving are obtained without any increases in call blocking or reductions in packet data throughput so the service quality remains high. Because this is a software upgrade, this enhancement can be installed on all Alcatel-Lucent multi-standard base stations deployed since 1999, some 500,000 stations.

Alcatel-Lucent Launches Alternative Energy Program for Wireless Base Stations

Alcatel-Lucent has launched a program to enable the high-volume deployment of wireless base stations powered by alternative energy sources to address mobile operators' increasing demand for energy-autonomous and green wireless networking equipment. The goal is to help service providers deploy wireless networks in areas not served by electrical power. The company estimates that more than one billion people live in areas that are not served by an electrical grid and therefore do not have access to phone or broadband services.

As part of the program the company is establishing a lab and pilot site at Alcatel-Lucent's Villarceaux facility near Paris to foster an ecosystem of internal experts, partner companies and institutions to bring together the alternative energies and telecoms worlds. The lab and pilot site near Paris will enable Alcatel-Lucent to analyze, evaluate, test and validate solutions being offered in the dynamic and fragmented alternative energies market and how they might be incorporated into the telecommunications industry. A key component of the Alcatel-Lucent approach is the smart integration between the base station and the alternative energy source, and part of this integration is supported by the energy controller equipment. Alcatel-Lucent will be testing the power controller from Power Oasis, an UK-based provider of power solutions.

"The way the industry deploys alternative energy powered base stations today is costly and time consuming because it is based on a site-by-site approach with multiple vendors involved - so it is a slow and laborious process and for the most part has only been done in sunny equatorial areas," said Mike Iandolo, Alcatel-Lucent's President of Alcatel-Lucent's Wireless Product Division. "Our Alternative Energy Program will bring to market the very first integrated, pre-tested, mass-produced, alternatively powered wireless base stations, which can be deployed on a global scale with delivery lead times comparable to that for standard base stations."

Alcatel-Lucent noted that it has installed more than 300 solar-powered radio sites so far. Looking forward, the program will not be limited to wireless base station but will expand the use of alternative energy sources to fixed access equipment such as DSLAMs, IP routers and more.

Nokia Selects Broadcom as a 3G Chipset Supplier

Nokia has agreed to use Broadcom as a next generation 3G baseband, radio frequency (RF) and mixed signal chipset system supplier for worldwide markets. The two parties will cooperate on technology, including Nokia modem technology.

Nokia to Use Qualcomm's Chips for Mobile Devices for North America

Nokia and Qualcomm will work together to develop advanced UMTS mobile devices, initially for North America. The companies intend for the devices to be based on S60 software on Symbian OS and Qualcomm's advanced Mobile Station Modem (MSM) MSM7xxx-series and MSM8xxx -series chipsets. The first mobile devices based on this collaboration are expected to launch in mid-2010 and be compatible with the forthcoming Symbian Foundation platform.

"Nokia is very pleased to be in discussions with Qualcomm around designing mobile devices that can benefit from the high level of integration found on MSM chipsets," said Kai Oistamo, executive vice president, Devices, Nokia. "We are eager to demonstrate to the industry the possibilities that exist when innovative and open software is combined with advanced hardware solutions."

T-Mobile's Data Traffic Tripled in 2008, Collaborates with Nokia Ovi

During 2008, T-Mobile's data traffic tripled and its web'n'walk subscriber base grew 53 percent to 5.9 million. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, T-Mobile announced a collaboration with Nokia to open up an integrated marketplace for mobile content and Internet services. Through T-Mobile's web'n'walk widget platform, customers will be able to access both T-Mobile's widget gallery and Nokia's Ovi Store directly from the idle screen of their mobile phone. The integrated marketplace will be launching on mass market Nokia Series 40 platform based phones in the second half of 2009.

The latest version of web'n'walk, T-Mobile's mobile Internet service platform, will be available in Q1 2009 making it easy for consumers to access their favorite web services with 'widgets'; small, accessible web applications such as Facebook, that reside on the handset's home screen. With the new web'n'walk platform, widgets from many of the world's best web brands, developed on open Internet standards, are available to T-Mobile users on a range of additional handsets.

"2008 was a very strong year for T-Mobile. By the end of the year, our data traffic had tripled and our web'n'walk subscriber base grew 53 per cent to 5.9 million. 2009 is shaping up to be a similar success, with a very strong innovation pipeline from our product and network teams and our partners," comments Hamid Akhavan, CEO T-Mobile International. "Ongoing trials of next-generation mobile network technology and the launch of the best devices with the most innovative services such as the new web'n'walk widget platform will continue to keep T-Mobile as the premier provider for the mobile Internet."

Cisco to Offer Trend Micro's Home Network Defender Service

Cisco has integrated Trend Micro's Internet security software into Linksys by Cisco wireless routers. This multi-layered security offering helps provide network protection for family PCs and other home-network devices, such as online game consoles, Wi-Fi enabled phones, and personal media players.

The Home Network Defender, an Internet security service from Trend Micro that features Safe Web Surfing capabilities, parental controls, and user-activity reporting embedded on select Linksys by Cisco wireless-N home routers. Home Network Defender helps to detect and eradicate Web threats such as online fraud, scams, phishing schemes, predators and viruses before they enter the home network.

The Home Network Defender is a software service with an MSRP of US$59.99 for the yearly service with a 30-day complimentary trial.

ZTE Supplies Software Defined Radio-based HSPA+ in Hong Kong

Hong Kong's CSL New World Mobility (CSLNWM), a subsidiary of Australia's Telstra, is working with ZTE to build a SDR (Software Defined Radio) based HSPA+ network. The companies said it is the first large-scale all-IP network with such SDR technology. Specifically, ZTE will upgrade CSLNWM's existing infrastructure with a fully integrated 2G/3G all-IP SDR-based network.

Furthermore, ZTE and CSLNWM have successfully completed testing of the HSPA+ network capability in Hong Kong on 15 February 2009, delivering HSPA+ (64QAM) services which can provide up to 21Mbps download speed.

ZTE's SDR technology provides CSLNWM's network with increased flexibility by reducing equipment space and power requirements, and at same time enabling high speed, advanced traffic management and future-proof systems. SDR solutions enable operators to upgrade to next generation networks, including HSPA+, MIMO and LTE.

CSLNWM's new network will include a single core network, RAN and network management system and operation systems and software (NMS/OSS).

CSLNWM is the largest mobile operator in Hong Kong and a subsidiary of Telstra. Its GSM/UMTS network counts over 2.5 million subscribers.
  • Telstra was the world's first operator to roll-out a nationwide 3G HSDPA network. The network was commercially launched in Australia in 2006Telstra Australia's Next G network operates in the 850MHz range and is expected to reach speeds of 100 Mbps over the next few years

Mobile World Congress: Industry Supports Universal Charging Solution for Mobile Phones

A mobile industry initiative led by the GSMA and 17 leading mobile operators and manufacturers voiced a commitment to a cross-industry standard for a universal charger for new mobile phones. The aim is to ensure that the mobile industry adopts a common format for mobile phone charger connections and energy-efficient chargers. This could result in an estimated 50 percent reduction in standby energy consumption, the potential elimination of up to 51,000 tons of duplicate chargers and the enhancement of the customer experience by simplifying the charging of mobile phones.

A target date of 2012 has been set for introducing a universal charging solution (UCS) worldwide. The companies have agreed to use Micro-USB as the common universal charging interface. The group agreed that by the 1st January 2012, the majority of all new mobile phone models available will support a universal charging connector and the majority of chargers shipped will meet the high efficiency targets set out by the OMTP (Open Mobile Terminal Platform), the industry body who developed the technical requirements behind UCS.

UCS chargers will also include a 4-star or higher efficiency rating, which is up to three times more energy-efficient than an unrated charger. Furthermore, with potentially 50 per cent less chargers being manufactured each year, the industry can expect to reduce greenhouse gases in manufacturing and transporting replacement chargers by 13.6 to 21.8 million tons a year.

The initial group of companies who have joined the GSMA's UCS initiative include 3 Group, AT&T, KTF, LG, mobilkom austria, Motorola, Nokia, Orange, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor, Telstra, T-Mobile and Vodafone.

"The mobile industry has a pivotal role to play in tackling environmental issues and this programme is an important step that could lead to huge savings in resources, not to mention convenience for consumers," said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board of the GSMA. "There is enormous potential in mobile to help people live and work in an eco-friendly way and with the backing of some or the biggest names in the industry, this initiative will lead the way."

Ericsson Debuts Adaptive Multi Rate Wideband for GSM

Ericsson introduced an Adaptive Multi Rate (AMR) Wideband technology to boost the audio quality of voice calls in mobile networks. The technology can be implemented in both GSM and WCDMA/HSPA networks, and provides hi-fi quality, crystal-clear sounds on mobile handsets that support the feature.

AMR (Adaptive Multi Rate) Wideband is a GSM/WCDMA standardized speech technology that enhances voice quality and clarity in mobile networks to noticeably higher levels than today's mobile and fixed telephony networks, even in whispered conversations or environments with high background noise.

Ericsson said the new speech-compression algorithm doubles voice bandwidth without extra radio and transmission requirements.

"We are ready to roll-out this impressive voice quality feature in all Ericsson-supplied GSM and WCDMA/HSPA networks in the world," says Ulf Ewaldsson, Vice President and Head of Product Area Radio, Ericsson. "This is the starting point of a voice quality revolution that will change telephony as we know it today".

Veraz Exceeds Fourth Quarter Guidance

Veraz Networks reported Q4 2008 revenues of $26.3 million, exceeding the previous management guidance range of $22 million to $24 million. * Total gross margin percentage for the fourth quarter of 2008 strengthened to 60%, the highest gross margin percentage in six quarters. In addition, the IP product gross margin percentage was 65%, which is the highest quarterly performance in the history of Veraz.

There was a net loss was ($0.9 million) or ($0.02) loss per share, which was lower than the previous management guidance range of ($3 million to $2 million), or ($0.07 to $0.05) loss per share. On a non-GAAP basis, Veraz recorded a net profit of $0.6 million, or $0.01 earnings per share (basic and fully diluted), which was better than the previous management guidance range of a non-GAAP net loss of ($2 million to $1 million), or ($0.05 to $0.02) loss per share.

"I am pleased to report that Veraz delivered better than expected quarterly results as we ended 2008," said Doug Sabella, Chief Executive Officer of Veraz Networks. "Our switching and bandwidth optimization solutions continued to deliver strong value to our customers, resulting in expansions with our existing customers as well as the addition of new customers."

Mobile World Congress: Award Winners

The GSMA announced the following 2009 GLOBAL MOBILE AWARDS winners:

Best Mobile Game

Winner: Gameloft - Real Football 2009

Highly Commended: Digital Chocolate - AvaPeeps: FlirtNation

Best Mobile Music or Video Service

Winner: BBC iPlayer on Mobile

Best Mobile Advertising Service

Winner: Turkcell - Tonla Kazan

Best Mobile TV Service

Winner: MobiTV - MobiTV

Best Mobile Enterprise Product or Service

Winner: Vodafone - Vodafone Global Enterprise Limited

Best Mobile Internet Service

Winner: Nokia - Nokia Sports Tracker

Best Mobile Money Service

Winner: Safaricom and Vodafone - M-PESA

Best Mobile Handset or Device
Winner: INQ - INQ1

Highly Commended: Nokia - Nokia E71

Highly Commended: T-Mobile - T-Mobile G1

Best Broadcast Commercial

Winner: KT Freetel -- ‘Show is...'

Best Mobile Brand Campaign

Winner: R/GA London - Nokia Urbanista Diaries

Best Use of Mobile for Social and Economic Development

Winner: Nuance Communications - Airtel-T9 India Consumer Vernacular Messaging Campaigns

Best Network Technology Advance

Winner: Nokia Siemens Networks - Flexi Multimode BTS Software defined HSPA/LTE

Best Service Delivery Platform

Winner: NewBay Software - LifeCache Social Networking Solution 2.0

Best Billing & Customer Care Solution

Winner: Expert System - COGITO Answers

Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough

Winner: RIM - BlackBerry Storm 9500 SurePress Screen

The Green Mobile Award

Winner: Smart Communications - Alternative Power for Cell Sites program

GSMA's CEO Award for Outstanding Environmental Contribution

Winner: Nokia

Government Leadership Award

Winner: The Government of France

GSMA Chairman's Award

Winner: Research in Motion (RIM)