Tuesday, March 24, 2009

India's Bharti Airtel and MTN Negotiate Possible Combination

Bharti Airtel and MTN Group Limited confirmed that they are discussing a possible combination that would create a leading telecommunications service provider group aligning Bharti's market leading Indian business with MTN's market leading African and Middle Eastern operations. A full merger of MTN and Bharti would create a leading emerging market telecom operator with current combined revenues of over USD 20 billion and a combined customer base of over 200 million.

In a press statement, the companies said they are exploring a potential transaction whereby Bharti would acquire a 49% shareholding in MTN and, in turn, MTN and its shareholders would acquire an approximate 36% economic interest in Bharti, of which 25% would be held by MTN with the remainder held directly by MTN shareholders. Bharti and MTN have agreed to discuss the potential transaction exclusively with one another until July 31, 2009.

"We are delighted at the prospect of developing a partnership with MTN to create an emerging market telecom powerhouse. Both companies would stand to gain significant benefits from sharing each other's best practices in addition to savings emanating from enhanced scale. We see real power in the combination and we will work hard to unleash it for all our shareholders. This opportunity also represents a first of its kind in developing an Indian-African initiative that would serve as a shining example of South-South cooperation," stated Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti.

InnoPath Adds LTE Support to ActiveCare Mobile Device Management

InnoPath Software has added support for LTE to its ActiveCare over-the-air mobile device management platform, which already supported CDMA, GSM and WiMAX networks. The platform is used by mobile network operators and handset makers to provide over-the-air support for their customers, reducing call time and driving call avoidance. Key elements of the company's LTE support include:

  • Activation -- the ability to effectively detect, provision and customize devices over an IP-centric LTE network. It supports extensibility customized for a specific operator deployment, such as gathering the current SIP or IP address for client-server interaction.

  • Device Support -- both LTE-only devices as well as ‘dual-mode' devices used in phased operator deployments. InnoPath only requires an OMA-DM client on the device which can be either pre-loaded or post-loaded into the mobile device. InnoPath ActiveCare is compatible with both planned FDD and TDD LTE (TD-LTE) deployments.

  • Standards Evolution -- InnoPath is helping to drive the completion of DM 1.3 within OMA-DM. DM 1.3 provides for provisioning and management of native IP devices over-the-air by supporting non-SMS based bootstrap. Looking to the future, InnoPath is helping drive the definition of DM 2.0.

  • Care -- the ActiveCare capability set and Smart Client are deployable within LTE with a goal of reducing client -- server network bandwidth, average call time and increase customer satisfaction.

Inphi Develops 28 Gbps Differential Mach-Zehnder Modulator Driver

Inphi announced a 28 Gbps Differential Mach-Zehnder Modulator Driver designed for next-generation 40G Differential Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (DQPSK) and 100G Dual-Polarization QPSK transponders. The company said that while current 40G transponders are designed using components in large and expensive metal packages with microwave connectors, its device is based upon surface mount technology that reduces transponder size and cost while not compromising signal integrity.

"Inphi is driving the ecosystems to transition from metal packages with microwave connectors to surface mount solutions," said Loi Nguyen, Vice President of Technology, Inphi Corporation. "Inphi is working closely with industry leaders to develop the next-generation of compact, lower-cost surface mount 40G and 100G components. The 2811DZ underscores our leadership in driving next generation solutions for 40G/100G telecom infrastructure applications."

Unlike other competing single-ended solutions, Inphi's 2811DZ's unique, patented differential architecture results in the largest output swing, 9http://www.inphi-corp.com

Dell Unveils Latest Server & Storage Products

Dell introduced fourteen new enterprise computing products, including new blades, servers and workstations optimized for virtualized environments. The rollout includes the 11th generation of Dell PowerEdge servers and Precision workstations based on the next generation of Intel's Xeon processors.

Dell said the new PowerEdge portfolio will offer optimal virtualization, system management, and usability capabilities while its PowerEdge R710 provides the industry's best performance per watt.

Dell today also announced new EqualLogic PS6000 storage arrays that offer storage area networks (SANs) the ability to form a virtualized pool of storage. Dell is unveiling SAN Headquarters, a centralized dashboard that monitors performance and events for dozens of PS Series groups, potentially more than 10 PB of SAN storage. SAN Headquarters is available to any EqualLogic customer with a support agreement at no additional cost.

FCC Revises Fee Structure for International Submarine Cables


adopted a revised regulatory fee methodology for international submarine cable operators. The new rules calculate these regulatory fees on a per cable landing license basis -- with higher fees for larger international submarine cable systems and lower fees for smaller systems. This replaces the previous methodology that calculated fees on a per active circuit basis. In addition to being more administratively efficient,
the FCC said its new methodology allocates regulatory fees among service providers in an equitable and competitively neutral manner, without distinguishing between common carriers and noncommon carriers and by assessing a flat per cable landing license fee for all international
submarine cable systems based on size of the system.

The new methodology, which is slated to go into effect this fiscal year, is based on a consensus proposal submitted by a group representing 35 of 42 international submarine cable operators, and accounting for over 95 percent of the international circuits carried on submarine
cable systems.

Verizon Business Offers Professional Virtualization Services

Verizon Business is launching an expanded suite of consulting and management services to help enterprise customers achieve the benefits of virtualization -- high performance, flexibility, cost control and energy savings. The goal is to enable customers to out-task the design and the often complex day-to-day management, maintenance and security of virtualized environments.

Virtualization uncouples operating systems and applications from the physical hardware, allowing servers to run multiple virtual environments on a single machine.

"As enterprises around the world question how to do more with less, many are finding a strong answer in virtualization," said Kerry Bailey, Verizon Business senior vice president of global services. "Whether a company is moving to virtualization using its existing infrastructure or migrating a new 'app' to a virtualized model, Verizon Business' complete solution for virtualization can help companies increase efficiency and control costs."

The following services make up the company's enhanced Virtualization Consulting and Management offering:

  • Server Consolidation Assessment -- Verizon Business analyzes a customer's current environment to determine where and how the infrastructure could best be consolidated.

  • Server Consolidation Design -- Based on an initial consolidation assessment and review of business and technical requirements,
    virtualization experts design a new consolidated environment.

  • Secure Virtualization Assessment & Design -- This converged solution combines the Server Consolidation Assessment and Server Consolidation Design services, plus adds on a security assessment of the proposed virtualization environment. Verizon Business delivers to customers a design and roadmap for a new, secure environment.

  • Virtualization Design -- This service is aimed at customers who would like to design a new environment with virtualization as a key consideration, but are not necessarily consolidating existing infrastructure.

  • Virtualization Build -- Based on a design by either Verizon Business or the customer, the Verizon Business team builds and implements a virtualized solution. This service includes the installation of the hardware and network, as well as configuration of the virtual

  • Virtualization Migration -- Verizon Business provides services to migrate the customer applications and data to the new virtualized

  • Virtualization Deployment Review -- With this new service, the company will assess and provide feedback on virtualized environments implemented by the customer or another third party, as well as verify adherence to industry best practices.

In addition to a full array of professional services and a global team that includes many VMware-certified engineers, Verizon Business can host the customer infrastructure and virtual servers at one of its worldwide data centers or manage the environment remotely at the customer's premises or at a third-party colocation facility.

Sprint Outlines its 2009-2010 WiMAX Rollout Plans

Sprint announced its 2009-2010 rollout plans for 4G services, which offer peak downlink speeds of up to 12 Mbps and average downlink speeds of 2-4 Mbps. The service is currently available in Baltimore.

In 2008, Sprint plans to deploy 4G service in: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Portland and Seattle.

Sprint also expects to launch service in multiple markets in 2010 including Boston, Houston, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Sprint said it has several new 4G devices planned for 2009 and 2010, including a single-mode 4G data card, embedded laptops, a small-office-home-office broadband modem and a tri-mode phone.

LSI Enables Tiered Services via APP Communications Processor

LSI is releasing new software for the company's APP3300 and APP300 communication processors, which are used in customer premise equipment that is widely deployed in Tier 1 VDSL and ADSL networks around the world. The new LSI software features service-aware capabilities that service providers could leverage to shape the next generation of user-driven, tiered-pricing models.

Using programmable hardware schedulers in the APP communications processor and its own hierarchical scheduling algorithms, the Broadband Access Functional Programming Interface (FPI) 8.0 software enables network traffic to be dynamically shaped for specific services and subscribers. It also provides multiple levels of policing and priority re-marking to enable the enforcement of a broad range of service-level agreements, which allows service providers to personalize subscription plans and guarantee quality levels.

LSI said DSLAM systems using its Broadband Access FPI 8.0 can support any combination of VDSL, ADSL and SHDSL ports, which allows selected services to be introduced without replacement of deployed network equipment. Because the new software features a single API for the complete suite of LSI APP3300 and APP300 devices, OEMs can leverage a single application across a broad system portfolio.

"LSI's newest Broadband Access FPI 8.0 allows network services to be cost-effectively provisioned and managed," said Sindhu Xirasagar, network processor software product line manager, Networking Components Division, LSI. "This new solution enables service providers to increase the intelligence, control and security of their networks and deliver higher-value, tiered-subscription services at lower incremental cost."http://www.lsi.com

Blockbuster and TiVo Announce Agreement

TiVo has agreed to deliver Blockbuster's library of premium digital movie titles directly to the television set via TiVo DVRs. Specifically, BLOCKBUSTER OnDemand, featuring content to both buy and rent, will be integrated into TiVo Series2, Series3, TiVo HD, and TiVo HD XL DVRs. Content will be delivered via the customer's broadband connection. The companies expect to have the BLOCKBUSTER OnDemand service integrated into TiVo DVRs in the second half of 2009.


Audience Closes $15 Million for its Noise Suppression Silicon

Audience, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, has raised $15 million in Series D funding.

The Audience Voice Processor provides advanced noise suppression modeled after the human auditory system, the human hearing system. The company said its silicon is based on the science of Auditory Scene Analysis (ASA), or the grouping and processing of complex mixtures of sound. Because the Audience Voice Processor handles signals the way people actually perceive specific sounds, it is able to identify and suppress noise sources in an extremely efficient and accurate manner. The silicon is deployed in commercial handsets by LG, Pantech and Sharp, among others.

The latest round brings the company's total funding amount to date to $60 million. Investors include New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Tallwood Venture Capital, Vulcan Capital and VentureTech Alliance.

Alcatel-Lucent Supplies Optical Transport Net in Azerbaijan

Alcatel-Lucent is supplying a cross-country optical network to Delta Telecom of Azerbaijan. The deployment of the Alcatel-Lucent optical solution will start in the country's capital, Baku, and will then extend to the major links connecting Azerbaijan with neighboring countries. Specifically, Alcatel-Lucent will supply its Optical Multi-Service Node (OMSN) systems and 1678 Metro Core Connect (MCC) for traffic aggregation and mobile backhaul, along with the 1626 Light Manager (LM) for long-haul traffic transmission. The companies said this network modernization will help Delta Telecom to strengthen its leading position as a major transit data provider between the Caucasus region, Central Asia the Middle East, Europe and China.

ARRIS and OpenTV Partner on Localized Advertising Technology

ARRIS and OpenTV will present a joint demonstration of their next generation linear television ad platform at next week's NCTA Cable Show in Washington, D.C. The companies said their collaboration breaks new ground because this will be the first time that the SCTE-130 standard, which provides a common framework for the development of advanced advertising services, is applied to linear advertising. The demonstration couples OpenTV's new real-time Ad Decision Service (ADS), OpenTV's EclipsePlus campaign management solution, and ARRIS' linear Ad Management System (ConvergeMedia SkyVision ADM 1.0). The solution provides the ability to identify national ad breaks, do real-time localized ad substitutions based on geographic market data, as well as accommodate last minute schedule shifts, as might be required during live events.

"Advanced digital ad insertion systems like ARRIS replaced 3/4-inch tape machines and analog switching more than a decade ago, but the techniques for conveying schedules from traffic systems to those advertising video servers have not changed in more than 20 years," said Paul Woidke, OpenTV's Senior Vice President and General Manager , Advanced Advertising. "Current systems do not allow for live program shifts and identify only the local breaks made available to cable operators in their markets. Through this next generation platform, and by applying the SCTE-130 standard, ARRIS and OpenTV have established a highly dynamic, real-time interface that will bring greater flexibility to the ad decision process and increase the geographic relevance of national ads."http://www.opentv.com

Global Broadband Installed Base Tops 411 Million Lines

World broadband statistics for 2008 show a 62.6 million line growth to 410.9 million lines, according to newly released statistics prepared for the Broadband Forum by industry analysts Point Topic.

While growth slowed late in the year generally, compared to the same quarter in 2007, several countries showed improved performance in the third quarter of 2008, including France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Singapore and The Philippines. IPTV global subscriber totals have now reached 21.7 million, which is an increase of 63 percent on the end of 2007 figures.

As expected, due to the global economic situation, broadband growth slowed, however all countries experienced overall growth during the last year. China has the highest installed based of broadband lines, followed by the USA, Japan and Germany.

In terms of technology, DSL continues to be the most popular broadband access technology, although fiber has grown twice as fast as either cable or DSL in the 12 months to Q4 2008.

"This report shows that despite the economic situation the world is facing, the demand for both broadband and IPTV continues to expand," said George Dobrowski, Chairman and President of the Broadband Forum. "The Forum continues to drive broadband innovation, and with the recent
release of BroadbandSuite 3.0, which provides new IPTV management and fibre integration tools, we continue to ensure that the industry has all the tools and specifications it needs to optimize networks and to capture the full potential of broadband worldwide."http://www.point-topic.com

Conexant to Focus on Imaging, Audio/Video and Embedded-Modems

Conexant Systems reported quarterly revenue of $74.5 million. Core gross margins were 52.7 percent of revenues. Core operating expenses were $41 million, and core operating loss was $1.8 million. Core net loss from continuing operations was $7.4 million, or $0.15 per share. On a GAAP basis, gross margins were 52.5 percent of revenues. GAAP operating expenses were $48.4 million. GAAP operating loss was $9.3 million, and GAAP net loss from continuing operations was $14.8 million, or $0.30 per share.

"The Conexant team delivered performance that met or exceeded our expectations on all major financial metrics for the second fiscal quarter," said Scott Mercer, Conexant's chairman and chief executive officer. "Revenues of $74.5 million exceeded the high end of the range we provided in January. Gross margin of 52.7 percent was within the range we expected, and core operating expenses of $41 million were a million dollars lower than we anticipated entering the quarter due to our continued focus on cost-reduction activities. On a core operating basis, our loss of $1.8 million was lower than our expectation of a core operating loss in a range between $3 million and $7 million, resulting in a core net loss of $0.15 per share rather than the $0.18 to $0.26 per share we anticipated."

Regarding its recently announced plans to sell its Broadband Access product lines to Ikanos Communications for $54 million, Conexant said the deal will provide it with the flexibility needed to focus on solutions for imaging, audio, video, and embedded-modem applications.