Thursday, August 27, 2009

Evolution Digital Gains CableLabs Qualification for CableCARD

Evolution Digital LLC, a supplier of digital solutions for bandwidth reclamation and set-top boxes, and Conax, a provider of content security solutions, have partnered to develop a Multi-stream CableCARD specific to the North American cable market. The product, which has recently been awarded qualification by CableLabs, is designed to meet OpenCable CableCARD Interface 2.0 Specifications.

China Unicom and Apple Announce Deal on iPhone

China Unicom reached a deal to offer Apple's iPhone. The deal reportedly does not involve revenue sharing.

China Unicom Posts Revenue Decline in 1H2009

Citing the general economic malaise, mobile voice substitution of traditional fixed lines, and competitive pressure, China Unicom reported first half 2009 operating revenue of RMB76.32 billion. Service revenue amounted to RMB74.51 billion, representing a decline of 4.3% over the same period of last year and a decline of 3.3% over the same period of last year when compared on the same basis. Service revenue of the GSM business reached RMB34.19 billion, representing an increase of 5.7% over the same period of last year.

Service revenue of the fixed-line business reached RMB 40.19 billion, representing a decline of 11.3% over the same period of last year and a decline of 9.7% over the same period of last year when compared on the same basis. Of the revenue from the fixed-line business, revenue from the fixed-line broadband service was RMB11.73 billion, representing an increase of 10.3% over the same period of last year.

Due to the impact of corporate restructuring and intensified industry competition, the company recorded profit of RMB6.62 billion, representing a decline of 42.1% when compared with profit from the continuing operations over the same period of last year and a decline of 33.2% when compared on the same basis. Basic earnings per share was RMB0.28.

In the first half of the year, China Unicom added 7.012 million GSM subscribers, taking the total subscriber number to 140.377 million. ARPU was RMB41.7, representing a decline of 4.3% over the same period of last year and remained stable compared with the second half of last year. The company's mobile value-added services accounted for 26.8% of the total revenue from mobile services, representing an increase of 2.5 percentage points over the same period of last year. Revenue from GPRS reached RMB1.32 billion.

In the first half of the year, the net addition of fixed-line broadband subscribers was 4.832 million, taking the total subscriber number to 34.913 million. ARPU was RMB60.2, representing a decline of 13.5%; a total of 1.118 million local telephone subscribers were lost, taking the total subscriber number to 108.452 million. The revenue proportion of the fixed-line non-voice business to the total fixed-line service revenue (excluding upfront connection fees) reached 47.2%.

China Unicom also noted that since obtaining its 3G (WCDMA) operating license on 7 January, it has moved forward aggressively on developing its 3G network construction and preparing for service launch. On May 17th, China Unicom initiated 3G pre-commercial friendly trials in 56 cities including various 3G services, such as mobile internet, mobile search, mobile music, mobile TV, video telephony, mobile newspaper and wireless internet access cards.

China Unicom has also established a new full-service brand -- "WO" -- which was launched on April 28th.

Australia passes 50% for Digital TV Transition

More than half (53%) of Australian households have converted to free-to-air digital TV broadcasts -- up from 47% in the previous quarter, according to the latest Digital Tracker Survey released by Australia's Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy. The Rudd Government has made a commitment to complete digital switchover by December 31, 2013

DOCOMO's Credit Payment Service Tops 10 million Subscribers

The number of subscribers to NTT DOCOMO's DCMX credit payment service has topped the 10 million mark.

Launched in April 2006, DCMX reached 1 million subscribers in November 2006, 5 million in February 2008 and 10 million, just three years and four months since the original launch.

DCMX is a service brand for DOCOMO-issued credit cards, which allows subscribers to make purchases using their mobile phones as credit cards via "iD", DOCOMO's branded mobile payment platform for handsets equipped with contactless IC cards (Osaifu-Keitai). For security, DOCOMO's Osaifu-Keitai phones can be locked remotely over the wireless network if misplaced or stolen.
DOCOMO noted that currently, over 30 million DOCOMO customers use Osaifu-Keitai-compatible handsets and about 60% of all DOCOMO customers are using Osaifu-Keitai services. As of July 31, 2009, there were approximately 420,000 iD readers/writers nationwide. iD is now used in various settings in daily life, such as shopping at convenience stores and electronics retailers, eating at fast food restaurants and taking taxis.

Infinera Supplies Optical Transport for Washington Utility

Washington state's Grant County Public Utility District (PUD) has selected Infinera to supply an optical backbone supporting its triple-play broadband services.

Grant County PUD currently supplies fiber optic service is currently available to nearly 15,000 homes, businesses and farms in the county.  The utility began building its wholesale fiber-to-the-home network in 2000.  Currently, Grant PUD claims a 40% "take rate" for homes passed who have chosen to subscribe to one or more triple play services.

Comcast Prevails in Legal Battle over MSO Size

Comcast prevailed in a legal case against the FCC. The decision handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that vacates an FCC rule limiting the sized of cable operators. The court ruled that the FCC must consider competition from satellite providers when calculating the market share held by a cable operator. The decision could clear the way for further consolidation of cable operators.

France Telecom to Acquire Digital Advertising Network

The Orange France Telecom Group has acquired 100% of UNANIMIS, the UK's largest exclusive digital advertising network.

The combination of UNANIMIS's premium advertising network and Orange's mobile and web assets, provides a reach of over 71.5% of the UK's online population and over 66% of the online population across UK, France, Spain and Poland.

UNANIMIS has exclusive online advertising relationships with key website brands such as the AA, Ticketmaster, ASOS, Gumtree and giving it the most extensive, exclusive-access, digital advertising portfolio in the UK.

France Telecom estimates that the Western European online advertising market was worth an estimated 12 billion euros in 2008 and the UK represented Europe's largest market (31%). Orange and UNANIMIS will also have strong positions in new growth areas such as mobile advertising.

"As 2008 marked the revolution in the mobile Internet space, so 2009 will see the major advances in digital and mobile advertising. The Orange mobile portal, Orange World, and our fixed portal attracts over 12 million monthly users and with the advances in handset technology coupled with new prices plans, this is set to rise even further. More companies are increasingly turning to the mobile Internet to enhance the way they advertise. A key part of our strategy at Orange UK is to grow and evolve our business in order to offer advertisers richer opportunities to engage with people," said Gerry McQuade, Chief Development Officer, Orange UK.

Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell Sells Video Surveillance Business to Vimicro

Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell has agreed to sell its Video Surveillance System (ViSS) to Vimicro Electronics Corporation for an undisclosed sum. Vimicro Tianjin will acquire the complete ViSS business including all property, plant and equipment, inventories, business contracts, intellectual property and service and development capabilities in China. Moreover, Vimicro and ASB will continue to cooperate in the future.

ViSS is a leading security and surveillance solution addressing the needs of telecom operators and local governments in China. As part of ASB, ViSS has been well established as the business platform for unified surveillance, storage and management solutions utilizing a broadband network infrastructure to connect independent monitoring sites across a broad geographical area. Applications include the monitoring needs of city roadways, airports, shopping centers, banks, schools, and other large facilities.

The acquisition is expected to be closed in September of 2009.