Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ciena Bids to Acquire Nortel's Metro Ethernet for $521 Million

Ciena agreed to acquire all of the optical networking and carrier Ethernet assets of Nortel's Metro Ethernet Networks (MEN) business for $390 million in cash and 10 million shares of Ciena common stock. Based on the closing price of Ciena's stock on Tuesday, October 6, 2009, the full deal is valued at $521 million. The deal is subject to a competitive bidding process and higher offers could emerge. It also requires the approval of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The deal includes Nortel's long-haul optical transport portfolio; metro optical Ethernet switching and transport solutions; Ethernet transport, aggregation and switching technology; multiservice SONET/SDH product families; and network management software products.

Ciena is expected to make employment offers to at least 2,000 Nortel employees. In addition, The proposed acquisition would significantly enhance Ciena's existing Canadian-based development resources, making Ottawa the company's largest product and development center. Ciena currently has development facilities in Alpharetta, Georgia; Linthicum, Maryland; Ottawa, Ontario; San Jose, California; Spokane, Washington; and Gurgaon, India. As of July 31, 2009, the end of its fiscal third quarter, Ciena employed 2,110 employees globally.

"This is a unique and exciting opportunity for us to accelerate our existing strategy and the pace of our growth plans by two to three years," said Gary Smith, Ciena's CEO and president. "We believe this transaction will position us for faster growth by giving us greater geographic reach, broader customer relationships and a deeper portfolio of solutions. We believe we are best positioned to leverage these assets, thereby creating a significant challenger to traditional network vendors."http://www.ciena.com

Metaswitch Posts Annual Revenue of US$113.7 million, Consolidates Brands

Metaswitch Networks reported annual revenue for its 2008/2009 financial year (ending 31-August-09) of £61.8 million (US$113.7 million), up 4.2% from £59.3 million in the previous year. Operating margins were sustained above 20%.

The company said its Carrier Systems Division business was primarily driven by tier one incumbent operators and major regional competitive providers, as smaller operators' spending slowed amid uncertainty about market conditions and the timing of federal broadband stimulus funds. Eight of the top 10 incumbent operators in North America now rely on Metaswitch for carrier VoIP infrastructure.

The company's Network Protocols Division (NPD), previously known as Data Connection Limited (DCL) but now incorporated under the company's main Metaswitch brand, also reported strong results. The company said all of the top 10 communications equipment vendors worldwide now using Metaswitch Network Protocols Division software to power their networking products. Business was balanced across its MPLS, Routing, VoIP and Session Border Controller product lines.

In addition, the company has consolidated its two division under a new Metaswitch Networks brand.

"We are extremely pleased with these results, especially in the light of market conditions which have seen carrier VoIP spending down by more than 30% according to industry analysts," said John Lazar, Metaswitch CEO.

CTIA Elects AT&T's Ralph de la Vega as Chairman

Ralph de la Vega, AT&T Mobility President and CEO, was elected Chairman of CTIA - The Wireless Association. He replaces T-Mobile USA President and CEO, Robert Dotson.

There will be 33 returning board members for 2010, along with the following newly elected board members: AOL Vice President of Mobile Products Raine Bergstrom; Assurant Solutions President and CEO Craig Lemasters; and CBS Interactive - CBS Mobile Vice President of Mobile Robert Gelick. The CTIA Board will be electing new officers and Executive Committee members in the coming weeks. http://www.ctia.org

Bytemobile Wins Multiyear Deal with MetroPCS

MetroPCS Wireless awarded a multi-year, multi-product supply agreement to Bytemobile for its data optimization and content adaptation solutions.

The web optimization application of Bytemobile's Optimization and Services Node (OSN) will enable MetroPCS to cost-effectively scale its high-speed CDMA network to serve additional users and traffic within existing infrastructure. The Web Fidelity Suite of web, Flash and multimedia content adaptation applications will be deployed to enhance the MetroWEB mobile internet service. MetroWEB data service is powered by Google and offers MetroPCS customers complete access to open web and mobile web pages on a variety of handheld devices. Bytemobile's solutions are integrated on its Unison Mobile Internet Platform in the IP core of the network.

"Access to the Internet while on the go has become a necessity rather than a luxury," said Hugh Barton, Bytemobile vice president and general manager, North America. "With our optimization and content adaptation solutions in its network, MetroPCS will be able to deliver rich, fast web browsing and quality video play across virtually all mobile handsets. We are pleased that MetroPCS has selected us as its partner in delivering this exciting service enhancement for the MetroWEB brand."http://www.bytemobile.com

Zhone's MSAP Selected by Egypt's Orascom for FTTx GPON

Orascom Development (OD) has selected Zhone as its end-to-end FTTx GPON equipment provider for the town of El Gouna, Red Sea. The rollout features Zhone's integrated FTTx GPON system with RF video overlay, including Zhone's MXK intelligent terabit access concentrator, zNID Optical Network Terminals (ONTs), RF equipment and the Zhone Management Systems (ZMS). Financial terms were not disclosed.

OD's installation in El Gouna will provide FTTH GPON based telephone extensions with AVAYA SIP functionality, high-speed data and video over a single fiber to each MDU/villa. This network design was achieved using Zhone's carrier-class MXK uplink and link redundancy LACP into its HP 10 GigE core switch.

Starting out as a simple real estate project almost 20 years ago, El Gouna is now OD's flagship resort. El Gouna is built on 10km of secluded coastline, has 15,000 residents spread across islands and lagoons and is the only mature fully-fledged town on the Red Sea Riviera.

FLO TV Launches its Own Digital Handheld TV

Qualcomm's FLO TV subsidiary unveiled its own FLO TV Personal Television -- a new dedicated device that will let consumers watch news, live sports, children's programming and entertainment on a dedicated device for mobile TV viewing.

The FLO TV Personal Television, which will be available for purchase this holiday season, will offer a subscription service starting at $8.99 per month with a 3 year contract. The device will be offered at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $249.99. It has a 3.5-inch diagonal screen and measures 4.4 inches by 3 inches by .5 inches and weighs just over 5 ounces. Its battery supports more than 5 hours of active FLO TV viewing or 300 hours standby.

ng Connect Program Expands LTE Ecosystem

The ng Connect Program, which is multi-industry initiative aimed at encouraging the growth of a rich and diverse ecosystem of infrastructure, devices, content and applications for both mobile and fixed broadband networks, announced that five new members: Creative Labs, Gemalto, Kabillion, R360 and V-Gate.

The program is also launching two new next generation service Proofs of Concept (PoC) for secure access to mobile networks and interactive digital signage. ng Connect PoCs are now available in two new labs in the Paris area for demonstration to European operators.

The PoCs illustrate the user benefits provided by next generation networks to a wide range of industries including consumer media and entertainment, enterprise collaboration and e-Healthcare, automotive connectivity, digital signage and network-based computing. ng Connect Program members are collaborating on the development of these sample services which illustrate the performance benefits of 4G and LTE networks as service providers and network operators begin to deploy their next generation networks.

AT&T Extends M2M Partnership with Numerex

AT&T announced the extension of an agreement with Numerex, a leading single source provider of secure machine-to-machine (M2M) products and services, to provide turnkey services for M2M enterprise markets.

Through this agreement, AT&T will provide Numerex with access to the AT&T Control Center, enabling further expansion of AT&T's distribution in the M2M market. AT&T and Numerex customers that serve end-user markets - such as energy, healthcare and security companies - will benefit from synergies of these integrated services and the availability of more foundational components used for the design and development of most M2M solutions.

Earlier this year, AT&T announced an agreement with Jasper Wireless to offer exclusive U.S. access to AT&T Control Center, powered by Jasper. Jasper Wireless is a global leader in M2M, providing carriers with best-in-class business management, operations and support tools for consumer and enterprise markets.

Numerex's strategy centers on rapid, easy development and implementation of applications and solutions, correlating well with the AT&T/Jasper network services that include best-in-class provisioning, activation, and device management and support services.

AT&T Sees No Need for New Wireless Regulations

The wireless industry is one of America's great success stories and the government should be cautious about making any regulatory changes, said AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets President and CEO Ralph de la Vega, speaking at CTIA in San Diego.

"Our industry is highly competitive, innovative and thriving. Because of significant private investment, made possible by limited regulation, U.S. wireless consumers enjoy the broadest array of innovative wireless services and devices, the highest usage levels, the lowest prices, and the most competitive choices of any wireless market in the world," de la Vega said.

"Before we begin 'fixing' what isn't broken, we need to be thoughtful about the consequences. We believe the marketplace today is vibrant, and there is no need to burden the mobile Internet with onerous new regulations," said de la Vega. "Imposing new regulations on an intensely-competitive market that has been such a phenomenal success could have unforeseen consequences for jobs, investment, innovation, networks, and how the industry structures and prices services to customers."

In his keynote address, de la Vega, highlighted a number of points about the U.S. wireless industry:

1. Is the most competitive in the world: The U.S. has more wireless operators than any other developed country in the world, with four national carriers, and 173 regional, local and specialty operators . The U.S. wireless industry is the least concentrated among developed countries. Ninety-five percent of Americans can choose from at least three carriers

2. Offers the best value: Compared to other developed countries, the U.S.
wireless industry delivers the lowest effective per-minute price in the industrialized world. Not only do U.S. customers pay the least, they pay 60 percent less than the average of the 26 OECD countries' price. U.S. wireless customers also enjoy the highest minutes of use - almost three times the minutes of use of many other developed countries.

3. Offers more choices: U.S. wireless customers can select from among 630 devices from more than 30 manufacturers. Those devices are increasingly powerful: 84 percent of handsets are web-enabled and 89 percent are data-capable. Customers can choose from among almost every major operating system, enjoy an amazing variety of applications and today they lead the world in application downloads.

4. Is poised for next wave of wireless growth: Industry analysts estimate that the emerging wireless devices and machine-to-machine applications market could generate $90 billion in global revenue by 2013. The U.S. wireless industry is investing heavily to nurture this nascent industry. Emerging consumer devices like personal navigation devices, e-readers, netbooks and other consumer electronics are beginning to take off, while machine-to-machine applications promise to transform the productivity and efficiency of American businesses.

5. Has made massive investments: U.S. wireless companies have invested $264 billion since 1985, with $120 billion of that in the last five years alone. Last year, during challenging economic times, American operators invested $20 billion in wireless networks. The industry has also invested $33 billion in payments to the Federal Government in the last two spectrum auctions to ensure it can meet customers' future mobile broadband needs.

6. Is a virtuous cycle of investment and innovation: Spectrum is purchased; mobile broadband networks are built; innovative devices and applications are launched; and customers consume more data using new apps on mobile broadband devices, which in turn creates the need for more spectrum and promotes more innovation in devices and applications, and increased data usage.

7. Leads the world in 3G subscribers: The United States has only 7 percent of the world's wireless subscribers but 22 percent of the world's 3G subscribers. According to the GSM Association (GSMA), AT&T has twice as many customers using HSPA as the next closest carrier in the world.

8. Has exploding data consumption: AT&T wireless data usage has increased
nearly 5,000 percent during last 12 quarters (2Q06-2Q09). Also, a small number of users are consuming a disproportionate amount of data: the top 3 percent of smartphone customers use 40 percent of all smartphone data.

9. Faces unique constraints compared to wireline networks: A single fiber strand has theoretical capacity of 25,000,000 Mbps while the theoretical capacity for LTE or 4G wireless using radio spectrum is 100 Mbps (assuming 2X 10 MHz channels). Additionally, radio spectrum is shared by users in any given location. Because of those facts, a few heavy data users can "crowd out" many average customers if wireless carriers lack the flexibility to manage bandwidth usage for the benefit of all customers.

10. Is thriving: At stake is an industry growing five times as fast as the U.S. economy - industry analysts calculated 2.4 million American jobs, $19 billion in taxes and fees each year, and an estimated $860 billion in business productivity over a 10-year period.

CTIA: U.S. Reaches 276M Wireless Users, $76B in Service Revenue for 1H2009

There are now more than 276 million wireless users in the U.S. -- up by 14 million in the last year -- according to the latest industry survey by CTIA-The Wireless Association.

Wireless service revenues were nearly $76 billion for the first six months of 2009. Significantly, wireless data service revenues climbed to more than $19.4 billion for the first half of 2009, representing a 31% increase over the first half of 2008. In addition, wireless data revenues were more than 25% of all wireless service revenues, and represent what consumers spend on non-voice services.

Some other highlights from The CTIA Semi-Annual Wireless Industry Survey:

  • More than 740 billion text messages in 1H2009 carried on U.S. networks. -- this equates to 4.1 billion messages per day, or nearly double the number from last year, when only 385 billion text messages were reported for the first half of 2008.

  • More than 10.3 billion MMS messages were reported for the first half of 2009, up from 4.7 billion in mid-year 2008.

  • Wireless customers using more than 1.1 trillion voice minutes in the first half of 2009 -- breaking down to 6.4 billion minutes-of-use per day

  • There were 245,912 cell sites in operation in the U.S. in June 2009, compared to 220,472 in June 2008, and 210,360 in June 2007.

  • The number of direct Service Provider employees in the U.S. in June 2009 was 261,453 compared to 267,855 a year earlier.

Genachowski: "America's Mobile Broadband Future"

Today every company in America -- entertainment, commerce, news, you name it -- knows it needs to have a mobile strategy, said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, speaking at CTIA show in San Diego. "At the FCC, we also recognize that mobile is central to our mission. No sector of the communications industry holds greater potential to enhance America's economic competitiveness, spur job creation, and improve the quality of our lives. "

Genachowski outlined four goals in working with the wireless industry:

1. Unleashing spectrum for 4G mobile broadband -- Counting last year's 700 MHz auction, the FCC in recent years has authorized a 3-fold increase in commercial spectrum. The problem is many anticipate a 30-fold increase in wireless traffic. Genachowski believes a mart spectrum policy will be part of the solution. This could include secondary spectrum markets, and spectrum flexibility policies. New technologies like smart antennas and femtocells hold promise as well.

2. Removing obstacles to robust and ubiquitous 4G deployment -- One area the FCC can help is on the issue of tower siting. Genachowski wants the FCC to move forward with a shot-clock proposal designed to speed the tower sitng process, while taking into account the legitimate concerns of local authorities.

3. Providing fair rules of the road for an open Internet -- so that it remains a vibrant platform for innovation and investment, recognizing the differences between wired and wireline technologies. Genachowski reiterated his comments made two weeks ago that the FCC should codify a "fair and common-sense" framework to preserve an open Internet. The FCC will take up the issue at its Open Meeting later this month. However, Genachowski did acknowledge that managing a wireless network isn't the same as managing a fiber network, and what constitutes reasonable network management will appropriately reflect that difference.

4. Empowering consumers by supporting a vibrant, transparent and competitive marketplace. -- Genachowski said the FCC will strengthen its role in ensuring that consumers get clear, relevant information so that they can make informed decisions on new service plans and new devices.