Tuesday, January 25, 2011

O2 Plans Free Wi-Fi Service Across UK

Telefónica O2 UK unveiled plans for a "market-changing," free, public Wi-Fi network across UK. O2 Wifi will operate a series of premium hotspots managed through partnerships with key venue owners.

O2 said its aims to at least double the number of premium hotspots currently offered by BT Openzone and The Cloud combined by 2013. It will begin rollout immediately by replacing its existing 450 Cloud hotspots in its retail and office estate.

Access to the hotspots will be free to both O2 and non-O2 mobile customers. All hotspots will be premium public hotspots, as opposed to using residential connections with limited bandwidth.

In addition, O2 announced plans to increase investment in its mobile network by 25% in 2011.

"Building networks is a core capability. We have pioneered the explosion of mobile data over the last three years and know better than anyone where people are accessing data. O2 Wifi hotspots will bring high quality public Wi-fi access to the majority of mobile users," said O2's New Business Development Director Tim Sefton. "Only 20% of people who have access to free public Wi-Fi on O2 tariffs actively use it despite the majority of devices being Wi-Fi enabled. We know that Wi-Fi as a technology has great potential and can be a very fast service, however customers are discouraged by barriers which include complexity in activation, uncertainty of where Wi-Fi is free and the variable quality of the current experience.

The announcement comes as BSkyB reportedly is negotiating to acquire The Cloud. This deal would provide Sky's 2.8 million fixed line broadband customers with access to The Cloud's European network of 22,000 hotspots.

SK Telecom Details its LTE Architecture

South Korea's SK Telecom has selected Samsung Electronics, LG-Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks as key equipment suppliers for its upcoming LTE network. SK Telecom anticipates launching commercial LTE services in Seoul by July this year and plans to expand the service to the Seoul metropolitan area and six other metropolitan cities by 2012. The service will become nationwide by 2013.

Samsung Electronics and LG-Ericsson will supply switching equipment, while all three companies will provide base station equipment. SK Telecom said it made the selection based on price and compatibility with other suppliers.

SK Telecom will adopt its own Smart Cloud Access Network (SCAN) architecture to optimize its rollout. A base station largely consists of Digital Unit (DU) and Radio Unit (RU). With the SCAN architecture, LTE network DUs will be stored together in one area, while Remote Radio Units (RRU) - along with the antenna - will be set up in various locations. The carrier said this cloud-based network design enables multiple RRUs to be installed according to varying network capacity needs of each area.

SK Telecom is currently awaiting approval from the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) to utilize its 800 MHz spectrum for its LTE service. The 800 MHz band would provide SK Telecom will good penetration underground and inside of buildings.

SK Telecom will start initially offer LTE data modems with the service launch in July. LTE smartphones and tablet PCs are expected by the end of this year. The LTE smartphones will use the existing 3G network for voice service and the LTE network for data service using the DBDM (Dual Band Dual Mode) format. Until the company secures nationwide coverage for LTE, all the LTE devices will be launched in DBDM formats. In the areas where LTE coverage is not secured, SK Telecom will offer seamless data service through its current WCDMA networks.

SK Telecom also plans to boost network capacity in small areas by deploying 62,000 Wi-Fi zones and over 10,000 femtocells. This will require the installation of 45,000 Wi-Fi this year, as well as expanding the 1,000 femtocells deployed last year to 10,000 femtocells. Also, SK telecom plans to offer femtocells that can handle voice and data traffic at the same time in small areas. Furthermore, the 6-sector solutions, which can double the capacity of current base stations, will be expanded to 500 base stations this year from 20 base stations beta-tested at the end of last year.

Bae Joon-Dong, President and Head of Network CIC of SK Telecom, said: "We're very excited with this major milestone. As we begin this journey in the evolution of our wireless network, we are delighted to partner with top LTE equipment suppliers to build our 4G network. Once we have full-pledged service, we expect huge market demand and a new wave of mobile innovation with higher quality multimedia contents and advanced smart devices."http://www.sktelecom.com

AT&T Outlines its IPv6 Readiness Plans

As the countdown of days remaining until the pool of available blocks of IP addresses approaches zero, AT&T highlighted steps it is taking to prepare customer, as well as its own network, for the transition to IPv6.

AT&T said it has completed a full assessment of its products and infrastructure, identified necessary steps, and developed platform and product specific strategies, AT&T is now employing a variety of tactics — ranging from aggressively conserving/reclaiming addresses to full-scale upgrading of infrastructure— to minimize risk and customer impacts. Steps taken since 2006 include:

  • Transitioned its own Enterprise, Consumer and Mobility services to IPv6.

  • Created a separate corporate program office to manage the transition in alignment with global IPv4 address exhaust scenarios.

  • Enabled IPv6 for use with AT&T Virtual Private Network Service (AT&T VPN) and AT&T Managed Internet Services (MIS) for sites in the US today. IPv6 is also enabled for use with AT&T VPN and MIS in additional countries today and is projected to be available to the majority of AT&T's global network footprint in 2011. In addition, IPv6 will be enabled on many of AT&T's "IP add-on" services such as remote access, hosting, managed premises equipment, and VoIP through the course of 2011.

For customers, AT&T is actively consulting with companies in response to the exploding growth in mobile applications, machine-to-machine computing, and peer-to-peer applications. AT&T is encouraging businesses to perform a readiness assessment and begin establishing an IPv6 presence.

Telefónica O2 UK Picks Ericsson as Northern Vendor

Telefónica O2 UK has selected Ericsson to perform a substantial network modernization in the north of the UK. The partnership will deliver greater coverage, voice and data capacity for O2 customers via a new generation network, specifically designed to handle significant growth in smartphones and smartphone applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ericsson will deploy its multi-standard base stations and be the sole supplier of the core network infrastructure. The deployment includes blade-based Mobile Softswitches. The modernized network will initially be used to provide 3G capability and support HSPA download speeds up to 42Mbps and is fully prepared for LTE introduction and other future developments.

Motorola Mobility Posts Q4 Revenue of $3.4 billion, up 21% YoY

Motorola Mobility reported Q4 2010 net revenues of $3.4 billion, up 21 percent year-over-year. The GAAP earnings in the fourth quarter of 2010 were $80 million, or .27 per share, compared to a loss of $204 million, or .69 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Mobile Devices segment net revenues in Q4 2010 were $2.4 billion, up 33 percent compared with the year-ago quarter.
The company shipped 4.9 million and 13.7 million smartphones in the quarter and full year, respectively, compared to 2.0 million in the fourth quarter and full year 2009. The company shipped total handsets (including smartphones) of 11.3 million and 37.3 million in the quarter and full year 2010, respectively.

"The improvement in our financial results last year, including profitability in the fourth quarter, is indicative of the progress we have made in delivering innovative smartphones and improving the Mobile Devices business," said Sanjay Jha, chairman and chief executive officer of Motorola Mobility. "Our Home business performed well and remains a premier provider of digital set-tops and end-to-end video solutions. With the global opportunities ahead, along with our diversified portfolio, our brand, and our people, we are well positioned to grow, and further improve our financial results in 2011."http://www.motorola.com/Consumers/US-EN/Home

Ciena's Gary Smith Appointed to NSTA Committee

President Obama has appointed Gary Smith, Ciena's president and CEO, as a member of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC). The mission of the NSTAC is to provide the President collaborative advice and expertise regarding telecommunications national security and emergency preparedness issues.

Qualcomm Sees Record Revenue Driven by Smartphones

Driven by surging smartphone sales and 3G-enabled devices, Qualcomm reported record quarterly sales of $3.35 billion, up 25 percent year-over-year and 13 percent sequentially. Operating income: $1.11 billion, up 26 percent y-o-y and 33 percent sequentially. Net income was $1.17 billion, up 39 percent y-o-y and 35 percent sequentially. It was the best quarter in the company's history.

Qualcomm substantially raised its financial outlook for revenue and earnings for the remainder of 2011.

"We are very pleased to report record revenues, earnings per share and MSM chipset shipments this quarter driven by increased demand for smartphones and data-centric devices across an expanding number of regions and price points," said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm. "In addition, we have resolved one of our previously disclosed licensee disputes (not Panasonic), which will be reflected beginning with the second fiscal quarter results. We continue to execute on our strategic objectives as our partners leverage our technologies and solutions to offer leading wireless products and services to consumers around the globe. We believe we are uniquely positioned to benefit from these industry trends and are substantially raising our revenue and earnings guidance for the fiscal year."

Some key business metrics:

CDMA-based Mobile Station Modem (MSM) shipments: approximately 118 million units, up 28 percent y-o-y and 6 percent sequentially.

September quarter total reported device sales: approximately $34.0 billion, up 39 percent y-o-y and 20 percent sequentially.

September quarter estimated CDMA-based device shipments: approximately 165 to 169 million units at an estimated average selling price of approximately $201 to $207 per unit.

LTE design activity is accelerating with over 25 manufacturers choosing Qualcomm.

More than 150 SnapDragon devices are under development, including more than 20 tablets.http://www.qualcomm.com

  • Earlier this month, Qualcomm confirmed plans to acquire Atheros Communications for $45 per share in cash, which values the deal at $3.1 billion. Atheros, which is based in San Jose, California, is a leading supplier of Wi-Fi silicon. Its product line includes wireless LAN client chips, network processors, Ethernet transceivers, Ethernet switching silicon, Powerline SoCs, and Bluetooth devices. The company has approximately 1,700 employess and reported Q3 2010 revenue of $247 million, up 4 percent compared to $238.2 million reported in the second quarter of 2010.

  • In December 2010, AT&T agreed to acquire Qualcomm's lower 700 MHz D and E Block (Channel 55 and 56) unpaired U.S. spectrum licenses for $1.925 billion. The sale follows Qualcomm's previously announced plan to restructure its FLO TV business. Qualcomm will now shut down its FLO TV business and network in March 2011. The spectrum covers more than 300 million people total nationwide: 12 MHz of Lower 700 MHz D and E block spectrum covers more than 70 million people in five of the top 15 U.S. metropolitan areas — New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco; 6 MHz of Lower 700 MHz D block spectrum covers more than 230 million people across the rest of the U.S.

FCC Grants LightSquared's Satellite + LTE Flexibility Request

The FCC issued a conditional waiver of the Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) Integrated Service Rule to LightSquared. This waiver will allow LightSquared's wholesale customers to provide either dual-mode or terrestrial-only devices as part of an integrated satellite-terrestrial broadband service.

LightSquared said the FCC's grant of this application is an essential building block for its network.

LightSquared is the new company backed by Harbinger Capital Partners that is building a nationwide LTE + satellite wholesale network. The company has agreements with Qualcomm, Nokia and two other device manufacturers. Qualcomm is integrating L-Band LTE technology in its mainstream chipset roadmap and has developed a satellite air interface technology. The Enhanced Geostationary Air Link (EGAL) enables the satellite mode of operation in mobile devices. These technologies will be integrated into silicon, including Qualcomm's MDM9600 chipset, which is an LTE multi-mode solution. Nokia will supply branded, data-centric products for LightSquared customers. AnyDATA and BandRich will provide embedded modules, USB data modems, and other devices which are expected to launch during the second half of 2011.http://www.lightsquared.com

  • In November 2010, LightSquared's SkyTerra 1 satellite was successfully launched into orbit on an ILS Proton rocket from Kazakhstan. The SkyTerra 1 satellite, weighing over 5.3 metric tons, was placed into geostationary transfer orbit. It was the first satellite launch for LightSquared. The satellite is based on the Boeing 702HP design and it will combine with four gateway ground stations and ground-based beam-forming equipment to create the first of two Space-Based Networks (SBN) that Boeing is building for LightSquared (formerly SkyTerra). The satellite features a 22-meter L-band reflector-based antenna -- the largest commercial antenna reflector to be put into service. The active phased-array antenna will offer state-of-the-art digital signal processing, channel formation and switching.

Silicon Laboratories Acquires SpectraLinear for Timing Chips

Silicon Laboratories has acquired SpectraLinear, a start-up offering integrated timing chips, for approximately $40 million. SpectraLinear's family of low-power, highly programmable and small-footprint silicon clocking solutions is optimized for consumer electronics and embedded applications such as portable media players, residential gateways and digital cameras.

Silicon Labs offers timing solutions for the middle and high end of the timing market.

"By offering strong product synergies, tier one customer alignment and an immediate footprint in the timing subsystem of consumer devices, this acquisition further establishes Silicon Labs as a one-stop timing solution provider," said Mark Downing, vice president of strategy and business development.

SpectraLinear is based in Santa Clara, California, with design centers in Bangalore, India, and Istanbul, Turkey.http://news.silabs.com

TIA: Momentum Builds for Inside the Network Event in May

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) announced the addition of Ericsson, Juniper Networks and Nokia Siemens Networks to the list of major sponsors of its upcoming "Inside the Network" event, which is scheduled for May 17-20 in Dallas, Texas. Other major participants include Alcatel-Lucent, GENBAND, and Walker and Associates.

Earlier this month TIA announced that AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson will deliver the opening keynote address. http://www.tia2011.org

Netflix Tops 20 Million -- Comments on Net Neutrality

Netflix added 3.08 million subscribers in Q4 2010, giving it a total base of more than 20 million subscribers. Revenue for the quarter was $596 million and net income was $47 million.

The company's $7.99 per month pure streaming plan, which was introduced in November, has attracted more than one third of new subscribers.

Some operational notes from the company's letter to its shareholders:

  • Netflix noted significant progress in moving its service from its own data centers into the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. Netflix now runs thousands of AWS servers. As a result, the company expects minimal CAPEX but more OPEX expenses going forward. Netflix said it has gained assurances from Amazon Web Services that it can continue to scale even if the companies compete on the retail side.
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  • Netflix advocates an open, regional, no-charges, interchange model. Under this approad, Netflix or its CDN partner pay the costs of delivering bits to the various regional front-doors that the ISPs operate. The ISP carries the bits the last mile to the consumer who has requested them, and they should not charge Netflix of its CDN partner because the end-customer has already paid them for this service.
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  • Netflix plans to publish ongoing performance statistics about ISPs. Charter is the highest-performance ISP in the United States for streaming Netflix content.
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  • Netflix the marginal cost of delivering a gigabyte of traffic over a last mile wireline network in the U.S. to be under a penny and falling.
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  • Because Netflix delivers its content to regional ISP exchange points, little of its streaming traffic goes over the Internet or ISP backbone networks, thereby minimizing ISP costs and avoiding Internet congestion.

CyOptics Raises $50 Million for Optical Components

CyOptics has raised US$50 million in venture funding for its optical chip and component business.

CyOptics, which is based in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania, specializes in Indium Phosphide (InP) optical technologies. Its product line includes optical transmitters, receivers and modulators for 2.5 Gbps to 40 Gbps transmission. The company's device manufacturing capability includes Indium Phosphide wafer fabrication, re-growth, and characterization. We have a 60,000 sq. ft. wafer/chip fab in Lehigh Valley, PA. Our component packaging and test capability includes high precision placement (<1um), precise attachment methods, active fiber alignment and on-line, real-time data acquisition and analysis. CyOptics also operates an automated assembly and test facility in Matamoros, Mexico.

CyOptics said it generated over $100 million in revenues in 2010 and ended the year with a strong sales backlog, granting good visibility into 2011. The company believes the photonics industry is once again entering a growth phase driven by demand from wireless backhaul, cloud computing, data center congestion, video downloading and social networking.

The new funding round was led by JVP, a leading Israeli venture capital fund, and entailed the purchase of shares from several existing shareholders and the financing of additional growth capital for the company. Joining the round were existing CyOptics investors: Sprout Group, Birchmere Ventures and Eurofund.

"CyOptics is uniquely positioned to bring together all of the critical technologies required to design and manufacture high performance optical devices," said Ed Coringrato, CyOptics CEO. "This incremental investment will help to fund the working capital needed to bolster near term revenue growth and to support research & development required to deliver the next generation products and services our customers require."http://www.cyoptics.com

Cisco to Acquire Pari Networks for Security Alert Compliance

Cisco agreed to acquire privately-held Pari Networks, start-up specializing in network configuration and change management (NCCM) and compliance management solutions, for an undisclosed sum.

Pari Networks, which is based in Milpitas, Calif., provides a security appliance with an advanced policy architecture for complying with alerts (such as National Security Agency guidelines, SANS, etc.), and vendor specific security advisories (such as Cisco PSIRTs), as well as regulatory compliance requirements (SOX, ISO17799, HIPAA, etc.). Pari Networks' technology will integrate into Cisco's smart services and help accelerate the ability of Cisco and its partners to manage the health and stability of customer networks through proactive, personalized services.
http://www.cisco.com http://parinetworks.com

  • Pari Networks is headed by Kishore Kumar (CEO), who previously was a senior product line manager looking after router based security in Cisco Security Technology Group. The company's founders also include Satyan Raju, Sreenivas Devalla, and Siri Kothe -- all of whom also previously worked at Cisco.

Hong Kong Broadband Deploys Cisco CRS-3

Hong Kong Broadband Network Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of City Telecom (HK) Limited, has committed to the Cisco CRS-3 Carrier Routing System as the foundation for its IP NGN.

The new platform enables HKBN to consolidate the number of core routers in its network.

The Cisco CRS-3 will also enable HKBN to enhance its 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps residential service offerings. HKBN can ensure the Steady Speed guarantee of no less than 80 percent of advertised speed to customers for its 100 Mbps service. Financial terms were not disclosed.http://www.cisco.com