Thursday, April 14, 2011

China Unicom Selects ZTE for HSPA++PTN in 7 Cities

China Unicom has awarded an exclusive contract to ZTE for an HSPA+ network upgrade in seven key cities, including Changchun, Ningbo and Wuhan.

China Unicom will use ZTE's packet transport network equipment and IP RAN gear. The construction of this PTN network has also officially started the transition of China Unicom's Delivery network, laying a solid foundation to facilitate China Unicom's 3G and 4G strategies in the future.

Bamboom Targets Cloud-based TV Antenna, DVR, Social Interface

Bamboom, a start-up based in New York, raised $4.5 million in seed funding to develop new concept in digital TV distribution. The company promises to develop a TV service over broadband IP connections but using content from free, over-the-air broadcasts. The subscriber would buy a miniaturized TV antenna that would actually be deployed in a centralized location by Bamboom. This antenna would gather the over-the-air content and then transmit it securely over IP to the subscriber. Each subscriber would have their own antenna. Bamboom would also offer a personalized DVR to the subscriber, as well as a cool interface that also integrates with Netflix.

New York-based FirstMark Capital led the round, which included money from High Line Venture Partners, SV Angel/Ron Conway, First Round Capital, and Highland Capital Partners.

Bamboom Labs was started by Chet Kanojia, whose previous venture, Navic Networks, was backed by FirstMark Capital and acquired by Microsoft in 2008. The Bamboom team also includes others from Navic and Microsoft, as well as RF and digital engineers from Andrew Corporation, Lucent and others.

Russia's Vimpelcom Moves into Group of Top Mobile Operators

Russia's Vimpel-Communications completed its previously announced deal with Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris to acquire Weather Investments S.p.A, which owns 51.7% of Orascom Telecom (Egypt) and 100% of Wind Telecomunicazioni (Italy). The US$1.495 billion cash deal, which was first announced in October 2010, was financed from Vimpelcom's existing cash balances and new debt facilities.

Vimpelcom said the acquisition will make it the world's sixth largest mobile telecommunications carrier by subscribers. Total mobile subscriber base reached 181 million as of December 31, 2010. The combined company had with pro forma net operating revenues of US$21.5 billion and pro forma EBITDA of US$9.5 billion for 2009. The combined company has operations in 20 countries with a combined population of 850 million.

The company provides services under the "Beeline", "Kyivstar", "djuice", "Wind", "Infostrada", "Mobilink", "Leo", "Banglalink", "Telecel", and "Djezzy" brands.

VimpleCom plans to sell off several newly-acquired business units from Weather, including Orascom Telecom's investments in Egypt and North Korea, as well as Wind Italy's Wind International Services S.p.A. subsidiary.

Jo Lunder, Chairman of VimpelCom, commented: "This landmark transaction is a significant step forward for VimpelCom. It establishes the growth platform that the Supervisory Board has strongly supported, allowing us to become a truly global player with a strong presence across Europe, Asia and Africa. At the same time, the enlarged VimpelCom remains committed to delivering enhanced shareholder value in 2011 and beyond, which is critical to the success of a leading global company."

Naguib Sawiris, Chairman of Wind Telecom, commented: "We share a common global vision with our new partners at VimpelCom. The prospects for our new, enlarged and diversified telecoms platform are exciting and a reflection of our high quality assets across each of the geographies where we operate. Moreover, I am confident that our minority shareholders in Orascom Telecom will benefit from the synergies created from the combination of the two entities and by the overall strengthening of the Orascom Telecom balance sheet."

Alexander Izosimov, Chief Executive Officer of VimpelCom, added: "The closing of this large and complex transaction opens the door for new and exciting growth opportunities, positioning the Company to capitalize on strong growth in emerging markets, industry consolidation, and the rapid development of mobile data. VimpelCom has already commenced integration initiatives and we are focused on realizing synergies, particularly in the area of procurement, and capitalizing on the Company's strengthened leadership, scale and market expertise. Furthermore, we look forward to delivering on our commitment to strengthening our financial position through rapid debt paydown and to driving sustained growth in our business."

The company now has operations in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Central African Republic, Italy and Canada. The Group's headquarters is in Amsterdam.
  • In November 1996, OJSC VimpelCom was the first Russian company to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

  • In February 2008, OJSC VimpelCom merged with Golden Telecom, a leading facilities-based provider of integrated telecommunications and Internet services in Russia and the CIS.

  • In October 2008, VimpelCom acquired a 49.9% stake in Euroset, the largest mobile retailer in Russia and the CIS.

  • In May 2009, VimpelCom launched commercial operations outside of the CIS in Cambodia and in July 2009 in Vietnam.

  • In April 2010, a new entity, VimpelCom Limited, completed a tender offer to exchange ownership of OJSC VimpelCom and Ukraine’s Kyivstar for shares in VimpelCom Limited, listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “VIP�? previously held by OJSC VimpelCom.

AT&T Sells its 49% Stake in Mexico's Alestra

ALFA has agreed to buy out AT&T's 49% stake in Mexico's Alestra, giving ALFA 100% control of the firm. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in Q2.

"Mexico is a critical market for AT&T, and we are committed to offering multinational enterprise customers operating in Mexico a wide range of advanced communications solutions," said Mary Livingston, AT&T's vice president for the Canada, Caribbean and Latin America region. "This transaction is consistent with AT&T's global strategy for providing enterprise services directly. We highly value the outstanding work AT&T is doing with ALFA and Alestra, and we're confident that we will keep working together for our customers."
  • Alestra offers a range of business-class services, including converged communications, hosting and cloud capabilities. The company operates a 40 Gbps fiber network spanning 6,700 kms. across Mexico, including 1,750 kms of metro rings.

Cox Hires Clearwire Exec to Serve as CTO

Cox Communicationsnamed Kevin Hart as its new chief technology officer (CTO), effective April 25. In this role, he will be responsible for providing overall leadership, strategic and operational direction to the planning and development of an integrated technological platform. Hart most recently served as Chief Information Officer at Clearwire Corporation. During Hart's 20 year career, he has also served as CIO at Level 3 and held leadership roles at Capgemini Consulting, International Paper and the former Southwestern Bell Communications (SBC).

Hart earned a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tulsa and an MBA in Finance with Honors from Notre Dame.

LG-Ericsson Enters U.S. Voice Market

LG-Ericsson USA, which is a joint venture between LG-Ericsson and Accton Technology, launched its full-featured, business communications systems -- the iPECS-LIK -- in North America.

iPECS-LIK delivers all of the functionality of a traditional PBX with the addition of productivity-enhancing features like Unified Communications for conferencing voice and video data collaboration, remote and roaming user support and scalability. iPECS-LIK scales from a small 10-user office to a 1000-user corporation. Its complement of applications includes soft-phones (both PC and PDA based), PC Attendant for incoming call management, Network Management, Unified Communications, Unified Messaging (with an open interface based on TAPI) and the unique Advanced Interface Messaging (AIM) for computer telephony interface with 3rd party applications.

NBN Co Picks SPATIALinfo's Network Inventory Software

SPATIALinfo has won a 2-year, multi-million dollar contract to supply its physical network inventory software provider for Australia's national broadband initiative. As part of this initial contract, SPATIALinfo is providing its integrated product suite that includes spatialNET, spatialWEB, spatialOFFLINE, ADDRESSmanager, MAPupdater, and spatialWEBSERVICES. SPATIALinfo's products are designed for end-to-end physical network design and management so that network operators can leverage their physical network asset data for improved business operations.

European Union Cyber Security Agency Calls for More Drills

To ensure its cyber security, Europe should continue to hold exercises in Critical Information Infrastructure Protection, according to ENISA, the European Union cyber security agency. This is the conclusion of ENISA's final report on "Cyber Europe 2010," which was conducted on the 4th of November, 2010. Its objective was to trigger communication and collaboration between countries in the event of large-scale cyber-attacks. Over 70 experts from the participating public bodies worked together to counter over 300 simulated hacking attacks aimed at paralysing the Internet and critical online services across Europe. During the exercise, a simulated loss of Internet connectivity between the countries took place, requiring cross-border cooperation to avoid a (simulated) total network crash.

The report underlines the need for more cyber security exercises in the future, increased collaboration between the Member States and the importance of the private sector in ensuring IT security.