Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Clearwire Loses Customers in Q2, Seeks Funds for LTE

Clearwire reported Q2 revenue of $322.6 million. Retail revenue and other revenue was $191.1 million and retail average revenue per user (ARPU) was a record $47.59. Pro forma wholesale revenue was $102.6 million in the second quarter 2011, or $6.18 in pro forma wholesale ARPU. Consolidated pro forma revenue and pro forma wholesale revenue exclude approximately $16.1 million of revenue related to wholesale services provided by Clearwire to Sprint in the first quarter 2011, and approximately $12.8 million of a $28.2 million settlement amount from Sprint which relates to wholesale services provided prior to 2011. The second quarter 2011 reported net loss from continuing operations attributable to Clearwire was $160.5 million, or $0.65 per basic share, and the second quarter 2011 pro forma net loss from continuing operations attributable to Clearwire was $167.0 million, or $0.68 per basic share.

Clearwire ended Q2 2011 with approximately 7.65 million total subscribers, up 365% from 1.64 million subscribers in the second quarter 2010. The subscriber base consists of 1.29 million retail subscribers and 6.36 million wholesale subscribers. During the second quarter 2011, Clearwire added 1.54 million total net new subscribers, comprised of 39,000 retail and 1.50 million wholesale net new subscribers. Clearwire's wholesale subscribers consist primarily of users of 3G/4G smartphone devices.

"Looking ahead, we will continue to seek funding to fuel our growth with the belief that our 4G network, growing customer base, unmatched and unencumbered spectrum, and notable wholesale partners put us in a uniquely advantageous position — one that we intend to maximize," said John Stanton, Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer of Clearwire.

Second quarter 2011 aggregate network usage by wholesale customers increased 42% as compared to first quarter 2011, driven primarily by growth in aggregate smartphone usage, which increased 74% over the same period.

Clearwire now expects to end 2011 with approximately 10 million subscribers, with most of the new subscribers coming from its wholesale business. This is an increase from the previous guidance of 9.5 million subscribers provided in May 2011. Before any impact of an LTE deployment, the company expects capital expenditures in 2011 to be less than $400 million, and operations to generate positive adjusted EBITDA in early 2012 as a result of continued implementation of aggressive cost efficiencies aimed at improving cash flow.

Clearwire also said it is looking for $600 million in new funding for the LTE rollout. It is also seeking $150-350 million as working capital to support its existing operations.

Comcast Reports Jump in Business Service, Internet Service

Driven by a 10.3% increase in high-speed internet revenue and a 41.7% increase in business services revenue, Comcast's cable revenue increased 5.6% to $9.3 billion compared to $8.8 billion in the second quarter of 2010. Advertising revenue increased 3.7%, reflecting a slowdown in automotive advertising and lower political advertising in the second quarter of 2011. Monthly average total revenue per video customer increased 8.9% to $137.51, reflecting a growing number of residential customers taking multiple products, rate adjustments and a higher contribution from business services.

For the six months ended June 30, 2011, Cable revenue increased 5.7% to $18.4 billion compared to $17.4 billion in 2010.

For the six months ended June 30, 2011, Cable operating cash flow increased 7.2% to $7.6 billion compared to $7.1 billion in 2010. Year-to-date operating cash flow margin was 41.4% compared to 40.9% in 2010.

For Q@, cable capital expenditures increased 5.5% to $1.2 billion, reflecting increased investment in network infrastructure to enable product enhancements, including faster speeds in high-speed internet, as well as increased investment to support expansion in business services. Cable capital expenditures equaled 12.6% of Cable revenue in the second quarter of 2011. For the six months ended June 30, 2011, Cable capital expenditures increased 10.0% to $2.2 billion, representing 12.1% of Cable revenue.

Also in Q2, combined video, high-speed internet and voice customers increased by 99,000, an 18.2% increase compared to second quarter 2010 net additions. For the six months ended June 30, 2011, combined video, high-speed internet and voice customers increased by 737,000, a 9.5% increase compared to net additions in the first six months of 2010. As of June 30, 2011, video, high-speed internet and voice customers totaled 49.1 million, an increase of 1.4 million or 2.8% in the past twelve months.

"We generated strong operating and financial results in the second quarter across our cable and content businesses. In cable we saw continued improvement in customer metrics, real strength in our high-speed internet service and strong momentum in business services," stated Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast.

Clearwire Confirms Plans for TDD-LTE, Sees Capacity Advantage over Peers

Clearwire confirmed its intention to deploy "LTE Advanced-ready" technology in its 4G network while restating its commitment to its existing 4G WiMAX network, which covers approximately 132 million people while serving 7.65 million retail and wholesale customers. The company expects to end 2011 with approximately 10 million 4G customers.

Clearwire said the initial LTE deployment will target densely populated, urban areas of its existing 4G markets where current 4G usage demands are high.

Clearwire said its LTE network will be "LTE Advanced-ready," meaning that it will use spectrum configurations capable of 100+ Mbps downlink speeds. The LTE implementation plan, which is subject to additional funding, contemplates deploying Time Division Duplex (TDD) LTE technology. The plan calls for upgrading the all-IP network architecture and base station radios, as well as some core network elements. The LTE overlay will include the use of multicarrier, or multichannel, wideband radios that will be carrier aggregation capable. Carrier aggregation is a key feature of LTE Advanced that will enable Clearwire to further leverage its spectrum depth to create larger "fat pipes" for deploying mobile broadband service.

In a conference call, Clearwire said it will not use Sprint's "Network Vision" infrastructure for the LTE overlay because it substantially more expensive that overlaying its own network, but the companies are discussing the possibility of using Sprint's "Network Vision" in new markets. The WiMAX infrastructure will be preserved for a significant period. The believes its key competitive advantage is having "the deepest spectrum" on the only globally coordinated 4G band (2.5 GHz). Clearwire holds an average of 160 MHz of spectrum nationwide, more than AT&T and T-Mobile together, in one contiguous band, enabling wider channels for high-bandwidth applications. The company noted that even if LightSquared gets permission to go ahead with a 2x10 MHz LTE wholesale network, the Clearwire network eventually could offer 20x more capacity at each cell site using superior spectrum.

With the overlay initially focused on the most heavily-used urban areas, Clearwire estimate the CAPEX costs for an LTE overlay are $600 million. A typical market overlay can be completed in 12 months of initiating the build.

"This is the future of mobile broadband," said Dr. John Saw, Clearwire's Chief Technology Officer. "Our extensive trial has clearly shown that our 'LTE Advanced-ready' network design, which leverages our deep spectrum with wide channels, can achieve far greater speeds and capacity than any other network that exists today. Clearwire is the only carrier with the unencumbered spectrum portfolio required to achieve this level of speed and capacity in the United States."

Clearwire also noted that since launching its first 4G market in 2009, video has become the largest component of the company's overall data traffic and video traffic itself has increased more than tenfold since 2009.
  • In August 2010, Clearwire began testing coexistence scenarios for WiMAX and LTE in Phoenix using both Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) of 40 MHz of spectrum paired in 2 x 20 MHz contiguous channels ("LTE 2X"), and Time Division Duplex (TDD) configurations using 20 MHz of spectrum. Initial tests have recently confirmed that the company's LTE 2X trial network achieved peak download speeds on commercially available equipment and devices in excess of 90 Mbps and upload speeds of more than 30 Mbps. Clearwire expects to conclude the tests in Q1 2011. The company later updated the test reports noting consistent 120 Mbps downlinks using TDD-LTE
  • Last month, Sprint and LightSquared announced a 15-year agreement that includes spectrum hosting and network services, 4G wholesale, and 3G roaming. The deal gives Sprint $9 billion in cash to build out its 4G network and provides LightSquared with a Tier-One partner for bringing its wholesale-only, nationwide LTE + L-Band broadband satellite service to market, should the FCC approve its GPS terrestrial interference mitigation proposals.

    Specifically, LightSquared will pay Sprint to deploy and operate a nationwide LTE network that hosts L-Band spectrum licensed to or available to LightSquared. As a wholesale-only carrier with separate core network operations, LightSquared can sell its 4G broadband capacity produced through this spectrum hosting relationship to Sprint, other wireless carriers, and retail partners.
  • In December 2010, Sprint unveiled its "Network Vision" for consolidating its infrastructure and spectrum into a single, more cost-effective and flexible network. The key idea behind Sprint's "Network Vision" is to operate a single network. Sprint currently uses separate equipment to deploy services on 800 MHz spectrum, 1.9 GHz spectrum and, through its relationship with Clearwire, 2.5 GHz spectrum. The New Vision blueprint calls for the deployment of multimode base stations for delivering 3G/4G services across all of these bands. New remote radio heads at the cell sites would be connected with fiber rather than coaxial risers. The consolidated cell site would be significantly more energy-efficient.

FCC's Meeting on Aug 9 to Consider Microwave Backhaul Rules

The FCC's upcoming Open Meeting on August 9st will consider amendments to existing rules on microwave for wireless backhaul, including changes to rules for 60 and 80 MHz channels in certain bands. Also on the agenda are a review of foreign ownership policies for aeronautical radio licenses, and a petition from Verizon Wireless and Rural Cellular Corp. to transfer control of certain licenses and spectrum leases.

McAfee Uncovers Operation Shady Rat

McAfee has identified 72 compromised parties that have fallen victim to cyber intrusion and massive data breaches in what is being called "Operation Shady RAT." (RAT is an acronym for remote access tool).
The attacks, which have been underway since mid-2006, have been traced by McAfee back to one specific Command & Control server used by the intruders. Intrusions tend to last from one to 28 months, before they are discovered and fixed or till the attacker moves on after having stolen the valuable intellectual property or data.
McAfee says its analysis points to one state actor who is most likely to benefit from stolen intellectual property and government secrets from the U.S., the U.K., Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, U.N., IOC and ASEAN organizations. Operation Shady RAT is described in a blog posting by Dmitri Alperovitch, Vice President of Threat Research at McAfee Labs. http://blogs.mcafee.com/mcafee-labs/revealed-operation-shady-rat

Intel Labs and Carnegie Mellon Univ. Team on Advanced Research

Intel Labs will invest $30 million over five years in two new science and technology centers hosted at Carnegie Mellon University and focused on cloud and embedded computing research.

The first Intel Science and Technology Center (ISTC) forms a new cloud computing research community that broadens Intel's "Cloud 2015" vision with new ideas from top academic researchers, and includes research that extends and improves on Intel's existing cloud computing initiatives. The center combines top researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of California Berkeley, Princeton University, and Intel.

The second ISTC for embedded computing forms a new collaborative community to drive research to transform experiences in the home, car and retail environment of the future. It will host researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley and Intel
A key area of research is to make it easier for these everyday devices to continuously collect, analyze and act on useful data from both sensors and online databases in a way that is timely, scalable and reliable. http://intel.com/go/istc

MobileIron Debuts Connected Cloud Mobile Device Management

MobileIron, a start-up offering enterprise management and security for mobile devices and apps, introduced the first multi-tenant mobile device management (MDM) cloud service to integrate with existing enterprise security infrastructure.

The MobileIron Connected Cloud enables IT departments to quickly deploy thousands of smartphones and tablets without sacrificing enterprise-grade security.

Enterprises can securely distribute their mobile apps using MobileIron's Enterprise App Storefront.

MobileIron said its Connected Cloud can be fully integrated and operational in less than hour. The cost is $4 per month per managed device. The MobileIron Connected Cloud is a multi-tenant platform that was beta-tested by 11 enterprise companies including six of the Fortune 1000. http://www.mobileiron.com

American Airlines Streams Video with Gogo

American Airlines' entire fleet of 15 Boeing 767-200 aircraft has begun offering Gogo Vision, a wireless service that enables passengers to stream content such as movies and TV shows from an onboard server to Wi-Fi enabled laptops during flight. Passengers do not need to purchase the in-flight Internet service to access the content stored on-board the airplane. However, there is a charge for each movie or TV show viewed.

American is the first North American airline to offer Gogo Vision to travelers. http://www.gogoair.com/

Dell'Oro: Service Provider Core Router Market Entering the 100G Era

The Service Provider Core Router market is expected grow at double-digit rates over the next four years as service providers around the world upgrade the capacity of their Internet backbone networks with 100 Gigabit Ethernet technologies, according to a recent report by Dell'Oro Group.

The report forecasts the Service Provider Core Router market to grow by almost 60 percent to over $4 billion in 2015.

"We expect 100 Gigabit Ethernet interface shipments to ramp this year and to become a mainstream technology by next year. Service providers will be able to boost the data rates on their networks significantly, in many cases by a factor of ten," said Shin Umeda, Vice President of Routers research at Dell'Oro Group. "In the past, transitions to higher data rates have been a key factor in the growth of the Service Provider Core Router market, and we believe that 100 Gigabit Ethernet will support a similar market expansion," added Umeda. http://www.delloro.com