Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Airband Raises $20 Million for Fixed Wireless

Airband Communications, which delivers fixed-wireless voice and data services to businesses in 17 U.S. markets, has raised $20 million in new financing from ABRY Partners. The money will be used to accelerate Airband's growth both organically and through mergers and acquisitions.

Airband currently operates in Atlanta; Austin; Baltimore; Dallas; Des Moines; Fort Lauderdale; Fort Worth; Houston; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; Orange County, Calif.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; San Antonio; San Diego and Washington, D.C.

"The surging demand for high-quality data, VoIP and business continuity services and the explosion of cloud-based computing present us with exceptional growth opportunities," said Airband CEO Michael Ruley. "With this new capital, we can increase our network coverage to better support regional and national accounts, including marquee brands that want Airband services in hundreds of locations."
  • In August 2010, Airband Communications and Sparkplug Communications merged, creating one of the largest fixed wireless operators, serves 17 markets across the U.S. providing voice and data services for businesses. Financial terms were not disclosed. Key markets include Atlanta; Austin; Baltimore; Dallas; Des Moines; Fort Lauderdale; Fort Worth; Houston; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; Orange County, Calif; Philadelphia; Phoenix; San Antonio; San Diego and Washington, D.C.

    Airband delivers data services from 1 Mbps to over GigE speeds and a full suite of VoIP services including hosted VoIP and VoIP/SIP trunking.

Verizon Counts 90 Acts of Sabotage

On day five of the strike by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Verizon reported a growing amount of sabotage to its network facilities. Since August 6, the company said it has recorded more than 90 acts of sabotage, some of which have directly affected service to thousands of customers across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including police stations and other emergency responders.

Verizon also noted that its managers and contingency crews have been keeping up with support duties. The company's call centers answered 91 percent of incoming calls on Wednesday. Its management employees have repaired the sabotaged facilities.

Telstra Returns to EBITDA Growth with Faster Customer Additions

Telstra reported full fiscal year sales revenue of A$24,983 million, up by 0.7%. EBITDA declined by 6.4% or $696 million to $10,151 million, beating guidance and including second half sales revenue growth of 1.8% and EBITDA growth of 0.7%. Telstra also announced free cash flow of $5.5 billion, the addition of more than two million mobile customers in Australia and Hong Kong, and an EBITDA decline of $696 million which was slightly better than expectations owing to productivity benefits and revenue growth achieved in the second half.

"This result demonstrates real progress in our initiatives to improve customer satisfaction, grow our customer numbers, simplify the business and develop growth opportunities. We have seen the company return to revenue growth and expect the momentum across the business to continue in 2012," said David Thodey, CEO.

Some notes:

  • 1.66 million new domestic mobile customers, including 645,000 new postpaid handheld and 914,000 new mobile broadband customers

  • 352,000 new mobile customers in Hong Kong

  • 158,000 new fixed broadband customers

  • 190,000 new T-Box® and 175 thousand T-Hub services

  • 659,000 new customers on bundled multi-product plans, with the total bundled base now more than one million.

Huawei Supplies TD-LTE to China Mobile Test for Shenzhen University Games

China Mobile has deployed a TD-LTE demonstration network in Shenzhen to provide exclusive coverage for the 26th World University Games. The network uses equipment from Huawei. The company said it is delivering stable connections at 60 - 70 Mbps in the downlink.

Huawei Supplies TD-LTE to China Mobile Test for Shenzhen University Games

China Mobile has deployed a TD-LTE demonstration network in Shenzhen to provide exclusive coverage for the 26th World University Games. The network uses equipment from Huawei. The company said it is delivering stable connections at 60 - 70 Mbps in the downlink.

India's Aircel Test's Huawei's LTE-TDD

India's Aircel has conducted the first GSM/UMTS/LTE-TDD trial on its existing GSM/UMTS network using devices based on Qualcomm's MDM9600 multimode chipset.

Huawei supplied its SingleRAN, SingleCore system for this trial. Huawei and Qualcomm jointly executed Inter-RAT (Inter-Radio Access Technology)related cases covering multiple live handover scenarios across GSM/UMTS/LTE technologies. Other high speed data services were demonstrated, including video streaming via YouTube, video on demand and high definition video surveillance, which met the key performance indicators (KPIs) expected from an LTE-TDD system.

"Aircel is pleased to be the first telecom service provider to have successfully experienced LTE-TDD functionality using multimode devices based on Qualcomm's MDM9600 chipset in our GSM/UMTS/LTE-TDD network provided by Huawei at Hyderabad. It will further equip us to offer a rich mobile broadband experience to the subscribers. This milestone is a clear testimony of the technological leadership and focused approach of these solution providers in close co-operation with Aircel." said Mr. Mallikarjun Rao, CTO of Aircel.

ActiveVideo Files For Injunction Against Verizon FiOS

ActiveVideo Networks, which last week was awarded damages totaling $115 million in a jury trial of the company's patent infringement suit against Verizon, has now filed for an injunction to prevent further use of its technology in Verizon's FiOS TV service.

ActiveVideo said it is seeking to protect is rights as the inventor of technology used in the delivery of advanced television applications such as video-on-demand (VOD) and interactive TV. Specifically, the company points to four key patents:

  • United States Patent No. 6,034,678, titled "Cable Television System With Remote Interactive Processor;"

  • United States Patent No. 5,550,578, titled "Interactive And Conventional Television Information System;"

  • United States Patent No. 6,100,883, titled "Home Interface Controller for Providing Interactive Cable Television;" and
  • United States Patent No. 6,205,582, titled "Interactive Cable Television System with Frame Server."

  • ActiveVideo's customer list includes Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, PCCW, Grande Communications and others.

TE-NORTH Cable Delvers 40G Wavelengths Across Mediterranean

Telecom Egypt's 3,600km TE-NORTH Cable System, which connects Abu Talat, Egypt to Marseille, France, has entered service offering 40G wavelengths across the Mediterranean.

To implement the upgrade, Alcatel-Lucent used its latest 1620 Light Manager product, previously deployed as part of the original US$125 million contract, and which was subsequently upgraded to 40G. To demonstrate the upgradeability of the TE North system, a field trial was conducted on the system in 2010 with 64x40G channel capability per fiber pair, using a proprietary modulation format coupled with next-generation coherent detection which mitigated the transmission impairments in a cost-effective and automated manner. This upgrade essentially doubles the original design capacity of the system from 10 Tbps to over 20 Tbps.

TE-NORTH is the first Mediterranean cable network to provide commercial service using this newest 40G technology.

The undersea cable system also offers a branch to Pentaskhinos, Cyprus. It includes other branching units for further expansions in the Mediterranean basin.

"Telecom Egypt is very proud to take on the responsibility of serving the International telecommunications infrastructure along the Asia and Africa to Europe route with innovative proven technological advances" said TE CEO Mohamed Abdelrehim. "TE-NORTH, with its recent 40G upgrades across the Mediterranean, will enhance the Egyptian user experience as more and more Egyptians celebrate their freedom and humanity online." "International customers and international infrastructure contribute to TE's top and bottom line and capture the attention of our investors towards the compelling geography of Egypt and the role of Telecom Egypt."

AT&T to Deliver Juniper Pulse for Mobile Device Security

AT&T will leverage the Juniper Networks' Junos Pulse solution as part of a new AT&T Mobile Security application – is expected to be available later this year.

AT&T said this new agreement with Juniper is part of its mobile security strategy to manage and protect smartphones and customer information. The carrier is seeking "to provide a comprehensive security solution that will integrate wireline and wireless security policies for consumer, enterprise and government customers." Financial terms were not disclosed.

The AT&T Mobile Security application will help businesses maintain compliance with government regulations by enforcing security policies across personal or enterprise-owned mobile devices. The approach will enable anti-virus, anti-malware, and application monitoring and control over mobile devices.

"Mobile security is the ‘next frontier' for our continued effort to mitigate cyber-threats and to help protect our customers' information," said Ed Amoroso, chief security officer, AT&T. "With the help of Juniper Networks and the power of the AT&T Labs and the AT&T Mobility Security Research Center behind us, we'll be able to deliver new security capabilities to provide peace of mind to companies and consumers alike."

"We are proud to work with AT&T to help them protect their most important asset, their customers," said Mark Bauhaus, executive vice president and general manager of the Device and Network Services business group at Juniper Networks. "Teaming with AT&T to bring this unique and comprehensive mobile security solution to market will enable a vast number of consumers and enterprises to have state-of-art security features in their mobile life and be better protected from malicious threats."

  • In May 2011, Juniper announced that KT had agreed to implement Junos Pulse and the Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite to secure the mobile life of their corporate customers. KT will market the solution directly through established sales channels, and its established partnerships.

  • In April, Juniper Networks introduced its MAG Series Junos Pulse Gateways for delivering secure network connectivity for mobile devices. The new MAG Series Junos Pulse Gateways, with the Junos Pulse client, deliver mobile, remote network access with Juniper's SSL VPN and local access with Unified Access Control (UAC) technologies in a modular, purpose-built chassis. Key features include: Application Density— The MAG Series supports SSL VPN and network access control (NAC) applications.

  • In October 2010, Juniper unveiled its Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite, which provides a number of tools for securing and managing smartphones against a wide range of threats.

    The software suite includes anti-virus, personal firewall, anti-spam, loss and theft prevention, and monitoring and control services that could be administered either by an enterprise network manager or by a service provider. Capabilities include parental controls that limit inappropriate device use, such as the sending or receiving of sexually explicit messages or images. The tools include a "locate me" feature for finding lost or stolen devices, locking them, backing them up remotely, and then wiping all their data. Junos Pulse leverages Juniper's SA Series SSL VPN appliances, Unified Access Control (UAC), and WXC Series Application Acceleration platform. It combines all of these capabilities. In addition, the company announced the opening of the Juniper Global Threat Center -- a facility located in Columbus, Ohio, that will provide around-the-clock, global monitoring of mobile security threats to consumers and enterprises.

GSMA Appoints France Telecom Orange Exec as new Head

The GSMA appointed Anne Bouverot as its new head. Bouverot was most recently executive vice president of mobile services for France Telecom Orange. She has served on the board of the GSMA for the past two years.

Bouverot replaces long-standing CEO Rob Conway, who announced his resignation in June. However, Bouverot will not assume the label of CEO, instead taking the title of the GSMA's Director General to better reflect the GSMA's role as an association representing the interests of its members.

Prior to her most recent role at Orange, Bouverot was responsible for international business development at the operator, and her achievements include the privatisation of Telkom Kenya, new mobile licences in Armenia and Tunisia, and partnerships in Portugal and UAE. Before moving to Orange, she led a 600-person business unit of Equant and was responsible for developing IT services for Equant's multinational business customers. She began her career in telecoms as project manager for Telmex in Mexico in 1991.

LightSquared Blames GPS Receivers for Spectrum Interference

LightSquared is blaming the GPS industry's failure to comply with the Department of Defense's (DoD) filtering standards for interference issues involving its proposed broadband wireless network. DoD standards issued in September 2008 calls for GPS receivers to filter out transmissions from adjacent bands in order to achieve the performance intended to be provided by the GPS system.

LightSquared said the GPS industry has ignored the DoD standard and spurned international recommendations for GPS receiver design. Whereas the DoD standard grants GPS a 4 MHz "guard band", LightSquared said GPS manufacturers are rejecting its offer of a 23 MHz guard band that would be created by LightSquared's decision to begin its terrestrial operations in the lower half of the downlink band. Instead, the GPS industry is seeking a 34 MHz guard band.

In a letter to the FCC, LightSquared Executive Vice President for Regulatory Affairs & Public Policy Jeffrey Carlisle states: "Had the GPS industry complied with DoD's recommended filtering standards for GPS receivers, there would be no issue with LightSquared's operations in the lower portion of its downlink band... If all spectrum users demanded the irrational guard band solutions that GPS manufacturers are demanding, we would not have broadband in this country and efficient spectrum use would take a backseat to the squeakiest wheel."

Spirent Reports Growth in Wireless Testing

Citing the ongoing demand for data service on mobile devices, and the continued global deployment of LTE, Spirent Communications reported strong results for its wireless test products during the first half of 2011. The company said it is benefiting from the need for additional testing capacity at both network operators and device manufacturers. Some of the highlights of Spirent's performance in this area include:

  • Increased order intake for LTE device testing solutions threefold over the same period in 2010

  • More than doubled order intake for location test solutions compared with the first half of 2010

  • Record half-year order intake for Spirent RF channel emulator solutions

  • Doubled order intake for Landslide compared with the first half of 2010

"We're delighted with the performance of our Wireless test portfolio in the first half. Spirent is well positioned to benefit from the ongoing demand for data service on mobile devices, and the continued global deployment of new wireless technologies such as LTE." said Charles Simmons, president of Spirent's Wireless Division.

ABI Research Predicts Booming Picocell Market

ABI Research is predicting rapid expansion of the outdoor picocell market, growing from its early stages of development to reach $8 billion in global revenues by 2016. Several companies, including Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, Bel-Air, Airspan, and NEC, have announced trial deployments with mobile operators. Other vendors working on developing solutions include NSN, Ericsson, and ZTE.

These outdoor picocells, which plug onto utility poles, lamp posts, and rooftops, are in response to the burgeoning smartphone market.

"Mobile operators have already started to compete on mobile broadband speeds apart from coverage, and small cells will help them differentiate their services," says Aditya Kaul, practice director, mobile networks. "Operators are likely to start with identifying specific ‘hot sites' in congested metro areas, and start using outdoor picocells to alleviate capacity demand. Outdoor small cells are just another tool operators can use in conjunction with macro network optimization, Wi-Fi offload, caching, media compression, and other techniques.

Metro areas aren't the only places where small cells are expected to appear. "Apart from outdoor small cells having a role in urban areas, they also have a role in rural and suburban areas where zoning restrictions prevent macro tower deployments," says Kaul.