Thursday, December 15, 2011

AT&T Boosts its Quarterly Dividend

AT&T announced a 2.3 percent increase in its quarterly dividend paid to stockholders -- from $0.43 to $0.44 a share on a quarterly basis, which would be an increase from $1.72 to $1.76 a share on an annualized basis.


“Throughout the economic downturn, we’ve been very disciplined financially, which has given us strong cash flows and an ability to pay down debt while investing about $20 billion this year to support more customer usage,�? said Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T. “As a result, we’re pleased to be able to increase our stockholders’ quarterly dividend for an industry-leading 28th consecutive year. We know millions of our owners are individuals and they count on their AT&T dividend each quarter. It’s a responsibility to our owners that we take seriously.�?http://www.att.com

Global Business Exchange for Telekom

A new global consortium of telecom carriers has been formed with the aim of establishing standards for the electronic exchange of data in international wholesale services.


GBET was started by Deutsche Telekom’s wholesale arm ICSS and other major players of the industry, including Verizon, TeliaSonera, PCCW, iBasis, and Telarix, in June 2011. The organization has now launched its website to draw attention to the activities of the organization and find new members.


GBET said its member companies will have a unique opportunity to participate in an industry-wide effort to simplify and create best practices for the electronic exchange of business information amongst the international wholesale carrier community. http://www.gbetcommunity.com/

Verizon Wireless to Acquire 20 MHz of AWS Spectrum from Cox for $315M

Verizon Wireless will acquire Cox Communications' 20 MHz Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses covering 28 million POPs for $315 million. The sale does not include Cox's 700 MHz spectrum licenses, the company's Cox Wireless customer accounts or any other assets. The transfer of licenses requires FCC approval.


Separately, the companies agreed to become agents to sell each other's residential and commercial products and services through their respective sales channels. Over time, Cox may have the option to sell Verizon Wireless' services on a wholesale basis. In addition, Cox expects to enter into arrangements with the joint venture formed by Verizon Wireless, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to better integrate wireline and wireless products and services.
http://www.verizon.com
http://www.cox.com
  • Earlier this month, Verizon Wireless announced a deal to acquire 122 Advanced Wireless Services spectrum licenses from SpectrumCo, a joint venture between Comcast Corporation, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks, for $3.6 billion. The transfer of licenses will require approval from the FCC and review from the Department of Justice.


    The companies also announced several agreements to resell each others' services. The cable companies will have the option of selling Verizon Wireless' service on a wholesale basis. Furthermore, the companies will form an innovation technology joint venture to develop technology that better integrates wireline and wireless products and services.



  • In November, Cox Communications announced its intention to exit the 3G mobile business effective March 30, 2012. The cable operator has discontinued selling Cox Wireless, its wireless phone service, effective November 16, 2011. The company cited he lack of wireless scale necessary to compete in the marketplace, the acceleration of competitive 4G networks as well as the inability to access iconic wireless devices (the iPhone).


  • In 2010, Cox conducted 4G LTE trials in Phoenix and San Diego using AWS and 700 MHz spectrum that it acquired at Federal Communication Commission auctions in 2006 and 2008. Cox spent over $550 million for radio spectrum licenses to support its wireless plans, which include wireless broadband. Cox said that while it is testing 4G LTE technology in these markets, it is initially deploying wireless services using the 3G CDMA standard in Hampton Roads, Va., Orange County, California and Omaha, Nebraska. Collaborating with Cox in conducting the 4G trials and testing the wireless services and applications were Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei.

Telenor Wins 4-Year Contract with Statoil

Telenor was awarded a four-year contract to serve Statoil as the main provider of communications services to their 20,000 employees. The contract, worth approximately NOK 400 million, covers mobile, fixed and IP telephony, mobile broadband, mobile business networks, SMS solutions and functionality for Statoil. In addition, Telenor already supplies Nordic Connect IP-VPN, leased lines and wireless zone to Statoil.
http://www.telenor.com

AT&T Boosts its Quarterly Dividend

AT&T announced a 2.3 percent increase in its quarterly dividend paid to stockholders -- from $0.43 to $0.44 a share on a quarterly basis, which would be an increase from $1.72 to $1.76 a share on an annualized basis.


“Throughout the economic downturn, we’ve been very disciplined financially, which has given us strong cash flows and an ability to pay down debt while investing about $20 billion this year to support more customer usage,�? said Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T. “As a result, we’re pleased to be able to increase our stockholders’ quarterly dividend for an industry-leading 28th consecutive year. We know millions of our owners are individuals and they count on their AT&T dividend each quarter. It’s a responsibility to our owners that we take seriously.�?http://www.att.com

Global Business Exchange for Telekom

A new global consortium of telecom carriers has been formed with the aim of establishing standards for the electronic exchange of data in international wholesale services.


GBET was started by Deutsche Telekom’s wholesale arm ICSS and other major players of the industry, including Verizon, TeliaSonera, PCCW, iBasis, and Telarix, in June 2011. The organization has now launched its website to draw attention to the activities of the organization and find new members.


GBET said its member companies will have a unique opportunity to participate in an industry-wide effort to simplify and create best practices for the electronic exchange of business information amongst the international wholesale carrier community. http://www.gbetcommunity.com/

Verizon Wireless to Acquire 20 MHz of AWS Spectrum from Cox for $315M

Verizon Wireless will acquire Cox Communications' 20 MHz Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses covering 28 million POPs for $315 million. The sale does not include Cox's 700 MHz spectrum licenses, the company's Cox Wireless customer accounts or any other assets. The transfer of licenses requires FCC approval.


Separately, the companies agreed to become agents to sell each other's residential and commercial products and services through their respective sales channels. Over time, Cox may have the option to sell Verizon Wireless' services on a wholesale basis. In addition, Cox expects to enter into arrangements with the joint venture formed by Verizon Wireless, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to better integrate wireline and wireless products and services.
http://www.verizon.com
http://www.cox.com
  • Earlier this month, Verizon Wireless announced a deal to acquire 122 Advanced Wireless Services spectrum licenses from SpectrumCo, a joint venture between Comcast Corporation, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks, for $3.6 billion. The transfer of licenses will require approval from the FCC and review from the Department of Justice.


    The companies also announced several agreements to resell each others' services. The cable companies will have the option of selling Verizon Wireless' service on a wholesale basis. Furthermore, the companies will form an innovation technology joint venture to develop technology that better integrates wireline and wireless products and services.



  • In November, Cox Communications announced its intention to exit the 3G mobile business effective March 30, 2012. The cable operator has discontinued selling Cox Wireless, its wireless phone service, effective November 16, 2011. The company cited he lack of wireless scale necessary to compete in the marketplace, the acceleration of competitive 4G networks as well as the inability to access iconic wireless devices (the iPhone).


  • In 2010, Cox conducted 4G LTE trials in Phoenix and San Diego using AWS and 700 MHz spectrum that it acquired at Federal Communication Commission auctions in 2006 and 2008. Cox spent over $550 million for radio spectrum licenses to support its wireless plans, which include wireless broadband. Cox said that while it is testing 4G LTE technology in these markets, it is initially deploying wireless services using the 3G CDMA standard in Hampton Roads, Va., Orange County, California and Omaha, Nebraska. Collaborating with Cox in conducting the 4G trials and testing the wireless services and applications were Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei.

Telenor Wins 4-Year Contract with Statoil

Telenor was awarded a four-year contract to serve Statoil as the main provider of communications services to their 20,000 employees. The contract, worth approximately NOK 400 million, covers mobile, fixed and IP telephony, mobile broadband, mobile business networks, SMS solutions and functionality for Statoil. In addition, Telenor already supplies Nordic Connect IP-VPN, leased lines and wireless zone to Statoil.
http://www.telenor.com

BinOptics Raises $13.3 Million for Lasers of Photodiodes

BinOptics, a start-up spun out of Cornell University in 2000, closed $13.3 million in new funding for its lasers and monolithically integrated optoelectronic components . The company will use the funding to continue expansion of its product lines and to accelerate development of new products.


Five new investors participated in this round: Advantage Capital Partners, Enhanced Capital Partners, Gefinor Ventures, Onondaga Venture Capital Fund, and Rand Capital. Existing investors ArrowPath Venture Partners, Cayuga Venture Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and FA Technology Ventures also participated.


BinOptics uses proprietary processes for manufacturing lasers and integrated photonic devices at low cost. In recent years, the company has established a strong global market presence by shipping more than 25 million Fabry-Perot (FP) and DFB lasers in high-growth markets such as EPON and GPON. The company is based in Ithaca, New York. http://www.binoptics.com/

NTT Com’s Japan-U.S. Bandwidth Tops 600 Gbps

NTT Communications has once again boosted the data-transmission capacity of its Global IP Network between Japan and the United States, giving it 600 Gbps of capacity on this route. The carrier reports a seven-fold increase in its Japan-U.S. bandwidth between 2005 and 2010. This latest jump-from 500 Gbps to 600 Gbps in just four months-aims to cater to even stronger demand being generated in today’s cloud-computing, micro-blogging, social network and online media-intensive environment. http://www.ntt.co.jp

Crown Castle Expands to Small Cell and DAS with NextG Acquisition

Crown Castle International agreed to acquire NextG Networks for approximately $1.0 billion in cash. Crown Castle expects to fund the acquisition with debt financing. NextG is owned by a group of investors led by Madison Dearborn Partners and including Accel Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Meritech Capital Partners.


NextG, which specializes in outdoor distributed antenna systems ("DAS"), currently has over 7,000 nodes-on-air and a further 1,500 nodes under construction. In addition, NextG has rights to over 4,600 miles of fiber. Over 90% of NextG nodes are in urban and suburban locations, with 80% in the top ten US metropolitan areas, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas Fort Worth. The NextG assets are expected to provide significant growth, as they currently average only 1.25 tenants per network.


Following the contemplated acquisition, Crown Castle expects to be the largest independent DAS operator in the US, with approximately 10,000 nodes and 26 venues in operation or under construction.


Currently, Crown Castle owns, operates and manages over 22,000 and approximately 1,600 wireless communication sites in the US and Australia, respectively.


"Increasingly, we believe that small-cell architecture, such as DAS, will be an important complement to traditional macro tower installations," said Ben Moreland, Crown Castle's President and Chief Executive Officer.
http://crowncastle.com http://www.nextgnetworks.net

Blueprint: The "Flattening Effect" and Network Intelligence

by Terence Martin and Andy Huckridge

How To Stay Ahead of the Growing Trend for “Anywhere, Anytime” Data

The immense growth of IP-based data traffic and applications on mobile devices is pushing the adoption of 4G technologies and fueling the migration to faster data rates. Service providers busy with migration strategies are upgrading existing networks as stop-gap measures to allow an all-IP based services platform. Carriers and handset vendors are differentiating their offerings by rolling out application portals while providing improved monetization and ARPU. User mobility is pushing the trend for “anywhere, anytime” data technology, while applications are driving the subscriber need.

Continuous advancement in technology powers much of the above, including additional overall data traffic and the migration to mobile connectivity/broadband. Applications are becoming pervasive, with the subscriber in control of the what, where and how. To continue to drive down costs, operators are moving to an all-IP core, attempting to reduce network complexity and in some cases altogether outsourcing the management of their networks.


With so much change happening in the network, the migration itself doesn’t occur over night. In the near future, network operators need to combine next generation systems and devices with a supportable hybrid network that interconnects various types of existing platforms. Because the network has simultaneously become both flatter and more complex, the journey toward a converged all-IP network comes with an entirely new set of network performance and management philosophies to be adopted and developed by IT organizations. To drive the need for maintaining and managing the experience of the subscriber, real-time monitoring, troubleshooting and provisioning of the network must be implemented strategically and methodically. Real-time monitoring of network traffic has proven to be crucial to diagnosing and analyzing network performance and services, and consequently the subscriber’s quality of experience (QoE).  

Out With the Old, In With the New – Problems Associated With Legacy Monitoring Schemes

Fragmented monitoring approaches increase problems associated with performance and complexity. Several of these problems have emerged with the growing complexity of data on the network and the accumulation of outdated network monitoring components. Due to the constant push for more efficient connectivity, traditional network monitoring approaches are inadequate for managing network components on enterprise and service provider infrastructures.

The aforementioned traditional approach improves the visibility of network performance by placing a series of tools into the network, but while the system solves some problems, new issues arise. IT managers are faced with the inability to access a particular point in a network with multiple tools, creating a “blind spot” on the network that can cause inefficient and difficult to solve troubleshooting transactions. Blind spots frequently occur with the type of overhead management utilized in legacy monitoring schemes.  Different sets of tools from different vendors dispersed throughout the network in various locations, each with individual management software inoperable with other vendors, can be a recipe for disaster. As network IT managers have limited accessibility to certain points on the network, they must manage an overflow of data. Monitoring costs are becoming increasingly more expensive as network management is becoming more inefficient. With rising costs and reduced ROI, profit is impacted by the lack of fast and efficient troubleshooting. The fragmented approach to network monitoring causes additional performance and complexity problems.


The “Flattening” Effect:  A Pathway for Network Intelligence Optimization to Save Time and Money

Telecom, enterprise and government network operators must develop a holistic and future minded strategy for network monitoring and network management. They must also keep in mind the key aspects of a traffic capture solution, such as the price-performance, diversity, agility and intelligent capabilities. Depending on future requirements, network operators should keep in mind existing macro trends when deciding network monitoring needs, such as “Flattening the Network”, technology development and economics.

The continuous growth of IP will accelerate the pace at which legacy systems are displaced by an all-IP network. The “flattening” effect will create more distributed IP components and broader ranges of IP services rolling out in the network, leading to more potential points of failure and increased complexity of the network. This opens opportunities for additional points of monitoring, in which the monitoring infrastructure should be “flat” and flexible across all parts of the network.
The Network Intelligence Optimization framework is paving a path for a smart network-monitoring infrastructure. To sustain the increase in speed, the traffic capture layer must continue at line rate in hardware, where a deeper awareness of packets and applications, as well as more dynamic handling is essential.


Today, network managers must do more with less, delivering tighter budget control while improving service delivery. Conversely, the network monitoring optimization framework allows organizations to migrate from a high initial CAPEX business model to a lower and variable CAPEX model in the network-monitoring component of the budget. With less, the network managers can do more in other areas such as network forensics, lawful intercepts, behavioral analysis, centralizing applications for compliance, etc. Managed service providers (MSP) have also become mainstream and are focusing on monetization of QoS/QoE, rather than solely on monitoring network elements and packets. The layered-approach to network monitoring is fundamental and crucial to enabling business model differentiation in such network environments.


About the Author

Terence Martin Breslin founded VSS Monitoring in October 2003. Under his leadership the company has grown into the world's leading innovator of Distributed Traffic Capture Systems™, Protector Series™ inline load balancers / speed converters for security appliances, and network TAPs. His vision of creating a distributed systems architecture to replace the practice of using only standalone TAPs for network traffic capture has changed the practice and potential of network analysis. By providing visibility of any link in even the largest network, He holds an MBA from Golden Gate University in San Francisco and a Bachelors degree in Computer Science from the National University of Ireland.

Andy Huckridge is a seasoned Telecom industry executive, currently serving as Director of Marketing at VSS Monitoring. He also serves as an independent Telecom consultant to Network Equipment Vendors (NEMs), Test Equipment Vendors, Service Providers focusing in the Test and Measurement industry. Andy has experience in overseeing various international projects in the Telecom / Security and Next-Generation space with leading companies.


See also