Wednesday, March 21, 2012

China Unicom Outpaces its Peers in 2011

Led by rapid adoption of 3G and continued strong growth in fixed-line broadband, China Unicom reported 2011 annual revenue of RMB209.15 billion (US$33.17 billion), an increase of 22.2% compared with last year. Service revenue was RMB185.87 billion, an increase of 13.4% compared with last year. EBITDA was RMB63.40 billion, an increase of 6.7% compared with last year. Net profit was RMB4.21 billion, an increase of 20.0% compared with last year. Basic earnings per share was RMB0.179 (including deferred fixed-line upfront connection fee).

Some highlights from the annual report:

China Unicom' service revenues grew faster than its peers in 2011 and the company steadily gained market share.

The mobile business accounted for 55.6% of the total service revenue.

Service revenue from the non-voice business accounted for 48.7% of the total service revenue.

The mobile subscriber base reached 199.660 million, an increase of 19.3% compared with last year.

Service revenue from the mobile business was RMB103.31 billion, an increase of 25.3% compared with last year.

Mobile ARPU was RMB47.3, an increase of 8.2% compared with last year.

ARPU of 3G subscribers maintained a relatively high level of RMB110.0.

Mobile data usage increased by 293.4% compared with last year.

The mobile non-voice business increased rapidly and accounted for 37.2% of the total revenue from the mobile business.

3G subscribers increased by 25.959 million to 40.019 million in 2011, representing 20.0% of the total mobile subscribers.

The total number of fixed-line broadband subscribers for the year increased by 17.8% compared with last year to 55.651 million.

Service revenue from fixed-line broadband business increased by 18.1% compared with last year, which for the first time exceeded service revenue from the fixed-line voice business and accounted for 43.2% of the service revenue from fixed-line business.

Symantec Acquires Nukona for BYOD Management

Symantec agreed to acquire Nukona, a privately-held provider of mobile application management (MAM), for an undisclosed sum.

Nukona, which is based in Solana Beach, California, offers an enterprise-grade mobile management solution with a consumer-like app store for employees. The platform provides management, control and security capabilities to support data loss prevention and compliance on both personal and corporate devices.

Symantec said the acquisition extends its enterprise mobility portfolio to include a cross-platform mobile application protection solution to help IT organizations protect and isolate corporate data and applications across both corporate owned and personally owned devices.

Ericsson Boosts Stake in LG-Ericsson to 75%

Ericsson has boosted its stake in LG-Ericsson from 50% to 75%.

LG-Ericsson is a joint venture between LG Electronics and Ericsson in which Ericsson acquired Nortel's part of the company in July 2010. The company provides customized solutions for operators and enterprises with a portfolio of mobile and fixed network infrastructure, telecom services, software, broadband, voice and data network solutions for enterprises.

SOFTBANK MOBILE Deploys Ericsson for 900MHz Evolved HSPA

Japan's SOFTBANK MOBILE has selected Ericsson to deploy an Evolved HSPA radio access network for recently allocated spectrum in the 900MHz band. The deployment will use Ericsson's latest RBS 6000 multi-standard radio base stations in Japan's biggest cities: Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. Under the contract, Ericsson will also be responsible for a range of professional services such as network design, consulting systems integration and network deployment. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Tata Global Network Completes Eurasia Cable

A new Tata Global Network – Eurasia (TGN-EA) cable has been commercially activated.

The 9,280 km TGN-EA system, which links Europe and India, via Egypt and the Mediterranean, offer RTD latency of around 92 msec. Customer speeds are available from 2 Mbps to 10 Gbps. The round-the-world ring also offers city-to-city connections in contrast to more traditional networks which only link cable landing stations.

The completion of the final TGN-EA link follows significant investment from Tata Communications in its global network in recent years.

“This a landmark moment for Tata Communications as we officially launch the world’s first wholly-owned global submarine cable network as a complete and robust ring around the world,�? stated Vinod Kumar, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Communications.

NEC to Acquire Convergys' BSS for $449 Million

NEC agreed to acquire Convergys' Information Management (IM) business, which supplies Business Support Systems (BSS) to service providers, for US$449 million. The deal covers all of IM's business, including Smart Suite Products, across different verticals including communications, utilities and logistics.

The acquisition will build on NEC's NetCracker division, a supplier of Operations Support Systems (OSS), which NEC acquired in 2008. Following the acquisition, NetCracker will be responsible for all business operations of the combined entity. With this acquisition, NetCracker will add key BSS software and services to its Telecom Operations and Management Solutions (TOMS) suite. The combination of IM's BSS products and NetCracker's TOMS solutions will create a compelling end-to-end portfolio that will bring experience and innovation to service providers and other industry verticals — whether they access BSS/OSS (Operational Support Systems) solutions through the cloud, as a managed service, or as an in-premise system.

Convergys’ BSS business claims 150 service provider customers (AT&T, vivo, BT, Telkomsel etc) and annual sales of approximately $329 million. NetCracker has a customer base of 70 major service providers.

"Convergys' IM business has distinguished itself with a record of successful BSS implementations and exceptional professional services for leading international communications carriers," said Dr. Nobuhiro Endo, President of NEC. "The acquisition of the IM business will enable NEC to bring even greater value and benefits to the service provider industry."

Verizon: Hacktivists and Cyber-Criminals Run Amok

In 2011, the world experienced remarkable civil and cultural uprisings (Arab Spring, Occupy movement, etc) as well as rising hacktivism in the online world.

Verizon's newly released "2012 Data Breach Investigations report traces the sharp rise in hactivism as a major threat to governments and businesses, as well as increasingly sophisticated attacks by mainline cybercriminals who continue to refine their methods in penetrating specific economic targets.

The report, which used input from a variety of sources, including the United States Secret Service and other law enforcement authorities around the world, examined 855 data breach incidents. The number of compromised records across these incidents reached 174 million -- the second-highest data loss total since Verizon started keeping track in 2004.

Hactivist groups are believed to be responsible for 58% of this data theft in 2011.

"With the participation of our law enforcement partners around the globe, the '2012 Data Breach Investigations Report' offers what we believe is the most comprehensive look ever into the state of cybersecurity," said Wade Baker, Verizon's director of risk intelligence. "Our goal is to increase the awareness of global cybercrime in an effort to improve the security industry's ability to fight it while helping government agencies and private sector organizations develop their own tailored security plans."

Professional cybercriminals remain focused on industrial espionage and while the number of reported breaches were less frequent, Verizon sees serious implications for the security of corporate data. Attackers continue to thwart or circumvent authentication by combining stolen or guessed credentials with backdoors (to retain access).

Some guidance from Verizon:

Recommendations for Enterprises

Eliminate unnecessary data. Unless there is a compelling reason to store or transmit data, destroy it. Monitor all important data that must be kept.

Establish essential security controls. To effectively defend against a majority of data breaches, organizations must ensure fundamental and common sense security countermeasures are in place and that they are functioning correctly. Monitor security controls regularly.

Place importance on event logs. Monitor and mine event logs for suspicious activity - breaches are usually identified by analyzing event logs.

Prioritize security strategy. Enterprises should evaluate their threat landscape and use the findings to create a unique, prioritized security strategy.

Recommendations for Small Organizations

Use a firewall. Install and maintain a firewall on Internet-facing services to protect data. Hackers cannot steal what they cannot reach.

Change default credentials. Point-of-sale (POS) and other systems come with pre-set credentials. Change the credentials to prevent unauthorized access.

Monitor third parties. Third parties often manage firewalls and POS systems. Organizations should monitor these vendors to ensure they have implemented the above security recommendations, where applicable.

The 77-page report is available for downloading.