Monday, August 6, 2012

Brazil's Telecom Regulator Lifts Ban on New Mobile Sales

Brazil's National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) lifted its ban on the sale of new mobile subscriptions in certain regions, clearing the way for Claro, Oi and Tim to resume normal sales activity.

Late last month, Anatel prohibited the nation's mobile operators with the worst customer service from selling new lines in regions with the most problems.

Anatel president João Rezende said the remediation proposals submitted by the carriers were considered satisfactory and the the regulatory agency would continue to monitor progress. "The expansion of subscriber base must be accompanied by investments to enable continuous improvement of service quality," stated Rezende. 03-Aug-12

AT&T Plans to Deactivate 2G by 2017, Refarm Spectrum

AT&T plans to discontinue service on its 2G networks by approximately January 1, 2017. In an SEC filing, AT&T said the plan woud help address the spectrum crunch it sees in the years ahead, presumably as the 2G spectrum could be reused.

As of June 30, 2012, approximately 12 percent of AT&T's postpaid customers were using 2G handsets.

Some other notes:

As of June 30, 2012, AT&T served 105.2 million wireless subscribers, an increase of 6.7%.

Going forward, AT&T sees a declining rate of growth in the industry's subscriber base compared to prior years. The company reported a 6.2% decrease in gross subscriber additions (gross additions) in the second quarter and an 8.6% decrease for the first six months of 2012, primarily related to a slower rate of postpaid and connected device additions.

61.9% of the postpaid subscriber base uses smartphones, up from 49.9% a year earlier.

Average service revenue per user (ARPU) from postpaid subscribers increased 1.7% in the second quarter and for the first six months of 2012, driven by an increase in postpaid data services ARPU of 14.1% in the second quarter and 14.7% for the first six months, reflecting greater use of smartphones and data-centric devices.

About 88% of postpaid smartphone subscribers are on FamilyTalk Plans (family plans) or business discount plans, which provide for service on multiple handsets at discounted rates, and such subscribers tend to have higher retention and lower churn rates.

As of the end of Q2, AT&T had 242,380 employees, down from 258,870 a year earlier. 03-Aug-12

AT&T and CWA Extend Contract Talks till Aug 9

AT&T and the Communications Workers of America failed to reach an agreement by the 11:59 p.m. EDT Aug. 4 expiration of the core wireline contract in the Southeast region. However, the parties agreed to a five-day extension of the contract and negotiations are continuing.

The contract covers more than 22,000 wireline employees in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. 

U.S. Opposes Changes to International Telecommunications Regulations

The U.S. State Department has submitted its first group of proposals to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), which will be held at the end of this year in Dubai.

 WCIT intends to review and potentially revise the treaty-level International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), which govern the flow of traffic between nations and which have not been amended since 1988.

The U.S. proposals include:
  • Minimal changes to the preamble of the ITRs;
  • Alignment of the definitions in the ITRs with those in the ITU Constitution and Convention, including no change to the definitions of telecommunications and international telecommunications service;
  • Maintaining the voluntary nature of compliance with ITU-T Recommendations;
  • Continuing to apply the ITRs only to recognized operating agencies or RoAs; i.e., the ITRs’ scope should not be expanded to address other operating agencies that are not involved in the provision of authorized or licensed international telecommunications services to the public; and
  • Revisions of Article 6 to affirm the role played by market competition and commercially negotiated agreements for exchanging international telecommunication traffic.
The U.S. WCIT Head of Delegation, Ambassador Terry Kramer, stated: “The ITRs have served well as a foundation for growth in the international market,” Ambassador Kramer said. “We want to preserve the flexibility contained in the current ITRs, which has helped create the conditions for rapid evolution of telecommunications technologies and markets around the world... We will not support any effort to broaden the scope of the ITRs to facilitate any censorship of content or blocking the free flow of information and ideas. The United States also believes that the existing multi-stakeholder institutions, incorporating industry and civil society, have functioned effectively and will continue to ensure the health and growth of the Internet and all of its benefits.” 03-Aug-12

CWA Sees Threat in Verizon-Cable Deal

If the FCC and DOJ fail to bar the cross marketing deal between Verizon and the cable companies the outcome will be lost jobs, higher prices for consumers and a continuation of the digital divide, according to the Communications Workers of America. The union said it appears the FCC is no longer focusing on the role of competition in keeping the industry healthy.

In a press statement on Friday the FCC stated:

"Regulators are demonstrating a real disconnect between supporting this deal and the Obama administration’s goals of affordable high speed Internet access for all and the good jobs that are necessary to push our sluggish economy forward.

The remedy to ensure competition and good jobs is clear: the FCC and DOJ should bar cross marketing within the Verizon footprint and require Verizon to continue buildout of its high speed FiOs network." 03-Aug-12

Sprint to Deploy Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio Metro Cells

Sprint will deploy Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio Metro Cells to boost coverage in high-traffic areas.
Sprint's initial deployment will focus on indoor applications, including entertainment venues, transportation hubs and business campuses. The deployment will help Sprint to deliver a better broadband experience to more of its subscribers in these high-traffic areas and will help reduce costs in the process. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Sprint is a leader in innovation, and as such, we want our customers to enjoy the latest high-bandwidth services and applications," said Bob Azzi, Sprint senior vice president-Network. "With Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio Metro Cells we will be able to increase our coverage and capacity where it's needed."

"As a leader in small cell technology, Alcatel-Lucent is in an ideal position to address this challenge," said Robert Vrij, president of Alcatel-Lucent's Americas Region and head of Global Strategic Alliances. "By selecting our lightRadio Metro Cells, Sprint can offer its customers the quality of mobile broadband experience they expect, keeping them connected wherever they are."

Alcatel-Lucent noted that it now has 39 commercial small cell deployment agreements and more than 20 ongoing trials. 06-Aug-12

Vitesse Builds Momentum with 1588v2 Timing for Backhaul

Vitesse Semiconductor has captured multiple design wins with nine of the market share leaders in the IP Edge microwave/millimeter-wave backhaul networking equipment space. The company calculates that these OEM customers account for nearly 60% market share in the microwave backhaul and 75% in the millimeter-wave backhaul segments.

Vitesse's VeriTime distributed timing technology ensures the highest accuracy IEEE1588v2 timing for IP Edge networks. Vitesse's recent presentation of performance results to the ITU-T documented VeriTime's better than 3ns per node accuracy over a nine-node IEEE1588v2 Transparent Clock (TC) network chain and superior long-term phase stability, making it the industry's only solution that fulfills TD-LTE and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) requirements in real-world tests today.

"Timing accuracy requirements for 4G/LTE-A/TD-LTE are at least six times more stringent than for 3G," said Pat Diamond, timing industry veteran and pioneering member of the IEEE1588-2008 PTP Working Group, of Diamond Consulting. "Clearly, network equipment OEMs recognize this fact. Given the rigorous level of timing accuracy for LTE networks simply to function, solutions like Vitesse's VeriTime enable OEMs to future-proof their equipment for tomorrow's wireless backhaul networks."
VeriTime 06-Aug-12

IEEE Launches 802.11 Patent Pool Exploratory Forum

IEEE has launched and 802.11 Patent Pool Exploratory Forum to bring together owners of patents essential to IEEE 802.11 standards. The forum will discuss licensing practices, options for licensing administration and other issues related to launching a patent pool for IEEE 802.11-20121 and appropriate extensions to the standard.

Thirteen companies are participating in the forum. 06-Aug-12

Broadcom Offers Full-Band Diagnostics for Cable Operators

Broadcom introduced a suite of remote monitoring and diagnostic capabilities based on its Full-Band Capture digital tuning technology. The solution captures the entire 1GHz cable spectrum, providing real-time performance visibility into a user's home coax network to quickly troubleshoot customer service issues. The technology can be implemented on the company's entire cable set-top box, gateway and modem platforms using Full-Band Capture digital tuning technology chipsets. 06-Aug-12

Alteryx Tunes its Strategic Analytics for Communications

Alteryx, which develops analytic solutions for a range of industries, introduced a Communications Edition that provides actionable intelligence for operators by integrating network performance data with third-party insight. It brings critical data about network, customers, prospects, and market conditions from Business Support Systems (BSS), Operational Support Systems (OSS), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems into a common analytics environment.

The Communications Edition, which is aimed at wireless, wireline, and cable operators, pulls together industry-specific business and technical data with third-party network insight into pre-packaged analytic applications. It addresses strategic problems such as customer churn by bringing together industry-specific data that adds deeper context to organizational data, marketing insights and customer billing information. For instance, the software can correlate mobile network performance issues, such as cell tower call drop rates, with subscriber billing records in order to proactively identify which customers are more likely to churn.

The Communications Edition from Alteryx includes business data from Alteryx Strategic Analytics 7.1 that has been enhanced by GeoResults to include network spending estimates, bandwidth requirements, and other key industry-specific details.

"Alteryx has a strong reach into the Communications industry. We serve many of the largest North American carriers by bringing deep sector knowledge into a powerful analytics offering -- no other vendor can provide similar insights to wireless, wireline and cable providers," said George Mathew, president and chief operating officer at Alteryx. "Today's communication networks and the OSS/BSS infrastructure that supports them present some of the biggest data flow and analytics opportunities in the market. We fundamentally believe that humanizing the industry's abundant data will create innovative services, reduce consumer churn, improve network performance, and thus deliver a better customer experience."

The company noted that eight of the ten largest wireless service providers in North America use its Strategic Analytics for their daily business operations. 06-Aug-12

IBM Wins $280 Million Project with Saudi Arabia's Mobily

IBM was won a 5-year agreement worth approximately $280 million to provide comprehensive IT solutions for Saudi Arabia's Etihad Etisalat (Mobily).

Mobily is the fastest growing telecommunications company in Saudi Arabia.

Under the contract, IBM will provide Mobily with faster, targeted access to new technologies and expertise in order to build a strong infrastructure to keep pace with the company's business growth. One area of collaboration will build upon IBM's Spoken Web solution to establish a spoken version of the Internet for mobile users.

"Partnering with one of the largest technology companies in the world offers Mobily a broad portfolio of modern IT solutions that will have a positive impact on our customers in terms of the quality of products and innovative services, in addition to solutions that will enrich their lives. We are pleased to sign with IBM, which has a significant presence in this strategic sector," said Khalid Al Kaf, CEO, Mobily.

"Mobile computing is driving increasing demand for IT services in the telecommunications industry," said Takreem El Tohamy, General Manager, IBM Middle East and Africa. "With this agreement, IBM provides Mobily with the robust IT infrastructure and near term innovation to remain a leader in providing their customers with the best technology has to offer." 06-Aug-12

Dror Bin Takes Over at RAD Data Communications

RAD Data Communications has announced that Dror Bin has assumed his responsibilities as the company’s President and CEO, replacing Effi Wachtel, who has retired after 15 years in that position. Mr. Bin, 45, was most recently a venture partner at Carmel Ventures. Prior to that he had served for over nine years at Comverse Technology in a series of positions, including President of Global Sales, President of the Products Group, and other key roles such as Vice President and General Manager of the company’s Messaging line, General Manager of the SMS division, and Vice President of Marketing for Comverse Voicemail and Call Completion. 06-Aug-12