Thursday, October 18, 2012

Acme Packet Intros Net-Net 6300 Session Controller

Acme Packet introduced its Net-Net 6300  session delivery platform designed to assure trusted, first-class services for the world’s largest and most advanced interactive IP communications networks.

The Net-Net 6300 features a 70 Gbps network processor and the industry’s first 10 Gbps interface designed to deliver a system throughput of up to 40 Gbps.

The platform's full 64-bit symmetrical multiprocessing capabilities and quad-core CPU design are engineered to deliver more than twice the signaling performance of comparable SBC platforms. Additional processors in the Net-Net 6300 accelerate TLS or IPsec-encrypted SIP session establishment.

Acme Packet said its Net-Net 6300 is capable of supporting up to 200,000 signaled sessions, 80,000 media sessions, and 1,000,000 subscribers simultaneously. It is designed for emerging services that are expected to generate high subscriber counts and call volumes in the future, such as voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE), rich communication suite (RCS/RCS-e), and video calling.

Net-Net 6300 also provides a  high-performance 32-core processor that supports each 10 Gbps network interface and enables wire-rate encryption for up to 32,000 simultaneous call legs, 300,000 TLS tunnels, and 500,000 bidirectional IMS Authenticated Key Exchange (AKA) sessions.

“We designed the Net-Net 6300 to meet the demands of next generation services, which will be based on end-to-end IP rather than a TDM-based communications infrastructure,” said Pat MeLampy, chief technology officer, Acme Packet. “By combining the latest advances in microprocessors and software with the familiar operations model of our proven systems, we’ve delivered a platform that will help our customers make a smooth transition towards the future.”

AT&T Looks to Expand LTE in 2.3 GHz Band

AT&T welcomed the FCC decision to clear 30 MHz of spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band.  The company said it plans to deploy LTE using spectrum as early as three years from now.

"While we have not yet seen the final Order, we anticipate that the service rules adopted today will permit deployment of LTE technologies in the WCS band while ensuring that satellite radio services are protected from unreasonable interference.  AT&T took real risks to develop this under-utilized band and is committed to devoting the resources necessary to unlock its full potential.  We expect to commence deployment of LTE infrastructure in the band in as early as three years, allowing us to enhance our wireless broadband services.  Our customers will also win, as additional spectrum capacity becomes available to support surging mobile Internet usage," writes Joan Marsh, AT&T Vice President of Federal Regulatory.

Geo Builds Data Center Interconnect for iomart

Geo Networks will provide a fully dedicated fibre optic ring connecting iomart Group’s six data centre sites across the UK.

Geo’s fiber ring will span 1,860 km and offer guaranteed latencies between data center sites including London, Maidenhead, Manchester, Glasgow, Leicester and Nottingham. Latency between iomart’s London and Maidenhead data centres will become virtually instantaneous while the Glasgow to London route will be four times faster than current routes. Geo will manage the service, lighting multiple 10G wavelengths for high availability.

ONF Hosts OpenFlow Plugfest at Indiana University

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) hosted its second semi-annual PlugFest event to drive interoperability, certification, and commercialization of SDN and the OpenFlow protocol for service provider, data center, and enterprise applications.

About 20 ONF member companies participated in the event, whish was held at the Indiana Center for Network Translational Research and Education (InCNTRE) at Indiana University during the week of October 8-12, 2012.

The event provided participating ONF member companies the opportunity to test interoperability and enhance implementations of OpenFlow versions 1.0 and 1.2 in commercial and test controllers and switches. Applications that were tested included topology discovery and layer 2-3 use cases. Additionally, new tests extended to virtual machines and testing of OF Config 1.1.

"This October’s event proved to be a success and highlighted the evolution of OpenFlow-based SDN," said Mike Haugh, senior marketing product manager at Ixia and chair of the Testing & Interoperability Working Group. “We not only saw growth in participants and products being tested, but we also saw a movement towards commercial controllers that are available on the market. This uptick in participation and commercial products validates the maturity of SDN and the OpenFlow protocol for version 1.0 and continued effort going forward."

The ONF also announced a new conformance testing program, with InCNTRE being selected as the first certified conformance testing lab. The new program is being administered by the Testing & Interoperability Working Group and allows ONF member companies to apply for OpenFlow certification of their products. Currently, the lab will be certifying OpenFlow 1.0 switches. The pilot program is underway and the certification is expected to be available in December.

Polkomtel Picks NEC for Microwave Backhaul

Polkomtel, one of Poland's leading mobile operators, has selected NEC's iPASOLINK series in order to rebuild a nationwide mobile access network over the next three years.

NEC will provide its microwave radio solutions, including the iPASOLINK200, iPASOLINK400, iPASOLINK1000 and the MS5000 network management system. NEC will also provide a full range of professional services, such as installation, testing of equipment, training and maintenance support services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

As one of the main suppliers under this contract, NEC will deploy ultra-compact IP-based microwave links across Poland to enhance the capacity and efficiency of the 3G backhaul network.  The network will also support the advancement of Polkomtel's network toward LTE.

Nokia Siemens Networks Regains Strength in Q3 - Record Profitability

Nokia Siemens Networks turned in a strong showing in Q3 primarily due to higher sales of infrastructure equipment and slightly higher sales of services, partially offset by a decline in sales of business areas outside of the company's strategic focus.  NSN also attributed its improved financial performance to gains from its restructuring program.

Commenting on the Q3 results, Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO, "…Nokia Siemens Networks had a remarkable quarter in which we achieved record profitability on a non-IFRS basis and the Nokia Siemens Networks cash balance increased for the fourth quarter in a row."

Some highlights:

  • Nokia Siemens Networks net sales increased quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year to EUR 3.5 billion.
  • Nokia Siemens Networks non-IFRS operating margin significantly improved quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year to 9.2% in Q3; company executing well on restructuring and strategy that focuses on key markets and product segments.
  • Nokia Siemens Networks continues to target to reduce its non-IFRS annualized operating expenses and production overheads by EUR 1 billion by the end of 2013, compared to the end of 2011.
  • Nokia Siemens Networks expects non-IFRS operating margin in the fourth quarter 2012 to be approximately positive 8%, plus or minus four percentage points.
  • On a regional basis, the sequential growth was primarily due to higher net sales in Asia Pacific, most notably in Japan which saw strong growth in sales of both infrastructure equipment and services. This was partially offset by lower sales in Europe of both services and infrastructure equipment, particularly infrastructure equipment sales in Western Europe.  In addition, sales of both services and infrastructure equipment in China also declined primarily due to ongoing technology transition.
  • As for the restructuring, , NSN had approximately 60 600 employees at the end of Q3, a reduction of approximately 14 300 compared to third quarter 2011, and approximately 2 700 compared to second quarter 2012.   The company recognized restructuring charges and other associated items of EUR 74 million related to this restructuring program during Q3, resulting in cumulative charges of approximately EUR 1.0 billion. In total, Nokia Siemens Networks expects cumulative restructuring charges of approximately EUR 1.2 billion related to this restructuring program before the end of 2012. 

Nokia's Slide Continues

Nokia sales fell 19% to EUR 7.239 billion compared to a year earlier as the number of devices shipped, especially smartphones, continued to slide during the company's transition. Lumia Q3 volumes decreased quarter-on-quarter to 2.9 million units.  One brightspot was Nokia Siemens Network, which experienced record profitability following a year of restructuring (see next story).

"As we expected, Q3 was a difficult quarter in our Devices & Services business; however, we are pleased that we shifted Nokia Group to operating profitability on a non-IFRS basis. In Q3, we continued to manage through a tough transitional quarter for our smart devices business as we shared the exciting innovation ahead with our new line of Lumia products," stated Stephen Elop, Nokia 
"And, Nokia Siemens Networks had a remarkable quarter in which we achieved record profitability on a non-IFRS basis and the Nokia Siemens Networks cash balance increased for the fourth quarter in a row.
"While we continue to focus on transitioning Nokia, we are determined to carefully manage our financial resources, improve our competitiveness, return our Devices & Services business to positive operating cash flow as quickly as possible, and ultimately provide more value to our shareholders."
Nokia also said that it expects the fourth quarter 2012 to be a challenging quarter in Smart Devices, with a lower-than-normal benefit from seasonality in volumes, primarily due to product transitions to the new Lumia devices.

GSMA: Mobile Penetration and Unique Users

The GSMA estimates that by the end of 2012 total mobile connections will stand at 6.8 billion including machine-to machine (M2M) communications, or 5.9 billion excluding M2M and inactive SIM cards.

The calculation is based on primary research undertaken by the GSMA's Wireless Intelligence team over three years and across 39 developed and developing markets.

Penetration rates in many markets is exceeding the 100% threshold because consumers are accumulating many prepaid SIM cards to take advantage of lower tarrifs.

"This research, for the first time, highlights the difference between mobile connections and individual mobile subscribers, and points to a significant growth opportunity for the mobile industry as we continue to connect the world's population," said Anne Bouverot, Director General at the GSMA. "By identifying inactive SIMs and multiple SIM ownership, we have developed the most accurate measurement of the global mobile subscriber base, which shows that only 45 per cent of the world's population has subscribed to mobile services."

Some highlights of the study:

  • By 2017, subscriber penetration in developed countries is set to have passed 80% and growth in these markets is expected to slow.
  • Subscriber penetration across developing economies is forecast to increase from 39 per cent in 2012 to 47 per cent in 2017.
  • Europe has the highest mobile penetration in the world, with countries such as Denmark, Finland, Germany and the UK already averaging close to 90 per cent subscriber penetration.
  • Africa currently has the lowest penetration, with only one out of three people in the region subscribing to mobile services in 2012, a figure that is expected to increase to 40 per cent by 2017.
  • In Asia, subscriber penetration stands 40 per cent, and is expected to grow to 49 per cent by 2017.
  • In China, the world's largest mobile market, subscriber penetration will grow from 43 per cent to 52 per cent over the next five years.

The GSMA is also predicting that approximately a third of the world's population of 7 billion are unlikely to be able to subscribe to mobile services for a variety of reasons, resulting in an 'addressable' mobile subscriber base of around 5 billion.

Verizon Hits Double-digit Earnings Growth -- Smartphones, LTE. FiOS, Lower CAPEX

Verizon Communications reported Q3 2012 operating revenues of $29.0 billion on a consolidated basis, an increase of 3.9 percent compared with third-quarter 201,  and 56 cents in EPS, an increase of 14.3 percent compared with third-quarter 2011 earnings of 49 cents per share.  

The company benefited from stronger consumer spending, reflected in smartphone adoption, LTE data plans and FiOS subscriptions.

"In the third quarter, Verizon continued to deliver double-digit earnings growth and strong cash generation, and we remain solidly on track to meet our financial objectives for the year," said Lowell McAdam, Verizon chairman and CEO.  

"With our 4G LTE network advantage, well-received Share Everything Plans and unmatched product portfolio, Verizon Wireless continues to do an outstanding job of balancing growth and profitability.  Wireless achieved record profitability in a quarter in which we reported the highest number of retail postpaid gross and net adds in four years. Based on the strength of our FiOS fiber-optic network, we reported the highest growth in U.S. consumer wireline revenues in 10 years.  Additionally, strategic services growth in our Enterprise business helped offset weaker revenues caused by global economic challenges.  We are confident that we have the right plans in place to meet these challenges while improving the long-term profitability in both Consumer and Enterprise."

Some highlights from the release:

Cash flow totaled $24.8 billion in the first nine months of 2012, compared with $21.5 billion in the first nine months of 2011, while CAPEX declined to $11.3 billion in the first nine months of 2012, down 9.8% compared to a year earlier.


  • Service revenues in the quarter totaled $16.2 billion, up 7.5 percent year over year.  Retail service revenues grew 7.9 percent year over year, to $15.5 billion.
  • Retail postpaid ARPA (average revenue per account) grew 6.5 percent over third-quarter 2011, to $145.42 per month.  Following the recent introduction of the Share Everything Plan and as customers continue to add multiple devices to accounts, Verizon Wireless now reports ARPA instead of ARPU since customers can share data among multiple devices.

  • Verizon Wireless added 1.8 million retail net connections in the third quarter, including 1.5 million retail postpaid net connections, the highest in four years.  These additions exclude acquisitions and adjustments.
  • At the end of the third quarter, the company had 95.9 million retail connections, a 5.7 percent increase year over year, including 90.4 million retail postpaid connections.
  • Verizon Wireless had 34.8 million retail postpaid accounts at the end of the third quarter, a 1.0 percent increase over the third quarter 2011, and an average of 2.6 connections per account, up 4.0 percent year over year.
  • At the end of the third quarter, smartphones constituted more than 53 percent of Verizon Wireless' retail postpaid customer phone base, up from 50 percent at the end of second-quarter 2012.
  • Retail postpaid churn was 0.91 percent in the third quarter, an improvement of 3 basis points year over year. Total retail churn was 1.18 percent in the third quarter, an improvement of 8 basis points year over year.
  • Verizon Wireless continued to roll out its 4G LTE mobile broadband network, the largest 4G LTE network in the U.S.  As of today (Oct. 18), Verizon Wireless 4G LTE service is available to more than 250 million people in 419 markets across the U.S.
  • Q3 operating revenues were $9.9 billion, a decline of 2.3 percent compared with third-quarter 2011.  Wireline operating income margin was 0.4 percent, compared with 0.5 percent in third-quarter 2011.  Segment EBITDA margin (non-GAAP) was 21.7 percent in third-quarter 2012, compared with 21.4 percent in third-quarter 2011.
  • Consumer revenues grew 4.6 percent compared with third-quarter 2011.  This is the highest year-over-year quarterly revenue increase in a decade and compares with a 2.5 percent year-over-year increase in second-quarter 2012.
  • Consumer ARPU for wireline services increased to $103.86 in third-quarter 2012, up 10.3 percent compared with third-quarter 2011.  This is an acceleration from an 8.5 percent ARPU increase, comparing second-quarter 2012 with second-quarter 2011.
  • ARPU for FiOS customers was more than $150 in third-quarter 2012.  FiOS services produced 66 percent of consumer wireline revenues in third-quarter 2012.  About two-thirds of FiOS consumer customers have purchased a "triple play" of phone, Internet and video services.
  • Global enterprise revenues totaled $3.8 billion in the quarter, down 3.6 percent compared with third-quarter 2011.  Sales of strategic services increased 4.4 percent compared with third-quarter 2011 and represented 53 percent of global enterprise revenues in third-quarter 2012.  Strategic services include Verizon Terremark cloud and data center services, security and IT solutions, advanced communications, and strategic networking.
  • Verizon added 136,000 net new FiOS Internet connections and 119,000 net new FiOS Video connections in third-quarter 2012.  Verizon had a total of 5.3 million FiOS Internet and 4.6 million FiOS Video connections at the end of the quarter, representing year-over-year increases of 14.4 percent and 15.4 percent, respectively.
  • FiOS penetration (subscribers as a percentage of potential subscribers) continued to increase.  FiOS Internet penetration was 37.0 percent at the end of third-quarter 2012, compared with 34.6 percent at the end of third-quarter 2011.  In the same periods, FiOS Video penetration was 32.9 percent, compared with 30.6 percent.  The FiOS network now passes 17.4 million premises.
  • Broadband connections totaled 8.8 million at the end of third-quarter 2012, a 2.3 percent year-over-year increase.

Sprint Regains Majority Control of Clearwire

Sprint increased its stake in Clearwire to 50.8% by acquiring the shares of Eagle River Holdings for $100 million.  Sprint previouly held a 48% share in Clearwire, so this transaction restores its majority control of the firm. Eagle River Holdings is controlled by telecom pioneer Craig McCaw.  The transaction was detailed in an SEC filing.

  • Clearwire holds the largest spectrum portfolio in the U.S. but in upper bands.  Its spectrum is an average 163 MHz in the top 100  U.S. markets.
  • Clearwire operates a nationwide WiMAX network and is planning to make the transition to TD-LTE.  Its main wholesale customer and investor is Sprint, which has extended its 4G agreement through 2015.  The companies have outlined ways of bridging their FD-LTE and TD-LTE networks with dual-mode devices that are under development.