Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sprint's Network Vision Sees Some Delays

Sprint’s Network Vision program  now has over 4,300 cell sites on air and the number either ready for construction or currently being updated has more than doubled in the last three months to more than 13,500.  Sprint has completed leasing and zoning permits on more than 20,000 sites.  Weekly construction starts are up over 250 percent from the second quarter but the company now expects to bring 12,000 sites on air approximately one quarter later than originally planned.

On its quarterly conference call, Sprint executives said they were seeing some delays from their network vendors, setting the rollout back by a about three months, but that it hopes to close the gap with its competitors quickly.

CAPEX reached $1.5 billion in the quarter, compared to $760 million in the third quarter of 2011 and $1.2 billion in the second quarter of 2012.

Sprint now has LTE available in 32 cities and expects to add 115 additional cities in the coming months. Sprint has launched or announced 13 4G LTE devices to date.

Sprint added approximately 1.5 million iPhone customers in Q3, 40% to new customers

“The Sprint platform performed well, with strong net subscriber additions, record third quarter postpaid and prepaid churn and robust revenue growth, contributing to Adjusted OIBDA* of $1.28 billion even as we continue to invest in Network Vision and position the company for future growth,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO.

Sprint posted Q3 revenues of nearly $7.3 billion, an increase of nearly 6 percent year-over-year, and a net loss of $767 million, or $.26 per share , as compared to a net loss of $301 million and a diluted net loss of $.10 per share in the third quarter of 2011.   The larger loss included accelerated depreciation of $397 million, or negative $.13 per share (pre-tax), primarily related to Network Vision, including the expected shutdown of the Nextel platform.

Some highlights:
  • Wireless service revenues for the Sprint platform grew 14 percent year-over-year driven by postpaid ARPU growth of $3.01 and continued subscriber growth.
  • During the third quarter, Sprint raised additional financing of $1.5 billion and retired $1.5 billion of debt maturities including $473 million of 2013 maturities and $1 billion of 2015 maturities.
  • Sprint had 56 million customers at the end of the third quarter of 2012. This includes 32.1 million postpaid subscribers (29.8 million on the Sprint platform and 2.3 million on the Nextel platform), 15.4 million prepaid subscribers (14.6 million on the Sprint platform and 800,000 on the Nextel platform) and 8.4 million wholesale and affiliate subscribers, all of whom utilize the Sprint platform.
  • The Sprint platform added 410,000 net postpaid customers during the quarter. The Nextel platform lost 866,000 net postpaid customers in the quarter. Sprint platform postpaid net additions and Nextel platform postpaid net subscriber losses include 516,000 net subscribers from the Nextel platform acquired on the Sprint platform.
  • The company added 19,000 net prepaid subscribers during the quarter, which includes net additions of 459,000 prepaid Sprint platform customers, offset by net losses of 440,000 prepaid Nextel platform customers. Sprint platform prepaid net additions and Nextel platform prepaid net losses include 152,000 net subscribers from the Nextel platform acquired on the Sprint platform.

Telefónica Digital Acquires TokBox for Video Platform

Telefónica Digital has acquired TokBox, a San Francisco based start-up developing a platform for live video-based communications services.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

TokBox's OpenTok Video Platform enables enables video calling to be integrated into websites and mobile applications. TokBox launched the OpenTok Video Platform in November 2010 with companies such as American Idol, Ford and Diet Coke having used its technology.

Telefónica said it will leverage TokBox's Platform to enhance the communication services it offers business and consumer customers, adding cross-platform Web-based video communications to its existing voice and messaging capabilities.  Telefónica and TokBox will work to incorporate video APIs into the BlueVia platform, creating a unified video, voice and text API service with global reach.

Ian Small will remain as CEO of TokBox and Carlos Domingo, Director of Product Development & Innovation at Telefónica Digital, will join the TokBox Board of Directors and become President of the company. The acquisition was led by Telefónica Digital's Silicon Valley-based venture investment team.

Matthew Key, CEO of Telefónica Digital said, 'Telefónica is all about empowering our customers through new and innovative digital services. By adding TokBox's unique capabilities to our communications portfolio, we will allow our customers to leverage the full potential of web-based video communications in their own business models.'

Deutsche Telekom Builds Massive Data Center (150,000m2)

Deutsche Telekom has broken ground on Germany's largest data center -- a massive facility that will be built on a surface area the size of approximately 30 soccer fields (i.e., 150,000m2) in Biere, Saxony-Anhalt.

The new facility, which will be the 90th data center operated by Deutsche Telekom's T-Systems subsidiary, will operate as a twin of another data center already running in Magdeburg.  The new construction in Biere will form a "TwinCore"  -- in the event of any disruption, the twin facility can immediately take over.

Deutsche Telekom said it is seeing high interest in colocation and cloud services.  Some 600 corporate customers use these new IT services offered byT-Systems, including internationally active groups such as Shell and Daimler. Data protection and fail-safety are key services.  T-Systems is using 22 data centers specifically for cloud services.

Internap Plans Another Huge Data Center for New Jersey

Internap Network Services announced plans for a new data center in Secaucus, N.J. to serve the New York metro area.  The company's wo existing New York data centers are nearing capacity over the next twelve months.

Internap said this data center will measure about 100,00 square feet (9,290 m2) and employ the latest power and cooling technologies to deliver power densities of up to 12 kW per cabinet.  The new Secaucus data center will add 55,000 net sellable square feet to the market once fully deployed, which represents a significant expansion of Internap’s company-controlled data center footprint, which includes 320,000 net sellable square feet of fully-deployed capacity as of end of third quarter 2012.

The new facility will be Internap’s twelfth company-controlled facility across eight North American markets will offer colocation and managed, dedicated and cloud hosting services as well as its route-optimized Performance IP and content delivery network services. The first phase of the Secaucus data center is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2013.

“We did extensive due diligence when researching the site of our new data center and believe the Secaucus location provides an ideal mix of space, power, connectivity options and access to a range of customers and industries,” said Mike Higgins, senior vice president of data center services at Internap. “With our two existing New York metro area data centers nearing capacity in the second half of 2013, the new Secaucus facility underscores our commitment to the New York market and our customers’ increasing demand for our cloud, hosting, colocation and route-optimized IP services.”

Apple Sells 26.9 Million iPhones in Q3

Apple reported robust demand for its iPhones. The company sold 26.9 million iPhones in Q3, representing 58% unit growth over the year-ago quarter, and up from 20.3 million in the previous June quarter.  

A total of 125 million iPhones have been sold to date.

Another note -- Apple is now holding $121.25 billion in cash.

Vertical Systems: Business Ethernet Passes Legacy Bandwidth

Vertical Systems Group calculates that business Ethernet service have passed a significant milestone:  global bandwidth purchased for business Ethernet service connections surged past the volume of bandwidth utilized for legacy data services.  This bandwidth crossover milestone was reached in the U.S. market in 2011. Connection speeds available for Ethernet services range from sub-10 Mbps rates to above 10 Gbps.

"Global growth for legacy bandwidth is flattening, while Ethernet bandwidth continues to mount at a healthy double-digit pace," said Rosemary Cochran, principal at Vertical Systems Group. "Enterprises throughout the world are stepping up the migration of their legacy network applications to Ethernet, driven by increasing availability of Ethernet services, lower bandwidth costs, and more flexible bandwidth scalability. Applications contributing to the bandwidth surge include data backup/disaster recovery, high definition video, cloud computing, mobile backhaul and industry-specific applications."

China Mobile Awards TD-LTE Contract to NSN

China Mobile has selected Nokia Siemens Networks for the deployment of TD-LTE in three cities by the end of 2012 as part of its large-scale, pre-commercial trial of TD-LTE.

Nokia Siemens Networks will deploy its TD-LTE 8-pipe radio and Flexi Multiradio Base Stations. In addition, Nokia Siemens Networks will help China Mobile with Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) technology testing in Hangzhou, a technique used to offer voice calls alongside TD-LTE services.

Nokia Siemens Networks noted that through its parent companies it has an over 20-year working relationship with China Mobile and was one of the first vendors to support the operator’s initial GSM network.

  • In September, Nokia Siemens Networks announced a new speed record for TD-LTE -- 1.6 Gbps. The previous record -- also set by NSN - was 1.3 Gbps.
  • The record was set using the company's commercial Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station to receive and send data in simultaneous downlink and uplink connections, reaching an overall speed of 1.6 Gbps.  The test used 60 MHz of aggregated spectrum with an 8-pipe radio module that enables eight streams of uplink MU-MIMO.  The test was performed at the Nokia Siemens Networks lab in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
  • NSN also noted that the 8-pipe radio module design even exceeded the specs of LTE-Advanced, which requires only four streams of uplink MU-MIMO. 

Telesis Tanzania Picks Alcatel-Lucent for LTE

Telesis Tanzania, a new carrier which operates as a Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator (MVNA) supporting services for a number of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), has selected Alcatel-Lucent to deploy LTE.

For the project, Alcatel-Lucent will provide its 4G LTE solution including Radio Access network (RAN) products, the Evolved Packet Core solution (EPC), the Service Aware Manager the Subscriber Data Manager, Convergent Charging System as well as its services expertise including project management, integration and optimization.

The mobile broadband network will be launched using the digital dividend spectrum.

Mihayo Wilmore, Director and Co-Founder of Telesis said "Telesis lives by its motto, ‘connecting the unconnected’. The wireless broadband project allows us to work towards bridging the gap in the digital divide by addressing the key stumbling blocks – access and affordability.  Both Alcatel-Lucent and Telesis have been entrusted by the regulator (TCRA) and the Tanzanian Government at large to truly become a game changer, leading the establishment of a business model where collaboration rather than competition will benefit the economy at large. Tanzania has over 20 million addressable broadband users, 200,000 registered businesses, and nearly 30,000 educational institutions that all need to be connected."

Ericsson Appoints Head of Research

Ericsson has appointed Dr. Sara Mazu as Head of Ericsson Research, Group Function Technology, replacing Jan Färjh, who has taken up another position within Ericsson as Head of  Standardization and Industry, Group Function Technology.

Mazur, who holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, is currently Vice President and Head of System Management within Business Unit Networks. Her most recent focus has been on unit-wide technology and research coordination and strategic management of technologies.

Mazur has worked on advanced technology throughout her career to strengthen Ericsson’s technical excellence.

Mazur graduated with a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, where she is an Associate Professor in fusion plasma physics.