Monday, December 17, 2012

Sprint Sets Clearwire Deal at $2.97 per share

Sprint agreed to pay  $2.97 per share for remaining shares of Clearwire that it does not already own.  The deal, has been accepted by Clearwire's Board of Directors, equates to a total payment of $2.2 billion for the outstanding 50% equity stake, and results in a total Clearwire enterprise value of approximately $10 billion, including net debt and spectrum lease obligations of $5.5 billion.

 Sprint said itss Network Vision architecture will be able to take full advantage of Clearwire’s complementary 2.5 GHz spectrum assets, while achieving operational efficiencies and improved service for customers as the spectrum and network is migrated to LTE standards.

“Today’s transaction marks yet another significant step in Sprint’s improved competitive position and ability to offer customers better products, more choices and better services. Sprint is uniquely positioned to maximize the value of Clearwire’s spectrum and efficiently deploy it to increase Sprint’s network capacity. We believe this transaction, particularly when leveraged with our SoftBank relationship, is further validation of our strategy and allows Sprint to control its network destiny, stated Sprint CEO Dan Hesse.

  • 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 has been 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.
  • Also in October, SoftBank announced plans to invest $20.1 billion to acquire a 70% in Sprint.  The deal consists of $12.1 billion to be distributed to Sprint stockholders and $8.0 billion of new capital to strengthen Sprint’s balance sheet.  The investment aims to accelerate Sprint's next generation network and its competitive position as the No. 3 U.S. mobile operator.  For Softbank, this represents a major leap beyond its home market of Japan, where it is the No. 3 mobile operator and No. 2 wireline broadband provider. The companies hope to get the deal done by mid-2013, pending regulatory approvals.
  • As of October 25th, Sprint’s Network Vision program  had over 4,300 cell sites on air and the number either ready for construction or currently being updated had more than doubled in the last three months to more than 13,500.  Sprint had completed leasing and zoning permits on more than 20,000 sites.  Weekly construction starts were up over 250 percent from the second quarter but the company expects to bring 12,000 sites on air approximately one quarter later than originally planned. 
    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. 

    As of the end of Q3, Sprint had LTE available in 32 cities and expects to add 115 additional cities in the coming months. 

Ericsson Builds Connected Vehicle Cloud for Volvo

Volvo Car Group has selected Ericsson to provide systems integration and managed services for a global cloud delivering information, navigation and entertainment to its new cars.

Ericsson's Connected Vehicle Cloud will allow drivers, passengers and the car to connect to services available in the cloud.  Volvo plans to establish agreements with content providers such as Internet radio providers, road authorities, cities' governments, toll-road operators and others.

"We clearly see that cars in the near future will integrate the same level of digital services that consumers today are used to have in their homes or at work. This is a strategically important part of Volvo's investments for the future where we intend to take a leading position," said Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President Product Strategy and Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars

"This partnership is evidence of the transformation across our entire society as we move into the Networked Society.  Drivers want services that technology makes possible, in real time and in the context that fits them personally. Our skills in System Integration and Service Enablement will match Volvo's strategy," said Per Borgklint, Head of Business Unit Support Systems, Ericsson.

T-Systems Simplifies its Structure for Cloud Agility

T-Systems, the systems integration business of Deutsche Telekom, will be simplifying its organizational structure from four business areas to two: Sales and Delivery.

T-Systems said it is taking this approach to improve agility in helping its enterprise customers adapt for the cloud.

“An increasing number of corporate customers are using the cloud for their core business. The extension of the contract with Shell is a good example of this. That’s why the time has now come for us to part with business processes that are still based on old outsourcing models,” says Deutsche Telekom Board Member and T Systems CEO Reinhard Clemens, explaining the measure. “Instead we will integrate our processes to support the cloud. Going forward, Sales will include all closely related activities from marketing to portfolio management. In Delivery, we will leavage all customer-related services - from technical consulting, through systems integration and all the way to infrastructure.”

In October, T-Systems began construction of 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 T-Systems , will be 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.

Zayo Fiber Reaches All CoreSite Data Centers

Zayo Group has extended its fiber-based services to all CoreSite data centers in nine markets throughout North America.

Zayo's full suite of lit services is now available at each CoreSite location, including wavelengths, Ethernet, and IP services. Additionally, Dark Fiber, with diverse routes and facility entrances, is available at each CoreSite location except Miami. Zayo brings an average of over 600 fibers into each facility. 

Zayo's 67,000-route mile network connects sites in 231 markets on dense metro and intercity fiber assets.

CoreSite's data centers offer 2,000,000+ sq. ft. of capacity.

Blue Coat to Acquire Crossbeam

Blue Coat agreed to acquire Crossbeam Systems for an undisclosed sum.  Blue Coat specializes in web security and optimization while Crossbeam supplies scalable network security systems. 

Crossbeam is best known for its X-Series network security platform or network operators.  The company is based in Boxborough, Mass. and has more than 200 employees worldwide.

“Our service provider and enterprise customers are excited we are bringing together two complementary technologies,” said Greg Clark, chief executive officer at Blue Coat Systems.  “With Crossbeam, Blue Coat gains a best-in-class support infrastructure and a high performing platform that scales to meet the needs of even the most complex enterprise IT environments.”

  • In November, Crossbeam Systems was acquired by Thoma Bravo, a private equity firm, for an undisclosed sum. Thoma Bravo currently manages a series of private equity funds representing almost $4 billion of equity commitments.  In software, Thoma Bravo has completed 54 add-on acquisitions across 25 platform companies with total annual earnings of approximately $1 billion.

Cisco Completes Acquisition of Cariden

Cisco completed its acquisition of privately held Cariden Technologies, a provider of network planning, design and traffic management solutions for telecommunications service providers, for approximately $141 million in cash and retention-based incentives.

Cariden's network planning and design tools help service providers to enhance the visibility, programmability and efficiency of their converged networks, while improving service velocity. Cariden's MATE software is widely used by global tier-1 ISPs, PTTs, MSOs and mobile operators for IP/MPLS network engineering. 

Cariden has recently extended its network visibility and traffic control platform to perform business intelligence function by leveraging its  traffic flow collection from key nodes in a carrier network.  Specifically, Cariden has now added a Flow Interface to its MATE portfolio, enabling the ability to collect and analyze NetFlow, S-Flow and J-Flow data to determine the cost of traffic flows and monitor their use of network resources.  This includes being able to analyze peering traffic compliance to agreements and calculate bit-mile costs for that and other services, thus providing operations staff the ability to meet their obligations for transparency to the commercial side of their business

Cariden has also developed a blueprint for infrastructure software defined networking (SDN) that provides visibility and programmability of network resources, simplifying network control through an open API.

Akamai's Chief Scientist to Take CEO Helm

Dr. Tom Leighton, Akamai's co-founder and Chief Scientist, will succeed Paul Sagan as the company's CEO.  Sagan announced earlier this year that he intended to step down.

Leighton has been the technological visionary at Akamai since its founding in 1998.  Prior to founding Akamai, Dr. Leighton was a Professor of Applied Mathematics at MIT and a member of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Dr. Leighton holds numerous patents involving content delivery, Internet protocols, network algorithms, distributed computing, cryptography, and digital rights management.

  • Earlier this month, AT&T announced a strategic alliance with Akamai Technologies to deliver a global suite of content delivery network (CDN) solutions to companies.

    Under the deal, Akamai will deploy CDN servers at the edge of AT&T's IP network and in AT&T facilities throughout the United States. AT&T will transfer its existing CDN operations, customers and service to the Akamai platform in 2013.  The companies have also agreed to dedicate shared resources including technical support, customer care, marketing and professional services support.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

    The companies said the combination of AT&T's network assets with Akamai's CDN will help enterprises simplify content distribution management and drive higher-performing end user experiences for consumers accessing content on the Internet. They hope to expand their efforts internationally within 12 months.
  • Separately, Akamai announced the acquisition of Verivue, a privately-held company based in Westford, Massachusetts that provides licensed content delivery network (CDN) infrastructure solutions for network operators. The combination of the two companies’ technologies and teams is expected to help Akamai accelerate market availability of a comprehensive portfolio of Operator CDN products.

Windstream Builds Data Center in Durham, N.C.

Windstream Hosted Solutions plans to construct a Tier III enterprise-class data center in Durham, N.C.   The new 22,000-square-foot facility (expandable to 88,000 square feet) is scheduled to open in 2013.

Windstream Hosted Solutions currently operates two other data centers in the Raleigh-Durham area.  the company cites demand for robust cloud computing solutions and managed services.

Chelsio Releases Unified Wire API for 40/100G Ethernet

Chelsio Communications, which supplies 10Gb Ethernet adapters, introduced its Unified Wire API for 40G and 100G speeds. The standardized API can run unmodified Fibre Channel and InfiniBand applications concurrently over Ethernet, while future protecting all OEM software investments. All software written to this API will be portable across future generations of Chelsio ASICs.

Alcatel-Lucent Selected for GPON and VDSL2 in Tunisia

Tunisiana has awarded a four-year contract to Alcatel-Lucent to build a wireline broadband access network.

Tunisiana, which is Tunisia’s largest mobile operator and part of the Qtel Group, plans to launch wireline services beginning next year.

The contract covers designing, building, managing and maintaining the network.
Included in the package are Alcatel-Lucent’s GPON and VDSL2 broadband access products, along with its Motive customer experience solution.  Financial terms were not disclosed.