Thursday, July 31, 2014

T-Mobile Goes Nationwide with VoLTE

Just two months after activating Voice over LTE (VoLTE) in its first market (the Seattle area), T-Mobile announced the availability of VoLTE across its entire U.S. LTE network, which now covers 233 million Americans in 325 metro areas. The rollout uses Enhanced Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (eSRVCC), a new LTE Advanced function.

T-Mobile's VoLTE is currently supported on LG G Flex, Samsung Galaxy S 5, Galaxy Light and Note 3 devices.  The company said that more than 2.8 million VoLTE-capable devices are already on its network, and that customers have made more than 52 million VoLTE calls to date. For HD Voice, T-Mobile US uses a 23.85 Kbps voice codec rate.

In May, Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer at T-Mobile, said VoLTE would reach nationwide status by the end of the year.

T-Mobile is also aggressively rolling out Wideband LTE, which the company defines as at least 15+15MHz.  Wideband LTE is already in 17 metro areas.  T-Mobile expects at least 26 total metro areas will be up with Wideband LTE by the end of the year. The carrier is also starting to roll out its new low-band 700 MHz A-Block spectrum. Wideband LTE enables peak network download speeds up to nearly 150 Mbps.

In July, Mavenir Systems confirmed that T-Mobile US' recent VoLTE launch was enabled using Mavenir’s converged IMS voice solution, which was first deployed to launch Wi-Fi Calling in 2011. T-Mobile leveraged those early investments in Wi-Fi Calling to accelerate network readiness and launch VoLTE service.

Mavenir provides the end-to-end IMS solution including key IMS components such as the CSCF (Call Session Control Function), Session Border Controller (SBC), Telephony Application Server (TAS), as well as professional services to perform verification and integration testing to ensure successful end-to-end service interworking.

Nokia to buy Panasonic’s Basestation Business

Nokia Networks plans to acquire part of the wireless networks business of Panasonic System Networks.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal covers Panasonic’s LTE/3G wireless base station system business for mobile operators and related wireless equipment system business.

“Japan is a key market for us, and this agreement is a major milestone in forging closer ties in Japan,” said Ashish Chowdhary, Executive Vice President, AMEA, Nokia Networks. “The acquisition of part of Panasonic’s wireless network business would further strengthen our mobile broadband portfolio and add significant value for Japanese operators.”

Alcatel-Lucent Ponders IPO for Submarine Networks Business

Alcatel-Lucent is  exploring a potential IPO for its Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) business.  The move could help finance an expansion of its telecom submarine systems and its diversification into the Oil & Gas market.  Alcatel-Lucent plans tp retain the majority of the ownership. Subject to market
conditions, this capital opening is targeted to take place in the first half of 2015.

Alcatel-Lucent Sees Strength in Europe & China, LTE Rollouts Expand

Alcatel-Lucent reported second quarter 2014 revenues of Euro 3,279 million, growing 0.7% year-on-year at constant exchange rates and comparable perimeter. Revenues for the Group excluding Managed Services, reflecting the termination or restructuring of loss-making contracts, grew 5.0% year-on-year. The company cited a very strong quarter in wireless, notably with LTE roll-outs in China and US.

Gross margin reached 32.6% of revenues in the quarter, improving by 140 basis points year-on-year, thanks to cost savings. There was a net loss (Group share) of Euro (298) million in Q2 2014, or Euro (0.11) per share.

"I am proud of the very significant improvement achieved in the second quarter which demonstrates the fourth consecutive quarter of consistent delivery under the Shift Plan. With the upcoming reimbursement of the secured loan and the subsequent recovery of the full ownership of its patents, Alcatel-Lucent recaptures the full control of its destiny and can close the first step of its transformation. The Group can now embark on the second chapter of its turnaround story: innovate, transform and grow while keeping intact the commitment of returning to positive free cash flow in 2015," stated Michel Combes, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent.

Some highlights:

  • North America was lower by 2.6% year-over-year, while sales in Europe grew 6% (excluding Managed services)  Asia Pacific posted a solid 25.2% year-over-year growth, driven by LTE network roll-outs in China. In the rest of World, MEA declined at a mid single digit, while CALA remained challenging.
  • Core Networking segment revenues were Euro 1,369 million in Q2 2014, down 10.0% compared to Q2 2013. IP Routing revenues were Euro 561 million in Q2 2014, down 7.0% against a strong comparison base in the year-ago quarter, with continuing growth in APAC and steady performance in EMEA. There were four new customer wins for the 7950 XRS IP Core router, including Chorus in New Zealand, for a total of 28 wins to date. Nuage Networks added 3 new wins in the quarter, totaling 8 customers. Th 7450 Ethernet Service Switch was selected by NTT DoCoMo to enhance the speed and capacity of its backhaul network.
  • The 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) represented 43% of terrestrial optical product revenues in the quarter, up 12 percentage points year-on-year, and now has over 480 customers. 100G shipments represented 36% of total WDM line cards shipments in Q2 2014 compared to 27% in Q2 2013.
  • Alcatel-Lucent has shipped over 15,000 100G ports lifetime-to-date.
  • IP Platforms revenues decreased 19.2% year-on-year to Euro 324 million in Q2 2014.
  • Access segment revenues were Euro 1,907 million in Q2 2014, a 9.5% increase compared to Q2 2013.
  • Wireless Access revenues were Euro 1,299 million, an increase of 28.1% year-on-year.
  • Fixed Access revenues were Euro 521 million in Q2 2014, an increase of 2.9% from Q2 2013. There were two new VDSL2 vectoring customers in the quarter, bringing the total to 22.
  • Managed Services revenues were Euro 77 million, decreasing by 62.8%, reflecting the company's strategy to terminate or restructure loss-making contracts.

France's Iliad Bids US$15 Billion for 56% Stake in T-Mobile US

Iliad submitted a proposal to T-Mobile U.S. to acquire 56.6% of the company's outstanding shares for $15 billion, or $33 per share.

Iliad said it is making the offer because the T-Mobile is a disruptive competitor in the large and attractive U.S. mobile market.  Unlike a contemplated Sprint + T-Mobile combination, Iliad does not believe there will be any regulatory hurdles to its proposal.

Iliad currently has about 8.6 million mobile subscribers under its "Free" brand in France.

New Construction in Silicon Valley - Samsung

New construction is underway for Samsung Semiconductor at corner of First Street and Tasman in San Jose, California.

The new $300 million Samsung building, which will be the tallest in the area at 10 stories, boasts 1.1 million square feet, a 7-story parking garage, a variety of employee amenities and a landscaped city plaza and open courtyard at its center. The tower will be clad in white metal and clear glass, which the company sees as evocative of its products.

Photos on 01-August-2014

New Construction in Silicon Valley - Stadium TechCenter

New construction is underway at Stadium TechCenter in Santa Clara, California.

Located on Great America Boulevard at Highway 237, the 226,500 sq. ft. project is named after the new Levi’s Stadium located nearby. A new Class A office building will adjoin the campus occupied by Dell. Other tech companies nearby include Arista, Marvell, Brocade, Ericsson, Polycom, Global Foundries, Cisco, etc.

Photos on 31-July-2014

China Telecom Colocates in CoreSite's Silicon Valley Data Center

CoreSite announced a multi-year contract with China Telecom to expand the U.S. data center footprint of one of China Telecom’s premier customers.  The deployment is located at CoreSite’s Coronado data center campus in Santa Clara, California.

CoreSite's Coronado campus is part of the larger CoreSite Silicon Valley market, which is currently comprised of five data centers and more than 860,000 square feet of data center space.

PMC Posts Q2 Revenue of $127 Million, Strength in Optical and Mobile

PMC-Sierra posted Q2 revenue of $126.8 million, an increase of 0.2 percent from $126.5 million in the first quarter of 2014, and a decrease of 1.0 percent compared to $127.6 million in the second quarter of 2013. GAAP net loss in the second quarter of 2014 totaled $3.5 million, or $0.02 per share, compared to a GAAP net loss in the first quarter of 2014 of $4.2 million, or $0.02 per share.

“We have closed another solid quarter with both revenue and non-GAAP EPS above the midpoint of our expectations. Strength in both our Optical and Mobile products more than offset lower revenue from our Storage products due to inventory consumption at two of our larger customers,” said Greg Lang, PMC president and chief executive officer. “As we look to the balance of 2014, we believe we will see four key areas contribute to growth: 12G SAS, Flash Controllers, OTN and RF products. After years of investment, we are pleased to see these product cycles take hold, fueled by the continued escalation of data traffic.”

Delloro: Core Router Market Expected to Hit $3.4 Billion by 2018

Core router product upgrades with higher speed ports and an increase in traffic in the metro will drive the worldwide Service Provider Core Router market to over $3.4 billion by 2018, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group.

With continued growth in IP traffic demand, many Service Providers are coming closer to exhausting Internet backbone capacity and scalability on their aging core router platforms.  With recently introduced products that meet these higher capacity needs, Service Providers are likely to perform a product upgrade cycle over the next couple of years after comprehensive testing and trials,” said Alam Tamboli, Business Analyst at Dell’Oro Group.  “Furthermore, the growth of traffic in metro area networks is expected to outpace that of traffic in backbone networks due to a shift in IP traffic patterns related to content delivery networks and data centers.  This shift in patterns has caused many Service Providers to install core routers into their metro networks, effectively increasing the total available market to Service Provider Core Routers,” added Tamboli.

Alcatel-Lucent Appoints Laura Quatela to Head Intellectual Property Licensing

Alcatel-Lucent appointed Laura G. Quatela as Executive Vice-President of Intellectual Property, a role where she will hold executive responsibility for leading the company’s program to monetize its substantial portfolio of patents. She brings to Alcatel-Lucent extensive experience in intellectual property management from a 15-year career at Eastman Kodak Company, where she held various executive and senior management positions in intellectual property, legal affairs and finance. Most recently, Mrs. Quatela was President and co-COO of Kodak and managed its consumer businesses.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sprint's Spark LTE Network Now in 27 Markets

Sprint's Spark network upgrade, which aggregates the company’s 800MHz, 1.9GHz and 2.5GHz spectrum, continues to progress and is now available in 27 markets across the country.  Sprint currently has 22 devices on the market with Spark-compatible aggregation capabilities, including the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S 5 Sport, LG G3, and HTC One (M8) Harman/Kardon edition.

Sprint’s replacement of its entire 3G and voice network is largely complete and network performance metrics continue to improve. Sprint also hit its mid-year target for 4G LTE coverage, as the company now covers approximately 254 million people in 488 cities across the country including Pittsburgh and Buffalo, N.Y..

In addition, Sprint HD Voice service is also now available nationwide. Over 16 million customers currently have HD Voice-enabled devices.

In its newly released quarterly financial report, Sprint posted a net loss of 220,000 customers in the quarter, compared to a net loss of 383,000 customers last quarter and 520,000 customers in the prior year period. Sprint blamed the postpaid net losses of 181,000 on elevated churn levels related to service disruption associated with the company’s ongoing network overhaul.

Iridium Selects Radisys' T-Series ATCA for Ground Station Network

 Iridium Communications, which operates a global mobile voice and data network powered by 66 low-Earth orbiting (LEO) cross-linked satellites, is to use Radisys’ T-Series commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) platforms to upgrade its ground station infrastructure associated with its next generation global satellite constellation – Iridium NEXT.

Iridium NEXT, scheduled to begin launching in 2015, will deliver more bandwidth and higher data speeds to serve the rapidly-expanding demand for truly global mobile communications. In preparation for the launch of Iridium NEXT, the ground station upgrade is recently complete – across six global ground stations, and the gateway infrastructure.

The Radisys T-Series platform is based on an open standards-based ATCA platform architecture that utilizes merchant silicon and open source software. Radisys said it developed the T-Series platform to be in service for a minimum of seven years. The modular, high-availability platform can be used for a number of applications.

“We are delighted to be working with Iridium on this exciting global communications project,” said Keate Despain, vice president, business development and platform product line management, Radisys. “Our T-Series platforms possess all the necessary qualities to ensure that Iridium enjoys a cost effective, flexible and reliable deployment for Iridium NEXT. This will enable the next generation satellite constellation to stand up to the challenge of delivering effective mobile communications for the entire world with the latest market-leading technology.”

“Iridium NEXT will provide more services at faster speeds, substantially enhancing opportunities for our partners and customers,” said Scott Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Iridium. “Two things were important to Iridium in selecting the Radisys T-Series platform for the Iridium NEXT ground station infrastructure upgrade. First, we needed a platform that was supported by a multi-vendor open ecosystem to ensure its longevity. Being tied to one vendor’s proprietary solution simply wasn’t an option. Second, we needed a platform that provided improved price-performance to enable us to reach our technology and business objectives.”

Cavium to acquire Xpliant for Ethernet Switching Silicon for SDN

Cavium agreed to acquire Xpliant, a start-up working on high performance, high density switch silicon for approximately $90 million in cash, stock and prior equity investments. Cavium was a financial backer of Xpliant and invested $15 million in the company.

Xpliant, which is based in San Jose, California has developed a family of switching silicon solutions featuring 10G/40G/100G port speeds and port densities supporting throughput ranging from multi-hundred gigabit to multi-terabit. The company claims its innovations in switching architecture will enable increased intelligence and flexibility beyond what is available today in commodity Ethernet switch silicon while delivering market leading bandwidth, throughput and scalability along with unprecedented flexibility/programmability.

Cavium said the addition of Xpliant’s family of switching solutions, which are critical building components for next generation infrastructure, will be highly synergistic with its existing infrastructure product offerings such as ThunderX, OCTEON and LiquidIO families. This family of switching solutions will enable Cavium to significantly increase its share of BOM in the data center, service provider and enterprise markets. Additionally, these products will allow Cavium to offer complete end to end solutions for compute, networking and storage, optimized for best performance, cost and power for next generation virtualized software defined infrastructure.

“Xpliant as developed a disruptive family of switching silicon solutions for next generation software defined networks,” said Syed Ali, President and CEO, Cavium. “This product line significantly expands our addressable TAM and will be an exciting addition to our portfolio of solutions for the data center, service provider and enterprise markets. The Xpliant line of products is highly synergistic with Cavium’s existing infrastructure products and will enable Cavium to deliver highly optimized end to end solutions to our customers. We are extremely pleased with the strong customer engagements and traction which are an excellent validation of Xpliant’s technology and products”.

Australia's NBN Co Extends Managed Service Deal with Ericsson

Australia's National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) will continue its fixed wireless managed service partnership with Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and has expanded the partnership to include operation of the ground component of the Long Term Satellite Solution (LTSS) and customer service activation. Ericsson will continue to be responsible for the operation of the fixed wireless network, and will take on the additional responsibility of managing the satellite ground systems when launched. Financial terms were  not disclosed.

The new agreement makes Ericsson the primary service partner for both NBN Co's fixed wireless and satellite services, which are planned to cover over 1 million households.

NBN Co expects new activations for high-speed broadband services in rural Australia to reach 12,000 to 15,000 installations per month at its peak in 2016.

  • In February 2014, Australia's NBN Co awarded a key contract to Optus to operate two purpose-built satellites that aim to deliver high speed broadband across rural and remote Australia.  Under the contract Optus will provide tracking, telemetry and control services in connection with NBN’s Long Term Satellite Service. The two satellites currently under construction are scheduled to launch in 2015. The contract has a five year term, with options to extend for up to 15 years.

Inphi to Acquire Cortina's Interconnect & Transport Business

Inphi Corporation, which supplies high-speed, mixed signal semiconductor solutions for the communications, data center and computing markets, agreed to acquire Cortina Systems' High-Speed Interconnect and Optical Transport product lines for $52.5 million in cash and $73.5 million in stock. The acquisition does not include Cortina’s Access and Digital Home business, which is currently scheduled to be divested prior to the acquisition close and will continue as an independent company.

Inphi said the acquisition will solidify its position as a leading-edge supplier of optical and networking interconnect solutions while further extending its product portfolio for the fast growing enterprise and cloud data center markets. Inphi’s Networking Interconnect products with their leadership in 100G SerDes and CDR, will be complemented with 10G/15G/40G PHY interconnects, thus completing a high growth product portfolio and creating a market leader for high speed networking interconnects.

A10 Reports Revenue of $45.1 million, up 50% YoY

A10 Networks reported that total Q2 revenue grew 50 percent year-over-year to $45.1 million, compared with $30.1 million in the second quarter of 2013. A10 Networks second quarter 2014 GAAP net loss was $1.3 million compared with a net loss of $10.2 million in the second quarter of 2013.

“Our strong 50 percent year-over-year revenue growth demonstrates the progress we have made in growing our market footprint and diversifying our customer base,” said Lee Chen, president and chief executive officer of A10 Networks. “U.S. revenue more than doubled year-over-year and grew 44 percent over the first quarter, however, total revenue was slightly below our guidance as a result of lower service provider spending in Japan where several deals pushed into future quarters.

Cavium Reports Q2 Revenue of $91 Million, up 22% YoY

Cavium posted Q2 revenue of $90.7 million, an 8.9% sequential increase from the $83.2 million reported in the first quarter of 2014 and a 22.2% year-over-year increase from the $74.2 million reported in the second quarter of 2013.

Net loss (GAAP) was $11.0 million, or $(0.21) per diluted share, compared to net income attributable to the company of $2.3 million, or $0.04 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2014. Gross margins were 62.6%.

Ruckus Wireless Hits Q2 Revenue of $81 Million, up 27% YoY

Ruckus Wireless posted Q2 revenue of $81.0 million, an increase of 26.8% from the second quarter of 2013. GAAP net income was $1.4 million for the second quarter of 2014, compared with $0.7 million for the second quarter of 2013. GAAP operating income was $4.1 million for the second quarter of 2014, compared with $1.1 million for the second quarter of 2013.

"We are very pleased with our execution in the second quarter as we continue to capitalize on the market needs for carrier-class Wi-Fi. Momentum was strong across both our service provider and enterprise businesses. We delivered strong financial results, reporting revenue, gross margins and EPS above guidance," said Selina Lo, president and chief executive officer, Ruckus Wireless. "Our Smart Wi-Fi technology continues to differentiate us against our competitors, our new products are gaining traction and we are seeing new market drivers that will further our momentum."

Swisscom Marches Forward with Vectored VDSL

Swisscom announced a broadband milestone: over a million homes and businesses already connected to ultra-fast broadband network.

At the beginning of 2014, Swisscom started to roll out VDSL vectoring technology into those areas where Fibre to the Curb had been installed/  Across Switzerland, Swisscom has switched 200,000 homes and businesses over to vectoring, which makes it one of Europe's top providers. The roll-out of Fibre to the Street (FTTS) has already been completed in ten municipalities, for example Croy (VD), Wila (ZH), Iragna (TI), Prêles (BE) and Rothenthurm (SZ). The network is currently being rolled out to over 100 further municipalities.

Thanks to FTTS, broadband speeds of up to 100 Mbps can now be achieved. Swisscom is also collaborating with Huawei to develop, a successor technology to VDSL.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Blueprint: Better Service Control for Telco Agility

By Thomas Vasen, VP Product Marketing and Marketing, DigitalRoute

In a globally deregulated telecoms industry where intense competition is rife, differentiated products and services mean commercial success. To deliver these, lean and agile systems are required.

In this regard, though, the current situation looks grim. Many telcos are fixed on addressing issues that mitigate minor risks rather than trying to exploit growing opportunities. This makes little sense. The case of PCRF is a good example.

Applied as they are today, PCRF (policy and charging rules function) applications enforce policies that invariably constrict service usage rather than looking for new ways to expand the relationship with the customer. It’s ironic, because they should be able to easily do the latter. The “other half” of the Policy application set, service control, addresses what might be called the “positive side of the equation.”

Service control, is, like Policy Control, built on the mediation platform. But where it differs is that it is designed to quickly and easily enable new services that advanced networks are increasingly being deployed to support.  The cornerstone of service control’s value is thus the enablement of service agility and this is built in from first principles.

It makes sense that this happens in mediation, traditionally, all about adapting to the landscape and making data fit with all the requirements and purposes around itself.  Doing this quickly, with a very high degree of self-control and flexibility, is where the agility comes from.

Service control supplements PCRF. It adds a new dimension to what the Mediation/Policy box can provide. Furthermore, since service control offloads certain functions in the traditional Business Support System (BSS) infrastructure, such as billing, incremental new services can be introduced with very different cost-per-transaction profiles. This means the legacy BSS cost stack need no longer represent a barrier to progress for operators wary of the limitations of their existing infrastructure. This is a common and very real concern.

Service control’s three fundamental deliverable characteristics underline what it delivers:

  • To decrease time-to-market and total-cost-of ownership in architectures where legacy is a barrier to service innovation
  • To provide a cost effective platform that increases service possibility through legacy BSS offload
  • To increase the ability to exploit the profit opportunity contained in Over-The-Top (OTT) services.

Consider service control in action. In highly competitive markets, versatility is key to opening up new revenue streams that often present themselves only briefly such as when regulatory statutes change in unpredictable ways and a brief window of opportunity arises as a result.

In this case, service control can provide Subscriber Usage control, Network Experience monitoring and the ability to improve subscriber interaction and engagement. Service control’s real-time enablement layer, with only small changes to its core infrastructure, can support incremental new service launches quickly.

Where profits are declining and customer spend is stagnant or traditionally dominant services (like voice) have been commoditized, service control can help access and exploit new revenue streams. Its network-based control infrastructure enables differentiation on the basis of either the service or the subscriber and partners. Other key players in service delivery are easily accommodated into the back-end, enabling critical revenue shares to be quickly implemented.

Service control increases Average Revenue Per Account (ARPA) while not reducing the bundled content delivered to end-users. An example is using service control to support an innovative sponsored data offering. This is a use case legacy BSS struggles to accommodate.

Opening Doors to Sponsored Data

Sponsored data requires splitting data bits into different buckets, where one stream goes to the consumer’s individual bucket and the other to a common one, sponsored by a content provider. It works like a 0800 number or an e-commerce site where a second party pays for postage on the goods purchased.

Having many people consuming the same sponsored bucket is a particularly tricky challenge and requires fast, capable and lean systems in place. Partner enablement, roaming buckets, and Freemium service offerings are also addressed by service control.

For operators, realizing these things can be handled in existing mediation and policy platforms is appealing. Service control’s easy configuration enables sponsored data simply by adding a newly configured use case into a platform that is already installed in the data center. The operator’s end-customers are attracted by a service in which sponsored content is not counted in their data bundles and the operator itself gains a new revenue stream by being able to directly charge the OTT provider for delivery of the sponsored service. This increases ARPA for a percentage of its traffic while not reducing the bundles that it sells to end-users.

The solution is capable of metering all subscriber and partner information and its open nature enables easy integration with any existing downstream applications. Its easily configurable business logic supports innovation and responsiveness to the demands of the market.

By handling these requirements, service control addresses the three key questions that CSPs have to answer in order to succeed commercially:

  • Can I offset the exponentially increased cost of many new services by deploying attractive, low-margin services quickly as an upsell opportunity? 
  • Can I address the requirement for service transparency and tiered offerings via a solution that enables both subscriber and service control from the same platform?
  • Can I deliver incremental services quickly and reactively enough that I can lead the market?

Service control takes the policy box into a new dimension, and offers telco service providers a big step towards next generation commercial success.

About the Author

Thomas Vasen, has over 15 year’s operational experience with product and service development in the telecoms industry. Before his present position with DigitalRoute, he was responsible for solution development at Service Assurance pioneer Polystar OSIX and before that he was an entrepreneur in a series of Voice over IP projects at operators in Europe. At B2 Bredband AB, the largest FTTH broadband operator in Sweden, he was responsible for the setup and operations of the 1st primary line local-loop replacement service launched on the SIP technology in the world. Thomas has studied at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and at the London School of Economics.

About DigitalRoute

DigitalRoute has been providing new approaches to enterprise data management since 1999. Its software platform offers high throughput and provides a unique degree of user configurability, processing all usage and statistical data extracted from the networks, including both billable and non-billable events. Over 300 leading companies worldwide actively use DigitalRoute technology to meet their data management needs, including a number of OEM partners who use our platform as a central part of their own offerings. DigitalRoute is built on the core values of Expertise, Open- Mindedness and Commitment. DigitalRoute is a venture-backed, privately held company with a turnover of 30m EUR in 2013 and a record of profitability since 2005. With close to 200 employees, the company is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden with regional offices in Gothenburg, Atlanta, and Kuala Lumpur.

Windstream to Separate Network Operations from Service Business

Windstream announced a bold plans to spin off its fiber and copper network, along with certain other assets, into an independent, publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT).  The network operations business would then lease back the physical assets to Windstream through a long-term triple-net exclusive lease with an initial estimated rent payment of $650 million per year.

The company said the separation of its physical network from its services business will enable it to become a more nimble competitor, while accelerating network investments, and maximizing shareholder value. The new REIT would be open to diversify its assets through acquisitions.

"This transaction will make Windstream a more nimble competitor in today’s increasingly dynamic communications marketplace and accelerate our deployment of advanced communications services," said Jeff Gardner, president and CEO of Windstream. "Additionally, the REIT will have geographically diverse, high-quality assets and sustainable cash flows with the ability to grow and diversify over time."

Windstream anticipates that the spinoff would occur in the first quarter of 2015.

  • Earlier this month, Windstream announced the nationwide availability of its enterprise-class Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).  Windstream’s UCaaS is a fully managed cloud-based solution, offered to enterprise and mid-sized businesses for a flat monthly rate. The UCaaS product suite is hosted in Windstream’s secure data centers and leverages Windstream’s high-quality MPLS with Quality of Service (QoS) for optimized performance. For its UCaaS solution, Windstream's partners include Avaya, Cisco, Mitel and ShoreTel.

Nokia Tests LTE Broadcast in 700MHz UHF Spectrum in Germany

Nokia Networks is participating in a field trial of wide-area TV broadcasting in Germany using a single LTE frequency within UHF spectrum.

The trial, which includes the Institut für Rundfunktechnik, the research institute of broadcasting companies in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, Bavarian broadcast company, Bayerischer Rundfunk, and other research partners, is testing eMBMS (evolved Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service) LTE Broadcast for distributing TV over existing mobile broadband infrastructure. Subscribers would be able to watch TV on their devices without eating into their mobile data plan and independent of network load.

The trial uses a test license of spectrum, which is also referred to as 3GPP band 28 or "APT700". Nokia LTE equipment is deployed at four sites of the Bavarian broadcast company, Bayerischer Rundfunk, in northern Munich and connected by a high performance optical transport network.

“Today, when watching videos over a mobile network, the content is individually streamed to each user. With LTE Broadcast the same signal is received by many users at the same time, resulting in more efficient capacity and spectrum use,” said Hossein Moiin, chief technology officer, Nokia Networks. “Spectrum doesn’t need to be dedicated to either broadcast or broadband, but can be used flexibly for both according to users’ needs. We believe that LTE Broadcast is a technology well suited to distribute TV and broadcast services and will help us expand the benefits of mobile internet to everyone while evolving the TV viewing experience.”

Cambium Releases Wireless Radios for 5 GHz U-NII Spectrum

Cambium Networks released its ePMP Force 100, a high-gain, 5GHz integrated subscriber radio now supporting fixed outdoor wireless in the unlicensed national information infrastructure (U-NII) band covering 5150 and 5250MHz.

The ePMP Force 100’s release comes on the heels of Cambium Networks receiving FCC grant authorization to operate in the U-NII band.  The additional 100 MHz spectrum is available via download of software release 2.1.

The ePMP Force 100 can be deployed as a subscriber module that can connect to any ePMP access point, as well as peer nodes in point-to-point deployment configurations. Service providers who already have the ePMP 1000 Connectorized Radio in their networks have the option of purchasing the ePMP Dish separately to enhance throughput and increase deployment range.

Key features of the ePMP Force 100:

  • Frequency availability in the United States: 5150 – 5350 and 5470 – 5850MHz
  • Security: 128-bit AES encryption (CCMP mode)
  • Peak gain: 25 dBi antenna gain with 30 dBm of transmit power
  • Round Trip Latency: 6 ms (flexible frame mode), 17 ms (GPS Sync mode)
  • Throughput: 150 Mbps of real user data

Cloudwatt Deploys with Juniper's OpenContrail SDN

 Cloudwatt, a new public cloud provider based in France, has deployed Juniper's open source OpenContrail SDN to build a sovereign and secure public cloud for its enterprise customers. The network went live at the end of June.

Juniper said Cloudwatt is one of the most active contributors to the OpenContrail community to-date.

"The choice of an open source SDN solution was essential for us from a sovereignty perspective. By integrating OpenContrail with our choice of cloud management platform, OpenStack, we can greatly simplify our cloud network design and operations, seamlessly connect virtual and physical environments and scale out our cloud without compromising security and privacy. Ultimately, OpenContrail makes it possible for us to enhance sovereignty, contain network operation cost and to provide competitive pricing to our customers," stated Didier Renard, president and CEO, Cloudwatt.

  • Investors in Cloudwatt include Orange,Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and Thales.

  • In September 2013, Juniper Networks introduced OpenContrail, a new initiative that makes the source code library for its Contrail SDN solution available through an open source license.  OpenContrail will provide all the components necessary to run a data-center overlay including an SDN controller, virtual router, orchestration API, analytics and management console.  The use of OpenContrail is available via an Apache 2.0 License. 
    The company said it decided to offer an open source version of its SDN system due to customer interest in open source and the desire to boost innovation in the industry.  OpenContrail gives developers the opportunity to innovate, adopt and experiment with SDN technology that seamlessly integrates with existing network infrastructures.  
    The paid version of Contrail is backed by the company's full support resources.

Ericsson to Acquire MetraTech for Metadata-driven Billing

Ericsson agreed to acquire Boston-based MetraTech Corp., a provider of metadata-based billing, commerce and settlement solutions.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

MetraTech, which was founded in 1998, offers a flexible billing platform that supports new revenue models and global commerce that are being driven by IoT and XaaS. MetraTech’s metadata-driven MetraNet billing and settlement platform can support new NFV services and business models, as well as services in legacy silos. The company has 140 employees and contractors.

Ericsson said the acquisition extends its expertise in billing and expands its geographic presence in the US.

Per Borgklint, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Unit Support Solutions, Ericsson says: “For a range of industries, thriving in the Networked Society means having the ability to quickly support new revenue models and shift strategies as fast as customer and partner needs evolve. MetraTech’s metadata-based billing solutions strengthen our extensive OSS and BSS portfolio and billing capabilities across a range of sectors, helping us extend our leadership as we support a world with increasingly more connections.”

  • Investors in MetraTech included Accel Partners and Vesbridge Partners.

BT Business Selects RingCentral's Cloud Phone Platform

BT Business has selected the RingCentral platform for a new generation of cloud business phone systems in the UK. Beginning early next year, the cloud phone system will be offered through BT Local Business, a network of independent BT businesses across the UK, and through BT's dedicated telesales call centers.

John Thorneycroft, Managing Director, Commercial and Marketing at BT Business said: "UK businesses are looking for a new generation of solutions to meet the rapidly changing communications needs of their distributed and mobile workforce. RingCentral brings unique cloud solutions with unparalleled ease of use and management, combined with a rich set of capabilities.”

The new generation of RingCentral’s cloud solution is now available with HD video and web conferencing.

Separately, RingCentral announced Q2 revenue of $52.8 million, up 40% from the second quarter of 2013. Service revenue was $47.9 million for the second quarter of 2014, up 39% from the second quarter of 2013. Product revenue was $4.9 million for the second quarter of 2014, up 52% from the second quarter of 2013. Net income (loss) per diluted share was ($0.20) for the second quarter of 2014 compared with ($0.60) for the second quarter of 2013.

RingCentral is headquartered in San Mateo, California.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The OpenCloud Project Aims for Programatic Interoperability

The OpenCloud Project, which is sponsored by the CloudEthernet Forum, is on-track to launch a test bed later this year for end-to-end interoperability for cloud, datacenter and network services.

Comcast, Verizon and Tata are hosting the first meeting of the OpenCloud Project this week in Silicon Valley. Specifically, the aim of the project is to solve the following problems:

  • Lack of end-to-end SLAs 
  • Provisioning of network services 
  • Policy for compliance, regulation and privacy laws 
  • Single view for managing services 
  • Standardized communication between cloud services

The OpenCloud Project has now put together a reference architecture that will be the basis of its forthcoming testbed.

“Where other standards bodies had the space to shape standards in advance of market penetration, cloud computing is already surging ahead in every direction -- powered by NFV, SDN, virtualization technologies and networking – technologies that are themselves still evolving quickly. Our response is to iteratively develop the Reference Architecture, the Test Bed and the standards simultaneously to keep ahead of business needs. The aim is to evolve a fully interworking cloud environment and the advance best practices to manage OTT and cloud services,” stated James Walker, president of the Cloud Ethernet Forum.

Jeff Schmitz, CEF Chairman, commented, “The OpenCloud Project is now in the design stage. We are putting a range of use cases to the test, starting with remote relocation and multiplication of virtual machines across the cloud.  The published results will reveal what does and does not work and will invite participation in addressing these challenges. Those who commit to the project now will help shape tomorrow and the $200Bn cloud services market.

Members of the Cloud Ethernet Forum include: Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Comcast, Ciena, Cisco, Citrix, CoreSite, Ericsson, Equinix, Juniper, HP, Huawei, Interexion, PCCW Global, Spirent Communications, Tata Communications, Telx, Verizon and others.

AT&T, IBM and ACS Develop Cloud-to-Cloud Interconnect

AT&T Labs, IBM Research and ACS (Telcordia), working under DARPA's CORONET program, have been developing a dynamic, cloud-to-cloud interconnection framework for very high-bandwidth, on-demand services.

In a blog posting, AT&T's Chris Rice writes that AT&T's vision for a User-Defined Network Cloud (UDNC) becomes much more practical when it becomes possible to set-up cloud-to-cloud connections in under a minute. A prototype developed by the researches can enable setup times as short as 40 seconds, compared with the previous setup time of several days.

In October 2012, AT&T and IBM announced a partnership to deliver secure, network-enabled cloud services.

The service combines AT&T virtual private networking and IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+ cloud capabilities using software from AT&T Labs to create a new, fast and highly-secure shared cloud service.  This will enable enterprises to quickly and reliably move data and applications between their own data centers (private clouds) and this new cloud service.  The software from AT&T Labs dynamically allocates networking resources to computing resources, automating functions that are often performed manually. The companies said more than 70 security functions are built-in, ensuring that traffic never leaves the protection of the VPN.

NTT Com Delivers Wholesale IaaS Solution to Philippines’ PLDT

NTT Communications announced a partnership with the Philippines’ largest telecommunication company, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), to provide PLDT’s enterprise customers with NTT Com’s enterprise-grade, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solution, Enterprise Cloud.

Commercial services are scheduled to begin in or after September.

Enterprise Cloud, which enables enterprises to virtually access their individualized customer portal to configure virtual data centers, is offered via multiple servers in multiple international locations, including Japan, US, UK, Germany, Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, totaling nine countries and 11 data center locations.

PLDT will provide globally standardized IaaS services combining Enterprise Cloud and its own network services for Philippine-based enterprises. The enterprises will use these services to develop new solutions for global operations, especially in countries where NTT Com’s cloud is present, and to strengthen business continuity using NTT Com resources outside the Philippines.

“We are very pleased to offer this highly value-added IaaS solution to clients through our new partnership,” said PLDT’s EVP Alberto. “NTT Com provides optimum ICT solutions for multinationals operating out of the Philippines, and for Philippine corporations who choose to go global. With this partnership between NTT Com and PLDT, our clients may now capitalize on PLDT’s local accessibility and interfacing, and also seamless, high-quality cloud services.”

SkyBox Builds LEED Silver Houston Data Center

Skybox Datacenters, a Dallas-based data center developer, has begun construction on an 86,960-square-foot data center in the fast-growing Energy Corridor of Houston, Texas.

The new Skybox Houston One facility initially offers four private 10,000-square-foot data halls and could be expanded to 12 data halls within its 20-acre campus.  The facility is designed to a LEED Silver standard and the FM I-150 roof system with concrete roof deck is designed to resist 190 mph hurricane grade winds.  It boasts 12.5 megawatts of critical load and is powered by a loop-fed, 300-megawatt electric utility substation immediately adjacent to the site.

"Houston has become a very dynamic datacenter market over the past 2-3 years.  A meaningful contributor to the market has been major oil & gas firms and their need for fast, low-latency access to geoseismic data," says Bryan Loewen, global datacenter practice leader at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. "Additionally, we expect the requirements for local datacenter product to only increase as the reliance and dependence on technology increases for all companies in the greater Houston market."

AT&T Confirms All-Fiber GigaPower Rollout for Nashville

AT&T confirmed that it will rollout its all-fiber GigaPower network in the City of Nashville and is also considering five other Tennessee areas – Clarksville, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and Spring Hill as candidate municipalities for the service..

The AT&T GigaPower network will provide services offered over an all fiber network featuring symmetrical upload and download broadband speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second, and AT&T's most advanced TV services to consumers and businesses.

Specific locations of availability and pricing for the Nashville market will be announced at a later date.

  • On April 21, 2014, AT&T announced a major initiative to expand its ultra-fast AT&T GigaPower fiber network to up to 100 candidate cities and municipalities across 25 markets nationwide.  

  • As part of its proposed acquisition of DIRECTV, AT&T has also committed to extend the all-fiber AT&T GigaPower network to an additional 2 million customer locations.

VisionChina and Huawei Contemplate Free Wi-Fi for Public Transport

VisionChina Media Inc., a company that currently operates over 100,000 digital display screens in subway stations in 19 Chinese cities, is looking to Huawei and China Unicom to help launch a free Wi-Fi service for the public transport sector.  The idea is to provide free Wi-Fi with advanced video and location-based services in urban buses and trains.  The 3G/4G/LTE network would be used for backhaul.

"We believe the establishment of a national WIFI network across China's mass transportation systems will deliver unique value to urban commuters and national and multinational advertisers alike," said Mr. Limin Li, VisionChina Media's chairman and chief executive officer. "We aim to provide ubiquitous, high quality internet access that will make the daily commute for tens of millions of daily riders more enjoyable, while offering advertisers big data analytics and precision marketing op that will help ensure ads reach their audiences more effectively."

ViaSat Acquires Gray Labs for High-rate Satellite Modem

ViaSat has acquired a high-rate modem product line and custom spacecraft technologies for earth observation from Gray Labs Inc., a private company based in Georgia. Applications include high-speed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) data communications. Financial terms were not disclosed.

ViaSat plans to continue to support Gray Labs products and customers with state-of-the-art design from its Duluth, Georgia campus. The former staff of Gray Labs has relocated to ViaSat facilities, and Dr. Jim Gray, former Gray Labs president, has assumed a senior consulting position at ViaSat where he will help expand the capabilities of satellite-to-earth communications for ISR.

"The output of ISR sensors is growing exponentially, so maximizing satellite data rates is increasingly important," said Kent Leka, VP of Satellite Ground Systems at ViaSat. "The expertise we obtained from Gray Labs in high-rate communications gives us important new ways to deliver a higher level of performance and increased data throughput for commercial and government customers. We're also gaining technical expertise and an entrepreneurial spirit that the Gray Labs team has in common with ViaSat."

Mavenir Posts Q2 Revenue of $33 Million, up 29% YoY

Mavenir Systems reported Q2 revenue of $33.3 million, an increase of 29% year-over-year and 16% quarter-over-quarter. GAAP operating loss for the second quarter of 2014 was $(2.2) million, compared with $(0.9) million in the second quarter of 2013 and $(2.2) million in the first quarter of 2014.

"We achieved a number of financial and business milestones again this quarter. The company delivered a strong quarter with strong financial results, again setting a new quarterly revenue record with Gross Margin above the high end of our guidance range,” said Pardeep Kohli, president and chief executive officer, Mavenir Systems. “Mavenir is seeing momentum in our two major areas of focus that are driving mobile network transformation - the adoption of all-IP technology and the build out of next generation networks using software-based solutions. LTE network transformation has begun in key markets with several VoLTE launches and announcements in the second quarter indicating that 2014 is the year of VoLTE.”

For Q3, Mavenir provided an estimated revenue range from $31.0 million to $33.0 million, reflecting growth of 19% to 27% over the third quarter of 2013.

Telefónica’s Movistar Pay TV Service Launches Cloud DVR with ALU

Telefónica’s Movistar pay TV service in Spain has implemented a network-based DVR service that gives subscribers access to up to 350 hours of personal online recording through their set-top boxes.

The service uses Alcatel-Lucent’s Cloud DVR solution, which also includes a "mosaic" TV feature for major sporting events also allows customers to select between six different streams of the live action.

TE Connectivity Floats $1 Billion in Senior Notes

TE Connectivity Ltd. (NYSE: TEL) ("TE Connectivity") today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Tyco Electronics Group, has priced an offering of:

  • $500 million aggregate principal amount of its floating rate senior notes due 2016;
  • $250 million aggregate principal amount of its 2.350% senior notes due 2019; and
  • $250 million aggregate principal amount of its 3.450% senior notes due 2024.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

California Looks to CalCloud for Gov IT in the Cloud

The California Department of Technology and IBM introduced CalCloud, a public-private partnership aimed at migrating government services into the cloud.

IBM is supplying and managing the infrastructure, while the California Department of Technology will manage all other aspects of the service offering. In addition to IBM, CalCloud partners include AT&T, which will provide network services for the core and edge networks, and IT consulting firms Alexan International and KPMG will help drive CalCloud’s adoption rate and migration to the new service.

More than 20 state departments have already requested IT services through CalCloud, which uses security standards based on National Institute of Standards (NIST) for cloud based services and FedRAMP.

The California Department of Technology said the main benefit of CalCloud will be to give state and local government the ability to buy only the computing resources needed with the flexibility to quickly scale up or scale down resources as workloads demand.

CalCloud is an important step towards providing faster and more cost effective IT services to California state departments and ultimately to the citizens of California,” said Marybel Batjer, Secretary of the Government Operations Agency.

“Transforming how the State of California delivers technology services is not only more efficient and cost effective, it will spur innovation with cloud capabilities that are open and secure,” said Erich Clementi, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Technology Services. “California is setting an example for other states on how to use cloud technology to improve coordination across agencies and municipalities while reducing the barriers and duplication that can impede the delivery of government services.”