Sunday, April 17, 2016

VoLTE-HD Operational in 55 Mobile Networks Worldwide

LTE networks are now widely deployed worldwide with 492 operators now offering commercial service in 162 countries, according to a newly published report from the GSA. LTE-Advanced is currently in commercial operation to some extent with 127 operators and a further 175 are currently testing the technology.

Some highlights from the GSA report:

  • 422 operators deployed LTE using the FDD mode only, 51 operators deployed LTE using the TDD mode only, 21 operators deployed using both LTE FDD and TDD modes
  • 126 operators in 60 countries are investing in VoLTE deployments, studies or trials. 55 operators have commercially launched VoLTE-HD voice service in 34 countries
  • 1800 MHz band 3 spectrum is in commercial service in 104 countries on 226 LTE networks (LTE1800) representing over 45% of all LTE networks globally
  • 5,104 LTE user devices announced by 417 suppliers. This is 2,185 devices more than GSA reported in April 2015, representing 75% Y-o-Y growth. The number of manufacturers grew 40% in the same period
  • 1800 MHz (3GPP Band 3) is the best supported spectrum for LTE deployments, having the largest LTE devices ecosystem (LTE1800). Over 55% of LTE devices can operate in band 3 spectrum

Micron Launches NVMe PCIe SSDs for Data Centers

Micron Technology announced a new portfolio of NVMe PCIe solid state drives (SSDs) aimed at scale-out data centers. The idea is to bring nonvolatile memory as close as possible to the processor.

Micron said it sees many customers toward server-based storage instead of SANs of frame-arrays because of the changing computing landscape.  Many hyperscale companies are using server-based storage for consistent, accelerated access to data.

The line-up includes:
  • Micron 9100 NVMe PCIe SSD  -- up to 10x faster compared to a single data center SATA SSD. Offers 3.2TB of storage in both a HHHL & a 2.5" U.2 form factor. The U.2 form factor of Micron's 9100 SSD allows front-bay access to the server, delivering a recognizable form, fit and function.
  • Micron 7100 NVMe PCIe SSD -- brings higher performance and lower TCO. Offers a slim 7mm U.2 (2.5") hot-pluggable form factor. It uses half as many watts as a standard high-performance NVMe drive but provides low latencies unachievable by SATA SSDs. 
  • Micron S600DC SAS SSDs -- greater capacity, better performance and higher endurance at a much more affordable price point compared to 15K HDDs. The S600DC SSD offers 4TB of storage in a 2.5" form factor - more than double the capacity 10K 2.5" HDDs and 4x the capacity of 15K HDDs. 
Micron also announced a set of purpose-built, scale-out accelerated solutions for open source and software-defined data centers. The first suite of Micron Accelerated Solutions are built with key enterprising software and hardware partners including VMware, Supermicro and Nexenta. Some highlights:

  • Micron Accelerated Solution for VMware Virtual SAN Ready Nodes -- Micron, Supermicro and VMware have partnered to design all-flash Ready Nodes that enable VMware vSphere administrators to future-proof their data center architecture using all-flash, delivering compelling all-flash performance. The companies claim up to 40X IOPs and bandwidth improvement compared to hybrid VMware Virtual SAN implementations that include traditional HDD. The Micron Accelerated Solution for VMware Virtual SAN Ready Nodes offer deduplication, compression and erasure coding. The VMware Virtual SAN All-Flash Ready Nodes can be purchased for as low as $0.44/GB (effective capacity) which includes the full MSRP of all server hardware, software and three-year support.
  • Micron Accelerated Ceph Storage Solution -- leveraging an open source object storage solution that runs on Linux software that hits 1M IOPS and reaches 140Gbps throughput. The all-flash Ceph storage solution allows customers to stand up a dynamic cloud infrastructure.
  • Micron Accelerated NexentaEdge Solution -- a full featured all-flash block and object storage based on NexentaEdge scale-out Software-Defined Storage. The Micron Accelerated NexentaEdge Solution will provide high performance native block, iSCSI block, Swift and S3 object services to OpenStack, VMware and Container based infrastructure. NexentaEdge provides unlimited instant snapshots and clones, as well as patented cluster-wide inline deduplication and compression.This collaboration is expected to result in a joint reference architecture and purchasable solution from Supermicro in the second half of 2016.

Mitel to Acquire Polycom for Nearly $2 Billion

Mitel agreed to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Polycom common stock in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $1.96 billion, including $3.12 in cash and 1.31 Mitel common shares for each share of Polycom common stock, or $13.68 based on the closing price of a Mitel common share on April 13, 2016 -- a 22% premium to Polycom shareholders based on Mitel's and Polycom's recent share prices.

The deal combines Mitel's leadership in global communications with Polycom's well-known premium brand and portfolio in the conference and video collaboration market. The combined company will be headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, and will operate under the Mitel name while maintaining Polycom's strong global brand. Richard McBee, Mitel's Chief Executive Officer will lead the combined organization. Steve Spooner, Mitel's Chief Financial Officer, will also continue in that role. The combined company will have a global workforce of approximately 7,700 employees.

"Mitel has a simple vision - to provide seamless communications and collaboration to customers. To bring that vision to life we are methodically putting the puzzle pieces in place to provide a seamless customer experience across any device and any environment," said Mitel CEO Rich McBee. "Polycom is one of the most respected brands in the world and is synonymous with the high quality and innovative conference and video capabilities that are now the norm of everyday collaboration."

Some key market positions include:

#1 in business cloud communications
#1 in IP/PBX extensions in Europe
#1 in conference phones
#1 in Open SIP sets
#2 in video conferencing
#2 in installed audio
Combined portfolio of more than 2,100 patents and more than 500 patents pending

Mitel Acquires Mavenir for $560 million

Mitel agreed to acquire Mavenir Systems (NYSE:MVNR) in a cash and stock deal valued at approximately $560 million.

Mitel specializes in enterprise and mobile IP unified communications.  Mavenir prrovides software-based mobile networking solutions, including a portfolio of voice/video, messaging and mobile core products that include IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and Session Border Controllers (SBCs). Mavenir was the supplier for the world’s first live network deployments of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and RCS5 with MetroPCS (now T-Mobile); the first mobile network deployment of IMS-based VoWi-Fi (Wi-Fi calling) with T-Mobile US; and the first implementation of Virtualized RCSe with Deutsche Telekom.

ACCO Raises $35 Million for CMOS RF

ACCO Semiconductor, a start-up with offices in Sunnyvale, California and Paris, France, raised $35 million for its CMOS RF solutions.

ACCO has developed and patented RF front-end technology for mobile communications devices (power amplifiers and antenna switches) that uses standard complementary-metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) processing. Its bulk CMOS cellular power amplifier offers highly linear performance yet can operate at high power without breakdown or degradation.

ACCO said it is currently accelerating its business into various brands of LTE smart phones now found in several countries throughout Asia and Europe.

The funding round was led by Bpifrance, through its growth fund Large Venture, with participation from investors in both the US and France including Foundation Capital, Pond Ventures, Partech Ventures, Omnes Capital, Siparex Group and A Plus Finance.

"The commitment from Bpifrance and other participating investors validates the importance of building the RF front-end in bulk CMOS—the process used in nearly the entire electronics industry,” states Greg Caltabiano, ACCO President and CEO. “Not only is this important for smart phones, but also critical to IoT where highly integrated, highly functional, low-cost solutions will
drive success of the entire market.”

Israeli Regulator Blocks Cellcom's Merger with Golan Telecom

The Israeli Antitrust commissioner and the Ministry of Communications are opposing the proposed purchase of Golan Telecom Ltd. by Cellcom Israel.

Cellcom Israel Ltd., established in 1994, is the largest Israeli cellular provider with approximately 2.835 million cellular subscribers (as at December 31, 2015).