Friday, April 21, 2017

NTT Com extends Multi-Cloud Connect to Oracle Cloud

NTT Communications (NTT Com) announced the extension of the Multi-Cloud Connect solution to Oracle Cloud to help multinational customers leverage the performance and cost benefits offered by the cloud while leveraging its secure, high performance MPLS network.

Under the agreement, Multi-Cloud Connect will connect directly to Oracle Cloud's platform via Oracle Network Cloud Services – FastConnect, enabling private connectivity to its portfolio and features based on platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offerings. The agreement encompasses middleware such as Oracle Database Cloud Service and Java Cloud Service, as well as integration and business analytics features.

Additionally, NTT Com and Oracle will enable hybrid deployment of Oracle Cloud and Oracle software hosted on-premises or Oracle Cloud at Customer based on a single, global network.

Multi-Cloud Connect currently connects to Oracle Cloud and other third party cloud services including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Dynamics CRM Online, as well as NTT Com's private cloud service, via a security-enhanced, private Layer 3 connection, avoiding the public Internet.
Multi-Cloud Connect is designed to enable enterprises to support the demands of different applications by delivering a hybrid cloud environment incorporating a mix of public cloud and private cloud or on-premises, private cloud (enterprise cloud) and/or public cloud elements.

NTT Com's Multi-Cloud Connect is directly connected to public clouds hosted in key markets across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

  • Earlier this year, NTT announced that as part of a commitment to expand its position in the cloud it would explore how to leverage the potential of its cloud investments worldwide. Specifically, Dimension Data and NTT Com planned to explore how to deliver a unified cloud experience to clients through greater collaboration within NTT, initially via closer integration of the Dimension Data and NTT Com cloud IaaS platforms.
  • In addition, NTT Com recently announced the launch of software-defined (SD) services and a suite of technologies with managed services named SDx+M (Software Defined Everything and Management). The new solution is part of NTT Com's strategy of providing software programmable networking, cloud and infrastructure environments.

Telecom, M2M and IoT are Showcased at Brooklyn 5G Summit

At the annual Brooklyn 5G Summit in New York University's Tandon School of Engineering, jointly organised by NYU Wireless and Nokia, attendees assessed how close the industry is to deploying commercial 5G products and services and showcased the latest developments and research in the areas of telecommunications, M2M communication and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The event featured executives from companies and organisations including Nokia, Verizon, National Instruments, Intel, Qualcomm and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

It was noted that recently carriers including Verizon and AT&T have announced trials around a dozen cities of both mid-band and the millimetrewave (mmWave) technology, for which Rappaport and NYU Wireless conducted seminal research. Meanwhile, government and bodies such as the FCC, 3GPP and ITU have recently defined new benchmarks intended to enable higher mobile data speeds.

NYU Wireless, which conducted early radio channel measurements showing that the mmWave spectrum can be used to improve wireless communications, noted that it is one of two academic institutions recently selected by the FCC to help test, debug and provide feedback on a new web-based portal that allows researchers to apply for a program experimental license that is intended to reduce the barriers to experimentation.

During the Brooklyn 5G Summit, NYU Wireless is demonstrating developments including:

1.         Research on 5G transmission in mmWave spectrum that indicates the potential for up to 40 times higher data transmission rates than at present.

2.         Advanced tools for designing 5G systems, including the widely used NYUSIM open-source channel software simulator.

3.         A new real-time network emulation tool for evaluating virtual reality and other applications over real-world mmWave channels.

4.         A phased-array antenna system for measuring mmWave directional channel dynamics.

5.         A dual architecture channel sounder providing 2 GHz RF bandwidth throughout the mmWave spectrum and a channel sounder on a chip.

During the event, NYU Wireless also announced that global smartphone supplier OPPO had joined the university research centre at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering as an industrial affiliate sponsor of research into 5G technology.

Construction Update on SACS Angola-Brazil Cable System

Angola Cables, an Angolan telecoms wholesale operator, has announced the completion of the marine survey for the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) and the commencement of cable loading on the Angolan side of SACS cable, which will interconnect with the MONET cable system linking the U.S. and Brazil and the West Africa Cable System (WACS).

The SACS subsea system is a 40 Tbit/s, 6,165 km cable with four fibre pairs, with each fibre pair capable of transmitting 100 wavelengths with a bandwidth of 100 Gbit/s, which will connect from Angola to Brazil. SACS is scheduled to be ready for service in mid-2018.

Angola Cables stated that completion of the marine survey ensures that the cable will be deployed along the best route, avoiding hazards. Conclusion of the marine survey means that final manufacturing can be completed and route and cable type selections fine-tuned based on the survey findings.

As a result, loading of the pre-laid shore end (PLSE) is complete and the construction of SACS cable is underway. Angola Cables has commissioned NEC to build the cable system and contracted Ocean Specialists (OSI) to oversee the construction process. NEC announced in April last year that it had been selected to deploy the SACS system.

Angola Cables is an international wholesale provider focused on delivering capacity on international routes. Angola Cables is one of 12 members of the consortium managing the WACS cable system serving Angola and sub-Saharan Africa. The 14,530 km WACS cable extends from South Africa to the UK, with 14 landing points, including 12 along the west coast of Africa. The company also operates the Angonix IXP exchange at its data centre in Luanda, Angonap.

  • In early March, Ciena announced that Angola Cables had selected its GeoMesh and Blue Planet solutions to support the launch of a new service over a 10,556 km route on the MONET subsea cable, which is currently under construction and expected to be completed in the second half of this year.

Ericsson unveils virtualised video processing platform with MediaFirst controller

Ericsson has announced the launch of a platform that provides the foundation for all-IP and cloud native delivery models with the new MediaFirst Management Controller and MediaFirst Encoding Live 8.1.

Ericsson's fully virtualised processing solution, unveiled at NAB 2017, is designed to enable operators to address consumer demand for new services in areas such as UHD TV, virtual and augmented reality, as well as providing support for new revenue opportunities through dynamic ad insertion.

Able to operate on any platform, including pure software, common off the shelf (COTS) server hardware, private and public cloud, the flexible solution is designed to enable complex configurations by providing control for all processing elements utilising a service-based approach that secures operations and optimises service quality.

Leveraging its video compression expertise, and working in collaboration with customers and users, Ericsson MediaFirst Management Controller is designed to simplify the transition to a software-based architecture and provide a unified access point for Ericsson MediaFirst Video Processing products including Encoding Live, On Demand, Packaging and Stream Processing.

The new Ericsson solution allows operators to move from a monolithic approach towards a more agile, service-based allocation that helps streamline application management and deployment across multiple services and clusters. The new management platform offers centralised visibility, configuration and control, as well as providing flexible failover and licensing management for MediaFirst Video Processing applications. It can also adapt to changing conditions.

Ericsson's new MediaFirst Video Processing Encoding Live 8.1 enables faster content deployment with enhanced efficiency. The new version specifically offers a unified microservice architecture across any platform type and features centralised management, integral failover and dynamic licensing, together with faster video transcoding and high density when implemented on a platform based on Intel's Quick Sync Video (QSV) dedicated video hardware core.

KPN unit NL-ix establishes PoP at EdgeConneX Amsterdam

EdgeConneX, a specialist provider of data centre solutions at the edge of the network, has announced a new partnership with Netherlands-based NL-ix, a KPN company that interconnects over 100 carrier neutral data centres in 15 European countries, under which NL-ix has established a new point of presence (PoP) at its Edge Data Center (EDC) facility in Amsterdam.

With the deployment, NL-ix customers have access to local, regional and pan-European transport, routing and cloud connect services, and peering with local EdgeConneX customers, including wireless carriers, service providers, content delivery networks (CDNs), cloud providers and enterprises.

The EdgeConneX Amsterdam EDC is designed and located to provide the shortest and fastest routes for the delivery of Internet and cloud-based content in the Netherlands. The facility is strategically positioned close to major network provider aggregation points.

With 620 members connected and peak traffic of 1.7 Tbit/s, NL-ix is estimated to be the fifth largest Internet exchange globally. NL-ix interconnects in carrier neutral data centres in 25 metro areas and 105 data centres across Europe, offering metro, national and pan-European peering, routing, transport and cloud connect services.

  • Earlier in April EdgeConneX announced a partnership with the Salt Lake Internet eXchange (SLIX), offering connectivity solutions via the EDC in Salt Lake City. Owned and operated by XMission, SLIX is the only Internet exchange in Salt Lake City serving 10-plus networks connected with available peering for local EdgeConneX customers.
  • Earlier in the year, EdgeConneX launched its second EDC in Miami, Florida, located in Miami Gardens, 10 miles north of the NAP of Americas and offering direct access to LATAM, South America and the Caribbean via dark and lit fibre. In January 2017, Megaport (USA), the U.S. subsidiary of Australia-based Megaport, a provider of Elastic Interconnection services, deployed its SDN-based interconnection services in EDCs across North America and Europe.

Mellanox Cites Momentum for its 25G Ethernet Adapters

Mellanox Technologies announced that the ConnectX-4 Lx 25 Gigabit OCP and PCIe Ethernet adapters targeting data centre applications, which deliver 2.5x the throughput of 10 Gbit/s solutions using the same infrastructure, along with low latency performance, have been adopted by a number of major ODMs (original design manufacturers).

Mellanox stated that it is currently shipping hundreds of thousands of Ethernet adapters each quarter in line with increasing demand for its Ethernet connectivity solutions.

Mellanox cited ODM customers for its ConnectX-4 Lx 25 Gigabit Ethernet adapters including:

1.         Wiwynn, a cloud infrastructure provider offering computing and storage products, which is shipping its OCP server SV7221G2 products with the Mellanox ConnectX-4 Lx OCP Mezzanine NICs and PCIe cards to major ISPs.

2.         Inventec of Taiwan, which has qualified ConnectX-4 Lx 25 Gigabit Ethernet cards for TB800G4, Balder and K800G3 platforms for supply to major cloud and Web 2.0 providers in China,
3.         Acer, a Taiwanese hardware and electronics company, which has qualified the ConnectX-4 Lx PCIe adapters and plans to shortly launch its Altos R380 F3, R360 F3 and AW2000h F3 servers.

4.         Mitac-TYAN, a supplier of servers and desktop motherboards based in Taiwan, which is shipping ConnectX-3 Pro 40 Gigabit Ethernet OCP mezzanine cards and recently added the ConnectX-4 Lx 25 Gigabit Ethernet OCP mezzanine cards to its GT86A-B7083 server offering.

Mellanox's ConnectX-4 Lx is a 10/25/40/50 Gigabit Ethernet adapter that allows data centres to transition from 10 Gbit/s to 25 Gbit/s and from 40 Gbit/s to 50 Gbit/s while delivering similar power consumption and cost and utilising the same infrastructure.

Monthly update on the Indian telecommunications market - Part 2

Full article: Part 1Part 2 , Part 3Part 4

Update on consolidation of the 12-operator telecom market to four groups

Group 1 - Bharti Airtel plus Telenor

Bharti Airtel to acquire Augere Wireless, Telenor India and possibly some spectrum from Tikona

On February 17th Bharti Airtel, the current Indian telecom market leader, which as of December 2016 served 23.57% of Indian mobile subscriptions, closed the acquisition of Augere Wireless, a company which holds 20 MHz of spectrum in the 2,300 MHz band spectrum in the Madhya Pradesh circle.

Also, as previously reported by OND, on February 23rd Bharti Airtel and Norwegian multinational operator Telenor, whose Indian subsidiary at the end of 2016 served 4.83% of mobile subscriptions,
announced an agreement whereby Bharti Airtel would acquire most of the assets of Telenor India, including access to 44 million customers (nominally increasing its user base to over 320 million, though the final figure is likely to be less), 43.4 MHz of spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band and 20,000 base stations. The cashless deal, which is expected to close in April 2018, will include Airtel acquiring Telenor India's running operations in seven circles: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West) and Assam.

On March 24th persons familiar with the matter told the LiveMint news-source that Bharti Airtel was in the final stages of talks with Tikona Digital Networks of Mumbai to buy the latter's 4G spectrum in a transaction which could be worth in the range of INR 800-1,000 crore (excluding debt, which Airtel would assume, raising the total value to INR 1,500-1,700 crore). Tikona's 4G spectrum consists of 20 MHz in the 2,300 MHz band in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West) and Rajasthan, which would be particularly useful for Airtel in UP (East), UP (West) and Rajasthan, where it has no airwaves in the 2,300 MHz band, and in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, where it has only 10 MHz each. The arrangement would not include Tikona' wireless broadband business, Tikona WiBro, which it would continue to run independently.

On March 28th Bharti Airtel said it had sold a 10.3% stake in its tower company, Bharti Infratel, to a
consortium of funds (including private equity firm KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investments Board (CPPIB)) to raise INR 6,193.9 crore. The company said it would us the proceeds of the sale to further pay down its corporate debt, which as of the end of September 2016 stood at INR 98,813.50 crore.
As a result of all these moves, Bharti Airtel will end up with an important increase in its share of subscriptions which, based on the December 2016 numbers, would be 28.40%, with a significant improvement in its 4G spectrum holdings and slightly stronger financial position.

Group2 - Vodafone plus Idea Cellular

$23bn merger of India's No. 2 and 3 operators to create world's second largest company by mobile subscriptions

As previously reported, Vodafone India, the country's second largest operator which as of the end of 2016 served 18.16% of Indian mobile subscriptions, and third-ranked Idea Cellular, with a 16.90% share, announced they were in merger talks. For some time Vodafone, which has had continuous problems locally for many years including poor profitability and major taxation disputes with the Indian government, had made it clear it was interested in modifying its position in India. Idea Cellular is currently owned 49.05% by the $41 billion sales level Indian conglomerate group Aditya Birla (chaired by Kumar Mangalam Birla) and 19.96% by the Axiata Group of Malaysia, and for its 2016 financial year reported revenue of INR 394 billion.

On March 21st it was announced that the boards of Idea Cellular and Vodafone India had approved a $23 billion merger (excluding the latter's 42% stake in Indus Towers), which if completed in FY 2018 would, based on the latest TRAI numbers, become India's largest telecom company with a pro forma mobile wireless subscriptions market share of around 35.06%, revenue share of the Indian communications market of around 41%, and about 395 million actual mobile subscriptions, making it the second largest company in the world after China Mobile.

The new company's pro forma revenue would be around INR 81,600 crore and it with operating profit of INR 24,400 crore and combined debt of INR 1.08 trillion. The mechanics of the merger, which is expected to take about 24 months to complete, will be evolutionary as outlined in the following from LiveMint:

- 'The deal will see Aditya Birla Group, the promoters of Idea, gradually raising its stake in the combined entity while Vodafone Group will reduce its own, with the aim of both holding equal stakes over a period of time'.

- 'As a first step, the Aditya Birla Group will acquire 4.9% from Vodafone for INR 3,874 crore, or INR 108 a share, to take its stake to 26% with Vodafone holding 45.1%, while AB Group will have the right to buy another 9.5% from Vodafone at INR 130 a share or the prevailing market price, in the combined entity over four years'.

- 'Kumar Mangalam Birla will be the chairman of the new entity, Vodafone will name the CFO, while the two companies will jointly name the CEO and operations head before the closure of merger, expected within 24 months. The new entity will remain listed and be renamed at a later stage, with the promoters of Idea and Vodafone having the right to nominate three members each on the board, which will have 12 directors, six of whom will be independent'.

Interim comment on the risky nature of the above merger

Although LiveMint reported very thoroughly and professionally with minimum comment on the terms and mechanics of the proposed Vodafone/Idea merger on March 21st, it swiftly followed up on March 22nd with an extremely acerbic article by consulting editor Sundeep Khanna (entitled A crown of thorns awaits the Vodafone-Idea merged entity), who left few doubts about how negative he felt about the deal, pointing out that:

• Mergers of equal-sized companies were typically disastrous (because of constant turf squabbles), and the way the top jobs were due to be filled looked messy.
• Both brands would continue to be promoted in parallel making this an inorganic, i.e. incomplete,
• Mergers generated in a panic as a reaction to threatening outside events (in this case the massive
disruptive incursion of RJIO) were often put together very badly.
• Despite the aggressive public language about the new JV setting out to dominate the Indian
communications market, he felt that Idea had settled for 'bronze position' and that Vodafone's real focus was now on consolidating its position in Europe as the leader in fully converged communications and that it was no longer committed to the Indian market, noting that 10 years after it first entered the Indian market with its acquisition of Hutchison Telecommunications International stake in Hutchison Essar Vodafone seemed ready to get off the roller-coaster ride that has witnessed two write-downs, an aborted IPO and a pending $2.5 billion retrospective tax charge with little to show in terms of profits.

Nonetheless, as a coda to the above its worth noting that on March 24th India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) announced that as of February 21, 2017 in its 243rd meeting it had retrospectively approved the acquisition by Vodafone India of 100% of the stock of YOU Broadband, an Indian cable operator with 600,000 customers. So perhaps Vodafone still sees a long term opportunity for its Indian operations.

Full article: Part 1Part 2 , Part 3Part 4

Vodafone Egypt selects Procera

Procera Networks has announced a multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership with Vodafone Egypt, the largest mobile operator in the country with over 39 million subscribers, under which its virtualised solutions will be deployed to enhance the subscriber experience for fixed and mobile subscribers.

Procera noted that it was selected following a competitive evaluation, and for the project its virtualised technology will be implemented to provide Vodafone Egypt with subscriber experience analytics, including for encrypted traffic carried on the Internet.

Procera's analytics solutions leverage the visibility provided by the PacketLogic DRDL engine, which is designed to deliver fine-grained application identification despite the increasing use of encryption on the Internet.

As part of the solution, ScoreCard provides a view of quality, with high frequency measurements of service quality for criteria relevant to subscribers, such as web surfing, streaming video, social media, real-time gaming, upload/download performance and voice applications. In addition, analysis of ScoreCard results can be used to target investment in network capacity upgrades and identify potential demand for new services by the network planning team at Vodafone Egypt.

  • Earlier in 2017, Procera Networks reported a record number of contract wins and deployments in 2016 and had added 36 new Tier 1 service provider contracts. It also noted growing adoption of its virtualised DPI technology, which increased 177% versus 2015, with total deployments at over 50 Tier 1 and 2 operators as part of their NFV strategies.
  • In February, Procera announced it had reached a new industry benchmark for NFV performance, achieving 1.8 Tbit/s data throughput for its virtualised PacketLogic network intelligence technology running on Intel-based 1 RU Dell servers equipped with Mellanox 100 Gigabit Ethernet NICs. The test provided scale-up performance to 180 Gbit/s in a single system and scale-out throughput of 1.8 Tbit/s across a 10 RU cluster.