Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Huawei's first half sales were up 15%

Huawei reported revene of CNY 325.7 billion (US$47.80 billion), an increase of 15% over the same period last year. The company's operating margin in 2018 H1 was 14%.

In its carrier business, Huawei said it continues to focus on end-to-end 5G solutions, driving the continuous evolution of LTE – as well as Intent-Driven Networks, cloud data centers, etc.

In its enterprise business, Huawei remains committed to building integrated, innovative, and open digital platforms for its customers. The company said its focus is on cloud computing, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data.

In its consumer business, Huawei has maintained a tight focus on technological innovation, including its P20 series smartphones, its GPU Turbo graphics processing acceleration, and its MateBook X Pro notebooks.

In the cloud domain, Huawei has picked up the pace of its innovation in cloud infrastructure. Two major focuses include providing stable, reliable, secure, trusted, and sustainable cloud services for customers, and building an AI platform that is affordable, intuitive, and secure for all users.

Telstra appoints new leadership team

Telstra announced the following new topline organisational structure and leadership team led by current CEO Andrew Penn:

  • Michael Ebeid joins Telstra to run the Enterprise team servicing Australian and international business and government customers. 
  • Vicki Brady will continue to lead Consumer & Small Business designing digitally-led propositions.
  • Nikos Katinakis joins Telstra in mid-October to lead Networks & IT focused on extending the company’s network superiority and enabling digital experiences.
  • Brendon Riley will become the CEO of Telstra InfraCo, which will leverage the InfraCo assets and drive growth in the wholesale market.
  • David Burns, currently with the Enterprise team, will lead Global Business Services (GBS).
  • Robyn Denholm will move to the role of Chief Financial Officer & Head of Strategy. 
  • Alex Badenoch, Transformation & People will lead the T22 strategy transformation execution as well as drive the way the company works and operates, strengthening employee engagement. 
  • Carmel Mulhern, Legal & Corporate Affairs will continue in her role engaging external stakeholders, including relationships with government and community.

“Last month I announced the T22 strategy to the market and today I am making furtherannouncements on Telstra’s structure and leadership to ensure we deliver rapidly and effectively on all of the commitments we made to our customers, the market and our team. At the heart of these changes is the simplification of our products and services built on newtechnology. By mid-next year we will have fully rolled out our market leading products and services. To help deliver these changes, we are announcing a new end-to-end products and technology division of Telstra. It means we will significantly increase our technical capabilities around product development and management," stated Andrew Penn.

Telstra to spin-off fixed infrastructure, focus on 5G

Almost exactly 8 years after signing a historic agreement with nbn Co Limited (NBN Co), the consortium established to design, build and operate Australia's wholesale-only national broadband network (nbn), Telstra has just announced plans to spin-off its remaining fixed network infrastructure, including long-haul fibre, data centres, and subsea cables, into a separate company.

The nbn Co agreement reached in 2010 ensured that Telstra provides access to its facilities, which has remained a steady source of income over the years. Nevertheless, Telstra is embarking on a major reorganization and radical transformation of its customer plans and pricing. The company says it is looking ahead to a "post-nbn rollout" world in which very fast access speeds are ubiquitous across the country and multiple competitors run over the same fixed infrastructure.

The strategy, named Telstra2022, has four key pillars:
  • Radically simplify product offerings, eliminate customer pain points and create all digital experiences
  • Establish a standalone infrastructure business to drive performance and set up optionality post the nbn rollout
  • Greatly simplify the corporate structure and ways of working to empower our people and serve our customers
  • Cost reduction programme and portfolio management

Andrew Penn, who has now been CEO of Telstra for three years, says "The rate and pace of change in our industry is increasingly driven by technological innovation and competition. In this environment, traditional companies that do not respond are most at risk. We have worked hard preparing Telstra for this market dynamic while ensuring we did not act precipitously. However, we are now at a tipping point where we must act more boldly if we are to continue to be the nation’s leading telecommunications company.”

The corporate restructuring will result in a net reduction of 8,000 employees and contractors, and the elimination of 2-4 layers of management.

The infrastructure spin-off, tentatively called Telstra InfraCo, will begin as a wholly-owned subsidiary on 1 July, although over time, Telstra may seek a strategic investor or separate listing. Its assets will include Telstra’s fixed network infrastructure including data centres, non-mobiles related domestic fibre, copper, HFC, international subsea cables, exchanges, poles, ducts and pipes. Its services will be sold to Telstra, wholesale customers and nbn co.

Telstra InfraCo will also comprise Telstra’s nbn co commercial works activities and Telstra Wholesale, with a total workforce of approximately 3,000. It is expected this new Business Unit will control assets with a book value of about $11 billion and have annual revenues and EBITDA of about $5.5 billion and $3 billion respectively.

The new business unit will not include the mobile network assets including spectrum, radio access equipment, towers and some elements of backhaul fibre, which will remain integrated with Telstra’s core customer segment.  Telstra itself will seek to be a premium brand with its future tied to mobile connectivity and the upcoming 5G launch.


Windstream Wholesale adds to its ultra long-haul net with PHX-LV route

Windstream Wholesale announced an ultra-long-haul network expansion between Phoenix and Las Vegas, adding approximately 300 miles to its existing coast-to-coast long-haul network and providing a new diverse route option for customers out of Phoenix, including unique low-latency routing to and from Reno, Salt Lake City and Silicon Valley. In addition, the extension offers Las Vegas and Reno customers direct low-latency connectivity to markets in the Southern U.S. including Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and Miami.

In addition to Wavelengths, Ethernet Solutions and Dedicated Internet Access, Windstream Enterprise and Wholesale offers a range of complementary network and communications solutions to wholesale and resale customers including SD-WAN Wholesale, proprietary OfficeSuite White Label and Cloud SIP and PRI.

Windstream Wholesale boosts fiber presence at NJFX

Windstream Wholesale is fortifying its fiber transport network at NJFX’s Tier 3 carrier-neutral colocation campus, located at the cable landing station in Wall, NJ.

“What Windstream Wholesale offers at the NJFX colocation campus is a reliable, high-quality option for organizations coming in internationally, looking for connectivity options in the U.S,” commented Joe Scattareggia, president of Windstream Wholesale. “This newest project is an overbuild of a system with newer, updated technology. As a more cost-effective and efficient solution, our customers will now have even greater access to the cable landing station in Wall, NJ. We are building a diverse path—particularly the Ashburn route, which avoids the busy Philadelphia metro—along with an upgrade of existing services, with increased and accelerated installation time frames,” stated Scattareggia.

Windstream Wholesale offers protected backbone network services, along with a portfolio of data, cloud and managed services.

NJFX’s facility is strategically located where subsea cables from the U.S., Europe and South America meet at the United States’ easternmost edge.

NEC adds 5G Traffic Management

NEC launched an enhanced Traffic Management Solution (TMS) for 5G that improves the throughput of high-speed networks that support data transfer rates of more than 5 Gbps. 

NEC said 5G requires greater throughput from core networks through the wireless access networks. However, there will be a mixture of networks with different communication speeds, such as 4G and 5G, and, therefore, it is necessary to assure network stability at the time of a terminal's handover between different types of networks.

NEC's enhanced TMS features advanced component software that increases the performance and accuracy of analytics. Moreover, Dynamic TCP Optimization, a function that enables control in response to changing network conditions, has extended its scope to the ultrahigh-speed range of 5Gbps or more.

The company claims its enhanced TMS in a 5G test environment has improved 5G communications quality by increasing throughput by approximately 24% in the ultrahigh-speed range of 5Gbps or more; reducing download time during the handover from 4G to 5G by approximately 27%; and reducing the time to reach the maximum speed during the handover from 4G to 5G by approximately 64%.

"NEC contributes to a better experience for end users and more efficient network operations for CSPs by continuing to enhance TMS," said Kazuhiro Tagawa, General Manager, Network Solutions Division, NEC Corporation. "Our TMS has been adopted by over 20 CSPs worldwide and we look forward to seeing it drive the further advancement of 5G."

https://www.nec.com/en/press/201808/global_20180801_01.html

Amdocs cites new wins with Comcast Business, Verizon and AWS

Amdocs announced new customer wins with Comcast Business, Verizon and Amazon Web Services (AWS).  Some highlights:

Amdocs now supports Comcast Business’ commercially available software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) service,  the first business product powered by the ActiveCore SDN Platform. Amdocs provides the integration, orchestration and automation and NFV use cases needed for Comcast to reinvent its enterprise customer digital experience and build its own cloud-based network with the ability to design the services their customers require
Vubiquity, an Amdocs company, has been selected by Verizon Managed Services to supplement its expansive collection of on-demand content across existing and future formats, including but not limited to 4K and HDR. Vubiquity will also make this media and entertainment available in a variety of business models, including TV on-demand, rental, PPV and EST.
Amdocs, together with Amazon Web Services (AWS), will enable large Philippines telco Globe Telecom, to deliver cloud-based intelligent omnichannel routing and interactions management to quickly adapt to fast-changing consumer demands and truly transform their customer engagements.

Separately, Amdocs reported revenue for the third fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2018 of $1.0 billion, up 1.0% or $9.9 million sequentially from the second fiscal quarter of 2018 and up 3.7% as compared to last year’s third fiscal quarter, including  a negative impact from foreign currency movements of approximately $9 million. The Company's GAAP net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2018 was $91.5 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, compared to GAAP net income of $119.3 million, or $0.81 per diluted share, in the prior fiscal year’s third quarter. Net income on a non-GAAP basis was $147.5 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, compared to non-GAAP net income of $150.4 million, or $1.02 per diluted share, in the third quarter of fiscal 2017.

"We are pleased to report a solid performance in our third fiscal quarter. Revenue exceeded $1 billion for the first time in our history and was in line with the midpoint of our guidance adjusting for currency. On a regional basis, North America showed some early signs of stabilization while Europe and Rest of World delivered solid year-over-year growth that reflected the benefit of recent customer awards and our continued focus on project delivery and execution,” said Eli Gelman, president and chief executive officer of Amdocs Management Limited.

Gelman continued, “Q3 included positive developments relating to Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). First, we are today excited to announce that Amdocs is supporting the commercial availability of Comcast’s software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) service for enterprise businesses which leverages Amdocs’ leading NFV portfolio of orchestration, fulfillment and automation capabilities. Second, Telstra has partnered with Amdocs to implement a next generation OSS platform for its B2B line of business that will enable Telstra’s network domains to evolve toward virtualization while minimizing the impact to its existing support systems.”


Amdocs to acquire Vubiquity for video content management

Amdocs agreed to acquire Vubiquity, a Los Angeles-based company that provides professional video content management services, for approximately $224 million in cash.

Vubiquity works with over 600 leading film studios, television networks, and independent producers. It manages a 150,000+ asset library, providing superior quality distribution

Amdocs said Vubiquity's capabilities are of increasing importance to its 350+ communication and media service provider partners.

“This acquisition uniquely positions Amdocs at the center of increased convergence across the content community and video distributors including major OTT providers,” said Eli Gelman, Amdocs President and CEO. “Our joint offerings address the media and entertainment industry’s challenge in balancing the incredible growth of content and the many ways to consume content with making programming easier, faster to deliver and ultimately watch, while also delivering profits.”

“Vubiquity has successfully been connecting content owners and distributors across many diverse platforms and evolving business models at the core of its support to the media community,” said Vubiquity CEO Darcy Antonellis, who will, upon completion of the deal, be joining Amdocs as head of the Amdocs Media Division.

Daniele Mancuso, Sparkle: Planned MEF 3.0 PoC Demos at MEF18



MEF Annual Meeting, Daniele Mancuso, Director of Innovation & Engineering, Sparkle, shares about MEF initiatives that the Italian-based operator has been involved in and provides a preview of Sparkle’s major role in the Proof of Concept Showcase at the MEF18 event, 29 Oct. – 2 Nov. in Los Angeles.  Daniele highlights planned participation in three MEF18 PoC demonstrations:

1.  Sparkle has been a key contributor to the MEF 3.0 Service Fulfillment and Activation project, which is implemented on MEFnet and is expected showcased at MEF18. This project focuses on developing answers to the challenge of orchestrating services across multiple service providers.  Sparkle is acting as a transit service provider and has developed test case scenarios related to the LSO Sonata, LSO Interlude, and LSO Cantata reference points and associated APIs.

 2.  Sparkle and a partner plan a MEF18 POC demo focused on a technology-vendor agnostic SD-WAN implementation with the goal of leap-frogging beyond standard universal CPEs based on virtual machines to a new solution that could serve as a baseline for multi-vendor, orchestrated SD-WAN.

3. In another MEF18 PoC demo, Sparkle is working with other service providers and technology vendors to build a circle of commercial trust built on blockchain technology.

Filmed at the MEF Annual Members meeting in Nashville.

See video: https://youtu.be/AMqBNRfvMjs



Qadium secures $37M by U.S. Navy's Space and Warfare Command

Qadium, a start-up based in San Francisco, has been awarded a $37.6 million contract by the U.S. Department of Defense for its cybersecurity solution.

Qadium provides real-time monitoring of the entire global Internet for customers' assets. In

The company said the contract was awarded by the U.S. Navy's Space and Warfare Command after the Department of Defense validated Qadium's commercial software.  Qadium has done prior work for Defense Department entities including U.S. Cyber Command, the Defense Information Systems Agency, Fleet Cyber Command, Army Cyber Command and the DoD CIO office.

"The Defense Department used to love to build its own IT, often poorly and at high cost to taxpayers," said Qadium CEO and CIA veteran Tim Junio.  "The times are finally changing.  In the face of the greatest cybersecurity challenges in our nation's history, we're seeing the government and private tech companies coming together, making both sides better off."

Investors in Qadium include New Enterprise Associates, TPG, Institutional Venture Partners and Founders Fund.

http://www.qadium.com

Sierra Wireless debuts IoT cellular router for LTE, LTE-M, NB-IoT

Sierra Wireless introduced a compact cellular router for the IoT with support for LTE and LTE-M/NB-IoT variants

The AirLink LX40 supports data processing at the edge and is designed for connecting cameras, smart lockers and point-of-sale terminals, as well as industrial remote data logging and sensing equipment in indoor or protected-outdoor locations.

Sierra Wireless also said its AirLink LX40 also enables IoT edge programmability, supporting the field-proven ALEOS Application Framework for embedded applications, as well as tightly integrated cloud services and APIs. These features, combined with LTE-M/NB-IoT connectivity and a rich set of I/O options for data acquisition and sensor aggregation, enable critical data to be processed at the edge to drive application insight and create event-driven situational awareness, while optimizing data transmission. LTE-M/NB-IoT support also provides five to 10X enhanced coverage in remote locations or buildings, while reducing monthly data plan costs by up to 10X.

“Enterprises are gathering business intelligence by deploying IoT solutions over a diverse range of locations and assets, from security cameras in a warehouse to manufacturing equipment on a factory floor,” said Jason Krause, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise Solutions, Sierra Wireless. “AirLink LX40 represents the evolution of our router portfolio, starting with the LX60, to bring the same secure connectivity experience as our rugged performance portfolio, but in an even more compact form factor that is optimized for enterprise IoT applications.”

MACOM's quarterly sales drop to $137.9m

MACOM Technology Solutions, which supplies high-performance RF, microwave, millimeterwave and lightwave semiconductor products, reported revenue of $137.9 million for its 3rd fiscal quarter, a decrease of 29.1% compared to $194.6 million in the previous year fiscal third quarter and a decrease of 8.3% compared to $150.4 million in the prior fiscal quarter. Fiscal third quarter revenue included $0.4 million compared to $12.4 million in the fiscal second quarter from the LR4 subassembly business divested on May 10, 2018.

Gross profit was $48.2 million, a decrease of 48.0% compared to $92.6 million in the previous year fiscal third quarter and a decrease of 26.6% compared to $65.6 million in the prior fiscal quarter. The net loss from continuing operations was $85.2 million, or $1.31 loss per diluted share, compared to net loss from continuing operations of $14.0 million, or $0.22 loss per diluted share, in the previous year fiscal third quarter and net loss from continuing operations of $15.5 million, or $0.50 loss per diluted share, in the prior fiscal quarter.

"Overall the quarter played out largely as expected," commented John Croteau, President and CEO of MACOM. "We made tangible progress in yield improvements for our 25G lasers and are now starting to execute a controlled ramp, scaling into high volume production. Based on our expected higher production volumes of 25G lasers, we added a new white-box transceiver customer, thereby launching our Data Center solutions business model. This business model provides dedicated transceiver manufacturing capacity and a ready-made supply chain to the end markets, and for MACOM, a dedicated customer which we anticipate will consume our Data Center semiconductor components as we scale production in the second half of calendar 2018. With increasing availability of our lasers, we believe that we are well positioned to step and repeat, scaling our solutions business model by enabling multiple, high-volume manufacturing customers to begin production ramps to meet industry demand over the course of the coming quarters.

The MulteFire Alliance adds SoftBank to Board

SoftBank has joined The MulteFire Alliance's board of directors, joining Boingo Wireless, CableLabs, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm.  Yoshioki Chika, senior director of SoftBank’s Solution Strategy Office, will serve as the board director.

“SoftBank has been an active member of the MulteFire Alliance since 2016 and I’m very pleased to announce its addition to the MulteFire Alliance board,” said Mazen Chmaytelli, president, MulteFire Alliance, and senior director of business development, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “As a leading mobile operator, SoftBank complements the expertise of the existing board and will help lead efforts to bring MulteFire to commercial deployment. Mr. Chika brings valuable experience in leading the efforts to promote unlicensed TD-LTE band in Japan – the 1.9 GHz band – that MulteFire will be able to leverage.”

“We see great opportunities for deploying MulteFire in unlicensed spectrum to meet the growing wireless connectivity demands of our subscribers, and also to use in billions of new IoT devices,” said Mr. Chika. “I look forward to collaborating with the fellow board members on advancing MulteFire as the right wireless connectivity solution for multiple applications in Japan and around the globe.”

The MulteFire Alliance is currently working on its Release 1.1 specification that adds IoT optimizations for NB-IoT and eMTC, as well as adding new support for the unlicensed 1.9 GHz band in Japan, the global 2.4 GHz band, and sub-1 GHz bands. The specification is targeted for completion in October 2018.

http://www.MulteFire.org

Monday, July 30, 2018

Nokia lands $3.5 billion, multi-year 5G deal with T-Mobile

T-Mobile US awarded a $3.5 billion contract to Nokia for the deployment of its nationwide 5G network.

Specifically, Nokia will help build T-Mobile's nationwide 5G network with 600 MHz and 28 GHz millimeter wave 5G capabilities compliant with 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) standards. The agreement covers Nokia's end-to-end 5G technology, software and services portfolio. This includes Nokia's AirScale radio platforms and cloud-native core, AirFrame hardware, CloudBand software, SON and 5G Acceleration Services.

"We are all in on 5G," said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer at T-Mobile. "Every dollar we spend is a 5G dollar, and our agreement with Nokia underscores the kind of investment we're making to bring customers a mobile, nationwide 5G network. And together with Sprint, we'll be able to do So. Much. More."

"Nokia and T-Mobile will advance the large-scale deployment of 5G services throughout the United States," said Ashish Chowdhary, Chief Customer Operations Officer, Nokia. "This is a testament to our companies' strong and productive working relationship, one which has produced several important technological milestones in recent months, and which now allows us to make 5G a commercial reality."

Regarding its financial outlook, Nokia said the AirScale radio platforms and cloud-native core, AirFrame hardware, CloudBand software, SON and 5G Acceleration Services in this contract were included in the guidance issued in the Nokia Financial Report for Q2 and Half Year 2018 as stated on July 26, 2018.

IEEE 5G World Forum: T-Mobile says 5G is AWESOME

"5G is AWESOME" -- that's the message delivered emphatically by Egil Gronstad, Senior Director of Technology Development and Strategy for T-Mobile USA, speaking to a mostly academic audience at the 2018 IEEE 1st 5G World Forum (5GWF’18) in Santa Clara, California this week. 

The main takeaway from his half-hour presentation: 5G is happening now at T-Mobile USA. The rollout is real and is proceeding if for no other reason than higher performance, which is always desirable in networking.


Some key takeaways:

  • T-Mobile's 5G commercial rollout begins this year in 30 cities and will be fully nationwide within 2.5 years. T-Mobile will deploy its 5G RAN using both 600MHz and 28GHz millimeter wave spectrum. Previously, Nokia confirmed that its equipment has been selected for the initial rollout.
  • A key learning is that 5G requires mid-band spectrum and T-Mobile's newly licensed 600 MHz spectrum is a strategic advantage
  • Building penetration loss for 5G in mmWave spectrum is significant
  • T-Mobile is not expecting to charge more for 5G service compared to its existing plans. The company expects to attract new customers and applications as the cost justification for upgrading to 5G
  • Voice needs to ride on the 5G network as soon as possible. In the transition to 4G, it was a mistake for voice to continue on the 3G for so long.
  • T-Mobile USA has no current plans for 5G fixed wireless service but is looking very closely at the business case.
  • T-Mobile USA has added one million or more users each quarter for the past 20 quarters

MEF 3.0 -- Overview and Mid-2018 Update with Verizon's Shawn Hakl



MEF 3.0 is the spec that defines how carriers will talk to each other in the age of software-defined services. In this video, Shawn Hakl, Senior Vice President Business Products, Verizon, provides a general overview of MEF 3.0 and then gives a technical update on the latest development as of mid-2018.

Filmed at the MEF Annual Members Meeting in Nashville.

See video: https://youtu.be/6J5BZ-L_Zpo


MEF introduces SDN and NFV Professional Certifications



MEF is launching an SDN/NFV Professional Certification program.

Nearly 6,000 people have completed MEF's Carrier Ethernet certification. A Network Foundations certification was recently introduced. This new SDN/NFV certification builds on this base.

Dan Pitt, SVP at MEF, introduces the professional certification program.

Learn more at http://www.mef.net/certification


MEF's 2018-2019 Board draws from global service providers

MEF announced its 2018-2019 Board of Directors, representing a broad geographic distribution of major service providers.

MEF Board of Directors and Advisory Director

  • Nan Chen, Executive Vice Chairman, CENX
  • Frederick Chui, Senior Vice President, Global Data Sales and Presales, PCCW Global
  • Shawn Hakl, Senior Vice President Business Products, Verizon
  • Aamir Hussain, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, CenturyLink
  • Scott Mansfield, Standardization Researcher, Networks, Ericsson
  • Kevin O'Toole, Senior Vice President, Product Management, Comcast Business
  • Roman Pacewicz, Chief Product Officer, AT&T Business
  • Ralph Santitoro, Head of SDN/NFV/SD-WAN Services, Fujitsu Network Communications
  • Michael Strople, President Allstream, Managing Director - Canada, Zayo Group
  • Mirko Voltolini, Global Head of Network on Demand, Colt Technology Services
  • Rami Yaron, Senior Director SDN/NFV Solutions, NEC/Netcracker
  • Jean-Claude Geha, SVP of International Services and Technology, Deutsche Telekom (Advisory Director)

MEF Officers

  • Nan Chen, President
  • Mike Strople, Chairman
  • Shawn Hakl, Treasurer
  • Scott Mansfield, Secretary
  • Kevin Vachon, Chief Operating Officer
  • Pascal Menezes, Chief Technology Officer
  • Dan Pitt, Senior Vice President

“MEF is pleased to welcome such a powerful group of world-class executives and creative minds to the MEF board. They represent many of the industry’s most prominent business, technology, and thought leaders,” said Nan Chen, President, MEF. “They will bring unique insights and capabilities to advance our Mission – accelerate worldwide adoption of Assured Services across Automated Networks with MEF 3.0.”

Altice to sell its towers in the Dominican Republic

Altice Europe will sell off its communications tower business in the Dominican Republic to Phoenix Tower International, a portfolio company of Blackstone, for US$170 million.

The deal covers 1,049 sites currently operated by Altice Dominicana.

In addition, Altice Dominicana will enter into a 20-year master agreement to lease back the facilities.

Altice forms tower infrastructure companies in France and Portugal

Altice Europe will sell off equity stakes in its tower infrastructure business in France an Portugal for EUR 2.5 billion in cash. The idea is to form two tower companies offering passive infrastructure and equipment in France and Portugal. Services will be available to all mobile network operators. Altice France and PT Portugal will enter into 20-year master agreements with these new infrastructure companies.

Altice said the deal will help it to reduce debt. Here is an outline of the plan.

Altice France has entered into an exclusivity agreement with KKR for the sale of 49.99% of the equity in the to be formed tower company (“SFR TowerCo”) that will comprise the 10,198 sites currently operated by SFR. The envisaged transaction values SFR TowerCo at an enterprise value of €3.6 billion, representing a very attractive multiple of 18.0x 2017 pro forma EBITDA of €200 million. In addition, a build-to-suit agreement for 1,200 new sites between SFR and SFR TowerCo is expected to generate approximately €250 million in additional proceeds to SFR within the next 4 years.

PT Portugal has reached an agreement with a Consortium including Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners and Horizon Equity Partners for the sale of 75% in the to be formed tower company (“Towers of Portugal” or “ToP”) that will comprise 2,961 sites currently operated by Altice Portugal. The transaction values Towers of Portugal at an enterprise value of €660 million, representing a highly attractive multiple of 18.9x 2017 pro forma EBITDA of €35 million. In addition, a build-to-suit agreement for 400 new sites between MEO and ToP is expected to generate approximately €60 million in additional proceeds to MEO within the next 4 years.  ToP’s portfolio of towers, strategically located throughout Portugal, represents the single largest tower portfolio in the country.

Altice founder Patrick Drahi said: “I am enthusiastic about creating new tower partnerships in France and Portugal. With KKR, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners and Horizon Equity Partners, we have found long-term partners of the highest-quality who share our vision to invest in leading infrastructure and growth opportunities. We will create a leading European tower business, including the #1 in France. Both tower businesses will be uniquely positioned to grow as they provide increasingly important infrastructure services to operators in both markets. Simultaneously, these transactions underline our commitment to delever and proactively manage our balance sheet while highlighting the significant underlying value of Altice Europe’s business."

TE Connectivity' next-gen connectors ready for 56G PAM4

TE Connectivity (TE) introduced its next-generation, 0.8mm free height board-to-board connectors designed for higher-speed, mezzanine board systems.

The company says its mezzanine connectors are capable of delivering 25 Gbps and higher signals for supporing PAM4 and PCIe Gen 5 architectures.

The new free height connectors are also said to deliver higher reliability through a stronger plug/receptacle mechanical design, maintaining the same performance when de-mated up to 0.5mm. In addition, modular tooling enables 1mm stack height increments and flexible pin counts.

Serverless raises $10M

Serverless, a start-up based in San Francisco, announced $10 million in Series A funding for its open source Serverless Framework.

The company's mission is to provide a single toolkit offering everything teams and enterprises need to operationalize serverless deployments.

The company said it takes a vendor-agnostic approach across major platforms and cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Functions, Kubernetes, etc.

The funding was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with additional participation by Trinity Ventures.

https://serverless.com/

Telefónica sells 10% stake in Telxius to long-term partner

Telefónica will sell a 9.99% equity stake in Telxius, its infrastructure arm, to Pontegadea for a total of 378.8 million euros.  This transaction represents a price of 15.2 euro per share of Telxius.

Telefónica said the deal incorporates a long-term partner in a holding company that controls its infrastructure arm. 

The sale has been structured via Telefónica’s subsidiary, Pontel Participaciones, which owns 60% of Telxius’ capital stock. Pontegadea owns 16.65% of Pontel and Telefónica the remaining 83.35%. After the transaction, Telefónica will maintain a majority stake and retain operational control of Telxius.

Telefónica's Telxius infrastructure arm expands its global reach

Telxius, Telefónica's infrastructure arm, was established in February 2016. It owns and operates a portfolio comprising nearly 16,300 telecom towers in five countries and manages an international network with around 65,000 km of submarine optical cable, including around 31,000 km owned by Telxius. The Telxius-owned network includes SAM-1 linking the U.S., Central and South America, PCCS (Pacific Caribbean Cable System) and Unisur, which connects Uruguay and Argentina. It also took over Telefónica's share in older subsea consortium cables, including Columbus III, Atlantis II, and FLAG.

Telxius has two new subsea cables that are expected to enter commercial service shortly: BRUSA, linking Brazil, Puerto Rico and the U.S., and MAREA linking the U.S. and Europe in partnership with Google and Facebook. The two projects bring enormous East-West and North-South capacity to the Atlantic. More about these projects below.

It was just over a year ago that Telefónica announced it has reached an agreement with global investment firm KKR Group for the sale of up to a 40% stake of Telxius Telecom, its global telecommunications infrastructure company, for a total of Euro 1,275 million, or Euro 12.75 per share. The deal with KKR implied an enterprise value of Euro 3,678 million for Telxius, or 11.4 times its 2017 EBITDA.

Telefónica's original plan was to seek a public listing for Telxius as an independent company. An attempted initial public offering was announced in September 2016 but subsequently withdrawn in November.

In terms of valuation, the deal with KKR was fairly close to the earlier aspirations for a public listing. KKR is a private equity firm specializing in infrastructure opportunities. As of the end of 2017, KKR had $168 billion of assets under its management.

From what we gather, the Telxius shared infrastructure business is doing well.



The Massive MAREA project

Construction of the highest-capacity subsea cable to cross the Atlantic was officially completed in September 2017. The 6,600 km MAREA subsea cable, which was jointly funded by Microsoft and Facebook, links Virginia Beach, Virginia to Bilbao, Spain. For these two Internet giants, the collaboration represents a significant change for the subsea cable industry, which previously funded major projects by establishing a consortium of telecom carriers, with bandwidth on the system subsequently divided between eight, ten or even more investing parties. MAREA is not only massive in comparison to the projects from just a decade ago, it also follows a more southerly transatlantic route, landing in Europe on the Iberian peninsula. For the American landing, the cable arrives hundreds of miles to the southern coast of Virginia, in proximity to new hyperscale data centre campuses being built by Microsoft and Facebook.

See more: https://www.convergedigest.com/2018/03/telefonicas-telxius-infrastructure-arm.html

Dell'Oro forecasts fast growth for next-gen PON technologies

The worldwide PON market will grow to over $7 billion by 2022, according to a newly published report by Dell’Oro Group, driven by next-generation PON technologies, including 10 Gbps EPON, XGS-PON, and NG-PON2. This represents a compounded annual growth rate of almost 40 percent from 2017 to 2022.

“Where PON technologies are used for residential broadband services, 2.5 Gbps GPON will remain as the dominant technology due to its lower price and sufficient speeds.  However, for a number of growing use cases such as business services and mobile backhaul, next-generation PON technologies have capacities and capabilities that current generation technologies lack,” said Alam Tamboli, Senior Analyst at Dell’Oro Group.

“10 Gbps EPON has already begun shipping strongly in China where current generation PON is widely deployed.  Shipments of XGS-PON and NG-PON2 remain small for now, but we anticipate that XGS-PON will grow more rapidly. XGS-PON and its 10 Gbps symmetric bandwidth should meet operators’ needs for business services and mobile backhaul,” Tamboli added.

FCC appoints Babette Boliek as chief economist

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today announced the appointment of Dr. Babette Boliek as chief economist for the Federal Communications Commission. She earned her doctorate in economics from the University of California, Davis, and her law degree from Columbia University School of Law. 

“Our work at the FCC often sits at the intersection between law and economics.  It seems only fitting, then, that our new chief economist has deep experience in each of these fields,” said Chairman Pai.  “Our current efforts to better integrate economic analysis factors into many aspects of the agency’s work, from closing the digital divide to merger review.  Adding an extraordinarily talented, well-respected expert like Dr. Boliek to our team will help us continue to make well-informed decisions that reflect basic principles of economics as well as the rule of law.  I’m grateful that Dr. Boliek has agreed to join our team.”

The Carlyle Group sells some of its shares in CoreSite to Citi

CoreSite Realty Corporation (NYSE:COR) announced the sale of 2,250,000 shares of its common stock by investment funds affiliated with The Carlyle Group to Citigroup and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, as the underwriters in connection with the offering.

Share of COR closed at $113.03 on 30-July-2018, valuing the transaction at around $254 million.

CoreSite noted that investment funds affiliated with The Carlyle Group will continue to hold an aggregate of 11,525,390 partnership units in CoreSite’s operating partnership that they may elect to redeem in whole or in part for cash or, at CoreSite’s option, CoreSite may elect to acquire those operating partnership units submitted for redemption in exchange for shares of its common stock on a one-for-one basis. If all such operating partnership units were tendered for redemption and CoreSite elected to acquire such units in exchange for shares of its common stock, investment funds affiliated with The Carlyle Group would own an aggregate of 23.9% of CoreSite’s issued and outstanding common stock.

Cloudify appoints Ariel Dan as CEO

Cloudify, which specializes in IT operations automation technology, named Ariel Dan as its new CEO, replacing Zeev Bikowsky, who has been serving as Chief Executive Officer for nearly a decade.

Prior to Cloudify, Ariel led two companies to M&A, and has extensive experience in building sustainable cloud & SaaS operations.

While leading Cloudify, Bikowki was also the driving force behind establishing GigaSpaces.

Cloudify is based in Herzliya, Israel and funded by Intel Capital, Claridge Israel, BRM Group, FTV Capital, and Formula Vision, as well as additional private investors.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Caixin: The Wake-Up Call for China’s Chip Industry

The near-death experience of ZTE due to the 88-day ban imposed the U.S. Department of Commerce is a wake-up call for China's semiconductor industry, according to an article in the business journal Caixin.

The article the foreign joint venture model, Chinese investments/acquisitions of tech companies abroad, and government-supported initiatives to build a strong, domestic ecosystem for semiconductor design and fabrication.

https://www.caixinglobal.com/2018-07-29/the-wake-up-call-for-chinas-chip-industry-101309608.html

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Bloom Energy completes IPO - fuel cells

Bloom Energy Corporation (NYSE:BE) completed its initial public offering of 18,000,000 shares at a price to the public of $15.00 per share, raising $270 million. 

Bloom Energy, which is based in Sunnyvale, California, offers a solid oxide fuel cell product called the "Bloom Energy Server" that converts standard low pressure natural gas or biogas into electricity through an electrochemical process without combustion. 

The company says a typical configuration produces 250 kilowatts of power in a footprint roughly equivalent to that of half of a standard 30 foot shipping container, or approximately 125 times more
space-efficient than solar power generation.  Bloom has announced a number of large customers, including AT&T, Caltech, Delmarva Power & Light Company, Equinix, The Home Depot, Kaiser
Permanente and The Wonderful Company.

According to the company's S-1 filing, as of March 31, 2018, Bloom had 312 megawatts in total deployed systems, representing an average annual growth rate of approximately 25% since 2014. In addition, as of March 31, 2018, Bloom had an additional product sales backlog of 108.2 megawatts.

Equinix to install 37 MW of Bloom Energy fuel cells


Equinix will deploy Bloom Energy fuel cells at 12 International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers in the U.S.  The installation is provided under a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between a subsidiary of Southern Company and Equinix. The project will provide a total capacity of more than 37 megawatts of power with a phased installation that begins in late 2017 through 2019. Equinix said the new fuel cells will be installed at seven...

Microsoft Contracts 237 Megawatts of Wind Energy


Microsoft announced two wind power purchasing agreements totaling 237 megawatts -- its biggest purchase of wind energy to date. “Microsoft is committed to building a responsible cloud, and these agreements represent progress toward our goal of improving the energy mix at our datacenters,” said Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft. “Our commitment extends beyond greening our own operations because these projects help create...

Global cloud provider upgrades with dark fiber and 100G from Zayo

Zayo announced that a global cloud provider customer has selected it to expand its long-haul dark fiber network and to upgrade optical wavelength capacity across the U.S.  Zayo did not disclose the name of the cloud company but said the plan represents an expansion of its existing relationship.

The dark fiber solutions include leasing of multiple long-haul dark fiber routes, including fully redundant paths to meet growing diversity requirements. The customer also selected Zayo to upgrade existing wavelength routes from 10G to 100G in order to significantly increase capacity. Zayo will also invest in additional metro network to connect to the provider’s data centers. In aggregate, the second calendar quarter commitments represent Zayo’s largest sales quarter with the long-standing customer.

“Earning this business is another vote of confidence from an important customer,” said Jack Waters, CTO and President of Fiber Solutions. “Over the years, we have demonstrated our ability to meet stringent requirements and timelines. As this provider grows and continues to expand and bullet proof its infrastructure, we are now in a position to be a trusted partner to them.”

Friday, July 27, 2018

Huawei brings 5G demo to Bangladesh

Huawei conducted a demonstration of 5G technology in Bangladesh in collaboration with local operator Robi and government's Posts & Telecommunications Division, Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology.

Huawwei said the purpose of the event was to show how a 5G ecosystem can be cultivated in Digital Bangladesh and how to use 5G to respond to the economic transformation of Bangladesh as well as the operators.

Speaking on the occasion, Robi’s Managing Director and CEO, Mahtab Uddin Ahmed said, “5G gives us once in a lifetime opportunity to rethink all the other sectors imaginable for the socio-economic development of the country.”


Thursday, July 26, 2018

xRAN Fronthaul Control, User and Synchronization spec 2.0 approved

The xRAN Forum (xRAN) announced the approval and release of the xRAN Fronthaul Control, User and Synchronization (CUS) Plane Specification Version 2.0 and the xRAN Fronthaul Management Plane (MP) Specification Version 1.0.

The approvals allow vendors to develop new RRUs and BBUs for a wide range of deployment scenarios, which can be easily integrated with virtualized infrastructure & management systems using standardized data models.

The second major version of CUS-plane specification incorporates several enhancements over the first
version including:
• Support for 2 radio categories (A and B) to enable both simple and more complex functionality leveraging largely the same interface specification
• Additional compression modes to provide increased fronthaul bandwidth savings
• Support for critical items such as synchronization and timing to enable commercialization and interoperability in deployments
• Support for additional LTE system features like LAA, NB-IOT, including improved efficiency in parsing of U-plane packets

The first version of M-plane specification provides an open multi-vendor M-plane model for radios based on standardized modern protocols like NETCONF/YANG and includes key capabilities:
• Support for features and capabilities in v1.0 of CUS specification and several enhancements in v2.0 of CUS specification
• Flexible management architecture providing support for traditional hierarchical and hybrid (multiple NETCONF clients or EMS can directly communicate with radio) deployment models
• A comprehensive YANG model developed for 4G & 5G radios building upon industry accepted data models

The xRAN Forum, was established in October 2016 with the mission to enable best-of-breed RRUs and BBUs for a wide range of deployment scenarios, is in the process of merging with the C-RAN Alliance to form the ORAN Alliance, which is backed by AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO, and Orange.

Interview - Disaggregating and Virtualizing the RAN



The xRAN Forum is a carrier-led initiative aiming to apply the principles of virtualization, openness and standardization to one area of networking that has remained stubbornly closed and proprietary -- the radio access network (RAN) and, in particular, the critical segment that connects a base station unit to the antennas. Recently, I sat down with Dr. Sachin Katti, Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments at Stanford...

Spirent debuts 400G Ethernet test solution

Spirent Communications introduced an 8-port 1U-high rack-mountable solution for testing 400/200/100/50 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE).

The new pX3 400G Appliance, which is the world’s highest density QSFP-DD tester, is designed to validate the forwarding performance and quality of service of ultra-high-scale, next-generation-enabled, multi-terabit routers and switches, all contained in a single rack space.

The pX3 400G appliance offers 8 ports. Spirent says up to 255 pX3 units can be interconnected to provide synchronized timing for a total of 2,040 ports. These appliances will interoperate with and complement Spirent’s extensive high speed Ethernet test modules and chassis offerings.

“As the demand for more data and higher speeds continues to increase, Spirent is continually developing new solutions for testing 400G capabilities throughout the network,” said Spirent’s General Manager of Cloud and IP, Abhitesh Kastuar. “Spirent’s latest high port density product provides our customers a lower cost of ownership per port than any other provider of test equipment on the market.”

https://www.spirent.com/Products/TestCenter/Platforms/Modules/pX3-400G?utm_source=Press+Release&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=Ethernet&utm_content=Press+Release


MEF 3.0 Progress Report -- Layer 1, intercarrier APIs, SD-WAN, more



Kevin Vachon, COO of MEF, provides a progress report on MEF 3.0,  which is the global services framework for “defining, delivering, and certifying agile, assured, and orchestrated communication services across a global ecosystem of automated networks.”

This week's MEF Annual Members' Meeting in Nashville was highly productive, featuring advancements in all of the following areas: Layer 1 specifications; Layer 3 specifications; SD-WAN; Carrier Ethernet work; LSO inter-carrier APIs; first MEF 3.0 certified companies;  professional certification program; planning work for the MEF18 event and Proof-of-Concepts (PoC) showcase this autumn.

See video: https://youtu.be/Yc1Qo07lwlM


SD-WAN market adoption - a perspective from Comcast Business



The market has really begun to embrace SD-WAN, says Kevin O'Toole, Senior Vice President, Product Management, Comcast Business, in order to cut their costs and unlock the power of new last-mile access networks. MEF is working on standards to support the evolution of SD-WAN.

Filmed at the MEF Annual Members' meeting in Nashville.

See video: https://youtu.be/lRE6338Veaw




Intel reports record Q2 sales - strength in data centers

Intel reported record second quarter revenue of $17.0 billion, up 15 percent YoY and driven by strength across the business and customer demand for Intel platforms.

Intel's data-centric businesses grew 26 percent, approaching 50 percent of total revenue.

PC-centric revenue was up 6 percent on strength in the commercial and enthusiast segments.

“After five decades in tech, Intel is poised to deliver our third record year in a row. We are uniquely positioned to capitalize on the need to process, store and move data, which has never been more pervasive or more valuable,” said Bob Swan, Intel CFO and Interim CEO. “Intel is now competing for a $260 billion market opportunity, and our second quarter results show that we’re winning. As a result of the continued strength we are seeing across the business, we are raising our full year revenue and earnings outlook.”

  • Intel noted the workload optimization trend in the data center is also fueling demand for FPGAs. Intel's Programmable Solutions Group (PSG) revenue grew 18 percent.
  • Intel's memory (NSG), Internet of Things Group (IOTG) and Mobileye businesses each achieved record quarterly revenue. 
  • Mobileye revenue grew 37 percent year-over-year as the adoption of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) increases.


https://www.intc.com/investor-relations/default.aspx

AWS hits Q2 sales of $6.105 billion, up 49% yoy

In its quarterly report for the three months ended June 30, 2018, Amazon disclosed that AWS sales amounted to $6,105 for the period, up 49% from $4,100 a year earlier.

Quarterly news highlights for AWS

  • New enterprise customers announced during the quarter include Ryanair, Epic Games, zulily, 21st Century Fox, Verizon and its subsidiary Oath, Major League Baseball, and Formula One.
  • AWS announced the general availability of Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (Amazon EKS), a fully managed service that makes it easy to deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications using Kubernetes on AWS. 
  • AWS announced the general availability of DeepLens, a deep learning-enabled wireless video camera built to give developers hands-on experience with machine learning. 
  • AWS announced the general availability of Amazon Neptune, a fast, reliable, and fully-managed graph database service. With Amazon Neptune, customers can efficiently store and navigate highly-connected data, allowing developers to create sophisticated, interactive graph applications that can query billions of relationships with millisecond latency.
  • AWS announced pay-per-session pricing for Amazon QuickSight, the first business intelligence service with pay-per-session pricing. Amazon QuickSight is a fast, cloud-powered, business analytics service.
  • AWS announced a new Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance for AWS Snowball Edge devices (SBE1). AWS Snowball Edge is a 100TB data transfer device with on-board storage and compute that can be used to move large amounts of data into and out of AWS, as a temporary storage tier for large local data sets, or to support independent local workloads in remote locations. 
  • AWS announced the general availability of C5d Instances with Local NVMe Storage and I3 Bare Metal Instances, two new features which are part of the Amazon EC2 service within AWS’s compute portfolio. C5 Instances with Local NVMe Storage bring customers high-speed, ultra-low latency local storage to compute-intensive C5 instances. 
  • AWS announced thousands of enterprise customers are running SAP workloads on AWS. Businesses 
  • In its second year of availability, the number of databases migrated to AWS using the AWS Database Migration Service has grown to more than 80,000 databases.
  • AWS announced the general availability of Amazon Sumerian, a new managed service that allows developers to create and publish augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and 3D applications.


See also