Sunday, October 31, 2004

Qualcomm to Build Nationwide, Wireless Mediacast Network

QUALCOMM announced plans to deploy and operate a nationwide "mediacast" network, delivering many channels of high-quality video and audio programming to third-generation mobile phones at mass market prices. The nationwide mediacasting network will deliver multimedia content to wireless mobile devices in the 700 MHz spectrum for which QUALCOMM holds licenses across the U.S. It will be based on QUALCOMM's "FLO" (Forward Link Only) technology and use the MediaFLO media distribution system for content aggregation, delivery and viewing. The network could support 50-100 national and local content channels, including up to 15 live streaming channels and numerous clip-cast and audio channels using QVGA video at up to 30 frames per second.

The mediacast network, which would be operated by QUALCOMM's new subsidiary called MediaFLO, would provide interactive multimedia services to consumers in cooperation with U.S. CDMA2000 and WCDMA (UMTS) operators. MediaFLO will aggregate and distribute the content that is available to all MediaFLO partners and will provide integration of this content with unique content that individual operators provide to maintain their competitive differentiation. MediaFLO would enable the carriers to deliver mobile interactive multimedia to their wireless subscribers without the cost of network deployment and operation.

MediaFLO said its service would also benefit TV stations and networks, cable TV and satellite operators and networks, and other content providers by offering a major new distribution channel that complements their current offerings.

QUALCOMM expects to invest $800 million in MediaFLO over the next four or five years. The company said it plans to eventually spin-off MediaFLO to its shareholders.
  • QUALCOMM's FLO multicast technology transmits packets using OFDM. It is complementary to existing cellular networks because interactive services are supported within the mobile device using the CDMA2000 1X, 1xEV-DO or WCDMA cellular link. QUALCOMM said FLO is intended as an alternative to other multimedia multicasting technologies, such as DVB-H. The company believes its FLO technology will prove advantageous where low battery power consumption is critical.

  • QUALCOMM said that by deploying high-power transmitters on tall towers provides superior coverage with 30 to 50 times fewer towers than cellular and higher frequency-based systems.

  • QUALCOMM acquired the majority of its 700 MHz spectrum (UHF channel 55) spectrum in the June 2003 FCC Auction No. 49.

BT Offers Wireless Broadband for £1 a month

BT will begin offering access to its Openzone public wireless broadband hotspots for just £1 a month to its business and consumer broadband customers. The introductory offer applies for the first three months, after which customers can continue to use the service for a further 12 months at just £5 for up to 500 minutes.
  • BT Openzone currently provides access to 7,000 hotspot locations across the UK including hotels, airports, railway stations and coffee houses. The figure includes hotspots owned by BT Openzone and The Cloud.

Marconi's COO to Step Down

Marconi's Chief Operating Officer (COO), Mike Donovan, will be leaving the business at the end of December 2004 and has resigned from the company's board. Donovan has had responsibility for the Marconi's North American businesses and has been based in the United States since 1998, where he played a key role in the operational restructuring and turn-around of the company.

Chris Rust Named General Partner at U.S. Venture Partners

Chris Rust, who co-founded Mahi Networks and most recently served as its CEO, has been named a general partner at U.S. Venture Partners. Rust joins USVP as a Managing Member of USVP Management Company LLC and of Presidio Management Group IX, LLC, the General Partner of USVP IX, a new $600 million fund closing this week. He will specialize in early-stage investments in semiconductor, software, systems and subsystems start-ups targeting consumer and networking applications.

Passave Expands its EPON Efforts to Japan

Passave, a start-up offering EPON silicon solutions opened an office in Japan. Passave's said its early ties with major networking OEMs and carriers in Japan have helped drive the company's growth, leading to shipments of more than one million ports to date. With second-generation EPON silicon currently deployed in Japan, Passave's chips are compliant with the recently ratified IEEE 802.3ah standard for Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM).

Optical Solutions Hires ex-LightPointe Exec

Optical Solutions named John Griffin as its new executive vice president of marketing. Most recently, Griffin was the CEO of California-based LightPointe. Prior to joining LightPointe, Griffin held several key senior management positions at ADC Telecommunications. He served as general manager and president of the Broadband Wireless Group, which focused on MMDS and broadcast transmission products. He also headed up the Loop Transport Division.

Proxim Offers Wireless Access System Supporting WiMax

Proxim introduced a new addition to its family of Tsunami point-to-multipoint Broadband Wireless Access Systems (BWA) designed for migration to WiMAX Forum Certified status in the future.

The new product features a ruggedized enclosure with active heating and cooling technology for outdoor deployment in extreme weather conditions. It supports three 5GHz bands -- 5.25, 5.47 and 5.725 -- with a total of 20 non-overlapping channels. The system's performance scales from 6 to 36 Mbps, all selectable via intuitive user interfaces. Proxim said its Tsunami BWA Software enables WiMAX applications today with unique features for public safety, security and surveillance, last mile access and metro networking applications.http:://

TANDBERG Debuts 'Personal' Video Products

TANDBERG introduced three personal video communication products that are SIP-ready. The suite includes a personal unit featuring an 8.4-inch high-resolution screen with optional handset and headset, a 17-inch widescreen system designed to replace the traditional computer monitor, and a mobile system for small meeting rooms and offices.

The 8.4-inch screen TANDBERG 150 is an IP endpoint supporting voice or video calls at up to 512 kbps. The system allows face-to-face communication and viewing of presentations and provides a cost-effective desktop video solution for the entire organization.

The 17-inch TANDBERG 1500 MXP provides 2 Mbps video calls as well as CD-quality stereo audio. Users can share documents and connect to multiple sites. The 1500 also is wireless capable.

The TANDBERG 2000 MXP features a 23-inch video screen. Both the 1500 MXP and 2000 MXP will support multi-protocol environments that include H.323, SIP and SCCP.

Peregrine Receives $17.6 Million for RF CMOS Chips

Peregrine Semiconductor closed an oversubscribed $17.6 million round of Series C financing for its RF CMOS and mixed-signal communications ICs. The company's chips are used in cellular handsets and base stations, HDTV, TV tuners and set-top boxes, satellites and military electronics. Peregrine's proprietary UltraCMOS process technology, which competes with GaAs and SiGe, is a variation of Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) process that uses a rugged sapphire substrate. The company said its technology delivers better linearity and better isolation in a smaller package, enabling higher performance. The new financing led by Ridgewood Capital and Palisades Ventures. The company's existing investors, Morgenthaler Ventures, Technology Venture Partners, Australasian Media and Communications Fund, NewLight Ventures and Wasserstein Ventures, also participated in this investment round.

Flextronics Closes Purchase of Certain Nortel Optical Assets

Flextronics completed its acquisition of certain optical design operations and related assets in Ottawa, Ontario and Monkstown, Northern Ireland from Nortel Networks. The deal, which is part of a larger transaction planned by the companies, was first announced in June.

As previously announced, the balance of the divestiture, whereby Nortel Networks will sell to Flextronics certain manufacturing operations and related assets, is anticipated to close in the first half of 2005,http://www.flextronics.com

Verizon Increases its Service Bundling Options

Verizon customers in the Northeast have a new option to bundle their Verizon Online DSL Internet Service and DIRECTV entertainment service, or link their home and Verizon Wireless bills. Like the original Freedom calling plans, Verizon Freedom Unlimited includes unlimited direct-dialed local, regional toll and domestic long- distance calling, and the most popular calling features at a price that is $5 less than the original Verizon Freedom plan. The addition of Verizon Online DSL, dial-up Internet access (billed on the Verizon bill), DIRECTV services purchased through Verizon, or for customers who choose the ONE- BILL option to include their Verizon Wireless billing on their regular Verizon bill, there is a $5 discount off the local calling portion of the package.

Vitesse Introduces Gigabit Ethernet Switch System-on-a-Chip

Vitesse Semiconductor introduced a cost-optimized 10/100/1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet) Layer 2 system-on-a-chip targeted at Small Office Home Office (SOHO), Small-Medium Business (SMB) desktop switches, and consumer wireless and DSL broadband router applications. Vitesse said the low-power characteristics of its design (less than 600 mW per port) represents a 40% advantage over competing multi-chip solutions. In addition, the design integrates copper PHY technology that eliminates the need for any additional external PHYs, oscillator circuits, or line terminations. Vitesse is introducing 5-port and 8-port versions of the chip.

Volo Chooses Netrake's Session Controller

Volo Communications, Inc. a nationwide wholesale provider of voice and data services, has selected Netrake's nCite session controller to secure its network. Netrake said its session controller delivers the following functionality for Volo Communications: support of multiple signaling protocols and the inter-working between them (SIP, H.323), security (FW/NAT), scalability, QoS services, and 99.999% reliability. Netrake also provides Hosted Firewall/NAT Traversal and User Mobility services all on the same platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.

NEC Selects AudioCodes Mediant 2000 CPE Media Gateway

NEC has selected AudioCodes' Mediant 2000 Media Gateways to offer carriers and service providers VoIP building blocks for next generation networks. NEC has integrated its softswitch with AudioCodes Mediant digital media gateway for wireline applications to deliver VoIP solutions for carrier and service providers. The Mediant 2000 connects to the PBX at the customer's site allowing carriers and service providers to offer hosted services and IPCentrex services and applications.

Tata's VSNL to Acquire Tyco's Global Network of Submarine Telecom Cables

Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL), India's leading international telecom carrier, agreed to acquire Tyco Global Network for US$130 million. The acquisition, which remains subject to government approval in the United States, India and other countries, would give VSNL control over a network that spans 60,000 kilometers (37,280 miles) and three continents.

VSNL is part of the $14 billion Tata Group, which recently listed Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The TCS listing was the largest initial public offering by a private sector corporate in Indian history. VSNL said it intends to leverage the IT strengths of the Tata Group in providing services to large enterprises across the world. http://www.vsnl.com
  • In September, VSNL America, a local affiliate of India's Tata managed Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited, was granted an International Common Carrier 214 License from the FCC to own and manage a U.S. network. The company plans to serve U.S. multinational corporations looking to penetrate key emerging markets such as India.

  • In October 2003, Reliance Group, India's largest business house with total revenues of US$16.8 billion, agreed to acquire FLAG Telecom Group for $207 million, representing a premium of more than 50% over the closing price of FLAG's shares on 15-Oct-03. Reliance Infocomm is one India's largest mobile service providers and operates a national, high-capacity network.

Data Connection and MetaSwitch Report Financial Growth

Data Connection, a privately-held supplier of telecom software and equipment to OEM and service provider customers, released financial results for the 12 months to August 31, 2004. Both revenues and profits were up, to $52M and $15M respectively, representing the 23rd consecutive year of growth in both key measures of commercial success.

Data Connection reported strong revenues from all its business units. MetaSwitch, its next generation softswitch division, saw the fastest growth, with revenues up over 250% compared to the
previous year. The division now has over 70 deployments with incumbent and competitive telephone operators, primarily in North America.

Data Connection's Internet Applications Group, which provides unified messaging, web conferencing and directory solutions, saw strength in service provider, OEM and government markets. Highlights included the introduction of version 3.0 of its MeetingServer product and the introduction of MailNGen, a fully packaged unified messaging solution for service providers.

Data Connection's Network Protocols Group, which supplies VoIP, MPLS, ATM and IP routing software, made key product introductions during the year, including Routing Information Protocol, Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) and Internet Group Membership Protocol (IGMP) for multicast-enabled routers and switches. Strategic partnerships announced during the year include Agere Systems, Interpeak, Silicon & Software Systems, Seabridge and Personeta.

The company's Enterprise Connectivity Group also recorded increased revenues, derived from a combination of long-term strategic OEM relationships including Cisco, HP, IBM, and Microsoft, and
product sales to blue-chip enterprises such as Citibank and Banco Santander.
  • Data Connection has unique ownership structure, in which 100% of the company's shares are held by an Employee Benefit Trust.

Wind River Releases its Latest VxWorks Environment

Wind River Systems introduced the next generation of three Wind River Market Specific Platforms (MSPs) to support the device software development process. Wind River's new middleware provides a number of capabilities, including an IPv4/IPv6 stack with IPv6 routing support an IPSec/IKE update, Radius, Firewall, 802.1x capabilities; XML/Soap, SNMP and web server updates; and transparent multiprocessor messaging between VxWorks and Linux.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Verizon Wireless Pays $930M for Nextwave Spectrum in NYC

Verizon Wireless paid $930 million for the purchase of the spectrum license for the New York metropolitan area auctioned by NextWave Telecom Inc. on July 8.

The 10 MHz license is in the 1.9 GHz PCS frequency range and covers a population of 20.1 million people for the New York, New York Basic Trading Area ("BTA"). The BTA covers New York City and northern and central New Jersey, as well as Westchester and Rockland counties.