Monday, January 23, 2006

Sigma Designs' Media Processors Now Widevine Ready

Widevine Technologies' Cypher Virtual SmartCard content protection system is now pre-integrated with Sigma Designs' EM8620L and SMP8630 series media processors. This enables telco, cable, satellite, Internet and wireless service providers to offer secure content delivery to consumer devices powered by Sigma Designs' chipsets.

Sigma Designs estimates that its EM8620L digital media processor series currently powers approximately 70% of all IPTV set top boxes, including portable video players and portable media players.

Widevine's open content protection platform offers interoperability with major middleware, VOD and consumer premises equipment; choice and options to deploy a multi-vendor environment; and the flexibility required to swap video distribution equipment while maintaining content protection. In 2005 Widevine's subscribers exceeded 1.5 million, spread over more than 90 current customers.


Ixia to Acquire Dilithium's Test Tool Product Line

Ixia agreed to purchase the mobile video and multimedia test product lines of Dilithium Networks for $5.1 million in cash.

Dilithium Networks is a privately-held leader in 3G video telephony solutions for the world's mobile and broadband industries. Dilithium's Network Analyzer (DNA) test product has an estimated 80% market share of the mobile video test market with over 100 installed units at more than 50 mobile equipment manufacturers and operators. The acquisition of this product line marks Ixia's initial entry into the 3G cellular space.

Alcatel Predicts 70 million IPTV Subscribers by 2010

Alcatel confirmed that a significant milestone - two million IPTV subscribers worldwide - was reached during 2005. The company now projects that the number of IPTV subscribers will grow to 70 million by 2010. Alcatel currently has 30 triple play projects underway around the world.

Verizon Expands FiOS TV Rollout, Announces Pricing Tiers

Verizon rolled out its FiOS TV service in the towns of Massapequa Park, New York (Long Island) and Woburn, Massachusetts. Verizon is in negotiations in more than a dozen other communities in New York and 40 communities in Massachusetts to obtain additional franchises. Verizon has also obtained video franchises in California, Florida and Virginia, as well as in Texas, where Verizon has accelerated the availability of FiOS TV as the result of a state-issued franchise.

FiOS TV subscribers can choose from three set-top boxes: standard definition for $3.95 per month; high definition, which includes HD channels, for $9.95 per month; and a dual-tuner digital video recorder and HD set-top box for $12.95 per month.

FiOS TV services include:

  • Basic, with access to 15-35 local broadcast weather and community channels for $12.95 per month. The service is digital with a set-top box, which also provides access to on-demand programming. Basic is also available as an analog service that does not require a set-top box for viewing.

  • Expanded Basic, Verizon's lead offer, delivers more than 180 video and music channels for $39.95 a month. This tier includes access to more than 1,800 on-demand titles and requires a set-top box. High-definition channels are included in this tier at no extra charge, and customers must have an HD set-top box and an HD-ready TV to view them.

  • La Conexion, an alternative to Expanded Basic service designed for bilingual consumers who enjoy TV programs in English and Spanish, for $32.95 per month. The package includes nearly 140 channels with English and Spanish-language programming and access to video on demand. This service requires a set-top box. High-definition channels are included in this tier at no extra charge, and customers must have an HD set-top box and an HD-ready TV to view them.

  • Sports -- a 15-channel sports package is available for $5.95 a month

  • Movies -- a movie package, with 44 channels of Starz, Encore, Showtime and The Movie Channel, is available for $11.95 a month. The movie package includes access to each channel's video-on-demand titles.

  • Sports and Movies both options are available for $14.95 a month.

  • World Wrestling Entertainment's WWE 24/7, -- this subscription video-on-demand service, is available for $7.95 a month.

  • Karaoke -- this subscription video-on-demand service, is available for $7.95 a month.

  • HBO and Cinemax
  • -- Verizon also offers 14 HBO channels and 12 Cinemax channels as premium services, with each set of channels available for $14.95. The price includes access to each channel's subscription video-on-demand library. Subscribers who want both HBO and Cinemax will pay $24.95 per month.

Programming choices for African-American, Asian, Russian and other multicultural and ethnic audiences will be available in every market.

Verizon Wireless Adds 2 Million Users in Q4

Verizon Wireless added a record 2.0 million net wireless customers in Q4 2005, an increase of 20.5 percent over the fourth-quarter 2004. For full-year 2005, Verizon Wireless added a net of more than 7.5 million customers, up 19.5 percent over 2004.

As of year-end 2005, Verizon Wireless served 51.3 million customers nationwide.

Further details will be reported later this week.

Agere Posts Revenue of $403 Million, Implements Business Turnaround Plan

Agere Systems posted revenue of $403 million for its first quarter of fiscal 2006, ended December 31, 2005, compared to $416 million in the September quarter and $410 million in the year-ago quarter.

For the December quarter, Agere reported a GAAP net loss of $19 million, or $0.11 per share, better than its guidance, which included a net of $39 million in restructuring charges and equity compensation expenses.

Agere said its storage revenues increase sequentially driven by strong shipments of preamplifier and system-on-a-chip solutions.

Throughout the quarter, Agere implemented broad executive changes focused on driving results and moving the business forward. In addition, the company is combining its Telecom and Enterprise and Networking divisions into a new single entity aimed at leveraging Agere's core competencies in system-level solutions.

Nortel, Qualcomm and Orange Test W-CDMA 900 MHz

Nortel, QUALCOMM and Orange successfully completed UMTS and HSDPA calls in the 900 MHz band, a spectrum capable of delivering wireless broadband such as mobile TV, video-on-demand, video telephony and DSL-like services to rural areas.

The category 6 HSDPA calls, using the 16 QAM Modulation and reaching 3.6Mbps data rate, were completed using Nortel's commercial infrastructure technologies, mobile handsets based on QUALCOMM's Mobile Station Modem MSM6280 chipset solution and Orange's 900 MHz spectrum.

The companies said W-CDMA (UMTS) in the 900 MHz band could achieve a 60 percent reduction in cell sites required to serve rural areas. It could also improve in-building penetration by 25 percent in urban areas.

Lucent Posts revenues of $2.05 billion, Down 12% YoY

Lucent Technologies reported revenues of $2.05 billion for its first quarter of fiscal 2006, a decrease of 16 percent sequentially and a decrease of 12 percent from the year-ago quarter. For the quarter, Lucent reported a net loss of $104 million, or 2 cents per share. These results compare with net income of $372 million, or 7 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005, and net income of $174 million, or 4 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

Gross margin for the first quarter of fiscal 2006 was 42 percent of revenues as compared with 46 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005 and 42 percent in the year-ago quarter.

On a sequential basis, revenues in the United States decreased 11 percent to $1.3 billion, and revenues outside the United States decreased 23 percent to $704 million. Compared with the year-ago quarter, U.S. revenues decreased by 7 percent and revenues outside the United States decreased by 20 percent.

"This quarter, despite the decline in revenue, we maintained a solid gross margin performance due to our continued focus on simplifying our operations and diligently managing our cost structure," said Lucent Technologies Chairman and CEO Patricia Russo. "Based on the review of our expectations for fiscal 2006 and ongoing interactions with our customers, we are confident that our revenue performance will be much stronger for the remainder of the year."

"As we previously stated, we now expect Lucent's annual revenues for fiscal 2006 to be essentially flat or increase on a percentage basis in the low-single digits for the year," said Lucent Technologies Chief Operating and Financial Officer Frank D'Amelio. "

Cingular Adds 1.8 million Users, Voice ARPU Declines

Cingular Wireless added a record 1.8 million net subscribers in Q4 2005, which is more than double the number reported in the third quarter of 2005, driven by its best-ever overall churn performance and record gross additions. Cingular ended 2005 with 54.1 million cellular/PCS subscribers, an increase of 5 million over 2004.

Some performance highlights for Cingular in Q4:

  • Average revenue per user (ARPU) in the fourth quarter of 2005 was $48.86, which was down 2.2 percent from pro forma ARPU in the fourth quarter of 2004. This represents an improvement over the 5.2 percent year-over-year ARPU decline in the third quarter of 2005. The company said ARPU reflects continued pressure on voice revenues as the wireless market becomes more penetrated and lower-revenue customers enter the category, though these impacts were substantially offset by continued increase in data ARPU.

  • Cingular's data ARPU was $4.71, up 63 percent over the year-ago fourth quarter and a sequential improvement of 9 percent. The company's Business Markets Group signed more than 800 high-end service contracts in the fourth quarter of 2005.

  • Retail customers accounted for approximately 840 thousand net adds for the fourth quarter of 2005, with the rest coming from resellers. Retail net adds resulted from steady growth in postpaid customers and increased growth in Cingular's popular GoPhone (R) prepaid offers.

  • Gross additions were 5.1 million, which is a sequential improvement of 750 thousand customers and less than 100 thousand on a comparable basis from pro forma gross additions in the fourth quarter of 2004*. The sequential improvement in gross adds was primarily driven by holiday buying activity of prepaid and reseller customers.

  • 95 percent of minutes were carried on Cingular's GSM network and 86 percent of the company's subscriber base was GSM-equipped. Approximately 7 percent of Cingular's customer base upgraded handsets during the fourth quarter.

  • Cingular has now converted nearly 7 million former AT&T Wireless subscribers to new Cingular plans as customers continue to respond positively to Cingular's broad network coverage and innovative products and services.

  • Cingular's revenues were $8.8 billion, an improvement of 9.4 percent over the same period a year earlier.

Wisair Raises $20 Million for UWB Silicon

Wisair, a start-up based in Tel Aviv, Israel, raised US$20 million in Series C funding for its Ultra Wideband (UWB) and Wireless USB (WUSB) chipset solutions.

Wisair recently demonstrated its Wireless USB Hub reference design and its high performance 480 Mbps operation at CES in Las Vegas. Wisair also showcased various Wireless USB implementations with 13 companies including: D-Link, Intellon, Seagate and Toshiba.

The funding round was led by funds advised by Apax Partners, with participation from existing investors Bynet, Intel Capital, RAD Group's founders, Vertex, new investor Tomen Electronics, and other strategic investors.

Sonus Adds Howard Janzen to its Board

Sonus Networks named Howard Janzen to its Board of Directors. Janzen most recently served as the president of Sprint Business Solutions. Prior to joining Sprint, Janzen was the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Williams Communications Group.

AT&T and Avaya Enter VoIP Global Strategic Alliance

AT&T and Avaya announced a global strategic alliance to help businesses and government agencies manage the migration to VoIP. The companies said that by giving customers a single point of contact for virtually every aspect of this migration, including design, implementation, operation, ongoing management and maintenance, they would accelerate global VoIP and IP telephony deployments and simplify the integration with traditional circuit-switched enterprise voice networks.

Key points of the alliance include:

  • A single source for the seamless integration of IP-based voice and data networks worldwide

  • Reduced total cost of ownership

  • Flexibility and control to deploy IP telephony when and where it makes sense

  • Around-the-clock proactive network-monitoring and fault isolation and resolution via AT&T's integrated Global Enterprise Management System

  • Direct access through the AT&T Global Client Support Center to Avaya expertise and tools for integrated service delivery across the customer's network

  • Visibility and management control over their enterprise VoIP network and IP telephony infrastructure through the AT&T Business DirectWeb portal.

The alliance formalizes the joint work both companies have been doing and expands the relationship globally, providing a consistent customer experience regardless of location. As a result, AT&T has integrated a full suite of Avaya IP telephony products, including Avaya Communication Manager, with the AT&T IP Telephony and LAN Service. Avaya IP telephony products, including the Avaya IP Office converged solution for small and medium businesses, also have been integrated into the global AT&T Solution Center Lab Network, which helps businesses quickly assess, plan, design and implement new network solutions.

"Interoperability is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses and government agencies today, as they plan their migration to VoIP and IP telephony. This alliance addresses that challenge, ensuring that regardless of where enterprises are in this migration, their traditional voice networks will interoperate with their IP-based voice network and equipment," said Eric Shepcaro, AT&T vice president of business strategy and development.


Azure Updates its Revenue-Assurance Detection and Correction Solution for Carriers

Azure Solutions released a new version of its "Certo" automated revenue-assurance solution designed to help operators analyze, detect and correct revenue-leakage problems in real time. Major new capabilities of Certo 2 include:

  • Integrated and transparent processing of both usage and subscription data

  • Improved KPI capabilities that empower customers to easily set parameters based on their needs -- represented graphically via dashboards

  • Huge scale processing (billions of CDRs per day) for IP, content,
    triple-play and convergent networks

  • Simplified user interface that speeds deployment time at less cost

Azure also announced that two new global tier-one operators, a wireline provider and a wireless carrier, have purchased Certo 2.

http://www.azuresolutions.comAzure Solutions is a spin-out from BT. The company's existing customers include tier 1 operators such as BT, KPN, Vodafone, Telenor and Verizon.

Agilent Announces Wireless QoS Management Solution

Agilent Technologies introduced a new Wireless QoS Manager (WQM) solution for measuring end-to-end service quality of wireless networks, including GSM, UMTS and CDMA.

Agilent's next-generation, end-to-end test probe can be used to characterize service behavior and quickly pinpoint service and customer problems, ensuring a high-quality customer experience.
Future enhancements will enable users to remove and relocate test probes for remote testing. Because WQM supports multiple technologies, total cost of ownership is significantly reduced.

The evolutionary WQM software platform adds support for CDMA as well as more advanced tests for GSM services. Graphical troubleshooting reports help customer service and network operations personnel isolate and identify service-related problems faster and with less expertise, saving service providers capital and operational expenses and improving their operational efficiency.

To ease interoperability with non-Agilent systems, the solution includes service tests that are compliant with ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) standards.

RADVISION Releases SIP Toolkit

RADVISION announced the immediate availability of version 4.0 of its session initiation protocol (SIP) toolkit for real-time carrier-side applications, such as softswitches, gateways, and application servers.

The RADVISION SIP Toolkit 4.0 can support millions of busy hour call attempts (BHCAs) and has been enhanced with carrier-grade features including a Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) layer and automatic translation between phone numbers and SIP addresses (ENUM).

Other significant enhancements in this new release include:

  • Connection reuse: optimizing the efficient use of network resources for SIP signaling

  • Support for new SIP addressing schemes, including TEL for telephony applications, PRES for presence applications, and IM for instant messaging applications

  • Additional security features including secured RTP (SRTP) and Multimedia Internet Keying (MIKEY)

  • Support for mobile carrier applications, including IMS mobile registration and special SIP headers and extensions

CyOptics Shows 80 Gbps Transmission over 2 km

CyOptics has demonstrated an 80Gbps data transmission for supercomputing and short-range (2 km) datacom and telecom markets. CyOptics' TOSA (Transmit Optical Subassembly) and ROSA (Receive Optical Subassembly) engines transmit and receive at 80 Gbps in each direction with a confirmed error free transmission to 1E-15. The engines were also successfully tested over a 2 km fiber path in loop-back mode.

The 80Gbps product was designed and developed in partnership with Cray, and is tied to the U.S. government's High Productivity Computing Systems (HPCS) program. The product design has the flexibility to accommodate 4X or greater bit rates, achieve a package density in excess of 10 Gbs/cm(cubed) and have a cost of only a few dollars per Gbps.

UTStarcom to Supply Optical Transport for India's RailTel

UTStarcom will supply its NetRing 600 and 2500 optical transport solutions to RailTel of India Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Indian Railways. RailTel is implementing optical, fiber-based broadband telecom long haul as well as access network with new-generation optical networking systems. Financial terms were not disclosed.

UTStarcom's NetRing product line provides aggregation, grooming, cross-connect, and transport functionality to deliver high-density, highly efficient STM-1 to STM-16, PDH (E1/DS1, E3/DS3), Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, and ATM services in SDH-based carrier networks. All systems are designed to support full redundancy, multiple protection options, and in-service upgrades.

Axerra's Pseudo-Wire Deployed in the Urals

UralSviazInform, the largest telecommunications service provider in the Ural region of Russia, has deployed Axerra Networks' Pseudo-Wire solutions. Axerra's Pseudo-Wire supports circuit emulation and service emulation, enabling voice and data aggregation from a single box and providing a full-service alternative to TDM access. AXN Pseudo-Wire platforms preserve native signaling and features across packet networks, enable bandwidth sharing, and provide the high-precision clock recovery capabilities that are especially required for reliable mobile services.

UralSviazInform is one of the seven regional telecoms that comprise SviazInvest. UralSviazInform is using Axerra's AXN Pseudo-Wire Gateways and Access Devices to consolidate and transport voice and data traffic over an IP/Ethernet network in its Chelyabinsk branch. In addition, Axerra's Pseudo-Wire solutions are an integral part of UralSviazInform's ongoing strategy to build next-generation networks in other locations throughout the Ural region of Russia.

Currently, UralSviazInform provides telephone network, mobile, and Internet data services to customers throughout the Ural region. With Axerra Networks' AXN Pseudo-Wire Gateways and Access Devices deployed in the Local Exchange and at multiple access points throughout the area, UralSviazInform will be able to deliver a range of legacy and emerging services over IP and Ethernet. UralSviazInform is also using NMS - AXNVision, Axerra's intelligent network and element management system, which simplifies the provisioning, control, and operation of Axerra's Pseudo-Wire solutions.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Tekelec Names Frank Plastina CEO

Tekelec has named Frank Plastina as its new CEO, president and a member of the board of directors, replacing Fred Lax, who resigned. For much of his career, Plastina served in senior executive and management positions at Nortel Networks. In 1997, he was appointed general manager of Nortel's DMS-10 and Signaling Solutions Group.
Between 1999 and 2001, he had profit and loss responsibility for Nortel's Wireless and Carrier business, a global organization with $7.8 billion in revenue and 20,000 employees. In 2001, he was named president of Nortel's Metro and Enterprise Networks, with $6 billion in revenue and 18,000 employees. In 2003, Plastina joined Warburg Pincus LLC, a private equity firm, as an executive in residence, evaluating potential investments and providing executive support to its portfolio companies. Later that year, he became CEO of one of those companies, Proxim Corporation, a provider of Wi-Fi and broadband wireless access products. He served in that capacity until 2005 when its assets were sold.

UTStarcom Awarded Optical Transport Contract by Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom

Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom awarded a contract to UTStarcom to supply its NetRing 10000 multiservice optical transport products. Chunghwa Telecom intends to utilize UTStarcom's NetRing solution to deliver high-density, high-speed broadband services, including voice, data, and video, to subscribers throughout Taiwan in support of its MultiMedia on Demand (MOD) service. UTStarcom's NetRing products provide aggregation, grooming, cross-connect, and transport to deliver high-density, highly efficient STM-1 to STM-64, PDH (E1, E3), Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet services in SDH-based carrier networks. All systems are designed to support full-redundancy, multiple protection options, and in-service upgrades.