Thursday, October 12, 2006

NTT DoCoMo Unveils 3G Handsets, Including Wi-Fi Models

NTT DoCoMo unveiled 14 new 3G FOMA handsets -- -the 903i series, SIMPURE series and N902iL -- offering a range of advanced functions, such as DoCoMo's "Chaku-Uta Full" full-track music-downloading service. HSDPA-capable models work with the Music Channel service, which enables music programs to be downloaded automatically during the night. Video downloading is also supported as a service. Some of the handset models are also equipped for DoCoMo's "One-segment" digital terrestrial broadcasting.

Other advanced capabilities available on some of models include:

  • DoCoMo's "DCMX" mobile credit card, enabling the phone to function as an e-wallet, timecard and personal identification card for accessing restricted areas.

  • "Keitai-Osagashi Service", a GPS service that enables a misplaced handset to be located with a PC.

  • The ability to create and send highly decorative "Deco-mail" Pictogram messages containing high-resolution icons that come preinstalled in the phones or are available separately via download.

  • "PushTalk" walkie-talkie communication

  • Compatibility with DoCoMo's WORLD WING international roaming service.

  • A dual-network model that can switch automatically between the FOMA network and wireless LANs. Targeted at corporate users, the model offers communication speeds of up to 54Mbps (IEEE802.11g standard), and increased voice quality and more users being able to make voice calls at the same time (IEEE802.11e) on WLANs.

  • Security features include biometric authentication (user's face) and compatibility with DoCoMo's "Omakase Lock" remote locking service, as well as the Data Security Service for backing up phonebooks and other important data on a network server.

The 14 new handsets are part of DoCoMo's plan to unveil a total of more than 20 handsets, including new models in the 703i Series, by the end of March 2007.

NTT DoCoMo and HP Develop Middleware Tying Mobile Networks to Sensors

NTT DoCoMo and HP are jointly developing a new application platform to interconnect cellular telephone systems and sensor networks. The companies are working on a middleware platform that enables interactive communication between those networks and mobile phones.

Software using this middleware is installed on both the sensor networks and the mobile phones, enabling the phones to access the sensor networks directly, across a variety of transmission methods. The phones can then be used to pull data, or even control devices connected to it. The middleware also makes it possible to develop applications and devices compatible with any sensor network, regardless of the type of transmission method it employs.

The companies said their work might be useful for a wide range of services, enabling seamless connections between mobile phones and crime-prevention equipment, home appliances, IC tag readers, and other devices.


BT Implements "Spam buster" system

BT has deployed an automated "spam buster" system to track down and tackle professional spammers and botnet-infected customers on the BT broadband network.

The "Content Forensics" system supplied by StreamShield Networks scans millions of e-mails a day, providing detailed reports on the location and size of spam-related problems originating from the BT network. This enables the operator to take action, such as terminating rogue accounts and adding offending IP addresses to industry-wide blacklists.

Tzero Raises Funding for UWB Wireless Video Silicon

Tzero Technologies, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, announced that Miven Venture Partners has made a strategic investment in the company to support its ultra wideband (UWB) wireless technology.

The investment, which is an extension of the Tzero's Series B private equity funding round, is the ninth strategic investment by Miven, and will be used to expand business opportunities and bring new products to market. The company also announced that Victor Tsao, the founding general partner of Miven Venture Partners, Linksys co-founder and senior vice president of Cisco Systems, will act as an advisor to the company. Miven Venture Partners joins existing investors in Tzero including August Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, OVP, USVP and VentureTech Alliance.
  • In June 2006, Tzero Technologies announced that it has raised $25.5 million in Series B private equity funding. The investment was led by first-time investor OVP Venture Partners, which was joined by Quilvest and all of Tzero's current investors, including August Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, U.S. Venture Partners, and VentureTech Alliance, the investment management arm of TSMC.

Memotec Licenses SPIRIT's Voice Software

Memotec, the leading supplier of voice optimization solutions for GSM cellular operators, has licensed SPIRIT's TeamSpirit Embedded voice engine to ensure the best voice performances in its Multi-service Gateways. The SPIRIT voice software is integrated into Memotec's CX Series Multiservice Gateway, which supports from 1 up to 16 T1/E1s, 30 channels digital PCM voice trunk per module, and 1 up to 4 modules per chassis, as well as various types of data and voice interfaces and protocols. It also provides GSM Abis and RAN optimization, cellular traffic aggregation, interface and protocol adaptation, switching and routing functions.

TECORE Acquires AirNet to form Wireless Systems Provider

AirNet Communications, a supplier of IP-based wireless base stations, emerged from Chapter 11 proceedings and was acquired by TECORE Wireless Systems.

"TECORE's network expertise coupled with AirNet's advanced radio technologies make this combination stronger than just the sum of the parts," said Jay Salkini, President and CEO of TECORE. "We are now not only a full-line supplier, but AirNet's latest IP-based product offerings strategically coordinated with TECORE's SoftMSC provide the most advanced network architectures available."http://www.airnetcom.com

Turkcell's Subscriber Base Reaches 30.8 Million

Turkcell, the leading mobile carrier in Turkey, reached 30.8 million subscribers as of September 30, 2006. This corresponds to an increase of 3.3% from 29.8 million as of June 30, 2006 and an increase of 15.3% from 26.7 million as of September 30, 2005. Turkcell's subscriber base consists of 5.7 million postpaid and 25.1 million prepaid subscribers.

Turkcell added approximately 1.0 million net new subscribers in the third quarter of 2006. New gross subscribers acquired in the third quarter of 2006 consisted of 91% prepaid and 9% postpaid subscribers.

In the third quarter of 2006, Turkcell's churn rate increased to 4.1%, compared to 3.6% in the second quarter of 2006, mainly due to overall high market growth in the previous quarters and competition. The company said it expects to lower quarterly churn rate for the fourth quarter of 2006 as a result of its segmented retention and loyalty programs as well as proactive churn prevention activities.

FCC Acts on QUALCOMM's MediaFLO Petition for 700 MHz Spectrum

The FCC granted in part and denied in part a Petition for Declaratory Ruling (Petition) filed by QUALCOMM regarding the requirements for interference protection in the 700 MHz band. The company lower 700 MHz Band licenses that together cover the entire United States and has announced plans to deploy, through its wholly-owned MediaFLO subsidiary, a nationwide multimedia network delivering video, audio, and data content to mobile phones. MediaFLO is designed to use Qualcomm's 700 MHz spectrum license for downlink (base station to mobile) communications and existing mobile telephone networks for uplink (mobile to base station) communications. Because Qualcomm's licenses cover TV/DTV Channel 55 of the 700 MHz Band, the company must protect broadcasters on Channels 54, 55 and 56 from interference using the criteria set forth in the FCC's rules.

The FCC acted on Qualcomm's petition seeking relief from certain provisions of these interference protection rules.

The FCC declined Qualcomm's request to declare that predicted interference to not more than two percent of the population served by a TV/DTV station is de minimis and therefore acceptable. However, the FCC granted Qualcomm a limited waiver using a measured approach where the allowable predicted interference to a TV/DTV station's service caused by the MediaFLO system will increase incrementally each year from the release of today's Order until the end of the DTV transition in February 2009.

QUALCOMM cheered the ruling saying it greatly expands the number of markets in which MediaFLO USA can operate prior to the DTV transition date.


AT&T/BellSouth Offer Concessions, FCC Postpones Decision to Nov 3

The FCC once again postponed a vote on the AT&T + BellSouth merger, as two of the commissioners sought additional time to consider the decision. FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, both Democrats, argued that serious questions remain as to whether the merger is in the public interest. They requested that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin remove the proceeding from the "Sunshine" process of open meetings, enabling the Commission to negotiate privately with the applicants and to solicit further public comment on a set of concessions offered by the companies. A new FCC meeting has been scheduled for November 3 to consider the issue.

In a press statement, AT&T said: "We firmly believe, as do three foreign countries, 18 state commissions and the Department of Justice -- every regulatory or legal entity that had an obligation to examine the benefits of this merger -- that no conditions on this merger are necessary for this combination to be a public benefit.

However, we are open to discussing with the Democratic FCC Commissioners reasonable conditions on the merger in order to obtain unanimous approval, so long as they do not affect our ability to deliver merger benefits to customers and shareowners, given the intensely competitive environment in which we operate."

In a separate statement filed with the FCC, the companies outlined a set of concessions that they abide by if the merger is approved. This list includes:

100% Broadband Coverage: By December 31 2007, AT&T/BellSouth will offer broadband (200 kbps in at least one direction) to 100% of the residential living units in its combined territory. To meet this commitment, the company will offer broadband to at least 85% of such living units using wireline technologies. The reaming units might be reached using satellite broadband or WiMAX technologies.

AT&T/BellSouth commits that for at least 30% of the incremental deployment after the merger closing date necessary to achieve the wireline buildout area commitment will be to rural areas or low income living units.

AT&T/BellSouth will provide an ADSL modem without charge (except for shipping and handling) to residential subscribers within the wireline buildout area, who during calendar year 2007, replace their AT&T/BellSouth dial-up Internet access service with AT&T/BellSouth's ADSL service and elect a term plan for their ADSL service of 12 months or greater.

AT&T/BellSouth will offer to retail consumers in the Wireline Buildout Area who have not previously subscribed to AT&T's or BellSouth's ADSL service at a speed up to 768kbps at a monthly rate of $10 per month (exclusive of taxes and regulatory fees).

Public Safety: AT&T/BellSouth will make several public safety concessions, including improving disaster response capabilities in BellSouth territory.

UNEs: AT&T/BellSouth will not seek any increase in state-approved rates for UNEs or collocations. The company will also recalculate the impairment threshold for competitors using its wire centers to exclude fiber-based collocation arrangements, entities that do not operate their own fiber but merely cross-connect, and special access lines.

Special Access: AT&T/BellSouth shall not increase the rates paid by existing customers of DS1 and DS3 local private line services.

AT&T/BellSouth shall not provide special access services to its wireline affiliates that are not available to other similarly situated special access customers on the same terms and conditions.

AT&T/BellSouth will not unreasonably discriminate in favor of its affiliates in establishing the terms and conditions for grooming special access facilities.

AT&T/BellSouth shall not increase the rates in its interstate tariffs, including contract tariffs, for special access services it provides in the AT&T/BellSouth region.

Wireless: AT&T/BellSouth shall initiate ten new trials of broadband Internet access service using 2.3 GHz or 2.5 GHz spectrum by the end of 2007. At least five of the trials will be in BellSouth territory.

Transit Service: The AT&T and BellSouth incumbent LECs will not increase the rates paid for their existing tandem transit service arrangements.

ADSL service: Within 12 months of the closing date, AT&T/BellSouth will offer in BellSouth territory ADSL service to ADSL-capable customers without requiring customers to purchase circuit-switched voice grade telephone service. AT&T/BellSouth will continue to offer this service for 30 months after the implementation date in each state.

AT&T/BellSouth will offer to ISPs, for their provision of broadband service, a wholesale ADSL transmission service that is functionally the same as the service AT&T offered within the AT&T in-region territory prior to the merger closing date.

Forbearance: AT&T/BellSouth will not seek a ruling through a forbearance petition altering the status of any facility currently offered as a loop or transport UNE.

In addition to these conditions, the companies have also discussed the other possible conditions relating to the repatriation of jobs that had been sent overseas, Internet backbone peering arrangements, network neutrality non-discrimination, and the impact of FCC forbearance decisions on any conditions that might be imposed.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

FCC Postpones Vote on AT&T + BellSouth by One Day

The FCC postponed consideration of the proposed AT&T + BellSouth merger by one day to allow last minute negotiations between FCC Commissioners. On Wednesday and Thursday a number of prominent Democratic congressmen expressed their dismay when the Department of Justice (DOJ) failed to impose any conditions on the transaction. Media speculation held that the two Democratic commissioners (Copps and Adelstein) were seeking to have Net Neutrality and consumer protection provisions included as part of any FCC approval of the merger. The issue is now expected to be considered at an FCC meeting scheduled for Friday, October 13.

Internap to Acquire VitalStream for Content Delivery Services

Internap Network Services Corporation, which provides performance-based routing over the Internet, agreed to acquire VitalStream Holdings, a provider of audio and video streaming services. The stock-for-stock transaction is valued at an aggregate purchase price of approximately $217 million.

Internap said the acquisition would enhance its ability to access the high-growth streaming media and on-line advertising segments. The combination of VitalStream's content delivery services, content management tools and particular expertise in Adobe (formerly Macromedia) Flash technology, with Internap's high performance route management network, will enable the new organization to address the needs of enterprises seeking to deliver large format media files in a streamed environment.

The combined company will have more than 450 employees and over 3,000 enterprise customers.


FCC Considers Permitting Low Power Devices in Unused TV Spectrum

The FCC took its first important steps toward allowing new low power devices to operate in the broadcast television spectrum at locations where channels in that spectrum are not in use by television stations or other authorized services.

In its First Report and Order, the Commission concluded that fixed low power devices can be allowed to operate on TV channels in areas where those frequencies are not being used for TV or other incumbent licensed services. The Commission declined to permit operation on TV channel 37 that is used by radio astronomy and wireless medical telemetry services; and on TV channels 52-69, which have been reallocated for public safety and other mobile services. It also declined to permit the operation of personal/portable devices on TV channels 14-20, which are used by public safety service in 13 cities, leaving for further consideration the issue of whether fixed devices might be used in that band.

Marketing of such devices may commence on February 18, 2009, after the digital television (DTV) transition is complete and all TV stations are in operation on their permanent DTV channels.

In the Further Notice, the Commission invited further comment on a number of issues that were raised in response to the Notice of Proposed Rule Making. It solicited additional information that is needed to determine whether personal/portable devices can operate in any of the TV channels without causing harmful interference. It also invited comment to explore whether low power devices should be permitted on TV channels 2-4, which are used by TV interface devices such as VCRs, and whether fixed low power devices can be permitted on TV channels 14-20.

Intel Ships WiMAX Chip Supporting Mobile and Fixed Implementations

Intel announced the availability of its WiMAX Connection 2250, next-generation system-on-chip -- its first designed to support mobile networks in addition to fixed networks. The device is optimized for WiMAX modems.

Intel said its WiMAX Connection 2250 is the industry's first dual-mode baseband chip, and when paired with Intel's discrete tri-band WiMAX radio, the solution is capable of supporting all global WiMAX frequencies. Compliance with both the IEEE 802.16-2004 fixed standard and the more advanced IEEE 802.16e-2005 specification for fixed, nomadic and mobile WiMAX functionality enables the development of customer premise equipment that can be deployed in "d" mode and upgraded to "e" mode with an over-the-air software upgrade.

Motorola intends to integrate the Intel WiMAX Connection 2250 into its CPEi 200 Series of WiMAX customer premise equipment. Motorola joins several other leading telecom manufacturers currently expected to deliver Intel WiMAX Connection 2250-based products in 2007.

Among the service providers and equipment manufacturers currently providing Intel WiMAX Connection 2250-based solutions and services are Telefónica de España and Iberbanda working with Alvarion; Pipex and Yozan working with Airspan Networks; GTS Poland working with Aperto Networks; Teledata Moçambique, Lda (Africa), Crowley Data (Poland) and Integrated Telecom Company Ltd. (ITC) (Saudi Arabia) working with Redline Communications. In addition, Motorola, Alcatel, Navini, Proxim, Siemens and SR Telecom, among others, have announced they will also incorporate the new Intel chip into their product lines.

Intel also noted that work has begun on a mobile WiMAX trial in Portland, Ore. in collaboration with Clearwire and Motorola. The trial is expected to run through 2007.

Amsterdam to Deploy Cisco's Ethernet Fibre to the Home

The City of Amsterdam has begun construction of a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network based on an open architecture and Cisco Systems' Ethernet platforms. The rollout of the network starts in the Zeeburg district of Amsterdam, followed by Oost/Watergraafsmeer and Osdorp. The network aims to connect 450,000 citizens, institutes and companies by 2010. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The CityNet project is conceived as three distinct layers, each of which will be managed by seperate parties.

  • For the infrastructure, Glasvezelnet Amsterdam (GNA) is laying the network and will remain the owner of the physical ducting, glass fibre and area supply buildings. ARCADIS is responsible for the preparations as well as the technical consultation and coordination of the network installation, as well as drafting the contracts for the service provision, management and maintenance of the network. The combination of companies BAM/VandenBerg-Draka (BD) are building the network and will be responsible for the maintenance of the network.

  • The second layer encompasses activation and utilization of the network. BBNed is leasing the glass fibres from GNA and will act as a wholeseller to other service providers.

  • The third layer is the service layer: all the service providers will be able to buy transport capacity on the open network in order to offer new services.

CityNet is based on an MPLS core network with an Ethernet Fiber-to-the-Home (E-FTTH) design using a per-service virtual local area network (VLAN) architecture. Each VLAN is terminated on a different physical port at the customer premises equipment, providing logical separation of services. This allows each end-user to have multiple subscriptions to a range of services, with each subscription invoiced separately by a specialist service provider. The Cisco E-FTTH solution includes Cisco 7600 Series Routers and the Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Switches.
  • In June 2006, the Dutch Lower Chamber adopted a new Telecommunication Law that allows municipalities to participate in optical fiber projects. Every five years municipalities are obliged to consider whether they will keep their share in a local fiber network.

  • GNA BV (GNA Ltd)is owned by private investors ING Real Estate and Reggefiber, five housing corporations and the City of Amsterdam. The municipality does not subsidize but invests euro 6 million on exactly the same terms as the other owners of GNA. The passive network will be let to operator BBned, which will sell capacity to corporations that provide services to end users. The network is open, which means that all service providers can make use of it on equal terms.

  • BBned's largest investor is Telecom Italia.

Bluetooth TransSend Capability Enables Web to Mobile Updates

The Bluetooth SIG introduced its free, TransSend client/server application that allows Internet content such as maps, addresses, phone numbers and other text and images to be wirelessly transferred from a Bluetooth enabled PC to another mobile Bluetooth device such as a phone or PDA.

Users will have two simple ways to TransSend content from the Internet to their Bluetooth mobile devices: they can click on a TransSend and Bluetooth icon next to the content or they can right click on specific information and select the option within the menu to TransSend the data. With either method, the computer will automatically begin searching for Bluetooth devices within range and allow the user to select the device they wish to receive the information.

AboveNet to Provide 10G Wavelength to Brasil Telecom / GlobeNet

AboveNet Communications will provide diverse, 10G lit-wavelength connectivity to Brasil Telecom / GlobeNet to link the carrier's cable landing station in Tuckerton, NJ directly into telx's 60 Hudson Meet-Me-Room in New York City. Brasil Telecom / GlobeNet is an international carrier's carrier that operates a submarine fiber optic network linking North and South America.

FreeBe Mobile TV Launches in US

ROK Entertainment Group launched a free mobile TV service offering 13 channels of content, including live news, music and sports.

The company said its FreeBe TV is carrier agnostic and can be accessed from 21 mobile phones with WAP-enabled capabilities. The service was developed to deliver high quality video content over 2.5G GPRS and is aimed at people with "all you can eat" GPRS data packages.

Motorola to Supply Linux-Based STBs to T-Com Croatia and TEO LT

Motorola will supply its Linux-based VIP range of IP set-tops
for IPTV services to T-Com Croatia and Lithuania-based TEO LT. The VIP set-tops, with the Motorola KreaTV Application Platform software, are small, stylish devices that provide IPTV services over DSL networks. They support a range of video codecs including the MPEG-4 (H.264). Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • In February 2006, Motorola acquired Kreatel Communications, a developer of IPTV set-tops, for an undisclosed sum. Kreatel's Linux-based solution extends into the application and middleware layers, allowing it to be used with a broad set of middleware solutions. Kreatel's customer base includes such major service providers as Telefonica (Spain), TeliaSonera (Sweden), and KPN (The Netherlands).

Linksys Releases Wireless-N Gigabit Router with StorageLink

Linksys, a division of Cisco Systems, announced the availability of its first gigabit wireless-N router, delivering up to four times the range and 12 times the throughput when teamed with matching Wireless N adapters compared to standard Wireless-G routers.

The Linksys Wireless-N Gigabit Router with Storage Link features Gigabit switch ports, along with a Storage Link capability that enable any USB 2.0 storage device, including inexpensive external USB Hard Disk Drives, to become networked attached storage. The unit has an estimated street price of $229.99.

Linksys also noted that it has shipped more than 25 million wireless routers since the company launched its first wireless router in January 2001. When Linksys first started shipping wireless routers, it shipped about 100,000 each month. Today the company ships nearly one million wireless routers world wide on a monthly basis including Wireless-B, Wireless-G, Wireless A+G and Wireless-N Routers.

Shanghai Telecom Deploys Nortel's Metro Ethernet

Shanghai Telecom is deploying Nortel's Metro Ethernet solution to drive new business services, including next-generation network voice services, Ethernet VPN-based business continuity services and IPTV services.

Shanghai Telecom will be deploying Nortel's high-performance Metro Ethernet Routing Switch 8600 at the network core. At the network edge, Nortel's Ethernet Services Unit 1800 will provide the delivery point for Ethernet-based services.

Underpinning the Nortel Metro Ethernet Networking portfolio are new technologies - Provider Backbone Bridging (PBB) and Provider Backbone Transport (PBT).