Wednesday, November 15, 2006

European Commission's Viviane Reding Outlines Telecom Policy Options

"The liberalisation of telecoms markets in Europe has been a success story," said Viviane Reding,
Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, speaking at the ECTA Conference in Brussels. Europe currently has hundreds of operators offering fixed and wireless networks and services. About 94% of the population is equipped with mobile handsets and consumers spend about 30% less on their bills, for the same services, compared to 1996. Broadband, the key to a knowledge-based society, has been picking up very rapidly. The number of broadband lines in the EU grew by over 40% from July 2005 to July 2006 and has now exceeded almost 70 million lines.

She also said the EU legislative environment, by its pro-competitive stance, is encouraging innovation and stimulating investment by both new entrants and incumbent operators.

Reding argued that EU member that have fully implemented the EU's regulatory framework for electronic communications have fared the best. She believes the EU should stick with a market-based approach to ex-ante regulation and technological neutrality. She wants European regulators to pursue three new objectives:

  • More flexible and efficient use of spectrum. Some ideas include make more spectrum available on a pan-European basis; strengthening the use of the principles of technological neutrality and service neutrality in spectrum allocation; introducing spectrum trading across the EU in selected bands agreed at EU level; and achieving common authorisations for services having a pan-European dimension.

    Instead of having one single regime for spectrum management and spectrum licensing, as in the US, Europe has at least 25 different systems. Redding advocates the idea of a European spectrum agency or the integration of spectrum into the mandate of a possible future EU telecom authority.

  • Less - but more focused and more efficient -- regulation. The EU needs greater consistency and effectiveness in the application of remedies to repair the fragmentation of its internal market. One possible option is to extend the internal market-control that is already exercised today by the Commission with regard to market analyses also to the remedies.

  • Promote competition and investment in the markets, and in particular in trans-national markets and for cross-border services. Reding concludes that that the most significant factor enabling broadband growth is the existence of alternative infrastructures, in particular cable. In all six Member States which have exceeded 20% broadband penetration, cable has an important market share and this regardless of the effectiveness of regulation. She also dismissed the idea of "regulatory holidays" being promoted by certain incumbent telecom operators as a means of encouraging them to make "risky" investments in infrastructure.

TeliaSonera Acquires Cygate for Enterprise Services Role

TeliaSonera has acquired Cygate, a leading supplier of secure and managed IP network solutions as well as system integration in the Nordic market, for a cash consideration of SEK 567 million on a cash and debt free basis.

Cygate provides solutions within networking, security, IP telephony and services within support, maintenance and IT management.

BT Bids for PlusNet and its 200K Broadband Subscribers

BT has made a cash offer of approximately £67m to PlusNet, an ISP serving close to 200,000 broadband customers as well as an additional narrowband customer base in the UK. If the offer is accepted, PlusNet will retain its brand and distinct identity. It will continue to operate from its base in Sheffield and Lee Strafford will remain its CEO.

QUALCOMM Acquires nPhase for Machine-to-Machine Solutions

QUALCOMM has acquired Chicago-based nPhase, a provider of machine-to-machine solutions that allow enterprises to manage and monitor widely dispersed, fixed machine assets, for an undisclosed sum.

Machine-to-machine solutions allow enterprises to manage and monitor business-critical machine assets within two categories: fixed machine assets, such as cellular towers, gas pipelines and assembly line robotics; and mobile assets, such as truck fleets, heavy equipment and transportation.

nPhase specializes in fixed-asset machine-to-machine technology. QUALCOMM serves the mobile machine-to-machine market.

Verizon Signs Rainbow Media for FiOS TV

Verizon reached a multiyear agreement with Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems, that will make Rainbow's popular sports and entertainment programming available for the first time to Verizon FiOS TV subscribers.

The agreement includes distribution rights for MSG Network, FSN New York, FSN New England and for FSN New England's high-definition programming. Verizon will also carry Rainbow's national networks -- AMC, WE tv, IFC and fuse, along with its original on-demand networks, Mag Rack and sportskool.

Marvell Posts Revenue of $520.4 million, down 9% Sequentially

Marvell Technology Group reported net revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2007 was $520.4 million, an increase of 22% over net revenue of $426.0 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2006 and a 9% sequential decrease from net revenue of $574.0 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2007.

All results reported are preliminary because Marvell is in the midst of a previously announced internal review by a special committee of its Board of Directors relating to the company's historical stock option practices and related accounting matters.

"Although we are disappointed with our sequential decline in revenue this last quarter, we remain excited about our continued strong positioning for growth as we expand our presence into many new large volume markets," stated Dr. Sehat Sutardja, Marvell's President and CEO.

The 3 Group Opens its Mobile Network to Skype, Sling Media, Yahoo!, MSN, Google…

The 3 Group, which holds 3G licences in 11 markets with total population coverage of approximately 175 million, unveiled a series a high partnerships aimed at defining the next wave of mobile services. The centerpiece is 3's new "X-Series" combines services by the leading Internet companies, smart handsets from the world's leading mobile manufacturers and premium customer service. Key partners include Skype, Sling Media, Yahoo!, Nokia, Google, eBay, Microsoft, Orb and Sony Ericsson.

Significantly, 3 is seeking to lay the foundations for the mobile broadband charging models of the future. The company plans to pursue a flat rate pricing model for access to the network, and then let users choose which applications to run over the broadband wireless pipe. 3 believes customers in the future will be attracted by greater and greater choice, and higher and higher usage levels, for fair and transparent access fees. Unlike other mobile operators, 3 is encouraging other communication services, like Skype, Yahoo! Instant messenger and others.

The X-Series from 3 will be priced like fixed line broadband. It will offer use of mobile internet services free at the time of use, for a flat fee. The X-Series from 3 will be available in the UK from the 1st December 2006 and in 3's other markets around the world in early 2007.

Customers will be able to make unlimited calls from their mobile using Skype, access their home PC remotely using Orb and have access to the best of internet and messaging services from Yahoo!, Windows Live Messenger and Google. The company will impose "fair use" limits on high bandwidth services.

3G is partnering with Sling Media to give customers access to their home TV channels on their mobile handsets.

SlingPlayer Mobile delivers the home TV experience on mobile handsets using standard 3G network connections. Any programme that can be watched at home will be viewable through a Slingbox and compatible SlingPlayer Mobile software pre-installed on two new handsets, the Nokia N73 and the Sony Ericsson W950i including support for terrestrial TV, Freeview, cable, and satellite TV. In addition SlingPlayer Mobile lets customers control their TV recorder at home to watch recorded shows, pause and rewind live TV or even queue a recording when away from home using the handset.

The SlingPlayer Mobile service will be exclusive to 3 customers who purchase both an X-Series handset and a Slingbox. The X-Series from 3 will be available in the UK from the 1st December 2006 and in 3's other markets around the world in early 2007.

Meriton Announces Deployments by Internet2, SEEREN2

Internet2 has deployed Meriton Networks' Agile Optical Networking platforms to add capacity and additional flexibility to enable the best connectivity to its nationwide infrastructure. The new link to the Internet2 network provides strategic connectivity between Internet2's head office in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Level3 Communications Point of Presence in Chicago and the StarLight international exchange point site in Chicago. The deployment uses the Meriton 7200 OSP (Optical Switching Platform).

Separately, SEEREN2, the South-East European Research and Education Network, is deploying the Meriton 3300 OSM (Optical Services Multiplexer) to add capacity to its network infrastructure. SEEREN2 is led by GRNET, the Greek national research and education network and involves the research and education networks of nine different countries including Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, FYR of Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece, Hungary, Romania, and Serbia. SEEREN2 will integrate with the GEANT2 pan-European multi-gigabit network. SEEREN2 is using the Meriton 3300 OSM platform's CWDM in phase one and considering DWDM an option for future phases.

Ditech Networks Posts Revenue of $21.1 Million

Ditech Networks reported quarterly revenue of $21.1 million, an increase of $10.6 million, or 101%, from revenues of $10.5 million in the same quarter of the prior fiscal year and down $0.5 million, or 2%, from revenues of $21.6 million in the preceding quarter. International revenues were $7.2 million, an increase of $5.2 million from $2.0 million in the same quarter of the prior fiscal year and up $0.5 million from revenues of $6.7 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2007.

GAAP net income for the quarter was $1.1 million, an increase compared to the GAAP net loss of $1.4 million in the same quarter of the prior fiscal year and a decrease compared to the GAAP net income of $1.5 million in the first preceding quarter.

"We made progress in the quarter, demonstrating that Ditech's voice solutions make a difference to prospective customers we are targeting," said Tim Montgomery, president and CEO of Ditech Networks. "However, we are disappointed in missing our revenue projection. We fell short due to delays in a few significant transactions."

KDDI Deploys Digital Fountain's DF Raptor Technology

KDDI has deployed Digital Fountain's DF Raptor technology to deliver its new independent broadcast network for the company's "au"-branded mobile phones. The DF Raptor software is now deployed in all new KDDI "au"-branded handsets that support the "EZChannel Plus" and "EZNews Flash" services.

DF Raptor is an erasure correction code that mathematically recovers missing or lost data without requiring retransmission from the sender. DF Raptor increases file transmission efficiency even in extreme network conditions, enabling the delivery of more content over a broader geographic range while consuming less bandwidth.
  • Digital Fountain's patented DF Raptor technology has been made part of the global standard to support content delivery services over DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld) wireless networks.

  • The adoption of DF Raptor technology for DVB-H follows its standardization in 2005 as part of the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service) specification for GSM-based 3G cellular networks. Because the DF Raptor FEC provides exceptional packet loss protection but can be readily supported by general-purpose processors, the technology is ideally suited for the delivery of multimedia content to mobile wireless devices.

Avaya Acquires Traverse Networks for Enterprise Mobility Software

Avaya has acquired Traverse Networks, a privately held developer of enterprise mobility solutions for unified communications, for an undisclosed sum. Traverse, which is based in Fremont, California, offers software that enables users to see and hear office voice mail through an email- like inbox on their mobile devices, providing streamlined access to messages and fast ways to respond. The inbox displays office voice mail messages with information about whom the message is from, when it was sent, and message duration. Users can select one or more messages, press play, and listen to them in any order.

Traverse supports a broad range of devices, including RIM Blackberry and Palm handhelds and J2ME-enabled mobile phones.

Avaya said it expects to release solutions integrating Traverse technology into its Unified Communications portfolio in the second half of 2007.

"Effective communication for mobile workers is essential in delivering world class service and achieving competitive advantage," said Eileen Rudden, vice president and general manager, Unified Communications Division, Avaya.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

LongBoard and France Telecom Develop IMS Roaming Solution

LongBoard announced a partnership with France Telecom to jointly develop and deliver an IMS-compliant multimedia roaming solution.
The multimedia roaming solution, which is expected to be commercially available in early 2007, enables service providers to deliver seamless multimedia services with high-speed handover and service assurance across multiple access networks including GSM, GPRS, CDMA, UMTS, Wi-Fi, and WiMax.

This jointly developed multimedia roaming solution will be marketed by LongBoard to its customers.

LongBoard said the multimedia roaming solution will deliver network-based policy and enforcement capabilities that ensure quality user experiences for multimedia services. It enables carriers to ensure that mobile users are always connected to the optimal fixed or mobile network available. It will also adapt streaming multimedia services in real-time as users move across networks. For example, it automatically adapts a streaming video to a higher quality stream as mobile users move from a cellular network to a Wi-Fi network.

TI Extends PIQUA Software to Carrier Gateways

Texas Instruments has extended its "PIQUA" IP quality management software with its first implementation in media gateways for carrier networks, enabling service providers and carriers to deliver an advanced level of quality to IP-based services.

TI's PIQUA system is based on the company's digital signal processor (DSP) technology and embedded software solutions that provide a real-time distributed system of quality management elements that monitor and improve the quality of IP-based services, such as voice, data and video. PIQUA can collect data from a variety of endpoints, including user devices, IP set-top boxes and residential and media gateways. These endpoints use DSPs to execute software, which encode voice and perform the signal processing required to facilitate the transmission of voice between various networks.

The PIQUA technology uses RTCP-XR and TI-developed extensions to measure VoIP performance, with plans to incorporate RTCP-HR and RTCP-Video for future IP applications. These standards allow the delivery of quality metrics to a network management and quality assurance system. The PIQUA system extends the parameters available in these reports with custom features such as its Echo Quality Index, providing enhanced statistics and diagnostic capabilities. Together these features allow for the real-time response to service degradation while providing the carrier or service provider with extensive metrics that accurately convey the user experience.

TI said that with PIQUA elements embedded in equipment at both the customer premise and the network, consumers using IP-based services - such as VoIP, Video over IP, IPTV and Internet-based music - will realize exceptional quality and performance.

"By embedding TI's PIQUA elements in the network, service providers can focus on meaningfully identifying potential problems and flagging and repairing degraded service, ensuring they deliver the best IP services and applications that their subscribers expect and demand," said John Warner, strategic marketing manager for TI's Communications Infrastructure group.

With TI's PIQUA-embedded elements represented in more endpoints throughout the network and CPE devices, better quality can be delivered with additional information available for monitoring and analysis. Endpoints with TI's PIQUA elements also provide a valuable resource for managing today's complex IP networks.

Captures Packet Intelligence at the Traffic Source
TI's chips are widely deployed at the edge of IP networks, its new
announced PIQUA technology offers the potential to collect vast amounts
of packet data at the source. PIQUA could be used to knit together a
quality of service (QoS) management fabric that addresses all of the
discovery, configuration, monitoring and repair tasks in the diverse and
widely dispersed elements of IP networks.

TeliaSonera Restructures into Four Groups

TeliaSonera will restructure its operations into four business areas: Mobility Services, Broadband Services, Integrated Enterprise Services and Eurasia. The company said its new focus is aimed at stimulating growth through clear responsibilities. Services will be developed closer to customers, competence across borders and units will be utilized more effectively and migration to new services will be speeded-up.

The total net sales for TeliaSonera combining all business areas and including eliminations add up to approximately SEK 90 billion.

mPhase Adds Gaming to its IPTV Middleware

mPhase Technologies formed an alliance with Sweden's Accedo to offer games with the mPhase TV+ System middleware offer. The companies will market the game packages to broadband operators as a pre-configured solution for interactive IPTV services.


PCTEL Awarded a Wireless Roaming Patent

PCTEL was awarded a U.S. patent entitled "Systems and Methods for Seamless Roaming Between Wireless Networks". The patent is briefly described as a technique for the seamless switching of a wireless device between wireless wide area networks (WWANs) and wireless local area networks (WLANs) that includes automatically detecting the available WWANs and WLANs, selecting one of the available networks for use by the wireless device and connecting the wireless device to the selected network.

Cisco Authorizes up to $7 Billion in Additional Stock Repurchases

Cisco's board of directors authorized up to $7 billion in additional repurchases of its common stock in addition to the remaining authorized amount of $3.1 billion. Cisco's board had previously authorized up to $40 billion in stock repurchases. There is no fixed termination date for the repurchase program.

Since the inception of the repurchase program in September 2001 through the close of Cisco's first quarter of fiscal year 2007 on October 28, 2006, the company had repurchased and retired approximately 2.0 billion shares of common stock at an average price of $18.51 per share for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $36.9 billion.

Microsoft Partners for Free Wi-Fi in Portland, Oregon

Microsoft announced a partnership with MetroFi Inc. to provide an advertising-supported, free Wi-Fi network throughout Portland, Oregon. The two companies also plan to use the Microsoft adCenter platform to help advertisers reach local Wi-Fi users. The companies hope to eventually provide the service to 95% of the city.

The Portland Wi-Fi network will be operated by MetroFi and will be modeled on wireless broadband networks that MetroFi built and currently operates in Foster City, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, downtown San Jose and Concord, California.