Thursday, November 16, 2006

Boost Mobile and loopt Launch Social Mapping for Mobiles

Boost Mobile, a division of Sprint Nextel, and loopt, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California, launched a location-based social mapping service that enables young mobile phone users to share their location, status messages, photos and other on-the-go experiences with friends from their Boost Mobile phone.

Boost offers premium Pay-As-You-Go wireless phones and services to the youth market using the Sprint Nextel network.

The new Boost loopt service automatically updates the location of everyone in a private network of Boost customers and displays that information directly on a map on the phone. The service also sends an alert when a friend in the network is near.

Boost loopt also brings geo-tagging capabilities to a major U.S. wireless carrier for the first time. The service's journaling feature allows mobile users to "geo tag" locations and captures their experience with friends in their private network.

Boost Mobile is offering Boost loopt to its customers with java-enabled handsets for free through the remainder of 2006. Starting January 2007, Boost loopt will be offered on a Pay-As-You-Go basis for $2.99 per month.
  • Earlier this year, loopt announced a $5 million Series A financing led by venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and New Enterprise Associates.

SMC Ships Single Chip 28-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch

SMC Networks began shipping a Layer 2, fully-managed 28-port Gigabit Ethernet switch with two 10 Gigabit uplinks at an MSRP of $1299.99. The switch provides 24 RJ-45 plus four SFP ports in an efficient single chip switching solution. Management features include Spanning Tree, VLANs and link aggregation (LACP) which also supports trunking the 10G ports.

Sipera Adds Cisco Exec as VP Engineering

Sipera Systems, a start-up based in Richardson, Texas, named Ravi Varanasi as Vice President of Engineering. Prior to Sipera, Varanasi led development efforts for Cisco Systems, focused on security technology, enterprise networking and core engineering. He was a founding member for Cisco industry initiatives including Network Admission Control (NAC), Cisco Pervasive Security (CPS), and Application Security.

Sipera Systems also named Greg Flowers as Vice President of Finance. He previously was a vice president of GTESS Corporation.

Sipera Systems specializes in security for VoIP, mobile and multimedia communications, including SIP, UMA and IMS vulnerabilities.

Mavenir Systems Hires former CEO of Spatial Wireless

Mavenir Systems, a start-up based in Richardson, Texas, announced today the appointment of Pardeep Kohli as President and CEO.
Kohli previously served as co-founder, president and CEO of Spatial Wireless, which was acquired by Alcatel.

Mavenir Systems is developing a next generation service delivery platform designed "to transcend the barriers dividing networks." The company promises an innovative approach to delivering multimedia capabilities across networks, access and devices with full mobility, authentication and service assurance. Product plans have not yet been disclosed. The company has an office in Shanghai, China, and is financially supported by Austin Ventures and North Bridge Venture Partners.

Mavenir also announced the appointment of Dr. Sachio Semmoto of eAccess Ltd. and eMobile Ltd. to its advisory board, and the election of industry executive veterans Ben Scott (former chairman and CEO for IXC Communications) and K-P Wilska (Nokia), to its board of directors.
  • In July 2006, Mavenir Systems announced $13.1 million in venture funding for its work in mobile multimedia systems. The company said it is focused on the convergence services market.

  • In September 2004, Alcatel agreed to acquire Spatial Wireless for approximately US$250 million (approx. EUR 205 million) in Alcatel American Depositary Shares (ADS). Spatial's flagship product, Spatial Atrium, is a multi-standard mobile softswitch that controls distributed media gateways and manages call/session control for voice and data services. It works seamlessly in GSM/EDGE, 3G/UMTS and CDMA networks.

Versatel Selects Huawei for IP/DWDM

Versatel has selected Huawei Technologies to supply key elements of a new nationwide network across Germany. The deployment includes Huawei's DWDM equipment and its Quidway NetEngine series of high end routers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Cablevision Plans No Price Increase in 2007

Cablevision Systems' pricing for its cable TV services in New York will remain virtually unchanged in 2007, up 1.1 percent on average over current rates. Standard pricing for Cablevision's Optimum Online high-speed Internet service and Optimum Voice digital voice- over-cable service will not increase in 2007, the fourth consecutive year without a price increase for these top-rated services, which continue to lead the nation in consumer acceptance.

The company noted cable television programming increases in 2006, including the addition of the new regional sports network featuring the New York Mets, SportsNet New York, to its Family Cable line-up, and the addition of a number of new standard-definition channels to its iO digital cable line-up. The company also expanded its HD line-up, adding four new channels to a list of 22 HD services available to iO customers at no additional cost.

Cablevision also expanded the more than 1,400 on demand titles available to iO customers, and added three new categories to its free VOD offering.

Also in 2006, Cablevision completed a significant value-added speed increase for its Optimum Online high-speed Internet customers, from up to 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream to 15 Mbps downstream and 2 Mbps upstream at no additional cost, and also launched a premium tier offering speeds of up to 30 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream.

Alcatel/Lucent Merger Expected to Close on November 30

President Bush accepted the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to not suspend or prohibit the proposed merger of Lucent Technologies and Alcatel. The companies are bound by conditions of a National Security Agreement and Special Security Agreement with U.S. government agencies.

The White House said in a statement that the decision took into account all relevant national security factors, including, but not limited to (1) the scope of Lucent's operations and its work with state, local and federal government agencies, (2) the globalizing nature of the telecommunications industry, (3) the important research and development being conducted at Lucent's Bell Laboratories.

Alcatel and Lucent now expect to complete their merger on November 30, 2006, which is within the six-to-twelve-month timeframe originally announced April 2, 2006.

  • In July, the European Commission has cleared the proposed merger between Alcatel and Lucent Technologies. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it. The main areas of concern had been in the sale of DSLAMs and optical networking equipment, where the combined company will hold considerable market shares. However, the EC concluded that network operators would be able to sufficiently constrain the merged entity through their countervailing power in bidding procedures that are a characteristic of the industry.

FCC Chairman Martin Confirmed for Second Term

The U.S. confirmed Kevin Martin to serve a second term as Commissioner and Chairman of the FCC.

In March 2005, President Bush nominated Kevin J. Martin to serve as the next FCC Chairman, replacing Michael K. Powell. Martin did not need to be confirmed by the Senate because he had served as FCC Commissioner since 2001.

IRAQTEL Selects Redline for WiMAX in Iraq

IRAQTEL, the telecom subsidiary of Al Emaar Holding Group, selected Redline Communications' WiMAX Forum-certified RedMAX products. RAQTEL will begin its RedMAX deployment in Basrah, and will expand its WiMAX network to include additional regions across Iraq. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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.