Thursday, April 12, 2007

AT&T Launches Operations in India in Partnership with Mahindra

AT&T Global Network Services India (AT&T India), a joint venture between AT&T and Mahindra Telecommunications Investment Private Ltd., launched commercial operations.

In November 2006, AT&T became the first foreign telecom operator to secure new telecommunications licenses under the Indian government's revised policy on foreign direct investment (FDI) which allows up to 74 percent foreign ownership.

AT&T said it now has access to MPLS-based IP services in 137 countries. In addition to obtaining telecommunications licenses in India in 2006, AT&T is expanding its global network reach further with the addition of network nodes in Malaysia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Cyprus, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, as well as new network interconnections giving greater reach to the Nordics, Russia, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Tektronix Adds IP, RF and Enhanced H.264 Analysis Capabilities

Tektronix has enhanced its MTS400 Series MPEG Test Systems, including enhanced support for IPTV, VoIP and DTV development and deployment.

Tektronix said its MTS400 Series provides first line diagnostics with integrated cross layer fault analysis and error logging. Time to problem insight is reduced by informing the user whether root cause of video problems is at the Transmission, Transport Stream or Elementary Stream layer. The MTS400 Series offers support for the development and deployment of new services and technologies including distribution of Video over IP, IPTV, DTV RF Transmission and H.264 compression, for cable, satellite, terrestrial, fixed and mobile networks.

Enhancements to the MTS400 Series includes a new Optical and Electrical Gigabit Ethernet Interface providing Line Rate IP connectivity and analysis capabilities including Packet Loss, Sequence Errors, MDI Statistics, Packet Inter-arrival Time Histograms and Deep Packet Inspection to enable rapid network fault isolation. The Parametric IP Playout capability allows the generation of IP multi-session traffic including the simulation of network errors including packet loss, sequence errors and jitter as well as the ability to edit IP packet headers to simulate different IPTV environments.

The new Terrestrial (COFDM and 8-VSB), Cable (QAM) and Satellite (8PSK/QPSK) RF measurement interfaces provide RF performance measurements and trends for critical metrics including MER, EVM and BER. Dual IP and RF inputs enable simultaneous measurements of inputs and outputs of ingest, headend or edge devices.

H.264 enhancements include Video Thumbnail decode, T-STD Buffer Analysis and H.264 Multiplexing. This industry-best support for H.264 makes the MTS400 series the solution of choice for use in the transition to next generation compressed video.

Orange Signs Distribution Deal with Paramount Pictures

Orange has signed a deal with Paramount Pictures covering distribution of content for its Internet and TV Video-on-Demand viewers in France. Paramount is the latest partner to join Orange "24/24 Video" service, which offers a wide variety of films from major film studios as well as independent French and international productions.

Broadcom Files New Suit Against QUALCOMM

Broadcom filed a new lawsuit against Qualcomm asserting that Qualcomm's conduct before prominent industry standards organizations violates California law. In a 37-page complaint filed in California Superior Court, Broadcom asserts that Qualcomm's misconduct before standards setting bodies includes improperly concealing its patents, reneging on licensing obligations, and exerting dominance through hidden affiliations.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Akamai Acquires Red Swoosh for Media File Management

Akamai Technologies has acquired Red Swoosh in a stock deal valued at approximately $15 million. Red Swoosh has developed client-side technology for supporting the management and distribution of media files in a controlled fashion. The technology helps content publishers and distributors to manage and monetize large-file distribution to edge devices, such as set top boxes and personal computers.

Tyco Telecom to Complete SEACOM Marine Survey Around Africa

Tyco Telecommunications, a business unit of Tyco Electronics and an industry pioneer in undersea communications technology and marine services, announced today it was awarded the SEACOM marine survey by Herakles Telecom, LLC. The 13,000 km marine survey commences the development of the undersea fiber optic network which will provide high capacity bandwidth connectivity between South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, India and Europe.

SEACOM intends to develop, construct, own and operate a privately funded submarine fiber optic cable to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2009. The SEA Cable System is being designed with a nominal capacity of 1,280 Gbps comprised of two fiber pairs.

Proposal to Cut Roaming Fees Advances in European Parliament

The Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee of the European Parliament voted to approve the European Commission's proposal to reduce international mobile roaming charges by 70% starting from this summer. A final vote is expected in the European Parliament by mid-May.

In its proposal, the European Commission seeks to reduce by up to 70% the charges consumers currently have to pay for using their mobile phone abroad. To achieve this, price ceilings are set both at wholesale and at retail level to ensure that mobile roaming charges are not unjustifiably higher than those incurred by domestic mobile phone use. Below these ceilings, competition should take place for the most attractive roaming packages.

The EU Roaming Regulation also aims to enhance price transparency. It obliges mobile service providers to give personalised information on retail roaming charges to their roaming customers -- on request and free of charge. Moreover, a customer subscribing to an operator will be able to receive detailed information on roaming and operators will have to keep the subscriber informed periodically on roaming charges.

EU Telecom Commissioner Viviane Reding commented: "A political agreement on lower roaming tariffs is now within reach. In this important phase of the legislative procedure, it is of crucial importance to ensure that all consumers in the EU will be able to benefit from lower roaming charges, and that no one is left behind. I warn against a regulation that would only lead to lower roaming charges for new customers. With mobile phone penetration in the EU now at 103%, practically all EU citizens already have a mobile phone contract. Therefore, such an opt-in clause would deprive most consumers of the beneficial effects of the new EU Regulation."

Deutsche Telekom Announces VOD Deal with NBC Universal

T-Com will be the first digital retailer to offer a legal and secure download-to-burn option for major studio content in Germany.

Universal Pictures International Entertainment (UPIE), NBC Universal International Television Distribution and T-Com announced simultaneous digital distribution agreements for the new download-to-own (DTO) rights and additional renewed video-on-demand (VOD) rights to a wide array of NBC Universal content in Germany. The agreement covers delivery via T-Home, T-Com's IPTV service, as well as the T-Online Video on Demand (VOD) website.

Under the download-to-own agreement with UPIE, broadband consumers in Germany will be able to download Universal feature films and legally burn them to DVD as part of a new DTO service being launched by T-Com in the second quarter of 2007. Consumers will also receive two digital copies of the films to watch on their PC and portable video device.

Under the terms of the video-on-demand agreement with NBC Universal International Television Distribution, T-Com will continue to offer NBC Universal feature films via their on-demand functionality. NBC Universal films were first made available to T-Com customers in 2003

Louisiana's EATEL Selects MetaSwitch

EATEL, a privately owned carrier headquartered in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, has deployed MetaSwitch's core switching solutions and unified communications platforms to roll out a portfolio of advanced, converged services to business and residential customers. EATEL is already bundling a digital suite of high-speed Internet access, high-definition television with TV On Demand, and phone services. EATEL is adding to this mix with a range of enhanced IP services, the first of which to have been launched is TV Caller ID, which informs users via their television who is calling prior to the first ring.

Louisiana's EATEL Selects MetaSwitch

EATEL, a privately owned carrier headquartered in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, has deployed MetaSwitch's core switching solutions and unified communications platforms to roll out a portfolio of advanced, converged services to business and residential customers. EATEL is already bundling a digital suite of high-speed Internet access, high-definition television with TV On Demand, and phone services. EATEL is adding to this mix with a range of enhanced IP services, the first of which to have been launched is TV Caller ID, which informs users via their television who is calling prior to the first ring.

Vonage Announces Cut Backs, CEO Resigns

Michael Snyder resigned his position as CEO of Vonage. Jeffrey A. Citron, the company's Chairman, has been appointed interim CEO while the company undertakes a search for a permanent replacement.

Vonage issued the following preliminary estimate of its operating and financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2007:

  • Total Revenue (in millions): $195

  • Gross Subscriber Line Additions: 332,000

  • Net Subscriber Line Additions: 166,000

  • Average Monthly Customer Churn: 2.4%

  • Marketing Cost per Gross Subscriber Line Addition: $275

Vonage also announced cost cutting measures focused on reducing its ongoing losses from operations. The company plans to reduce its marketing expense by approximately $110 million. As a result, Vonage expects marketing expenditures of roughly $310 million for 2007. The company also announced plans to reduce its G&A by $30 million through the remainder of 2007 through consolidation of operations and workforce reduction.

On2 and Widevine Partner for Flash Video DRM

On2 Technologies and Widevine Technologies are partnering to secure On2's VP6 encoding used in Adobe Flash Player 8 and 9. This will enable Flash video with integrated DRM capabilities for content owners and service providers to secure the distribution and consumption of content delivered to PCs and other consumer devices. On2's VP6 for Flash is the dominant video format used by leading Internet video sites, user generated content sites, and social networking sites, such as ABC, CBS, ESPN, Fox, and MTV. Applying Widevine's DRM to VP6 will further enable adoption of VP6 for Flash.

On2 will also resell Widevine's DRM solutions to its customers with tight integration for On2's VP7 product line in use by leading video service providers including Skype, AOL, and Move Networks, in addition to VP6. The joint solution will be implemented in On2's Flix for Flash encoding and publishing product line, starting with flagship Flix Engine and Flix Engine Live.

Tellabs Offers Transport Network Optimization for Wireless Carriers

Tellabs has launched a Transport Network Optimization Service to help North American wireless providers to reduce ongoing operating expenses.

Key goals/elements of Tellabs' Transport Network Optimization Service include:

  • Improved network quality and reliability -- cleaning up issues that hamper performance;

  • Comprehensive data audit and reconciliation -- synchronizing the database design and content to mirror the actual state of the transport network;

  • Expert analysis, architecture, design and optimization recommendations -- identifying items such as billing discrepancies, inefficient routing, potential points of network failure and underutilized facilities;

  • Full program management -- acting as a single point of contact driving results from initial planning through completion; and

  • Enhanced ability to offer new, high-bandwidth services -- anticipating where customer growth will occur and optimizing the transport network to meet requirements.

Tellabs said it has already helped a Tier 1 North American wireless provider to realize more than $18 million in immediate and annual operating expense savings in three metropolitan markets.

Mexico's Cablemas Expands CMTS Deployments with ARRIS

Cablemas, the second-largest cable television operator in Mexico serving 675,695 cable television subscribers, 159,732 high-speed internet subscribers, and 20,616 IP telephony lines, has again selected the ARRIS C4 CMTS and Touchstone E-MTAs to expand its network. Cablemas has previously deployed ARRIS technology to provide VoIP service to over 30,000 homes in cities including Cuernavaca and Tijuana, and anticipates launching the service this summer in additional cities where it now has franchises. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • In August 2006, Mexico's Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT) granted local fixed telephony concessions to Cablemas in thirteen of the main cities in which it currently operates. These concessions will allow Cablemas to add telephony to the suite of directly-provided services, which already includes video and Internet. To roll out telephony services in these cities, Cablemas will enter into interconnection agreements with telecommunications firms.

WiFiMobile Launches Mobile VOIP App for Nokia S60

WiFiMobile launched a Mobile VOIP service that enables users of Nokia S60 handsets to make free calls to each other over Wi-Fi. Mobile VOIP calls can also be made where no Wi-Fi connection is available by using a network operator data plan.

An additional feature is that corporate users can configure the Nokia S60 devices as an extension to their corporate IP PBX.

CBS to Air on Joost

CBS agreed to provide video programming for the upcoming Joost service, which is expected to launch sometime this spring. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Content to be made available is coming from across the CBS divisions and includes new and previously-aired, full episodes from popular, current CBS programs, including the full CSI franchise: CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION, CSI: NY and CSI: MIAMI, NCIS, NUMB3RS, SURVIVOR and brands including SHOWTIME, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, CSTV, CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC and CBS SPORTSLINE.

CBS is the first broadcast network to join Joost.

QUALCOMM Rejects Nokia's $20 Million Payment

QUALCOMM has rejected Nokia's $20 million payment made last week, which was intended to be an advance payment of royalties to QUALCOMM for the quarter ending June 30. QUALCOMM said both the amount of the payment and the terms that Nokia sought to unilaterally impose in connection with it are at odds with the parties' 2001 license agreement.

Telecom Argentina Announces Restructuring

The Telecom Argentina Group announced a restructuring aimed at facilitating synergies among fixed and mobile communications, broadband and content. The carrier said its operations will be conducted with a unified vision.

Marco Patuano will serve as General Operations Director, with responsibility for the company's four main units: Mobile, Network, Fixed-line Residential & SME's, and Fixed-line Corporations and Wholesale.

Corporate functions have been grouped in a General Corporate Direction, under the interim responsibility of Carlos Felices. Mr. Felices, additionally, maintains his position as Chief Executive Officer of the Group.

Sun Microsystems to Acquire SavaJe for Mobile Java

Sun Microsystems will acquire the intellectual property of SavaJe Technologies, a start-up specializing in mobile Java. The SavaJe Mobile Platform simplifies the development of user interfaces across mobile feature phone handsets. This enables operators and manufacturers to exploit the branding, marketing and revenue potential of mobile phones. Financial terms were not disclosed.

SavaJe Technologies is a privately held company, which has been funded by leading venture capital firms, including Ridgewood Capital. SavaJe maintains global headquarters in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Nortel Supplies IMS-ready NGN in Morocco

Itissalat Al Maghrib (Maroc Telecom), the leading telecommunications service provider in Morocco, will deploy an IMS-ready, next-generation network based on Nortel technology in the cities of Rabat and Casablanca. This new network will allow IAM to offer businesses and consumers a full range of advanced multimedia services such as VoIP, mobile VoIP, video telephony, file exchange and integrated voice mail and messaging. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The carrier's new network integrates the Nortel Communication Server 2000 superclass softswitch, Nortel Media Gateway 15000 carrier-grade and the existing digital switched telephone network to enable SIP-based multimedia services and expand capacity.
  • In August 2006, Morocco's Maroc Telecom has selected Huawei as the exclusive supplier for the second phase of its IPTV project. In just 3 months since launching IPTV service, Maroc Telecom has registered more than 10,000 subscribers.