Thursday, April 19, 2007

Moovera and Vodafone Collaborate on Wi-Fi for Public Transport

Moovera Networks, a start-up specializing in mobile wireless broadband technology, has collaborated with Vodafone UK to launch high-speed Internet access on the Oxford Tube express coach service. Passengers traveling on the service between Central London and Oxford now have email and web access at speeds up to 1.4 Mbps using a combination of Moovera's mobile Wi-Fi equipment and Vodafone UK's 3G broadband network, which now covers 80% of the UK population.

Moovera supplies a small device that creates a Wi-Fi network throughout a vehicle. The device bridges the Wi-Fi network with Vodafone UK's 3G broadband service that uses HSDPA.

STMicroelectronics Offers Microcontrollers for 3G SIM Cards

STMicroelectronics introduced two new secure microcontrollers designed specifically for high-volume 2.5G and 3G SIM cards. The ST21Y036 and ST21Y144 provide 36 Kbytes and 144 Kbytes of user EEPROM, respectively, and they join the ST21Y068, which was announced towards the end of 2006 and is already in volume production.

The new devices include a hardware DES (Data Encryption Standard) accelerator and user-accessible CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Code) calculation block. The user EEPROM areas - which include 64 bytes of user OTP (One Time Programmable) memory - use highly reliable CMOS submicron technology, and provide 10-year data retention with a typical Erase/Write endurance of 500,000 cycles.

ST said operators need secure SIM products with increased memory capacity to store and handle the large amounts of data now used in a growing number of applications and services in mobile communications products, while maintaining overall performance and user-friendliness.

BCE creates Strategic Oversight Committee

The Board of Directors of BCE (Bell Canada Enterprises) has formed a committee of independent directors to oversee the its evaluation of a range of strategic alternatives. The announcement of the new committee follows the news last week that BCE is considering a buyout from a group of private investors.

Amdocs Wins 7-Year Managed Services Contract with AT&T

AT&T awarded a seven-year managed services agreement to Amdocs. Under the deal, Amdocs will provide application management services in support of AT&T's legacy ordering and wholesale platforms, including software development, testing, and production support. The project is to begin later this year.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Swisscom IT Services Names CEO

The Swisscom Board of Directors has appointed Eros Fregonas as the new CEO of the Group's IT subsidiary and member of the Swisscom Executive Board. Eros Fregonas is currently an independent consultant working in the finance and IT sector. Mr. Fregonas replaces Michael Shipton, who is leaving the company.

BT to acquire Comsat, Boosting its Latin American Presence

BT agreed to acquire Comsat International, a leading provider of data communication services for corporations and public sector organizations in Latin America, for an undisclosed sum.

Comsat International operates a fiber-based core network interconnecting the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Venezuela and Turkey.

Comsat International employs over 700 professionals with in-depth knowledge of Latin American markets and provides services directly in 15 countries.

As at the last audited balance sheet on 31 December 2005, the gross assets of Comsat International were $145 million.

Recently, Comsat has also been bidding for and acquiring WiMAX licenses throughout the region.
  • Comsat International traces its roots back to the early 1960s, when Comsat Corporation was created when President John F. Kennedy signed the Communications Satellite Act and paved the way for the formation of the first commercial enterprise dedicated to satellite communications. In the 1980's, Comsat International was formed as a subsidiary of Comsat Corp. to provide international communications services to major enterprises and other high end customers.

Google Acquires Marratech's Video Conferencing Software

Google has acquired video conferencing software developed by Marratech, a start-up based in Sweden. The software will enable from-the-desktop participation for Googlers in videoconference meetings wherever there's an Internet connection. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Marratech offers an e-meeting, collaboration solution that runs in a browser on Macs, Windows and Linux. As a "virtual office" application it includes whiteboards, multi-party video conferencing, VoIP, instant messaging and encryption.

Marratech's software is based on research from the Centre for Distance-Spanning Technology (CDT) at LuleƄ university of Technology, Sweden.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

FCC Expects to Collect$290 Million in Regulatory Fees in 2007

The FCC proposes to collect $290,295,160 in regulatory fees for Fiscal Year (FY) 2007.

Avici Switches its Focus from Core Routing to PBT Control Layer Intelligence

Marking a strategic shift for the company, Avici Systems announced that it will be transitioning away from core router development to focus on its new product initiative, Soapstone Networks, which is developing a Provider Backbone Transport (PBT) controller for the Carrier Ethernet market. Avici expects the final shipments of its core router products will occur by the end of 2007.

"While we were successful in bringing the company to profitability in 2006 and continued to do so in the first quarter of 2007, we recognize that the routing market is under tremendous pressure from alternative technologies such as Ethernet switching and we do not believe our focus on core routers and our position as the number three supplier in this market to be a sustainable growth business for the company," said Bill Leighton, CEO of Avici Systems.

Functioning as an alternative to MPLS, Avici's forthcoming Provider Backbone Transport Controller aims to provide carrier-class QoS and traffic management using low-cost Ethernet switching.

Avici describes its Soapstone initiative as a natural evolution of a maturing routing market that will separate the control plane from the data plane in a router or switch and move the network control plane closer to the services control plane.

The company believes that moving the control plane from equipment into software will enable a natural value optimization to occur. Data plane vendors such as Ethernet switch suppliers can work to drive down the unit cost and add new features. Control plane vendors will focus on services and feature velocity. By making the coupling between network elements looser, interoperability problems are minimized and carriers can optimize their networks around the best building block technologies in a multi-vendor environment. The Soapstone control plane will exist outside the traditional router and could as easily control an Ethernet, optical or routed.
  • Avici has been a supplier of core routing equipment to AT&T since 2000.

  • In February, Avici Systems has formed a new business unit, called Soapstone Networks , that will offer a network control layer solution that sits between IT-hosted services and network/transport. Soapstone will leverage key industry standards such as ITU NGN, SOA, TMF eTOM, and others, along with open application programming interfaces (APIs) between the network and IT/OSS systems. The Soapstone aim is to map the abstract service needs expressed by the business plane into a simple configuration command set that can be applied to any technology or equipment.

    Phase One of the Soapstone product rollout will include the availability of a Provider Backbone Transport Controller (PBTC). Instead of MPLS, PBT uses low-cost Ethernet switching and can link the OSS and network with a simple API. In order for PBT to support automated provisioning and fault management and ultimately control operations costs, it requires a reliable and scalable control plane. Soapstone PBTC is a virtual control plane for PBT, but also one that is compatible with other network technologies such as IP.

    Soapstone will deliver a transport abstraction layer above both PBT and MPLS, enabling the migration from already-deployed MPLS networks to PBT.

    Soapstone also aims to deliver key capabilities for IMS applications by decoupling IMS from the network, a function IMS recognizes in its definition of a Resource-and-Admission Control Function (RACF). The company plans to support the full ITU NGN RACF capability set, making it compatible not only with IMS but also with emerging FMC applications and even session-based wireline applications including voice and video over IP.

    Soapstone registers network elements, selects the optimal transport elements, provisions the network, and monitors the actual characteristics for compliance of a service against a desired behavior.

    The Soapstone abstraction layer can create a “virtual resource�? that also maps to emerging standards for service management from Telemanagement Forum (TMF) and IPsphere. Soapstone controlled virtual resources can also be integrated with SDP-based features and applications that support IPTV, videoconferencing, SaaS, and other services. By providing a simple and technology-neutral interface for applications to use in brokering network resources, Soapstone facilitates the trend toward application-driven networking.

Hitachi GPON platform Interoperates with Nortel Softswitch

Hitachi Telecom's AMN1220 GPON product has completed laboratory interoperability testing with the Nortel Communication Server 2000 (CS 2000), a carrier grade softswitch that can scale up to 2,000,000 Busy Hour Call Attempts (BHCA).

The systems tested were the Hitachi AMN1220 GPON System Release 1.1, and the Nortel Communication Server 2000 Release SN09. Testing was conducted via the Nortel Media Gateway 15000 using H.248 protocol, Nortel Multimedia PC SIP Client, Media Gateway Control Protocol Integrated Access Device (MGCP IAD), and Centrex IP lines. Features and functions tested include Registration and Authentication, 3rd Party SIP Line Device (3PSL to 3PSL, 3PSL Recovery, 3PSL interworking, codec negotiation, SDP acceptance), calling features (CallerID, forward, hold, transfer, 3-way calling, conferencing, call waiting, and other advanced functions).

Ericsson Supplies IMS to China Netcom

China Netcom's Beijing division (Beijing Netcom) selected Ericsson to supply an IMS-based multimedia network in Beijing, including Ericsson's IP-Centrex solution. Under the deal, Ericsson will be the sole supplier of the IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) system for Beijing Netcom. Ericsson will also supply system integration services to ensure successful implementation in Beijing Netcom's network. Delivery has started and the network is expected to be completed during April 2007. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Beijing Netcom is planning to use the IMS solution to introduce a host of new multimedia services that combine voice, data, audio and video in time for the Olympic Games in 2008.

China Netcom Reaches 16 Million Broadband Subscribers

China Netcom, which is the incumbent carrier in northern China, was serving 15.945 million broadband subscribers as of the end of the first quarter, representing a net increase of 1.516 million from the total number of 14.429 million subscribers at the end of last year and an increase of 32% over the same period last year.

China Netcom's traditional fixed-line voice communications business still faced stiff challenges in the first quarter of 2007. However, the number of fixed-line subscribers reversed the downward trend in the fourth quarter of 2006 and reached 114.742 million, representing a net increase of 0.77 million from 113.972 million in the company's northern service region as at the end of last year.

As of the end of March 2007, China Netcom completed intelligent upgrades of the local fixed-line networks in all its service areas.

Some other highlights of the quarter for China Netcom include the sale of its telecommunication assets in Guangdong Province and Shanghai Municipality. Excluding the effects of the disposed assets and the upfront connection fees, the company said it recorded revenues of RMB20,031 million for the first quarter of 2007, representing an increase of 0.2% over the same period of last year.

Microsoft and Samsung Announce Broad Patent Agreement

Microsoft and Samsung announced a broad patent agreement covering hardware and software products, including Linux. Samsung will obtain access to Microsoft patents that may be practiced in a range of Samsung's existing and future product lines, such as computer products, set-top boxes, digital media players, camcorders, televisions, printers and home appliances. In these product lines, Samsung and its distributors and customers may utilize Microsoft's patents in Samsung's products with proprietary software, and Samsung will also obtain coverage from Microsoft for its customers' use of certain Linux-based products.

Likewise, Microsoft will gain access to Samsung's large patent portfolio relating to digital media and computer-related inventions for its existing and future products. The specific financial terms of the agreement are confidential, but both parties will receive monetary payments compensating them for the value of their portfolios.

Verizon Business Advances its "Application Aware" Network Strategy

Verizon Business announced the next phase of its "Application Aware" network strategy with the global availability of additional network management tools. The tools are designed to help the company's Private IP customers monitor and manage network and application performance by adjusting capacity to meet changing requirements.

Verizon Business' next phase of Application Aware reporting tools capabilities are offered in conjunction with Centrisoft Corporation, and include a Network Assessment Service as well as Application Awareness and Prioritization tools. These services build on and complement Verizon Business' existing Network Performance services which are already helping customers in Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America to monitor and manage the performance of their Private IP networks.

Verizon Business' Application Analysis and Application Priority tool can be used to optimize customer MPLS networks. With Application Priority, customers can control which applications take precedence for delivery through the network. This capability reduces the need for site-by-site router configurations and enables more specific marking by application versus broader marking by port. As a result, Private IP customers can adjust bandwidth and simplify network management in line with their business needs.

Verizon Business' Network Assessment, Application Analysis and Application Priority tools, all powered by Centrisoft, can be deployed on any portion of a customer's network (whether on-net or off-net), regardless of network and location.

Verizon Application Aware reporting tools, in combination with Verizon Private IP, are now offered in 121 countries globally.

Nokia's Q1 Sales Hit EUR 9.9B, 91 Million Mobiles, 36% Share

Nokia's first quarter 2007 net sales increased 4% to EUR 9.9 billion, compared with EUR 9.5 billion in the first quarter 2006, while operating profit decreased 7% to EUR 1 272 million (including the negative impact of EUR 69 million in special items), compared with EUR 1 367 million in the first quarter 2006 (including the negative impact of EUR 22 million in special items).

Some highlights for the quarter:

  • Estimated industry device volumes of 253 million units, down 13% sequentially and up 18% year on year.

  • Nokia device volumes were 91.1 million units, down 14% sequentially and up 21% year on year.

  • Nokia estimated device market share was 36%, at the same level as Q4 2006 and up from 35% in Q1 2006.

  • Nokia device average selling price (ASP) was EUR 89, at the same level as Q4 2006.

  • Nokia gross margin was 33.1%, up sequentially from 32.4% in Q4 2006.

  • Nokia operating margin was 13.6%, up sequentially from 13.3% in Q4 2006, excluding special items.

  • Nokia diluted EPS of EUR 0.26 excluding special items.

  • Nokia operating cash flow was EUR 1.6 billion.

  • Multimedia and Enterprise Solutions net sales were strong, up sequentially from Q4 2006.

  • Key products started shipping: Nokia 6300, Nokia N95 and Nokia E65.

AT&T Offers Mobile Remote Access for DVRs

AT&T is now allowing its U-verse IPTV customers to schedule and manage their U-verse TV recordings from AT&T wireless phones and devices. The feature brings the functionality and convenience of the U-verse TV digital video recorder (DVR) to the three screens: the wireless device, the TV, and the PC.

Specifically, AT&T U-verse TV and Internet customers can use any compatible AT&T wireless phone or handset to search U-verse TV program listings, schedule program or series recordings, and manage or delete stored DVR content. The option to wirelessly access the U-verse DVR system adds to a previously available feature that gave U-verse TV and Internet customers Web remote access to their DVR on a PC using the AT&T Yahoo! broadband portal.

Germany's NetCologne Powers VDSL2 Rollout with Ikanos Silicon

NetCologne, a German telecommunications company providing services for the Cologne, Bonn and Aachen regions, is using Ikanos Communications' Fx100100-5 Central Office (CO) and Fx 100100S-5 Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) chipsets to power fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) deployments that offer up to 100 Mbps VDSL2 and deliver triple play services over existing copper infrastructure.

NetCologne's new network, "CityNetCologne," is employing the full 30 MHz spectrum specified in VDSL2 standards. Powered by Ikanos' chipsets, CityNetCologne will offer a bandwidth of up to 100 Mbps -- one of the highest VDSL2 bandwidths available to consumers in Europe. The project is described as one of the most technically advanced VDSL2 deployments in Europe.

AT&T Signs First Client for Three-Screen Advertising

Chase Card Services, the credit card division of JPMorgan Chase & Co., is the first major advertiser willing to sponsor a music festival, which will be presented across the "three screens" of the AT&T network -- the wireless device, the TV, and the PC.

Chase Card Services will be the sole sponsor of Tim McGraw's "Swampstock" music festival and Neighbor's Keeper Foundation charity fundraiser.

AT&T said the deal represents the intersection of its vision to be a premier communications and entertainment provider. The program also demonstrates AT&T's commitment to delivering compelling content across the three screens while enabling a sponsor, Chase Card Services, to reach its audience in a highly relevant way through multiplatform advertising.

Motorola Launches Global Flagship Store in India

Motorola opened a "Global Flagship Store" in one of the busiest market areas of New Delhi.

Motorola Flagship stores can also be found in Shanghai and Moscow. Each flagship MOTOSTORE features an interactive layout, highly trained staff, phone customization and experience pods. Motorola said it is seeking to convey its vision of seamless mobility -- anytime, anywhere.

Former Qwest Exec Convicted of Insider Trading

Joseph P. Nacchio, 57, former co-chairman and chief executive officer of Qwest Communications International, was convicted on 19 of 42 counts of insider trading in a case dating back to 2001. According to the indictment, Nacchio sold Qwest stock from January to September 2001 when he knew, but did not disclose publicly, that Qwest was unlikely to continue to meet its publicly announced earnings targets as that year progressed. In June 2002, Nacchio was forced to resign as CEO, when the companies financial troubles became apparent.

Nacchio faces up to ten years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000 per count. Sentencing is scheduled for July 2nd.

"As chief executive officer with access to secret company information,
Joseph P. Nacchio was an insider who knew, unlike the investing public,
that Qwest was in dire financial straits. Nacchio abused his position of
trust and illegally used this inside information to sell off more than $100 million worth of Qwest stock -- something no other Qwest shareholder could do," said Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the FBI's Criminal Division.