Thursday, May 17, 2007

India's Idea Cellular Awards $500 Million Contract to Nokia Siemens

Idea Cellular Limited, a leading Indian GSM mobile services provider, awarded a US$500 million GSM network expansion contract to Nokia Siemens Networks. Nokia Siemens Networks will expand Idea Cellular's GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks to cover population centres across the six circles of Delhi, Haryana, UP East, UP West, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Nokia Siemens Networks will deploy its state-of-the-art equipment, including the Flexi BTS, mini-ultra base stations, Release 4 architecture, media gateways and MSS servers.

Russia's MTS Selects Nokia Siemens Networks for 3G in Moscow

Mobile Telesystems, the largest mobile phone operator in Russia, selected Nokia Siemens Networks for a turnkey 3G network in the Moscow region. MTS plans to construct an integrated 2G/3G network, where 3G subscribers will continue to be able to use the value-added services that are currently available within the 2/2.5G network. Deployment will start this summer. Financial terms were not disclosed.

MTS is already using a Nokia Siemens Networks core network in Moscow.

Alltel to be Acquired by TPG Capital and GS for $27 Billion

Alltel, which is the fifth largest wireless carrier in the US serving 12 million customers, agreed to be acquired by TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners (Goldman Sachs), in a transaction valued at approximately $27.5 billion. The purchase price per share represents a 23% premium over Alltel's closing share price prior to media reports of a potential transaction published on December 29, 2006.

The deal represents the largest privatization of a publicly-traded telecommunications firm to date.

Alltel is an all-wireless carrier headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas with operations in 35 states, including many Tier 2/3 markets. It operates a CDMA network and a GSM network (through its 2005 acquisition of Western Wireless). It maintains roaming partnerships with the four national wireless carriers, including Cingular, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon. Alltel has been expanding its CDMA EV-DO network and, as of year-end 2006, approximately 50% of cell sites had been upgraded. The Alltel network also includes 9,300 fiber optic route miles connecting to approximately 100 POPs in key regional locations.

TPG Capital is the global buyout group of TPG (formerly Texas Pacific Group), a leading private investment firm founded in 1992, with more than $30 billion of assets under management.

GS Capital Partners is the private equity vehicle through which The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., conducts its privately negotiated corporate equity investment activities.
  • In July 2006, Alltel completed the spin off its wireline business, which was merged with VALOR Communications Group to create Windstream, a major wireline operator focused on the rural U.S. market. Windstream serves approximately 3.4 million access lines and offers voice, broadband and digital TV services in 16 states.

  • In 2005, ALLTEL purchased Western Wireless Corporation in a stock-and-cash transaction valued at approximately $6 billion. ALLTEL gained about 1.4 million domestic wireless customers (GSM) in 19 western and midwestern states that are contiguous to existing properties.

European Commission to Clarify Radio Spectrum Information

The European Commission is seeking to create a single reference point for uniform EU radio spectrum information. This will provide greater clarity on what spectrum is available and how this may be used across Europe. The EC said such information helps industry to make informed decisions when developing business opportunities, and so will stimulate investment. It is also essential for secondary trading of rights to use spectrum, which is also a Commission objective.

Currently, information about available spectrum is so far mainly provided nationally and can vary greatly both in format and scope across the EU.

The European Commission has now adopted a decision that specifies the format and level of detail of the information that Member States should provide on the use of radio spectrum, as well as other practicalities such as reliability and regular updates. This common approach allows for the setting up a single information point containing comparable data, as foreseen by the decision.

Nortel, Toshiba to Jointly Develop WiMAX Base Stations

Nortel and Toshiba announced an agreement for the joint development of mobile WiMAX base stations for Japanese and global markets. The base stations will be based on Nortel's next-generation broadband wireless technology and Toshiba's high-efficiency amplifier and miniaturization technology. The base stations' radio module will be developed by Toshiba. Nortel will develop the digital module for the base stations. The companies plan to offer a range of small, power efficient and cost effective WiMAX base stations.

Nortel and Toshiba have jointly participated in the Japanese government's next-generation wireless trial using WiMAX solutions, and successfully completed the trial service provision in the Tohoku region of northern Japan during December 2006 to March 2007.

Cisco Poised to Complete Acquisition WebEx

Cisco Systems received the remaining foreign regulatory approvals required under the merger agreement for it to acquire WebEx Communications. The deal is expected to close on Monday, May 21, 2007.

As announced previously, on March 27, 2007, Cisco, through its wholly owned subsidiary Wonder Acquisition Corp., commenced a tender offer for all outstanding shares of WebEx at a price of $57.00 per share net to the seller in cash without interest, less brokerage fees and less any required withholding taxes, pursuant to the definitive merger agreement between Cisco and WebEx.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

BT Reaches 10.7 Million BB Lines, New Wave Revenue Offsets Lower Calling

As of the end of March 2007, BT was serving 10.7 million wholesale broadband connections (DSL and LLU), including 1.9 million local loop unbundled lines, an increase of 2.6 million connections year on year and 763,000 connections in the quarter. BT Retail's share of the net additions in the quarter was 32 percent.

BT Retail added 245,000 customers in Q1, in addition to the 195,000 customers gained through BT's recent acquisition of PlusNet. BT had 32 percent of new DSL customers, and 29 percent of all new broadband customers during the last quarter. The company said it is now the UK's leading broadband provider, ahead of the combined customer base of Virgin Media and NTL.

Some additional highlights for the quarter:

  • VoIP services continued to grow strongly with 1.4 million registered customers at March 31.

  • Financially, BT's revenue was 3 percent higher at 5,292 million pounds in the quarter with continued strong growth in new wave revenue more than offsetting the decline in traditional revenue. The strong growth in new wave revenue continued and at 2,117 million pounds was 14 percent higher than last year.

  • New wave revenue is mainly generated from networked IT services and broadband and accounted for 40 percent of the group's revenue. Networked IT services revenue grew by 6 percent to 1,287 million pounds, and broadband revenue increased by 32 percent to 556 million pounds.

  • Consumer revenue in the fourth quarter was 1 per cent lower, continuing the improving trend of recent quarters. Growth in consumer new wave revenue of 29 per cent continues to reduce our dependence on traditional revenue, which has declined by 6 per cent with the strategic shift towards new wave products and services.

  • The 12 month rolling average revenue per consumer household increased by 4 pounds for the second consecutive quarter to 262 pounds. Increased penetration of broadband and the growth of value added propositions have more than offset the lower call revenues. Following a period of sustained growth, the proportion of contracted revenues remained at 68 per cent as a result of the reductions in package prices made during the year.

ChinaCache Expands its CDN Capacity to 200 Gbps

ChinaCache, a leading content distribution network (CDN) service provider in China, reported that the total capacity of its nationwide CDN network reached 200Gbps at the end of April. The total network capacity reached 100 Gbps at the end of 2006.

The company said the first four months of 2007 have witnessed rapid network expansion of its network capacity. ChinaCache has thus far built 175 service nodes in more than 50 major cities across China.
The network is well interconnected with all major carriers in China, including China Telecom, China Netcom, China Mobile, China Unicom, China Railcom, and China Cernet.

Earlier this year, ChinaCache closed B series of its private equity placement, raising $31.5 million to be invested in network expansion.

Marvell Posts Preliminary Revenue of $635.1 million, Weaker Demand

Marvell Technology Group reported preliminary, unaudited revenue for its first fiscal quarter ended April 28, 2007 of $635.1 million, an increase of 22% over net revenue of $521.2 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2007 and a 2% sequential increase from net revenue of $622.0 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007.

"The growth in our Q1 revenues was limited due to an overall weaker demand environment across some of our markets" stated Dr. Sehat Sutardja, Marvell's President and CEO. "Despite the seasonal softness, we continue to be excited about the progress we are making in applying our technologies to serve additional large market opportunities which should enable us to deliver solid long term growth."

Motorola to Acquire Modulus Video for MPEG4-AVC Encoding

Motorola will acquire Modulus Video, a supplier of video encoding systems, for an undisclosed sum. The companies have partners for the past two years on several key accounts.

Modulus Video specializes in MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) compression systems designed for delivery of high value video content in the IPTV, cable, broadcast and satellite marketplace. Its product line includes dedicated HD/SD MPEG-4 AVC video encoders, including one recently introduced model that eliminates the need for external demodulator, receiver and decoder systems by providing built-in reception functions.

Upon completion of the transaction, Modulus Video will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Motorola and will be integrated into the Motorola Home and Networks Mobility business. Motorola intends to maintain Modulus Video operations in Sunnyvale, California.

"Motorola is committed to offering an integrated, end-to-end video portfolio designed to meet the current and next-generation requirements of operators," said Dan Moloney, President, Home and Networks Mobility business, Motorola.

The deal adds to a string of recent acquisition by Motorola, including:

  • Broadbus (July 2006) -- a start-up that developed a solid-state server architecture that enables the distribution of on-demand content to consumers through multiple devices. The company's technology leverages intelligent configuration and management of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM). Motorola said the acquisition would enable it to extend its video delivery platform with new content management and distribution capabilities that address growing market opportunities such as mobile video, video on-demand (VOD), time-shifted TV, network-based digital video recording (nDVR), on-demand ad insertion (ODAI) and switched digital video (SDV).

  • Kreatel (January 2006) -- a start-up that developed a Linux-based IPTV set-top box supporting a broad set of middleware solutions. Kreatel's customer base included Telefonica (Spain), TeliaSonera (Sweden), and KPN (The Netherlands).

  • Tut Systems (December 2006) -- provided carrier-class end-to-end digital video encoding, processing and distribution products. Tut's solutions support MPEG-2 and MPEG- 4 AVC video compression, local ad insertion, forward error correction, and real-time conditioning of video and audio. Tut Systems' customer list included more than 160 service providers worldwide. Acquired for $39 million.

  • Netopia (November 2006) -- a supplier of broadband (DSL) customer premise equipment (CPE). Netopia had supply arrangements with AT&T, BellSouth, Covad Communications, eircom, Swisscom, and Verizon. The acquisition was valued at $208 million.
  • In November 2006, Modulus Video unveiled a real-time, MPEG-4 AVC encoding solution for both SD and HD designed to meet the growing demand for video on demand (VOD) movies and local content delivered over IPTV networks. The Modulus VODxchange system can convert content from virtually any video format and encode it into MPEG-4 AVC at bit rates specifically optimized for IP networks. It includes advanced features like bandwidth optimizing Constrained Fidelity-Constant Bit Rate (CF-CBR) mode, digital program insertion triggers and integrated low resolution stream output. The solution set includes the MPEG-4AVC encoder, video file transcoding, VTR control, quality control and monitoring and an integrated RAID storage subsystem.

  • Modulus Video was co-founded by Robert S. Robinett (CTO) and Mark Magee (VP Technology & Chief Architect). Robinett previously co-founded SkyStream Networks in 1996, serving as President, VP Engineering and VP Business Development. Magee previously was VP of Engineering for DiviCom (acquired by Harmonic, Inc.) He was the architect of the DiviCom MPEG-2 encoder and multiplexer and helped define and develop other DiviCom core products.

Brasil Telecom GlobeNet Selects Alcatel-Lucent to Upgrade Undersea Network

Brasil Telecom GlobeNet has selected Alcatel-Lucent to upgrade its GlobeNet submarine network, which spans 22,000 km linking the United States, Venezuela and Brazil.

Alcatel-Lucent will upgrade the submarine section, along with the respective landing points, linking Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza), Venezuela (Maiquetia), Bermuda (St.David's), and USA (Boca Raton, FL and Tuckerton, NJ). In Rio de Janeiro, the submarine network integrates with the terrestrial optical infrastructure of GlobeNet's parent company, Brasil Telecom. When completed in the first quarter of 2008, the project will almost double the existing capacity over the entire network.

The Alcatel-Lucent submarine solution will be based on its 1620 Light Manager, managed by the upgraded Alcatel-Lucent 1350 management suite. A comprehensive suite of professional services, including manufacturing, installation and commissioning, is part of this turnkey project.

JDSU Names Head of Communications Test & Measurement Group

JDSU named Helmut Berg to lead its Communications Test & Measurement business, replacing John Peeler who has announced his plans to leave the company in June. Berg has served JDSU CommTest for 14 years in a variety of senior executive positions, most recently as senior vice president of its Lab & Production product division. Berg will now report to Kevin Kennedy, JDSU's president and chief executive officer, and will oversee the Communications Test and Measurement senior management team.

Nth Air Launches WiMAX (802.16e) Trial in Silicon Valley

Nth Air has launched a WiMAX (802.16e) network trial in Silicon Valley.
Nth Air using PureWave's "PureMax" multi-beam forming technology.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Alcatel-Lucent Signs $460 Million with China Mobile and China Unicom

China Mobile, the world's largest mobile operator, awarded a master contract valued at US$340 million to Alcatel-Lucent for mobile communications solutions and services. Under the deal, Alcatel-Lucent will provide China Mobile with GSM/GPRS/EDGE radio and core network equipment, customized solutions and related services that will support China Mobile's GSM/GPRS/EDGE network expansion programs in 2007. This will enable China Mobile to expand into several new provincial markets in addition to growing its existing base. The contract was signed by Alcatel Shanghai Bell.

Separately, China Unicom awarded a contract valued at US$120 million to Alcatel-Lucent for a range of network projects in 2007. The projects include a CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev. A high-speed data network upgrade to be implemented in China Unicom's network in Macau, as well as a further expansion in the CDMA core network, radio solutions, and applications that will support China Unicom's broader mobile network expansion. The agreement also provides for GSM/GPRS/EDGE core and radio network solutions and optical network components in support of China Unicom's GSM service offerings.
  • In November 2006, China Mobile, the world's largest mobile operator, selected Alcatel for a full-scale, nationwide IP network deployment project. Financial terms were not disclosed. The contract was won through Alcatel Shanghai Bell. The project entails the deployment of the Alcatel 7750 Service Router and Alcatel 5620 Service Aware Manager in 13 densely-populated provinces and municipalities of China including: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Shanxi, Anhui, Gansu, Ningxia, Liaoning, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hunan, Jilin and Hainan.

OIF Launches SFI-X Project for SERDES-Framer Interfaces to 100 Gbps

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has launched a SERDES Framer Interface SFI-X project that will define a scalable interface from an optical module to a framer device for line rates from 40 Gbps to 100 Gbps and beyond. The SFI-X project forms an important contribution to the requirements for transport of high-speed data via the OIF's Common Electrical Interface (CEI). The current, ongoing CEI-25 project establishes electrical signaling rates for high-speed backplanes.

The next generation SFI-X will support the aggregation and de-skewing of 4-16 data lanes at CEI (6 - 11G) or future CEI-25 (20 - 25G) signal rates. The SFI-X project is an extension of the prevalent OIF SFI-4 specification for 10 Gbps interfaces. SFI-X is targeted to support the 100G work being addressed by standards bodies like IEEE 802.3 HSSG and ITU-T, and forums like ATIS and the Ethernet Alliance.

"The OIF's role is to perform a gap analysis of the missing elements required to bring 100G technology to market," said Steve Joiner of Finisar and OIF Vice President of Marketing. "The OIF member companies are beginning to identify the gaps and to look for ways to foster the rapid, cost-effective development of new technologies for optical internetworking."
  • In December 2006, the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) finalized the Scalable System Packet Interface (SPI-S) implementation agreement. SPI-S is a channelized, streaming-packet interface that scales from 6 Gbps to hundreds of Gbps for chip-to-chip and backplane applications. It is a successor to the widely deployed OIF SPI 4.2 interface, and leverages the OIF's Common Electrical Interface (CEI) to take advantage of high rate serial physical interconnects.

    SPI-S is specified to run over CEI, which is defined at 6 and 11 Gbps for both short reach and long reach applications. SPI-S can also be used with other physical interconnects including OIF's SxI-5. The OIF also recently announced the initiation of a CEI-25 project to extend the CEI serial interface into the 25 Gbps range. The scalable nature of SPI-S will allow it to take advantage of CEI-25 when the next generation interconnect is fully defined.

  • At this Spring's OFC/NFOEC conference in Anaheim, California, Alcatel-Lucent discussed the potential for upgrading existing 40 Gbps transparent long-haul transport networks to 100 Gbps Ethernet. Specifically, researchers at Bell Labs transmitted ten closely spaced 100 Gbps WDM data channels over a 1,200 kilometer optical transmission distance in a systems experiment that included six optical add/drop nodes like those used in today's transparent mesh networks. Using this design, the researchers achieved an unprecedented spectral efficiency of 1 bit per second per Hertz (b/s/Hz) over the 1200 Km distance using only a single polarization of light.

  • In December 2006, researchers at Siemens, working in cooperation with Micram, the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications (Heinrich-Hertz-Institut) and Eindhoven Technical University, achieved an optical transmission rate of 107 Gbps over a single fiber channel using purely electric processing in both the transmitter and receiver.

  • In November 2006, an experiment conducted by Finisar, Infinera, Internet2, Level 3 Communications, and University of California at Santa Cruz successfully transmitted a 100GbE signal from Tampa, Florida to Houston, Texas, and back again, over ten 10 Gbps channels through the Level 3 network. The transmission used an Infinera-proposed specification for 100GbE across multiple links. A single Xilinx FPGA implemented this packet numbering scheme and electrically transmitted all ten signals to ten of Finisar's 10 Gbps XFP optical transceivers, which in turn converted the signals to optics. These signals were then transmitted to an Infinera DTN DWDM system and handed off to Infinera systems within the Level 3 network where it was transmitted across the Level 3 network to Houston and back.

  • In September 2006, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) set an optical transmission record of 14 terabits per second (Tbps) over a single 160 km long optical fiber. Significantly, the demonstration ran optical signals at 111 Gbps over a DWDM system supporting 140 channels.

Samsung Offers 8MB MicroSD Card for Mobiles

Samsung Electronics has developed an 8 GB microSD (Secure Digital) memory card designed for multimedia mobile phones. The new fingernail-sized card is capable of storing 2,000 MP3 music files, 4,000 digital photos, or approximately five DVD-quality movies.

Samsung said its new 8GB microSD card has a read speed of 16 Megabytes (MBs) per second and a write speed of 6 MB/s, well exceeding the Speed Class 4 SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) standard which requires a data write speed of 4MB/s. This is also much faster than the SD Speed Class 2 designation carried by most competing microSD cards currently on the market.

Wi-Fi Certified 802.11n Gear Coming Soon

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 802.11n draft 2.0 products are expected to reach store shelves soon, as the Wi-Fi Alliance certification program nears its late June launch. These products will bear a new logo to show that they have been tested for industry-wide interoperability, the very latest security protection, and backward compatibility with previous generations of Wi-Fi gear.

The Wi-Fi Alliance also announced the products and reference designs that will comprise its test bed for interoperability certification.

The following companies supply the products used in the interoperability test bed, and have the first devices to become Wi-Fi CERTIFIED:

  • Atheros XSPAN with SST Draft 2.0 802.11n Dual-Concurrent 2.4/5GHz Router with Atheros AR7100 Series Wireless Network Processor

  • Atheros XSPAN with SST Draft 2.0 802.11n Dual-Band 2.4/5GHz Card Bus

  • Broadcom Intensi-Fi 802.11n Router: BCM94705GMP

  • Broadcom Intensi-Fi 802.11n Card: BCM94321MC123

  • Cisco Access Point

  • Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN

  • Marvell TopDog WLAN solutions (Station Card)

  • Marvell TopDog WLAN solutions (Access Point)

  • Ralink MIMObility RT2800PD Chipset featuring the RT2860 802.11n 2T3R MAC/BBP and the RT2850 802.11n Dual Band RFIC

  • Ralink MIMObility RT2800PD Access Point

In addition, WildPackets OmniPeek Workgroup Pro is included as a test bed software tool.

Telefónica Reaches 149 Million Mobile, 8.5 Million Broadband Customers

Telefónica reported Q1 revenues of EUR 13.747 billion, a 15% rise in revenue year-over-year, attributed to strong growth in Spain and Latin American operations. Net profit for Q1 was EUR 1.257 billion, up 7%.

The company's total access count rose 11.4% to 206 million, including 148.9 mobile customers and 8.5 million broadband customers. Telefónica España contributed 44.8 million lines to the total access count, while Telefónica contributed 117 million and Telefónica O2 Europe counted for 39.2 million.

The number of retail Internet broadband customers in Spain rose to 4 million (compared to 3 million a year ago), 4 million in Latin America (2.9 million a year ago), and 0.5 million in Europe (0.3 million a year ago).

The number of Pay TV customer exceeded 1.1 million, up by 54% compared to a year earlier, and the company now provides the service in Spain, Czech Republic, Peru, Chile and Colombia. In Spain, the Imagenio service had 418,618 pay TV customers as of March 31.

Telefónica España now accounts for 37% of the Group's revenue.

Telefónica España holds an estimated 56% of the Broadband Internet Access market in Spain, which reached 7.1 million connections at the end of March, up by 400,000 adds in the quarter. Telefónica's retail adds were 250,094 in the quarter.

Telefónica España added 132,211 unbundled loops during the quarter, of which 66% correspond to the migration from Telefónica España's wholesale ADSL service. The total number of unbundled loops now served by company stands at 1,071,217.

Telefónica de Argentina was serving 588,000 broadband lines at the end of the quarter.

See also