Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sprint Nextel Terminates Clearwire Deal, Reviews WiMAX Rollout Plans

Sprint Nextel and Clearwire terminated their agreement signed in July 2007 to jointly build a nationwide mobile broadband network using WiMAX technology and to promote the global development of WiMAX-based services. The partnership aimed at reducing the cost of network construction and at accelerating the rollout of a nationwide 4G service. The two companies said they could not resolve complexities associated with the deal and failed to reach final agreement on the terms of the transaction.

Sprint remains fully committed to developing WiMAX services and deploying a WiMAX network. However, the company said it is reviewing its WiMAX business plans and outlook and expects to comment further on these topics early next year.

"We are on track for soft launch late this year in the Chicago and Baltimore/Washington markets and commercial launch in 2008," said Keith Cowan, Sprint's president of Strategic Planning and Corporate Initiatives. "In line with Sprint's mandate of improving the customers experience and simplifying our operations, we look forward to working with Clearwire on opportunities such as roaming and standards."
  • Under the WiMAX partnership announced in July 2007, Sprint Nextel was to focus its efforts primarily on geographic areas covering approximately 185 million people, including 75 percent of the people located in the 50 largest markets, while Clearwire was to focus on areas covering approximately 115 million people. Initially, the two companies were aiming to build out network coverage to approximately 100 million people by the end of 2008, with seamless roaming enabled between the deployed areas. The arrangement also contemplated the exchange of spectrum between Sprint Nextel and Clearwire to enable each company to build out its portion of the network and to enhance service in its build-out territory, as well as for the exchange of other assets associated with this spectrum. In addition, Clearwire was to be given the ability to utilize certain Sprint Nextel 3G infrastructure.

  • In October 2007, Gary Forsee resigned as Sprint Nextel's chairman, president and CEO. A search is underway for a replacement. Sprint Nextel also announced weaker than expected financial results and a net loss of post-paid mobile subscribers during Q3.

Mformation: Two-thirds of Businesses Would Switch Mobile Operators for MDM

Faced with a growing mobile workforce, a rapidly growing range of feature-phones and smartphones, and an increasing demand for enterprise application mobility, a recent survey of CIOs from top 500 enterprises shows that businesses are looking to their mobile operator partners to provide tools and services to help them control, secure, and manage mobile devices in the same way they manage other IT assets.

The survey, which was conducted by Coleman Parkes and sponsored by Mformation Technologies, found that 45 percent of the CIOs are looking to mobile operators to provide assistance with the management of mobile devices. 62 percent of US CIOs indicate that they would change their mobile operator if they were offered a comprehensive mobile device management (MDM) solution by a competing mobile operator.

Some key research findings:

  • 82 percent of US CIOs report that managing mobile devices has become increasingly difficult.

  • Almost all CIOs surveyed (95 percent) are currently looking for a solution for managing and securing enterprise mobile devices and applications.

  • The vast majority of US companies (88 percent) expect the operator to have a role in enterprise mobile device management, with nearly 60 percent indicating that they would prefer an arrangement with their operator that gives the IT department direct control over their mobile assets.

  • Not surprisingly, therefore, 62 percent of US companies indicated they would consider switching to a new mobile operator if they offered MDM as a managed service.

Orange Business Awarded Long Distance License in Russia

Orange Business Services is set to win a long distance phone license in Russia. With this new license, Orange Business Services said it will be well positioned to provide large and medium-sized businesses with international and national long-distance services throughout the country, starting early 2008.

Over the past two years, Orange installed its long-distance voice infrastructure in Russia. Over US $200 million (approximately EUR136 million) have been invested to create our next-generation MPLS-based IP backbone network in the country.

The final step to be awarded with this long-distance license was to receive dialling codes 59 and 54. This order was signed by Leonid Reiman, Russian Minister for Information Technology and Communication, on November 7, 2007.

French Carriers and Banks Launch Mobile Payments Trial

Six major French banks (BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and LCL, Crédit Mutuel-CIC, Groupe Caisse d'Epargne, La Banque Postale and Société Générale) as well as four mobile operators (Bouygues Telecom, NRJ Mobile, Orange and SFR) are launching a major field trial of mobile contactless payment services. The trial initially involves 1,000 customers and 200 sales outlets located in the cities of Caen and Strasbourg.

The field trial will serve to evaluate users' interest in this new payment solution and to test the interoperability among solutions provided by different suppliers: LG, Motorola and Sagem (mobile phones), Ingenico and Sagem Monetel (payment terminals), Gemalto and Oberthur Card Systems (SIM cards and secured application management), and Inside Contactless (NFC components).

Verizon Business Awarded GSA Contract for D.C. Area Services

The U.S. General Services Administration awarded Verizon Business a Washington Interagency Telecommunications System (WITS 3) contract under which Washington D.C.-area federal government agencies can obtain a broad array of local telecommunications services and products.

The WITS 3 contract, which includes a four-year term with four one-year optional extensions, is valued at as much as $1.8 billion if all extension options are exercised. The WITS 3 contract covers local telecommunications services and products for federal agencies in the National Capital Region (NCR), which includes Washington and portions of its Maryland and Virginia suburbs.

Verizon Business holds the existing WITS2001 contract, which it was awarded in 2000 and expires in January 2008.

http://www.verizonbusiness.comEarlier this year, Verizon Business was named a prime contractor under the federal government's Networx Universal and Networx Enterprise contracts, authorizing the company to compete for long distance, Internet, cellular and other communications business from individual government agencies. The Networx program is among the largest federal communication contracts in history.

Level 3 Awarded GSA Contract for D.C. Area Services

The U. S. General Services Administration (GSA) awarded a Washington Interagency Telecommunications System (WITS 3) contract to provide communications services for all federal agencies and other authorized users in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The Federal contract allows Level 3 to bid on business issued by all Federal government agencies representing approximately 800,000 federal users.

Level 3 said it is one of two companies that were awarded the base four-year contract, with four additional one-year options. This contract gives Level 3 access to a market that up to this point has been available to only a single, incumbent telecommunications provider.

Telecom Argentina Reaches 11.7 million Mobile (+35%), 677K Broadband Subscribers

Telecom Argentina posted net income of P$614 million for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2007. During the first nine months, consolidated net revenues increased 24% (+P$1,273 million vs. 9M06) to P$6,515 million, mainly fueled by the cellular and broadband businesses.

During 9M07, revenues from broadband grew 22% vs. 9M06 to P$384 million. Moreover, Telecom's ADSL subscribers reached 677,000 (+302,000 or +81% vs. 9M06). Lines with ADSL now account for approximately 16% of Telecom's lines in service.

Telecom Argentina's Cellular Telephony business generated revenues of P$4,095 million in 9M07. As of September 30, 2007, Personal's subscribers reached 10.2 million (+2.5 million or +32% vs. 9M06). Approximately 67% of the overall subscriber base was prepaid and 33% was postpaid. By the end of 9M07, subscribers with GSM technology represented 96% of the total subscriber base. In Paraguay, the subscriber base reached approximately 1.5 million, +58% vs. 9M06. Prepaid and Postpaid customers represented 89% and 11%, respectively, while GSM subscribers represented 85% of the overall subscriber base.

Total voice traffic increased by 33% vs. 9M06 while outgoing SMS traffic increased from an average of 508 million messages per month to an average of 839 million (+65%). Moreover, ARPU remained stable at P$38, when compared to 9M06. Value-Added Services accounted for 27% of ARPU.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Iptivia Raises Funding for IPTV Service Assurance

Iptivia, a start-up based in NYC, completed a Series A financing round for development of its real-time service assurance platform for IP networks that carry high-bandwidth multimedia applications. Iptivia has core intellectual property that provides the real-time diagnosis, remediation, and monitoring required to deliver mission-critical services over large IP networks. The company was founded in early 2005.

The funding was led by Paladin Capital Group with participation from OmniCapital Group and additional investments from the founding team.

The company further announced the election of Philip Eliot (representing Paladin), Gerald Butters (representing Omni) and Jack Hembrough (independent) to its Board of Directors. Gerry Butters is a communications industry veteran whose career encompasses senior executive positions at Nortel Networks, AT&T, and Lucent Technologies.

PetroChina Deploys Force10 Networks Switch/Routers

PetroChina has deployed Force10 Networks' TeraScale E-Series family of switch/routers and S50 access switches to build a high performance network for its oil and gas exploration operations. PetroChina has six data centers across China operating a high performance computing cluster that ranges from 64 to 512 nodes. For smaller computing clusters, PetroChina is leveraging the compact Force10 S50, which supports 48 line-rate Gigabit Ethernet ports and two 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks. Medium-sized clusters leverage the density of the Force10 TeraScale E600 while larger clusters use the TeraScale E1200 to interconnect the compute nodes. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Colombia's UNE-EPM Selects Sagem/Orca/BitBand for IPTV

Colombia's UNE-EPM Telecomunicaciones selected Sagem Communications Orca Interactive and BitBand to jointly offer an IPTV solution. The joint solution offered by the three companies and implemented, in this case, by Union Electrica S.A., enables the delivery of a full spectrum of dynamic TV services, ranging from Enhanced broadcast TV to On-Demand content. The three vendors have previously collaborated on the IPTV deployments of Darty in France and On Telecoms in Greece.

Broadcom Introduces "Coolest" 10GbE Switch

Broadcom began shipping a new 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) switch that provides 240 Gigabits of multi-layer switching capacity on a single chip based on 65 nanometer (nm) process technology.

The Broadcom BCM56820 10GbE multi-layer switch is designed for next gen data centers featuring high-densities and lower power requirements. Broadcom said one key feature of the BCM56820 is its service aware flow control (SAFC) technology, which enables data center Ethernet (DCE). In this converged 10 Gigabit Ethernet-based fabric, SAFC greatly improves performance in data centers by ensuring that there is no loss of data on the network. Other key features include:

  • Broadcom's multi-stage "ContentAware" engine supporting deep packet inspection and classification for traffic flow identification and policy application

  • Layer 2 (L2), VLAN switching and Layer 3 (L3) routing support including IPv6

  • Advanced QoS for converged networking applications including per- priority pause/priority flow control (PPP/PFC)

  • Improved Broadcom HiGig stacking technology for increased scalability

  • Non-blocking performance, switching more than 375 million packets per second

  • 24-port and 20-port versions available. Each port can support Fast Ethernet (FE), GbE, 2.5GbE or 10GbE connectivity.

ITU Study Group 9 Approves Standards for IPTV and VoIP

During meetings held last week at the CableLabs headquarters, the ITU Study Group 9, entitled Integrated Broadband Cable Networks and Television and Sound Transmission, approved for standardization a major recommendation contributing to the advancement of IPTV, Recommendation J.700 "IPTV Service Requirements and Framework for Secondary Distribution."

Secondary distribution is an ITU term meaning use of a transmission channel for distribution of video/audio programs to users at large, for example by an over-the-air broadcast channel or by means of a fiber or cable network.

In addition, recommendations relating to second- and third-generation IPCablecom were "consented" or approved for consideration by the full ITU for standardization. These recommendations add to a suite of more than 25 recommendations which have been developed for cable and hybrid networks primarily designed for television and sound program delivery to the home as integrated broadband networks to also carry voice and other time-critical services including video on demand interactive services.

From the beginning of this work on IPCablecom up until now, equipment based upon these recommendations, such as modems, set-top boxes, signaling equipment, interactive television application platform interfaces, digital program insertion, and others have had widespread implementation in networks in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Also, of interest to the movie and theater industries, is Recommendation J.600 "Transport of Large Screen Digital Imagery (LSDI) applications that employ MPEG-2 encoded HDTV signals." Significant progress was made on a new draft recommendation related to the transport of program signals conforming to the higher levels of the LSDI expanded hierarchy as used for contribution and primary distribution.

The J.600 Recommendation addresses use of a broadband service or channel for transferring audio or video information to a production center where post-production processing may take place before subsequent distribution. Primary distribution is the use of a transmission channel for transferring audio and/or video information from a production center to one or several destination points; for example, to a broadcast transmitting center or the headend of a cable distribution network. Work in this LSDI area has been done with interactions between ITU-T Study Group 9, ITU-R Study Group 6, and other bodies external to the ITU.

The J.202 Recommendation "Harmonization of procedural content formats for interactive TV applications" was updated to reflect the most current version of the ETSI GEM (Globally Executable MHP) standard. GEM forms the common core for similar middleware standards worldwide, including the OpenCable Platform in the US and Korea, ARIB in Japan, and the Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) in most of Europe and elsewhere.

CableLabs also noted a discussion between ITU vice chairman for APIs, Charlie Sandbank, and the chairman of ITU Study Group 9, Dr. Richard R. Green, President and CEO of CableLabs, on certain actions being contemplated by the FCC to require the US cable industry to support an architecture divergent from the J.200 Recommendation supported by the US in the ITU. As a result, the two vice chairmen of ITU Study Group 9 sent a letter last week to the FCC expressing their concerns. The letter is available at


Tellabs' CEO Krish Prabhu to Resign

Krish A. Prabhu, Tellabs president, CEO and member of the Board, announced plans to resign from these positions by March 1, 2008. The company has launched a search for a successor.

Separately, the Tellabs Board of Directors authorized an additional $600 million for the company's common stock repurchase program, in addition to a remaining $176.1 million under a repurchase program authorized in July 2006. Together, the authorizations cover about 22% of Tellabs shares outstanding. Tellabs plans to use about half of its nearly $1.4 billion in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities for the program.
  • Krish Prabhu was appointed president and CEO of Tellabs in March 2004. Michael J. Birck, a company founder and CEO of Tellabs for 27 of its 29 year history, continues as chairman of the board. Prabhu previously served as chief operating officer of Alcatel Telecom and CEO of Alcatel USA. Prabhu began his telecommunications career in 1980 with AT&T's Bell Laboratories as a member of the technical staff.

Sonus Networks Posts Q3 Revenue of $77 Million

Sonus Networks Q3 revenues of $76.6 million compared with $75.5 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2007 and $76.0 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2006. The Company reported a net loss on a GAAP basis of $26.8 million, or $0.10 per share, for the third quarter of 2007, compared to a GAAP net loss of $7.0 million, or $0.03 per share, for the second quarter of 2007, and GAAP net income of $14.4 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2006.

Sonus also announced an agreement to settle litigation against the company and certain of its former and current officers alleging violations of federal securities laws in connection with the company's 2004 restatement. As part of the settlement, Sonus agreed to pay $40 million to the shareholder classes in the case. The company has approximately $15.3 million in insurance coverage that could be used to help offset the costs of this litigation as well as other litigation pending against the company and certain of its current and former officers and directors.

Sonus Networks Selected for BT's 21CN

BT has selected Sonus Networks as an official 21CN vendor to supply an Access Gateway Control Function (AGCF) capability to support the 21st Century Network programme (21CN). Specifically, BT will deploy the Sonus' ASX Access Server to control the network's multi-service access nodes (MSANs), devices that are installed in telephone exchanges to connect end-users' telephone lines with the core next-generation network (NGN). The implementation will enable communications providers to interconnect with BT's 21CN and leverage its next-generation capabilities to provide converged multimedia services to end user customers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

BT Reaches 12 Million Broadband Users (Wholesale + Retail)

BT reported quarterly revenue of £5,095 million, up 3 percent YoY. New wave revenue was £1,914 million, up 10 percent YoY. New wave revenue is mainly generated from networked IT services and broadband and accounted for 38 percent of the group's revenue. Networked IT services revenue grew by 12 percent to £1,120 million and broadband revenue increased by 12 percent to £543 million.

Some highlights for the quarter:

  • BT had 11.7 million wholesale broadband connections (DSL and LLU) at September 30, 2007, including 3.2 million local loop unbundled lines, an increase of 2.4 million connections year on year. There were 479,000 connections in the second quarter with BT's retail share of those net additions at 178,000, being 37 percent. BT Retail's total broadband customer base was 4,074,000 at September 30, 2007. This accounts for 35 percent of the DSL and LLU total customer base.

  • Revenue from the group's traditional businesses declined by 1 percent year on year, compared to a decline of 4 percent in the second quarter of last year.

  • BT said it is on track to launch broadband at speeds of up to 24 Mbps during 2008. End user trials of the new service began in the West Midlands with the participation of three communications providers on November 1, 2007. The trials will extend further, leading to a roll out beginning in spring 2008.

  • Next generation Ethernet services will launch later this financial year.

  • In-life service evaluation of 21CN voice services among end users continues in South Wales, part of BT's preparation to bring 21CN capability to all customers across the UK over the coming years.

  • The 21CN global platform is now available in 130 countries across the world, growing to 170 countries by the end of 2007, with 21CN I-Nodes now available in 31 locations across 26 countries supporting corporate VoIP.

  • In October BT launched its new BT Design and BT Operate organizational structure.

Deutsche Telekom Reaches 114 Million Mobile, 12 Million Broadband Lines

Deutsche Telekom Group's Q3 revenue rose 2.8% YoY to EUR 46.7 billion while its international revenues rose 14.4%. Net income was EUR 1.3 billion and EUR 2.2 billion when adjusted for special charges. The company cited an improved competitive position in Germany, positive trends in broadband and net access losses, and strong international growth.

Some highlights for Q3:

  • added 480,000 net DSL subs in Germany. A total of 8.5 million customers in Germany now have a broadband line from T-Home. A further 3.5 million wholesale DSL lines are served by T-Home. As such, the number of DSL lines in Germany increased by around 28 percent year-on-year to more than 12 million.

  • Nearly 50,000 have signed up for Triple Play service.

  • Line losses were 497,000, and they are now at a lower level than at any time in the last four quarters.

  • Broadband/Fixed network total revenue fell by 7.0 percent in the first three quarters of 2007 to EUR 17.1 billion.

  • T-Systems revenue in Germany fell by 10.3 percent year-on-year to EUR 7.0 billion in the first three quarters. The company said this reflects an ongoing decline in prices, in both IT and telecommunications.

  • The total number of mobile customers across the Group at the end of Q3 was 113,675,000 of which T-Mobile Deutschland accounted for 34 million, T-Mobile USA for 27 million, and T-Mobile UK for 17 million.

  • T-Mobile USA had 2.7 million net adds, 73% of which were under contract.

  • The number of customers using web'n'walk -- T-Mobile's mobile Internet service -- in Europe increased by 413,000 customers in a single quarter, expanding the customer base to 2.8 million.

  • The number of T-Mobile@home customers also increased substantially, climbing almost 150 percent year-on-year to over 1.8 million at the end of the third quarter.

  • Deutsche Telekom expects to meet its adjusted EBITDA forecast of around EUR 19 billion for the financial year and has almost reached its target of EUR 6 billion ahead of schedule with free cash flow amounting to EUR 5.8 billion at the end of the third quarter.

Internet2-National LambdaRail Merger Terminated

The Board of Directors of the National LambdaRail initiative failed to approve a merger proposal with Internet2, ending several months of discussions between the firms. The NLR said in a statement that it was unable to approve the merger due to its organizational structure and mission. One issue has been the transfer of NLR's assets to a merged organizations and the role of donating members in decision making.

  • National LambdaRail (NLR), a consortium of leading U.S. research universities and private sector technology companies, has a strategic relationship and agreement with Cisco Systems through July 2013.

  • National LambdaRail (NLR) has reached fully-operational status, providing advanced optical, Ethernet and IP connectivity over more than 15,000 miles of fiber across the United States. The infrastructure provides researchers control over a nationwide network with up to 40 individual lightpaths running at 10 Gbps. The project is the result of over three years of work and nearly $100 million in funding by members.

  • The Internet2 initiative completed the rollout of its new nationwide network infrastructure, which boasts an initial capacity of 100 Gbps nationwide and bandwidth-on-demand capabilities. The new Internet2 infrastructure provides a uniquely scalable platform on which to build side-by-side research networks. Beginning in January 2008, the DCN will enable researchers to provision up to 10 Gbps of dedicated bandwidth on demand. The new infrastructure also enables long-term dedicated point-to-point optical circuits up to 10 Gbps on separate wavelengths as part of the organization's WaveCo service.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bridge Alliance Launches Flat-rate Data Roaming in Asia

The Bridge Alliance, which brings together leading mobile operators in Asia Pacific. launched its one-flat rate mobile data roaming plan spanning 11 territories in the region.

With ‘Bridge DataRoam', customers have a choice of two capped usage monthly subscription plans - US$30 for 15MB (Bridge DataRoam15) or US$60 for 40MB (Bridge DataRoam40). The one-flat rate is applicable when customers roam on the alliance's 11 member operator networks, namely: Airtel (India), AIS (Thailand), CSL (Hong Kong), CTM (Macau), Globe Telecom (Philippines), Maxis (Malaysia), SK Telecom (Korea), SingTel Mobile (Singapore), SingTel Optus (Australia), Taiwan Mobile (Taiwan) and Telkomsel (Indonesia).

Bridge DataRoam15 and Bridge DataRoam40 can be used for both Blackberry and general mobile data roaming, customers can subscribe to either plan depending on their data roaming usage requirement.

Orange and Sagem Target Eco-Design

Orange and Sagem Communications have announced an "eco-design" partnership targeting the entire range of liveboxes, TV set-top boxes and landline telephones. The companies will collaborate on designing equipment that consumes less energy, using materials in the products' manufacture and packaging that have a lower impact on the environment, and simplifying product recycling.