Thursday, August 7, 2008

Softbank Sees Continued Rise in Optical Access, DSL Declines

Softbank Corp.'s quarterly revenue fell to 647.3 billion yen ($6 billion), down 2.4% compared to last year, while reported net quarterly fell to 19.4 billion yen ($180 million) from 25.1 billion yen ($233 million) a year ago. The company recently began offering the 3G iPhone with several data plans. Meanwhile, the number of DSL users continued to decline while fiber-based customers continue to increase.


CBS News is using Fujitsu's IP-9500e MPEG-4 AVC encoder to help broadcast the Evening News with Katie Couric in high definition (HD). Specifically, CBS News is using the IP-9500e at its Washington, D.C. bureau to deliver multiple HD satellite news gathering (SNG) feeds to its new HD Control Room 47 at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York. Fujitsu said the combination of its IP-9500e and Sencore's MRD3187A Integrated Receiver Decoder (IRD)--used in New York to decode the incoming signal--creates the lowest latency of any available MPEG-4 AVC codec, enabling CBS News to cost-effectively deliver exceptional HD picture quality while using less than half the network bandwidth required for traditional MPEG-2 transmissions.

This deployment continues the CBS News rollout of Fujitsu's encoders for HD SNG. The network first used the IP-9500e to broadcast the 2008 Presidential State of the Union Address in HD, marking the first time CBS used HD MPEG-4 AVC compression for a network broadcast.

CBS News also plans to use Fujitsu's encoders for coverage of the Republican and Democratic Presidential Nominating Conventions as well as for the Presidential Inauguration. In addition, the network plans to implement the Fujitsu/Sencore HD codec solution at its London studio later this summer to facilitate HD SNG from that location.

CWA and Verizon Reach Contract Settlement

The Communications Workers of America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Verizon reached a tentative three-year contract settlement affecting 65,000 workers from Virginia to Maine.

Verizon agreed to extend union recognition to 600 former MCI technicians at Verizon Business who have been seeking representation for nearly two years. These workers, who perform the same jobs as the union workforce, have received strong support from CWA and IBEW members in a campaign to "tear down the wall" between union and non-union sectors at Verizon. The agreement also includes new opportunities for union workers to provide customer support and service at Verizon Business.

The tentative settlement also eliminates subcontracting of work in a number of job areas, converts many temporary jobs to permanent and brings additional jobs associated with Verizon's cutting edge FiOS technology into the union bargaining units. Overall, the settlement should create 2,500 new union jobs.

Verizon and the unions have agreed to meet regularly during the course of the new agreement to review technological and business developments affecting employment, which will allow the company to stay current with business opportunities while also insuring that the unions are able to continue to represent employees as the business environment changes.

The CWA said the issue of health costs and benefits was a major focus of the talks. The settlement preserves fully-paid health care premiums for all active and retired employees. Future hires will have a defined contribution formula for retirement health care with the amount of Verizon's contributions subject to negotiation in each subsequent contract.

In addition, Verizon agreed to work with the unions in a joint effort to achieve meaningful health care reform. The company will provide funding of $2 million per year to the project.

India to Auction 2.3, 2.5 GHz Frequency Bands for Broadband Data Services

India's Department of Telecommunications is planning to auction the 2.3 and 2.5 GHz frequency band for broadband data services. The WiMAX Forum said the availability of these key bands for WiMAX technology in India will provide its consumers with much needed broadband connectivity across the diverse economic and social needs of the entire population.

The auction will enable two 20 MHz blocks in both the 2.3 and 2.5 GHz bands. The government also announced that blocks in the 700 MHz and 3.3-3.6 GHz bands will be auctioned as they become available to offer Fixed WiMAX and rural wireless broadband segments to consumers.

The WiMAX Forum plans to add an Indian certification lab to its existing network by the end of 2008. The WiMAX Forum has certified a range of Mobile WiMAX products in the 2.3 and 2.5 GHz profiles and estimates that more than 1,000 Mobile WiMAX products will undergo certification by 2012.http://www.wimaxforum.org

Bell Canada Launches New Look

Coinciding with the opening day of the Olympics, Bell Canada launched its new corporate brand. The launch includes an advertising campaign and a new company logo.

"The new Bell brand underlines that we are moving forward as a company and as a service provider, with new services, a new strategy and a new goal," said George Cope, President and Chief Executive Officer of BCE and Bell Canada. "It's a straightforward and customer-focused brand that directly supports the Bell team's goal: To be recognized by customers as Canada's leading communications company."

"The taglines 'Today just got better' and 'La vie est Bell' reflect our commitment as a company and as a team to deliver
on our strategy and achieve our goal," stated Wade Oosterman, Chief Brand Officer for Bell, and President of Bell

Broadcom Prevails in GPS Patent Case Against SiRF

A U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) judge ruled that products of SiRF Technology infringe six patents related to improving global positioning system (GPS) processing and sensitivity. The patents are held by Global Locate, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Broadcom. The infringement findings cover a range of SiRF products, including those incorporating the SiRFstarIII and SiRFInstant GPS architectures.

Broadcom said the Initial Determination containing the infringement ruling followed a trial earlier this year. A Final Determination by the full six-person Commission is expected by early December.

NTT DOCOMO to Discontinue 2G mova Service

NTT DOCOMO will stop accepting new enrollments for its 2G mova mobile phone service nationwide on November 30. The company also announced that it will waive the normal charge of 2,100 yen (including tax) for any mova user who transfers to a 3G FOMA subscription beginning August 8.

NTT DOCOMO said that given that mova subscribers have been steadily migrating to its popular 3G service, FOMA, the company has decided to eventually discontinue mova and concentrate on FOMA. The timing of the mova service's actual termination will be decided depending on market factors such as how fast mova users continue to migrate to FOMA.

Additionally, DOCOMO will stop accepting applications for its car phones by the end of November.

NTT Com Launches Japanese-Chinese SNS with Translator

NTT Communications has launched a public social networking service (SNS) with a mutual Japanese-Chinese translating function The service launch coincides the opening of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Free of charge, apart from user packet charges (if any), the "talk feel" website is accessible from Japanese mobile phones as well as from PCs. In the future, NTT Com intends to make talk feel accessible from Chinese mobile phones, and from instant messengers (IMs) from both countries. Depending on customer needs, the possibilities of adding more compatible languages may be considered.

Canada's TELUS Sees Growth in Wireless Data

Canada's TELUS reported Q2 revenue of C$2.4 billion, an eight per cent increase from a year ago. The performance was driven by nine per cent growth in wireless revenue and 20 per cent growth in wireline data revenue. Wireless net additions were a second quarter record at 175,600. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) as adjusted increased by 3.5 per cent when compared to the same period a year ago. Net income in the quarter was C$267 million and earnings per share (EPS) were C$0.83, up 5.5 per cent and nine percent, respectively, compared to the same period in 2007.

Some highlights:

TELUS wireless

  • External revenues increased by $94 million or 9% to $1.14 billion in the second quarter of 2008, compared with the same period in 2007.

  • Wireless data revenue increased $55 million or 54% due to the continued adoption of full function smartphones and increased adoption of data services such as text messaging, web browsing and downloads.

  • ARPU (average revenue per subscriber unit per month) declined by 1.4% to $62.73 compared to the same quarter a year ago. The fast-growing data component of $9.17, represented 15% of ARPU, while the voice component continued to decline as a result of the increased prepaid subscriber base, lower pricing, including use of included-minute rate
    plans and lower inbound roaming .

  • Net subscriber additions increased 37% to 175,600 from the same quarter in 2007, a TELUS second quarter record. Postpaid net additions were 157,200, an increase of 59%, while net prepaid loading decreased 37% to 18,400. These results include those from TELUS' postpaid value brand and service which was launched in late March 2008.

TELUS wireline

  • External revenues increased by $76 million or 6.5% to $1.26 billion in the second quarter of 2008, when compared with the same period in 2007, as data growth more than offset the declines in local revenues.

  • Data revenues increased by $87 million or 20% due to revenues from the two January acquisitions (Emergis and Fastvibe), increased enhanced data and hosting services, as well as high-speed Internet subscriber growth. When adjusted for the two acquisitions and a regulatory adjustment in the second quarter of 2007, underlying data growth was approximately 7%.

  • Long distance revenues increased by $7 million due to a one-time negative adjustment of $13 million recorded in the same period a year ago with the implementation of a new converged billing and client care system in Alberta.

  • TELUS added 23,600 net high-speed Internet subscribers, a 70% increase from a year ago. The prior year's additions were temporarily constrained by the implementation of a new billing and client care system in Alberta that temporarily reduced order processing capability.

  • EBITDA as adjusted of $431 million declined by $2.6 million or 0.6% due primarily to increased cost of sales, including TELUS TV, and initial costs for implementing enterprise customer contracts.

  • Network access lines (NALs) declined by 40,000 in the quarter, and 3.4% from a year ago, reflecting a slight sequential improvement. Consistent with experience in recent years, residential NAL losses were due to ongoing competitive activity and wireless substitution, partially mitigated by an increase in business access lines.

Joikusoft and FON Offer Wi-Fi HotSpot Software for Mobile Phones

Joikusoft, a developer of mobile Wi-Fi HotSpot software, announces a collaboration with FON, the world's largest WiFi community. FON and Joikusoft are releasing an exclusive version of Joikusoft's mobile hotspot solution, named FonSpot. FonSpot turns a mobile phone into a Wi-Fi HotSpot, enabling any laptop, iPod Touch, internet tablet or other Wi-Fi device to connect to the Internet using any compatible mobile phone as a secure high speed Internet gateway.

FonSpot with Wi-Fi will effectively replace Bluetooth, cable and USB dongles to access the Internet using mobile phones and 3G connectivity. The companies describe FonSpot as a fully secure mobile internet HotSpot solution. It makes use of the maximum security offered by the underlying Symbian OS platform. The users have full control over who will be able to access their FonSpot's wireless internet connection.

FonSpot is an exclusive offering for members of the FON community. Foneros will be able to share their mobile Internet connection with up to 5 friends, who can connect to their FonSpot. It will be made commercially available for Foneros during 3Q 2008.

CWA Sets Bargaining Deadline in Verizon Negotiations

The CWA/IBEW Unified Bargaining Committees announced a bargaining deadline for completing contract negotiations with Verizon. That deadline is Monday, Aug. 11, 12:01 am. At that time, the existing contract that was extended last weekend will expire. The union said strike action then becomes possible if a fair settlement is not reached.

Among the critical issues: permanent, quality jobs at Verizon and other job issues, health care and retirement security, a fair wage settlement and others.

The union said a strike date will be set by the two union presidents in consultation with the bargaining committees.

The current contract, which covers 65,000 members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) was slated to expire at midnight on Saturday, August 3rd.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Deutsche Telekom's 1H08 Revenues Decline 3% to EUR 30.1 billion

Deutsche Telekom's reported revenue for the first half of 2008 declined by three percent to EUR 30.1 billion. On an organic basis, i.e. adjusted for exchange rate effects and changes in the composition of the Group, revenue would have increased slightly by 0.3 percent to EUR 30.8 billion. At EUR 9.5 billion, the Group's adjusted EBITDA was down 0.5 percent on the previous year. On an organic basis, EBITDA would have increased by 0.5 percent to EUR 9.7 billion.

Four factors in particular contributed to these positive results.

Deutsche Telekom said that T-Home's domestic fixed-network business improved slightly year-on-year, mainly on the back of cost savings from the "Save for Service" program and a substantial slowing of the revenue decline in the second quarter. T-Mobile Deutschland increased adjusted EBITDA in the first six months of the current year, lifting the margin from 36.4 percent in the first half of 2007 to 38.2 percent. In addition, T-Mobile USA further increased its earnings performance, with a higher EBITDA margin of 28.7 percent in the first half of 2008 compared with 28.0 percent in the prior-year period. And the mobile communications companies in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia posted double-digit growth rates for both revenue and adjusted EBITDA.

"We made good progress during the first half of the year in achieving our strategic objectives, both in operations and with our cost savings. This leads us to assume that we will reach our financial targets in the 2008 financial year," stated Deutsche Telekom's CEO, René Obermann.

Some highlights:

Mobile Communications

  • T-Mobile Deutschland increased its profitability in a fiercely contested market, lifting its adjusted EBITDA margin to 39.6 percent in the second quarter of 2008 from 36.9 percent in the previous year.

  • T-Mobile Deutschland is the exclusive seller of Apple iPhone in Germany. T-Mobile has also been selling the iPhone 3G in Austria and the Netherlands since June 11.

  • T-Mobile USA had 31.5 million customers as of June 30, 2008, 4.6 million more than a year earlier. Between April and June, this company recorded 668,000 net additions. The decrease compared with the prior-year figure of 857,000 can be mainly attributed to higher churn among contract customers following the expiration of the first two-year fixed-term contracts that were introduced for new customers in April 2006 for the first time. At 3.2 million in the second quarter of 2008, gross additions were again above the high level achieved in the previous year. In the second quarter, T-Mobile USA added more than one million MyFaves customers, pushing the number of customers who use this community rate to over 6.5 million.

  • T-Mobile UK recorded a decrease in revenue of 11.5 percent in the first six months to EUR 2.07 billion compared with the same period in 2007. Measured in pounds sterling, however, revenue rose by 1.7 percent. In addition to exchange rate effects, this development reflects the fierce competition in the UK market.

Broadband/Fixed Network

  • In its domestic market, T-Home recorded stable earnings and a decrease in revenue in line with expectations. The year-on-year revenue decline of 4.4 percent to EUR 4.73 billion in the second quarter of 2008 was at the lower end of the forecast of minus four to minus six percent. In the first quarter of this year, revenue had decreased by 6.1 percent.

  • On the German broadband market, T-Home has a market share of over 40 percent of new DSL customers for the seventh consecutive quarter. This corresponds to 340,000 net additions in the second quarter. The number of T-Home DSL retail customers has thus grown from 8.0 million to 9.9 million in one year. Around a quarter of a million customers have now opted for an Entertain package with fast Internet access and IPTV.

  • In addition to line losses resulting from competition and regulatory changes designed to reduce the market share, since the beginning of the year losses have also included reductions that are primarily a result of the migration of DSL resale customers to All IP. Line losses in the first half of 2008 were also largely attributable to this second factor. Consequently, the total number of line losses cannot be directly compared with those in the previous year.

  • As announced in March, Deutsche Telekom expects the number of lines in Germany to decline by between 2.5 and 3.0 million in the full 2008 financial year. At 1.2 million in the first half of the year, the decrease in the number of lines is at the lower end of the range expected for 2008 as a whole. In the second quarter, the total number of line losses was around 650,000. This quarter-on-quarter increase was primarily attributable to the stronger impact of resale customers migrating to All IP. The number of resale lines decreased by around 230,000 in the second quarter.

Business Customers

  • T-Systems' international business grew by 3.2 percent in the first six months of 2008 to EUR 1.2 billion. This development is primarily attributable to major international outsourcing contracts such as those concluded with Siemens and Shell. In Germany, by contrast, revenue fell by 13.6 percent to EUR 4.0 billion.

  • The Business Customers segment reported a decline in revenue of 10.2 percent to approximately EUR 5.3 billion, due to the realignment with the sale of Media & Broadcast at the start of the year and the reassignment of Active Billing to T-Home.

  • Another factor was the reduction in intragroup revenue, which fell 17.8 percent year-on-year. This decrease illustrates T-Systems' substantial contribution to Deutsche Telekom's cost-cutting program. In organic terms, i.e. adjusted for the revenue from Media & Broadcast and Active Billing in 2007 and exchange rate effects, total revenue decreased by 3.0 percent in the first half of 2008.

TANDBERG TV Supplies Encoding for Olympics Coverage

TANDBERG Television, part of the Ericsson Group, is providing a range of MPEG-4 AVC and MPEG-2 compression equipment and professional receivers to a number of major broadcast organizations across the globe including the Host Broadcaster, EBU and Televisa.

"With an estimated 4 billion potential viewers and 5,000 hours of coverage, the Beijing Games represent the pinnacle of broadcast television, live television and sports broadcasting rolled into one," comments Dario Choi, VP and General Manager of TANDBERG Television Asia Pacific. "With so much fast-moving live action and color, this event was made for HDTV. As the recognized leader in HD video compression and content distribution we are honored to be playing such a central role in making these Games the first to be fully broadcast in high-definition."

TANDBERG Television is supplying the Host Broadcaster of the 2008 Beijing Games with a range of MPEG-4 AVC video compression equipment and professional receivers for broadcasting of the Games. The solutions include TANDBERG EN8090 MPEG-4 AVC HD encoders and the RX1290 multi-format Professional Receivers. The system will be managed by nCompass Control. Live high-definition feeds will be encoded in full 1080i resolution at two bit-rates simultaneously to fit different IP transmission paths. At the same time, each HD source will be internally down-converted inside the encoder, offering up to full resolution standard-definition MPEG-4 AVC.

Level 3 Supplies CDN for Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung

Level 3 Communications has been selected to provide content delivery services to Sueddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany's leading national newspapers. Level 3's content delivery network (CDN) will be used to deliver all video and pictures for the newspaper's Web portal. Specifically, Level 3 will deliver caching and download services to support ongoing demand growth at http://www.level3.com

Huawei Cites 100% YoY Growth in UMTS/GSM Shipments in 1H 2008

Huawei Technologies reported that its UMTS and GSM transceivers (TRXs) shipments recorded over 100 percent growth in the first half of 2008 as compared to the same period last year.

In the GSM space, Huawei delivered 800,000 TRXs, more than the total number of shipments for the whole of 2007 in the first six months of 2008. 400,000 TRXs were delivered in China and India alone. To date Huawei has secured 111 UMTS/HSPA commercial contracts and continues to lead the market with 25 new contracts in first half of 2008.

Huawei Opens Training Centre in South Africa

Huawei Technologies opened its first training centre in South Africa. The facility aims to transfer skills and share expertise in next generation telecom technologies with employees, local partners and the industry. The facility is located in Woodmead. Huawei also has training facilities in Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and Tunisia.

Dell'Oro: China's Telecom Restructuring to Impact Mobile Infrastructure Market

The recently announced restructuring of the telecom industry in China is expected to greatly benefit the mobile infrastructure market over the next five years, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group. According to the report, growth in China will help WCDMA market revenues and base station shipments surpass those of the GSM market in 2011.

"We believe the restructuring of the Chinese telecom industry will be completed by the first quarter of 2009," stated Scott Siegler, Analyst of Mobility Infrastructure research at Dell'Oro Group. "Once the restructuring is complete, we expect 3G licenses to be issued to the three mobile operators. China Mobile will be issued a TD-SCDMA license. The reorganized China Unicom is likely to be issued a WCDMA license, and we forecast the operator will begin deploying its WCDMA network beginning in 2010. In addition, we believe in the second half of 2009, the CDMA market will begin to benefit from increased investment by China Telecom, as it focuses on its single CDMA network, rather than the GSM and CDMA networks China Unicom has been maintaining. We also believe China Telecom will begin launching its CDMA 1X network beginning in 2010. This new growth of CDMA in China will help to offset the declines of CDMA in North America, Korea and Japan," continued Siegler.

Occam Posts Q2 Revenue of $22.8 Million

Occam Networks reported Q2 revenue of $22.8 million, up 19 percent from the same quarter a year ago and up 16 percent compared with the prior quarter. The sequential increase in revenue was primarily due to higher sales to new customers. Gross margin improved to $10.1 million, or 44% of revenue, compared with $8.4 million, or 43% of revenue, for the prior quarter and with $7.1 million, or 37% of revenue, for the second quarter of 2007. Net loss (GAAP) attributable to common stockholders for the second quarter of 2008 was $2.7 million, or a loss of $0.13 per basic share, compared with a net loss of $4.5 million, or a loss of $0.23 per basic share, for the first quarter of 2008 and with a net loss of $946,000, or $0.05 per basic share, for the second quarter of 2007.

"The second quarter marked solid progress toward our goal of returning to profitability," said Bob Howard-Anderson, president and CEO of Occam Networks. "As planned, we executed on trials for our new GPON products and have received positive customer feedback. In addition, we recorded initial sales to our recent Northern New England FairPoint win. We believe that new customers and innovative products -- such as GPON -- bolster Occam's market position and will continue to foster our growth."

Acme Packet Posts Q2 Sales of $25.7 Million, Expands Stock Repurchases

Acme Packet reported Q2 revenue of $25.7 million compared to $27.0 million in the same period last year. Net income for the second quarter of fiscal year 2008 was $0.8 million, or $0.01 per share on a diluted basis, compared to $4.6 million, or $0.07 per share on a diluted basis, in the same period last year. The company also announced that its Board of Directors has authorized the expansion of the company's common stock repurchase program from $20.0 million to $55.0 million. The company has repurchased approximately $15.1 million of stock under the common stock repurchase program announced in February 2008.

TokBox Raises $10 Million for Free Video Conferencing Website

TokBox, a start-up based in San Francisco, raised $10 million in series B venture funding for its web-based video communication service that offers consumers free video calling.

TokBox, which launched in October 2007, lets consumers talk face to face using either a web-based client or a downloaded client. It requires no configuration. It can also be integrated into Facebook.

The new funding round was led by Bain Capital Ventures. Sequoia Capital, which led the Series A investment in TokBox, also invested in the new round.

TokBox said it will use the new funding to build out its executive team and drive continued expansion of the company's user base both in the U.S. and worldwide.
  • TokBox is headed by Nick Triantos, who prior to joining the company in November 2007 was a Partner at Quantum Technology Partners, a technology-focused venture capital firm. Before that, Nick has spent 8 years in software engineering and engineering management roles at NVIDIA.