Saturday, September 6, 2008

GeoEye-1 Satellite Successfully Launched

GeoEye-1, the world's highest resolution, commercial Earth-imaging satellite, was successfully launched into orbit on Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket.

GeoEye-1, which was built by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, is part of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) NextView program. The NextView program is designed to ensure that the NGA has access to commercial imagery in support of its mission to provide timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of national security.

GeoEye-1 will simultaneously collect 0.41-meter ground resolution black-and-white (panchromatic) images and 1.65-meter color (multispectral) images. Designed to take digital images of the Earth from 681 kilometers and moving at a speed of about seven kilometers per second, the satellite camera can distinguish objects on the Earth's surface as small as 0.41-meter in size. Due to U.S. licensing restrictions, commercial customers will get access to imagery at half-meter ground resolution.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

FCC Grants Forbearance from Legacy Service Quality Reporting

The FCC has decided to grant significant forbearance to AT&T and other legacy carriers who are obliged to file Automated Reporting Management Information System (ARMIS) reports. The ARMIS reports provide data on a service quality and certain network infrastructure metrics.

The FCC Commission said it will continue to seek access to the data necessary for public safety and broadband policymaking, and that certain infrastructure and operating data might be useful, but only if collected on an industry-wide basis. Therefore, the FCC is seeking public comment on whether such data should be collected from all relevant providers in furtherance of those goals. Similarly, certain service quality and
customer satisfaction data might be useful, but only if collected on an industry-wide basis. The FCC is also seeking comment on whether it should collect such data on an industry-wide basis.

In addition, the FCC has decided to extend to Verizon and Qwest the conditional forbearance granted to AT&T in the AT&T Cost
Assignment Forbearance Order.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin stated: "Today, we take another step to remove unnecessary regulatory burdens and ensure a regulatory level playing field. We eliminate outdated reporting requirements that applied to a small class of carriers, retaining only those requirements that still serve a useful regulatory purpose. And if the Commission does believe specific information is needed in today's competitive marketplace, then we should collect that information from all industry players rather than a handful of carriers. Therefore, we initiate a proceeding to determine whether and how to collect such information across all platforms."

In a separate statement, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said: "The collection and analysis of solid communications-related data is a linchpin in the Commission's ability to make sound decisions and provide useful guidance and assistance to consumers, states, industry-participants and other stakeholders. That is why it has been so troubling to see in to many instances the Commission headed down the road of collecting less data. Now we are confronted with forbearance requests by carriers seeking relief from the responsibility of collecting and reporting service quality, customer satisfaction, and infrastructure and operating data pursuant to the Commission's ARMIS reporting rules."

iSkoot Acquires Social.IM for Mobile Web Communications

San Francisco-based iSkoot, which provides carrier-friendly mobile VoIP solutions, has acquired Social.IM for its social network IM client. The acquisition positions iSkoot to grow beyond mobile VoIP. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Social.IM built a customizable desktop application and Web service that adds real-time communication and desktop notifications for social networks, online communities, and Web sites. The technology includes a desktop IM client and also the capability to deliver new message alerts, information, and content to social network or online community members. Social.IM also released a developer API that allows for social network application developers to reach their users on desktop.

"Social.IM has served as an instant Web communications desktop platform and we see a clear consumer integration with iSkoot's upcoming suite of Web to mobile push services," said Mark Jacobstein, iSkoot CEO. "Acquiring Social.IM is a key step in our path to introduce later this year a groundbreaking new communications platform that will revolutionize the mobile landscape."
  • Earlier this year, iSkoot hired CEO Mark Jacobstein, who played key roles at Digital Chocolate and Loopt.

  • Also, Skype and iSkoot announced a new five-year agreement. As part of the deal, iSkoot received for the first time the exclusive rights to offer the Skype mobile services though carrier partners in eight countries.

  • iSkoot launched its carrier-grade, carrier-deployed Skype-for-Mobile application in 2006, and now powers the Skypephone, which currently sold in eight countries on three continents.

Nokia Lowers Q3 2008 Mobile Device Market Share Outlook

Nokia trimmed its mobile device market share outlook for the third quarter 2008, saying it now expects its mobile device market share to be lower than in the second quarter 2008. This compares to Nokia's earlier estimation provided in the second quarter results announcement on July 17, 2008, when the company said it expected its mobile device market share in the third quarter 2008 to be approximately at the same level sequentially.

Nokia continues to target an increase in its market share in mobile devices for the full year 2008.

Nokia expects the overall mobile device market in 2008 to be impacted by the weaker consumer confidence in multiple markets. However, Nokia continues to expect industry mobile device volumes in 2008 to grow 10% or more from the approximately 1.14 billion units Nokia estimated for 2007. Nokia also continues to expect industry mobile device volumes in the third quarter 2008 to be up sequentially.

Nokia's current estimate that its mobile device market share in the third quarter 2008 will be lower than previously expected is due to multiple factors. These factors include Nokia's tactical decision to not meet certain aggressive pricing of some competitors, the overall market competition, including the entry markets, and the temporary impact of a slower ramp-up of a mid-range Nokia device.

In a press call on Friday, Nokia said it has not broadly participated in the recent aggressive pricing activity - as it believes that the negative impact to profitability would outweigh any short term incremental benefits to device unit sales.
  • In July 2007, Nokia estimated that the number of mobile device shipped across the entire industry in Q2 reached 303 million units, up 15% year on year and up 3% sequentially. Nokia mobile device volumes reached 122 million units in the quarter, up 21% year on year and up 6% sequentially.

AT&T U-verse Builds HD VOD Library

AT&T U-verse has begun featuring High Definition titles as part of its Video On Demand library. HD VOD is now available to all AT&T U-verse TV customers.

The U-verse VOD library features a selection of new releases in HD, and this initial offering will be expanded over the coming months and on an ongoing basis. AT&T said all U-verse TV customers will have access to the U-verse VOD library, which features a variety of free and rental VOD titles. U-verse VOD offers titles the same day as DVD releases, Spanish and international movies, modern classics, independent films, family and kids programming, television series on demand and exclusive content. Three-day rental periods are also available for select titles, unlike with some competitors.

All U-verse TV packages include HD-ready equipment, and most include an HD-capable DVR. All U-verse TV customers can enjoy rentals from the U-verse HD VOD library. U-verse TV customers can also add HD service for $10 a month with any U-verse TV programming package for access to a lineup of more than 45 HD linear channels.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Telefónica to Raise Stake in China Netcom

Telefónica announced an agreement with AllianceBernstein to acquire an additional stake of up to approximately 5.74% of the share capital of the China Netcom. he acquisition will be structured in two tranches, (i) the first tranche will be in respect of shares representing approximately 2.71% of the issued share capital of CNC as of the date hereof, and (ii) the second tranche will be in respect of a number of shares in CHINA UNICOM LIMITED ("CU") issued after its merger with CNC in exchange of shares representing up to a 3.03% stake
in CNC.

After the first tranche acquisition, which will be closed in the following days, Telefónica's stake in CNC would represent approximately 9.9% (inclusive of the acquisition of a 2.2% stake announced on January 18, 2008 which is pending regulatory approvals).

In the event of the acquisition of the entire stake involved in the second tranche, Telefónica's pro forma shareholding in the enlarged entity resulting from the merger of CU and CNC following the completion of the Scheme would stand at approximately 5.50% (inclusive of the
above mentioned acquisition of a 2.2% stake in CNC which is pending regulatory approvals).

The acquisition of the first tranche will involve a total investment of approximately EUR 368 million (depending on the exchange rate prevailing when the transaction is closed). The purchase price of the shares in the second tranche may be adjusted according to the average of closing
prices of the CNC shares prior to the merger between CNC and CU. If completed, the acquisition of the entire stake of the second tranche would involve a total investment of approximately between EUR 392 million and EUR 434 million.

Fonality Closes $12 Million for Open Source Systems

Fonality, which specializes in open source phone systems and contact center solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, has secured a $12 million financing round led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson Growth Fund with participation from existing investor Intel Capital.

Fonality makes open source Internet-based telephony and unified communications solutions that tie together all forms of business communication -- instant message, landline calling, mobile calling, chat, voicemail, customer relationship management (CRM), e-mail and more -- into one unified desktop software application. Products include IP-PBX VoIP phone systems based on a patent-pending Anywhere Management Hybrid-Hosted architecture. The company's phone systems are sold direct to businesses at, through a global network of resellers, and by Dell.

Fonality said its focus on building affordable, easy-to-use, and full-featured products enables it to compete directly with Cisco, Microsoft, Nortel and Avaya while creating an entirely new market for affordable professional call centers for companies with five to 500 employees.

Fonality's headquarters are in Los Angeles with additional offices in Australia and Argentina. Company investors include Draper Fisher Jurvetson Growth Fund, Intel Capital, and Azure Capital Partners.

Nortel Cites 40G Wins with Bell Canada, Alaska Communications

Bell Canada has begun deployment of Nortel's 40G Optical Solution in its backbone network. Initial deployments are occurring within Bell's Montreal-New York, Toronto-Chicago and Toronto-Montreal traffic corridors. The solution, which co-exists within Bell's current 10G network. is built on Nortel's Optical Multiservice Edge 6500 and runs over the Nortel Common Photonic Layer line system. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Separately, Nortel announced that Alaska Communications Systems has chosen it to provide a 40G optical network for the terrestrial portion of an undersea fiber-optic cable from Alaska to Oregon. This network will position ACS to deliver end-to-end communications solutions for enterprise and mass market customers who require reliable, high-performance connectivity between Alaska and the lower 48 states. The ACS optical network solution includes the Optical Multiservice Edge 6500 convergence platform and the Common Photonic Layer (CPL) line system.

ADC Reports Sales of $390 Million, Up 13% YoY

ADC's sales for its third fiscal quarter of 2008 were $390 million, up 13% from the third quarter of 2007 and down 3% from the second quarter of 2008. Excluding sales from the LGC Wireless and Century Man Communication acquisitions of $36 million and $35 million in the third and second quarters of 2008, respectively, adjusted sales in the third quarter of 2008 were up 3% from the third quarter of 2007 and down 4% from the second quarter of 2008.

Sales outside the United States of $173 million increased 32% from the third quarter of 2007 and 3% from the second quarter of 2008. These sales were 44% of total ADC sales in the third quarter of 2008, an increase from 42% and 38% in the second quarter of 2008 and the third quarter of 2007, respectively. Comparing the third quarters of 2008 and 2007, Europe/Middle East/Africa sales of $91 million were up 28%, Asia Pacific sales of $54 million were up 52% and Latin America sales of $18 million were up 53%. Comparing the third quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of 2008, Europe/Middle East/Africa sales were approximately flat, Asia Pacific sales were up 8% and Latin America sales were up 11%. The remaining sales outside the United States were in Canada.

Ciena Posts Solid Q3 Revenues, Cautions on Q4 Outlook

Ciena reported revenue of $253.2 million for its fiscal third quarter ended July 31, 2008, representing a 5% sequential increase from fiscal second quarter 2008 revenue of $242.2 million, and an increase of 24% over the same period a year ago when Ciena reported revenue of $205 million. Ciena's net income (GAAP) was $11.7 million, or $0.12 per diluted common share. This compares to fiscal second quarter GAAP net income of $23.8 million, or $0.23 per diluted common share, and a reported GAAP net income of $28.3 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, for the same period a year ago.

Ciena said non-U.S. customers drove 38% of revenue in the quarter. The was a GAAP gross margin of 49.6% with product gross margin of 52% and services gross margin of 34%.

Ciena also struck a cautious note for the current quarter.

"In addition to existing customer-specific challenges, we have recently begun to experience order delays from many of our Tier One service provider customers, which we attribute to their guarded approach to capital expenditures given the uncertain macroeconomic environment," said Smith. "While we've seen no project or order cancellations, sales cycles are lengthening and some deployments are slowing. As a result, we now expect fiscal fourth quarter revenue in a range of $190 to $210 million."

"While current economic conditions warrant a cautious near-term outlook, the fundamental drivers of our business -- growing capacity demands and the transition to more efficient, more powerful, automated networks -- remain sound. We are confident that our portfolio and value propositions are differentiated, positioning us to take advantage of what is predicted to be a longer-term investment cycle in the transition from SONET/SDH to Ethernet-based networks," said Gary Smith, Ciena's president and CEO.

Aicent Raises Funding from Intel for 3G/4G/WiMAX Messaging Exchange

Aicent, a start-up based in San Jose, California, announced new funding from Intel Capital for its efforts to accelerate 3G and 4G global data roaming initiatives, including mobile WiMAX. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Aicent currently provides data network, messaging and roaming solutions to more than 100 GSM and CDMA mobile operators worldwide, which serve over one billion mobile subscribers in aggregate. The company operates one of the world's largest multimedia messaging exchanges, and offers other value-added services to carriers.
  • Aicent is headed by Lynn Liu. Previously, Lynn was a co-founder, Chief Operating Officer and President of Asia Pacific region for GRIC Communications (IPO in 1999).

Comscore: U.S. Catches Up with Western Europe in 3G Adoption

The United States has caught up with Western Europe in the adoption of 3G with 28.4 percent of American mobile subscribers having 3G devices versus 28.3 percent in the largest countries in Europe, according to a new report from Comscore.

The number of U.S. subscribers with 3G enabled devices has grown 80 percent to 64.2 million during the past year.

Comscore attributed the rapid adoption of 3G devices in the U.S. to the introduction of sleek devices over the past year.

Cablevision Activates WiFi Zones in Long Island

Cablevision Systems has completed an initial rollout of its Optimum WiFi service in commercial and high-traffic areas of Nassau County, in areas of Suffolk County, and on the commuter rail platforms and station parking lots across all of Long Island. The service is provided as a value-added benefit for Cablevision's Optimum Online high-speed Internet customers.

Cablevision in May announced plans to deploy WiFi in the commercial and high consumer traffic areas across its entire tri-state service area over the next two years. http://www.optimumwifi.com

Alcatel-Lucent Receives Mobile WiMAX Certification

Alcatel-Lucent has been awarded the WiMAX Forum Certified seal of approval for its WiMAX 802.16e Compact Base Station at 2.5GHz. Alcatel-Lucent's infrastructure portfolio is made up of products that strictly comply with the 802.16e-2005 standard (also called Rev-e), which supports fixed, nomadic and mobile services. The company said its "Open CPE Program" is helping to accelerate the availability of terminals by encompassing comprehensive interoperability testing programs with WiMAX chipset and end-user device suppliers.

To earn this certification, Alcatel-Lucent's 802.16e WiMAX products underwent testing by the WiMAX Forum's lead certification laboratory partner, AT4 wireless, spanning protocol conformance, radio conformance and interoperability testing.http://www.alcatel-lucent.com

Latest TiVo Records up to 150 hours of HD Content

TiVo introduced its HD XL Digital Video Recorder, featuring the ability to record up to 150 hours of HD content, THX certification, a Series3 premium backlit remote control and an included HDMI cable. Similar to TiVo HD, dual tuners allow subscribers to record two different shows in HD at the same time, while watching a third pre-recorded show. The unit uses a 1TB (1,000GB) hard disk drive.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Australia Sets Date for National Broadband Network Proposals

Stephen Conroy, Australia's Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, has set 26-November-2008 as the closing date for the submission of National Broadband Network proposals.

The Government issued its Request for Proposals for the National Broadband Network on 11-April-2008. The closing time has been amended to account for time taken by the Government to necessarily work with carriers to ensure that proponents have access to information about existing networks and time to consider it. The intention is that this will help them prepare robust, competitive proposals.

Key provisions of this RFP issued in April include the ability to:

  • deliver minimum download speeds of 12 Mbps to 98% of Australian homes and businesses;

  • have the network rolled out and made operational progressively over five years using fibre-to-the-node or fibre-to-the-premises technology;

  • support high quality voice, data and video services including symmetric applications such as high-definition video-conferencing;

  • earn the Commonwealth a return on its investment;

  • facilitate competition in the telecommunications sector through open access arrangements that allow all service providers access to the network on equivalent terms; and

  • enable uniform and affordable retail prices to consumers, no matter where they live.

Russia's VimpleCom Launches 3G, "Beeline" Corporate Services

VimpelCom announced the commercial launch of a 3G network in certain Russian regions, including the cities of Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara and Chelyabinsk. The networks currently cover the central and some of the most densely populated districts in these cities, and VimpelCom expects that during 2008 coverage will be extended to bedroom communities.

VimpelCom is offering seven tariff plans to accommodate a wide range of users. The company said it plans to launch 3G networks in around 40 cities by the end of 2008.

In addition, VimpelCom announced the launch of its "Beeline Business" brand for the Russian corporate market. All the products and services provided to corporate clients by Golden Telecom and Corbina Telecom will be offered under the new single brand.

"The launch of ‘Beeline Business' means that we are an integrated operator which provides its clients with a wide range of telecom solutions. Business customers will soon find it natural to receive different types of communications services from one vendor that will help to make their business more successful", said Jean-Pierre Vandromme, the Executive Vice President for Russian Operations of VimpelCom.
  • The VimpelCom Group includes companies operating in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia and Armenia, in territories with a total population of about 250 million.

RADWIN Releases WinLink 1000 5.8 GHz C

RADWIN introduced its WinLink 1000 5.8 GHz High-Power solution featuring compliance with the latest ETSI regulation [EN 302 502 V1.1.1] allowing 4 watt maximum radiated power (EIRP).

The WinLink 1000 5.8 GHz High-Power incorporates a Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) mechanism as defined by the new ETSI standard. It provides carrier-class Ethernet and E1 connectivity with longer range and higher capacity than previously available in unlicensed bands. Geared for service providers and ISPs, the WinLink 1000 5.8 GHz is aimed at a range of telecom applications including access in rural areas, cellular and WiMAX backhaul and private network connectivity.

Verizon and Yahoo! Extend Strategic Alliance with New Multiyear Co-branded Portal Agreement

Verizon Communications and Yahoo! announced a new multiyear agreement to provide an integrated, co-branded Verizon-Yahoo! portal as a preferred starting point for new Verizon broadband subscribers. This new agreement extends the relationship between Yahoo! and Verizon that began in 2005. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under the terms of the new agreement, the customizable Verizon-Yahoo! portal will be offered as the first portal choice option for all new subscribers to Verizon's FiOS Internet and High Speed Internet services. Customers who choose the Verizon-Yahoo! portal will get Yahoo! Search, and co-branded e-mail, Instant Messenger and Toolbar applications. Yahoo! also will provide search and display advertising on the co-branded portal and e-mail application, and both companies will share the search, advertising and e-commerce revenues generated by users of the co-branded portal.

Beyond news and information, the co-branded Verizon-Yahoo! portal offers access to content and tools from Yahoo!, including e-mail previews, to-do lists, sports updates, weather, finance portfolios and TV listings, as well as photos and videos from Flickr.http://www.verizon.com

Telecom New Zealand International Tests GSMA IPX with Veraz

Telecom New Zealand International (TNZI) and Veraz Networks, have completed a multi-operator global trial of the GSM Association (GSMA) IP eXchange (IPX) framework for IP-based network interconnect services.

The IP eXchange (IPX) is a global private IP network, supporting end-to-end quality of service, and the principal of cascading interconnect payments for next generation GSM and CDMA mobile operators, fixed line service providers and application service providers. In order to provide these features the IPX is service aware, unlike the Internet and the GPRS Roaming Exchange (GRX). With over seven hundred mobile operators, serving three billion mobile subscribers, looking for value-added interconnect solutions to extend their service reach, IPX is expected to quickly become the dominant global peering arrangement.

TNZI's IPX trial network involved four other carriers, including Telekom Austria and MTT, connected to TNZI as IPX Provider-Service Provider pairs. The testing demonstrated the ability of the IPX architecture to provide a secure IP-based platform for interconnecting mobile and fixed operators. In addition to VoIP peering, the trial also demonstrated value-added services including transcoding, security features provided by Veraz's Network-adaptive Border Controller as well as VoIP to PSTN interworking that IPX providers can use to differentiate their offering.

Veraz said its IPX solution has been successfully tested by multiple IPX providers interested in offering IPX services. Veraz's IPX solution includes the ControlSwitch converged TDM and IP softswitch, the Network-adaptive Border Controller family of security products and the I-Gate 4000 family of media gateways.http://www.veraznetworks.com