Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nokia Siemens Networks Updates Job Cut Plan

Nokia Siemens Networks outlined the proposed remaining headcount reductions following the merger of Nokia and Siemens last year. When the plan to form Nokia Siemens Networks was announced on June 19, 2006, Nokia and Siemens said that they expected the merger to result in a headcount adjustment in the range of 10-15 percent of the global workforce. In May of 2007, Nokia Siemens Networks confirmed that it expected the adjustment to remain within that range, at approximately 9,000 employees. To date, the company has achieved an adjustment of more than 6,000 employees and continues to expect a total synergy-related adjustment of approximately 9,000 employees.

In May 2007, Nokia Siemens Networks announced that it expected a reduction of 1,500‑1,700 employees in Finland, not including the transfer of employees to trusted partners. To date, the company has achieved approximately 500 reductions through its active restructuring process, with substantially all through the use of voluntary severance packages. Headcount in Finland has been further reduced through natural attrition and the transfer of employees to trusted partners. Nokia Siemens Networks is now proposing a maximum reduction need in the range of 750 employees in Finland, bringing the planned total reductions through active restructuring to less than 1,300. At the completion of the planned synergy-related headcount restructuring activities, Nokia Siemens Networks expects to have in the range of 7,000 employees in Finland, from an initial base of approximately 9,200.

In Germany, Nokia Siemens Networks announced in May 2007 that it was targeting active reductions in the range of 2,800-2,900 and reached agreement with employee representatives on an initial reduction of 2,300, which was completed on May 28, 2008. Since then, a further assessment of the business impact of merger-related synergy requirements, corresponding organizational and portfolio changes, and continued challenging telecommunications market conditions have shown the need for further reductions, primarily in the company's Munich Hofmannstrasse site.

As a result, the company has no alternative but to discontinue its activities at the Hofmannstrasse site. The proposed reduction will affect approximately 500 employees and is planned to be completed by the end of October 2009. The company's information technology organization located at Tölzer Strasse in Munich will not be impacted as that facility is subject to a long-planned separation from the Hofmannstrasse site.

Juniper Introduces Data Center Switching Infrastructure

Juniper Networks introduced a data center switching solution that leverages its EX series Ethernet switches, high-densities of 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports, JUNOS operating software and "virtualized chassis" technology. Essentially, the new data switching solution aims to remove an entire tier of aggregation switches and supporting security platforms typically seen in today's mid-to-large sized corporate data centers.

Juniper achieves this by allowing up to ten 48-port EX 4200 switches to be logically aggregated into a single virtual switch. This saves interconnect and uplink ports, as well as eliminates the need to deploy the typical panoply of security appliances. A single SRX-series platform can now serve this role. Juniper estimates its data center architecture can significantly reduce network complexity and total cost of ownership by up to 52 percent in capital expenditures, up to 44 percent in power, up to 44 percent in cooling and up to 55 percent in rack space.

In addition, by deploying Juniper MX-series edge routers, IP/MPLS Layer 3 VPNs can be mapped via the EX switches directly to individual servers in the data center. Mirroring and back-up applications can also be mapped via VPNs to secondary data centers.
  • In January 2008, Juniper Networks unveiled a new family of Ethernet switches running on its JUNOS software and designed to meet the technical, business and economic requirements of a service-enabling network infrastructure. The new EX-series, which includes three Ethernet switching families, the EX 3200, 4200 and 8200, are based on three key tenets -- operational simplicity, carrier-class reliability, and integration and consolidation.

    The EX 3200 series switches are fixed-configuration Ethernet platforms offering a simple, cost-effective, standalone solution for low-density regional and corporate office deployments. Installed in wiring closets to provide network access, the 24- and 48-port EX 3200 switches offer plug-and-play 10/100/1000BASE-T connectivity. Full and partial Power over Ethernet (PoE) options are available for supporting IP-enabled devices such as telephones, security cameras and WLAN access points. Optional four-port GbE and two-port 10GbE uplink modules with pluggable optics are also available for supporting high-speed connections to other switches or upstream devices such as routers.

    The Juniper EX 4200 series

    The EX 4200 series Ethernet switches with Virtual-Chassis technology combine modular systems capabilities with the economics and flexibility of stackable platforms. Target applications include data center, corporate and regional office environments.

    Like the EX 3200 switches, EX 4200 series switches offer 24- and 48-port 10/100/1000BASE-T configurations with full and partial PoE and optional GbE and 10GbE uplink modules, plus a 24-port fiber switch offering 100/1000BASE-X support.

    The Virtual Chassis technology allows up to 10 EX 4200 series switches to be interconnected over a 128 Gbps backplane, creating a single virtual switch supporting up to 480 10/100/1000BASE-T ports and up to 40 GbE or 20 10GbE uplink ports. All EX 4200 series switches include HA features such as redundant, hot-swappable internal power supplies and field-replaceable, multi-blower fan trays to help deliver maximum uptime.

    The Juniper EX 8200 series

    The modular EX 8200 series Terabit Ethernet switches are aimed at high-density 10GbE enterprise core and aggregation deployments. Juniper will offer two EX 8200 series switches -- an eight-slot 1.6 Terabit Chassis and a 16-slot 3.2 terabit Chassis.

    The EX 8200 switches will feature enterprise-class routing tables and deep, hardware-based packet buffers. Wire-speed 10GbE port densities will scale to 64 ports in the eight-slot chassis and 128 ports in the 16-slot chassis. Two fully-equipped 16-slot EX 8200 switches will fit in a single 42-unit rack, delivering 256 wire-speed 10GbE ports per rack.

Nortel Announces Q3 Numbers, Job Cuts, Reorganization

Citing a worsening of economic conditions since its last financial update in September, Nortel issued its Q3 financial report and confirmed plans for further job cuts.

Revenue in the third quarter of $2.32 billion decreased 14 percent year over year and down 1 percent on a year-to-date basis. The decline compared to the year ago quarter resulted from a challenging economic environment, competitive pressures and reduced spending by key carrier customers.

Plans call for the reduction of approximately 1,300 positions, with about 25 percent of the net reduction taking place in 2008 and the remainder in 2009. This is expected to result in annual gross savings of approximately $190 million, with total charges to earnings and cash outlays of approximately $130 million. In addition to deeper cuts in spending, the company is considering possible sales of its real estate holdings.

Effective January 1, 2009, Nortel will decentralize several corporate functions and transition to a vertically integrated business unit structure. This includes:

  • Enterprise customers will be served by a highly focused and dedicated business unit that will drive product and portfolio development, R&D, marketing and sales, partner and channel management, strategic business development and associated functions. Led by Joel Hackney it will include the entire communications solutions portfolio (voice, data and unified communications), advanced software and the associated value-added services and solutions.

  • Two business units with full responsibility for all product, services, applications, portfolio, business and market development, marketing and R&D functions will serve Nortel's Service Provider customers: Carrier Networks (consisting of wireless and carrier value-added activities), led by Richard Lowe; and Metro Ethernet Networks, led by Philippe Morin. A dedicated global carrier sales organization will support both business units, led by Darryl Edwards.

There is no update at this time on Nortel's review of the potential divestiture of the MEN business.

ShoreTel Expands its UC Suite with Conferencing and Collaboration Tools

ShoreTel has extended its Pure IP Unified Communications (UC) solutions by integrating its enhanced ShoreTel Converged Conferencing 7.1 solution with the ShoreTel 8.1 Call Manager. The combination lets users quickly host meet-me audio and web conferences, chat securely via IM, and instantly share documents -- all with a single mouse click from the same interface they use for voice communications. ShoreTel Converged Conferencing 7.1 also encrypts the instant messaging flow between enterprise users, ensuring proprietary information is safe from exposure to the open Internet.

ShoreTel Converged Conferencing 7.1 creates a single vendor solution for ad hoc collaboration, providing enterprise-grade audio, Web conferencing and secure Instant Messaging.

"In this challenging economic environment, companies are looking for communications solutions that can help them reduce costs while delivering enterprise-grade security and reliability. Today, our customers can affordably extend the tools they use for voice calls to conferencing and collaboration -- simplifying their communications, increasing productivity, and significantly driving down costs by eliminating the expense of a hosted service," stated Kevin Gavin, Vice President of Marketing, ShoreTel.

Motorola Offers IPTV Ecosystem Integration and Support Service

Motorola will begin offering an IPTV Ecosystem Integration and Support Service to help service providers design, deploy and integrate IPTV systems. The IPTV services suite can help tailor an IPTV deployment for the needs of each service provider. Motorola' said its professional design, installation and integration services can enable seamless integration with existing network infrastructure and fast rollout of new, high-quality service offerings. Benefits include:

  • Streamlined operations - A single point of contact and accountability for solution design, deployment and integration across partners and platforms.

  • Lower costs - Eliminating the need for dedicated resources reduces costs on deployment and integration for service providers.

  • Quality assurance - Optimizing operations and ensuring service quality can ultimately increase customer loyalty.

Nokia Launches Public Pilot to Gather Traffic Data using GPS-Enabled Mobile Devices

Nokia launches Mobile Millennium, a public pilot that will collect and study traffic data received from GPS-enabled mobile devices, such as the Nokia N96, Nokia N95 and Nokia E71. Based in part on the results of an earlier experiment, Nokia believes that a community of users with GPS-equipped mobile devices can help reduce traffic and the amount of time spent on the road. Providing real-time information about traffic congestion helps drivers make more informed decisions - such as whether to take alternative routes, public transport or reschedule their journey.

Nokia Research Center is collaborating with UC Berkeley's California Center for Innovative Transportation (CCIT), the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and NAVTEQ to design, execute and analyze the traffic system. The project is being funded in part by a grant award from the US Department of Transportation under the SafeTrip-21 initiative.

Using GPS-enabled mobile devices can provide a rich source of traffic data without the need to invest in expensive new infrastructure. Traffic flow data can be expanded to include city side streets, rural roads or any roadway where a cell phone can get a signal. The Mobile Millennium traffic data is based in part on the backbone technology of NAVTEQ Traffic, which provides nation-wide aggregated traffic data in the US from a variety of sources, now including real-time data from GPS-enabled mobile phones in vehicles traveling on the highways.

Participation in Mobile Millennium is open to anyone with a GPS-enabled mobile phone from a range of manufacturers, an unlimited data plan and the ability to install and run Java applications. The Java application enables participants to receive real-time traffic data and incident reports for main thoroughfares throughout much of the United States. In the Northern California area, a number of arterials and highways that are not currently equipped with sensors will begin to show traffic data as more users join the network. While the user-generated content is completely anonymous, each data point contributes a piece to the traffic picture which can benefit the entire user community. The pilot will operate over four to six months and up to 10 000 members of the public community can participate.

"The global proliferation of GPS-enabled mobile devices has driven tremendous growth in location-based experiences" said Henry Tirri, Vice President and Head of Nokia Research Center. "Mobile Millennium, with its unique collaboration of private and public stakeholders, is designed to demonstrate that everyone can help address problems such as traffic congestion. Nokia is proud to be part of this research."http://traffic.berkeley.edu

Telefónica selects Alcatel-Lucent for UC in Spain

Telefónica named Alcatel-Lucent as the sole supplier to deliver mailbox services in Spain making use of a single next generation multi-service platform. In addition to supporting the voice, video and fax mailbox services already implemented in Telefónica's networks, Alcatel-Lucent's solution will enable new, advanced messaging services such as: visual voice mail, where voice mail messages can be seen on screen, eliminating the need to dial in and listen to messages in sequence; and speech-to-text, where voice messages are converted to SMS or email. Alcatel-Lucent's solution will allow Telefónica to assign different profiles for each customer and launch segmented offers with special features targeted at consumers, enterprise users (with combined mailboxes for fixed and mobile services) and for mobile virtual network operators, all using a single platform. The companies said the platform can operate across all of Telefónica networks, both fixed and mobile, and support circuit, packet and IMS technologies as well as virtually any device subscribers would like to use to check their messages. Alcatel-Lucent will also provide project management, application and software integration skills for this solution. Additional professional services provided as part of the overall solution include installation, deployment and migration support of the various existing solutions to the new multi-service platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Alcatel-Lucent Develops "Sustainable Power" Professional Services Suite

Alcatel-Lucent will begin offering a professional service to help mobile and wireline service providers, independent telecommunications providers, government agencies, corporations, municipalities and campuses implement eco-friendly, sustainable network energy solutions in order to reduce their current energy consumption and costs.

The Alcatel-Lucent "Sustainable Power" practice is a multi-vendor solution designed for. It ranges from detailed power and battery assessment, grounding survey, power design order, equipment engineering, material sourcing services, equipment installation and equipment and battery removal and disposition. The solution also supports planning and design services, which mitigate the risk of a network outage, and business contingency plans when implementing network power solutions.

Alcatel-Lucent will now offer the following services:

  • Energy assessment service to analyze existing network power infrastructure and upgrade current systems to meet new environmental requirements

  • Expanded multi-vendor power product and services portfolio with alternative energy systems including wind, solar and fuel cell

  • Expanded equipment removal service that includes recycling capabilities to dispose of assets in a eco-friendly way that complies with U.S. federal and local regulations

"Today, energy consumption is a global business challenge dramatically impacting the bottom-line of virtually every organization. We believe energy system assessments and improvements will be critical to maintaining a competitive advantage in an era where resources are increasingly expensive and constrained," stated Andy Williams, President of Alcatel-Lucent's Services business activities.

AT&T Unveils VideoCrawler Search Engine

AT&T launched a public beta of VideoCrawler, a free Web site for people to search for, organize and share online videos and other multimedia content. Developed in collaboration with Divvio, VideoCrawler indexes hundreds of millions of video clips from thousands of sites, with new sites and millions of clips added every day. The site will be financial supported through banner adverstising.

"We want to do everything possible to connect customers to the content they want, and today more than ever, what they want online is social media," said Sean O'Leary, vice president, AT&T Business Development. "With thousands of popular video Web sites, it's become more and more challenging to find, sort and manage all of the best clips that are out there. That's exactly what we're working to solve with VideoCrawler by allowing users to search from an index of the most popular media sources from across the Web."

Texas Instruments Targets Multimedia-rich Features in Next Gen Phones

Texas Instruments is introducing a next gen IP phone platform capable of supporting rich multimedia capabilities, like streaming video, touch screen interfaces and advanced productivity applications. Specifically, TI's TNETV107x family will include the company's TMS320C64x+TM digital signal processor (DSP) and take advantage of a wide-range of TI silicon and software solutions to allow equipment manufacturers to develop a broad portfolio of BOM (bill of materials) optimized IP phones, ranging from reduced cost phones to full featured executive IP phones.

TI is also making available its Modular Open Voice Engine (MOVE) software, a highly optimized system software architecture that meets next-generation processing requirements for a broad range of IP-enabled devices utilizing a field-proven voice engine. For IP phones, TI's MOVE software equips customers with a powerful tool that allows them the option to add their own software in addition to what TI already provides. To best support the feature rich IP phones developed by OEMs, TI's new IP phone family will leverage a 3D graphics accelerator for advanced GUI (Graphical User Interface) displays, low-power consumption, support for wideband voice, advanced networking and a portable and flexible software engine that is scalable across TI's multimedia platforms.

Texas Instruments said the communications industry is now on the cusp of a significant shift in the IP phone user experience. TI envisions ergonomically designed, wired and wireless, low-power devices that offer colorful 3-D graphical displays that quickly connect users to Web-based applications with a simple touch of a screen, making their work experience easier, faster, greener and more personalized. The company also anticipates that application developers enabled by open software platforms will create new tools that allow enterprises to seamlessly access customer data, manage real-time communications or simply check calendar appointments all on a single converged device. IP phone users will also have an opportunity to experience unparalleled lifelike voice quality with high definition voice capabilities, bringing their customers and partners closer together.

TI has shipped nearly over 850 million VoIP ports to date for the IP phone, customer premise equipment (CPE) gateway and high-density infrastructure markets.

Marvell's Packet Processor Supports up to Four 10GbE Ports with Encryption

Marvell introduced its Prestera 98X2220 multiport 10Gb Ethernet (GbE) media access control/physical layer (MAC/PHY) packet processor designed to enable deployment of secure 10Gb Ethernet links in mission critical networks such as those used in the financial, defense and healthcare sectors. The device features 4 ports of 10GbE and support for line rate packet encryption and decryption capabilities.

Marvell said its Prestera 98X2220 offers one of the lowest incremental power consumption rates per gigabit of encrypted/decrypted traffic -- less than 800mW per 10GbE port. Furthermore, compliance with IEEE 802.1AE standard is anticipated to ensure compatibility with existing network security solutions and IT network monitoring tools. By maintaining authentication of networked devices and providing integrity and robustness to unsecured protocols, the Prestera 98X2220 is expected to reduce the risk of virus/worm propagation as well as Denial of Service or IP Spoofing attacks.

Virgin Mobile USA Reaches 5.2 million customers, up 6% YoY

During the third quarter of 2008, Virgin Mobile USA's net service revenue was $305.0 million, an increase of 1% versus the same period last year. Adjusted EBITDA in the third quarter of 2008 was $27.5 million, an increase of 61% compared to Adjusted EBITDA of $17.0 million in the third quarter of 2007.

During the third quarter, Virgin Mobile USA closed the acquisition of Helio, a joint venture between SK Telecom and EarthLink, and financial results for Helio are included in Virgin Mobile USA's results beginning on August 22, 2008.

Gross additions (or new Virgin Mobile USA customers who activated their accounts) during the third quarter of 2008 totaled 821,491, up 8% from 759,927 in the third quarter of 2007. Gross additions for the first nine months of 2008 were 2,345,436, down 3% from 2,426,919 in the first nine months of 2007, due to the current economic conditions and their impact on consumer behavior. The company cited encouraging results with its newly launched service plans.

The company's cost per gross addition (CPGA) for the third quarter of 2008 was $105.86, compared to CPGA of $127.35 in the third quarter of 2007. CPGA for the first nine months of 2008 was $111.50, compared to $108.10 in the first nine months of 2007. Virgin Mobile USA CPGA in the third quarter benefited from a reduction in marketing spend following investments in its new service plans in the first half of the year.

Average monthly customer turnover, or churn for the three months and nine months ended September 30, 2008 was 5.5% and 5.4%, respectively, compared with 4.9% for both the three and nine month periods ended September 30, 2007.

As of September 30, 2008, the company had approximately 5.2 million customers, an increase of 6% over September 30, 2007, reflecting, in part, the acquisition of Helio. The increase in churn was as a result of normal churn patterns that occur after new plans are implemented and was within our expectations.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) for the third quarter of 2008 was $20.19, reflecting a 2% decline from the prior year's third quarter ARPU of $20.59, and an increase of 5% from the second quarter of 2008. ARPU for the first nine months of 2008 was $19.82, a 7% decline compared to $21.31 for the same period last year. ARPU in the first three and nine months of 2007 benefited from the launch of our hybrid plans in the second half of 2006. The sequential growth in ARPU from $19.32 in the second quarter was the result of continued adoption of the new higher cost plans as well as the impact of our recent acquisition of Helio.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sprint Nextel Loses 1.3 million Customers in Q3, Re-Negotiates Credit

Sprint lost a total of 1.3 million net wireless customers during Q3, including losses of 1.1 million post-paid customers and 329,000 prepaid users, which was slightly offset by a 130,000 increase in the number of wholesale and affiliate subscribers. This gives Sprint a total of 50.5 million customers at the end of the period, compared to 54.0 million at the end of the third quarter of 2007. At the end of the third quarter, the company served 37.8 million post-paid subscribers, 3.9 million prepaid subscribers and 8.8 million wholesale and affiliate subscribers. Subscribers by network platform include 35.4 million on CDMA, 13.5 million on iDEN and 1.6 million Power Source users who utilize both networks. More than 9% of post-paid customers upgraded their handsets during the third quarter, resulting in increased contract renewals.

Sprint's revenues for Q3 were $8.8 billion, 3% lower than in the second quarter, primarily due to a lower contribution from wireless. Wireless service revenues for the quarter of $6.8 billion declined 13% year-over-year and 3% sequentially. Wireline revenues of $1.6 billion for the quarter were slightly lower sequentially and year-over-year as legacy voice and data declines offset Internet revenue growth.

Wireless capital investments were $217 million in the third quarter, compared to $393 million spent in the second quarter of 2008 and $813 million spent in the third quarter of 2007. Lower spending levels reflect reduced capacity needs and the conclusion of several network investment initiatives.

Also, Sprint announced that it successfully renegotiated the terms of its revolving credit facility and increased the ratio of total indebtedness to trailing four quarters earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and certain other non-recurring charges from no more than 3.5 to 1.0 to no more than 4.25 to 1.0. The company also paid down $1 billion of outstanding debt and decreased the current borrowing capacity of the credit facility from $6 billion to $4.5 billion, of which $1.3 billion is available.

"During tough economic times, we tightly managed our business to generate and retain cash and maintain substantial liquidity while continuing to reduce debt. At the same time, we made advancements in improving operations and delivering on the promise of the Now Network," said Dan Hesse, Sprint Nextel CEO. "Customer care metrics have improved steadily throughout the year, and external surveys are confirming we're providing a better customer experience."

NTT Europe Offers Customer Portal for Hosted Virtualization Services

NTT Europe Online, which specializes in managed hosting services, has launched a virtualization Customer Portal offering extensive levels of control to companies deploying virtualized services in any of its European data centres.

NTT Europe Online's Customer Portal gives IT Managers on-demand access to VMware's VirtualCenter control node - enabling users to configure provision and manage their virtualized IT environments online.

Users are able to activate, deactivate and reboot their hosted virtual servers in a matter of seconds. It also enables the seamless drag-and-drop migration of server resource across virtual machines without engaging SLA support services from the dedicated NTT Europe Online. The Customer Portal also provides full-featured reporting capabilities.http://www.ntteuropeonline.com

iSkoot Raises $19 Million for IP Mobile Services

iSkoot, a start-up based in San Francisco, secured $19 million in a Series C funding round for its mobile services.

iSkoot is targeting a new class of highly integrated Web/mobile communications. The company recently acquired Social.IM -- a desktop IM client that brings real-time communication and notifications to social networks. Previously, iSkoot had developed a mobile Skype client. iSkoot also worked with Skype and Hutchison 3 to launch the first carrier-deployed mobile Skype application in 2006, and to develop the 3 Skypephone, currently sold in eight countries on three continents.

The new funding round was led by Vision Opportunity Master Fund and included participation from existing investors Charles River Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Jesselson Capital Corporation and ZG Ventures. iSkoot will use this round of funding to support the introduction of a new suite of mobile communication solutions.

Sierra Wireless Demos Windows 7 Mobile Broadband Support

Sierra Wireless demonstrated support for Microsoft Windows 7 Mobile Broadband using its modems for HSPA and EV-DO networks.

Windows 7 Mobile Broadband will enable users to connect to their mobile broadband service using the View Available Networks feature within Windows, a process similar to connecting to a WiFi network.

Windows 7 Mobile Broadband was demonstrated during the opening keynote address on Wednesday, using the Sierra Wireless Compass 885 USB modem.

Brocade and Foundry Networks Amend Acquisition Agreement

Brocade and Foundry Networks have amended their original merger agreement, which was fist announced on July 21, 2008.
The amendment provides for the acquisition of the outstanding shares of Foundry Networks by Brocade. Under the revised terms, Foundry stockholders would be entitled to receive $16.50 per share in an all-cash transaction at the closing of the deal, as previously announced by the companies on Oct. 29, 2008.

In addition, Foundry stockholders may receive the proceeds of the sale of Foundry's portfolio of auction rate securities -- up to approximately $50 million in the aggregate -- calculated on a fully diluted basis based on the treasury stock method, if Foundry is successful in liquidating its portfolio of these securities prior to the close of the acquisition. It is anticipated that such amount, if any, would be distributed shortly before the closing of the acquisition through a dividend to Foundry stockholders.

Brocade expects to finance the acquisition from various financing sources, including cash on hand at both companies and the net proceeds from a $1.1 billion term loan facility which has already been deposited into a restricted Brocade custody account pending the closing of the acquisition of Foundry and other customary release conditions.http://www.foundrynet.com
  • On July 21, 2008, Brocade announced a deal to acquire Foundry Networks for approximately $3 billion. Under the agreement, Brocade agreed pay a combination of $18.50 of cash plus 0.0907 shares of Brocade common stock in exchange for each share of Foundry common stock, representing a total value of $19.25 (based on Brocade's closing stock price on Friday, July 18, 2008 of $8.27). The acquisition will position Brocade as a leading provider of enterprise and service provider networking solutions. Brocade currently offers a range of Storage Area Networks (SANs) and File Area Networks (FANs) solutions. The company is based in San Jose, California.

  • Foundry, which was founded in 1996 and held its initial public offering in September 1999, supplies a range of enterprise and service provider switching, routing, security and Web traffic management solutions, including Layer 2/3 LAN switches, Layer 3 Backbone switches, Layer 4-7 application switches, wireless LAN and access points, metro routers and core routers. The company is based in Santa Clara, California.

BT Awards non-UK Network Contract to Alcatel-Lucent

Alcatel-Lucent announced a seven-year extension of its partnership with BT, focused on the support of BT's global network operations. The agreement is aimed at further enhancing the services delivered to BT Global Services' customers and at optimizing BT's non-UK non-IP network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under the contract, Alcatel-Lucent will manage most of the legacy networks serving BT Global Services' customers. This will enable BT to focus on its Global 21CN Platform in order to further improve the customer experience, speed up the delivery of new services and reduce cost and complexity. The contract is built on the two companies' Multi-Vendor Managed Services contract signed in November 2006.

During the first phase of the project Alcatel-Lucent will assume operations for five legacy global and domestic networks in 27 countries outside the UK, along with the BT Global Managed Platform legacy transport network.

A few hundred BT employees will transfer to Alcatel-Lucent within the scope of the project.

"This contract will help us to better serve our customers. BT will be free to focus on its global 21st century platform, while Alcatel-Lucent can concentrate on further improving standards of service for those using our legacy networks" said Hanif Lalani, the newly appointed CEO of BT Global Services.

European Commission Proposes Reforms to EU Telecoms Rules

The European Commission published a set of proposals for the reform of the EU Telecoms rules, designed to create a Single EU Telecoms Market with improved rights for consumers and businesses, more competition and investment to boost the take-up of cross-border services and wireless high-speed broadband.

At the heart of the compromise texts is a new, small and independent office for Europe's telecoms regulators. The EC hopes this central authority will bring about more consistency to regulatory measures on Europe's telecoms markets.

A meeting of the Council of Telecoms Ministers is scheduled for 27- November-2008. The vote in second reading in the European Parliament is scheduled for April 2009. A new regulatory framework is expected to become law in all 27 EU Member States by 2010.

"The European Parliament and Council agree with the Commission on the need to strengthen the EU single telecoms market. We now need to move beyond this consensus on the objectives and reach agreement also on the concrete legislative texts. With the text proposals published by the Commission today, we intend to facilitate the work of the European lawmakers. We have focused on what is important and have left out what is not essential at this moment in time", said Viviane Reding, EU Telecoms Commissioner. "I hope this will help the French Presidency to make substantial progress on the EU Telecoms Reform in view of the next Council meeting on 27 November."

The Commission's modified proposal on the EU Telecoms Reform covers the following main points:

The European Telecoms Authority -- a new proposal envisions an authority that will be substantially smaller in size and competences than initially envisaged. Following the wishes expressed by Parliament and Council, it will be a lean and efficient office that will focus on telecoms regulation and have no competences with regard to spectrum or network security. In contrast to the initial Commission proposal, the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) will not be merged with the new office, but continue to exist separately[1], as it had been requested by Parliament and Council. Taking into account the recent position adopted by the European Regulators Group (ERG), independent national regulators will form the heart of the new office, which will be called "Body of the European Telecoms Regulators", to underline this change of approach. The heads of the national telecoms regulators will be given a strong role in the management of the new office and in the appointment of its Managing Director, and the personal and financial independence of the "Body of the European Telecoms Regulators" will be fully ensured. The Commission also accepts the Parliament's proposal that 50% of the staff of the new office can be seconded by national regulators. Including such seconded staff, the new office should employ no more than 20 experts, according to the Commission's proposal: 10 experts recruited by the new office itself, and 10 seconded from national regulators.

National Telecoms Regulators -- The Commission reaffirms its proposals of 13 November 2007 to entrench the personal and financial independence of national telecoms regulators in the reformed EU Telecoms rules, a proposal that has been endorsed already by the European Parliament. More consistent remedies on the EU Telecoms Market: The existing rules under which national regulators consult the Commission and their peers in other Member States on draft regulatory measures are strengthened to ensure a direct and efficient involvement of the new "Body of the European Telecoms Regulators". In particular national regulators may be required to amend or withdraw a draft measure which both the Commission and the new office consider to create a barrier to the single market or to be otherwise incompatible with Community law.

The modified proposal reaffirms the power of national regulators to impose, where required to overcome persistent competition bottlenecks, the remedy of functional separation. This remedy would require a dominant operator to separate its network infrastructure from its service branch (without changing the ownership structure) to improve competition in the market. This remedy can only be imposed by a national regulator with the approval of the Commission which, as "guardian of the Treaty", needs to ensure that it is used in a way consistent with the principles of the EU's telecoms rules.

Radio spectrum policy -- the strategic coordination of radio spectrum policy will be strengthened at political level through a process whereby the Commission submits a multi-annual EU radio spectrum policy programme to be jointly adopted by Parliament and Council. The promotion of cultural and media policy objectives has also been strengthened in line with the European Parliament's amendments, even though the Commission has made sure in its modified proposal that this does not unduly restrict the increased flexibility in the use of spectrum and does not call into question the promotion of wireless broadband in rural and other non-metropolitan areas in line with the Commission's "broadband for all" policy. The Commission's role in coordinating conditions and procedures relating to rights to use spectrum is now clearly focused on "pan-European services" as proposed by the European Parliament. The creation of a new advisory body for radio spectrum policy, as suggested by the Parliament, has however not been retained by the Commission, in order to avoid duplication of work with the existing Radio Spectrum Policy Group.

Investment in new networks: The Parliament has confirmed and reinforced the existing EU rules applying to investment in high-speed broadband networks by rejecting all calls for "regulatory holidays" and promoting efficient investment in new fibre optic networks, and the Commission welcomes these important clarifications. In line with this, the Commission will give more detailed regulatory guidance on next generation access networks in 2009.

Consumer rights: More transparency and better information, better access for users with disabilities, consumers' right to change fixed or mobile operator within 1 working day while keeping their number, as well as a more efficient 112 European emergency number, are major consumer benefits proposed by the Commission and supported strongly by the European Parliament. The Commission therefore reaffirms these consumer rights in its modified proposal. The Commission also agrees with the European Parliament about the need to ensure effective implementation of harmonized numbers of social value that begin with "116", such as the 116000 missing children hotline number. In addition, national telecoms authorities will be able to take action in order to secure minimum quality of service for internet users in order to maintain, if necessary and appropriate, "net neutrality" in Europe. The Commission's modified proposals ensure that any national requirements are set in a consistent way that does not create barriers to the internal market.

Data security: The Commission reaffirms the need of telecoms operators to notify regulators and the public about security breaches. The Commission reaffirms that notifications must, as a matter of principle, be sent to the individuals affected by them and that the notification procedure must remain swift, simple and effective. In order to clarify, in an objective manner, the cases where such notifications will be required, the Commission will, under the new legislative text, give more detailed guidance as to the circumstances of a breach that would trigger a notification.

AT&T to acquire Centennial for Rural Wireless Coverage

AT&T announced plans to acquire Centennial, a regional provider of wireless and wired communications services, for $944 million in cash. Under terms of the agreement, Centennial stockholders will receive $8.50 per share for a total equity price of $944 million. Including net debt, the total enterprise value is approximately $2.8 billion.

Centennial has 1.1 million wireless subscribers and serves largely rural areas of the Midwest and Southeast United States and in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

AT&T said the Centennial acquisition demonstrates its commitment to continuously enhance network quality and coverage for its wireless customers. The addition of Centennial's high-quality 850 MHz spectrum will improve service quality for AT&T customers in parts of Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas. Centennial also provides switched voice and high-capacity data and IP solutions for business customers in Puerto Rico.

For Centennial, the deal provides its customers with better access to the AT&T network and its product portfolio, including the iPhone 3G and the BlackBerry Bold.

"Mobility is a vital investment area for AT&T and our company's biggest growth driver," said Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive officer of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "This transaction enhances network coverage for our consumer and business customers and is expected to create long-term value for AT&T's stockholders.http://www.att.com