Sunday, November 30, 2008

Orange Business Services Offers "Unik PC" Softphone

Orange Business Services has launched a "Unik PC" service for the French market enabling mobile subscribers to make calls from their PC using a USB key and bundled software.

Unik PC allows the mobile subscriber to call freely in France or abroad from any computer connected to the Internet either via the company network, from a home connection or with Wi-Fi. Calls made from a computer are unlimited 7/7 and 24h/24 to company mobiles and landlines in mainland France. Other calls are deducted from the mobile package at the same cost as a call made to mainland France wherever the call is made from. In this way, a company can control costs linked to mobile calls especially those made from abroad.

Unik PC is available as an option for company mobile packages from EUR 8.5 (excl. VAT) per month per line with a "Unik PC pack" at EUR 29 (excl. VAT) that includes the Unik PC key (including the mobile softphone, the "Click to Call" plug-ins and 4 GB of storage space), a headset (microphone + headphones), and a USB cable.

AT&T Appoints Head for EMEA

AT&T has appointed Kevin Maher as Regional Vice President of Middle East & Africa. He will be based in Dubai, where AT&T maintains its regional headquarters, and will be responsible for the strategic direction and tactical management of the global resources serving AT&T's business customers in the region. Maher has been part of the AT&T global sales leadership for the past five years and was most recently a sales center VP supporting AT&T's global customers with networking requirements in the United States. He has more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry with AT&T, ITT, Western Union and Global One.

Nokia Siemens Networks Demos LTE-Advanced Relaying

Researchers at Nokia Siemens Networks in Germany have demonstrated relaying technology proposed for LTE-Advanced, which is currently being studied by 3GPP for Release 10 and will be submitted towards ITU-R as the 3GPP Radio Interface Technology proposal.

The demonstration combined an LTE system supporting a 2x2 MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) antenna system, and a relay station. The relaying operated in-band, which means that the relay stations inserted in the network do not need an external data backhaul. They are connected to the nearest base stations by using radio resources within the operating frequency band of the base station itself. Towards the terminal they are base stations and offer the full functionality of LTE.

The demonstration featured an intelligent demo relay node embedded in a test network forming a FDD in-band self-backhauling solution for coverage enhancements.

Nokia Siemens Networks said the demonstration illustrates how advances to Relaying technology can further improve the quality and coverage consistency of a network at the cell edge -- where users are furthest from the mobile broadband base station. The performance at the cell edge could be increased up to 50% of the peak throughput.

"Demonstrating improved cell edge and indoor-user data rates is an important milestone for coverage scenarios. It further strengthens the position of LTE as the major mobile broadband technology. Consumers will enjoy an even richer user experience thanks to higher throughput everywhere in the cell, while operators will be able to deploy their networks in a more flexible and cost efficient way," said Stephan Scholz, Chief Technology Officer of Nokia Siemens Networks.

"LTE Advanced is the next step in the evolutionary development of LTE technology. Nokia Siemens Networks performs extensive research activities for LTE-Advanced in developing this important technology which will be decisive to our customers in the future,"
  • In 2006, Nokia Siemens Networks demonstrated LTE technology with data speeds in the 160 Mbps range as well as a successful handover between LTE and HSPA.

  • In 2007, the company demonstrated a multiuser field trial in an urban environment with peak data rates of 173 Mbps.

  • In February 2008, Nokia Siemens Networks showcased a live demo on commercial hardware and launched its LTE solution based on Flexi Multimode Base Station.

  • In September 2008, Nokia Siemens Networks started to ship its LTE compatible Flexi Multimode Base Station hardware.

H3C Selects RMI's XLS Processor for SMB Gateways

H3C Technologies has selected RMI's Multi-Core Multi-Threaded XLS Processor for a series of products, including the SR66xx series secure routers, the ICG 2200 series information communication gateway, low-end security, wireless AC and switch products. The H3C ICG 2200 (Information Communication Gateway) is a unified communications system that integrates functions of router, switch, firewall, VPN, IAD, wireless AP and accelerator into single box, providing unified communications services through WAN, LAN, VoIP, direct-line, wireless and EPON interfaces.

RMI's XLS Processor is a feature-rich general purpose processor with application specific autonomous hardware accelerators and multiple on-chip interconnect options providing an ideal combination of high level programmability, performance scalability, and intelligent packet management. The XLS Processor enables integrated control plane, data plane, and security processing in a single System-on-a-Chip (SuperSoC) solution.http://www.RMICorp.com

Qatar's Qtel Selects NSN for Full Network Modernization

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has awarded a US$61 million contract to Nokia Siemens Networks for a full network modernization project that will double mobile broadband speeds in Qatar. Nokia Siemens Networks is deploying an energy-efficient radio access solution, based on a Flexi Base Station, that will offer very significant power consumption savings to Qtel. Nokia Siemens Networks is also providing technical and business consultancy, site preparation, field activities and network operations support. It is implementing a state-of-the-art infrastructure roll-out process, built upon a circuit-switch core network capacity expansion and a packet core network swap based on the Flexi ISN solution for optimized data traffic.

Huawei Supplies IP/MPLS Unified Core Router to Saudi Arabia's Mobily

Huawei Technologies has assisted Mobily, one of the major mobile operators in Saudi Arabia, to deploy an IP/MPLS unified core network. Mobily is a full service operator with wired and wireless broadband data services, but its voice service and data services used to be run through two separate bearer networks. Huawei has supplied six NetEngine 5000E core routers to deploy the nationwide bearer network built on a common IP/MPLS unified core. This paves the way for fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) evolution for Mobily. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Hawaiian Telcom Files for Chapter 11

Hawaiian Telcom, the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) in Hawaii, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The company is seeking relief to enable it to continue to operate its business without interruption to customers, employees and other critical constituents. The requests to the Bankruptcy Court include authority to honor all customer programs such as discounts and rebates, to continue to pay wages and salaries, and to continue various benefits for employees. In addition, the Company will seek authority to use its existing cash collateral to fund operations.

Hawaiian Telcom said its actions are a result of increased competition in an ever-evolving communications industry, an
inability to satisfy its capital expenditure needs while continuing to meet its debt service requirements, a significant
downturn in the economy, as well as the difficulties in the transition of certain back office functions from Verizon
following the 2005 acquisition.

AT&T Expands VPLS to 14 Countries in Europe, Asia Pac

AT&T has expanded its virtual private local area network service (VPLS) in 14 countries across Europe and Asia Pac.

AT&T's VPLS service, called OPT-E-WAN, enables businesses to link multiple locations -- with the efficiency of a flat Ethernet wide area network that can be extended globally. The service is now available in a total of 15 countries -- United States; Germany, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Switzerland in Europe; and Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore and Japan in Asia Pacific.

AT&T said demand for Ethernet services worldwide continues to expand. This growth is being driven by the need that businesses of all sizes have for affordable and easy-to-manage bandwidth to support next-generation enterprise applications including disaster recovery, storage and converged voice and video.

Dell'Oro: PON Revenue Reaches Record High

Third quarter PON revenue including both Optical Line Terminals (OLTs) and Optical Networking Terminals (ONTs) reached its second consecutive record high growing 16 percent sequentially and 64 percent over the year ago period, according to a newly published report by Dell'Oro Group.

Third quarter's strength came from both EPON and GPON," said Tam Dell'Oro, President of Dell'Oro Group. "EPON's growth was driven by next generation network upgrades by NTT, Japan's largest service provider. GPON, driven by deployments for Verizon's FiOS service as well as increasing numbers of smaller deployments around the world, had even stronger growth with revenue increasing more than five times that of the year ago period. Despite the weakening economy, we are still forecasting annual GPON revenue to grow more than over 50 percent in 2009," Dell'Oro added.

The report also shows Mitsubishi remained the leader in the overall PON market benefiting by being the primary EPON supplier to NTT for its NGN build-outs. Alcatel-Lucent retained its number two status in the overall PON market and number one for GPON largely due to being a primary supplier of GPON to Verizon as well as having a number of other deployments in Europe and Asia.

The New Clearwire Sets Course

Clearwire will drop the "Xohm" branding and adopt a new "Clear" branding for its mobile WiMAX services.

In a conference call to follow-up on last week's closure of the Clearwire-Sprint deal, Benjamin G. Wolff, CEO of the new Clearwire, said the new company now possesses the three key ingredients needed to revolutionize the broadband wireless market:

  • Extensive spectrum holdings -- Sprint contributed its entire 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings to Clearwire. With this combined spectrum portfolio, Clearwire now has 100 MHz or more of 4G spectrum in most markets across the U.S. Clearwire plans to deliver 2-4 Mbps and peak rates that are considerably faster.

  • An All IP next generation Network Architecture, based on standard mobile WiMAX technology. The company noted that there are now over 80 suppliers in the WiMAX ecosystems.

  • An Open Internet Business Model -- the network will be open to devices, application and services from third parties. The company confirmed that new devices based on the Android platform are in development.

Clearwire has not yet announced its market rollout schedule, but said most of its 46 planned markets would be upgraded to mobile WiMAX in 2009. The company will offer a dual-mode broadband service that lets customers roam onto Sprint's 3G network in locations where mobile WiMAX is not available.

The company also announced today that, while its company name will remain Clearwire, its new mobile WiMAX services will be branded Clear. The Clear brand will apply to all new mobile WiMAX services to be offered by Clearwire in the U.S. and will be phased in to those markets where Clearwire offers pre-WiMAX services, as these existing markets are upgraded to mobile WiMAX technology. In addition, the company unveiled a new marketing tagline, "Let's Be Clear," that will be used in conjunction with the new Clear service brand in upcoming market launches.

"As we roll out our network across the country, people will no longer have to make the choice between speed and mobility. We are bringing a new mobile Internet experience to customers at speeds previously relegated to fixed locations," said Benjamin G. Wolff. "With significant spectrum holdings yielding unmatched network capacity, a next-generation all-IP network, and an open Internet business model, Clearwire will deliver a simple value proposition aimed to improve productivity and make the Internet experience more enjoyable, wherever our customers happen to be."

HP Counts Benefits of Internal IT Transformation

As a result of a three-year IT transformation effort, HP has reduced its IT operating costs by approximately half; provided more reliable information for executives to make better business decisions; and, established a more simplified and dependable IT infrastructure that provides improved business continuity and supports the company's future growth. Starting in fiscal year 2009, the transformation will lower IT costs by more than $1 billion per year from fiscal year 2005 levels. Over this period, HP added more than $25 billion in revenue.

HP said its IT transformation focused on five major initiatives: next-generation global data centers, portfolio management, workforce effectiveness, building a world-class technology organization and a true enterprise data warehouse.

Some key points of the IT transformation project:

  • Reduce spending on internal IT from approximately 4 percent of revenue in 2005 to less than 2 percent in 2009;

  • Consolidate more than 85 internal IT legacy data centers globally to six next-generation data centers in three geographic locations equipped with new, standardized and automated technology. These data centers have 342,000 square feet of computing "white space" -- expandable to more than double that amount -- to accommodate growth, including acquisitions such as EDS;

  • Consolidate more than 6,000 applications running the business to approximately 1,500 standardized applications;

  • Reduce annual energy consumption in its data centers by 60 percent;

  • Decrease the number of servers by 40 percent while increasing processing power by 250 percent, by utilizing HP virtualization and energy-efficiency technologies;

  • Reduce networking costs by 50 percent while tripling bandwidth;

  • Eliminate more than 700 data marts and create one enterprise data warehouse where employees are accessing consistent data to make business decisions.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bell Canada's Privatization Faces Scrutiny

The leveraged buyout deal under which BCE (Bell Canada) was to become a privately held company is facing greater financial scrutiny.

KPMG has informed BCE that, based on current market conditions, its analysis to date and the amount of indebtedness
involved in the LBO financing, it does not expect to be in a position to deliver on the scheduled effective date of BCE's privatization, December 11,
2008, an opinion that BCE would meet the solvency tests as defined in the definitive agreement, as amended. The receipt at the effective time of a
positive solvency opinion is a condition to the closing of the transaction. At the same time, KPMG indicated that BCE would meet all solvency tests
under its current capital structure.

"BCE today enjoys solid investment grade credit ratings, has $2.8 billion of cash on hand, a low level of mid-term debt maturities, and continues to
deliver solid operating results," said George Cope, President and CEO of BCE and Bell.

"We are disappointed with KPMG's preliminary view of post-transaction solvency, which is based on numerous assumptions and methodologies that we are currently reviewing. The company disagrees that the addition of the LBO debt would result in BCE not meeting the technical solvency definition," said Siim Vanaselja, BCE's Chief Financial Officer.

BCE said it continues to work with KPMG and the Purchaser to seek to satisfy all closing conditions. Should KPMG be unable to deliver a favourable
opinion on December 11, 2008, however, the transaction is unlikely to proceed.http://www.bce.caIn July 2008, BCE announced a final agreement with a company formed by an investor group led by Teachers' Private Capital, the private investment arm of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Providence Equity Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners, and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity. Key terms include:

  • The purchase price will remain $42.75 per common share;

  • The Purchaser and the Lenders have delivered fully negotiated and executed credit documents for the purpose of funding the transaction, including an executed credit agreement and other key financing documents;

  • The reverse break fee payable by the Purchaser in the circumstances contemplated by the definitive agreement has been increased to $1.2 billion;

  • Closing will occur on or before December 11, 2008; and

  • Prior to closing, the company will not pay dividends on its common shares but will continue to pay dividends on its preferred shares.

Ericsson to Manage MBNL's Shared Network in the UK

Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL), the 50:50 joint venture formed by 3UK and T-Mobile UK to manage the integration of both operators' 3G radio access networks (RAN), has awarded Ericsson a four-year managed services contract for the operation and maintenance of the consolidated network.

Under the deal, Ericsson has responsibility for the operation and performance management of both parent companies' 3G networks and T-Mobile's 2G RAN infrastructure. Around 80 employees from T-Mobile have been transferred to Ericsson, further strengthening its existing UK managed services capability. In the UK, Ericsson holds separate managed services contracts with T-Mobile and 3. T-Mobile and 3 are both global Ericsson customers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

T-Mobile and 3 formed their infrastructure sharing agreement in January 2008 with the aim of creating the UK's most extensive 3G network by 2010.

The companies said tis four-year contract will enable MBNL to control operational expenses and deliver high service levels at a time when the 3G network consolidation is moving into the mass deployment phase. The first integrated cell site was commissioned in early February 2008. Since then MBNL has concluded a pilot in the Leeds and Bradford area which successfully validated the network sharing technology and is now engaged in consolidating the radio access networks across the UK.
  • In October, BT announced a five-year managed network solutions agreement with T-Mobile and 3 UK, through their joint venture company, Mobile Broadband Network Ltd (MBNL). Specifically, BT will provide Ethernet backhaul connecting 7,500 base station sites on their consolidated 3G infrastructure. The network services contract supersedes the original contracts that BT had in place with both T-Mobile and 3 UK. BT's next-generation Ethernet service is currently being rolled out across the UK. The service will deliver improved access and backhaul service delivery to MBNL.

  • In August 2008, Nokia Siemens Networks announced that it had been selected as technology partner for Mobile Broadband Network Ltd. (MBNL), the network collaboration joint-venture between T-Mobile UK and 3 UK. The companies anticipate creating the UK's most extensive 3G network providing near complete population coverage by the end of 2009. Financial terms were not disclosed. Under the contract, Nokia Siemens Networks will supervise the creation and operation of the joint network on behalf of both companies. The first integrated cell site was commissioned in early February. Although masts and the 3G access networks are being combined, each company's core network and T-Mobile's 2G network will not be shared. Both parties will retain responsibility for the delivery of services to their respective customers and use their own frequency spectrum. Nokia Siemens Networks said its radio access solution will replace most of the two operators' communications stations across the UK and equipment at the remaining sites is being upgraded and reconfigured for higher quality and capacity.

    Clearwire Deal Clears -- $3.2 Billion Investment Completed

    Clearwire and Sprint Nextel completed the financial transaction combining their next-generation wireless Internet businesses. The new company retains the name Clearwire and remains headquartered in Kirkland, Washington.

    Sprint contributed all of its 2.5 GHz spectrum and its WiMAX-related assets, including its XOHM business, to Clearwire.

    In addition, Clearwire has received a $3.2 billion cash investment from Comcast, Intel, Time Warner Cable, Google and Bright House Networks. The transaction with Sprint and the new cash investment were completed on the terms originally announced on May 7, 2008. the Clearwire-Sprint deal announced in May, Sprint will own the largest stake in the new company with approximately 51 percent equity. The existing Clearwire shareholders will own approximately 27 percent and new investors, including Intel, Google, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, will contribute $3.2 billion into the new company to acquire a 22 percent stake.

    Some highlights of the deal:

    • The new Clearwire is targeting a network deployment that will cover between 120 million and 140 million people in the U.S. by the end of 2010.

    • Sprint will contribute all of its 2.5 GHz spectrum and its WiMAX-related assets into a subsidiary of the new company. The implied equity valuation of Sprint's contribution is approximately $7.4 billion. In addition to spectrum, Sprint will contribute to the new Clearwire certain hardware, software and all of its WiMAX-based trademarks and other WiMAX-related intellectual property.

    • The new Clearwire will leverage Sprint's existing infrastructure, reducing the cost of building out the mobile WiMAX network nationwide. The new Clearwire expects to utilize Sprint's towers, fiber network and IT support at favorable bulk rates. Sprint also will realize cost savings for its core business by sharing certain costs of towers and other infrastructure.

    • Intel will work with manufacturers to embed WiMAX chips into Intel Centrino 2 processor technology-based laptops and other Intel-based mobile Internet devices, and will market the new company's service in association with Intel's performance notebook PC brand.

    • Google will partner with the new Clearwire in the development of Internet services, advertising services and applications for mobile WiMAX devices. In addition, Google will be the search provider and a preferred provider of other applications for the new Clearwire's retail product.

    • Google will partner with the new Clearwire on an open Internet business protocol for mobile broadband devices. The new Clearwire will support Google's Android operating system software in its future voice and data devices that it provides to its retail customers.

    • Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks will enter into wholesale agreements with the new Clearwire, becoming 4G providers of new Clearwire's mobile WiMAX service.

    • Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks and, after completion of the transactions, the new Clearwire, will enter into 3G wholesale agreements with Sprint, becoming bundled providers of Sprint's wireless voice and data services, expanding the reach of Sprint's network to more customers, while providing the cable companies a simpler, more effective vehicle to bundle wireless services.

    • Sprint and Google have also entered into an agreement related to Sprint's mobile services, whereby Google will become the default provider of web and local search services, both of which will be enabled with location information, for Sprint. Sprint will also preload several Google services - including Google Maps for mobile, Gmail and YouTube - on select mobile phones and provide easier access to other Google services.

    • Google and Intel have options to enter into 3G and 4G wholesale agreements with Clearwire and Sprint respectively and have no current plans to do so.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    Digital Divide Narrows in Europe

    The gap between EU countries in terms of broadband penetration is narrowing, from 28.4 percentage points in July 2007 to 27.7 this July.

    New figures published by the European Commission today show that, in spite of reduced growth perspectives for the economy at large, broadband growth has continued in the last year throughout the EU, with an increase of 19.23% between July 2008 and July 2007. On 1 July 2008 there were over 107 million fixed broadband lines in the EU, of which 17 million lines have been added since July 2007. The rate of growth was highest in Malta (6.7 lines per 100 inhabitants), Germany (5.1 per 100 inhabitants) and Cyprus (4.9 per 100 inhabitants) and lowest in Finland (1.9 per 100 inhabitants) and Portugal (1.0 per 100 inhabitants).

    Globally, Denmark and the Netherlands continue to be world leaders in broadband, with penetration over 35%. Nine EU countries (Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, and Germany) are above the United States which stands at 25% according to OECD June 2008 statistics.

    The gap between the strongest (Denmark 37.2%) and weakest broadband performers (Bulgaria 9.5%) remains significant but is decreasing for the first time (penetration in Denmark was 34.1% in July 2007 while in Bulgaria it was 5.7%). The gap can mainly be explained by lack of competition and regulatory weaknesses. For example, while the market share for incumbent fixed broadband operators is beginning to stabilize at around 45%, in some countries (Austria, Bulgaria, France, Ireland, Lithuania, Romania and Spain) it has increased since July 2007. These main obstacles to broadband growth remain to be addressed through the reform of the EU's telecoms rules, which is currently under discussion by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

    The Commission also published the first figures showing fixed broadband speeds, which is an important indicator in a knowledge-based society. 74.8% of reported lines in the EU are in the range of 2 Mbps and above: 62% between 2 and 10 Mbps, 12.8% above 10 Mbps. Greater data transmission speeds generally provide customers with more and better choice at a lower price per megabit. Extremely fast connections (up to 100 Mbps or beyond) such as fibre only cover 1.4% of European internet subscribers.

    DSL with nearly 86 million lines. However, DSL growth continues to decrease rapidly, slowed by 10.9% compared to July 2007, to the benefit of other fixed broadband technologies like cable, FTTH and wireless local loops.

    The report is available online.

    Vietnam Datacommunications Deploys 802.16e Trial with Motorola

    Vietnam Datacommunications Company (VDC), a member company of the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) and the largest Internet service provider (ISP) in Vietnam, has partnered with Motorola to commence a technical and commercial WiMAX trial in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Under the agreement, Motorola will install WiMAX Diversity Access Points and more than 100 customer premises equipment (CPE) in the nation's two largest cities.

    Motorola noted that it now has 24 contracts for commercial WiMAX networks in 19 countries around the world.

    ITU Advocates Infrastructure Sharing to Counter Investment Drought

    In response to the global financial crisis which may make it more difficult for investors to obtain financing for continuing network development, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is advocating infrastructure sharing as a means to continue to rapid rollout of network resources to underserved populations.

    In its newly published annual report, Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2008: Six Degrees of Sharing, the ITU examines the sharing of civil engineering costs in deploying networks, promoting open access to network support infrastructure (poles, ducts, conduits), essential facilities (submarine cable landing stations and international gateways) as well as access to radio-frequency spectrum and end-user devices.

    The "Six Degrees of Sharing" theme was first discussed in Thailand during ITU's 2008 Global Symposium for Regulators last March. Developing countries embraced sharing to make more affordable the expansion of ICT networks to rural and under-served areas. Since then, the global economic turmoil has increased the interest in infrastructure sharing in developed markets as well.

    What had been foreseen as ideal strategies to extend broadband network access in developing markets may now be viewed as a prescription for the entire world. If the sources of capital for network investment suffer a temporary drought, the ITU believes policy-makers could take steps to make their markets more amenable to the shrinking pool of investment.

    • Lower investment barriers that inhibit capital flows from one country to another

    • Reduce regulatory barriers (high license fees or market-entry bans) that represent hostile environments for capital investment and market growth

    • Share essential facilities, such as cable landing stations, local switching centres or fibre backbone networks

    • Adopt rules to provide for infrastructure sharing, particularly "passive" sharing of towers, ducts, rights-of-way and other support facilities

    • Overhaul and streamline cross-agency processes to create a ‘one-stop shop' for various network-related authorizations, such as land management, port access, environmental and safety permits

    • Add innovative spectrum management mechanisms that promote increased sharing and efficient use of spectrum

    • Amend regulatory frameworks to eliminate discriminatory rules that favour one company or industry over another in a converged services market.

    • Ensure that government policies and rules maximize the ability of incumbents and market entrants to choose between different opportunities for business plans and long-term strategies, including resale, wholesale, and niche markets.

    Nokia Develops Smart Home Platform with Mobile Support

    Nokia is developing a Home Control Center platform that aims to integrate mobile devices, home networks, home security and household energy management systems. The platform will be based on a customized home gateway with integrated antennas for WLAN, GSM/GPRS, and Z-Wave. The gateway will also feature Ethernet ports, USB ports, a firewall, SD card reader and other connectivity options. Nokia will provide home control logic for simple automatic responses to
    events such as motion sensor triggering, luminance levels, moisture or temperature limits. Consumers will be able to monitor and control their electricity usage, switch devices on and off, and monitor different objects. The platform will be open for allowing third parties to integrate their own smart home solutions and services.

    Nokia also announced a partnership with RWE, one of Europe's biggest energy companies. The companies are working on a joint solution for managing energy consumption and CO2 footage at home. The first result of this partnership will focus on home heating management. The product consists of a central control unit together with remote-controlled thermostats for the actual radiator. The user interface will be the PC and the mobile phone. In addition, a separate display will be available. RWE is also planning special offers combining these devices with new energy supply contracts. In a second step, Nokia and RWE are planning additional services in connection with smart meters beyond 2009. These services will provide consumers with real-time information about their energy consumption and allow them to control their energy bill remotely.

    Nokia is also working with other partners, including Danfoss, Delta Dore, Ensto, and Meishar Immediate Community (MIC) and Zensys. Target areas for these partnerships include security, energy efficiency, wellness, construction, real estate, and smart home solutions.

    STMicroelectronics Cuts Q4 Outlook

    Citing further deterioration on the worldwide financial markets, economic recession in one or more of the world's major economies and the effect on demand for semiconductors, STMicroelectronics cut its financial guidance. The company now expects fourth quarter revenues to be between approximately $2.2 billion and $2.35 billion, as compared to $2.7 billion reported in the prior quarter, or a sequential change in the range of about -12.8% to -18.4%. The revised revenue outlook is the consequence of a recent slowdown in the billings, recent and substantial changes in customers' demand and order push-outs for the month of December. ST said the weaknesses affects most geographies and market segments, and, in particular, in wireless, automotive, and computer peripherals.

    ST also noted that it will reduce its manufacturing activity and reduce sourcing from third-party suppliers, compared to planned activities when entering the quarter. Primarily as a result of higher-than-anticipated unused capacity charges in the quarter, the gross margin expected for the fourth quarter 2008 is now about 38% plus or minus one percentage point.

    Additionally, the company continues to aggressively implement cost-control initiatives and is progressing in its accelerated effort to capture the cost synergies from the recent creation of ST-NXP Wireless.

    L.A. Times: Cyber-attack on Defense Department

    President Bush was briefed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on a cyber-attack on Defense Department computers, including those on a classified network, according to The Los Angeles Times. The cyber-attack reportedly occurred within networks of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and may have originated with hackers from Russia.