Saturday, March 7, 2009

Telecom Argentina Reports 9% Income Growth in 2008

Telecom Argentina reported net income of P$961 million for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008 or +9% when compared to same period of the previous year.

Consolidated net revenues for 2008 amounted to P$10,608 million (+17%) when compared to same period of the previous fiscal year. Revenues generated by the company's cellular business grew by 20% and the Internet business increased by 39%.

Some highlights of the report:

  • As of December 31, 2008, Telecom reached 1,042,000 ADSL customers (+33% vs. FY07). Lines with these types of connections represent approximately 24% of Telecom's fixed-lines in service.

  • As of the end of December 2008, Personal (mobile) reached 12.6 million subscribers in Argentina (+1.9 million, or +18% vs. FY07). Q4 2008 marked the highest increase of the year with the addition of 0.6 million subscribers. Approximately 66% of the overall subscriber base is prepaid and 34% is postpaid (including "cuentas claras" plans). Total voice traffic increased by 16% vs. FY07 while outgoing SMS traffic increased from a monthly average of 883 million messages in FY07 to 1,454 million (+65%) in FY08. Because of this raise in traffic and the increasing use of value-added services, ARPU increased to P$41 in FY08, compared to P$39 in FY07. Meanwhile, the ARPU in 4Q08 amounted to P$42, stable when compared to 4Q07.

  • In Paraguay, Telecom's mobile subscriber base reached approximately 1.8 million customers (+12% vs. FY07). Prepaid and Postpaid customers represented 90% and 10%, respectively.

  • During FY08, the company invested P$1,597 million (excluding materials), in fixed and intangible assets. This amount was allocated to Voice, Data and Internet businesses (P$834 million) and cellular business (P$763 million).

    Telecom Argentina's main CAPEX projects are related to the expansion of broadband services and to the upgrade of the network for next generation services (NGN), the improvement of the network (capacity, coverage and 3G), and the launch of new and innovative value-added services. In relative terms, CAPEX reached 15% of the revenues, within industry standards.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Huawei Marine to Build Tunisia-Italy Submarine Cable

Huawei Marine Networks has been awarded a turnkey contract signed by Tunisie Telecom in Tunisia for the supply of a submarine cable system called "HANNIBAL System" project linking Tunisia and Italy.

The "HANNIBAL System" will stretch about 170km and connect Kelibia, Tunisia and Mazara, Italy across the Mediterranean Sea, with a maximum capacity of 3.2 Tbps. On its completion at the end of 2009, the "HANNIBAL System" will supply a capacity of 10 Gbps x 80 wavelengths per fiber pair, with the potential of being upgraded to 40 Gbps .

Telia Raises the Price for Fixed Telephony Subscriptions

Telia will raise the price of the "Telia Bas" telephony subscription from SEK 125 to SEK 145 per month (SEK 132, excl. VAT, for Telia business subscriptions).

The price of the "Telia Bas" subscription, which is regulated by the Swedish Post and Telecom Agency, has not been raised since 2001. On February 12, the infrastructure company, Skanova, announced to its carrier customers that it will increase the price of access to the copper network.

Skanova claims its price increase is a result of the ongoing shift in technology and rising costs per connection .

NTT DOCOMO to Raise 60 Billion Yen in 4-year Bonds

NTT DOCOMO is issuing 60 billion yen of 4-year domestic straight corporate bonds. The lead underwriter is Daiwa Securities.

BT Launches iVPN Service in 172 Countries

BT announced the launch of its BT Intelligent Virtual Private Network (iVPN) service in 172 countries. The rollout was made possible by BT's investment in its 21st Century Network (21CN) global platform. 21CN is BT's global, software driven customer network platform that introduces a new, simpler portfolio of next generation services.

BT's iVPN builds on the MPLS VPN service delivery with local language support and by providing site-to-site SLAs across regions for BT's global customers.

BT is combining iVPN with other services, such as Internet based access, application optimization, voice management, video conferencing, unified communications, data centers, call centers, security and mobility.

Arbor Photonics Raises Venture Funding for Optical Fiber Tech.

Arbor Photonics, a start-up based in Ann Arbor, Michigan has raised Series A financing from The Wolverine Venture Fund, part of the University of Michigan's Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.

Arbor Photonics has developed a scalable optical fiber technology that enables high-power fiber lasers to be used in a variety of new materials-processing applications in the automotive, electronics and aerospace industries while offering a lower-cost replacement to existing bulky laser systems. The company's proprietary fiber platform technology expands the limits of single-mode laser performance to hundreds of watts of average pulsed power and multi-kilowatts of continuous wave optical power. The technology was originated in the University of Michigan's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).

This second investment from the University of Michigan was made possible by the Frankel Investment Fund, a student-managed venture capital seed fund at the University's Ross School of Business. With the Frankel Fund's original investment in 2007, the Zell Lurie Institute's Wolverine Venture Fund was granted investment rights in future rounds.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Global Capacity Wins New European Network Optimization Contract

Global Capacity, a telecom information and logistics company, has been awarded a new Network Optimization contract to financially and physically optimize the network of a major European incumbent provider across 10 countries with a current annual access spend in excess of $31 million.

Global Capacity provides a fully-integrated telecommunications supply chain management system that streamlines and accelerates the process of designing, pricing, building, optimizing, and managing customized communications networks. The company is based in Chicago.

Cisco Adds Linksys Dual-Band Wireless-N Products

Cisco introduced three new 802.11n consumer products: the Linksys by Cisco Wireless-N Ethernet Bridge with Dual-Band (WET610N), Simultaneous Dual-Band Wireless-N Router (WRT400N), and the Dual-Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router (WRT320N).

The WET610N Wireless-N Ethernet Bridge can add high-speed Wireless-N connectivity to Ethernet-enabled devices such as set top boxes, game consoles, and televisions for on-demand broadcast, online gaming, or media streaming throughout the home.

Both the WRT400N and WRT320N Dual-Band routers help consumers realize the benefits of using the 5GHz wireless spectrum to connect their devices to the network with a lower price of entry. The WRT400N offers connectivity in both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz spectrums at the same time, while the more value-priced WRT320N allows the user to select which band they prefer to use.

Marvell's Quarterly Revenue Falls to $513 Million, a 35% Sequential Drop

Marvell Technology Group reported net revenue for its fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 (ended January 31, 2009.) of $513 million, a 39 percent decrease from $845 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, ended February 2, 2008, and a 35 percent sequential decrease from $791 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2009, ended November 1, 2008.

Net revenue for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2009 was $2.95 billion, an increase of approximately 2 percent over net revenue of $2.89 billion for the fiscal year ended February 2, 2008.

GAAP net loss was $65 million, or $0.11 per share (diluted), for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, compared with GAAP net income of $1 million, or essentially break-even per share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. GAAP net income was $71 million, or $0.11 per share (diluted) in the third quarter of fiscal 2009.

"The results for our fourth quarter reflect the challenging business environment our company, and the world, currently faces," said Dr. Sehat Sutardja, Marvell Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Notwithstanding the challenges we encountered during our fourth quarter, we were able to sustain gross margins, act quickly to lower our operating expenses and generate a healthy free cash flow. However, we believe the current economic climate will not substantially improve over the short term. Consequently, we are taking actions to re-align our business to reflect the realities of the current economic environment."

Marvell plans to reduce its global workforce by approximately 15 percent, or approximately 850 employees. Marvell estimates that the restructuring charges associated with the reduction in force and consolidation of facilities taken to date will be approximately $20 million, including approximately $14 million related to severance and other employee benefit payments and approximately $6 million related to facility consolidation.

Univision Signs Multi-Year Content Deal with AT&T U-verse TV

Univision Communications, the leading Spanish-language media company in the United States, signed a multi-year content agreement for the AT&T U-verse TV channel lineup.

The agreement includes continued carriage of Univision's owned and operated broadcast stations and affiliated stations. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

NTT Develops Human Area Networking Technology

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) has developed a Human Area Networking technology called RedTacton that uses the surface of the human body as a safe, high-speed network transmission path. RedTacton uses a transmission path established between the body of a person carrying a RedTacton card key and a RedTacton transceiver installed in, for example, a doorknob or floor. The person is automatically identified when they touch the doorknob or walk on the floor, and the transmission path is disconnected when the body and transceiver physically separate.

RedTacton enables a defined spot to serve as the point of identification, whereas wireless and infrared communication require wider areas. Identification points can be installed along the main areas of movement within a building, thereby enabling repeated identification of people as they enter a secure area, move about it and then exit. RedTacton is also highly scalable for systems incorporating flapper gates, finger-vein authentication devices, immersion-detection sensors or safety equipment.

Based on this technology, NTT Communications and Hitachi have developed a human-identification system that could be used for security applications. NTT Com designed and constructed the system and manufactured the RedTacton card key and reader. Hitachi designed the access management system and manufactured related management and control devices. MIWA LOCK designed and manufactured the RedTacton-equipped doorknob.

NTT Com will now begin promoting the new system for use by research facilities, data centers and factories that require high security or cleanliness.

NTT DOCOMO to Trims its Interconnection Fees Retroactively


has notified Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications that the fees it charges other telecommunications operators to interconnect with its network have been reduced by more than 10 percent, effective immediately and applied retroactively to all interconnections since April 1, 2008.

Sagem to acquire Gigaset's Broadband and WiMAX Business

Sagem Communications has agreed to acquire the broadband and WiMAX businesses of Gigaset Communications, which is a subsidiary of Arques Industries AG and Siemens AG. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"This acquisition should reinforce Sagem Communications' objective to become a world leader in broadband terminals, convergence and digital home solutions" said Patrick Sevian, President of Sagem Communications. "We firmly believe that the global customer footprint and the excellent R&D capabilities of Gigaset will significantly enhance our positioning and the value we provide to our customers".

"The voice business is our core competence and the foundation of our market leadership. That is why we focus on our strengths as a well established, modern and innovative manufacturer of telephones", says José Costa e Silva, CEO of Gigaset Communications. "We are delighted that with Sagem Communications we have found a proficient and well positioned partner in the broadband business."

Clearwire Targets $1.5-1.9 Billion for WiMAX Rollout this Year

In its first quarterly financial report since completing the Sprint transaction, Clearwire outlined the rollout plans for its 4G WiMAX network, including upgrades for the markets it currently serves using pre-WiMAX technology. Clearwire targets total net cash spend in the range of $1.5 to $1.9 billion for 2009. Mobile WiMAX launches are planned this year in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Honolulu, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Cities on the 2010 launch list include New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Houston and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The company is currently engaged in the development and construction of mobile WiMAX networks covering 75 million people, as well as the long lead time cell site development work necessary to cover an additional 45 million people, giving the company the ability to cover 120 million people by the end of 2010.

However, the ultimate timing of its network build-out will largely be driven by the company's market by market success and the availability of additional capital. Specifically, Clearwire is structuring development work so as to manage current cash resources into 2011, although this time period can be extended as it is driven largely by the pace of expansion.

Clearwire also reported strong sales in Portland -- its first mobile WiMAX market -- with initial sales more than double any of its prior 47 market launches with pre-WiMAX technology. Clearwire expects ARPU to be sustained over this period, but anticipates that churn will increase in its pre-WiMAX markets as the company transitions these networks to mobile WiMAX technology.

Overall for Q4 2008, Clearwire reported pro-forma consolidated revenue of $59.7 million in Q4 2008, versus $45.4 million for the same quarter of 2007. The growth in revenue was driven primarily by Clearwire's larger pro forma subscriber base, which has increased to approximately 475,000 at the end of the fourth quarter 2008, up from approximately 394,000 at the end of the fourth quarter 2007.

"In this difficult economic climate, our objective is to continue to balance the prudent use of our significant financial resources with our desire to take full advantage of the market opportunity that is in front of us, and we intend to do just that. This means retaining the flexibility to accelerate or decelerate our expansion based on our own successes and the macro economic environment. Our job is also to provide innovative products and services that give consumers more for less, which is more important than ever given the state of our economy. Our early results in Portland indicate we are doing just that," said Benjamin G. Wolff, chief executive officer of Clearwire.

In addition to announcing network expansion plans, Clearwire also announced plans to offer a dual-mode 3G/4G wireless modem in the summer giving Clear customers a national data footprint with Sprint's 3G network. The modem will be sold by Clear and Sprint and automatically switch between WiMAX service and Sprint's 3G network. The company also plans to launch a personal hot spot, a Clear accessory which combines the mobility of WiMAX with the ubiquity of Wi-Fi. Expected to be available at the end of March, the device when paired with the Clear 4G service will open the Clear 4G network to hundreds of Wi-Fi enabled products.

Clearwire expects there to be nearly 100 mobile WiMAX devices -- such as laptops, netbooks, handhelds, USBs and modems -- available to customers by the end of the year.

Windstream Reaches Milestone of 1 Million High-Speed Internet Customers

Windstream now serves 1 million high-speed Internet customers on its 16-state network. Windstream has added approximately 21,000 new high-speed Internet customers thus far in the first quarter of 2009, surpassing the approximately 16,000 new customers added during the fourth quarter of 2008.

Windstream offers high-speed Internet connection speeds from 1.5 Mbps to 12 Mbps in a variety of bundles for customers. Internet service is available to roughly 88 percent of its 3 million access lines. Overall broadband penetration at the end of 2008 was 32 percent of total access lines and 49 percent of primary residential lines.

Windstream began offering high-speed Internet service in 1999 as the landline division of Alltel Corp. The company topped the half-million customer mark in August 2006 following the spinoff from Alltel and merger with VALOR Communications Group.

More Than 100 Million New GSM Users in Western Hemisphere in 2008

In 2008, there were more than 100 million new GSM connections

in countries in the Western hemisphere, according to 3G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the GSM family of technologies. This marks the third consecutive year where new GSM activations topped 100 million in this hemisphere. e GSM family of technologies totaled 525 million subscriptions in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean at the end of December, having passed the milestone of half a billion subscriptions in October 2008. This brings the increasing market share in the region to 70% according to data from Informa Telecoms & Media.

At the end of 2008, UMTS-HSPA 3G wireless subscriptions numbered nearly 25 million in the Americas, which more than doubled the 9 million subscriptions at the end of 2007. Today there are 48 commercial UMTS-HSPA networks throughout the Western Hemisphere and networks are being expanded and upgraded to advanced HSPA versions providing peak theoretical HSPA mobile broadband downlink rates of 7.2 Mbps.

On a worldwide basis, GSM totals 3.5 billion of the nearly 4 billion mobile subscriptions or 89% share of market at the end of December 2008. With 278 UMTS-HSPA networks in service in 121 countries, there are 290 million UMTS-HSPA subscriptions as of the end of 2008 compared to 186 million a year earlier -- more than 100 million new 3G connections. UMTS-HSPA subscriptions are expected to more than double in 2009, according to Informa's forecasts, and reach 455 million connections by the end of this year.

Dell'Oro: First Decline for 10Gbps Ethernet Network Adapter Market

The 10Gbps Ethernet Network Adapter market experienced its first sequential decline in the fourth quarter of last year, according to a newly published report by Dell'Oro Group. The report indicates that the decline was broad-based, affecting adapter card port shipments and revenues, as well as controller unit shipments.

"Despite the most recent quarterly decline, we anticipate strong growth in 10Gbps Ethernet server connectivity in 2009," said Seamus Crehan, Vice President at Dell'Oro Group. "Much of this growth should be driven by server blades where we are seeing increased traction for embedded 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports," Crehan added.

Ciena' s Revenues Decline 7% Sequentially, 200 Job Cuts

Ciena reported revenue for its fiscal first quarter ended January 31, 2009 of $167.4 million, representing a 7% sequential decrease from fiscal fourth quarter 2008 revenue of $179.7 million, and a decrease of 26% over the same period a year ago, when Ciena reported revenue of $227.4 million. There was a GAAP net loss of $(24.8) million, or $(0.27) per common share.

Ciena also announced a headcount reduction of 200 employees, or 9% of its global workforce, with reductions occurring across every organization and geography. As part of this action, the company will close its Acton, Massachusetts, research and development facility during the course of the next four months. Ongoing development work previously conducted at the Acton facility will be consolidated on a functional basis with related efforts already in progress at other Ciena locations.

"We are managing our business with the expectation that current macroeconomic realities will continue to pressure our customers' spending levels," said Gary Smith, Ciena's CEO and president. "With operating expenses down sequentially 12% from our fiscal fourth quarter, this quarter's results reflect the benefit of company-wide cost-control initiatives, and we continue to take steps to drive efficiencies and more tightly align our resources with market opportunities. At the same time, we are preserving our strategic capabilities and competitive advantage by prioritizing key product, technology and market initiatives."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ofidium Raises Funding for 100 Gbps OFDM

Ofidium, a start-up based in Melbourne, Australia, secured A$6 million Series A and outlined plans to commercialize its unique optical OFDM technology capable of 100 Gbps transmissions. The venture funding came from Starfish Ventures.

Ofidium said its patented optical OFDM technology, which was pioneered by Professors Jean Armstrong and Arthur Lowery of Monash University, provides highly cost-efficient capacity growth for new optical fiber, and dramatic performance improvements for existing network infrastructure. OFDM is the dominant technology in a range of other communications applications. The company plans to offer optical OFDM transceiver modules for DWDM systems.

France Telecom Posts EUR 53.5 billion in 2008 Revenue, 182.3 Million Accesses

France Telecom Group

reported EUR 53.5 billion in 2008 revenue, a 2.9% growth for the year on a comparable basis. However, growth in Q4 slowed to 1.7% on the deteriorating economic conditions. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, France Telecom believes growth in its revenues should, as in 2008, be greater than the average GDP (gross domestic product) trend within the Group's footprint.

As of the beginning of 2009, the total number of customers served by the company across all its properties reached 182.3 million, including 121.8 million mobile customers, up 11%, and 12.7 million ADSL broadband customers, up 9%.

"For the second consecutive year, we stabilized the gross operating margin rate. These results show that the Group is well armed to face an
economic environment that has been particularly unsettled. We are able to continue generating a high level of cash flow, necessary to ensure future investments and for our employees and shareholders to be
able to partake in the Group's successes," commented Didier Lombard, France Telecom Chairman and Chief Executive

Some additional highlights:

  • There was a 2.8% increase in gross operating margin (GOM) on a comparable basis to €19.4 billion; stabilization of the GOM rate (GOM to revenues) at 36.3% on a comparable basis

  • In Personal Communications Services, the Group had 121.8 million PCS customers at 31 December 2008, excluding MVNOs, for a year-on-year increase of 10.8% (11.8 million additional customers, net of terminations).

  • The number of mobile broadband customers was up very sharply, to 26.7 million at 31 December 2008, compared with 15.7
    million at 31 December 2007, for a year-on-year increase of 70%.

  • The MVNO customer base in Europe rose to 3.1 million at 31 December 2008 (of which 1.8 million in France), compared with 1.9 million one
    year earlier on a comparable basis (of which 1.4 million in France).

  • The number of consumer broadband ADSL subscribers in Europe rose to 12.7 million at 31 December 2008, representing annual growth of 9.1% (more than a million new ADSL subscribers, net of service terminations).

  • The number of Livebox sets was up 28%, with 7.8 million units sold in Europe at 31 December 2008 compared with 6.1 million units at 31 December 2007. The number of Voice over IP customers grew 36% to 6.5 million at 31 December 2008 compared with 4.8 million at 31 December 2007. Digital and satellite TV subscribers rose to 2.1 million in Europe at 31 December 2008 (mainly in France), compared with
    1.2 million a year earlier, an increase of 66%.

  • Revenues for Enterprise Communication Services totalled EUR 7.778 billion in 2008, up 0.7% from 2007 on an historical basis. This includes the unfavorable impact of exchange rates (-EUR 112 million) and the positive impact of changes in the consolidation scope resulting from the consolidation of the "Enterprise" and "Managed Services" divisions of GTL India, acquired in July 2007, and the acquisitions of Netia and PCM in October 2008 (TV broadcasting business).

  • Advanced Business Network services were up 6.8% on a comparable basis (+4.6% on an historical basis), reflecting strong growth in IP network services and very high-speed infrastructure services such as MAN Ethernet and Ethernet LINK. The number of IP-VPN subscribers worldwide rose 7.5% year-on-year to 318,000 at 31 December 2008. Meanwhile, the Business Everywhere mobility offer was up 19.5% in France, with 683,000 users at 31 December 2008.

  • Capital expenditure rate (CAPEX to revenues) of 12.8%, in line with the objective of approximately 13% of revenues. Excluding the non-recurring transaction to purchase technical facilities in France carried out in the first half of 2008 for €163 million, CAPEX decreased 4.4% on a comparable basis. All three operating segments contributed to the decrease: CAPEX decreased by 5.8% in Personal Communication Services, by 1.9% in Home Communication Services and by 12.4% in Enterprise Communication Services. These changes are linked for the most part to the mature European markets, where CAPEX dropped 7.4%, particularly in Poland (-29%), after significant expenditures incurred in 2007 for network capacity expansion and support function optimization. At the same time, CAPEX in emerging markets jumped 9.9% on a comparable basis and represents almost 20% of the Group's total investments in 2008. This increase is tied principally to new operations (Kenya, Niger, Guinea and Central African Republic).

  • Growth in organic cash flow reached EUR 8.0 billion, up from EUR 7.8 billion in 2007 and in line with the stated objective

  • There was a decrease in the net debt/GOM ratio to 1.85, with a net debt of EUR 35.9 billion as of 31 December 2008, a reduction of EUR 2.1 billion year on year.