Tuesday, March 24, 2009

India's Bharti Airtel and MTN Negotiate Possible Combination

Bharti Airtel and MTN Group Limited confirmed that they are discussing a possible combination that would create a leading telecommunications service provider group aligning Bharti's market leading Indian business with MTN's market leading African and Middle Eastern operations. A full merger of MTN and Bharti would create a leading emerging market telecom operator with current combined revenues of over USD 20 billion and a combined customer base of over 200 million.

In a press statement, the companies said they are exploring a potential transaction whereby Bharti would acquire a 49% shareholding in MTN and, in turn, MTN and its shareholders would acquire an approximate 36% economic interest in Bharti, of which 25% would be held by MTN with the remainder held directly by MTN shareholders. Bharti and MTN have agreed to discuss the potential transaction exclusively with one another until July 31, 2009.

"We are delighted at the prospect of developing a partnership with MTN to create an emerging market telecom powerhouse. Both companies would stand to gain significant benefits from sharing each other's best practices in addition to savings emanating from enhanced scale. We see real power in the combination and we will work hard to unleash it for all our shareholders. This opportunity also represents a first of its kind in developing an Indian-African initiative that would serve as a shining example of South-South cooperation," stated Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti.

InnoPath Adds LTE Support to ActiveCare Mobile Device Management

InnoPath Software has added support for LTE to its ActiveCare over-the-air mobile device management platform, which already supported CDMA, GSM and WiMAX networks. The platform is used by mobile network operators and handset makers to provide over-the-air support for their customers, reducing call time and driving call avoidance. Key elements of the company's LTE support include:

  • Activation -- the ability to effectively detect, provision and customize devices over an IP-centric LTE network. It supports extensibility customized for a specific operator deployment, such as gathering the current SIP or IP address for client-server interaction.

  • Device Support -- both LTE-only devices as well as ‘dual-mode' devices used in phased operator deployments. InnoPath only requires an OMA-DM client on the device which can be either pre-loaded or post-loaded into the mobile device. InnoPath ActiveCare is compatible with both planned FDD and TDD LTE (TD-LTE) deployments.

  • Standards Evolution -- InnoPath is helping to drive the completion of DM 1.3 within OMA-DM. DM 1.3 provides for provisioning and management of native IP devices over-the-air by supporting non-SMS based bootstrap. Looking to the future, InnoPath is helping drive the definition of DM 2.0.

  • Care -- the ActiveCare capability set and Smart Client are deployable within LTE with a goal of reducing client -- server network bandwidth, average call time and increase customer satisfaction.

Inphi Develops 28 Gbps Differential Mach-Zehnder Modulator Driver

Inphi announced a 28 Gbps Differential Mach-Zehnder Modulator Driver designed for next-generation 40G Differential Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (DQPSK) and 100G Dual-Polarization QPSK transponders. The company said that while current 40G transponders are designed using components in large and expensive metal packages with microwave connectors, its device is based upon surface mount technology that reduces transponder size and cost while not compromising signal integrity.

"Inphi is driving the ecosystems to transition from metal packages with microwave connectors to surface mount solutions," said Loi Nguyen, Vice President of Technology, Inphi Corporation. "Inphi is working closely with industry leaders to develop the next-generation of compact, lower-cost surface mount 40G and 100G components. The 2811DZ underscores our leadership in driving next generation solutions for 40G/100G telecom infrastructure applications."

Unlike other competing single-ended solutions, Inphi's 2811DZ's unique, patented differential architecture results in the largest output swing, 9http://www.inphi-corp.com

Dell Unveils Latest Server & Storage Products

Dell introduced fourteen new enterprise computing products, including new blades, servers and workstations optimized for virtualized environments. The rollout includes the 11th generation of Dell PowerEdge servers and Precision workstations based on the next generation of Intel's Xeon processors.

Dell said the new PowerEdge portfolio will offer optimal virtualization, system management, and usability capabilities while its PowerEdge R710 provides the industry's best performance per watt.

Dell today also announced new EqualLogic PS6000 storage arrays that offer storage area networks (SANs) the ability to form a virtualized pool of storage. Dell is unveiling SAN Headquarters, a centralized dashboard that monitors performance and events for dozens of PS Series groups, potentially more than 10 PB of SAN storage. SAN Headquarters is available to any EqualLogic customer with a support agreement at no additional cost.

FCC Revises Fee Structure for International Submarine Cables


adopted a revised regulatory fee methodology for international submarine cable operators. The new rules calculate these regulatory fees on a per cable landing license basis -- with higher fees for larger international submarine cable systems and lower fees for smaller systems. This replaces the previous methodology that calculated fees on a per active circuit basis. In addition to being more administratively efficient,
the FCC said its new methodology allocates regulatory fees among service providers in an equitable and competitively neutral manner, without distinguishing between common carriers and noncommon carriers and by assessing a flat per cable landing license fee for all international
submarine cable systems based on size of the system.

The new methodology, which is slated to go into effect this fiscal year, is based on a consensus proposal submitted by a group representing 35 of 42 international submarine cable operators, and accounting for over 95 percent of the international circuits carried on submarine
cable systems.

Verizon Business Offers Professional Virtualization Services

Verizon Business is launching an expanded suite of consulting and management services to help enterprise customers achieve the benefits of virtualization -- high performance, flexibility, cost control and energy savings. The goal is to enable customers to out-task the design and the often complex day-to-day management, maintenance and security of virtualized environments.

Virtualization uncouples operating systems and applications from the physical hardware, allowing servers to run multiple virtual environments on a single machine.

"As enterprises around the world question how to do more with less, many are finding a strong answer in virtualization," said Kerry Bailey, Verizon Business senior vice president of global services. "Whether a company is moving to virtualization using its existing infrastructure or migrating a new 'app' to a virtualized model, Verizon Business' complete solution for virtualization can help companies increase efficiency and control costs."

The following services make up the company's enhanced Virtualization Consulting and Management offering:

  • Server Consolidation Assessment -- Verizon Business analyzes a customer's current environment to determine where and how the infrastructure could best be consolidated.

  • Server Consolidation Design -- Based on an initial consolidation assessment and review of business and technical requirements,
    virtualization experts design a new consolidated environment.

  • Secure Virtualization Assessment & Design -- This converged solution combines the Server Consolidation Assessment and Server Consolidation Design services, plus adds on a security assessment of the proposed virtualization environment. Verizon Business delivers to customers a design and roadmap for a new, secure environment.

  • Virtualization Design -- This service is aimed at customers who would like to design a new environment with virtualization as a key consideration, but are not necessarily consolidating existing infrastructure.

  • Virtualization Build -- Based on a design by either Verizon Business or the customer, the Verizon Business team builds and implements a virtualized solution. This service includes the installation of the hardware and network, as well as configuration of the virtual

  • Virtualization Migration -- Verizon Business provides services to migrate the customer applications and data to the new virtualized

  • Virtualization Deployment Review -- With this new service, the company will assess and provide feedback on virtualized environments implemented by the customer or another third party, as well as verify adherence to industry best practices.

In addition to a full array of professional services and a global team that includes many VMware-certified engineers, Verizon Business can host the customer infrastructure and virtual servers at one of its worldwide data centers or manage the environment remotely at the customer's premises or at a third-party colocation facility.

Sprint Outlines its 2009-2010 WiMAX Rollout Plans

Sprint announced its 2009-2010 rollout plans for 4G services, which offer peak downlink speeds of up to 12 Mbps and average downlink speeds of 2-4 Mbps. The service is currently available in Baltimore.

In 2008, Sprint plans to deploy 4G service in: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Portland and Seattle.

Sprint also expects to launch service in multiple markets in 2010 including Boston, Houston, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Sprint said it has several new 4G devices planned for 2009 and 2010, including a single-mode 4G data card, embedded laptops, a small-office-home-office broadband modem and a tri-mode phone.

LSI Enables Tiered Services via APP Communications Processor

LSI is releasing new software for the company's APP3300 and APP300 communication processors, which are used in customer premise equipment that is widely deployed in Tier 1 VDSL and ADSL networks around the world. The new LSI software features service-aware capabilities that service providers could leverage to shape the next generation of user-driven, tiered-pricing models.

Using programmable hardware schedulers in the APP communications processor and its own hierarchical scheduling algorithms, the Broadband Access Functional Programming Interface (FPI) 8.0 software enables network traffic to be dynamically shaped for specific services and subscribers. It also provides multiple levels of policing and priority re-marking to enable the enforcement of a broad range of service-level agreements, which allows service providers to personalize subscription plans and guarantee quality levels.

LSI said DSLAM systems using its Broadband Access FPI 8.0 can support any combination of VDSL, ADSL and SHDSL ports, which allows selected services to be introduced without replacement of deployed network equipment. Because the new software features a single API for the complete suite of LSI APP3300 and APP300 devices, OEMs can leverage a single application across a broad system portfolio.

"LSI's newest Broadband Access FPI 8.0 allows network services to be cost-effectively provisioned and managed," said Sindhu Xirasagar, network processor software product line manager, Networking Components Division, LSI. "This new solution enables service providers to increase the intelligence, control and security of their networks and deliver higher-value, tiered-subscription services at lower incremental cost."http://www.lsi.com

Blockbuster and TiVo Announce Agreement

TiVo has agreed to deliver Blockbuster's library of premium digital movie titles directly to the television set via TiVo DVRs. Specifically, BLOCKBUSTER OnDemand, featuring content to both buy and rent, will be integrated into TiVo Series2, Series3, TiVo HD, and TiVo HD XL DVRs. Content will be delivered via the customer's broadband connection. The companies expect to have the BLOCKBUSTER OnDemand service integrated into TiVo DVRs in the second half of 2009.


Audience Closes $15 Million for its Noise Suppression Silicon

Audience, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, has raised $15 million in Series D funding.

The Audience Voice Processor provides advanced noise suppression modeled after the human auditory system, the human hearing system. The company said its silicon is based on the science of Auditory Scene Analysis (ASA), or the grouping and processing of complex mixtures of sound. Because the Audience Voice Processor handles signals the way people actually perceive specific sounds, it is able to identify and suppress noise sources in an extremely efficient and accurate manner. The silicon is deployed in commercial handsets by LG, Pantech and Sharp, among others.

The latest round brings the company's total funding amount to date to $60 million. Investors include New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Tallwood Venture Capital, Vulcan Capital and VentureTech Alliance.

Alcatel-Lucent Supplies Optical Transport Net in Azerbaijan

Alcatel-Lucent is supplying a cross-country optical network to Delta Telecom of Azerbaijan. The deployment of the Alcatel-Lucent optical solution will start in the country's capital, Baku, and will then extend to the major links connecting Azerbaijan with neighboring countries. Specifically, Alcatel-Lucent will supply its Optical Multi-Service Node (OMSN) systems and 1678 Metro Core Connect (MCC) for traffic aggregation and mobile backhaul, along with the 1626 Light Manager (LM) for long-haul traffic transmission. The companies said this network modernization will help Delta Telecom to strengthen its leading position as a major transit data provider between the Caucasus region, Central Asia the Middle East, Europe and China.

ARRIS and OpenTV Partner on Localized Advertising Technology

ARRIS and OpenTV will present a joint demonstration of their next generation linear television ad platform at next week's NCTA Cable Show in Washington, D.C. The companies said their collaboration breaks new ground because this will be the first time that the SCTE-130 standard, which provides a common framework for the development of advanced advertising services, is applied to linear advertising. The demonstration couples OpenTV's new real-time Ad Decision Service (ADS), OpenTV's EclipsePlus campaign management solution, and ARRIS' linear Ad Management System (ConvergeMedia SkyVision ADM 1.0). The solution provides the ability to identify national ad breaks, do real-time localized ad substitutions based on geographic market data, as well as accommodate last minute schedule shifts, as might be required during live events.

"Advanced digital ad insertion systems like ARRIS replaced 3/4-inch tape machines and analog switching more than a decade ago, but the techniques for conveying schedules from traffic systems to those advertising video servers have not changed in more than 20 years," said Paul Woidke, OpenTV's Senior Vice President and General Manager , Advanced Advertising. "Current systems do not allow for live program shifts and identify only the local breaks made available to cable operators in their markets. Through this next generation platform, and by applying the SCTE-130 standard, ARRIS and OpenTV have established a highly dynamic, real-time interface that will bring greater flexibility to the ad decision process and increase the geographic relevance of national ads."http://www.opentv.com

Global Broadband Installed Base Tops 411 Million Lines

World broadband statistics for 2008 show a 62.6 million line growth to 410.9 million lines, according to newly released statistics prepared for the Broadband Forum by industry analysts Point Topic.

While growth slowed late in the year generally, compared to the same quarter in 2007, several countries showed improved performance in the third quarter of 2008, including France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Singapore and The Philippines. IPTV global subscriber totals have now reached 21.7 million, which is an increase of 63 percent on the end of 2007 figures.

As expected, due to the global economic situation, broadband growth slowed, however all countries experienced overall growth during the last year. China has the highest installed based of broadband lines, followed by the USA, Japan and Germany.

In terms of technology, DSL continues to be the most popular broadband access technology, although fiber has grown twice as fast as either cable or DSL in the 12 months to Q4 2008.

"This report shows that despite the economic situation the world is facing, the demand for both broadband and IPTV continues to expand," said George Dobrowski, Chairman and President of the Broadband Forum. "The Forum continues to drive broadband innovation, and with the recent
release of BroadbandSuite 3.0, which provides new IPTV management and fibre integration tools, we continue to ensure that the industry has all the tools and specifications it needs to optimize networks and to capture the full potential of broadband worldwide."http://www.point-topic.com

Conexant to Focus on Imaging, Audio/Video and Embedded-Modems

Conexant Systems reported quarterly revenue of $74.5 million. Core gross margins were 52.7 percent of revenues. Core operating expenses were $41 million, and core operating loss was $1.8 million. Core net loss from continuing operations was $7.4 million, or $0.15 per share. On a GAAP basis, gross margins were 52.5 percent of revenues. GAAP operating expenses were $48.4 million. GAAP operating loss was $9.3 million, and GAAP net loss from continuing operations was $14.8 million, or $0.30 per share.

"The Conexant team delivered performance that met or exceeded our expectations on all major financial metrics for the second fiscal quarter," said Scott Mercer, Conexant's chairman and chief executive officer. "Revenues of $74.5 million exceeded the high end of the range we provided in January. Gross margin of 52.7 percent was within the range we expected, and core operating expenses of $41 million were a million dollars lower than we anticipated entering the quarter due to our continued focus on cost-reduction activities. On a core operating basis, our loss of $1.8 million was lower than our expectation of a core operating loss in a range between $3 million and $7 million, resulting in a core net loss of $0.15 per share rather than the $0.18 to $0.26 per share we anticipated."

Regarding its recently announced plans to sell its Broadband Access product lines to Ikanos Communications for $54 million, Conexant said the deal will provide it with the flexibility needed to focus on solutions for imaging, audio, video, and embedded-modem applications.

Monday, March 23, 2009

KDDI, Furukawa, and Teknovus Develop Clock Synch for Backhaul

KDDI R&D Laboratories (KDDI R&D), Furukawa Electric and Teknovus announced an end-to-end fiber-based backhaul transport solution that eliminates the need for GPS receivers at each base station throughout a cellular network. Accurate clock synchronization is required in cellular networks to prevent call drops as subscribers move from cell-to-cell, to ensure high-quality voice communications and to support accurate billing.

The solution integrates one GPS receiver with the OLT (Optical Line Terminal), distributing carrier-grade clock signaling throughout the EPON network to every connected base station.

This could help service providers eliminate costly GPS receivers, cabling and monthly TDM-circuit fees. In addition, this solution enables base station installations in areas with limited GPS reception, such as those shadowed by adjacent buildings or other physical obstructions.

Key components of this end-to-end clock synchronization include:

  • Teknovus Turbo-EPON chips and embedded software.

  • Furukawa's integrated GPS receiver for the OLT, which multiplexes the clock signals into EPON frames using the Teknovus OLT chip. For base stations, Furukawa provides an SFP-ONU (Small Form Factor Pluggable-Optical Network Unit), the FITELwave AG9, based on the Teknovus ONU chip, which de-multiplexes the clock signals with high fidelity for use by wireless base stations.

  • KDDI R&D's timing solutions for fiber-based networks, which eliminate the need for costly GPS transceivers at every base station.

Vitesse Announces Signal Conditioner for 10G

Vitesse Semiconductor introduced a flexible, high-performance Clock and Data Recovery (CDR) integrated circuit (IC) specifically designed to extend 10 Gbps data transmission in optical, copper cable, and backplane applications. This multiport CDR solves difficult high-speed signal integrity design challenges through the use of Vitesse's VScope waveform viewing technology and FlexEQ Electronic Dispersion Compensation (EDC) and adaptive equalization technology.

Vitesse said its new CDR device extends optical transmission at 10G rates on single mode fiber by over 50% and compensates for both chromatic- and polarization-mode dispersion for distances greater then 10 kilometers on exiting 2.5G networking infrastructure. For shorter optical distances, where high-density and lower system cost is paramount, the device enables a 10X speed upgrade on low-grade FDDI fiber from 1GE to 10GE for distances greater then 220 meters. The flexible equalization technology also enables deployment of low cost Twinax passive copper cables to distances greater than 15 meters for datacenter interconnect applications, a 100% improvement over the current standard.

Corning LEAF Fiber Passes 30 Million Kilometers Milestone

Corning has sold more than 30 million kilometers of its LEAF optical fiber since introducing the product in 1998. LEAF is used as the backbone of many of the world's most advanced long-haul networks and is the most widely deployed non-zero dispersion-shifted fiber (NZ-DSF) in the world.

"LEAF fiber is a great example of Corning innovation and has been one of Corning's most successful products, meeting customer needs over many years," said Martin J. Curran, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Optical Fiber. "The performance of this fiber is proven by its operation in more than 100 carrier networks worldwide."

Corning noted that compared to other non-zero dispersion-shifted fibers, LEAF fiber, with its large effective area, allows higher levels of optical power to be transmitted while minimizing nonlinear impairments that can degrade transmission-system performance. This fiber has low chromatic dispersion, which simplifies dispersion compensation and lowers the cost of network installation and operation for long-haul carriers. In addition, this fiber has low-polarization-mode dispersion (PMD), which enables high-data-rate transmission.

mobilkom austria group Selects Starent for 3G and 4G/LTE Core

mobilkom austria group (mag) has selected Starent Networks' multimedia core solution for deployment in its mobile operator member companies across Europe for UMTS and LTE mobile broadband services. Starent is working with Kapsch CarrierCom, Austria for the solution deployment.

mag will initially use Starent's GGSN solution on the ST40 multimedia core platform to enable high-speed multimedia services such as video and Internet on its 3G/UMTS networks. The companies said the ability to easily migrate the Starent multimedia core platform to the 4G/LTE Evolved Packet Core (EPC) was a key element in the selection decision by mag.

Kapsch CarrierCom is already providing several solutions to mag, such as UMTS, NGIN and R4 and will manage the deployment, integration and support of the Starent products. Financial terms were not disclosed.

China Telecom Reports Tumultuous 2008 Changes

In 2008, China Telecom experienced the historic restructuring of the nation's telecommunications market, completed a major expansion through its wireless acquisition and responded to unprecedented natural disasters, including snowstorms and earthquakes. Nevertheless, the company said its operating fundaments remained robust and its underlying results solid.

Excluding the amortization of upfront connection fees and the impact of one-off items including impairment loss of the Personal Handyphone System (PHS) assets and losses related to natural disasters, the operating revenues were RMB184,779 million, a growth of 4.0% over last year. EBITDA was RMB85,889 million, a decrease of 1.3% from 2007, and the EBITDA margin was 46.5%.

Profit attributable to equity holders of the Company was RMB20,066 million, a decline of 12.8% over the preceding year.

China Telecom's 2008 capital expenditures reached RMB48,410 million, accounting for 26.2% of the operating revenues, similar to that for 2007. Free cash flow reached RMB36,768 million, an increase of 8.1% from 2007.

Revenues from the wireline non-voice services reached RMB82,294 million, accounting for 46.1% of the wireline revenue in 2008, an increase of 8.9 percentage points from last year.

Broadband access revenue for the whole year of 2008 reached RMB40,243 million, a rise of 28.6% compared to last year and contributed 5.0 percentage points of the company's overall revenue growth.

Revenue from direct information services including "Best Tone" Services for the whole year reached RMB4,787 million, an increase of 44.6% from 2007.

Revenue from government and enterprises customers increased by 10.9%, while revenue from household customers increased by 2.9%.

China Telecom also launched its new mobile service brand "e surfing" shortly after the acquisition of the CDMA business. The company's mobile service has shown favorable growth momentum with a net increase of 2.72 million customers in the first two months of 2009, a turnaround from the decline in subscribers after the acquisition of the CDMA business in the fourth quarter of last year.

The total number of mobile subscribers reached 30.63 million as at the end of February 2009.

ST-Ericsson Offers Single-Chip EDGE Handset Solution

ST-Ericsson introduced its 4910 and 4908 EDGE platforms for next-generation, low-cost handsets. The devices integrate both digital and analog basebands, RF transceiver and power management unit (PMU) in a single chip. In addition, these single-chip solutions provide multimedia, security and connectivity features while promising the industry's longest battery life. Mass productions is slated for early 2010.

ST-Ericsson said these new chips are developed for emerging and cost-sensitive wireless markets. The company believes the new devices mark a breakthrough in the cost-to-feature ratio for mass-market EDGE handsets.

"As wireless connectivity proliferates across the entire globe so are consumer expectations for the ultimate user experience. Entry-level cell phone users now desire the same value-added applications available in today's more mature wireless markets, including high-quality video capture and hi-fi stereo Bluetooth music," said Marc Cetto, Vice President Cellular Systems and Connectivity, ST-Ericsson.