Wednesday, May 13, 2009

SingTel Group's Mobile Customer Base Expands to 249 Million

Singapore Telecommunications Group is now serving 249 million mobile lines, up 35 percent or 64 million customers year-on-year, as of 31-March-2009. The Group's aggregate mobile customer base in all eight markets, Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, grew 7.3 percent, or 17 million on a sequential quarterly basis despite the intense competition in the markets and the slowdown in the economies.

The proportionate mobile customer base rose 33 percent from a year ago or 7.0 percent from a quarter ago.

Bharti, India's number one mobile phone operator, posted the biggest jump in customer numbers among the associates. Its mobile base reached 93.9 million customers as at 31 March 2009, an increase of 52 percent from a year ago or 9.7 percent from a quarter ago. It also achieved its highest ever quarterly net additions of 8.3 million mobile customers this quarter and had 24.0 percent market share of the total wireless subscriber base as at 31 March 2009.

Indonesia's Telkomsel grew its mobile customer base by 41 percent or 20.8 million from a year ago. In the quarter, the Indonesian operator added 6.8 million customers and grew its market share by 3 percentage points to 49 percent as at 31 March 2009 from a quarter ago.

Thailand and the Philippines, the more mature markets, also posted strong mobile customer additions. AIS added 2.5 million mobile subscribers or 10 percent more from a year ago. Globe added 4.5 million mobile customers or 21 percent more from a year ago.

In Pakistan, Warid grew its total customer base by 3 million to 17.4 million, an increase of 21 percent from a year ago. PBTL's total mobile customer base in Bangladesh was 1.9 million, an increase of 315,000, or 20 percent more from a year ago.

In Australia, Optus' mobile customer base expanded 9.1 percent from a year ago to 7.79 million as at 31 March 2009. The solid growth was evidenced by the addition of 156,000 new mobile customers in the March quarter, including a total of 105,000 postpaid customers, driven by continuing strong demand for innovative offers including iPhone 3G, "Timeless" unlimited plans and wireless broadband. The number of 3G subscribers increased to 2.58 million this quarter.

In its home market of Singapore, SingTel added 405,000 new customers, or 16 percent more from a year ago, bringing its total mobile customer base to 2.98 million and extended its market share to 46.4 percent as at 31 March 2009, an increase of 3.0 percentage points from a year ago. A total of 34,000 new mobile customers were added during the quarter, of which 22,000 were postpaid net additions.

Huawei Demonstrates First Handoff Tests Between TD-LTE Base Stations

Huawei Technologies demonstrated the world's first handoff tests between TD-LTE base stations at this week's Next Generation Mobile Network Congress in Beijing. Huawei said its field tests mark a major forward step in the evolution of TD-LTE technology. Different terminals were used to simultaneously demonstrate the services based on TD-LTE, such as VOD, video phone and VOIP.

Vodafone, NTT DoCoMo, AT&T, China Mobile, TI and TeliaSonera participated in the conference and jointly discussed the development of future networks.

"Due to the rich resources in the TDD spectrum, the application of TD-LTE is currently of great interest to operators both in China and beyond. We are very confident about the future of TD-LTE which is one of the major next-generation mobile broadband platforms." said Wan Biao, President of Huawei Wireless Product Line.

China Mobile Tests 3G Direct Tunnel with NSN

China Mobile Group Henan Company Limited (Henan Mobile) is working with Nokia Siemens Networks to test Direct Tunnel technology. Direct Tunnel, as the name suggests, allows data traffic to bypass the packet core network's control node and move directly through the network. Not only does this reduce operation and maintenance expenses of the network, but it makes scaling with increased traffic much easier. The network operator intends to deploy the technology in its commercial network in the near future.

Orange Business Services Offers IPv6 for its MPLS-based VPNs

Orange Business Services has deployed IPv6 in its MPLS IP VPN backbone enabling the emergence of a new generation of applications and services, notably in machine-to-machine and sensors networks domains. The new option is available directly from 35 countries in Q2 2009 and will be gradually extended to more than 100 additional countries by the beginning of 2010.

Orange Business Services said there are four main reasons for companies to integrate IPv6:

  • Innovative applications: IPv6 will support large numbers of networked devices and ensure that there will never be a shortage of IP addresses.

  • More efficient addressing: IPv6 also enables enterprises to have simpler addressing, allowing for any device to have a unique IP address.

  • Protect and optimize investments: It is only a matter of time before IPv6 addressing replaces the existing IP addressing which means enterprises need to prepare now for the switch-over. Orange Business Services allows a single VPN to mix IPv4 and IPv6 traffic.

  • International context: Multinational companies need to be aware that some countries are adopting IPv6 earlier than others, so companies need to make IPv6 migration plans accordingly. Some governments already have in place ambitious 2010 targets.

Solaris Mobile Gains Euro S-Band Spectrum, Reports Satellite Anomaly

Solaris Mobile confirmed the award by the European Commission of the assignment of 2 x 15 MHz of S-Band spectrum across Europe. The Dublin-based company said it plans to broadcast crystal clear live TV, deliver linear and on-demand content e.g. location-based services, video or radio channels to mobile phones, vehicles, iPods, portable video players, game consoles and other handsets across Europe.

Solaris Mobile also announced that in the course of carrying out tests on its S-band satellite capacity which was launched last month, an anomaly was detected. Additional analysis is consequently planned with the satellite's prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space, in order to identify the cause of the anomaly and fully to assess the extent of the S-band payload's capability to provide mobile satellite services to the European marketplace.

Solaris Mobile is a joint venture between Eutelsat and SES Astra,

European Commission Selects Inmarsat and Solaris for Mobile Satellite Licenses

The European Commission has selected two operators, Inmarsat Ventures Limited and Solaris Mobile Limited, to provide mobile satellite services across Europe. A mobile satellite service (MSS) is a service provided by a satellite system which communicates with portable terminals on the ground, which can be carried by a person or mounted on a ship or car. Systems providing mobile satellite services have been allocated the 2 GHz frequency band throughout the European Union, comprising radio spectrum from 1980 to 2010 MHz for Earth to space communications, and from 2170 to 2200 MHz for space to Earth communications.

The selection concludes the first pan-European selection procedure organized by the Commission. Four companies -- ICO Satellite Limited, Inmarsat Ventures Limited, Solaris Mobile Limited and TerreStar Europe Limited -- had submitted an application. Commercial service must start within 24 months from this selection decision at the latest.

Telefónica Reaches 261.4 Million Accesses, Maintains Guidance, Cuts CAPEX

Telefónica is now serving over 261.4 million customer access lines worldwide, up 11.9% compared to a year ago. There has been growth in mobile access (+15.4%), broadband (+17.5%) and pay TV (+24.8%).

The company also reiterated its financial guidance for 2009, maintaining a target of distributing EUR 1.15/share in 2009.

Some highlights for the quarter:

  • Telefónica Latin America continues to drive the Group's growth (with organic revenue growth of 8.7%).

  • In Europe -- where organic revenue grew by 4%-, the business has shown resilience, driven by solid results in the United Kingdom (+7%) and Germany (+3.6%). In its domestic market, Telefónica has complied with its strategy to maximize income and maintain solid operating cash flow (+0.2% in comparable terms)

  • In the current economic context, the sound performance of the Telefónica Group in the first quarter of 2009 reflects the
    Q1 revenue stood at EUR 13,703 million in the first quarter of 2009, showing a solid 2.8% year-on-year growth in organic terms.

  • Telefónica Latinoamérica now serves over 159 million accesses across the region at the end of March (up +15.8% on March 2008).

  • By type of access, the Telefónica Group's wireless accesses exceeded 198 million at the end of March, with net adds in the first quarter of around 2.4 million and around 22.5 million customers5 compared to the end of March 2008. The main drivers of the net adds in the first quarter of the year were Brazil (0.7 million), Germany (0.3 million), Mexico (0.2 million) and Argentina (0.2 million).

  • Retail internet broadband accesses stood reached close to 12.8 million, a year-on-year increase of 17.5%, driven by the growing adoption of voice, ADSL and pay-TV bundled offers. It is worth highlighting that in Spain over 86% of retail broadband accesses are bundled as part of some kind of dual or triple offers, whilst in Latin America, 51% of broadband accesses are bundled as part of a dual or triple package. In the first quarter net adds were 0.3 million accesses, most of which coming from Brazil.

  • Pay TV accesses exceeded 2.3 million by the end of March, almost 25% more than a year ago. The company has pay TV operations up and running in Spain, the Czech Republic, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela.

  • In absolute terms, Telefónica Latino America's contribution to total Group revenue continued to grow, rising to 39.4% (+2.3 percentage points compared to the same period in 2008), whilst Telefónica España and Telefónica Europe contributed around 36% and 24% respectively, to reported revenue.

  • The Telefónica Group's operating expenses in the first quarter amounted to 8,572 million euros, down 2.3% on the end of March 2008.

  • Telefónica estimates that around 45%-50% of its total operating expenses can be considered to be variable as they relate mostly to interconnection and commercial expenses (handset subsidies, dealers commissions and advertising), and could therefore be managed in the short term to respond to changes in demand. The company said this gives it the flexibility to adapt its operating costs.

  • After reaching peak levels in the CapEx/Revenue ratio (14.5%) in 2008, the company has trimmed its CapEx for 2009 and now plans to spend EUR 7,500 million euros (vs. 8,401 million euros in 2008).

  • The Spanish wireless market totalled 53.9 million lines at the end of March 2009, a 5.1% y-o-y growth and with an estimated penetration rate of 118%, an increase of almost 6 percentage points compared to March 2008.

  • At the end of March 2009, Telefónica España's wireless business handled over 23.6 million wireless lines, up 2.6% year-on-year, driven mainly by growth in the number of contract customers (+4.3% compared to March 2008), which represents 61.6% of the total (1.0 percentage points higher than at the end of March last year). Net adds in the year's first quarter totalled 9,836 lines.

  • The Brazilian telecommunications sector remained buoyant in the first quarter of 2009, with significant growth in both broadband and wireless telephony, and leaving scope for increased penetration. Telefónica managed 61.4 million accesses in Brazil at the end of March, year-on-year growth of 22.9%.

  • Argentina's telecoms market showed a high dynamism in the first quarter of 2009, posting significant revenue growth, underpinned by improved usage ratios and higher customer numbers. In this context, Telefónica's customer base increased 6.5% year-on-year to 20.9 million, with significant year-on-year growth in wireless accesses (+9.1% to 15.0 million) and broadband (+24.9% to over 1.1 million).

BT Reports Weakness in Global Services, Cuts Jobs & CAPEX

BT's overall revenue grew 1% in its latest fiscal quarter, however a poor performance by BT Global Services led the company to report a loss and further accounting write-downs. The company also announced plans to eliminate up to 15,000 jobs out of its employment base of 147,000 employees.

"Three out of four of BT's lines of business have performed well in spite of fierce competition and the global economic downturn. However this achievement has been overshadowed by the unacceptable performance of BT Global Services and the resulting charges we have taken. During the year we have changed the leadership of BT Global Services and started to turn the division around.

"With a recovery programme for BT Global Services in place and our heightened focus on costs and customer service, we now want to accelerate our plans for our future networks. We will examine doubling the pace of the roll out of super fast broadband next year within existing capital expenditure plans, bringing fibre based services within the reach of more than a million homes and businesses and securing the jobs of a thousand BT people," stated Ian Livingston, Chief Executive.

Looking ahead, BT expects its revenue to decline by 4% to 5% in 2009/10, reflecting a continuation of the trends seen in the most recent quarter, the impact of lower mobile termination rates, together with the impact of refocusing BT Global Services. The company plans to deliver a net reduction in capital expenditure and operating costs of well over £1bn in 2009/10. Included within this is a reduction in group capital expenditure to around £2.7bn. As a result, we expect group free cash flow, before any pension deficit payments, but after the cash costs of the BT Global Services restructuring charges, to reach over £1bn in 2009/10 and beyond.

Some additional highlights:

  • BT Global Services revenue increased by 6% to £2,366m, due to the impact of foreign exchange movements
    which contributed 11%, acquisitions which contributed 3% offset by the impact of contract review adjustments of £41m. Excluding the impact of these, underlying revenue decreased by 6% to £2,103m.

  • BT Retail revenue declined by 3% to £2,101m driven by a decline of 8% in calls and lines, partially offset by
    growth in revenue from BT Conferencing, BT Vision and mobility.

  • BT's retail market share of the DSL and LLU installed base remained at 34% at 31 March 2009. Net additions were 99,000 in the quarter, taking total customers to 4.8m and retaining BT's status as the UK's most popular broadband supplier.

  • The BT Vision customer base reached 423,000 customers at 31 March 2009. 90% of new customers took a
    subscription package at the point of sale.

  • BT Openzone minutes have increased by 80% against the same quarter last year to 120 million minutes.

  • BT FON membership has also grown with members now totaling 220,000, an increase of 37% against the
    previous quarter.

AT&T Appoints First Chief Sustainability Officer

AT&T appointed Charlene Lake as its first chief sustainability officer. In this capacity, Lake will lead AT&T's efforts to achieve a wide range of specific, sustainable business objectives, working with the Public Policy Committee of the Board of Directors, the Chairman's office, and AT&T's executive management team to further integrate sustainable business practices across AT&T and its supply chain.

"Our appointment of a chief sustainability officer reflects our commitment to our long-term future and the communities where we live and work," said Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO.

AT&T noted a number of steps it has taken in the last 18 months to strengthen its commitment to sustainable business practices and operations, including:

  • Establishing accountability with the AT&T Board of Directors. At the end of 2007, AT&T changed the charter of its Public Policy Committee of the Board of Directors to establish clear oversight in the area of citizenship and sustainability.

  • Creating a cross-functional steering committee made up of senior executives and officers from across AT&T to better integrate sustainability into its business operations.

  • Launching AT&T Aspire, a $100 million philanthropic program to help strengthen student success and workforce readiness and begin impacting the labor pool for all businesses.

  • Making tangible commitments to environmental stewardship, such as an investment commitment of up to $565 million to deploy more than 15,000 fuel efficient vehicles over the next 10 years, as well as additional investments to support the use of wind and solar power for facilities in California and Texas, and energy-saving software for 310,000 desktop computers across domestic operations.

TI introduces first 5 Gbps SuperSpeed USB Transceiver

Texas Instruments (TI) introduced a new 5-Gbps transceiver test chip designed to the USB 3.0 specification version 1.0. The new transceiver is capable of driving and receiving signals over 4-m USB 3.0 cables to ensure data integrity. Sampling is expected in Q4 and volume production is expected in Q1 2010. In addition, evaluation modules will be available to interface the TUSB1310 to a variety of processor and FPGA implementations.

TI acquires Luminary Micro for Microcontrollers

Texas Instruments (TI) has acquired Luminary Micro, a leading supplier of ARM Cortex-M3-based 32-bit MCUs. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal closed this week.

TI said the addition of Luminary Micro's "Stellaris" family of Cortex-M3 processors will expand its portfolio of MCUs. Stellaris devices will allow TI to address mainstream 32-bit MCU markets, giving customers access to the general-purpose processing power of the industry-standard ARM Cortex-M3 core and the Stellaris family's advanced communication capabilities, including 10/100 Ethernet MAC+PHY, CAN, USB On-The-Go, USB Host/Device, SSI/SPI, UARTs, I2S, and I2C.

The Stellaris family of MCUs is positioned for cost-conscious applications requiring significant control processing and connectivity capabilities, including motion control, remote monitoring, HVAC and building controls, network appliances and switches, factory automation, electronic point-of-sale machines, test and measurement equipment, medical instrumentation, and gaming equipment.

China Telecommunications Technology Labs Partners with Speadtrum

China Telecommunications Technology Labs and Spreadtrum Communications (Shanghai) announced a strategic partnership focused on researching new technologies and services in wireless communications.

Dr. Leo Li, President and CEO of Spreadtrum, said: "CTTL is a comprehensive and large-scale information communications base that serves the Chinese and overseas markets to develop new technologies and establish standards, tests and verification services. With CTTL's partnership, Spreadtrum expects to improve its product quality and performance and to offer more suitable products for the Chinese and international markets. "

Motorola Confirms $310 Million Deal With China Mobile

Motorola signed a one-year frame agreement with China Mobile Communications Corporation (CMCC) to provide mobile telecommunication equipment and services. Under the deal, Motorola will supply GSM/GPRS/EDGE infrastructure and related services in various China Mobile markets served by Motorola radio infrastructure equipment.

The frame agreement was signed in Washington, D.C. on 27 April 2009, and its projected shipment and services value is estimated to be $310 million.

One Minute Video: Stepping Up Ethernet

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reliance Globalcom Extends VPLS Capabilities to 17 Countries

Reliance Globalcom has extended its Enterprise Global Ethernet services to 17 countries, enabling point-to-point and fully-meshed connectivity for multinational customers. The carrier operates an Ethernet network that employs VPLS over a MPLS platform.

Additionally, Reliance Globalcom's Ethernet services reach 36 countries through a combination of owned-assets and strategic carrier alliances, and encompass Reliance Communications' 176 points of presence (PoPs) across all major Indian cities.

Reliance Globalcom said key benefits of its Enterprise Global Ethernet include:

  • A fully-managed service with end-to-end performance SLAs

  • Global reach into high-demand destinations in both developed and developing countries, enabling customers with the agility to capitalize on high-growth opportunities, rapidly increasing talent pools and cost-savings in emerging markets

  • Significantly improved performance and speed for mid-size to large enterprises

  • Business critical support for bandwidth intensive and latency sensitive enterprise applications such as video conferencing, CRM, ERP, storage and disaster recovery -- as well as content delivery initiatives.

Reliance Globalcom's fully managed infrastructure is further extended through its 65,000 kilometers (km) of undersea cable assets, more than 21 network-to-network interface (NNI) agreements with key partners and more than 750 carrier relationships in developing and emerging markets around the world.

Ethernet Alliance Adds AT&T, Verizon as Interest in 40G Serial Optics Grows

The Ethernet Alliance has added AT&T, Cadence, Dell, FCI USA, NetApp and Verizon as member companies. The Alliance notes a growing interest in starting a standards effort to support 40 Gigabit Ethernet using a serial -- or single-lane -- physical layer optics device. Currently, IEEE P802.3ba Draft 2.0 supports 40 Gigabit Ethernet with a 4-lane parallel fiber approach for up to 100 m and with a 4-lambda wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) approach for up to 10 km.

Carriers and service providers have expressed a strong interest in a single-lane serial approach to permit them to more easily interface with their existing OTN and SONET/SDH network infrastructure. AT&T and Verizon have joined the Ethernet Alliance to help foster the incubation effort with Ethernet Alliance members. The Ethernet Alliance invites others in the industry with similar interests to contact the Ethernet Alliance to join this effort.

'As a technology leader, Verizon recognizes the value the Ethernet Alliance brings to the standards community and fully supports their efforts to progress 40 Gigabit serial Ethernet standardization in conjunction with the IEEE,' said Martin Carroll, distinguished member of the Verizon Technology staff.

Clearwire Selects Cisco for Core, Mobile WiMAX Devices

Clearwire has selected Cisco as its national Internet Protocol Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) core infrastructure provider. Specifically, Cisco will be the primary IP network solution provider for Clearwire's 4G network. Clearwire has selected and is in the process of the testing and certification of a Cisco IP NGN architecture that includes Cisco 7600 Series Internet routers, Cisco ONS 15454 and Cisco ONS 15310 platforms, Cisco ASA Firewalls, and the Cisco Service and Application Module for IP (SAMI) Home Agent.

In addition, Cisco will build new mobile WiMAX devices for the CLEAR 4G mobile WiMAX service for the consumer, small office or home office (SOHO), and small- and medium-sized business (SMB) markets.

As part of a multi-year network build-out plan with Cisco, the CLEAR 4G mobile WiMAX service will be available in major metropolitan areas across the United States. Clearwire currently provides mobile WiMAX services in Baltimore, Md., and in Portland, Ore., and plans to bring its CLEAR 4G service to more than 80 markets across the United States by the end of 2010.

Cisco is aiming to introduce its first mobile WiMAX device later this year.

Clearwire and Cisco also recently announced their involvement in forming the WiMAX Innovation Network for developers, which will initially cover more than 20 square miles in Silicon Valley. Service is expected to be available to developers by late summer of this year, giving them a head start on the Bay Area's commercial service launch, which is planned for 2010.

Ethos Networks Reveals Mobile Backhaul Transport Solution

Ethos Networks announced its new E-240 switch designed to serve as a mobile backhaul transport solution. The switch offers QoS and traffic engineering capabilities based on standardized Provider Backbone Bridging (PBB) and PBB -- Traffic Engineering (PBB-TE), a.k.a. IEEE 802.1ah and 802.1Qay. It is optimized to address Ethernet service delivery with high scalability of up to 240Gbps coupled with service assurance supporting bound delay and jitter and sub-50ms restoration time essential to the delivery of real-time applications and timing information in the mobile backhaul environment. It also supports IEEE-1588v2 and Synchronous Ethernet based on G.8261 and G.8262 to address timing and synchronization issues found in mobile backhaul.