Thursday, August 5, 2010

NTT Adds 588,000 Optical Access Lines in Q2

The NTT Group reported quarterly revenue of ¥957.1 billion (a decrease of 0.4% from the same period of the previous fiscal year). Despite an increase in IP-related revenues due to an increase in FLET'S Hikari subscriptions, fixed voice-related services revenue decreased mainly due to the decline in fixed-line telephone subscriptions. Consolidated operating expenses for the quarter fell to ¥915.6 billion (a decrease of 3.1% from the same period of the previous fiscal year) due to a decrease in personnel expenses as a result of a decline in the number of employees and such factors as a decrease in operating expenses, including depreciation and amortization. As a result, consolidated operating income for the first quarter of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011 was ¥41.5 billion (an increase of 158.3% from the same period of the previous fiscal year).

NTT added 588,000 FLET's Hikari optical access lines in the quarter, giving it a total of 13.8 million across its East and West divisions. NTT is now offering service tiers with maximum download speeds of 200 Mbps and 1 Gbps. Meanwhile, ADSL accounts fell by 129,000 in the quarter and the company has 3,253,000 remaining.

In mobile, the company added 432,000 subscribers in the quarter for a total of 56,515,000.

Huawei Supplies Core Routers for China TieTong

China TieTong, the former China Railway Communication company and now a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Mobile, has selected Huawei as the sole provider for a massive expansion of IP backbone (CTTNET).

Huawei will provide its advanced Quidway NetEngine5000E (NE5000E) core routers for this project. Financial terms were not disclosed.

China TieTong's CTTNET is facing a rapid growth in broadband subscribers and expects 10 million by the end of the year. Traffic on CTTNET is growing between 70 percent and 100 percent each year.

Huawei said its NE5000E was chosen because offers the port density and core scalability needed for this project. In addition, the router' s patented resilient matrix and in-service hardware expansion will enable seamless capacity expansion of router cluster systems.

To date, the global cumulative shipments of Huawei's core router NE5000E and relevant cluster systems have reached over 2,000, including deployments by SingTel, China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, and France Telecom (FT).

Avere Raises $17 Million for Demand-Driven Storage

Avere Systems, start-up based in Pittsburgh, PA, raised $17 million in new venture funding to support its Demand-driven Storage,br solutions.

Avere aims to deliver faster application performance at lower cost by intelligently moving active data between traditional storage devices and its series of FXT appliances, which contain both solid-state storage and traditional spinning media. Reads, writes and metadata are allocated to storage media via Avere's unique approach to dynamic tiering. Allocation algorithms running on the FXT appliances monitor access frequency patterns and workload type and manage data placement on multiple internal tiers to increase performance, distribute workload in the cluster and minimize requests to the mass storage server. Movement of data occurs in real-time - not in hours or days - and occurs at the file-level or even block-level within a file. All of this is done automatically by the system.

The Avere appliances can be clustered for maximum scalability. The company claims a 5:1 reduction in disks, power, and rack space.

Avere launched its FXT Series appliances less than a year ago and the company said its has closed major deals with customers like Sony Pictures Imageworks and GX Technology.

The series B funding round was led by Tenaya Capital and included original investors Menlo Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners.
  • Avere is headed by Ronald Bianchini, Jr. (co-founder, President and CEO), who previously was a Senior Vice President at NetApp, where he served as the leader of the NetApp Pittsburgh Technology Center. Before NetApp, he was CEO and Co-Founder of Spinnaker Networks, which developed the Storage Grid architecture acquired by NetApp.

Verizon Wireless Notes 1H Test Data

During the first half of 2010, test engineers from Verizon Wireless drove a total of 497,700 miles across the U.S. and conducted 1.69 million voice call attempts and 9.7 million data tests. The testing measured performance and quality on the Verizon Wireless network as well as on the networks of all major competitors.

Data collected year-round by the company's nationwide team of 100 test men and women - the largest single team of systems performance engineers deployed by a U.S. wireless service provider - provide the support for the company's "nation's most reliable wireless network" claim.

The compan said that the data collected by its team over 100 test engineers consistently show that the Verizon Wireless network beats all other carriers. The collected data also helps Verizon Wireless plan its multi-billion dollar network capital expenditure program.

NSN Claims GSM Boost with Dynamic Frequency and Channel Allocation

Nokia Siemens Networks announced a unique Dynamic Frequency and Channel Allocation (DFCA) feature that that it claims will double GSM network capacity within existing spectrum.

Nokia Siemens Networks' DFCA leverages a combination of software capabilities to increase the traffic carrying capacity of existing sites, while improving network quality. This, in turn, minimizes the immediate investment in additional sites, reducing the total cost of ownership. An added benefit is a huge increase in energy efficiency per subscriber.

"DFCA has immense potential to help operators address the challenge of ever increasing voice and data traffic," said Prashant Agnihotri, head of GSM/EDGE product management, Nokia Siemens Networks. "It helps operators squeeze voice calls into less bandwidth, so it can be alternatively used for data, either through Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) or by re-farming the spectrum to Wideband Code Division Multiple Access/Long Term Evolution (WCDMA/LTE). It brings a substantial increase for operators in terms of potential earnings per base station site."
  • In January 2009, Nokia Siemens Networks announced the successful implementation of Orthogonal Sub Channel (OSC) technology to carry four calls in one GSM radio timeslot. This effectively doubles the voice capacity of the GSM radio network. The OSC demonstration was conducted as a drive test using four handsets sharing only one radio timeslot and without compromising the call quality. The demonstration, which was held on January 21, used existing commercially available GSM handsets.

    Nokia Siemens Networks said the OSC demonstration was the first of its kind The company is actively contributing to the standardization of OSC and is planning to have the technology commercially available in 2010.

Inmarsat Plans Ka-band Global Mobile Broadband Service

Inmarsat unveiled plans for a global, mobile broadband service offering downloads speeds of up to 50 Mbps using Ka-band satellites. The company plans to invest US$1.2 billion to launch the network by 2014.

Inmarsat said its forthcoming Global Xpress will address the established growing markets for VSAT services in the maritime, energy and government sectors, with further growth potential in developing markets such as the aeronautical sector. Inmarsat will target US$500 million of annual Ka-band revenues five years after the global service is launched.

As a first step, Inmarsat has contracted for three state-of-the-art Boeing 702HP Ka-band satellites. Eac will carry a payload of 89 Ka-band beams - capable of flexing capacity across the globe and enabling Inmarsat to adapt to shifting subscriber usage patterns over their projected lifetime of 15 years. Upload speeds are estimated at 5 Mbps.

Under a separate arrangement, Boeing has agreed to become a distribution partner for Inmarsat's Ka-band and L-band services, and has committed to capacity purchases representing more than 10 per cent of Inmarsat's target Ka-band revenues in the first five years after launch.

"Global Xpress will be faster and less expensive than current Ku-band market offerings, it will be delivered to smaller and cheaper terminals and be the first offered on a seamless, global, end-to-end basis with high-quality of service. Picture 50Mpbs services to a ship or aircraft, and 10Mpbs to an antenna the size of an iPad (20cm).

Two Minute Video: The New Metrics of 100G Testing

Presented by: Dave Schneider, Ixia

American Tower Corp. Acquires India's Essar Telecom Infrastructure

American Tower Corp., which owns and operates over 32,000 communications sites in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and India, has acquired Essar Telecom Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. (ETIPL) from the Essar Group, for approximately $430 million in cash.

The deal includes ETIPL's portfolio of over 4,600 wireless communications tower sites, as well as a number of towers under construction. The acquired portfolio includes sites across 14 of the 23 telecom circles in India and has an industry leading tenancy ratio of 1.9. In addition, this acquisition increases the size of the company's communications tower site portfolio in India by almost threefold and its global portfolio to more than 32,000 communication sites.

"The Essar acquisition brings us to a portfolio of over 7,000 communication tower sites in India, providing a solid platform for future revenue growth. We are excited about the ongoing potential of this market as our customers in India continue to build out their nationwide networks while also seeking to launch next generation technologies with newly awarded spectrum," said Jim Taiclet, Chairman, President and CEO.

CBeyond Revenues Grow 9.7% YoY to $112 Million

Cbeyond, a managed service provider operating in 13 U.S. markets, reported Q2 revenue of $111.8 million, up 9.7% over the second quarter of 2009. The company's adjusted EBITDA was $18.4 million for Q2 2010 compared with $13.8 million in the second quarter of 2009, and $18.6 million in Q1 2010. There was a net loss of ($0.1) million in the second quarter of 2010 compared with a net loss of ($2.2) million in the second quarter of 2009.

As of the end of Q2, Cbeyond was serving 53,518 total customers in its 13 operating markets, reflecting net customer additions of 1,787 in the second quarter of 2010, an increase of 15.3% in total customers year-over-year. Average monthly revenue per customer location (ARPU) was $708 during Q2, compared with $723 in Q1 and $748 in the Q2 2009.

"We are pleased to report continued strong results in adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow during the second quarter of 2010," said Jim Geiger, chief executive officer of Cbeyond. "Our adjusted EBITDA of $18.4 million represents an increase of approximately 33% over the second quarter of 2009. We are also pleased to note that Cbeyond posted ‘free cash flow' of $3.2 million in the second quarter, with free cash flow totaling $8.6 million in the first half of 2010. Free cash flow is a non-GAAP measure that we define as adjusted EBITDA less capital expenditures. While adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow results have developed largely as planned, revenue and ARPU have continued to be challenging in this tough economic and increasingly price-sensitive environment. Our efforts are focused on trying to optimize profitability in our target markets while continuing to grow and maintain our customer base."

Geiger added, "Despite the still-sluggish small business sector, Cbeyond posted an increase in the level of customer additions in the second quarter, the San Francisco Bay Area market became an Established Market this quarter, and we are excited to note that we recently launched services in Boston, our 14th market."

AboveNet Opens Fiber Network in Denver

AboveNet is activating a new private fiber optic metro network in Denver. The rollout will span 97 route miles of 432 and 216 fiber cables, delivering 23,000 fiber miles. AboveNet has already begun selling to customers in Denver, and additional commercial installations of dark fiber and other selected lit services will be available for service by January 1, 2011.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Deutsche Telekom Reports Better First Half Despite Customer Loss

Deutsche Telekom Group reported net revenue of EUR 31.3 billion for the first half of 2010, down by 2.5 percent year-on-year. This development was primarily influenced by positive (EUR 0.5 billion: OTE) and negative (EUR 0.9 billion: T-Mobile UK) effects of changes in the composition of the Group and by positive exchange rate effects
of EUR 0.3 billion. Revenue in the Germany operating segment stabilized in the second quarter and, at the same time, adjusted EBITDA increased. Free cash flow increased significantly. The group recorded a net profit of EUR 1.2 billion at end of half-year, compared with loss of EUR 0.6 billion in prior year.

T-Mobile USA continued its strong growth in the mobile data sector and recorded an increase in the number of contract customers for the first time after three quarters.

"On the basis of these good first six months, we can once again confirm our guidance," said Chief Executive Officer René Obermann at a press conference in Bonn. "We have achieved one of our key goals, that of making our business in Germany competitive again."

Some additional highlights:

  • The proportion of net revenue generated internationally decreased from 57.2 percent to 56.9 percent. Domestic net revenue was EUR 13.5 billion in the first six months of 2010, EUR 0.3 billion lower than in the first half of 2009. International net revenue decreased year-on-year by EUR 0.5 billion to EUR 17.8 billion.

  • In Germany, the number of mobile communications customers decreased by 2.2 million compared with year-end 2009 to 37 million in the first half of 2010.

  • For T-Mobile USA, the number of contract customers rose for the first time since the second quarter of the previous year, rising by 106,000 in the second quarter, compared with a plus of 56,000 in the prior-year quarter. The total number of customers declined by 93,000 compared with the first quarter as a result of the decreases in the prepay segment. At June 30, T-Mobile USA had 33.6 million customers, compared with 33.5 million one year before.

  • Total revenue of the Europe operating segment decreased by 6.8 percent in the first half-year, in particular as a result of the deconsolidation of T-Mobile UK.

  • German LTE Spectrum - Telekom Deutschland GmbH has purchased frequency spectrum by auction from the Federal Network Agency for around EUR 1.3 billion. Deutsche Telekom has purchased two times 10 MHz in the 790 to 862 MHz
    frequency range, the digital dividend.

  • Dutch LTE Spectrum -- T-Mobile Netherlands has purchased two-part 10 MHz bandwidths in the 2.6 GHz
    range for EUR 109,000 at the mobile frequency auction.

  • 3G in Europe -- In Austria, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Greece, Deutsche Telekom has significantly advanced its 3G/UMTS network build-out.

  • T-Mobile USA and HSPA+ -- Having deployed HSPA+ in around 50 metropolitan areas, T-Mobile USA now offers speeds comparable to those in 4G networks.

FCC Drops Closed Door Net Neutrality Talks

The FCC confirmed that it has ended a round of discussions with major Internet companies on Net Neutrality regulations. The closed door discussions had drawn criticism for their lack of transparency and public input. Separately, unconfirmed reports indicate that Verizon and Google may be nearing private deal on the same issues of Net Neutrality.

Both Verizon and AT&T issued statements lamenting the end of the talks and expressing a willingness to continue building an industry consensus.

Bell Canada Reports Financial Momentum with TV, Wireless

BCE reported improved financial performance with net earnings applicable to common shares growing by 70.5% to $590 million. In addition, Bell had revenue growth of 4.5%, reflecting strong TV and wireless revenue growth of 11.6% and 9.6%, respectively, and the inclusion of revenues from The Source and Virgin Mobile Canada (Virgin); operating income growth of 30.6%; EBITDA growth of 3.3%; wireless gross subscriber activations of 480,639 and postpaid net activations of 102,754; and TV net activations of 9,775.

BCE today announced that the annual common share dividend will increase by 5% to $1.83 per share.

"Bell's strong operating momentum and financial performance are the direct result of the Bell team's strong execution of our strategic imperatives. We continue to accelerate our growth businesses in an increasingly competitive marketplace, while continuing to invest in the service programs and broadband networks that support our growth into the future," said George Cope, President and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada.

Some additional highlights:

  • Bell Wireless ARPU increased by $1.66 to $52.12 year over year as data revenue growth of 45% more than offset voice ARPU declines due to customer adoption of richer rate plans. Wireless data revenues represented approximately 22% of service revenues this quarter compared to approximately 17% of service revenues for the same period last year. Gross activations of 480,639 and postpaid net activations of 102,754 were 19.0% and 60.1% higher than last year respectively.

  • The Bell Wireline segment had NAS losses of 129,147 this quarter, an improvement of 2.6% compared to last year. TV subscribers increased by 9,775 this quarter compared to an increase of 20,018 in the same period last year. High-speed Internet net subscribers decreased by 3,899 this quarter compared to an increase of 1,991 last year.

  • Bell Wireline operating revenues increased by 2.2% as TV and equipment and other revenue growth more than offset declines in local and access, long distance and data revenues.

EXFO Boosts its Blazer Multiservice Test Modules

EXFO announced a speed increase of up to 4X for its FTB-8120NGE and FTB-8130NGE Power Blazer Multiservice Test Modules, which offer a full suite of SONET/SDH, packet-OTN and Ethernet test capabilities in a compact, field-grade form factor.

The FTB-8130NGE Power Blazer, supporting testing rates up to 11.1 Gbps for SONET/SDH, Ethernet (including 10 Gigabit Ethernet LAN and WAN) and OTN networks, is ideally suited for the deployment and maintenance of packet optical networks. The FTB-8120NGE Power Blazer, handling SONET/SDH/OTN testing rates up to 2.7 Gbps and Ethernet testing rates up to 1 Gbps, is purpose-built for the growing deployments of Ethernet-over-TDM and Ethernet-over-SONET/SDH/OTN services worldwide.

Airspan to Resell LightSquared LTE for SmartGrid Backhaul

Airspan Networks announced an agreement to exclusively market LightSquared's 1.4 GHz wireless spectrum for Smart Grid and Smart Utility applications. Specifically, Airspan will market the 1.4 GHz wireless backhaul solution, including spectrum, equipment and services for Smart Grid applications in the electric, gas and water utility sectors in the United States. The 1.4 GHz licensed spectrum will be managed by Airspan and will be made available to utilities in their distinct geographic markets. Access to this spectrum will enable utilities to
establish optimized proprietary grid management networks.

The companies said that until now, access to licensed spectrum has been a critical "missing link" in planning and implementing wireless Smart Grid communications for middle-mile backhaul applications and for last-mile access.

"The combination of equipment and licensed spectrum eliminates the problem of relying on interference susceptible shared frequencies for mission critical applications," said Paul Senior, Chief Technical Officer, Airspan.
  • LightSquared, which is the new company backed by Harbinger Capital Partners, recently unveiled its plans to launch a wholesale-only, 4G-LTE network across the U.S. complemented by satellite coverage. LightSquared will provide wholesale wireless broadband capacity to a diverse group of customers, including retailers; wireline and wireless communication service providers; cable operators; device manufacturers; web players; content providers; and many others. The LightSquared network will allow these partners to offer satellite-only, terrestrial-only, or integrated satellite-terrestrial services to their end users.

    Nokia Siemens Networks has signed an 8-year agreement valued at more than $7 billion over 8 years to provide network design, equipment manufacturing and installation, and network operations and maintenance. The nationwide LightSquared network, consisting of approximately 40,000 cellular base stations, will cover 92 percent of the U.S. population by 2015. The satellite portion of the LightSquared network will leverage the next generation hybrid Mobile Satellite System (MSS) with an Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) developed by SkyTerra.

BLADE Accelerates Test Cycle with Fanfare

BLADE Network Technologies (BLADE) has implemented Fanfare's flagship test automation product, iTest, which provides a unified approach for rapidly developing, automating, and maintaining test cases.

According to a recent case study, BLADE has saved approximately $500,000 in resource and equipment costs, sanity build times, and time to market since implementing iTest. In 2009, BLADE, the data center Ethernet switching company, was focused on developing new product features to meet the growing demand for virtualization-ready networks. BLADE's portfolio of products had increased significantly from its founding as an independent company.

Fanfare's iTest improved the testing cycle in the following ways:

  • Reduced scripting costs by more than 40 percent

  • Better utilized existing resources, regardless of skill set

  • Streamlined defect resolution, allowing more time to be spent on quality testing and development

China Unicom Implements NSN's Real Time Analysis in Shanghai

China Unicom implemented Nokia Siemens Networks' real-time traffic monitoring and analysis tool in Shanghai to ensure service quality ahead of the Shanghai World Expo.

Based on its Traffica platform, the tool identifies network problems and service quality issues in minutes and resolves them far faster, helping the operator to increase revenue. Before deploying the solution, it could take hours or days to identify and resolve certain problems. Nokia Siemens Networks' system uses key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the actual quality of every service offered by China Unicom in real-time. If quality worsens, staff can act on that, before services or related network components fail.

MetroPCS' Q2 Revenues at $1 Billion, Up 18% YoY

MetroPCS Communications reported quarterly revenue of $1.0 billion, an increase of approximately 18% over second quarter of 2009. MetroPCS finished the quarter with 7.6 million mobile subscribers.

"The outstanding operational and financial results for the second quarter were primarily a result of strong net subscriber additions and lower churn primarily driven by continued acceptance of our Wireless for All plans. Strong operational results and net subscriber growth of approximately 1.4 million subscribers over the past 12 months resulted in record consolidated Adjusted EBITDA for the company of over $322 million, up approximately 38% from the second quarter 2009. We continue to build our 4G LTE network, and we are currently testing in selected metropolitan areas. We are on track for our initial 4G LTE launch in selected metropolitan areas in the second half of this year. Our goal is to provide our pay-in-advance subscribers a 4G experience equivalent to that which will be enjoyed by traditional post-pay customers," said Roger D. Linquist, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of MetroPCS.

FCC Promotes Microwave in Wireless Backhaul.

The FCC proposed new rules aimed at removing regulatory barriers to the use of microwave spectrum for wireless backhaul of 4G mobile broadband services.

In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the FCC explores ways to increase the flexibility, capacity and cost-effectiveness of the microwave bands below 13 gigahertz, while protecting incumbent licensees in these bands.

The FCC said it seeks to update regulatory classifications that may not have kept pace with the evolution of converged digital technologies, and to provide for increased spectrum sharing. The proposed rule changes may be particularly beneficial to rural areas, where microwave may be the only practical, high-capacity backhaul solution available to serve certain remote locations. With spectrum sharing, 750 megahertz of microwave spectrum may be made available for broadband backhaul or other advanced point-to-point uses.

The Notice of Inquiry (NOI) requests comment on further steps the Commission can take to reduce wireless backhaul costs and increase investment in broadband deployment. It asks about changes in technical rules that would enable longer links in rural areas. The NOI also inquires as to whether permitting use of smaller antennas could similarly reduce costs and stimulate investment. Finally, the NOI seeks comment on whether the Commission should examine any additional modifications to its rules or policies to promote the flexible, efficient and cost-effective provision of wireless backhaul service.

FiberLight Deploys MRV for Carrier Ethernet Access

FiberLight, which operates its own 500,000 fiber mile network in the southeastern U.S., has selected MRV Communications' OptiSwitch Carrier Ethernet access platforms for its optical wholesale and business Ethernet services.

FiberLight worked with MRV to install OptiSwitch 900 (OS 900) Ethernet demarcation service units and OptiSwitch 9000 (OS 9000) metro Ethernet aggregation service units to enhance its LightSource Ethernet service offerings. FiberLight currently serves 20 metro markets within Georgia, Florida, Washington, D.C., Texas, Virginia and Maryland.

MRV said its equipment allows FiberLight customers to dynamically control their bandwidth without a long lead-time and through their own network management capabilities. For example, a customer could reapportion part of a 10 Gbps circuit to offer 100 Mbps of bandwidth to a new office by just making the change remotely and avoid delays on new service delivery. Using the OS900 at the demarcation point for wholesale and business Ethernet services, FiberLight is also able to support end-to-end Ethernet service visibility, service level agreement (SLA) monitoring and Ethernet virtual circuit loopbacks for non-intrusive fault analysis.