Wednesday, September 8, 2010

France Telecom Issues $1.4 Billion in Bonds

France Telecom has issued nearly $1.39 billion in new securities. The funds will be used to pay off other debt that is coming due next year.

Neutral Tandem to Acquire Tinet SpA

Neutral Tandem, which provides tandem interconnection services to wireless, wireline, cable and broadband telephony companies across the U.S., has agreed to acquire Tinet SpA, an Italian based global carrier exclusively committed to the IP Transit and Ethernet wholesale market. Neutral Tandem will pay approximately EUR 74.5 million (approximately $94.9 million), which includes the assumption of approximately EUR 5.2 million in cash (approximately $6.6 million) and the assumption of approximately EUR 18.2 million euros in long-term
debt (approximately $23.2 million).

Based in Chicago, Neutral Tandem serves 155 markets in 189 LATAs across the U.S., including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Miami, New York City and Washington D.C.

The deal expands Neutral Tandem's IP-based network internationally, enabling global end-to-end delivery of
wholesale Voice, IP and Ethernet solutions.

"This acquisition redefines Neutral Tandem from a strictly voice interconnection company into a global IP-based network services company focused on delivering global connectivity for a variety of media, including voice, data and video," said Rian Wren, President and CEO of Neutral Tandem.

Tinet, formerly the carrier arm of Tiscali Group, has a network presence and customers in EMEA, Americas and APAC.

Orange Business Services Outlines 5-Year Conquest Plan

In line with the "conquest 2015" plan presented by France Telecom-Orange earlier this summer, Orange Business Services outlined key elements of its five year plan to become "the global leader for the integration of communication solutions." At the heart of its strategy will be prioritized focus on growth in cloud computing, video, the Internet-of-Things and service in emerging countries.

Specifically, strategic objectives in these four growth areas include:

  • Cloud Computing: Generating 500 million euros on cloud computing by 2015 by accelerating its developments focusing on cloud-ready networks, "as a service" infrastructures, "as a service" collaborative solutions and communications, and application stores.

  • Internet-of-Things: Selling 10 million SIM cards by 2015 on the M2M market (or internet of things), capitalizing on: the development of services lbeyond connectivity, its dedicated international expertise center in Brussels and its role as the driving force for the standardization of the market.

  • Video Conferencing: Becoming number 1 for videoconferencing in France and one of the top three worldwide. The guiding principles include: interoperability of terminals and networks, development of managed and hosted solutions, as well as simplification of uses through user support.

  • Emerging Markets: Generating 1 billion euros in revenues in emerging countries, by both supporting international customers with the development of their activities in these countries and strengthening its own presence alongside local multinationals.

"In a context where IT and telecoms are once again becoming a core concern for business leaders, we are guided by one key ambition: to become the leader for the integration of communication solutions for businesses in France and worldwide by 2015, consolidating our position as an IT infrastructures operator, making telecoms and IT converge," stated Vivek Badrinath, Executive VP of Orange Business Services.
  • In July 2010, France Telecom-Orange announced a five year strategic plan to transform its corporate culture and conquer new markets and new business opportunities in the coming digital economy of billions of interconnected devices. The plans were disclosed by Stephane Richard, who said the company faced unprecedented social crisis in France, a fast-changing ecosystem as technological development continues to accelerate, and a tense competitive and regulatory environment. Richard took over management of the company earlier this year.

    A key element of the plan is that Orange plans to grow its customer base from close to 200 million at present to 300 million by 2015 across its entire footprint. The company is ruling out any transformational mergers or deals.

China Telecom Tests 100 GE with Alcatel-Lucent

China Telecom's Beijing Research Institute has tested Alcatel-Lucent's 100G solution, including its 7750 Service Router equipped with 100 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces.

"This success with China Telecom further highlights Alcatel-Lucent's leading position in the 100 GE arena and confirms that we can help our customers in China and around the world efficiently scale their enterprise, mobile and residential activities," said Romano Valussi, president of Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell. "Our solution also aligns with China's national strategy to converge telecom, internet and TV &radio broadcasting networks, and the grand scale application of video services."

Alcatel-Lucent also noted that, to date, it has shipped more than 70,000 IP/MPLS service router portfolio systems, deployed by over 350 service providers in 110 countries.

Spain's Abertis Telecom Deploys Cisco ASR 9000

Abertis Telecom,
a provider of video and Carrier Ethernet transport to broadcasters and the broader telecom market in Spain, is deploying an IP/MPLS system based on Cisco ASR 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers and Cisco 7600 Series Routers. The network is being upgraded to handle more bandwidth and new capabilities, such as video contribution, video production, Carrier Ethernet transport, and primary distribution and content distribution services across Spain. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Video capabilities of the Cisco Carrier Ethernet system include high-performance multicast and in-line video performance monitoring. Abertis provides stringent service-level agreements to its customers for zero-loss video transport. In addition, the Cisco ASR 9000 Series is designed to deliver a per-slot capacity of up to 400 Gbps and to scale up to 6.4 terabits per second along with rich-service capabilities.

AT&T Opens Complaint Torrent on Facebook

AT&T sent an email to its customer base thanking them for their patronage and highlighting the company's ongoing investments and upgrades in its network. The letter ends by inviting customers to share their thoughts about their AT&T wireless experience on the company's Facebook page. A torrent of responses follows.

Verizon Wireless Switches CFO

Verizon Wireless named Andrew Davies as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective November 15. He replaces John Townsend, who has been named Regional Chief Financial Officer - Europe for Vodafone Group, effective November 15. Townsend has been CFO of Verizon Wireless since January 2005. Davies joined Vodafone in September 2003. For the past three years, he has served as CFO of Vodafone Essar, the Indian subsidiary of Vodafone Group with operations across India serving more than 111 million customers.

MobileIron Opens its Mobile Device Management with Partner APIs

MobileIron, which supplies a smartphone management system for enterprises, announced the release of its Virtual Smartphone Platform 3.0 focused on partner enablement. This includes a Mobility API that enables channel partners to integrate MobileIron data and actions with other enterprise systems and build their own applications for mobile device management, security and analytics.

The Mobility API was also designed to ensure that partners can add additional services they may need in the future, such as telecom expense management, location-based applications, and business intelligence, effectively future-proofing their MobileIron investment.

"MobileIron 3.0 represents a new phase of enterprise mobility," said Bob Tinker, CEO of MobileIron. "Our customers and partners can now use our platform to extend their mobile service offerings. Unlike legacy device management companies, we are uniquely positioned to be able to deliver this functionality through our virtual data architecture, which provides visibility into the data, apps, and activities of a smartphone and lends itself naturally to broader applications."
  • In August 2010, MobileIron, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, has raised $16 million in Series C financing for its multi-OS smartphone management solutions.

New Zealand Shortlists FTTH Players; Telecom Responds

Crown Fibre Holdings Limited (CFH), which was chartered by the Government of New Zealand to manage a nationwide rollout of FTTH Ultra-Fast Broadband, published a short list of 14 parties for regional construction.

Crown Fibre Holdings aims to bring Ultra-Fast Broadband to 75 percent of New Zealanders over ten years, concentrating in the first six years on priority broadband users such as businesses, schools and health services, plus green field developments and certain tranches of residential areas.

Three parties, representing a significant portion of the UFB build, have been selected for prioritized negotiations:

  • Alpine Energy (Timaru);

  • The Central North Island Fibre Consortium (Hamilton - including Cambridge and Te Awamutu - Tauranga, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Hawera and Tokoroa); and

  • Northpower (Whangarei).

Notably absent was Telecom New Zealand, the incumbent operator.

For its part, Telecom New Zealand said it submitted a national proposal covering all UFB and Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) areas. The carrier confirmed that it had been short listed by CFH, but was not on the list of three for prioritised negotiations. Telecom New Zealand reiterated key elements of its national proposal:

  • co-investing with the Crown to achieve the 75% coverage objective by 2019;

  • splitting into two entirely separate companies (structural separation);

  • integration of the RBI to extend the reach of fibre into rural areas.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rollout of Australia's NBN to Proceed

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard vowed to press ahead with the rollout of the $43 billion National Broadband Network, with an emphasis placed on rural deployment ahead of urban areas. The pledge to bring the NBN to rural areas first helped Gillard to secure political support from two independent MPs needed to form her minority government.

BN Co's management and its 300 employees welcomed the resolution of the political impasse, saying it looks forward to getting the rollout underway.
  • In June 2010, NBN Co., the consortium established to design, build and operate Australia's forthcoming wholesale-only National Broadband Network (NBN), reached an agreement with Telstra that would provide access to Telstra facilities and the progressive migration of Telstra traffic onto the National Broadband Network, subject to regulatory approval.

  • NBN Co was established in April 2009 to design, build and operate a wholesale-only national high-speed broadband network for all Australians. In the fibre footprint, the network will deliver broadband speeds of up to 100 Mbps, subject to the retail plan chosen.

Poland's Mobyland Readies LTE 1800 Network

Poland's Mobyland, in partnership with CenterNet Mobile, is preparing to launch commercial LTE services in the 1800MHz band. Ther service will be delivered with 20 MHz channels, and the company expects this will enable it to reach data download speeds initially of up to 153 Mbps (and ultimately at 326 Mbps) and data uploads of 48 Mbps (and ultimately at 86 Mbps).

The network is being rolled out in locations where GSM 1800 has been in use, which means that the Mobyland signal will be available both Poland's larger cities and smaller locations.

"Our plans assume that at the end of 2010 the number of base stations in operation will reach 700 and the LTE network will cover over 7 million people," says Adam Kuriański, the President of CenterNet and a board member of Mobyland.

Huawei is listed as the lead supplier for the network.

Verizon Invests in 4Home

Verizon Ventures has made an equity investment in 4Home, a start-up developing "connected home services," which include energy management, home security and monitoring, media management, and home health.

Verizon's investments occurred as part of 4Home's $7 million, Series-B financing round, which closed in the first quarter of 2010.

4Home has been working with Verizon's LTE Innovation Center and the companies previously showcased applications running over an LTE network at the Consumer Electronic Show in January.

4Home is based in Sunnyvale, California.

Qualcomm On Track with LTE TDD Development

Qualcomm said its on track with its development of LTE TDD products. The company has been demonstrating prototypes at Expo 2010 Shanghai China, including its Mobile Data Modem (MDM9200) chip, which leverages 2x2 MIMO in the 2.3GHz band. Qualcomm plans to begin mobility trials of products based on LTE TDD later in 2010 in conjunction with multiple operators worldwide using its MDM9200 and MDM9600 solutions.

"TD-LTE will be a very important technology for China Mobile and also other operators around the world to deliver a cutting-edge user experience to subscribers," said Bill Huang, general manager, China Mobile Research Institute, China Mobile. "We are very pleased to see this demonstration and are working closely with Qualcomm and other companies in the wireless value chain to ensure that the benefits of TD-LTE will be available to customers."

Qualcomm's product portfolio includes products with integrated baseband and radio frequency (RF) supporting LTE TDD, such as the MDM9200 solution. The MDM9200 is a multi-mode, single-chip 3G/LTE solution that supports both FDD and TDD modes of Category 3 LTE. The first LTE TDD products powered by Qualcomm technology are expected to become available in mid-2011.

Qualcomm has also won one slot of 20MHz TDD spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band in India's key telecom circles of Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala. The company plans to facilitate accelerated deployment of LTE in concert with 3G HSPA and EV-DO networks in India and plans to conduct live demos later this year.

Wisconsin's Marquette-Adams Picks Occam for Fiber Expansion

Marquette-Adams Telephone Cooperative, which serves central Wisconsin, has chosen Occam Networks' BLC 6000 multiservice access platform (MSAP) to extend its fiber network throughout the southern parts of its service area. A combination of $20 million in second-round Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) grants and loans will fund the fiber deployment to over 4,600 previously-unserved homes and businesses.

"With the new funding, we will routinely deliver 100 Mbps access to our customers and will easily scale up to 1Gbps with Active Ethernet solutions from Occam," said Jerry Schneider, general manager of Marquette-Adams Telephone Cooperative.

Marquette-Adams started a six-year transition to an all-fiber infrastructure in 2008 utilizing Occam's BLC 6000 and a mix of GPON and Active Ethernet technologies. Over 1,000 existing customers are currently served over this network and the remaining 2,400 of Marquette-Adams customers will transition to fiber by 2012. Fiber subscribers are able to access traditional voice and data services, as well as video services such as HD television programming.

NSN Invests in OpenCloud for Service Broker Functionality

Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) has made a £4 million in OpenCloud, a provider of real-time Application Servers and Service Broker systems based in Cambridge, UK. OpenCloud's Rhino is a carrier-grade service execution environment for traditional and Telco 2.0 services on TDM and IP-based networks. It uses commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software to deliver service layer agility to service provider networks.

Additionally, the existing OEM relationship is strengthened, allowing Open Cloud's technology to be integrated into Nokia Siemens Networks' charge@once unified suite for convergent charging and billing.

Nokia Siemens Networks and OpenCloud have worked together over the last two years, resulting in numerous customer wins around the globe. Most recently, in June this year, Nokia Siemens Networks announced a contract with Vodafone in Portugal, which leverages OpenCloud's Service Broker technology to reduce the time and cost of launching new services.

In this funding round, OpenCloud received an additional £1 million from its existing investors Advent Venture Partners and No 8 Ventures.

"Having successfully worked together with Nokia Siemens Networks, we are pleased to bring our partnership to a strategic level," says Jeff Gordon, CEO, OpenCloud. "The investment will be used to accelerate our portfolio development to support the fast growth of the Service Delivery Platform market, while leveraging Nokia Siemens Networks' global customer reach, expertise and delivery capabilities."

Zoran to Acquire Microtune for STB Tuners

Zoran agreed to acquire Microtune in a deal valued at $84 million.

Microtune designs and markets advanced RF, demodulator, and receiver silicon products and systems solutions for data/voice cable modems, cable set top boxes, digital TV set-top boxes, and automotive in-vehicle entertainment systems. The company, has shipped more that 150 million tuner chips since its founding in 1996, is based in Plano, Texas.

Zoran said it is increasing its focus on the STB market as part of its strategy to become a complete provider of solutions for consumer home entertainment.

Maxim Acquires Phyworks for Optical Transceiver Chips

Maxim Integrated Products has acquired Phyworks Ltd., a privately held developer of optical components based Bristol, UK, for approximately $72.5 million in cash.

Phyworks has a substantial presence in the PON market with solutions for GPON, GEPON and 10GEPON, and with customers in the U.S. and Asia, including China, Korea and Japan. It also supplies VCSEL transceivers, LASER transceivers, transimpedance amplifiers, and equalizer & retimers.

Phyworks' gross margin is better than the Maxim average. The company was founded in 2001 and its primary investors are Add Partners, Advent Venture Partners, Atlas Ventures, and DFJ Esprit.

Maxim describes the acquisition as synergistic to its optical transceiver product line. Maxim and Phyworks combined will have market share leadership for transceiver chips for optical modules.

"Phyworks is very pleased to be joining Maxim," said Stephen King, President and CEO of Phyworks. "As the optical communications markets continues to evolve, technologies from both companies can be combined to create higher performance, lower cost solutions that will enable end users to build next generation optical networks. Maxim is the ideal partner for our customers and for our employees, and this combination strengthens Maxim's position as a leader in the markets we share."

TeraXion and Proximion Standardize FBG Dispersion Compensators

TeraXion and Proximion, which both supply Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG)-based dispersion compensators, announced the standardization of their tunable dispersion compensation module, for high-speed network systems.

The compatibility agreement covers the form factor of tunable dispersion compensators, limiting the maximum length and width at 150mm and 22mm respectively.

The companies said their compact plug-and-play module is half the total footprint of the competing Etalon technology and yet retains its competitive edge on optical specifications. Additionally, both the electrical interface and command set of the TODCs will remain standard.

FBG based Tunable Dispersion Compensators have been deployed in volume since 2003.

ADC Extends WiMAX with In-Building Wireless Systems

ADC's InterReach Fusion distributed antenna system (DAS) has been deployed to extend WiMAX coverage and capacity inside a major airport and three hospitals. Specifically, he largest WiMAX operator in the United States is using ADC's InterReach Fusion system in Washington Reagan National Airport, and in VA hospitals in Dallas, San Antonio, and Temple, Texas.

ADC's DAS use 2x2 Multiple Input/Multiple Output (MIMO) technology to increase signal quality and double the throughput. Densely populated areas will require smaller cells to provide the needed uplink performance. The company said its system simplifies MIMO deployments for WiMAX and LTE because it can drive both MIMO antennas from each remote antenna location with a single CATV cable. Systems based on heavy coaxial cabling require separate cables for each antenna.

ADC system performance tests have shown that the InterReach Fusion system delivers WiMAX access speeds of 13 Mbps upstream and 28 Mbps downstream.

"WiMAX uses high frequencies that attenuate quickly, so an in-building wireless solution that supports MIMO is essential for indoor coverage," said John Spindler, vice president of product management at ADC's Network Solutions business unit. "With these deployments and others in the pipeline, ADC adds WiMAX to the services it supports for major mobile operators worldwide."

Ciena Reports Results, Growth for Nortel's MEN Business

Ciena reported revenue for its fiscal third quarter 2010 of $389.7 million, including $221.8 million in revenue from the acquired assets of the Metro Ethernet Networks business of Nortel (the MEN Business), reflecting the first full quarter of those operations since the close of the transaction on March 19, 2010.

Ciena's net GAAP loss for the fiscal third quarter 2010 was $(109.9) million, or $(1.18) per common share, which compares to a GAAP net loss of $(26.5) million, or $(0.29) per common share, for the fiscal third quarter of 2009. The fiscal third quarter 2010 included $17.0 million in acquisition and integration-related costs associated with Ciena's acquisition of the MEN Business.

"We're pleased with our progress and believe our financial performance this quarter is evidence of both the strategic value and market acceptance of the combined company. Our focus remains on the execution of our integration plan, and in the third quarter we were able to achieve certain integration milestones sooner than expected," said Gary Smith, Ciena president and CEO. "We are confident in the strength of our market position and believe we are well-positioned to capitalize on future growth opportunities."