Friday, January 28, 2011

Comcast and GE Complete NBC Deal

Comcast and General Electric (GE) completed their deal, creating the NBCUniversal joint venture. GE contributed NBC Universal's businesses, including its cable networks, filmed entertainment, televised entertainment, theme parks, and unconsolidated investments. Comcast contributed its cable networks, including E!, Versus and the Golf Channel, its regional sports networks, certain digital media properties, and made a payment to GE. The new company is 51 percent owned by Comcast, 49 percent owned by GE, and managed by Comcast. It maintains its headquarters in New York City.
  • In approving the Comcast-NBCU mega-merger, the FCC and the Department of Justice imposed a number of conditions and commitments which generally will remain in effect for seven years. Among these, online video distributors (OVDs) are guaranteed the ability to obtain Comcast-NBCU programming. Comcast must also offer standalone broadband Internet access services at reasonable prices and of sufficient bandwidth so that customers can access online video services without the need to purchase a cable television subscription from Comcast.

Vodafone Restores Cell Phone Service in Egypt

Vodafone restored voice services to our customers in Egypt on Saturday morning.

In a statement, the Vodafone corporate office said: "We would like to make it clear that the authorities in Egypt have the technical capability to close our network, and if they had done so it would have taken much longer to restore services to our customers. It has been clear to us that there were no legal or practical options open to Vodafone, or any of the mobile operators in Egypt, but to comply with the demands of the authorities.:

Epitiro Launches LTE Test App for Android

Epitiro released a mobile handset application for testing LTE networks and analyzing IP performance.

The application is for Android handsets or tablets and can be used on dedicated test phones for quality of service testing; or to thousands of subscriber smartphones for nation-wide testing and analysis. The application enables the operator to measure specific performance metrics in various situations, such as in-building, in-motion (rail or car), city centres or virtually anywhere subscribers roam.

The application tests several network parameters including throughput, Jitter, packet loss and latency; as well as the quality of applications including web browsing, VoIP and video streaming. Radio parameters, including 3G/4G bearers and signal quality, are recorded.

Test data are presented in real-time on the ipQ Mobile Broadband Analysis platform, an on-line dashboard, where it is analyzed and plotted on geo-spatial maps - with GPS accuracy.

"Operators running LTE trials or limited deployments are interested to understand the network performance and consumer experience with LTE," said Jon Curley, CTO at Epitiro. "It removes the necessity to deploy expensive and cumbersome test equipment, instead measuring from the customer's device. Operators now have a scalable LTE test solution that can be easily deployed."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

NTT DOCOMO Targets 2020 Carbon Footprint at 1/10th 2008

NTT DOCOMO has set a 10-year environmental vision under which it intends lower its carbon footprint, strengthen recycling and protect biodiversity. Notably, the company has set a target for its 2020 carbon footprint to be less than 90 percent of its fiscal 2008 level.

DOCOMO also will develop services that help to reduce carbon emissions throughout society, and it will actively encourage employees to participate in green activities.

The vision also sets goals for increased recycling, including the reuse of mobile devices and equipment, and the reduced production of paper waste. By fiscal 2020, DOCOMO aims to recycle more than 98 percent of its total waste, meaning less than two percent would enter final disposal. A target of less than 1% final disposal has been set for the reuse and recycling of used communication equipment. Paper use will be cut by more than 25% (9,500 tons) from the fiscal 2008 level.

T-Mobile Netherlands Reduces 3G Peak Signaling Load

T-Mobile Netherlands has significantly reduced the peak signaling traffic load on its 3G network by using a paging channel feature within its network, making room for additional growth in voice and data traffic. Cell_PCH is a Nokia Siemens Networks enabled feature in 3G networks that can significantly reduce signaling traffic.

Nokia Siemens Networks said a Cell_PCH-enabled network can reduced the signal volume from high-signaling applications by up to 50%. Cell_PCH also provides a simultaneous increase in battery life of 30% for handsets in a Cell_PCH network, compared to a network without the functionality in active use.

Nokia Siemens Networks' Cell_PCH feature maintains a dedicated connection between the network and the handset while using a minimum of battery power. Hence, while it typically takes 30 signals to move from the idle to active stage in a conventional network, in cases where the carrier's network and handsets are Cell_PCH enabled, anywhere between three to 12 signals are sufficient, depending upon how much data is being transferred.

Always-on mobile broadband applications that run on smartphones make many short connections to the network as they check for latest updates to email or social network sites. If not handled appropriately, this behavior consumes device battery power significantly and generates large amounts of signaling traffic that can clog up networks. The growing popularity of smartphones means operators such as T-Mobile need to cope with increasingly high levels of signaling traffic while improving battery life for smartphone users.

"The number of smartphones on our network is very high. More than 50 percent of all data traffic in the Netherlands is processed by the T-Mobile network. Management of signaling traffic is imperative in the rapidly evolving mobile broadband landscape," said Jan Kuijpers, technology director, T-Mobile Netherlands. "In the long run, excessive signaling can lead to network congestion and can have a negative impact on the quality of voice calls for all our subscribers. Nokia Siemens Networks' Cell_PCH feature provides the ideal solution to avoid these negative impacts. This feature has been implemented across the Deutsche Telekom Group."

Orange Business Services Joins Cloud Security Alliance

Orange Business Services announced it support for the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), whose mission is to promote the use of best practices for providing security assurance within Cloud Computing, and to provide education on the uses of Cloud Computing to help secure all other forms of computing.

Telefónica O2 UK Picks NSN for RAN Upgrade

Telefónica O2 UK has awarded a three-year contract to Nokia Siemens Networks to modernize its radio network, expanding capacity, coverage and performance. The upgrade with use NSN's Flexi Multiradio Base Station and Radio Network Controller. The deal means Nokia Siemens Networks will provide approximately two-thirds of O2's 3G access network in the UK, covering the south of England. Nokia Siemens Networks is currently the sole vendor for O2's nationwide GSM network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

MCNC Opens RFP for "Golden Leaf" Middle Mile Project

MCNC, which operates the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for construction of the middle-mile project through the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI).

MCNC is seeking proposals from qualified contractors to provide construction and splicing for those routes funded by MCNC's second federal Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP) award, received in August 2010, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's BTOP staff.

The project will build fiber connections from universities, community colleges, schools, health and safety facilities, libraries, county offices, and other community anchor institutions to a statewide fiber optic network. The construction encompasses seven routes in North Carolina.

All construction must be finished by January 31, 2013 to allow MCNC to equip and place the fiber optic into service on or before July 31, 2013.

AboveNet Names COO

AboveNet announced the promotion of Rajiv Datta to Chief Operating Officer. Datta joined AboveNet in 1998 and has served in a number of management roles. Most recently he held the position of AboveNet's Chief Technology Officer and oversaw all aspects of Engineering, IT and Product Development activities across AboveNet's metro, long haul and IP networks.

AT&T Approaches 11 Million Emerging Devices on Net

The total number of emerging devices, including postpaid and prepaid embedded computing devices, connected to the AT&T network -- both for consumers and businesses -- is nearly 11 million. This includes nearly 2 million emerging devices added in Q4 2010.

Embedded computing devices include tablets, netbooks and laptops, and are included in either the company's postpaid or prepaid subscriber categories.

AT&T expects many new classes of connected devices this year, including:

Vitality GlowCaps -- intelligent pill caps designed to help patients take medications regularly through a series of reminders, including light, sound, text message and phone call alerts if the cap is not opened as scheduled. The AT&T connected pill caps are now available through Amazon for $10 per cap and $15 per month with a connectivity service plan from Vitality.

Pandigital Novel eReader - a 9-inch full-color LCD eReader and Android Multimedia Tablet for accessing the Barnes & Noble eBookstore. The Pandigital eReader will be available beginning this month at several national retailers for $279.99.

Garmin GTU 10 -- a small, waterproof device that allows customers to track things, such as a backpack or dog collar.

Vodafone Egypt Confirms Order to Suspend Services

Vodafone issued a statement saying that is subsidiary, Vodafone Egypt, had been ordered by the Egyptian governement to suspend services.

Public Internet service in Egypt was also cut just after midnight local time.

Allot Launches Service Gateway for LTE

Allot Communications has launched a service gateway for LTE. The ATCA-based Allot Service Gateway Sigma E platform boasts 160 Gbps of throughput and the ability to support 8 million subscribers on a single platform. The company said its design can scale to as high as 1 Tbps when deployed in a clustered configuration.

"LTE signifies the next big step forward for mobile Internet. It represents a huge opportunity for operators to improve the way they deliver Internet to subscribers in terms of throughput, the services that they offer and how they charge for it," said Rami Hadar, Allot's President and CEO. "SG-Sigma E is designed to do exactly that."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Zarlink Posts Revenue of $57 Million

Zarlink Semiconductor reported quarterly revenue of $56.9 million, compared with $50.0 million for the same period last year. Revenue for Zarlink's communications products of $45.4 million, up $11.6 million or 34% from the same period last year. Gross margin increased to 52%, due to product mix and improving yield on new line circuit products.

"I am pleased with our progress, with very strong year-on-year revenue growth from our communications products and a growing cash position that's allowing us to pursue opportunities to augment our fast-growing timing business," said Kirk Mandy, President and CEO, Zarlink Semiconductor.

"Strong customer design activity for our new timing, line circuit and medical products is supporting our long-term growth objectives and offsetting the expected declines in our legacy business. In the coming quarters, we anticipate that our design wins, market share gains and new growth opportunities will translate into clear top-line improvements."

Intel Delivers Open Fibre Channel Over Ethernet

Intel introduced a free, "Open Fibre Channel Over Ethernet" software stack aimed at carrying all data center traffic over a single capable and using a single Intel 10GbE adapter. Intel's Open FCoE integrates capabilities into the operating system, enabling convergence for server network and storage connectivity while integrating seamlessly with existing Fibre Channel environments.

The Intel Open FCoE software stack is available as a free upgrade on existing X520 family products.

The initiative has gained support from Cisco, Dell, EMC, NetApp, Oracle and Red Hat.

Intel estimates that consolidation of cabling equipment can help reduce global IT spending by $3 billion a year.

"What's frustrating for IT managers is that most of the data center dollars are spent on infrastructure costs, not on innovation," said Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager, Data Center Group, Intel. "Expanding Intel Ethernet to include Open FCoE will help simplify the network and drive more of the IT budget toward innovation. We think IT departments can lower infrastructure costs by 29 percent, reduce power by almost 50 percent and cut cable costs by 80 percent by moving to a unified network."

ZTE Reports 17% Sales Growth for 2010

ZTE reported RMB 70,332,280,000 in operating revenue for the year 2010, representing a 16.69% growth compared to the previous year. Total profit in 2010 increased by 31.89% to RMB 4,384,983,000 compared to the previous year. The net profit attributable to shareholders of the Company in 2010 increased by 32.39% as
compared to the previous year to RMB 3,254,251,000. The increase in total profit and net profit was mainly attributable to (1) sales growth of the Group ; and recognition of investment income as a result of the listing of one of the associates of the company, Nationz Technologies Inc.,by way of initial public offering.

Nokia's Q4 Sales Rise to EUR 12.7 Billion, up 6% YoY

Nokia reported net sales of EUR 12.7 billion for Q4 2010, up 6% year-on-year and 23% sequentially (flat and up 24% at constant currency).

"In Q4 we delivered solid performance across all three of our businesses, and generated outstanding cash flow. Additionally, growth trends in the mobile devices market continue to be encouraging. Yet, Nokia faces some significant challenges in our competitiveness and our execution. In short, the industry changed, and now it's time for Nokia to change faster," stated Stephen Elop, Nokia's CEO.

Some highlights:

Based on Nokia's preliminary estimate, industry mobile device volumes increased 13% in 2010, compared to 2009 (based on Nokia's revised definition of the industry mobile device market applicable beginning in 2010).

Based on Nokia's preliminary market estimate, Nokia's mobile device volume market share decreased to 32% in 2010, compared to 34% in 2009 (based on Nokia's revised definition of the industry mobile device market share applicable beginning in 2010).

Nokia's estimated mobile device value market share was down slightly in 2010, compared to 2009.

Nokia Siemens Networks recorded net sales of EUR 4.0 billion in Q4 2010, up 9% year-on-year and 35% sequentially (up 7% and 37% at constant currency).

For Nokia Siemens Networks, the year-on-year 9% increase in net sales was primarily driven by growth in both the product and services businesses in most regions. The sequential 35% increase in net sales was primarily driven by a seasonally stronger infrastructure market in the fourth quarter 2010. Net sales in the fourth quarter 2010 also benefited from an improvement in overall component availability. Of total Nokia Siemens Networks net sales, services contributed EUR 1.8 billion in the fourth quarter 2010, compared to EUR 1.7 billion in the fourth quarter 2009 and EUR 1.4 billion in the third quarter 2010. At constant currency, Nokia Siemens Networks net sales would have increased 7% year-on-year,

AT&T: Mobile Broadband Revenues Lead with 27% Growth

AT&T reported Q4 2010 revenue of $31.4 billion, up $653 million, or 2.1 percent, versus the year-earlier quarter. Compared with results for the fourth quarter of 2009, operating expenses were $29.3 billion versus $26.1 billion; operating income was $2.1 billion, down from $4.6 billion; and AT&T's operating income margin was 6.7 percent, compared to 14.9 percent.

Some highlights for the quarter:

AT&T posted a net gain in total wireless subscribers of 2.8 million, to reach 95.5 million in service, the best net gain in the company's history.

AT&T added 442,000 iPad- and Android-based tablets to its network, with more than 90 percent of these booked to the prepaid category.

Retail net adds for the quarter include postpaid net adds of 400,000 and prepaid net adds of 307,000. Connected device net adds were 1.5 million, and reseller net adds were 595,000.

Postpaid churn was 1.15 percent.

There were 4.1 million iPhone activations.

Including iPhones, more than 7.4 million postpaid integrated devices were sold in the fourth quarter. (Integrated devices are handsets with QWERTY or virtual keyboards in addition to voice functionality and are a key driver of wireless data usage.)

At the end of the quarter, 61.0 percent of AT&T's 68.0 million postpaid subscribers had integrated devices, up from 46.8 percent a year earlier.

Wireless service revenues increased 9.6 percent, to $13.8 billion, in the fourth quarter. Total wireless revenues, which include equipment sales, were up 9.9 percent year over year to $15.2 billion.

Wireless data revenues — driven by messaging, Internet access, access to applications and related services — increased $1.1 billion, or 27.4 percent, from the year-earlier quarter to $4.9 billion.

AT&T U-verse TV added 246,000 subscribers to reach nearly 3 million in service. In the fourth quarter, the AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet attach rate continued to run above 90 percent, and 60 percent of subscribers took AT&T U-verse Voice. More than three-fourths of AT&T U-verse TV subscribers have a triple- or quad-play option from AT&T. ARPU for U-verse triple-play customers was more than $160.

Driven by U-verse, AT&T posted a 210,000 net gain in wireline broadband connections. About two-thirds of consumers have a broadband plan of 3 Mbps or higher.

Increased AT&T U-verse penetration drove 28.5 percent year-over-year growth in IP revenues from residential customers (broadband, U-verse TV and U-verse Voice). In the fourth quarter, AT&T U-verse revenues were $1.3 billion, 73.4 percent higher than in the fourth quarter of 2009.

In Q4, AT&T posted a decline in total consumer revenue connections due primarily to expected declines in traditional voice access lines, consistent with broader industry trends and somewhat offset by increases in U-verse TV and VoIP connections. AT&T U-verse Voice connections increased by 186,000 in the quarter and 726,000 over the past four quarters. Total consumer revenue connections at the end of the fourth quarter were 43.4 million, compared with 45.3 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2009 and 43.7 million at the end of the third quarter of 2010.

Revenues from new-generation capabilities that lead AT&T's most advanced business solutions — including Ethernet, VPNs, hosting, IP conferencing and application services — grew 17.1 percent versus the year-earlier quarter, their strongest growth during the year, and were up 5.5 percent from the third quarter of 2010, continuing AT&T's strong trends in this category.

Total business revenues were $9.4 billion, a decline of 4.5 percent versus the year-earlier quarter, reflecting economic weakness in voice and legacy data products, and the third-quarter sale of the company's Japan assets. Business service revenues, which exclude CPE, declined 4.3 percent year over year and decreased slightly sequentially, down 1.2 percent.

Total business IP data revenues grew 9.0 percent versus the year-earlier fourth quarter, led by growth in VPN revenues. Global Enterprise Solutions IP data revenues grew 11.0 percent. More than 70 percent of AT&T's frame customers have made the transition to IP-based solutions.

Everything Everywhere Partners on Contactless Mobile Payments

Everything Everywhere, the newly formed mobile operator formed through the merger of T-Mobile and Orange in the UK,
is planning to launch a contactless mobile payments service to be rolled out by early summer (second quarter of 2011). Everything Everywhere is partnering with Barclaycard. The companies expect to have over 40,000 stores ready to accept contactless payments by that time.

Verizon to Acquire Terremark for Cloud Hosting

In a bid to accelerate its "everything-as-a-service" cloud strategy, Verizon Communications agreed to acquire Terremark, a global provider of managed IT infrastructure and cloud services, for $19.00 per share in cash, or a total equity value of $1.4 billion.

Verizon plans to operate the new unit as a wholly owned subsidiary retaining the Terremark name and with its current management team continuing to manage the company.

Terremark, which is headquartered in Miami, operates 13 data centers in the U.S., Europe and Latin America (Miami, Dallas, Wash. D.C., Santa Clara, Bogota, Saol Paolo, Santo Domingo, Amsterdam, Brussels, Madrid and Istambul. It provides secure cloud computing, colocation, and managed hosting services. For its most recent quarter, Terremark reported revenue of $84.9 million, a 22% increase over the previous year.

Verizon currently operates more than 220 data centers across 23 countries, including 19 premium centers and five smart centers. Verizon combines integrated communications and IT solutions, professional services expertise with high IQ global IP and mobility networks to enable businesses to securely access information, share content and communicate.

The acquisition offer represents a premium of 35 percent per share over the closing price of Terremark prior to the announcement.

"Cloud computing continues to fundamentally alter the way enterprises procure, deploy and manage IT resources, and this combination helps create a tipping point for everything as a service," said Lowell McAdam, president and chief operating officer of Verizon. "Our collective vision will foster innovation, enhance business processes and dynamically deliver business intelligence and collaboration services to anyone, anywhere and on any device."
  • Terremark was founded by Manuel Medina in 1980. He has served as CEO and Chairman of the Board since that time.

SiTime Introduces MEMS-based Clock Generator

SiTime Corporation introduced a new MEMS-base programmable clock generator aimed at high-performance networking applications. The SiT9105 is the first MEMS-based clock generator to offer mixed LVCMOS and differential outputs in a single package, while also reducing board area by up to 66%. SiTime is targeting the SiT9105 for use in routers, switches, bridges, servers, base stations, repeaters and other high-performance equipment.

"Unlike the quartz industry, SiTime is using silicon technology to accelerate the pace of innovation in the timing industry," said Piyush Sevalia, vice president of marketing at SiTime. "Previously, engineers used several discrete components (resonators, oscillators and level translators) to implement the same functionality that is offered by the SiT9105. By integrating this functionality into a single package, the SiT9105 programmable clock generator offers board space, size, and BOM cost saving to the customer. In addition to integration, all SiTime devices offer many other programmable features (such as frequency, stability, and operating voltage) that are just not available from quartz suppliers."