Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dell'Oro: Mobile Infrastructure Spending Increased 15% in 2011

In 2011, the mobile infrastructure RAN market recorded its strongest full-year revenue growth since 2004. - up 15% over 2010 -- according to a recently published report by Dell'Oro Group. The strong momentum that drove the mobile infrastructure RAN market in the first three quarters of 2011 slowed down significantly in 4Q11 paving the way for slower growth in 2012.

"While operators in North America maintained capex guidance for 2011 and front end loaded investments were expected, it was the shift in product mix from capacity to LTE coverage that resulted in weaker than anticipated wireless infrastructure investments," commented Stefan Pongratz, Analyst of Mobile Infrastructure research at Dell'Oro Group. "The product mix will have a large impact on the equipment market in 2012. LTE RAN investments accounted for 40 percent of global mobile RAN growth in 2011 and there are no major signs yet of operators holding back LTE rollouts as a result of a challenging macro economic environment," continued Pongratz.

F5 to Acquire Traffix Systems for its 4G Diameter Signaling

F5 Networks has agreed to acquire Traffix Systems, a developer of 4G Diameter signaling systems, for an undisclosed sum.

Traffix, which is based in New Jersey with offices in the UK and Israel, has focused on solutions for the Diameter control plane with a portfolio of Diameter products including a Diameter Gateway, Diameter Load Balancer and Diameter Router. The company claims of 100 active deployments, many with leading operators worldwide.

“Leading industry experts and service providers recognize the need for converged and unified IP solutions across carriers’ control, data, and application planes, which scale, secure, and optimize 3G, 4G/LTE, and IMS traffic,�? said John McAdam, President and CEO of F5 Networks. “The result is a dramatic reduction of complexity and costs, making service provider networks more agile. With this move, F5 continues to execute on the company’s vision of delivering an adaptable architecture to enable its customers to create a smart, converged carrier IP infrastructure.�?

“Bringing together F5’s superior expertise in IP for applications and data with Traffix’s industry leadership in Diameter and signaling for the control plane, F5 has the unique depth and breadth to make the transition from 3G to 4G and IMS much simpler, cost effective, and non-disruptive for carriers,�? said Ben Volkow, CEO of Traffix Systems.
  • Last year, Traffix Systems introduced its Signaling Delivery Controller (SDC) -- a unified platform that supports fully-featured solutions of a Diameter Gateway, Diameter Load Balancer and Diameter Router. This provides interfaces for both legacy and LTE/HSPA+ signaling network technologies and protocols.

Cisco Supplies 4G/LTE Core for Magyar Telekom

Magyar Telekom, which serves 5.2 million mobile customers and is part of the Deutsche Telekom, has deployed the Cisco ASR 5000 Series Mobile Multimedia Core, Cisco ASR 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers, and Cisco ME 3800X Series Carrier Ethernet Switch Routers for its 4G/LTE network.

The operator embarked on its large-scale network modernizing project in May 2011. Its first 4G/LTE-based mobile Internet service was launched on January 1, 2012, when 40 percent of Budapest's population was covered by 4G/LTE base stations. Magyar Telekom expects to have all Budapest areas covered by end of 2012.

ITU's World Radiocommunication Conference Pushes for 700 MHz Mobile Broadband

Following four weeks of negotiations in Geneva, the World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 came to a conclusion with the signing of the Final Acts that revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. A total of 153 countries are expected to sign the treaty, which significantly call for global harmonization of the use of the 700 MHz band for mobile broadband communications.

In addition to the use of the 790-862 MHz in Regions 1 and 3, WRC-12 considered further spectrum allocations to the mobile service, including International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) to facilitate the development of terrestrial mobile broadband applications in the frequency band 694 – 790 MHz.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the Conference. “WRC-12 has helped define new and better ways to regulate radio services and applications, and represents a major contribution in making the world a better place for all,�? Dr Touré said. “The work done here will make the world a better place to communicate – and that will make the world a better place to live in.�? He highlighted the achievements of WRC-12 in allocating spectrum resources for mobile broadband and for addressing the digital dividend issue which “now provides for a great deal of global harmonization of the use of the 700 MHz band for all regions by the services which most need it�?. He also commended the delegates on the attention given to Earth observation radiocommunication applications, which are crucial for monitoring and combating climate change and for disaster prediction.

The next World Radiocommunication Conference is expected to be held in 2015.

Australia's Optus to Acquire Unwired Broadband

Seven Group Holdings has agreed to sell its Vividwireless business and the associated Unwired broadband business to Optus, a subsidiary of the SingTel Group, for A$230 million. Through the acquisition, Optus will gain 98MHz of spectrum in the 2.3GHz band, enabling to expand its 4G offerings.

NSN Opens Silicon Valley Testing Lab

Nokia Siemens Networks has opened a mobile broadband testing and development facility in Silicon Valley.

The Smart Lab allows US-based operators, smartphone and operating system (OS) vendors, and application developers to analyze application and device performance across ‘live’ mobile network environments, including LTE.

The company is featuring a new Smart Lab Performance Advisor tool that provides instant insights into app and device behavior. Each application and device tested is ranked by comparing test results to a database of network performance indicators. Operators can use this ranking to get a thorough understanding of application and device impact, and achieve the most effective network configuration to minimize such impact.

“Smartphones with always-connected applications introduce a new type of network behavior, and increase volatility in mobile broadband demand,�? said Jan Hellman, head of Smart Labs at Nokia Siemens Networks. “This can considerably increase signaling traffic and drastically reduce smartphone battery life, and thus impact user experience. Our Smart Labs provide the world’s leading mobile broadband testing facilities and collaboration with other industry players allowing us to better advise our customers on how to make their networks more smartphone friendly.�?

NSN and Qualcomm Develop HSPA+ Multiflow,

Nokia Siemens Networks and Qualcomm are developing an HSPA+ Multiflow capability that delivers flows from multiple base stations to specially equipped devices.

HSPA+ Multiflow allows devices located close to the edge of a mobile base station’s cell to connect with a second base station serving a neighboring cell. The ‘Multiflow’ name refers to the two different paths data can then take to reach a device. Essentially, two data streams are delivered from base stations in two adjacent cells to a single user device instead of one data stream from one base station as is the case with HSPA+. The companies claim Multiflow can deliver up to double the data speed and up to 50% faster response compared to existing HSPA+ networks.

HSPA+ Multiflow is expected to be standardized in 3GPP Release 11 later this year. Nokia Siemens Networks expects to deliver a commercial HSPA+ Multiflow implementation in 2013.

The demonstration at MWC 2012 will be conducted using Nokia Siemens Networks’ commercial Single RAN equipment . Three prototype USB dongles from Qualcomm will be connected to the HSPA+ network via a radio frequency network emulator. The HSPA+ Multiflow will show up to 100% throughput increase in the cell edge area for the multiflow-capable user equipment, while legacy user equipment will experience neither gains nor degradation.
  • In September 2011, Nokia Siemens Networks and Qualcomm demonstrated a multi-band, multi-carrier HSPA+ data call with peak throughput of 336 Mbps. The demo used a commercial Flexi Multiradio Base Station and Multicontroller platform alongside MDM8220 test terminals from Qualcomm. It combined a total of eight HSPA carriers (multi-carrier), each carrying 42 Mbps with MIMO and 64 QAM modulation. This configuration can be allocated from one or multiple frequency bands (multiband), simultaneously for one data connection of over 300 Mbps. Multi-carrier and multiband HSPA is standardized in 3GPP Release 8 through 11, and the standardization for eight carriers is expected to be completed by 2012. The eight-carrier product will be available from Nokia Siemens Networks by end of 2012.

    Nokia Siemens Networks noted that it is driving the standardization of Long Term HSPA Evolution to achieve speeds of more than 650 Mbps.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Huawei's Silicon Purchases Top $6 billion from Qualcomm, Broadcom and Avago

Huawei announced silicon purchasing contracts totaling US$6 billion from Qualcomm, Broadcom and Avago, all of whom are based in California.

Huawei said the purchases underscore its continued commitment to the U.S. market and the three-year OEM contracts will directly and indirectly create over tens of thousands of job opportunities for U.S. business while contributing to growth and development opportunities for California high-tech as well as the ICT industry as a whole.

“This procurement agreement reaffirms Huawei’s determination to deliver on its promise to be a local economy contributor, and is a demonstration of confidence in the long-term relationships we have cultivated with our local high-tech partners.�? said Ms. Chen Lifang, Senior Corporate Vice President of Huawei, “The U.S. holds the leading position in the ICT industry, and when coupled with Huawei’s long-term dedication to innovation in the U.S. market, the result is a strategic collaboration to develop a more diversified, balanced and healthier global ICT ecosystem.�?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

German Union Workers Visit T-Mobile USA

Thirteen Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile workers, all members of the German union ver.di, and a member of Germany’s Bundestag will visit T-Mobile USA workers in Tennessee and Texas this week to see first hand how T-Mobile USA workers who want union representation are treated.

The group is concerned about workers' rights at T-Mobile USA and how they differ from employment conditions in Germany.
  • In April 2010, ver.di, the union representing workers at Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile operations in Germany, the Communications Workers of America and UNI Global Union held a press conference to denounce a double standard they see in the way the Deutsche Telekom treats its Germany and American workers. Specifically, the unions accuse T-Mobile USA of engaging in an anti-union behavior.

  • During 2011, CWA and ver.di voiced their support of AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA.

Congress Grants Incentive Auction Authority to the FCC

In passing the "Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012", the U.S. Congress also granted voluntary incentive auction authority to the FCC and paved the way for a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network.

"For years, TIA has advocated for this legislation and we are incredibly impressed with all players – Congress, the White House, the FCC, and industry – who contributed to this long-awaited and monumental achievement,�? said TIA President Grant Seiffert. “Key provisions of the Act will create certainty for the market and will promote new investment in critical wireless network infrastructure, leading to hundreds of thousands of new jobs across America as well as improved mobile broadband service. The impact of spectrum availability on the U.S. economy will be enormous and cannot be underestimated.�?

“In addition to providing billions of dollars for the U.S. treasury, auction proceeds will also help fund the construction of a long-awaited and much-needed nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network,�? Seiffert continued. “We also applaud Congress for incorporating the Next Generation 9-1-1 Advancement Act of 2012, which will help modernize and update the Nation’s 9-1-1 and E-9-1-1 systems. These decisive actions will provide i

Barcelona Public Transport Strike to Coincide with MWC

A public transport strike has been announced in Barcelona coinciding with Mobile World Congress, which will be held 27th February through 1st March 2012.

The GSMA said it is putting in place contingency plans to ensure that all participants of the Mobile World Congress have unfettered access to and from the Fira during all days of the event.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

AppliedMicro Begins Shipping First 100G Transponder/Muxponder for OTN

AppliedMicro has begun commercial shipments of the first standard 100 Gbps transponder/muxponder solutions for Optical Transport Networks (OTN) and data centers. The design was unveiled a year ago and since then has passed all interoperability tests before reaching the initial stages of deployment in 100G carrier and data center networks.

AppliedMicro said its 100G transponder/muxponder is capable of multiplexing any combination of 10G and 40G client signals into a 100G OTN signal (OTU4). Specifically, the 100G Muxponder supports any combination of signals from 10G and 40G Ethernet to legacy OC192/OC768 SONET/SDH, as well as 8G and 10G Fibre Channel.

This provides network operators tremendous flexibility in filling new 100G pipes in their networks. Additionally, these 100G OTN pipes are being deployed between high capacity data centers where significant growth is driving demand for higher speed connections. As a result, the solution can carry both data and storage traffic efficiently and can be used for file and backup synchronization between large data centers. It also interoperates with all major forward error correction (FEC) schemes in long-haul optical network architectures.

"AppliedMicro's 100G transponder/muxponder reference design provides a common software API for both its SoftSilicon and ASSP solutions, making it efficient to integrate with system software of the host platform or line card," said Lars Pedersen, Chief Technology Officer of AppliedMicro TPACK A/S. "System design and maintenance efforts for 100G platforms are greatly simplified and streamlined with a common API, and it provides software investment protection for future upgrades as AppliedMicro's highly integrated silicon devices come to market offering even greater cost-reduction potential."

Reference designs and API for the 100G transponder/muxponder are now available.

ip.access Develops Dual mode LTE/3G AP with Freescale

ip.access announced plans for a 3G + LTE small cell access point using Freescale's QorIQ Qonverge system-on-chip solution.

The new unit, codenamed the E-100, is a small cell Access Point designed for enterprises and public indoor environments. The 3G connection supports HSPA+ connections of up to 42 Mbps while the LTE radio supports up to 150 Mbps. Up to 200 users could be supported.

ip.access expects to deliver the E-100 into customer labs later this year, with field trials expected in Q1 2013.

Announcing the E-100, ip.access founder and CTO Nick Johnson said: “Small cells will have a vital role to play in delivering LTE's promise of high-speed data for large numbers of subscribers. The E-100 allows operators to rapidly add coverage and capacity to their LTE networks exactly where it is needed." At the same time, the integrated 3G capability improves network performance and relieves congestion for the majority of today's smartphone users. "There's an immediate return on investment for operators even before the mass-market take-up of LTE handsets,�? explained Johnson.

The E-100 unit will be the first small cell from ip.access to use Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge platform.

Accuris Cites Tier One Traction for its Wi-Fi Offload + Wi-Fi Roaming

Accuris Networks, a privately-held company based in Dublin, Ireland, is reporting that three North American top tier mobile operators have selected its AccuROAM platform for Wi-Fi offload and also to enable International-roaming subscribers to automatically roam onto partner Wi-Fi networks when abroad. The company said its unique advantage is to offer both Wi-Fi offload and Wi-Fi roaming on one platform.

The AccuROAM platform enables subscribers to automatically and securely access operators Wi-Fi hotspots by using the subscriber’s SIM credentials for authentication. In addition to greater security, this approach also gives operators the ability to control service access, manage Wi-Fi offload connections and bill subscribers for Wi-Fi usage when roaming.

“Carriers worldwide are faced with huge challenges of network congestion and with roaming challenges as their customers travel abroad. Integrating Wi-Fi with mobile networks is essential for carrier success, not just for authentication and data but for all the services that users’ currently receive on cellular such as billing, voice, messaging and roaming,�? said Aidan Dillon, CTO, Accuris. “Rather than having to turn data roaming off when traveling, Accuris’ AccuROAM solution means that smartphone users can expect the same seamless roaming experience when they are traveling as they do when they are at home.�?

Radisys Delivers DPI Network Appliance based on Intel

Radisys introduced an Intel-based, carrier-grade network appliance platform that enables Telecom Equipment Manufacturers (TEMs) to better address the requirements of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) applications, including policy enforcement, lawful intercept security, network probe and others.

The Radisys RMS-220 uses a 2U high, 20-inch deep form factor for flexibility and serviceability. The design supports Network Equipment-Building System (NEBS) guidelines and dual server class Intel processors. The design allows up to four front I/O modules, five front storage modules (HDD or SSD), redundant AC or DC power supply units (PSUs) and front serviceable fans that can be replaced in the field without de-racking the system. A broad range of configurations are available, including:

  • Front I/O port options including 32x 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 24x 10 Gigabit Ethernet and I/O bypass options

  • Up to 10TB of local storage

  • Broad range of co-processing options including NetLogic and Cavium processors

Radisys has more than 20 years of experience delivering innovative embedded products and a successful track record for providing our customers with the tools they need to develop competitive, differentiated solutions,�? said Keate Despain, vice president and general manager, platforms, Radisys. “The RMS-220 network appliance platform is a strong complement to Radisys’ long-standing ATCA product portfolio, expanding on the same embedded software and engineering expertise. We truly provide our customers with a one-stop-shop for their telecom infrastructure needs.�?

“Intel continues to make significant strides on multiple data plane vectors including raw throughput performance and performance per watt. The timing couldn’t be better for the telecom market to have an Intel architecture based Carrier Grade Network Appliance Platform that is designed and optimized for the rapidly growing DPI and networking applications segment. This is another example of a strong Intel partner ecosystem delivering innovative solutions with cutting-edge performance,�? said Rose Schooler, general manager, Intelligent Systems Group, Intel Corporation.

Leap Wireless Benefits from Smartphone Upgrades

Leap Wireless reported Q4 2011 revenues of $729.5 million reported adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) of $135.1 million for the fourth quarter, compared to $107.0 million for the comparable quarter of the prior year. Leap also reported a fourth quarter 2011 operating loss of $3.5 million, compared to an operating loss of $27.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2010.

Some highlights:

Leap added 179,000 customers during the fourth quarter of 2011, comprised of approximately 209,000 voice net customer additions and net deactivations of approximately 30,000 broadband customers, bringing total net customer additions for the full-year 2011 to approximately 416,000.

The company ended the year with approximately 5.9 million customers.

Customer churn for the fourth quarter of 2011 was approximately 3.9 percent.

During the second half of 2011, Leap expanded into an additional 6,500 national retail locations, increasing its retail presence to approximately 11,500 locations.

Approximately 60 percent of the Company's new handset sales in the fourth quarter of 2011 were for smartphones and Muve Music devices, compared to approximately 30 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Approximately 10 percent of the Company's customer base upgraded their handsets during the quarter, most of which were upgraded to better devices coupled with higher-ARPU service plans, compared to 13 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

ARPU for the fourth quarter of 2011 was $42.09, an increase of $3.95, or 10.4 percent, over the comparable period of the prior year, and $0.84, or 2.0 percent, from the third quarter of 2011.

Capital expenditures were $152.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2011 and $441.7 million for the full year.

Total capital expenditures for 2012 are expected to be between $600 million and $650 million, primarily to support the initial deployment of next-generation LTE network technology, the ongoing maintenance and development of the Company's network and other business assets and other capital projects.

EU Approves800 MHz Mobile Broadband Spectrum Plan

The European Parliament approved a plan that requires EU member states to open up more radio spectrum for mobile broadband use by 2013.

Under the radio spectrum policy programme (RSPP), member states will have to authorise the use of the 800 MHz band for wireless broadband by 1 January 2013.

Currently, the 800 MHz band is used to broadcast analogue TV channels in most member states, but will be freed by the end of 2012 when all TV sets will be switched to digital. This so-called digital dividend will be assigned to mobile Internet.

The 800 MHz spectrum band is better at penetrating buildings and provides superior indoor reception and travels longer distances without losing strength than spectrum above 1 GHz.

The EU said the management of radio frequencies remains a national responsibility, but that its efforts play an important role in coordinating policy and setting standards.

We have ensured that sufficient amounts of spectrum both for coverage and capacity are made accessible in the EU to achieve the fastest mobile broadband worldwide," stated Swedish Christian Democrat Gunnar Hökmark.
  • In October 2011, the European Council endorsed an amendment by MEPs to widen the scope of an inventory of the existing spectrum between 400 MHz and 6 GHz in order to identify where efficiency could be improved and ensure that the exponential growth in wireless data traffic can be met by future reallocations.

Japan's eAccess First to Deploy Mixed Mode WCDMA + LTE

eAccess, which serves 5.6 million mobile broadband and wired internet subscribers in Japan, will become the first operator in the world to launch a Mixed Mode solution for WCDMA and LTE. Ericsson is supplying a Mixed Mode solution that enables eAccess to use the same radio frequency band for both LTE and WCDMA services. Commercial launch of the Mixed Mode solution will begin in major cities across the country from March 2012 including Tokyo, Tokai and Osaka.

Ericsson has been the main network equipment to eAccess since 2006.

Under the contract, Ericsson will provide eAccess with full turnkey Network Rollout, Network Optimization & Consulting, and upgrade the Packet Core network to an Evolved Packet Core architecture.