Thursday, March 29, 2012

Symantec Completes Sale of stake in Huawei Symantec Joint Venture

Symantec completed the previously announced sale of its 49 percent stake in Huawei Symantec Technologies Co., Ltd. (Huawei Symantec) to Huawei for USD $530 million. The completion of the sale liquidates Symantec’s ownership interest in the joint venture and gives Huawei sole proprietorship over all elements of the joint venture entity.

Huawei Symantec was a Hong Kong-based joint venture established by Huawei and Symantec in 2008.

Symantec said its decision to sell its stake in the joint venture in November 2011 as made after several rounds of discussion and negotiations over the future of the joint venture. The company also noted that it achieved a "good return on its investment" and that it remains committed to China, where its own business has grown 46 percent over the last three fiscal years.

Turkcell Files US Lawsuit Against South Africa's MTN over Iran License

Turkcell filed a lawsuit against South Africa based MTN in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Turkcell complains that MTN breached rules of international law when it obtained a private GSM license in Iran, which Turkcell had initially secured. Turkcell alleges that MTN took action to scuttle the Turkcell position in Iran in order to gain that license.

Qualcomm Builds R&D Center in Singapore

Qualcomm is planning to build an Integrated Circuit (IC) Design and Engineering R&D center in Singapore. Qualcomm also will manage certain strategic business planning and development, sourcing, procurement and distribution, as well as other marketing and administrative functions, from Singapore for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, the company's chipset division.

Qualcomm has operated a chipset distribution center in Singapore since 2000. The company has also operated a test development in Singapore since 2008.

"Electronics is one of the largest industries in Singapore. We are excited that Qualcomm, the world's largest fabless semiconductor company, is setting up an IC Design & Engineering R&D Centre in Singapore, further establishing Singapore as an international hub for its chipset business. This is a significant addition to our electronics semiconductor ecosystem. It affirms Singapore as the choice location in Asia for companies to drive global operational efficiency and conduct R&D," said Mr. Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry.

MediaTek Combo Chip Offers 802.11ac plus Bluetooth 4.0

MediaTek introduced an 802.11ac plus Bluetooth 4.0+HS combo chip designed for mobile consumer platforms.

Specifically, the MediaTek MT7650 combines the latest IEEE 802.11ac technology, Bluetooth 4.0 LE functionality, and the company's Wi-Fi/Bluetooth coexistence algorithm onto a single die. The 802.11ac enables transmissions up to 433 Mbps. This highly integrated chip supports dual band 2.4/5GHz configuration with 80 MHz channel bandwidth, 256-QAM modulation scheme for increased data transfer efficiency, receive beam forming for extended range and capacity, and Space-Time Block Codes (STBC) coding technologies for better wireless coverage. This chip also supports Wi-Fi Display, Wi-Fi Direct and TDLS for full peer-to-peer functionalities between mobile and home consumer products.

"With this advanced combo chip supporting dual band 11ac and dual mode Bluetooth Low Energy, we have further extended our technology leadership in the industry," said SR Tsai, General Manager of MediaTek's Wireless Connectivity & Networking Business Unit. "The demand of high quality digital-content streaming and sharing has increased rapidly. At the same time, peer-to-peer data communication is shifting from wired to wireless connections. Therefore, mobile devices are relying heavily on high quality wireless connections, but the current Wi-Fi technology standard is overwhelmed by all the bandwidth needs. With the latest 802.11ac, the MediaTek MT7650 overcomes these challenges and allows consumers to stream and transfer heavy contents between mobile and home consumer devices much faster and much more reliable with ultra low power consumptions."

UC San Diego and TowerJazz Develop Wafer-Sized Phased Array with 16 Antennas

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and TowerJazz have demonstrated the first wafer-scale phased array with 16 different antenna elements operating at 110 GHz frequency range. By integrating the antennas on-chip, the design eliminates the need for expensive and lossy transitions and distribution network between the phased array and the off-chip elements.

The wafer-scale SiGe BiCMOS chip is 6.5x6.0mm and combines the 110 GHz source, amplifiers, distribution network, phase shifters and high-efficiency on-chip antennas. The wafer-scale phased array with 16 radiating elements, together with all the necessary CMOS control circuits, is capable of electronic beam scanning to +/-40 degrees in all planes. The architecture could be scaled to 64 elements (8x8) or 256 elements (16x16) due to on-chip antenna integration and the single chip integration of multiple elements.

The researchers said the design paves the way for a new generation of miniature and low-cost phased arrays for W-band (75-110 GHz) applications. Potential applications include auto radar and passive imaging (security).

The chip was designed and tested by Woorim Shin, Ozgur Inac, and Bonhyun Ku, all from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UCSD under the supervision of Prof. Gabriel M. Rebeiz, and was partially sponsored by the DARPA GRATE program under the direction of Dr. Carl McCants. The work was done under a subcontract to UCSD from TowerJazz.

"This is yet another advancement in the area of phased arrays that we are proud to announce. We have a track record of successful collaboration with TowerJazz and the ability to bring this innovative design from UCSD to market depends strongly on TowerJazz's SiGe BiCMOS process which enables lower-cost phased arrays by integrating many functions and high efficiency antennas on the same silicon chip," said Dr. Gabriel M. Rebeiz, Professor of Electrical Engineering at UCSD, the lead professor on this chip.

Fujitsu Semiconductor Intros LTE FDD TDD Transceiver

Fujitsu Semiconductor Wireless introduced an LTE FDD and TDD optimized transceiver. The Fujitsu design eliminates the need for external low noise amplifiers (LNAs) and inter-stage surface acoustic wave (SAW) filters.

The new device (MB86L13A), which covers the frequency spectrum from 700 to 2700 MHz, offers multiple transmit, receive and diversity ports. The device offers the flexibility to map ports and bands for roaming requirements. The transceiver uses an open standard MIPI DigRF 4G v1.1Rev0.06 interface to the baseband. The device supports all global FDD bands 1-21, 23-25, and TDD bands 33-41. The MB86L13A supports all LTE bandwidths up to 20MHz. Future transceivers on the roadmap for this year include a 3GPP Release 10-compliant, single RFIC solution.

The device is sampling now and will be available in volume Q2 2012.

"The MB86L13A can speed time to market for baseband providers looking to add robust LTE capabilities to their existing 2G/3G solution," said Vivek Bhan, vice president, Fujitsu Semiconductor Wireless Products. "The new device provides multiband LTE support on a single IC, complementing the 2G/3G-only solutions offered by platform partners for the growing LTE market."
  • In February, Fujitsu introduced the MB86L11A 2G/3G/4G multimode, multiband SAW-less transceiver with several advanced transmit features, including enhanced power control, envelope tracking, and antenna tuning.

  • In 2009, Fujitsu began shipping the industry's first SAW-less transceiver for 2G/3G networks.

  • In 2010, Fujitsu introduced the first 3G and LTE SAW-less transceiver, which has been integrated into dongles, tablets and multimode 2G/3G/4G smartphones.

Bharti Airtel Launches in Rwanda -- Greenfield Net Built in 83 Days

India's Bharti Airtel has launched operations in its 17th African country -- Rwanda. Airtel has already said that it will invest over USD 100 million in its operations over the next three years and generate direct and indirect employment opportunities. Mobile penetration in the country was at 38.4 per cent as of July 2011. Airtel was awarded the license by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) last year to operate 2G and 3G GSM mobile services.

Ericsson was selected to manage the network from end-to-end, including OSS/BSS solutions and managed services. IBM was selected to provide customer support systems.

Lars Lindén, head of Region Sub-Saharan Africa for Ericsson, says: “This solution is using the latest Ericsson portfolio, and will be the first Airtel network designed as an all-IP solution. That means Airtel will be able to provide advanced services to its subscribers, expand quickly to accommodate quick growth, and keep operating expenses down. The inaugural call was placed on the system on March 7. It took just 83 days to build this network from the start – the fastest Greenfield launch in history in Sub-Saharan Africa."

Airtel's other markets in Africa include Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
  • Last month, Bharti Airtel announced a commitment to a greener environmental profile including for its operations in Africa. The company said that over last one year, it has reduced the number of telecom sites running solely on diesel by more than 50%. By 2013, the Bharti Airtel aims to completely eradicate the constant use of diesel to power its network. This means no telecom site of the company will rely solely on diesel power 24 hours a day.

    Bharti Airtel is leveraging Hybrid Battery Banks to collect the excess energy produced by the diesel powered generator. This stored energy powers the site once the generator in switched off. This has helped reduce the use of diesel by up to 14 hours a day. Close to 60% of Bharti Airtel's telecom sites in Africa are now powered using the Hybrid model.

  • In June 2010, India's Bharti Airtel acquired Zain's mobile operations in 15 countries across Africa for US$10.7 billion. This included operations in15 countries with a total customer base of over 42 million.

Global Payments Hit by Breach, Visa Outage

Global Payments Inc., a leading credit card processor, reported an unauthorized breach of its processing systems potentially impacting 1.5 million credit card numbers in North America. Card data may have been compromised. The company said it believes the problem has been contained.

Visa has de-listed Global Payments as a compliant credit card processor.

Separately, in what appears to be an unrelated incident on Sunday, Visa was struck by an outage in the United States that blocked credit card purchases for some for about 45 minutes.

Telstra Launches Samsung GALAXY S II 4G LTE

Telstra launched its second LTE smartphone - the Samsung GALAXY S II 4G.

SII 4G features a larger WVGA (800×480) SuperAMOLED Plus screen measuring in at 4.5-inches. Compared with the Galaxy SII it also has a more powerful 1.5GHz dual core processor onboard to support fast web browsing and easy switching between multiple apps, games and videos. It comes with an NFC chip built in for NFC tag reading.

Multimedia functions include an 8 megapixel camera and 1080p full HD video recording. The phone comes with 16GB of built-in memory, a large battery with a capacity of 1850mAh, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n support, and Bluetooth 3.0+HS. The Galaxy SII 4G has HD Voice support which enables crisper, clearer calls when chatting to other people with HD Voice compatible handsets on the Telstra Mobile Network.

Telstra's LTE footprint currently covers capital city CBDs, associated airports and more than 80 regional and metropolitan locations. Typical download speeds range from 2Mbps to 40Mbps and typical upload speeds from 1Mbps to 10Mbps. When outside 4G coverage areas the Samsung GALAXY S II 4G uses HSPA+ Dual Channel technology for download speeds ranging from 1.1Mbps-20Mbps in all capital CBDs and much of the associated metropolitan areas and many regional locations. Outside of these areas the device transitions to Telstra’s fastest available 3G speeds.

Analog Devices Acquires Multigig for High-Speed Clocking

Analog Devices has acquired Multigig, a small, privately-held company specializing in high-performance clocking technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Multigig, which is based in San Jose, California, provides next generation clock, RF synthesizer and timing ICs for the wired and wireless communications markets. Its clock synthesizer ICs break the 100 femtosecond jitter barrier. Multigig said its CMOS VCO for RF applications offer excellent phase noise performance. The QuietClock and synthesizer products cover the most popular frequencies used by PHY, MAC, SERDES, and memory subsystems used in the communication, telecom, networking, server and storage markets.

ADI said the deal boosts its clocking capabilities in stand-alone and embedded applications, and will strengthen its position in delivering high-speed data converters and signal processing solutions.

"The acquisition of Multigig fits squarely in the middle of our high-speed signal processing strategy and will further strengthen our portfolio of very high performance stand-alone and integrated clocking solutions," said Peter Real, ADI vice president of Linear and Radio Frequency products and technology. "Continually evolving end markets such as wireless and wire line communications place ever more stringent demands on signal processing solutions and high-performance clocking capabilities are critical to meeting customers' system requirements."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Orange Business Wins 5-year, $100 million Outsourcing Contract

Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has awarded a five-year, over $100 million outsourcing contract renewal to Orange Business Services. Orange provides most of JTI’s worldwide telecom infrastructure and services in more than 50 countries.

Orange Business Services Updates Livebox Pro

Orange Business Services introduced its new Livebox Pro gateway. Key features and capabilities include:

  • It connects all devices to ADSL, VDSL and Gigabit Ethernet Fibre Optic.

  • It features the latest-generation Ikanos processor.

  • Business-class network security to cope with attacks and intrusions.

  • Improved resistance from interference and electrical storms.

  • A colour control screen for a more user-friendly display of diagnostic and settings information. Designed as a guide, this new screen takes professionals through each stage of the user process: from installation to repair.

  • A new memory card allows users to save their network settings and therefore reset or exchange their Livebox Pro without having to reconfigure it.

  • Environmentally-friendly: it has a system on/off button and another for WiFi.

  • Consumes 30% less power than its predecessor.

Australia's NBN Announces its 3-Year Rollout Plan

Australia's NBN Co published detailed neighbourhood rollout maps for its nationwide fibre deployment.

Over the next three years, construction of the fibre optic component of the network will be underway or
completed in areas containing 3.5 million premises in 1500 communities in every state and territory in
Australia – up to one third of the nation’s homes and businesses.

An online database allows consumers to find rollout plans for their postcode.

NBN Co. estimates it will take nearly a decade to complete the entire construction project, which ultimately will bring fibre to 93% of premises. A further 4% will be reached by fixed-wireless and the remaining 3% will be connected via broadband satellite.

"This is a significant day for Australia’s digital future. Construction contracts are in place and the major commercial and regulatory hurdles have been cleared, giving us the momentum we need to deliver better broadband to every Australian no matter where they live," stated NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley.

Cisco Reinforces Commitment to Skolkovo, Russia

Cisco advanced its plans to establish a physical R&D presence in the Skolkovo Technopolis, a planned high technology business area to be built near Moscow, Russia.

Cisco recently received formal Skolkovo participant status, which enables the company to begin engineering activities and formally establish a physical presence. Cisco aims to focus R&D in Skolkovo on high-impact areas of the business, including video and internal start-ups, using Skolkovo as the physical and virtual platform for innovation.

The initial Memorandum of Understanding between Cisco and Skolkovo was signed in June 2010 and contemplates five concurrent collaborative phases over the next decade: the first phase consists of engaging with the VC community and talent development; the second phase establishes a physical presence in Russia; the third phase extends a dedicated Cisco R&D capability within Russia; the fourth phase focuses on go-to-market models; and the fifth phase builds a partnering model with local companies. Today's strategy advances Cisco's planned commitments in the concurrent second and third phases.

Digicel to Build New Cable to Haiti

Digicel, in conjunction with Columbus Networks, announced a US$16m 200km undersea cable to Haiti. Alcatel-Lucent has been named technology supplier for the project.

The earthquake in January 2010 damaged or destroyed much of Haiti’s communications infrastructure – including the country’s only other subsea cable link which, to date, has not been sufficiently reactivated and secured against risk of impact from future seismic events.

Digicel Group Director of International Business, Conor Clarke, said; “For more than two years now, Haiti’s recovery has been hindered by the lack of reliable high-capacity broadband connections with the rest of the world. With the delivery of this critical undersea cable, the people of Haiti will see a truly dramatic improvement in the range and quality of communications services available.�?

Alcatel-Lucent originally deployed the FibraLink system owned by Columbus Networks which provides coastal and terrestrial connectivity from Kingston to Ocho Rios and Montego Bay in Jamaica with direct connectivity to the US by integrating it into other parts of the Columbus Networks infrastructure.

RIM's Sales Fall 25% YoY, New CEO Appointed

Research in Motion (RIM) posted quarterly revenue of $4.2 billion, down 19% from $5.2 billion in the previous
quarter and down 25% from $5.6 billion in the same quarter of fiscal 2011. There was a net loss for the quarter of $125 million, or $0.24 per share diluted, compared with GAAP net income of $265 million, or $0.51 per share diluted, in the prior quarter and GAAP net income of $934 million, or $1.78 per share diluted, in the same quarter of fiscal 2011.

The company named Thorsten Heins as President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Heins was also appointed to RIM’s Board. Jim Balsillie, former Co-CEO of the Company, has resigned as a Director on the company’s Board. Mike Lazaridis, former Co-Chair and Co-CEO, has become Vice Chair of RIM’s Board and Chair of the Board’s new Innovation Committee.

“I have assessed many aspects of RIM’s business during my first 10 weeks as CEO. I have confirmed that the
Company has substantial strengths that can be further leveraged to improve our financial performance,
including RIM’s global network infrastructure, a strong enterprise offering and a large and growing base of
more than 77 million subscribers. I’m very excited about the prospects for the BlackBerry 10 platform, which
is on track for the latter part of calendar 2012. Notwithstanding these strengths and opportunities, the business
challenges we face over the next several quarters are significant and I am taking the necessary steps to address
them,�? said Thorsten Heins, President & CEO of Research In Motion

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

European Union Sets Mobile Data Roaming Caps

Tariffs for international mobile data roaming across the European Union will drop significantly in the next few years under a tentative deal reached this week by Members of the European Parliament and the Danish Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Currently, mobile data roaming services charged to consumers do not have a price ceiling, and the existing legislation capping roaming charges for phone calls, SMS messaging expires on 30 June 2012.

The new tariffs seek to bring roaming costs into line with domestic prices by 2015. A downloaded megabyte would cost no more than 70 cents as of 1 July 2012, 45 cents in 2013 and 20 cents as of 1 July 2014 to consumers. The cost of a one-minute call would not exceed 29 cents as of 1 July 2012 and 19 cents as of July 2014, down from 35 cents under the current legislation. An SMS would cost no more than 9 cents as of 1 July 2012 and 6 cents as of 1 July 2014, down from 11 cents under the current legislation.

The agreement also would force operators to enable customers to buy roaming services separately. This would let the consumer chose alternative service suppliers for roaming whilst retaining their national operators for domestic use and keeping their national phone numbers. The consumer would be able to access mobile local data services while abroad without having to unsubscribe from their existing data roaming contract or arrangement, and while keeping their mobile number. The agreement also proposes facilitating access to the wholesale market for new alternative operators (mobile virtual network operators or MVNOs).

Verizon Wireless Prices LTE Mi-Fi at $50

Verizon Wireless will begin selling its Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot- MiFi 4620L starting April 12 for $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement.

The Jetpack, which was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2012, was developed by Novatel Wireless. Up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices can be served simultaneously by the LTE connection.

In addition to a multicolor LED status indicator, the Jetpack also features and an interactive OLED display on the face of the device, allowing customers to scroll through menu options, check security settings, view battery life, display data usage alerts.

Sprint Offers CDMA Home Alarm Communicator

Sprint is partnering with Uplink, a provider of security alarm solutions, to offer a new Uplink CDMA Alarm Communicator powered by Sprint in the summer of 2012. The M2M solution uses the CDMA network for primary or back-up wireless alarm communications.

Telebras Plans Brazil-Angola Cable

Brazil and Angola announced plans for the joint construction of a 6,000km submarine cable across the Atlantic linking Fortaleza and Luanda. Survey work began in November 2011. Telebras is playing a key role.