Wednesday, August 8, 2012

NTT Com Offers Low Latency Route to Europe Across Russia

NTT Communications has begun offering a dedicated connection between London and Hong Kong using the new TEA-2 cable system, which offers the low-latency route alternative to subsea cables.

NTT Communications is providing European customers with access to the TEA-2 wavelength service.

As part of a broader strategy, this European connection into Hong Kong complements NTT Communications' "Gateway to Asia" offering between Europe, Singapore, Japan and China. And with the launch of the NTT Communications Hong Kong Financial Data Center (FDC) in 2013, the TEA-2 landing site will provide Tier IV ready data center infrastructure with an ultra-low latency network.

John Hammond, VP Business Network Services at NTT Europe, says, "We are always looking at how we can expand our network to give customers greater capacity with newer, faster and more reliable routes but also better value for money. The TEA-2 cable system really does strengthen our capability in Europe." 08-Aug-12
  • In May 2011, Russian national carrier Rostelecom and KDDI signed an agreement for upgrade and modification of the Russia-Japan Cable Network (RJCN) and Transit Europe-Asia (TEA) service in order to support 10Gbps wavelength resources between Japan and Europe using shortest route via Russia. The contract for the original project was signed in 2006, with NEC as the primary contractor for portions of the network.

NTT Com Readies 40G Asia Submarine-cable Express

NTT Communications is ready to start operation on the Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE), a 40 Gbps, ultra-low latency undersea cable connecting major cities in Asia. At launch, the cable has a carrying capacity of 15 Tbps 7,800 km and has landing points in Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia, and will add Hong Kong in the first quarter of 2013. It incorporates special designs to withstand earthquake and typhoon damage. The system is also upgradeable to 100G channels.
The cable follows the lowest latency route between Japan and Singapore. It will provide direct connections to the Serangoon Data Center in Singapore and later will also connect to the Hong Kong Financial Data Centre. The direct connection enables customers there to use NTT Com’s network, data centers and cloud services on an end-to-end, one-stop basis.

NTT Com is the major investor in the cable system, which has been constructed in cooperation with Malaysia-based Telekom Malaysia, Philippines-based PLDT and Singapore-based StarHub.

On August 20, 2012, NTT Com will begin offering an enhanced global leased line service, by incorporating ASE’s low-latency routes into its existing Arcstar Global Leased Line Service. The newly enhanced service leverages ASE’s Japan-Singapore connection with an industry-leading latency of less than 65 milliseconds latency, more than 3 milliseconds faster than routes via other subsea cables. Existing US-Japan routes also will be used, including the NTT Com’s own PC-1 cable which offers the lowest latency connection between Tokyo and Chicago, home of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Superior service between Asia and the U.S. is especially attractive for financial enterprises, such as high-frequency trading firms that issue huge numbers of buy/sell orders for financial products and must transmit such information instantaneously.

Also this month, NTT Com will incorporate ASE into the backbone of its Tier-1 global IP network, which directly connects the world’s major internet service providers (ISPs) and content providers, and, in the near future, will do the same for Arcstar Universal One, its scalable, cloud-based network service. 09-Aug-12
  • In 2011, NEC and Fujitsu were selected as primary contractors for the Asia Submarine-cable Express system. The manufacture and installation of all submersible plants such as Repeaters, OADM Branching Units and Cables, the Power Feeding Equipment and submersible plant monitoring system was to be implemented by NEC. The manufacture and installation of Submarine Line Terminal Equipment and the Management Controller was designated to Fujitsu.

  • AT&T Southeast Reaches Tentative Labor Deal

    AT&T Southeast (BellSouth Telecommunications) announced a tentative labor agreement with the Communications Workers of America covering more than 22,000 wireline employees in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The contract will be submitted to the CWA's membership for a ratification vote in coming days.

    Key provisions include:
    • General wage increases in each year of the contract for most employees – 2.25 percent the first year, 2.75 percent the second year, and 3 percent the third year.
    • A 1 percent pension band increase in each year of the contract to the banded pension plan enjoyed by most current employees. New hires will continue to receive the Bargained Cash Balance 2 Pension Plan, with a one-time, 1 percent pay credit increase and an 80 percent match in the AT&T Retirement Savings 401(k) Plan.
    • Expands to additional employees a guaranteed job offer provision that promises qualified surplused employees a guaranteed job opportunity with AT&T.
    • Maintains one of the most robust health care plans in the nation, continuing to cover 100 percent of network preventive care, including such items as annual physicals and well-child care, with modest increases in employee contributions. For example, employees with individual coverage will pay monthly contributions of $38 in the first year of the contract, $58 the second year and $79 the third year of the contract. Employees with family coverage will pay monthly contributions of $81, $121, and $163 over the three years of the agreement. New hires will pay higher contributions. Deductibles for network care will be $500 for individual coverage and $1,000 for family coverage in each year of the contract. 08-Aug-12

    Dell'Oro Forecasts LTE Equipment Revenues to 2016

    The Mobile Radio Access Network (RAN) LTE equipment market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 50 percent over the next five years, according to Dell'Oro Group.

    This report also shows that the growth in mobile broadband will eventually offset declining investments in CDMA/GSM/WiMAX. The total Mobile RAN market, macro and public access small cells, is expected to grow at a CAGR of two percent between 2011 and 2016. The public access small cell market is expected to generate significant revenues in the outer years of the forecast period and account for nine percent of all RAN revenues in 2016.

    "The success with early adopters in North America, Japan, and South Korea is driving operators around the world to commit to LTE and reap the benefits of improved efficiencies, latencies, throughputs, and to ensure a future-proof roadmap," said Stefan Pongratz, analyst at Dell'Oro Group. "It has been only 18 months since the first large scale commercial deployment of LTE and it is already generating more than 15 percent of total RAN revenues," continued Pongratz 08-Aug-12

    Xilinx Boosts its Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC to 1 GHz

    Xilinx boosted the peak processing performance of its Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC family to 1 GHz -- a 25% increase over initial specifications for the two largest Zynq-7000 devices.

    The Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoCs are the first tightly integrated hardware, software and I/O 'all programmable' devices in the industry. Applications include high-end image and graphic processing applications within the medical, Aerospace and Defense (A&D) markets, as well as computationally intensive systems targeting wired and wireless equipment.

    "Using Zynq for our measurement devices gives us an extremely compact physical solution as well as an extremely compact system because software and hardware are closer together than ever before," said Matthias Goetz, hardware project leader at Rohde & Schwarz. "We especially appreciate the great bandwidth performance between the FPGA and industry standard processing sub-system because it accelerates our processing and system development and it allows us to easily move functions from processor to programmable logic when and where needed." 08-Aug-12

    AT&T and Alere to Deliver Diabetes Monitoring

    AT&T is teaming up with Alere Health to deliver "DiabetesManager", an end-to-end mobile health (mHealth) diabetes solution powered by WellDoc that will help adults with type 2 diabetes manage their health and engage with their caregivers.

    Alere Health currently provides patient-centered health management for over 290,000 individuals with diabetes in the U.S.

    The FDA-cleared DiabetesManager will be targeted for higher risk, higher acuity patients, in contrast to Alere's Mya solution that is designed for lower risk, lower acuity patients. With this new system, patients enter blood glucose readings and medication data into DiabetesManager on their compatible mobile device or the web and receive real-time feedback regarding their blood glucose control and immediate, recommended next step actions. The solution will be integrated with the Alere advanced clinical care management system, Apollo, to provide active, clinically based care management, with live clinicians available 24/7.

    "There are hundreds of mHealth diabetes applications in the market today; however, this solution will be one of the first to be fully connected to a clinical system as part of an integrated plan of care," said Mike Cotton, CEO of Alere Health. "It goes beyond providing real-time coaching to the patient and enables the valuable patient information collected to be shared with nurses, case workers and doctors, who can communicate directly with the patient if needed." 08-Aug-12

    Boingo Acquires Cloud Nine for Wi-Fi Hotspot Advertising

    Boingo has acquired Cloud Nine Media, which provides Wi-Fi sponsorship and location-based advertising at more than 6,000 airports, hotels, bars and restaurants, and recreational areas in the U.S. and Canada. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    The Cloud Nine technology platforms will allow Boingo to deliver 100% share-of-voice sponsored access that can be used across Boingo’s global portfolio of managed Wi-Fi hotspots, including airports, shopping malls, restaurants, stadiums, transportation hubs and metropolitan hotzones that reach more than 1.5 billion people each year. San Francisco-based Cloud Nine Media also brings a team of skilled technologists and ad sales executives to the table, as well as relationships with key venues and advertisers.

    "As we’ve expanded our Wi-Fi services into new venue categories, the demand for sponsored access and location based advertising services has grown in parallel,” said David Hagan, president and chief executive officer of Boingo Wireless. "Cloud Nine Media brings a formidable portfolio of tools and talent that will help us take our execution to the next level." 06-Aug-12

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    SK Telecom Launches HD Voice over LTE

    SK Telecom launched an HD VoLTE service, initially featuring the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE handset. Customers who already have the handset will be able to download a firmware upgrade later this month. The Galaxy Note 2 will also offer an HD VoLTE capability.
    • The premium HD voice service is available at no additional charge.
    • The HD voice connection uses 2.2 times the bandwidth of voice over 3G.
    • The HD voice call connection time ranges from less than 0.25 to 2.5 seconds. This compares with a mean call connection time of 5 seconds for 3G voice calls, and SK Telecom believes this difference will be apparent to the customer.
    • HD VoLTE carries a wide voice frequency range of 50 to 7000 hertz compared to a 3G voice call that typically covers 300 to 2400 hertz. The service uses Enhanced Variable Rate Codec (EVRC).
    • SK Telecom is using multi-carrier technology for the 800 MHz (20MHz) and 1.8 GHz (20MHz) frequency bands.

    • Last month, SK Telecom announced plans to commercialize LTE-Advanced in its network during 2013.

      SK Telecom, in collaboration with Qualcomm and Nokia Siemens Networks, recently tested a core LTE-Advanced technology called 'Enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (eICIC) that coordinates signal interference between macro and pico base stations. eICIC is gaining importance as more and more micro base stations are being built in traffic concentrated areas to accommodate explosive data traffic growth, thereby aggravating inter-cell interference.

      To demonstrate the technology, SK Telecom, Nokia Siemens Networks and Qualcomm created an environment where the strength of micro base station signals being transmitted to mobile devices was weaker than that of nearby macro base signals, resulting in signal interference. Then, they applied eICIC to prove that it can actually control the interference and stabilize data communications.

      The companies also succeeded in showing that the technology is capable of offloading data traffic by adjusting the coverage of micro base stations based on the level of data traffic concentration in macro and micro base stations. As commercial base station equipment has been used for the demonstration, the companies are expecting to achieve early commercialization of eICIC.

      SK Telecom noted that it now holds the record of demonstrating the three core technologies needed to usher in the era of LTE-Advanced: eICIC, Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP) and Carrier Aggregation (CA). The company successfully demonstrated CoMP at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2011 and CA at MWC 2012.

      CoMP is a technology that prevents base station interference and abrupt call disconnections in coverage boundary areas by enhancing signal strength, the lack of which leads to a significant drop in data transmission speed, and CA is a technology that provides twice or faster data rates by utilizing multiple frequency bands at the same time.

      SK Telecom expects to commercialize eICIC in the second half of 2013 to control signal interference and effectively offload data in downtown areas that experience heavy data traffic so as to provide customers with a mobile data service with greater speed and stability.

      The company commercialized CoMP, for the first time in the world, in January 2012, after adjusting the technology to suit the current LTE system, and plans to achieve early commercialization of CA in the second half of 2013.

      The operator will deliver LTE using both existing 800MHz frequency band (20MHz) and the 1.8GHz band (20MHz) it newly acquired last year. With an additional 20MHz uplink/downlink spectrum, it is now using a total of 40MHz for its LTE services. SK Telecom has launched a pilot service for multi-carrier in May 2012 and began full-fledged commercialization on July 1 to ensure a more stable and faster LTE service based on twice wider frequency bandwidth than its competitors. CA realizes data rates of up to 150Mbps by combining the speeds of 800MHz (75Mbps) and 1.8GHz (75Mbps) frequency bands.
    • In June, SK Telecom commercialized world's first LTE Femtocell to provide stable LTE call quality in underground, buildings and data traffic concentrated areas. With LTE Femtocell, customers can use high speed, premium quality LTE services anywhere, anytime.
    • In May 2012, Ericsson announced that SK Telecom, South Korea's largest operator, had signed a contract for LG-Ericsson to provide the LTE network including LTE RAN and Evolved Packet Core as well as support services including engineering, design, deployment and support services. The LTE radio access network will make use of Ericsson's Operation Support System for Radio & Core (OSS-RC) and RBS 6000 base stations. The contract, which covers commercial launch of LTE services in some of Korea's major cities - including Busan and Daegu, makes Ericsson one of the operator's main partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.
    • In January 2012, SK Telecom achieved the world's first commercialization of Advanced-SCAN (Smart Cloud Access Network), an upgraded version of SCAN, which has been developed to enhance LTE speed and coverage. Advanced-SCAN uses virtualization technology to ensure four times better call quality in base station boundary areas, thereby improving the overall LTE coverage and speed.

    Korea's LG U+ Launches VoLTE

    Korea's LG U+ announced the launch of commercial VoLTE service.

    LG U+ is using AMR-WB (Adaptive Multi Rate Wideband) voice codecs covering the 50MHz ~ 7GHz range.

    Call connection times are rated from 0.25 to 2.5 seconds, or up to 20 times faster that 3G call connection times.

    LG U+ is using QCI (QoS Class Identifier) ​​technology to ensure voice performance even during traffic spikes on the network.

    LG U+ plans VoLTE support for seven different handsets, including the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the LG Optimus II 


    MetroPCS Launches Voice Over LTE Service

    MetroPCS officially launched its commercial Voice-over-LTE service. The first sale of a VoLTE-capable handset occurred at one of the company's Dallas/Fort Worth store locations.

    The new VoLTE-capable LG Connect 4G Android smartphone is now on sales at select stores across the U.S.. MetroPCS said it will continue to roll out VoLTE services and phones in the coming weeks.

    MetroPCS had 9.3 million overall mobile subscribers as of the end of Q2, of which over 700,000 were LTE subscriptions.

    With the new VoLTE, voice calls are carried transparently over LTE regardless of the handset or network used on the other end of the call.

    "The initial move to LTE and this move to VoLTE allow us to achieve significant spectral efficiencies and will increase network capacity so that we can enhance the 4G LTE experience that our customers have today at a tremendous value. VoLTE also provides a foundational capability for future Rich Communication Services (RCS), which we plan to launch later this year," stated Roger Linquist, chairman and chief executive officer of MetroPCS.

    MetroPCS noted that it was the first U.S. carrier to deploy a commercial 4G LTE network in September 2010. So far, the LTE network rollout covers roughly 90 percent of its CDMA footprint. 07-Aug-12

    Huawei Develops Mobile Apps Analysis Tools

    Huawei has developed a series of "Apps Insider" digital tools designed to automatically analyze mobile applications behavior.

    Huawei said its solution analyzes, evaluates and ranks mobile applications according to how they impact network performance and user experience, providing suggestions for overall optimization. The goal is to help operators reassign network resources for applications, and to help developers improve the efficiency of their applications to reduce their impact on network performance and user experience. 07-Aug-12

    BroadSoft Acquires Adaption Technologies

    BroadSoft has acquired the assets of Texas-based Adaption Technologies Ventures, Ltd., a provider of hosted business VoIP solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    Broadcom said the acquisition will enable it to enhance its BroadCloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery platform to include BroadWorks features and functionality. Adaption Technologies offered web-based service operating platform that enables telecommunications service providers to more quickly sell, provision, activate and bill for their hosted Unified Communications services.

    "Thanks to our cloud technology and infrastructure management experience, many of our customers are confident we can cost-effectively develop, deliver and support their branded Unified Communications services," said Michael Tessler, chief executive officer, BroadSoft. "Adding Adaption Technologies' solutions to our cloud platform will allow our service provider customers to speed time-to-market and accelerate time-to-revenue for their branded Unified Communications solutions." 07-Aug-12

    Russian Rocket Failure Dooms Two Satellites

    A Russian Breeze-M rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan failed to reach its intended orbit, leading to the loss of two communications satellites: Telkom Indonesia's Telkom-3 satellite and a smaller satellite for the Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC).

    Roscosmos cited a premature shutdown in the rocket's cruise propulsion system. An investigation is underway.

    Telkom Indonesia confirmed that its satellite was fully insured. The Telkom-3 satellite was fully insured. 07-Aug-12

    Vitesse Posts Revenue of $29.7 Million

    Vitesse Semiconductor reported quarterly revenue of $30.3 million for its third fiscal quarter, ended 30-June-2012, compared to $29.7 million in the second quarter of fiscal year 2012 and $36.0 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2011. Net income (GAAP) was $4.7 million.

    Product revenues were $25.7 million compared to $27.2 million in the second quarter of fiscal year 2012 and $31.9 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2011.

    "Our vision and operational management continue to deliver, resulting in both operating and net income profitability this quarter,” said Chris Gardner, CEO of Vitesse. “Vitesse’s strategy to leverage our disruptive technology to gain share in the high-growth Carrier and Enterprise networking markets is also working. Innovations such as VeriTime™, our patent-pending distributed timing technology with the industry’s highest accuracy IEEE1588v2 timing, strengthen our market leadership." 07-Aug-12

    Novatel Wireless Posts Revenue of $102. Million

    Novatel Wireless reported Q2 revenue of $ 102.4 million, down from $118.0 for the same period last year. There was a GAAP net loss of $4.5 million. Revenue for mobile products was $92.5 million while revenue for M2M was $9.9 million.

    "During the second quarter our financial results were near or above the top of our guidance range for all three key metrics – revenue, non-GAAP gross margin, and non-GAAP EPS," said Peter Leparulo, CEO of Novatel Wireless. "Revenue increased by approximately $2.2 million from the first quarter, to $102.4 million, driven by strong sales of our mobile broadband devices. 07-Aug-12
    A Daily R

    Qualcomm Appoints Chief Marketing Officer

    Qualcomm has appointed Anand Chandrasekher as its chief marketing officer (CMO). Most recently, he was senior vice president, general manager for the Ultra Mobility Group at Intel Corporation, with responsibility for the Intel Atom processor family. During his nearly 25-year tenure at Intel, Chandrasekher held a variety of leadership roles including head of Intel's Worldwide Sales and Marketing Group, corporate vice president of the Mobile Platforms Group and co-general manager for the Intel486 Processor Division. He is best known for his pioneering efforts on the Intel Centrino platforms. 06-Aug-12

    tw telecom's Q2 Revenues up 7.7% YoY

    tw telecom posted Q2 2012 revenue of $364.5 million, net income of $19.3 million, $134.0 million of Modified EBITDA ("M-EBITDA"), $114.2 million of net cash provided by operating activities and $37.7 million of levered free cash flow. The revenue was up 1.6% sequentially.

    "Our performance this quarter reflects both consistency and innovation," said Larissa Herda, tw telecom's Chairman, CEO and President. "We achieved solid comprehensive financial results, including our 31st consecutive quarter of revenue growth, as well as strong margins and cash flow. We also delivered game changing new Intelligent Network services and further advanced new Ethernet capabilities. We're focused on delivering advanced networking services for customers' growing complex needs, including enabling cloud applications, to continue our track record of strong revenue growth."

    Some highlights:
    • Grew enterprise revenue 2.1% sequentially and 10.9% year over year
    • Grew data and Internet revenue 3.2% sequentially and 15.4% year over year
    • Data & Internet now represents 50% of revenue, driven primarily by strategic Ethernet and VPN-based product revenue
    • The company had approximately 27,600 customers as of June 30, 2012. Customer churn 4 was 1.0% for the current quarter that is consistent with both the prior quarter and the same quarter last year. The Company ended the second quarter with over 28,000 fiber route miles (of which approximately 21,000 were metro miles).
    • Capital expenditures of $80.8 million for the quarter were up slightly compared to the prior quarter of $79.1 million and decreased from $90.9 million for the same period last year, with the majority of the investments in each period related to success-based initiatives.

    Monday, August 6, 2012

    Brazil's Telecom Regulator Lifts Ban on New Mobile Sales

    Brazil's National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) lifted its ban on the sale of new mobile subscriptions in certain regions, clearing the way for Claro, Oi and Tim to resume normal sales activity.

    Late last month, Anatel prohibited the nation's mobile operators with the worst customer service from selling new lines in regions with the most problems.

    Anatel president João Rezende said the remediation proposals submitted by the carriers were considered satisfactory and the the regulatory agency would continue to monitor progress. "The expansion of subscriber base must be accompanied by investments to enable continuous improvement of service quality," stated Rezende. 03-Aug-12

    AT&T Plans to Deactivate 2G by 2017, Refarm Spectrum

    AT&T plans to discontinue service on its 2G networks by approximately January 1, 2017. In an SEC filing, AT&T said the plan woud help address the spectrum crunch it sees in the years ahead, presumably as the 2G spectrum could be reused.

    As of June 30, 2012, approximately 12 percent of AT&T's postpaid customers were using 2G handsets.

    Some other notes:

    As of June 30, 2012, AT&T served 105.2 million wireless subscribers, an increase of 6.7%.

    Going forward, AT&T sees a declining rate of growth in the industry's subscriber base compared to prior years. The company reported a 6.2% decrease in gross subscriber additions (gross additions) in the second quarter and an 8.6% decrease for the first six months of 2012, primarily related to a slower rate of postpaid and connected device additions.

    61.9% of the postpaid subscriber base uses smartphones, up from 49.9% a year earlier.

    Average service revenue per user (ARPU) from postpaid subscribers increased 1.7% in the second quarter and for the first six months of 2012, driven by an increase in postpaid data services ARPU of 14.1% in the second quarter and 14.7% for the first six months, reflecting greater use of smartphones and data-centric devices.

    About 88% of postpaid smartphone subscribers are on FamilyTalk Plans (family plans) or business discount plans, which provide for service on multiple handsets at discounted rates, and such subscribers tend to have higher retention and lower churn rates.

    As of the end of Q2, AT&T had 242,380 employees, down from 258,870 a year earlier. 03-Aug-12

    AT&T and CWA Extend Contract Talks till Aug 9

    AT&T and the Communications Workers of America failed to reach an agreement by the 11:59 p.m. EDT Aug. 4 expiration of the core wireline contract in the Southeast region. However, the parties agreed to a five-day extension of the contract and negotiations are continuing.

    The contract covers more than 22,000 wireline employees in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.