Monday, December 17, 2012

Sprint Sets Clearwire Deal at $2.97 per share

Sprint agreed to pay  $2.97 per share for remaining shares of Clearwire that it does not already own.  The deal, has been accepted by Clearwire's Board of Directors, equates to a total payment of $2.2 billion for the outstanding 50% equity stake, and results in a total Clearwire enterprise value of approximately $10 billion, including net debt and spectrum lease obligations of $5.5 billion.

 Sprint said itss Network Vision architecture will be able to take full advantage of Clearwire’s complementary 2.5 GHz spectrum assets, while achieving operational efficiencies and improved service for customers as the spectrum and network is migrated to LTE standards.

“Today’s transaction marks yet another significant step in Sprint’s improved competitive position and ability to offer customers better products, more choices and better services. Sprint is uniquely positioned to maximize the value of Clearwire’s spectrum and efficiently deploy it to increase Sprint’s network capacity. We believe this transaction, particularly when leveraged with our SoftBank relationship, is further validation of our strategy and allows Sprint to control its network destiny, stated Sprint CEO Dan Hesse.

  • Clearwire holds the largest spectrum portfolio in the U.S. but in upper bands.  Its spectrum is an average 163 MHz in the top 100  U.S. markets.
  • Clearwire operates a nationwide WiMAX network and has been planning to make the transition to TD-LTE.  Its main wholesale customer and investor is Sprint, which has extended its 4G agreement through 2015.  The companies have outlined ways of bridging their FD-LTE and TD-LTE networks with dual-mode devices that are under development.
  • Also in October, SoftBank announced plans to invest $20.1 billion to acquire a 70% in Sprint.  The deal consists of $12.1 billion to be distributed to Sprint stockholders and $8.0 billion of new capital to strengthen Sprint’s balance sheet.  The investment aims to accelerate Sprint's next generation network and its competitive position as the No. 3 U.S. mobile operator.  For Softbank, this represents a major leap beyond its home market of Japan, where it is the No. 3 mobile operator and No. 2 wireline broadband provider. The companies hope to get the deal done by mid-2013, pending regulatory approvals.
  • As of October 25th, Sprint’s Network Vision program  had over 4,300 cell sites on air and the number either ready for construction or currently being updated had more than doubled in the last three months to more than 13,500.  Sprint had completed leasing and zoning permits on more than 20,000 sites.  Weekly construction starts were up over 250 percent from the second quarter but the company expects to bring 12,000 sites on air approximately one quarter later than originally planned. 
    CAPEX reached $1.5 billion in the quarter, compared to $760 million in the third quarter of 2011 and $1.2 billion in the second quarter of 2012. 

    As of the end of Q3, Sprint had LTE available in 32 cities and expects to add 115 additional cities in the coming months. 

Ericsson Builds Connected Vehicle Cloud for Volvo

Volvo Car Group has selected Ericsson to provide systems integration and managed services for a global cloud delivering information, navigation and entertainment to its new cars.

Ericsson's Connected Vehicle Cloud will allow drivers, passengers and the car to connect to services available in the cloud.  Volvo plans to establish agreements with content providers such as Internet radio providers, road authorities, cities' governments, toll-road operators and others.

"We clearly see that cars in the near future will integrate the same level of digital services that consumers today are used to have in their homes or at work. This is a strategically important part of Volvo's investments for the future where we intend to take a leading position," said Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President Product Strategy and Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars

"This partnership is evidence of the transformation across our entire society as we move into the Networked Society.  Drivers want services that technology makes possible, in real time and in the context that fits them personally. Our skills in System Integration and Service Enablement will match Volvo's strategy," said Per Borgklint, Head of Business Unit Support Systems, Ericsson.

T-Systems Simplifies its Structure for Cloud Agility

T-Systems, the systems integration business of Deutsche Telekom, will be simplifying its organizational structure from four business areas to two: Sales and Delivery.

T-Systems said it is taking this approach to improve agility in helping its enterprise customers adapt for the cloud.

“An increasing number of corporate customers are using the cloud for their core business. The extension of the contract with Shell is a good example of this. That’s why the time has now come for us to part with business processes that are still based on old outsourcing models,” says Deutsche Telekom Board Member and T Systems CEO Reinhard Clemens, explaining the measure. “Instead we will integrate our processes to support the cloud. Going forward, Sales will include all closely related activities from marketing to portfolio management. In Delivery, we will leavage all customer-related services - from technical consulting, through systems integration and all the way to infrastructure.”

In October, T-Systems began construction of Germany's largest data center -- a massive facility that will be built on a surface area the size of approximately 30 soccer fields (i.e., 150,000m2) in Biere, Saxony-Anhalt.

The new facility, which will be the 90th data center operated by T-Systems , will be a twin of another data center already running in Magdeburg.  The new construction in Biere will form a "TwinCore"  -- in the event of any disruption, the twin facility can immediately take over.

Deutsche Telekom said it is seeing high interest in colocation and cloud services.  Some 600 corporate customers use these new IT services offered byT-Systems, including internationally active groups such as Shell and Daimler. Data protection and fail-safety are key services.  T-Systems is using 22 data centers specifically for cloud services.

Zayo Fiber Reaches All CoreSite Data Centers

Zayo Group has extended its fiber-based services to all CoreSite data centers in nine markets throughout North America.

Zayo's full suite of lit services is now available at each CoreSite location, including wavelengths, Ethernet, and IP services. Additionally, Dark Fiber, with diverse routes and facility entrances, is available at each CoreSite location except Miami. Zayo brings an average of over 600 fibers into each facility. 

Zayo's 67,000-route mile network connects sites in 231 markets on dense metro and intercity fiber assets.

CoreSite's data centers offer 2,000,000+ sq. ft. of capacity.

Blue Coat to Acquire Crossbeam

Blue Coat agreed to acquire Crossbeam Systems for an undisclosed sum.  Blue Coat specializes in web security and optimization while Crossbeam supplies scalable network security systems. 

Crossbeam is best known for its X-Series network security platform or network operators.  The company is based in Boxborough, Mass. and has more than 200 employees worldwide.

“Our service provider and enterprise customers are excited we are bringing together two complementary technologies,” said Greg Clark, chief executive officer at Blue Coat Systems.  “With Crossbeam, Blue Coat gains a best-in-class support infrastructure and a high performing platform that scales to meet the needs of even the most complex enterprise IT environments.”

  • In November, Crossbeam Systems was acquired by Thoma Bravo, a private equity firm, for an undisclosed sum. Thoma Bravo currently manages a series of private equity funds representing almost $4 billion of equity commitments.  In software, Thoma Bravo has completed 54 add-on acquisitions across 25 platform companies with total annual earnings of approximately $1 billion.

Cisco Completes Acquisition of Cariden

Cisco completed its acquisition of privately held Cariden Technologies, a provider of network planning, design and traffic management solutions for telecommunications service providers, for approximately $141 million in cash and retention-based incentives.

Cariden's network planning and design tools help service providers to enhance the visibility, programmability and efficiency of their converged networks, while improving service velocity. Cariden's MATE software is widely used by global tier-1 ISPs, PTTs, MSOs and mobile operators for IP/MPLS network engineering. 

Cariden has recently extended its network visibility and traffic control platform to perform business intelligence function by leveraging its  traffic flow collection from key nodes in a carrier network.  Specifically, Cariden has now added a Flow Interface to its MATE portfolio, enabling the ability to collect and analyze NetFlow, S-Flow and J-Flow data to determine the cost of traffic flows and monitor their use of network resources.  This includes being able to analyze peering traffic compliance to agreements and calculate bit-mile costs for that and other services, thus providing operations staff the ability to meet their obligations for transparency to the commercial side of their business

Cariden has also developed a blueprint for infrastructure software defined networking (SDN) that provides visibility and programmability of network resources, simplifying network control through an open API.

Akamai's Chief Scientist to Take CEO Helm

Dr. Tom Leighton, Akamai's co-founder and Chief Scientist, will succeed Paul Sagan as the company's CEO.  Sagan announced earlier this year that he intended to step down.

Leighton has been the technological visionary at Akamai since its founding in 1998.  Prior to founding Akamai, Dr. Leighton was a Professor of Applied Mathematics at MIT and a member of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Dr. Leighton holds numerous patents involving content delivery, Internet protocols, network algorithms, distributed computing, cryptography, and digital rights management.

  • Earlier this month, AT&T announced a strategic alliance with Akamai Technologies to deliver a global suite of content delivery network (CDN) solutions to companies.

    Under the deal, Akamai will deploy CDN servers at the edge of AT&T's IP network and in AT&T facilities throughout the United States. AT&T will transfer its existing CDN operations, customers and service to the Akamai platform in 2013.  The companies have also agreed to dedicate shared resources including technical support, customer care, marketing and professional services support.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

    The companies said the combination of AT&T's network assets with Akamai's CDN will help enterprises simplify content distribution management and drive higher-performing end user experiences for consumers accessing content on the Internet. They hope to expand their efforts internationally within 12 months.
  • Separately, Akamai announced the acquisition of Verivue, a privately-held company based in Westford, Massachusetts that provides licensed content delivery network (CDN) infrastructure solutions for network operators. The combination of the two companies’ technologies and teams is expected to help Akamai accelerate market availability of a comprehensive portfolio of Operator CDN products.

Windstream Builds Data Center in Durham, N.C.

Windstream Hosted Solutions plans to construct a Tier III enterprise-class data center in Durham, N.C.   The new 22,000-square-foot facility (expandable to 88,000 square feet) is scheduled to open in 2013.

Windstream Hosted Solutions currently operates two other data centers in the Raleigh-Durham area.  the company cites demand for robust cloud computing solutions and managed services.

Chelsio Releases Unified Wire API for 40/100G Ethernet

Chelsio Communications, which supplies 10Gb Ethernet adapters, introduced its Unified Wire API for 40G and 100G speeds. The standardized API can run unmodified Fibre Channel and InfiniBand applications concurrently over Ethernet, while future protecting all OEM software investments. All software written to this API will be portable across future generations of Chelsio ASICs.

Alcatel-Lucent Selected for GPON and VDSL2 in Tunisia

Tunisiana has awarded a four-year contract to Alcatel-Lucent to build a wireline broadband access network.

Tunisiana, which is Tunisia’s largest mobile operator and part of the Qtel Group, plans to launch wireline services beginning next year.

The contract covers designing, building, managing and maintaining the network.
Included in the package are Alcatel-Lucent’s GPON and VDSL2 broadband access products, along with its Motive customer experience solution.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

World Conference on Telecommunications Ends without Support from Major Players

The World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai ended with delegates from 89 countries agreeing to a new treaty that encompasses a range of communications issues, including addenda on the development and growth of the Internet.  However, the United States, Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and other western European nations rejected the treaty on grounds that new government regulations would be a threat to the open Internet.
ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun TourĂ© said the agreement was not meant to stem the free flow of information but to assist developing countries, promote accessibility to persons with disabilities, address spam, and other Internet traffic areas.  He noted that provisions concerning the Internet were removed from the actual treaty text and annexed as a non-binding resolution.

Opponents of the treaty were not convinced.  They said granting new powers of authority to the ITU was unwanted and unneeded. Regulating spam messaging could open the door to sanctioned government surveillance and censorship especially of political or religious content.

The United Stated said it could not support the treaty.  U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer stated: "The Internet has given the world unimaginable economic and social benefits during these past 24 years – all without UN regulation. We candidly cannot support an ITU treaty that is inconsistent with a multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance. As the ITU has stated, this conference was never meant to focus on internet issues; however, today we are in a situation where we still have text and resolutions that cover issues on spam and also provisions on internet governance. These past two weeks, we have of course made good progress and shown a willingness to negotiate on a variety of telecommunications policy issues, such as roaming and settlement rates, but the United States continues to believe that internet policy must be multi-stakeholder driven. Internet policy should not be determined by member states but by citizens, communities, and broader society, and such consultation from the private sector and civil society is paramount. This has not happened here."

Interxion Offers AWS Direct Connect from European Data Centers

INTERXION is now offering AWS Direct Connect from its 32 data centres across 11 countries in Europe.

AWS Direct Connect allows customers to establish private connectivity between the AWS platform in the cloud and their existing dedicated IT infrastructure, which can reduce network costs, increase bandwidth throughput, and provide a more consistent network experience than Internet-based connections.

The new services is carried over Level 3's network from the INTERXION data center to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

INTERXION said AWS Direct Connect will be particularly attractive to customers that use large data sets and real time data feeds or need to satisfy regulatory requirements by using private network connections.

“We have provided Interxion customers with the ability to connect to our global network for years,” said James Heard, Level 3’s regional president of EMEA. “We’re delighted to be strengthening this relationship by enabling connectivity to AWS Direct Connect from Interxion’s European city locations.”

 “AWS Direct Connect helps our customers to build hybrid cloud solutions between their dedicated IT infrastructures and the AWS platform more effectively by providing cost, security and performance control”, said Vincent in‘t Veld, Director Cloud Segment at Interxion. “This supports the wider IT transformation process by allowing organisations to further maximise their IT efficiency. Thanks to the presence of leading network service providers such as Level 3, AWS Direct Connect can now be accessed by our customer community across our entire data centre footprint.”

  • AWS operates its major European data center in Dublin.
  • AWS Direct Connect uses 802.1q VLANs. The dedicated connection can be partitioned into multiple virtual interfaces, enabling the same connection to access public resources such as objects stored in Amazon S3 using public IP address space, and private resources such as Amazon EC2 instances running within an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) using private IP space, while maintaining network separation between the public and private environments. Virtual interfaces can be reconfigured at any time.  Rates up to 10G are available.
  • Equiix, Telx and Hibernia Atlantic have all recently announced AWS Direct Connect services.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Zayo Acquires Fiber Net in Baltimore for $22 Million

Zayo agreed to acquire Litecast/Balticore , a provider of metro Bandwidth Infrastructure services in Baltimore, Maryland, for $22 million.

Litecast owns and operates a metropolitan fiber network connecting over 110 on-net buildings in Baltimore, including all of the city’s major data centers and carrier hotel facilities. Litecast is focused on providing dark fiber and Ethernet-based services to a concentrated set of Baltimore enterprise and governmental customers, particularly within the healthcare and education segments.

Zayo said the acquisition boots its own fiber network in the greater Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, complementing the recently acquired AboveNet and FiberGate networks in the Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia area.

Telenor Commits to Indian Market

Telenor restated its intention to become a major player in the Indian communications market by committing  INR 155 billion to its operations there.

In the most recent spectrum auction, Telenor secured 5 MHz spectrum in UP East, UP West, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.  In combination with the planned business transfer from Uninor to a new entity, this allows Telenor’s India operations to continue seamlessly in the new company for a period of 20 years.

Telenor noted that its Indian operations already enjoy decent market positions in terms of subscriber and revenue market share in all six circles.  The company is aiming to take a number 2-3 position in its of the clusters where it participates.

“The decision by India’s Supreme Court in February to revoke all our licenses took the entire industry by surprise and we were faced with an intense period of uncertainty for the next 10 months,’’ said Jon Fredrik Baksaas, Telenor Group Chief Executive Officer and President. “An extraordinary turnaround operation followed and very early on we left no doubt about our intentions to stay and secure our future operations in India. Telenor has a growth strategy and we consider India to be one of the world’s biggest growth markets for many years to come.”

Friday, December 14, 2012

Orange Spain Acquires Simyo, an MVNO

Orange Spain has acquired 100% of Simyo, the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) owned by KPN in Spain, which has around 380,000 customers. This brings Orange Spain's  total mobile customer base to 12.2 million subscribers.

Simyo will continue to operate as an MVNO under its own brand and hosted on Orange Spain’s network.

Netherlands Completes Multiband Frequency Auction

The government of the Netherlands raised EUR 3.804 billion from a spectrum auction, including new bands designated for LTE.  Licenses for some spectrum bands were set to expire in 2013 and have now been renewed.

A total of 41 licenses were awarded to 4 companies:   Vodafone, KPN, T-Mobile and Tele2.

Most licenses have a term of seventeen years.

Alcatel-Lucent Secures EUR 1.6 Billion in Financing

Alcatel-Lucent announced EUR 1.615 billion in senior secured credit facilities. commitments with Credit Suisse AG and Goldman Sachs Bank USA.  

Commenting on the initiatives, Ben Verwaayen, CEO Alcatel-Lucent, said: “Today’s announcement of a multi-year financing commitment allows Alcatel-Lucent to operate and adapt our business in a manner which is appropriate in today’s markets.  The proceeds from the new financing will be used to effectively extend our maturity profile over the next several years and provide additional flexibility to finalize our previously announced Performance Program priorities, including the Euro 1.25 billion cost reduction target and the exiting or restructuring of unprofitable Managed Services contracts and geographic markets.  We will take advantage of the flexibility provided by this new financing in order to aggressively look at all options to drive long-term sustainable profitability, enhance our strategic positioning and improve our balance sheet.”

Avago Samples 100G Ethernet/OTN PHYs in 28nm CMOS

Avago Technologies has begun sampling its new Vortex Gearbox family of Physical Layer Transceiver (PHY) devices supporting Ethernet and Optical Transport Networking (OTN).

Avago’s Vortex Gearbox , which uses 28nm CMOS SerDes technology, also incorporates the company's proprietary Decision Feedback Equalization (DFE) architecture for low overall power consumption, low data latency and improved jitter and crosstalk performance. 
The Vortex Gearbox AVSP-1104 is a single-chip PHY IC designed for high-density 100G Ethernet and OTN applications. The device is ideal for driving both backplane and portside applications. Key features include:
  • Long reach performance withstanding up to 32dB of channel loss
  • Hole-free operation from 1-28 Gbps
  • Gearbox functionality for full-duplex conversion of four lanes (4x25 Gbps, 4x28 Gbps) to ten lanes (10x10 Gbps, 10x11 Gbps)
  • Option for configuration as a retimer function for full-duplex transmission of ten lanes
  • Programmable Tx/Rx equalization of all SerDes interfaces
  • Bit Error Rate (BER) of 1e-20