Tuesday, January 8, 2013

T-Mobile USA Launches HD Voice

T-Mobile USA is the first carrier to launch HD voice service in the United States.

T-Mobile USA said HD Voice is now available on its network nationwide for customers with HD voice capable smartphones, such as the HTC One S, Nokia Astound and Samsung Galaxy S.  Both parties on the call must be using HD Voice capable smartphones and be connected to T-Mobile's HD Voice-enabled network. There is no additional cost. T-Mobile said users will experience fuller, more natural-sounding voice
quality with significantly reduced background noise.

T-Mobile HD Voice leverages the Wideband Adaptive Multi-Rate (Wideband AMR) codec – a technology which accommodates an audio frequency range that’s twice as wide as a regular, narrowband cell phone call – as well as enhancements to the microphones and speaker systems in T-Mobile smartphones.

“T-Mobile is enriching the customer experience on its network with our nationwide launch of HD Voice. In addition, multiple third-party tests have shown that the experience on T-Mobile’s nationwide 4G network rivals major competitors’ LTE networks,” said Neville Ray, chief technology officer, T-Mobile USA. “This year, we’re stepping on the gas again. We are making continued coverage improvements and launching an advanced LTE network that will reach 100 million people by mid-year and 200 million people by end of year.”


Verizon Wireless Tests TV-over-LTE in Stadiums

Verizon Wireless is working with Ericsson’s LTE Broadcast technology and network infrastructure to stream video to large numbers of mobile users in sports stadiums.

At the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Verizon is showcasing the new experience enabled when spectators are able to access multiple camera angles, feeds and stats from live broadcast video, directly on their smartphone or other wireless device with consistent, reliable quality.

Ericsson first demoed evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (eMBMS) at Mobile World Congress 2012.


Verizon Pledges $10 Million for "Power Answers"

Verizon will award $10 million in prizes for ideas to help address some of the world's biggest challenges.

The  "Powerful Answers" competition seeks to challenge the best minds in the technology industry to develop wireless, wireline or cloud-based solutions addressing issues involving education, health care and sustainability. 

Prizes will be awarded in multiple categories.  Submissions must include a summary of the idea or product; an articulation of the problem being solved; a high-level business plan; a sense of the potential global impact of the solution and how it utilizes Verizon's wireless and wireline network capabilities.  Submissions will be judged by a panel of Verizon executives, members of academia, the media and the venture capital community.  The awards will be made at CES 2014.

"The reach and power of our converged mobile, video and cloud networks make them an unparalleled platform for delivering social innovations on a big, big scale. What we need now is for the best minds in the technology industry to figure out how to tap their capabilities to change the world for the better,"  said Lowell McAdam said Verizon's chairman and CEO.


DISH Bids for Clearwire

DISH Network announced an offer to purchase all of the Clearwire common shares at $3.30.

“We look forward to working with Clearwire’s Special Committee as it evaluates our proposal,” said Tom Cullen, DISH executive vice president of Corporate Development.

Clearwire confirmed the offer and said the DISH proposal is "only a preliminary indication of interest and is subject to numerous, material uncertainties and conditions, including the negotiation of multiple contractual arrangements being requested by DISH."

Clearwire posted portions of the DISH proposal, including its intent to acquire spectrum covering approximately 11.4 billion MHz-POPs ("Spectrum Assets"), representing approximately 24% of Clearwire's total MHz pops of spectrum, for aggregate net cash proceeds to Clearwire of approximately $2.2 billion (the "Spectrum Purchase Price").   DISH said it might allow Clearwire to sell or lease up to an additional 2 MHz of Clearwire's spectrum to DISH from a channel that is adjacent to the Spectrum Assets at a price to be calculated in the same manner as the Spectrum Assets.  In addition, DISH said it may request certain commercial services from Clearwire, including the construction, operation, maintenance, and management of a wireless network covering AWS-4 spectrum and new deployments of 2.5 GHz spectrum.

Clearwire also posted  a summary of the response it has already received from Sprint regarding the DISH offer.  In essence, Sprint calls the DISH proposal " illusory, inferior to the Sprint transaction and not viable because it cannot be implemented in light of Clearwire's current legal and contractual obligations. "


  • On December 17, 2012, Sprint Nextel Corporation  agreed to acquire the approximately 50 percent stake in Clearwire it does not already own for $2.97 per share.
  • 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.
  • Also in December, the FCC voted unanimously to approve an order that frees up 40 MHz of underutilized satellite spectrum for land-based mobile broadband, including 4G LTE.  The decision removes regulatory barriers that limited this spectrum to satellite use. The FCC said its action balances technical requirements and will unlock value in both the AWS-4 band and the 10 MHz H Block. DISH issued a statement supporting the action. 

AT&T Offers Call Management API based on IMS

AT&T will offer developers access to  a new Call Management API that enables applications to use an individual’s AT&T mobile number to access multiple devices.  For instance, this could empower applications to conduct real-time communications, such as voice calling or video chats, to any device associated with a subscriber's mobile number. 

AT&T Mobility Chief Marketing Officer David Christopher describes the new Call Management API as "a step towards a world where customer’s existing mobile numbers are no longer tied to a single device and is designed to make it easy for developers to add real-time, voice and text communications to web and mobile apps."

The AT&T Call Management API is powered by Voxeo Labs’ Tropo Platform and Ericsson’s IMS Innovation Platform, and is based on WebRTC.  It is currently in early testing.

AT&T also announced a new Alpha API program to generate ideas from developers.  As a result, APIs will be able to be sponsored into Alpha from third parties to increase collaboration and innovation.

APIs already available on a proof of concept basis include:

  • Text to Text Translation API:  Based on the AT&T Watson speech recognition engine, this API will let apps translate spoken Spanish words into English text and vice versa. This Alpha API, in combination with others on the AT&T API Platform, will enable developers’ apps to auto-translate things like  text messages and emails.
  • Customer Profile API: This API can be used to make it easier and faster for customers to make purchases via mobile apps by securely auto-populating a purchase form with a subscriber’s address and personal information after opting in.

In addition, AT&T announced: 

Pricing:  Beginning today, for $99 per year, developers will get one million API calls per month on the AT&T API Platform.  Should a developer exceed one million API calls in a month, they pay at the rate of only a penny per call.  

Availability:  Beginning today, AT&T is making its current APIs available to tens of millions of additional developers through toolkits available through:  Microsoft Visual Studio, Salesforce Platform, IBM Worklight, Appcelerator Titanium and Adobe PhoneGap platforms.

Advertising:  AT&T plans to add an Advertising API during the first quarter to assist developers to add advertising and monetize their applications.  It will feature an introductory revenue share, with 80 percent of advertising revenue to the developer.


AT&T Tops 10 Million Smartphone Sales in Q4

AT&T recorded its best-ever quarterly sales of Android and Apple smartphones in Q4 The carrier sold more than 10 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2012, topping its previous record quarter of 9.4 million, set in the fourth quarter of 2011.

“We had another incredible quarter of smartphone sales as the mobile Internet continues to drive strong growth in wireless,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive officer for AT&T Mobility. “These are the industry’s most valuable postpaid subscribers with average revenues twice that of non-smartphone subscribers.  During the quarter, we averaged more than 110,000 smartphone sales a day as customers flocked to our leading portfolio of the latest Android, Apple and Windows devices.”


Ikanos Intros Home Gateway Processor Supporting VDLS2 & Vectoring

Ikanos Communications introduced its Fusiv Vx185-HP communications processor chipset for home gateways supporting triple play services in VDSL2 networks.

The new chipset delivers bonded VDSL2 rates up to 200Mbps downstream and 100Mbps upstream along with Ikanos' standards-compliant Nodescale Vectoring.  The Fusiv Vx185-HP chipset uniquely incorporates a dedicated voice DSP for carrier grade voice and a serial ATA (SATA) controller for advanced storage applications, as well as supporting upcoming 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Some highlights of the Vx185-HP:

  • A distributed processing architecture with 5.2GHz of overall processing power and wire-speed bi-directional gigabit packet processing
  • Multiple advanced interfaces supporting home networking technologies such as MoCA™, HomePNA, HomePlug, LTE, and small cell applications
  • A dedicated DSP engine for delivery of full-chain, deployment-proven VoIP
  • Multi-mode DSL (ADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2+, and VDSL2)
  • Hardware Security Protocol Accelerator for processing encryption algorithms such as DES, 3DES, and AES support up to 256-bit.
  • Flexible NAS options using USB or SATA
  • Carrier-class quality of service (QoS)
  • The Vx185-HP also compliments Ikanos’ central office products by implementing Ikanos Quality Video (iQV).

In addition, the new processors offers pin-to-pin compatibility with Ikanos’ existing Vx185-platform chips, together with re-use of existing Linux software and VDSL2 firmware.


CyrusOne Looks to IPO -- 21 Data Center in Operation

CyrusOne, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cincinnati Bell, commenced an initial public offering (IPO) of 16,500,000 shares at $16.00 to $18.00 per share.  Cincinnati Bell will own approximately 71.6% of CyrusOne upon completion of this offering. CyrusOne has applied to list its common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “CONE.

CyrusOne operates 21 data centers in eight distinct markets (Austin, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, London, South Bend, and Singapore), collectively providing approximately 1,480,000 net rentable square feet (NRSF) and powered by approximately 105 megawatts, or MW, of utility power.

CyrusOne also has four new data centers under construction in Dallas, Houston, Phoenix and San Antonio.


  • In September, CyrusOne officially opened a 670,000-square-foot data center in Carrollton, Texas. The facility will deliver 400,000 square feet of raised-floor data center space and approximately 60,000 square feet of class A office space.  The company claims the best PUE in Texas. 

Broadcom Ties 24x8 DOCSIS Channel Bonding for Gigabit Speed

Broadcom's fourth generation DOCSIS 3.0 chipset bond up to 24x8 DOCSIS channels to achieve 1Gbps downstream speed -- triple the downstream bandwidth and double the upstream bandwidth from previous generations.

The new BCM3384 DOCSIS/Euro-DOCSIS 3.0 cable gateway SoC combines Broadcom's Full-Band Capture (FBC) digital tuning technology with remote diagnostics, dual-band concurrent Wi-Fi, a custom, dedicated applications processor and integrated DECT 6.0 CAT-iq 2.0. 

Significantly, Broadcom said the new system-on-a-chip (SoC) solution  is pin compatible and leverages the same software and system design as its widely deployed BCM3383 DOCSIS 3.0 cable gateway.

Broadcom also notes that a home gateway based on this chipset could also support  802.11ac Wi-Fi, enabling gigabit speed to extend over the last mile broadband connection and to Wi-Fi clients inside the home.


Broadcom Licenses ARMv7 and ARMv8

Broadcom has licensed the ARMv7 and ARMv8 architectures.

ARMv7 is the basis for all current 32-bit ARM Cortex processors, including the Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A9 processors. ARMv8 architecture is the first ARM architecture that includes 64-bit execution, enabling processors based on the architecture to combine 64-bit execution with 32-bit execution.

Broadcom is one of the lead partners for the Cortex-A50 series of processors, the first implementation of the ARMv8 architecture, launched at the ARM TechCon in 2012.


Panaya Raises $16 Million for SaaS Testing

Panaya, a start-up based in Israel, raised $16 million in Series D funding for its ERP testing and SaaS automation solutions.

Panaya is a Software as a Service (SaaS) company that facilitates ERP upgrades and maintenance by providing visibility and control over business application changes during the system's life-cycle. Panaya simulates upcoming upgrades to SAP or Oracle, automatically pinpointing which custom programs will break as a result of the upgrade and automatically fixing most of these problems.

The company said its value proposition is its ability to reduce the time SAP and Oracle users spend during upgrades, testing and maintenance and save significant money, testing risk and effort. 

Panaya claims over 850 customers, most of which are SAP customers. Since introducing its solution for Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) upgrades last year, the company has surpassed the 100 Oracle customer mark.

Panaya recently opened regional offices in Saddle Brook, New Jersey; Karlsruhe, Germany; and Tokyo, Japan.

The new funding came from the Panaya's existing investors, led by Battery Ventures. Also participating in the round were Benchmark Capital and Hasso Plattner Ventures.

"This latest round of investment clearly demonstrates the strong confidence our investors have in the future of Panaya," said Yossi Cohen, Panaya's founder and CEO. "Despite the very strong interest of additional parties to invest in Panaya, we were very happy for the strong endorsement and validation signified by the fact that this round of funding was limited to our existing and satisfied group of investors."


Monday, January 7, 2013

Level 3 and XO Adopt Bit-Mile Model for Traffic Peering

Level 3 Communications and XO Communications announced a long-term, settlement-free, Internet traffic exchange agreement based on a bit-mile balance approach, which measures both the volume of traffic exchanged and the distance over which that traffic is carried by each network.

The companies said their new peering agreement is equitable and settlement-free because both networks carry approximately the same bit-miles of data.  Both carriers see a balanced cost burden across each network. The peering agreement also contains provisions to add capacity and establish new interconnection locations between the two networks to stay ahead of growing traffic demand.

"Level 3's primary focus is on providing quality service for Internet consumers," said Jack Waters, Level 3's chief technology officer. "We look forward to working with our peering partners to drive broader adoption of this bit-mile model to ensure fair and equitable interconnection. We are also working with providers of traffic-flow monitoring systems to make the measurement process straightforward and consistent across the industry."

"XO Communications supports equitable settlement-free peering to ensure fair and unconstrained interconnection," said Randy Nicklas, senior vice president and chief technology officer, at XO Communications. "This agreement will ensure a balanced backbone cost burden between our two networks as we continue to grow while providing high-quality service for our respective customers."


Qualcomm's Latest Snapdragons Drive Mobile Performance

Qualcomm is now sampling its next generation Snapdragon 800 and 600 processors, which raise the bar on performance per watt in premium mobile and computing devices.

The 28nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processors integrate the company's new "Krait" 400 CPU in quad configuration, with speeds of up to 2.3 GHz per core, along with a new "Adreno" 330 GPU delivers more than 2x performance for compute applications over the current Adreno 320 GPU. The 800 processors also integrate a third generation 4G LTE modem with data rates up to 150 Mbps (Category 4) and supporting LTE Advanced Carrier Aggregation. Additional featuring in the 800 solution include world multimode and multi-band support, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, integrated USB 3.0, Bluetooth and FM radios.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processors are capable of 4K UltraHD video (with four times 1080p pixel density) and HD multichannel audio. Smartphones, tablets, digital media adapters, and Smart TVs based on the 800 processor are expected by mid-year 2013.

The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor also targets high-end mobile devices while delivering up to 40 percent better performance than the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processors. It features a new Krait 300 quad-core CPU with speeds up to 1.9GHz, a new speed enhanced Adreno 320 GPU and support for LPDDR3 memory.  The first phones based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor are expected in Q2.

“With the overwhelming success of our previous Qualcomm Snapdragon platforms, our mobile processors have emerged as the platform of choice for high-end mobile devices,” said Steve Mollenkopf, president and chief operating officer of Qualcomm.


NVIDIA Packs 72 GPU Cores into TEGRA 4 Mobile Processor

NVIDIA unveiled its Tegra 4 mobile processor featuring six times the GPU horsepower of Tegra 3.  Key specs:

  • GeForce GPU with 72 custom cores
  • Quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU, plus a 2nd Generation Battery Saver Core
  • Computational Photography Architecture
  • LTE capability with optional Icera i500 chipset
  • 4K ultra-high-def video support

  • NVIDIA said the performance boost will help deliver more realistic gaming experiences and higher resolution displays.

    Tegra 4 also enables worldwide 4G LTE voice and data support through an optional chipset, the fifth-generation NVIDIA Icera i500 processor.  It delivers four times the processing capability of its predecessor , while being more energy efficient and 40 percent the size of conventional modems.

    "Tegra 4 provides enormous processing power and efficiency to power smartphones and tablets, gaming devices, auto systems and PCs," said Phil Carmack, senior vice president of the Tegra business at NVIDIA. "Its new capabilities, particularly in the area of computational photography, will help improve a whole range of existing products and lead to the creation of exciting new ones."


    Intel Aims for Value Smartphone Market

    Intel unveiled a new low-power Atom processor-based platform (formerly "Lexington") aimed at the value smartphone market segment.  The company cited design wins with Acer, Lava International and Safaricom.

    Intel's new value phone platform design features the Atom processor Z2420 with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology running at up to 1.2 GHz, 1080p hardware-accelerated encode/decode, and support for up to two cameras delivering advanced imaging capabilities, including burst mode that allows people to capture seven pictures in less than a second in 5-megapixel quality. The platform also includes the Intel XMM 6265 HSPA+ modem that offers Dual Sim/Dual Standby capability for cost-conscious consumers.

    Intel is also positioning its Atom Z2580 processor platform (formerly "Clover Trail+") at performance and mainstream smartphones. This platform includes a dual core Atom processor with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology, and also features a dual-core graphics engine.

    For tablets, Intel is preparing a next-generation 22nm Atom SoC, codenamed "Bay Trail," which is already booting and scheduled to be available for holiday 2013. This device will be the first quad-core Atom SoC, delivering more than two times the computing performance of Intel’s current generation tablet offering.


    MetroPCS: LTE Now 26% of Customer Base

    MetroPCS reported gross additions of 866 thousand subscribers for Q4 2012, which represents a 29% decrease over the fourth quarter of 2011. The Company ended the fourth quarter of 2012 with approximately 8.9 million subscribers, which includes net subscriber losses during the quarter of 93 thousand subscribers.

    The company said it now has over 2.2 million 4G LTE subscribers, an increase of 117% from the third quarter of 2012. Churn for the fourth quarter of 2012 was 3.6% compared to 3.7% in the fourth quarter of 2011 and down from 3.7% in the third quarter of 2012.


    • In October 2012, MetroPCS agreed to merge with T-Mobile USA (a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom) in a deal that creates a much strengthened No.4 mobile operator in the U.S. market with deeper network coverage and the need for an accelerated path to one common LTE network.    Despite operating incompatible legacy networks (CDMA and GSM), the companies said rapid handset turnover (60% - 65% per year) will make for a relatively quick migration of MetroPCS customers to LTE.   MetroPCS customers will also benefit from T-Mobile's much more extensive network.

    AT&T Digital Life Home Security to Launch in March

    AT&T is preparing to launch a wireless-based home security and automation service that will let consumers adjust the thermostat, unlock doors and monitor energy usage via their smartphones or tablets. The wireless monitoring will include cameras, door locks, window/door sensors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, glass breakage sensors, moisture detectors and appliance/lighting controls.  The service will be supported by dedicated monitoring centers staffed 24/7 with agents able to respond to emergencies and alert police and fire authorities as required.

    AT&T plans to launch the Digital Life service in eight U.S. markets in March, with up to 50 additional market rollouts planned in 2013.

    Cisco will provide the Digital Life control panel and back-office provisioning and applications life-cycle management system for the Digital Life service.  The home network will use five radios (one-way and two-way communications radios, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi and 3G) to support the sensors, keypads and cameras. Cisco is using the OSGi software framework to streamline new services such as energy management.


    Procera Acquires Vineyard Networks for Enterprise DPI

    Procera Networks agreed to acquire Vineyard Networks, a developer of deep packet inspection (DPI) technology for the enterprise market, for $28.0 million CAD, comprised of $15.4 million CAD in Procera common stock and $12.6 million CAD in cash.

    Vineyard's Network Application Visibility Library (NAVL) is a deep packet inspection ( DPI) that provides real-time, Layer-7 classification of all network application traffic. It provides the application visibility that enables developers of firewalls, unified threat management (UTM) and other network security and management solutions to apply and enforce application admission, control and performance policies for their enterprise and service provider customers.  NAVL is delivered as a software developer kit for integration into network infrastructure platforms.

    Procera said the acquisition will extend its Intelligent Policy Enforcement business into the growing Enterprise DPI market.

    “Every network element will require intelligence. Our strategic vision is to enable networks of any size to have the intelligence needed to operate effectively. Procera directly addresses this need for service providers of all types through our PacketLogic solutions. Vineyard enables Procera to expand our total addressable market through their OEM business to include enterprise network equipment vendors, adding the entire enterprise space along with additional opportunities in the service provider OEM market. The addition of Vineyard, which has 34 employees mostly in engineering and product development, establishes Procera as the clear leader in the high-growth DPI market,” stated James Brear, Procera’s President and CEO.

    Vineyard was founded in 2008 by Jason Richards (CEO), Derek Lownsbrough (CTO/VP R&D) and Josh Zieske (VP Technology Operations). Vineyard is based in Kelowna, British Columbia.


    • In December 2012, Vineyard announced that Xirrus licensed its Network Application Visibility Library (NAVL) for integration with the recently announced Xirrus Application Control platform.
    • In October, Vineyard announced that Riverbed licensed its Network Application Visibility Library (NAVL) deep packet inspection (DPI) engine.

    F5 Networks Adds Two Key Industry Players to its Board

    F5 Networks has appointed Steve Smith and Sandra Bergeron to its board of directors.

    Smith is Chief Executive Officer, President, and member of the board of directors of Equinix. Prior to joining Equinix in April 2007, Smith served as Senior Vice President at HP Service.

    From 2004 until 2012, Bergeron was a venture partner at Trident Capital, Inc. She currently serves on the board of directors of Qualys, a provider of cloud security and compliance solutions; Sophos, a privately held provider of IT security and data protection products; and TraceSecurity, a privately held provider of cloud-based security solutions and IT governance, risk, and compliance management solutions, where she also serves as chairman. Bergeron previously served on the board of directors of TriCipher, a privately held secure access management company acquired by VMware in August 2010 and ArcSight, a publicly traded security and compliance management company acquired by Hewlett-Packard in September 2010.

    Huawei Unveils Huge 6.1-inch HD Android Smartphone

    Huawei introduced an Android smartphone with "the largest screen in the world" -- a huge 6.1-inch HD display with a resolution of 1280 x 720.

    The HUAWEI Ascend Mate features a 1.5 GHz Hi-Silicon quad-core processor and a 4050 mAh battery. Operating on Android 4.1 and featuring an 8.0-megapixel AF rear-facing camera with HDR and 1.0-megapixel HD front-facing camera, HUAWEI Ascend Mate also provides dual MIC noise reduction technology, Dolby sound system and stereo recording.

    The phone offers five frequency bands and a dual-antenna design that supports high power data transmission and is optimized with maximum ratio combining method, to increase network reception by up to 2.5dB and providing an increase of 20 to 30 percent of overall network coverage.

    The HUAWEI Ascend Mate will be on sale in China in February 2013.