Friday, July 5, 2013

FCC Clears Softbank-Sprint-Clearwire Without Conditions

The FCC approved Sprint's acquisition of the remaining shares of Clearwire that it doesn't already hold, and Softbank's subsequent acquisition of Sprint. There were no special conditions imposed by the FCC in granting approval.

The deals required FCC approval in order to transfer control to SoftBank of various wireless licenses and leases, domestic and international section 214 authorizations, earth station authorizations, interests in submarine cable licenses, and cable television relay service
station licenses held by Sprint and its subsidiaries.

The FCC ruled that the transactions are in the public's interest and are not likely to lead to any competitive harm to the market.

SoftBank will pay approximately $16.64 billion to purchase shares from existing Sprint shareholders. It has also agreed to invest an additional $5 billion in Sprint's network.

Ericsson: 5G Radio Access by 2020

Beginning sometime around 2020, the first 5G networks will be supporting traffic volumes more than 1,000 times higher than today with data rates up to multi-Gbps for specific scenarios, according to a newly published whitepaper on 5G Radio Access R&D by Ericsson.

The whitepaper envisions that existing HSPA and LTE technologies will continue to evolve and provide the backbone of the overall radio-access solution of the future beyond 2020. Key improvements are expected to include smart antennas including a very large number of steerable antenna elements, more spectrum, and better coordination between base stations.  Network architectures are expected to adopt dense small-cell deployments.

In moving to ultra high-capacity and data rates, the whitepaper foresees the introduction of ultra-dense network deployments with nodes operating with very wide transmission bandwidths in higher-frequency bands.  It predicts ultra-dense networks will primarily operate in the 10-100GHz range.

The 6-page whitepaper is posted online.

Deutsche Börse to Launch Cloud Exchange

Deutsche Börse, which operates the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, has formed a joint venture with Berlin-based Zimory GmbH to create a neutral, secure and transparent trading venue for cloud computing resources.

Deutsche Börse Cloud Exchange AG will serve enterprises, public sector agencies and also organizations such as research institutes that need addition
al storage and computing resources, or have excess capacity that they want to offer on the market.

Deutsche Börse Cloud Exchange will set and monitor standards regarding the product offering, admission procedure, changes of provider and guaranteed purchased capacity. Clients will be able to choose capacity providers freely, as well as select the jurisdiction that will apply to the outsourced data. The product offering will initially include outsourced storage capacity and computing power.  The company said it will work closely on standards with potential marketplace participants, including traditional IT vendors, national and international SMEs, and large corporations from a wide range of industries, such as CloudSigma, Devoteam, Equinix, Host Europe, Leibniz- Rechenzentrum, PROFI AG, T-Systems and TÜV-Rheinland.

“With its great expertise in operating markets, Deutsche Börse is making it possible for the first time to standardise and trade fully electronically IT capacity in the same way as securities, energy and commodities,” said Michael Osterloh, Member of the Board of Deutsche Börse Cloud Exchange.

Zimory specializes in management software for private, public, hybrid and database clouds.

Rival Carriers Agree to In-building Fiber Sharing in Spain

Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange agreed to share vertical fiber in buildings.  The deal will help the operators deliver new services in apartment buildings where rivals have already installed vertical fiber.

Vertical infrastructures in buildings will be shared through a single payment for each vertical infrastructure, which will give the operator the right to use it for no less than 20 years. The prices that will govern this use will be set, via resolution, by the Spanish Telecommunications Market Commission.

Poland's Vectra Builds Nationwide Optical Backbone with Cisco

Vectra S.A., one of the leading cable operators in Poland, has built a nationwide fiber backbone using ONS 15454 Multiservice Optical Transport Platform (MSTP).

Vectra’s new network is a nationwide ring, connecting nearly 30
cities around Poland, including Warsaw, Katowice, Wroclaw, Poznan, Radom, Bydgoszcz, Torun, Gdynia and more.  Initially, the network operates multiple wavelenghts at 10 Gbps.

Cisco said the optical network can be easily scaled to 100 Gbps when traffic requires it. The deployed Cisco solution can support 42 x 100 Gbps wavelengths in a single bay.  The 100 Gbps DWDM solution is based on the Cisco nLight coherent optical technology, providing the capability to transmit 100 Gbps wavelengths over fully uncompensated networks, up to 3,000 km optical spans.

Klonex, a Cisco Premier Certified Partner in Poland, designed and implemented the DWDM network for Vectra.

Estonia's EMT Picks Ericsson for 800 MHz LTE

EMT, a mobile operator in Estonia that is part of the TeliaSonera group, has rolled out LTE using a new 800 MHz license, nearly doubling the geographic footprint of its 4G network, which now covers 95% of the country.  Ericsson delivered the 800MHz LTE network as a turnkey project in only two weeks.

Valdo Kalm, CEO at EMT, says: "Now, 95 percent of Estonia is geographically covered by our LTE network, which is very good news for our subscribers. Over 30 percent of our mobile-broadband subscribers have already opted for an LTE plan, and now we’re bringing that option to people in the other half of the country. Together with Ericsson, we were the first to launch LTE in Estonia in 2010. Our close relationship with Ericsson made it possible to roll out the new bandwidth quickly, so our customers could start enjoying LTE services throughout the nation."

Ericsson provided the supply of radio network equipment, the upgrade and expansion of Packet Core to Evolved Packet Core, rollout, integration and deployment services.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

ZTE Confirms New Contracts in China Telecom's CDMA Expansion

ZTE was awarded the most new contracts in phase 1 of China Telecom's 2013 CDMA network procurement program.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

In 2012, ZTE launched the new generation radio remote unit R8881, delivering a more compact and lower power consumption solution to China Telecom. In addition, to help China Telecom overcome the issue of 3G signaling storms, ZTE developed a customized signaling storm solution, which resolved the problem of signaling storms always caused by on-line applications.

ZTE noted that it has shipped more than 355,000 units of CDMA base stations to date, representing a cumulative wireless capacity of 380 million lines.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rackspace Delivers a Hybrid Cloud for CERN

Rackspace will deliver a hybrid cloud featuring OpenStack-powered public and private clouds to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.  The Rackspace Private Cloud platform will be deployed onto servers that CERN utilizes for production physics experiments.

CERN openlab will host several joint initiatives with Rackspace focused on creating a reference architecture and operational model for Federated Cloud services between Rackspace Private Cloud, Rackspace Public Cloud and CERN's OpenStack powered Clouds. Rackspace and CERN openlab said they will test and ensure the seamless federation between private and public cloud platforms to accommodate excess workloads.

The expanded relationship consists of certain key elements such as:
  • Federated Cloud Services based on OpenStack Cloud Technologies – Rackspace will work with CERN openlab to federate CERN’s current managed services into Rackspace’s open public and private cloud environments.
  • Personnel Support – Rackspace will fund one full-time member of the CERN personnel team, who will help create cloud federation technologies.
 CERN produces more than 25 petabytes of data annually. CERN is leveraging OpenStack software to manage the resources across its two data centres that power the LHC.

This is a landmark moment for Rackspace, as we feel this is an opportunity to take our already mutually beneficial relationship with CERN to new heights,” said Jim Curry, SVP and general manager of Rackspace Private Cloud. “Through ongoing collaboration with CERN openlab, we will broaden the global reach of our hybrid cloud solutions, while simultaneously helping to set the pace of innovation within the field of particle physics.”

Alcatel-Lucent's Achieves 1.3 Gbps over 70m of Copper

Alcatel-Lucent announced access technology, which uses Bell Labs vectoring techniques and a wide frequency band to achieve very high speeds on copper lines over very short distances.  The company said is intended for typical applications of 500 Mbps at 100 meters or less. In recent demonstrations and under laboratory conditions, Alcatel-Lucent achieved 1.3 Gbps over 70 meters.  The technology is being positioned as an evolutionary step for VDLS2.

A trial conducted with A1, the Austrian subsidiary of Telekom Austria Group, first tested over a single, good quality cable, achieving a maximum speed of 1.1 Gbps over 70 meters and 800 Mbps over 100 meters. On older unshielded cables, typical of most in-building cabling in Austria, the trial achieved speeds of 500 Mbps over 100 meters on a single line. Although adding a second line introduces crosstalk, the use of vectoring can be used to maintain 500 Mbps over 100m. In comparison, DSL networks typically deliver speeds of 5-30 Mbps and VDSL2 vectoring networks typically supporting up to 100 Mbps.

Alcatel-Lucent said, which is not yet standardized, won’t be commercially available for several years.

Huawei Speeds Up LTE Circuit Switched Fallback Times

Huawei is developing an Ultra-Flash CSFB (Circuit Switched Fallback) voice solution to improve call setup times from LTE to GSM or UMTS.

After a smartphone on LTE places a voice call, Ultra-Flash CSFB allows the network to simultaneously send an indication to the smartphone to fallback from LTE to GSM or UMTS and to the circuit-switched core network to prepare resources for the smartphone. Standard CSFB solutions require first sending an indication to the smartphone and then accessing the GSM/UMTS network.

Huawei said testing at its Shanghai mLAB research center finds 20% faster call setup times compared to legacy GSM or UMTS network calls.

Huawei Hires Former Nokia Exec to Head Consumer Business

Huawei appointed Colin Giles as Executive Vice President, Huawei Consumer Business Group.

Giles previously served at Nokia as Executive Vice President, Global Head of Sales.

In 2012, Huawei Consumer Business Group recorded sales revenue of US$7.5 billion, a year-on-year growth of 60%, and shipped 127 million devices globally, including 32 million smartphones. In the first quarter of 2013, Huawei ranked number four in global market share for smartphone shipments, according to research reports from Strategy Analytics and IDC.
The company has recently launched a series of flagship smartphones including the HUAWEI Ascend Mate boasting the largest screen in the world, the HUAWEI Ascend D2 featuring a 5-inch FHD 443 PPI super retinal screen, and the industry-first LTE Cat4-enabled HUAWEI Ascend P2 that can achieve the fastest network download speeds in the world.

On June 18 in London, Huawei launched another flagship smartphone, the HUAWEI Ascend P6, the world’s slimmest smartphone at only 6.18mm.

Sprint Offers SIP Trunking in Europe

Sprint announced SIP Trunking availability in 12 European countries:  Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Session Initiative Protocol (SIP) Trunking allows businesses to replace costly "physical trunks" that connect a PBX to a service provider network with "virtual trunks" over a single IP connection. Distributed enterprise can connect multiple locations throughout Europe over the same set of SIP trunks while preserving local telephone numbers, calling plans and emergency services. This reduces the overall number of trunks needed to implement SIP Trunking in the available European locations, thus streamlining the network and operating costs for a business.

The service runs over Sprint's international MPLS network.  Sprint first launched SIP Trunking in 2009.

China Mobile Deploys Huawei 4G Base Station on Mt. Everest

China Mobile has deployed a Huawei 4G base station on Mount Everest at an elevation of 5,200 meters (the summit is 8,848m).

Huawei’s GSM base stations have been in service at the Mount Everest base camp since 2007. Huawei has already delivered 4G solutions to other parts of the region including EPC, integrated equipment rooms, BTS, microwave transmission and 4G devices.

David Wang, President of Huawei Wireless Networks, said: “Bringing 4G to Mount Everest marks an important milestone in global LTE TDD development. We are very excited to make this possible, and look forward to working with more operators worldwide to bring high-speed mobile broadband services anytime and anywhere.”

Monday, July 1, 2013

Firefox OS Smartphones Offer Low-Cost, HTML5 Web Apps

Telefónica introduced the first commercial, Firefox OS smartphone.  The ZTE Open phone will be promoted in Spain at Movistar stores from 2 July priced at €69 (inc. VAT), including €30 of balance for prepaid customers and the option of zero interest financing for post pay customers.

Some key specs

  • Screen Size: 3.5 inch
  • Display: HVGA.TFT, One Point touch + Gesture Captive(Two point option)
  • Network: UMTS
  • OS: Mozilla Firefox
  • Silicon: Qualcomm MSM7225A
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Ambient Light
  • GPS: GPS, with AGPS
  • Battery: 1200mAH

"We believe that smartphones need to be more open and that the web is the platform for making this possible. Consumers should not be locked to any one system but have the choice to consume the content they want and the flexibility to be able to take it with them when they change devices. This first open web device marks a significant milestone in making this possible. This is just the beginning as we plan to bring a wide range of Firefox OS devices to our customers," said Luis Miguel Gilpérez, CEO of Telefónica España.

"The launch of Firefox OS marks an incredibly exciting time for the mobile industry. Firefox OS powers the first smartphones built entirely on Web technologies and will stimulate an inspiring new wave of innovation for the Web,” says Jay Sullivan, Mozilla Chief Operating Officer.

Firefox OS supports standard capabilities such as calls, messaging, email, camera, et.c  It also includes built-in social features with Facebook and Twitter, HERE Maps with offline capabilities and smart walking, driving and public transit directions and the Firefox Web browser.  Firefox OS introduces a Firefox Marketplace for applications, as well as an adaptive app search that reconfigures the phone momentarily to meet the user's needs at the moment.

The Firefox Marketplace supports HTML5 apps on mobile. Popular apps initially include AccuWeather, EA games like Poppit, Facebook, Nokia HERE Maps, SoundCloud, Terra, Time Out, TMZ and Twitter as well as personally tailored and local apps that will differ by region.
Mozilla also confirmed that Deutsche Telekom will release its first Firefox OS soon -- the ALCATEL ONE TOUCH Fire.

Nokia Buys Out Siemens in NSN for EUR 1.7 Billion

Nokia will buy Siemens' entire 50% stake in their joint venture, Nokia Siemens Networks, for EUR 1.7 billion.  The deal is expected to close in Q3.

NSN was established in 2007 as a joint venture combining Nokia's Networks Business Group and Siemens' carrier-related operations for fixed and mobile networks.

Nokia plans to retain Rajeev Suri continuing as NSN's CEO, with Jesper Ovesen continuing as Executive Chairman of the Nokia Siemens Networks Board of Directors, which will adjust to the changing ownership structure.  Nokia Siemens Networks' operational headquarters will remain in Espoo, Finland, and the company will continue to have a strong regional presence in Germany, including its major hub in Munich.

"With its clear strategic focus and strong leadership team, Nokia Siemens Networks has structurally improved its operational and financial performance. Furthermore, Nokia Siemens Networks has established a clear leadership position in LTE, which provides an attractive growth opportunity. Nokia is pleased with these developments and looks forward to continue supporting these efforts to create more shareholder value for the Nokia group," stated Stephen Elop, President and CEO of Nokia.

Siemens said the divestiture enables it to focus on core areas of energy management, industry and infrastructure as well as healthcare.

Mellanox Acquires IPtronics for 100G Optical Interconnects

Mellanox Technologies completed its previously announced acquisition of privately held IPtronics A/S, for $47.5 million in cash.

IPtronics’ current location in Roskilde, Denmark, will serve as Mellanox’s first R&D center in Europe.   Mellanox expects to expand its customer support presence within Europe from this location.

Mellanox said the acquisition enhances its ability to deliver complete end-to-end optical interconnect solutions at 100G and beyond.

“Our acquisition of IPtronics further solidifies our strategy to provide full end-to-end solutions for the server and storage interconnect. Together, we expect to continue to offer faster interconnect solutions at 100Gb/s and beyond, with higher density and lower power at a lower cost,” said Eyal Waldman, president and CEO of Mellanox Technologies. “I look forward to the opportunities this union brings.  We welcome the IPtronics employees into the Mellanox family and their expected contribution to Mellanox’s continued growth.”

  • IPtronics A/S was established end 2003 by former Managers, Innovators and Technical Staff from GIGA A/S.

Ericsson Acquires Red Bee for Media Services

Ericsson agreed to acquire Red Bee Media, a media services company headquartered in the UK, for an undisclosed sum.

Red Bee, which has about 1,240 employees, provides a range of media services; from media asset management to playout and digital video publishing, metadata services, multilingual access services and creative services to major broadcasters and broadband platforms. The company is the largest editorial metadata provider in Europe and delivers more than 100,000 hours of subtitling per year for leading broadcasters.

Ericsson said the acquisition expands its role in the broadcast services market, which started in 2007 and expanded in 2012 with the acquisition of Technicolor's Broadcast Services Division. Ericsson provides technology solutions for content acquisition, exchange, distribution, delivery and the provisioning of multi-screen entertainment experiences.

"We can create value for broadcasters by making digital content more accessible, enabling monetization of TV content more efficiently. Video traffic shows very strong uptake in the mobile networks and Ericsson can address the need of both broadcasters and telecom operators through our technology expertise and services capabilities," says Magnus Mandersson, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Unit Global Services, Ericsson.

Altair Raises $25 Million for LTE Chips

Altair Semiconductor, which develops high-performance, single-mode LTE chipsets, closed a $25 million round of funding.  The company is based in Hod Hasharon, Israel.

Altair introduced its first single-mode LTE chipset in 2009.  The company was first to release a FDD/TDD chipset and the first with a commercial LTE chipset exceeding 100Mbps.  The company said it has over 100 different product design wins to date, including tablets, Ultrabooks, portable hotspots, USB dongles and routers, designed by more than 30 global customers.

The funding came from existing investors Bessemer, BRM, Giza, JVP and Pacific Technology.

"As LTE networks reach coverage parity with 3G in key markets, carriers realize that removing 3G and adapting LTE-only is the most efficient way to significantly lower costs and increase mobile broadband attach rates," said Oded Melamed, Co-Founder and CEO of Altair. "Our month over month increase in chip shipments is a testament to the widespread move towards LTE-only across the industry and we intend to use the funds to support our customers as they ramp high volume production and deploy their products in the field."

Orange Launches Corporate Identity Campaign

France Telecom Group officially adopted Orange as its corporate name and ticker symbol' "ORA". Orange was adopted as the single brand for all of the company's mobile, Internet and digital services in 2006. The fixed line services adopted the Orange brand in 2012.

Orange is launching a corporate communications campaign that highlights connections between the present and the future, and between France Telecom and Orange. It will also emphasise broader connections: between generations, between people and the society they live in, and between technology and its uses. The company said its new campaign seeks to show that Orange is focused on the future.

"Studies show that Orange is in a position to achieve the fresh start and sense of community that the Group thrives on. We want the Orange brand to convey a sense of  modernity, energy, innovation, trust and focus on the future and on customers," stated Stéphane Richard, Chief Executive of Orange.

ALU Powers Mobile Backhaul Network in Ukraine

Intertelecom, a CDMA operator in Ukraine, has completed the deployment of a national IP/MPLS backbone.  The network is based on Alcatel-Lucent's IP/MPLS-based mobile backhaul solution, including its 7750 Service Router (SR) and 7210 Service Aggregation Switch (SAS-M) along with the Alcatel-Lucent 5620 Service Aware Manager (SAM). Alcatel-Lucent also provided a range of other services, like high and low level network design, configuration and integration.  Financial terms were not disclosed.