Sunday, February 19, 2017

SpaceX Successfully Launches from Cape Canaveral

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying its Dragon spacecraft with supplies for the International Space Station.

Dragon is scheduled to return to Earth after an approximately one month stay at the orbiting laboratory. ]Dragon is expected to splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.

The CRS-10 mission was SpaceX’s first launch from historic LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Coriant Expands Open Line System with 7300 OLS

Coriant, a supplier of SDN-enabled end-to-end packet optical and DCI solutions, has introduced the new 7300 Open Line System (OLS) solution designed for long haul and data centre interconnect (DCI) applications.

Optimised for deployment with open DCI transponder solutions such as the Coriant Groove G30 Platform, the new 7300 OLS is designed to deliver superior reach performance and stability for long haul open line system applications to address the growing demand for high-capacity connectivity between geographically-dispersed data centre sites.

The new 7300 OLS solution, which is currently in customer trials, leverages the advanced optical layer performance capabilities of the Coriant hiT 7300 Multi-Haul Transport platform while extending support for core data centre equipment practices such as front-to-back airflow and AC power.

In addition to a compact, custom-built shelf design that helps to maximize space utilisation and power efficiency, the 7300 OLS supports simplified management and control in third-party, SDN/NFV-managed networking environments via support for software defined networking (SDN) integration enabled by the Coriant Transcend SDN transport controller.

The 7300 OLS solution additionally features a portfolio of amplifiers designed to deliver optimum capacity and reach performance over fibre with varied optical impairments and optical link control to enable high engineering margins. Coriant optical link control can also serve to mitigate the affects of degrading fibre quality or sub-optimal fibre types, environmental interference and other service-impacting transmission issues.

Coriant noted that the new solution also expands its portfolio of SDN-enabled open line systems that includes the hiT 7300 Multi-Haul Transport platform and Groove G30 platform, including the recently introduced Groove OLS for metro applications.

Coriant will be showcasing the new 7300 OLS solution, together with its portfolio of SDN-enabled smart router and packet optical transport products at Mobile World Congress 2017.

Teleste and Iskratel partner on DOCSIS + GPON

Teleste of Finland, a provider of broadband video and data communication systems and services, announced a proof of concept (PoC) created with Iskratel, a major European provider of infocommunications solutions based in Slovenia.

Building on the PoC, the two companies plan to deliver and market a new solution for the delivery of Internetbased broadband services integrating Iskratel's GPON technology with Teleste DOCSIS-based mini-CMTS, termed the DAH (DOCSIS Access Hub). The new solution will enable operators to utilise existing last mile coax cabling to extend their fibre networks.

The companies noted that, where FTTH is unsuitable or too costly, hybrid solutions incorporating GPON and DOCSIS can offer a viable option for addressing consumer demand for higher speed Internet connectivity with the ability to support a range of services. Teleste added that GPON and DOCSIS offer roadmaps to support the future development of the two technologies together, while the combination also offers a fast and economical way to deliver high-speed broadband, particularly inside buildings.

Through the agreement, operators can deploy the Iskratel SI3000 Lumia as the GPON OLT and Teleste's DAH as the GPON ONU to provide a plug-and-play solution for delivery of triple-play services. Teleste stated that a single DAH can extend the IP network to all apartments in a building utilising the existing coax cabling, with service available immediately once a DOCSIS cable modem has been connected.

The solution is designed to be particularly relevant for locations where installing new cabling is not viable or not possible, for example as is often the case in historical buildings and city centres in Europe.

Iskratel, operating R&D and manufacturing centres and with around 900 staff and a presence in over 30 countries. offers broadband solutions based on its SI3000 and Innbox product families. Solutions for broadband access and aggregation include fibre and xDSL, along with Innbox CPE. The company's service-centric approach is designed to simplify integration and enable a transition to SDN.

Ericsson Demos 1.2Gbps LTE in Greece with COSMOTE

Ericsson, in partnership with COSMOTE, the unified communications brand of Greece's OTE Group, demonstrated download speeds up to 1.2Gbps in an LTE network.

The demonstration, which took place at COSMOTE mobile network in Greece, used Ericsson’s radio solutions. The downlink speeds were achieved by aggregating three carriers with total 60 MHz of spectrum (3x20MHz), with 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM, delivered to a Cobham Aeroflex TM500 mobile device.

George Pappas, Head of Ericsson in Greece, says: “The latest Ericsson Mobility Report forecasts 4.6 billion LTE subscriptions globally by the end of 2022. Technologies such as 256QAM downlink and carrier aggregation are essential for delivering high-quality LTE experiences to subscribers in Greece and other markets around the world, and our demonstration with Cosmote showcases Ericsson’s technology leadership in these critical areas.”

Thursday, February 16, 2017

AT&T Accelerates LTE-M Rollout

AT&T expects to have its LTE-M network for IoT deployed nationwide ahead of schedule in second quarter of 2017. AT&T's LTE-M service will be available in Mexico by the end of the year.

AT&T has been testing LTE-M Low-Power Wide-Area network at AT&T Labs in San Ramon, California since last October. A second LTE-M pilot location is underway in Columbus, Ohio. The company cited several advantages for LTE-M over traditional IoT connectivity options:

  • Lower device costs
  • Longer battery life (expected up to 10 years)
  • Better coverage underground and deep inside buildings
  • Module size (as small as 1/6 the size of current modules).

“Thanks to the success of our pilot, we’re on track to support LTE-M devices across our commercial network in the U.S. and Mexico ahead of schedule,” said Chris Penrose, President, Internet of Things Solutions, AT&T. “We’re seeing real momentum for LTE-M that will let us connect more end points than ever before.  And we can do it at a lower cost with superior performance and carrier-grade security.”

“We fully expect to have nationwide availability of LTE-M technology in Mexico by the end of 2017. This is huge for our enterprise customers. It’s an important step to help accelerate the speed of business,” said Kelly King, CEO, AT&T Mexico.

Video: What is LTE-M?

What is LTE-M?  Chris Pemrose, President of IoT Solutions at AT&T, introduces LTE-M and its key benefits, such as long-battery life, better coverage underground and deep inside buildings, and small module size.

AT&T is rolling out LTE-M nationwide in Q2 and will extend coverage to Mexico during 2017.

See video:

AT&T and Broadcom Enter Innovation Pact

AT&T's John Donovan and Broadcom's CEO, Hock Tan, agreed to work together to build a strategic program focused on driving innovation of network hardware, such as switching, routing, broadband access and customer premises equipment.

“By collaborating directly with Broadcom, AT&T is driving a roadmap that will help enable innovation,” said John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president, Technology and Operations. “We continue to form relationships with disruptive suppliers as we build a software-centric network and drive the industry to software-defined networking (SDN).”

“This represents a significant milestone toward accelerating innovation in the industry,” said Hock Tan, president and CEO, Broadcom. “Both companies are committed to sustained collaboration on product and chipset roadmaps, engineering services and advanced functionality.”

AT&T Opens Unlimited Mobile Data Plan

AT&T will begin offering a post-paid, unlimited mobile plan to consumers and business customers without requiring a DirecTV subscription.

The move follows recent unlimited mobile plan announcements from Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.

The new AT&T Unlimited Plan will include unlimited talk, text and data on 4 lines for $180.

“We’re offering unlimited entertainment on the nation’s best data network where and when you want to enjoy more of what you love,” said David Christopher, Chief Marketing Officer of the AT&T Entertainment Group.

Arista Posts Q4 Sales of $328 Million, up 34%

Arista Networks reported Q4 2016 revenue of $328.0 million, an increase of 33.6% compared to the fourth quarter of 2015, and an increase of 13.0% from the third quarter of 2016. GAAP gross margin was 64.1%, compared to GAAP gross margin of 63.6% in the fourth quarter of 2015 and 64.2% in the third quarter of 2016. GAAP net income was $58.8 million, or $0.79 per diluted share, compared to GAAP net income of $43.9 million, or $0.60 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2015.

"2016 was indeed a historic year for Arista, as we exceeded one billion dollars in annual sales within two years of becoming a public company,” stated Jayshree Ullal, Arista President and CEO. “Our customers are adopting cloud networking at an unprecedented pace.”

Full Year Financial Highlights

  • Revenue of $1.1 billion, an increase of 34.8% compared to fiscal year 2015.
  • GAAP gross margin of 64.0%, compared to GAAP gross margin of 64.9% in fiscal year 2015.
  • Non-GAAP gross margin of 64.4%, compared to non-GAAP gross margin of 65.3% in fiscal year 2015.
  • GAAP net income of $184.2 million, or $2.50 per diluted share, compared to GAAP net income of $121.1 million, or $1.67 per diluted share, in fiscal year 2015.
  • Non-GAAP net income of $241.4 million or $3.30 per diluted share, compared to non-GAAP net income of $174.2 million, or $2.44 per diluted share, in fiscal year 2015.

Colt Deploys Ciena's 6500

Ciena announced that Colt Technology Services is deploying its packet-optical technology to support growth across a number of key European markets including London, Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam as well as improving intercontinental connections into Asia including Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Colt provides high-bandwidth network and communications services for enterprises and wholesale businesses across Europe, Asia and North America. It delivers a range of data connectivity products, voice solutions and secure network services for global financial markets, and enables connectivity to over 700 data centres around the globe with more than 24,500 on-net buildings and growing.

The deployment includes Ciena’s 6500 platform for delivering ultra-high bandwidth services for enterprise and data centre interconnect (DCI) applications across Europe. Additionally, it supports new customer benefits for business continuity, digital transformation and wholesale terrestrial needs.

“Demand for high-bandwidth services is increasing daily, and service providers need flexible, scalable and programmable optical solutions to stay ahead of the curve and reach a broader base of customers. Ciena’s industry-leading packet optical solutions give operators like Colt a network that provides increased capacity for a range of needs including Ethernet, DCI and cloud computing services,” stated Joe Marsella, CTO, EMEA, Ciena.

Microsemi Unveils low power FPGA with 12.7 Gbps SerDes

Microsemi, a provider of semiconductor solutions, has announced availability of its new cost-optimised PolarFire FPGA product family, which it claims offers the lowest power mid-range density solution with 12.7 Gbit/s SerDes transceivers for applications including wireline access networks and cellular infrastructure and for industry 4.0 markets, encompassing industrial automation and Internet of Things (IoT).

Microsemi's new PolarFire FPGAs are designed to support cost-effective bandwidth processing capabilities for converged 10 Gbit/s ports with low power usage. The new FPGA products are also designed to address increasing cyber security threats and reliability concerns that face deep submicron SRAM-based FPGAs as they relate to single event upsets (SEUs) in the configuration memory.

In the communications market, the new devices target applications including wireline access, network edge, metro (1 to 40 Gbit/s); wireless heterogeneous networks, wireless backhaul, smart optical modules and video broadcasting. The devices are also suitable for applications in the defence and aerospace market, secure wireless communications, radar and aircraft networking, actuation and control.

The devices' cost-optimised architecture uses 28 nm silicon-oxide-nitride-oxide-silicon (SONOS) non-volatile process technology on standard CMOS, while it incorporates hardened I/O gearing logic for DDR memory and low-voltage differential signalling (LVDS), high performance security IP and is claimed to be the only low cost device with clock and data recovery (CDR) capable 1.6 Gbit/s I/Os.

In addition, in collaboration with Silicon Creations Microsemi has developed a compact 12.7 Gbit/s transceiver offering total power consumption of less than 90 mWs at 10 Gbit/s. Featuring low device static power of 25 mW at 100K logic elements, zero inrush current and Flash*Freeze mode enabling standby power of 130 mWs at 25 degrees C, PolarFire devices are claimed to be up to 50% lower power than competing FPGAs for similar applications.

The FPGA family also provides high reliability via inherent immunity to configuration SEUs, along with built- in single error correction and double error detectin (SECDED), plus memory interleaving on large static random access memory (LSRAMs) and system controller suspend mode for safety critical designs.

PolarFire FPGAs additionally offer Cryptography Research Incorporated (CRI) patented differential power analysis (DPA) bitstream protection, integrated physically unclonable function (PUF), 56 Kbytes of secure embedded non-volatile memory (eNVM), tamper detectors and countermeasures, true random number generators, integrated Athena TeraFire EXP5200B Crypto Co-processors (Suite B capable) and a CRI DPA countermeasures pass-through license.

Microsemi's new PolarFire FPGA product family is currently shipping to early access customers and is scheduled to sample for general availability in the second quarter of 2017. Microsemi noted that with the device it is actively engaged with select customers through its early access program, while adoption of the products has already started.

Regarding the new products, Shakeel Peera, senior director, SoC product marketing at Microsemi, noted,

"Combining the availability of the cost-effective PolarFire FPGAs with Microsemi's portfolio of application-
specific standard products (ASSPs) enables end-to-end solutions in timing, voice processing, storage, OTN switching and transport, and power management across multiple market segments".

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ericsson Builds its 5G Portfolio

Ericsson is introducing a 5G platform comprising the 5G core, radio and transport portfolios, together with digital support systems, transformation services and security for mobile operators seeking to be first movers in their markets.

"With this launch, we introduce our 5G platform to support the beginning of a huge change in network capabilities, allowing our customers to offer more advanced use cases and new business models to their customers. It is an important milestone enabling operators to continue their evolution journey to 5G," says Arun Bansal, Head of Business Unit Network Products at Ericsson.

Ericsson's first 5G Core System advances the concept of network slices, which allows an operator to provide dedicated virtual networks with functionality specific to the service or customer over a common network.

  • Federated network slices for 5G roaming extends this concept to a visited network. This technology will make it possible for an operator to provide a network service globally, ensuring enterprises do not need individual agreements with different operators for a global service experience.
  • Network slice management to automate the setup of service connections and to secure service quality, to save costs and to gain fast time to service.
  • 5G policy and user data for network slices to ensure users get the right service quality and have data integrity.
  • Distributed cloud to facilitate short latency applications, such as real-time face recognition, by moving applications and workloads closer to the access. In addition, the 5G-enabled packet core will allow full separation of control and user data, as well as unprecedented capacity and user data rates.
  • 5G transformation services to ensure the migration of the network and operation from legacy to 5G core, virtualized and based on an automated operational model.

In radio and transport, Ericsson is introducing mid-band and high-band 5G New Radio (NR) Radios to the world's first 5G NR radio that the company launched last year.

Ericsson noted that it plans to be the first to support the new standardized 5G fronthaul interface (called eCPRI).

In addition, Ericsson also introduces optimized transport solutions, including a MINI-LINK enabling speed of 10Gbps and new rail-mounted fronthaul and router products, enabling zero footprint.

Cisco Posts Q2 Revenue of $11.6 Billion, down 2%, Security Hottest Segment

Cisco reported Q2 revenue of $11.6 billion, net income (GAAP) of $2.3 billion or $0.47 per share, and non-GAAP net income of $2.9 billion or $0.57 per share. Total revenue was $11.6 billion, down 2%, with product revenue down 4% and service revenue up 5%. Revenue by geographic segment was: Americas down 3%, EMEA flat, and APJC down 3%.

"We are pleased with the quarter and the continued customer momentum as we help them drive security, automation and intelligence across the network and into the cloud," said Chuck Robbins, Cisco CEO. "This quarter we announced our intent to acquire AppDynamics which, combined with Cisco's networking analytics, will provide customers with unprecedented insights into business performance. We will remain focused on accelerating innovation across our portfolio as we continue to deliver value to customers and shareholders."

Some highlights:

  • Product revenue performance was led by Security which increased 14%.
  • Collaboration and Wireless product revenue increased by 4% and 3%, respectively.
  • NGN Routing, Switching and Data Center product revenue decreased by 10%, 5% and 4%, respectively.
  • Service Provider Video product revenue decreased by 41%.
  • Gross Margin -- On a GAAP basis, total gross margin and product gross margin were 62.8% and 61.1%, respectively.
  • Cash and Cash Equivalents and Investments -- were $71.8 billion at the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2017, compared with $71.0 billion at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2017, and compared with $65.8 billion at the end of fiscal 2016. The total cash and cash equivalents and investments available in the United States at the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2017 were $9.6 billion.

XTERA Communications Acquired by H.I.G. Capital

H.I.G. Capital (“H.I.G.”), a leading global private equity investment firm with over €20 billion of equity capital under management, has acquired substantially all the assets of Xtera Communications, a supplier of sub-sea fiber optic solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

H.I.G. previously provided debtor-in-possession financing to the Xtera debtors in connection with the chapter 11 case.

Established in 1998 and based in the UK (Harold Wood, Essex) and the US (Allen, Texas), Xtera supplies un-repeatered and repeatered sub-sea systems, using high performance optical amplifiers to carry data. Under H.I.G.’s ownership, Xtera’s management and technical team will remain at the helm of the business, focused on successfully executing key existing customer contracts and expanding the business in the rapidly growing markets it serves with a clear roadmap of disruptive product launches.

Carl Harring, Managing Director at H.I.G. Capital commented: “We believe Xtera has considerable growth potential as an independent, well-funded business with a new ownership structure. Its world class IP protected technology is not only differentiated and superior to that of its competitors, but it is delivered to an impressive range of global clients at a cost-effective price point. We are excited to be working with this industry-leading team and our immediate focus will be to work with them to deliver and build on existing contracts and over the long-term, provide the financial support to enable the company to fully capitalise on its technology with a broader base of customers.”

Stuart Barnes, Founder of Xtera, added: “We are delighted to announce our new partnership with H.I.G. Capital, which has previously invested in the fiber-optics sector and has a proven understanding of how to grow specialist industrial suppliers into market-leading players. We share the same vision of strengthening Xtera’s footprint in the future.”

MetaSwitch Acquires OpenCloud for Virtualized Telecom Service Layer

Metaswitch has acquired privately-held OpenCloud, which offers a virtualized service layer that is deployed within SS7 and All-IP networks to accelerate the transition of IN-based mobile voice services to IMS. Financial terms were not disclosed.

OpenCloud's Rhino Telecom Application Server (TAS) service layer is currently in use by more than 60 operators worldwide, including multi-national groups (T-Mobile, Vodafone, for example), large operators (Telkomsel – Indonesia), independent operators (Free Mobile – France) and MVNOs (AinaCom – Finland), mobile, wireline and converged operators (BT). The platform offers an extensive set of APIs and SDKs, available from partners through RhinoMarket.  OpenCloud is headquartered in Cambridge UK, and has offices in New Zealand, Spain, Singapore, Indonesia and Brazil.

Metaswitch said the acquisition enables it to offer global service providers a pure-play software VoLTE solution, adding the market-leading Rhino Telecom Application Server (TAS) to its Clearwater IMS Core and Perimeta SBC.

“The acquisition of OpenCloud is a key part of our portfolio expansion strategy to fully serve both mobile and converged network operators,” said Metaswitch CEO Martin Lund. “Global operators have long looked to Metaswitch for innovative communication solutions and we are now perfectly placed to ensure the rapid deployment of VoLTE today, and to quickly deliver differentiated services on the path to 5G.”

“Metaswitch is the ideal strategic and cultural fit for OpenCloud and our customers,” added OpenCloud CEO Ian Clarke. “Both companies have outstanding engineering teams, a commitment to continued leadership in virtualized network functions, proven mobile service solutions and a dedication to advancing the cause of our mobile customers, worldwide.”

PTC'17: Growing Exchanges - DE-CIX

Neutrality is the center point of growing a successful traffic peering exchange.  DE-CIX is undergoing rapid growth of its flagship exchanges in Germany as well as expansion into new geographies.

In this video, Ed d'Agostino, Vice President of North America, DE-CIX, talks about the company's launch in New York and Dallas. Look for more data center and carrier customers.

Filmed at PTC'17 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

NeoPhotonics Samples PAM4-based 400G Pluggable CFP8 Transceiver Module

NeoPhotonics has begun sampling its 400G CFP8 transceiver modules for data center interconnection and client side telecom applications.

NeoPhotonics said its 400G PAM4 (4-level Pulse Amplitude Modulation) CFP8 module, which represents the first step on the company's 400G roadmap, leverages its high speed component technologies, including its 28 Gbaud high performance and low power EMLs (Electro-absorption Modulated Lasers) as well as its high speed PIN photodiodes.

The CFP8 module relies on the company's 28 GBaud component platform, which is used in the currently deployed NeoPhotonics 100G LR4 modules and leverages NeoPhotonics continuous EML technology improvement specifically focused on lowering power consumption while assuring superior high speed performance.

“We are pleased to provide our customers this 400G CFP8 module which extends our high speed product family in a manner that leverages both our proven high performance and high volume production capabilities, providing an efficient path to high density and higher speed,” said Tim Jenks, Chairman and CEO of NeoPhotonics.  “We believe our 400G PAM4 CFP8 solution will fulfill imminent market needs by leveraging the superior link performance of our high performance EML lasers, while reducing power consumption through integration with technology leading CMOS PAM4 chipsets.  We believe that this product firmly demonstrates our leadership position at 400G,” continued Mr. Jenks.

Nokia Bell Labs Forms R&D Pact with University of Oulu

Nokia Bell Labs has entered into a research collaboration agreement with University of Oulu in Finland.

The Joint Center for Future Connectivity aims to be a world leader in developing future 10X technologies – disruptive ideas with ten times greater impact than the state of the art today – for the new digital era, where networks will have seemingly infinite capacity, much greater energy efficiency, heightened application awareness and built-in self-optimization.

“Nokia has been one of our most important collaborators for two decades. This new center is mutually beneficial to train future talents for the needs of digital society,” said Oulu University Rector Jouko Niinimäki.

IDT to acquire GigPeak for $250m for Optical Interconnects

Integrated Device Technology (IDT) of San Jose, California and GigPeak, a supplier of semiconductor ICs and software for high-speed connectivity and video compression over the network and in the cloud, announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for IDT to acquire GigPeak for $3.08 per share, or approximately $250 million, in cash, representing a premium of approximately 22% to GigPeak's closing share price on February 10th.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, IDT will launch a tender offer to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common stock of GigPeak for $3.08 per share. The boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the terms of the agreement and the GigPeak board has resolved to recommend that stockholders accept the offer.

The combination of IDT and GigPeak is projected to add approximately $16 million of quarterly revenue at a 70% non-GAAP gross margin and to be accretive to earnings in first full quarter following closing of the transaction.

The acquisition of GigPeak will provide IDT with an optical interconnect product line and technology business that is complementary to its established position as a supplier of real-time interconnect products. More specifically, the combination is expected to extend IDT's leading position as a supplier of communications and cloud data centre products

IDT noted that GigPeak's optical interface products have been widely adopted by major companies in the communications, cloud data centre, and military/aviation markets. With the acquisition, IDT will be able to provide ultra-high speed data connectivity products featuring electrical, RF and optical technologies.

The transaction is not subject to a financing condition, although it is subject to customary conditions including the tender of the majority of the outstanding GigPeak shares; it is anticipated that the acquisition will close the second calendar quarter of 2017.

Separately, GigPeak reported financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2016, ended December 31, 2016, including fourth quarter revenue of $16.2 million, compared with $15.8 million in the third quarter and $11.1 million in the fourth quarter 2015. GAAP net income in the fourth quarter was $1.5 million, compared with net income of $0.7 million in the third quarter and net income of $0.3 million for the 2015 fourth quarter.

Full year 2016 revenue was $58.7 million, versus $40.4 million in 2015, with GAAP net income of $2.2 million, compared with net income of $1.2 million in 2015.

For its most recent third quarter ended January 1, 2017, IDT reported revenue of $176.36 million, versus $184.06 million in the second quarter and $177.61 million in the prior year third quarter. Net income for the third quarter was $34.74 million, compared with net income of $24.59 million in the second quarter and net income of $32.54 million in the prior year third quarter.

Liquid Telecom acquires South Africa's Neotel

Liquid Telecom, a unit of South Africa–based Econet Global has announced that it has completed the acquisition of South African network operator Neotel for approximately ZAR 6.55 billion (approximately $491 million), further expanding its position as a pan-African telecoms company.

Liquid Telecom acquired Neotel from India's Tata Communications and minority shareholders led by Nexus Connexion. Liquid Telecom joined with 30% equity partner Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH), a community-based South African investment group, for the acquisition, which received regulatory approval from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) in December 2016. South Africa's Competition Commission approved the deal in October.

Established in 2006, Neotel has invested an estimated ZAR 7 billion in its network, deploying national backbone fibre connecting the top 40 cities and towns in South Africa and to over 5,000 businesses. Neotel operates a major, MEF-certified Ethernet network, while Liquid Telecom is a leading provider of Carrier Ethernet services with MEF Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0) services certification.

Neotel also operates redundant backhaul fibre to landing stations with access to all five of the international subsea cables serving South Africa - SAT-3, SAFE, SEACOM, EASSy and WACS. It was noted that Liquid Telecom owns significant international subsea capacity, and is currently building a subsea cable linking the east coast of Africa, Liquid Sea.

Over the coming months, Liquid Telecom stated that it plans to make extensive upgrades and expansions to Neotel's network to enable improved high-speed connectivity and deliver services to more customers across South Africa. Liquid Telecom also plans to invest in Neotel's data centre capabilities, which include two Tier 3 facilities in Johannesburg and Cape Town, adding to its existingEast Africa Data Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.

In addition, the Neotel operation will be integrated with Liquid Telecom's pan-African network and extensive fibre footprint to provide access to over 40,000 km of cross border, national and metro fibre infrastructure serving 12 countries, giving Liquid Telecom enhanced reach across Eastern, Central and Southern Africa.

Earlier in February, Liquid Telecom announced the completion of its acquisition of Tanzania’s leading ISP Raha. Liquid Telecom noted the acquisition enhanced its East Africa Fibre Ring, which connects Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, with direct connectivity to international subsea cables. Raha operates a 400 km metro network serving the central business district of Dar es Salaam and other areas of the Tanzanian capital, and has a data centre in the city. Raha provides over 1,500 businesses, plus a growing base of retail customers, with a range of connectivity solutions, including fibre, satellite, WiMAX and WiFi.