Wednesday, March 29, 2017

AWS Launches Contact Center Service

Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) introduced Amazon Connect, a self-service, cloud-based contact center service with no up-front costs, long-term commitment or infrastructure.

The service is based on the same contact center technology used by Amazon customer service associates, who are handling millions of customer conversations.  Customers pay by the minute for Amazon Connect usage plus any associated telephony services.

AWS said its service makes it possible to design contact flows that adapt based on information from AWS services (e.g. Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Redshift, or Amazon Aurora) or third-party systems (e.g. CRM or analytics solutions). For example, an airline could design an Amazon Connect contact flow to recognize a caller’s phone number, look up their travel schedule in a booking database, and present options like “rebook,” or “cancel” if the caller just missed a flight. And, customers can build natural language contact flows using Amazon Lex, an AI service that has the same automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology and natural language understanding (NLU) that powers Amazon Alexa, so callers can simply say what they want instead of having to listen to long lists of menu options and guess which one is most closely related to what they want to do.

“Ten years ago, we made the decision to build our own customer contact center technology from scratch because legacy solutions did not provide the scale, cost structure, and features we needed to deliver excellent customer service for our customers around the world,” said Tom Weiland, Vice President of Worldwide Customer Service, Amazon. “This choice has been a differentiator for us, as it is used today by our agents around the world in the millions of interactions they have with our customers. We’re excited to offer this technology to customers as an AWS service – with all of the simplicity, flexibility, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of the cloud.”

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Powers Samsung Galaxy 8

Qualcomm confirmed that its Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform will power the new Samsung Galaxy S8 in select regions.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform, will be the first commercial SoC manufactured using 10nm FinFET technology/

The chip integrates the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, enabling the Galaxy S8 to support Gigabit LTE where available. The 835 is roughly 35 percent smaller in package size and consumes roughly 25 percent less power compared to the previous generation flagship processor.

The Galaxy S8 will also be the first smartphone to feature Qualcomm TruSignal adaptive antenna tuning technology for carrier aggregation.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 offers improved processing power and performance with the new Qualcomm Kryo 280 CPU and Qualcomm Hexagon 682 DSP. Qualcomm said its Snapdragon 835 delivers up to a 25 percent increase in 3D graphics rendering performance with the Qualcomm Adreno 540 GPU compared to Adreno 530. Snapdragon 835 also supports object and scene-based 3D audio as well as visually immersive 4K Ultra HD premium (HDR10) video, that enables the Samsung Galaxy S8 to play HDR movies and other types of videos from major content publishers.

“We are proud to continue our long and productive collaboration with Samsung to help bring the most advanced mobile experiences, such as Gigabit LTE and mobile VR, to consumers with the new Samsung Galaxy S8,” said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager, mobile, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Featuring a thin and light design with superior battery life, immersive multimedia, and exceptional photography with Gigabit LTE speeds, the Samsung Galaxy S8 powered by the Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform delivers the experiences today’s mobile users demand.”

China Telco Data for Feb 2017 and Market Update - Part 4

Baidu, the No. 1 Chinese Internet search services provider

Baidu is the third ranked Chinese Internet company by capitalisation but its sales have stalled; results for 5 calendar years 2011 to 15 (RMB millions):

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2015 ($)
Total revenue 14501 22306 31944 49052 66,382 10248
Cost of revenues 3897 6449 11,472 18,885; 27,458; 4,239
SG&A: 1,693 2,501 5,174 10,382 17,076 2,636
R&D: 1334 2305 4107 6981 110176 1571
Total costs: 6,924 11,255 20,753 36,248 54,710 8,446
Operating profit 7577 11,051 11191 12,804 11672 1802
Net income: 6,620 10,391 10,388 12,253 32,432 5,007

Latest Baidu financial Q4 and calendar 2016 results

On February 23rd Nasdaq-quoted Baidu, the leading Chinese language Internet search provider, announced unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31,  2016 as follows:

1. Total revenue in the fourth quarter of 2016 of RMB 18.212 billion ($2.623 billion), a 2.6% decrease from the corresponding period in 2015, and flat year-on-year, excluding Qunar in the fourth quarter of 2015.

2. Total revenue in fiscal year 2016 of RMB 70.549 billion ($10.161 billion), a 6.3% increase and 11.9% year-on-year increase, excluding Qunar from 2015.

(NB: in October 2015 Baidu exchanged a number of shares it owned in online travel company Qunar of the Cayman Islands for a number of shares in Ctrip, as a result of which Ctrip ended up with a 45% share of Qunar and Baidu ended up with a 25% share of Ctrip.)

Annual results for China's three telcos with collective revenue of $200 billion

China Mobile

China Mobile lift-off in 4G data usage from 849 million 4G users drives 6% revenue growth; results for 5 years 2011 to 15 (RMB millions):

      2011       2012        2013       2014       2015     2015 ($)
Operating revenue: 547,286 591,006 640,048 651,509 668,335 103,173
Operating expenses: 396,541 440,317 508,624 534,189 565,413 87,285
Profit from operations: 250,745 150,689 131,424 117,320 102,922 15,888
Profit to shareholders: 122,162 126,799 116,791 109,218 108,539 16,756
2011; 2012; 2013; 2014;

2016 calendar year financial results reported March 23rd (Customers, millions; RMB millions or as shown):
2016 2015  Change
Total mobile customers: 848.9 826.24 2.70%
4G customers: 535.04 312.28 71.30%
Operating revenue: 708.421 668.335 6%
from telecom services: 623.422 584.089 6.70%
EBITDA: 256.677 240.028 6.90%
Profit to shareholders: 108.741 108.539 0.20%
Basic EPS (RMB): 5.31 5.3 0.20%

Highlights for China Mobile in 2016

4G penetration of customer base reached 63%

Wireless data traffic increased by 43.5% and was 46.2% of revenue from telecom services.

Excluding the one-off gain in 2015 due to the national consolidation of tower assets into one company the profit shown above increased by 10.5%.

After adding 400,000 more 4G base stations in 2016 the company now operates 1.51 million of them that cover more than 1.3 billion people.

Average wireless download speeds on urban roads reached 40Mbit/s.

Commercial VoLTE services were introduced into more than 300 cities.

In 2016 the company added 22.59 million wireline broadband customers for total 77.62 million, 76.9% of which subscribed to services with a bandwidth of 20 Mbit/s or above. HD VoD customers exceeded 22.80 million.

In 2016 the company served 5.45 million corporate customers.

Connections to the company's national dedicated IoT core network reached 100 million.

Traffic for its mobile payment services exceeded RMB 1 trillion.

After minimal growth 2013/14/15 China Telecom recovers momentum in 2016

China Telecom results for 5 years 2011 to 15 (RMB millions):

2011; 2012; 2013; 2014; 2015; 2015 ($)

Operating revenue: 245,149; 283,176; 321,584; 324,394; 331,202; 51,129

Operating expenses: 221,028; 261,968; 294,116; 295,886; 304,760; 47,047

Operating income: 24,121; 21,208; 27,468; 28,508; 26,442; 4,082

Profit to shareholders: 16,494; 14,949; 17,545; 17,680; 20,054; 3,096

2016 year financial results reported March 21, 2017 (customers in millions; RMB millions or as shown):

2016; 2015; Change

Operating revenues: 352,285; 331,202; 6.4%

Service revenue: 309,644; 293,266; 5.6%

Mobile: 137,611; 124,503; 10.5%

Wireline: 172,033; 168,763; 1.9%

EBITDA: 95,139; 94,106; 1.1%

Net Profit: 18,004; 20,054; (10.2%)

EPS (RMB): 0.222; 0.248; (10.2%)

Adj net profit: 18,004; 16,117; 11.7%

Adj EPS: 0.222; 0.199; 11.7%

(NB: adj. net profit excludes one time gain in 2015 from national consolidation of tower assets.)

Subscribers (millions):

2016; 2015; Net additions

Mobile subscribers: 215.0; 197.9; 17.1

4G terminal users: 121.87; 58.46; 63.41

Wireline b/band subscribers: 123.12; 113.06; 10.06

FTTH: 105.99; 70.99; 35.00

Highlights for China Telecom in 2016

Capital expenditure was down 11.3% YoY to RMB 96.8 billions.

800 MHz frequencies extensively refarmed in 2016 for 4G network.

Declared 2016 dividend of HK 10.5 cents.

Extreme to Acquire Brocade's Switching Business for $55 Million

Extreme Networks agreed to acquire Brocade Communications Systems' data center switching, routing, and analytics business from Broadcom following Broadcom's acquisition of Brocade. The deal is valued at $55 million in cash, consisting of $35 million at closing and $20 million in deferred payments, as well as additional potential performance based payments to Broadcom, to be paid over a five-year term. The sale is contingent on Broadcom closing its acquisition of Brocade, previously announced on November 2, 2016 and approved by Brocade shareholders on January 26, 2017. Broadcom presently expects to close the Brocade acquisition in its third fiscal quarter ending July 30, 2017.

Extreme expects the acquisition to be accretive to cash flow and earnings for its fiscal year 2018 and expects to generate over $230 million in annualized revenue from the acquired assets. The acquisition is expected to close within 60 days following the closing of Broadcom's acquisition of Brocade.

"The addition of Brocade's data center networking business significantly strengthens our position in the expanding high-end data center market and reinforces our strategy of delivering software-driven networking solutions focused on enterprise customers," said Ed Meyercord, President and CEO of Extreme Networks. "As Extreme is the only pure-play end-to-end, wired and wireless enterprise IP networking company in the world, we believe Brocade's data center customers will benefit from our dedication to delivering high-quality, software-driven, secure networking solutions and the industry's highest rated customer support. Today's announcement, coupled with our recent announcements regarding our position as the stalking horse bidder of Avaya's networking business and the successful completion of the integration of Zebra's wireless LAN business, along with Extreme's organic investments in R&D, will result in a state-of-the-art, newly-refreshed portfolio of enterprise solutions for our customers.

"Moreover, this acquisition is important as it expands our commercial relationship with Broadcom," continued Meyercord. "We already have our 200 Series of value oriented switches leveraging Broadcom's FASTPATH operating system software and this transaction will only broaden our strategic partnership.  Finally, given the strong profitability of Brocade's data center business, this transaction will accelerate Extreme's objective to achieve gross margins in excess of 60%."

"Extreme is highly complementary to our data center switching, routing, and analytics business on many levels, and represents a positive outcome for our customers, partners, and employees," said Lloyd Carney, CEO of Brocade. "Our two companies have similar strategic visions and believe that innovation will increasingly be driven through software capabilities that allow customers to successfully transform their networks for digital business. Both companies are pure-play networking providers, serving the enterprise edge to the data center core. And both companies consistently demonstrate a customer-first culture, placing a high value on excellence in customer and partner support. In addition, we believe Extreme's desire to build on the innovation and momentum of our completely refreshed data center portfolio, including the new SLX family, as well as its intention to drive the ongoing success of our VDX and MLX families, will allow our customers and partners to continue to leverage the full benefits of our world-class portfolio."

  • In October 2016, Extreme Networks closed its acquisition of the wireless LAN business from Zebra Technology Corporation, which is expected to generate over $115 million in annualized revenue.

  • In March 2017, Extreme entered into an agreement with Avaya to be the stalking horse bidder to acquire its networking business in an auction process.

  • On July 21, 2008, Brocade announced a deal to acquire Foundry Networks for approximately $3 billion. Under the agreement, Brocade agreed pay a combination of $18.50 of cash plus 0.0907 shares of Brocade common stock in exchange for each share of Foundry common stock, representing a total value of $19.25 (based on Brocade's closing stock price on Friday, July 18, 2008 of $8.27). In November 2008, Brocade and Foundry Networks amended their original merger agreement. Under the revised terms, Foundry stockholders would be entitled to receive $16.50 per share in an all-cash transaction at the closing of the deal, as previously announced by the companies on Oct. 29, 2008.

NEC and Netcracker support NTT Network Slicing Trial

NEC and Netcracker Technology have announced their participation in a trial with NTT to support the NetroSphere Concept for developing future communication networks.

The NetroSphere Concept is designed to enable the construction of a flexible, cost-effective network with the ability to respond to the needs of both end customers and service providers. The trial with NEC and Netcracker, hosted by NTT, verified the network slicing technology that will be required for the implementation of the NetroSphere Concept.

Network slicing technology will allow service providers to efficiently utilise network resources on an on-demand basis when they are required, thereby enabling the delivery of a range of services at lower cost.

The NTT trial demonstrated coordinated traffic distribution to the most appropriate network according to the traffic status of each device. NEC and Netcracker contributed to the trial by providing a virtualised CPE (vCPE) solution, which serves to distribute the traffic sent from each device to the most suitable network, and an IoT Service Enabler, which is designed to dynamically change distribution rules based on the status of traffic.

NEC/Netcracker's vCPE solution enables CPE functions to be provided through network functions virtualisation (NFV) as part of an overall network solution. In addition, NEC's IoT Service Enabler cooperates with the vCPE solution and with other network equipment compatible with 3GPP standards to enable functions such as the accurate assessment of a network's status and the control of network bandwidth.

NEC introduced its IoT Service Enabler platform, supporting automated network management and control and serving as the mobile edge computing (MEC) architecture for next-generation wireless infrastructure, in October 2016. The IoT Service Enabler incorporates application interfaces for services, network interfaces defined by 3GPP and interfaces for sensors and cameras defined by OneM2M for machine to machine communications and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Three Group Picks Cisco Jasper for Enterprise IoT

Three Group, a part of the Hong Kong-based conglomerate CK Hutchison serving over 90 million customers worldwide, announced a partnership with Cisco Jasper designed to extend the group's capabilities in the global Internet of Things (IoT) marketplace.

Through the agreement, from mid-2017 enterprise customers of Three Group seeking to launch IoT services will be able to utilise Cisco Jasper's connectivity management platform, Control Center. Customers will be able to access Control Center locally via Three Group's national networks, while global customers will have the option of accessing the platform through Hue, the group's global mobile enabling services division.

Three Group noted that the partnership represents a major initiative designed to extend its capabilities in the growing IoT space leveraging its global portfolio of mobile networks covering markets on three continents to address the IoT market. The group stated that it is experiencing significant demand for the Cisco Jasper Control Center platform across its markets, particularly from the following segments:

1.  Connected car, with initiatives that enable auto makers to create connected hubs in vehicles capable of delivering services that can enhance the driver experience and provide insight into vehicle performance to support R&D.

2.  Building security and automation for both commercial properties and homes.

3.  Transportation and logistics, where IoT is an enabler for optimising and automating transportation and logistics operations.

The Cisco Jasper Control Center platform is designed to enable companies to quickly and efficiently launch and manage IoT services, while also providing the flexibility to allow companies to scale IoT services worldwide in line with the changing demands of their end customers.

In addition to its involvement in telecommunications, CK Hutchison has businesses worldwide in sectors including ports, retail outlets, infrastructure and energy, where companies are seeking to offer IoT services to streamline and improve their operations.

Internet Society: 56 Cases of Deliberate Government Shutdowns 2016

The Internet Society said there were 56 documented cases in 2016 where governments issued orders to temporarily shut down or restrict access to Internet services, often during elections, demonstrations or periods of social unrest. This compares to 15 such cases in 2015.

“Before they take action, we are calling policymakers to think twice: Internet shutdowns and content filtering are not the answer,” said Constance Bommelaer, Senior Director for Global Internet Policy at the Internet Society. “We are at a crossroads, and the actions we take today will determine whether the Internet will continue to be a driver of empowerment, or whether it will threaten personal freedoms and rights online,” added Bommelaer.

Intel Appoints Aicha Evans as Chief Strategy Officer

Intel appointed Aicha S. Evans as chief strategy officer, responsible for long-term strategy to transform from a PC-centric company to a data-centric company, as well as leading rapid decision making and company-wide execution of the strategy.

Evans is an Intel senior vice president and has been responsible for wireless communications for the past nine years. Most recently, she was the general manager of the Communication and Devices Group. Evans joined Intel in 2006 and is based in Santa Clara, California.

EXFO Names New CEO

EXFO announced the appointment of Philippe Morin as CEO, replacing Germain Lamonde, the company’s founder, who will continue to serve as Executive Chairman.

Morin has more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and became EXFO’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) in November 2015, leading the company’s global sales, go-to-market and product management initiatives. Before joining EXFO, Morin was Senior Vice-President of Worldwide Sales and Field Operations at Ciena. He also held senior management positions at Nortel Networks, including President of the Optical Networking Division.

“After founding EXFO in my apartment and serving as its CEO, I am proud of all we have accomplished over nearly 32 years, taking the company from the concept level to global leader and helping the most advanced network operators worldwide implement their strategic transformations,” said Mr. Lamonde. “Having known Philippe for a long time and having worked closely with him on a wide range of initiatives, I am confident he is the right person to take over the day-to-day stewardship of EXFO and that he will receive the full support of the global EXFO team and partners. Our combined strategic vision, industry experience and leadership will create added value for customers and shareholders as we drive EXFO to new heights.”

Telekom Austria A1 Demos XG-FAST at 10G with Nokia

Telekom Austria Group subsidiary A1, which serves the Austrian market, announced a recent demonstration carried out with partner Nokia in the city of Vienna during which transmission rates of more than 10 Gbit/s were achieved over installed copper cable in A1's fixed line network.

A1 noted that the record speed was made possible leveraging an advance in the existing copper-based technology, specifically XG-FAST. The recent test conducted in Vienna utilised a 30-metre copper cable and test equipment supplied by Nokia Bell Labs and demonstrated that the existing copper cables between the street or basement of a building to houses of apartments can potentially support speeds in excess of 10 Gbit/s.

XG-FAST technology uses the final span of the existing copper network to deliver super-fast Internet to homes and offices. A1 stated that the test shows that in the near future existing network infrastructure can be used to bring ultra-high-speed broadband to the customers without the need to install new fibre into buildings.

A1 noted that it is constantly evaluating new technologies as it seeks to address rising demand for bandwidth from its customers. and XG-FAST technologies are suitable for FTTB expansion in residential areas, particularly where the installation of new fibre lines would be too costly or is impractical. Under this model A1 installs fibre lines to a node in the basement of the building or close to the property, which is then connected with the existing cabling.

In late 2015, A1 selected Nokia/Alcatel-Lucent to transform the fixed ultra-broadband network utilising its fixed access, IP routing and optical transport solutions to enable an accelerated roll-out of high-bandwidth services and help it to meet Austria's national broadband initiative objective of connecting 99% of homes with speeds of 100 Mbit/s. A1 was to deploy solutions including and Vplus ultra-broadband access technologies for FTTB/FTTC deployments.

In December 2016, A1 and partner Nokia announced that as part of the advance towards 5G they had achieved a data rate of 513 Mbit/s over the A1 live network on a mobile router and 463 Mbit/s on a smartphone at Austria's University of Klagenfurt. The trial involved 3 carrier aggregation with frequencies in the 2.6 GHz, 1800 MHz and 800 MHz ranges, plus 256QAM modulation.

Regarding the latest trial, Sascha Zabransky, director, group technology and future services at Telekom Austria Group, said, "In urban areas in particular, demand for ultra-high-speed broadband services with rates in excess of 100 Mbit/s is growing faster than an area-wide fibre infrastructure can be completed… XG-FAST enables fibre-speed Internet over existing telephone copper wires… the long-term vision is to bring fibre to every home, (but) XG-FAST serves as a bridging technology".

Update on the telecommunications market in Poland, the EU's sixth largest economy - Part 2

Update on the telecommunications market in Poland, the EU's sixth largest economy - Part 2

Recent major Polish regulatory announcements

Court rejects Polkomtel appeal against award of frequencies to T-Mobile and P4

In September 2016 an administrative court in Warsaw dismissed an appeal by Polkomtel against decisions by the UKE regulator over the award of frequencies in the band 1800 MHz to the operators P4 and T-Mobile Poland in the 2013 tender.

Europe challenges Polish regulator over 800 MHz allocation

In late September 2016 the European Commission queried UKE's allocation of 800 MHz LTE spectrum in 2016 to the fixed-wireless provider and MVNO Sferia, which it pointed out belonged to the same group of companies as cellular operators Polkomtel and Aero2, and pay-TV firm Cyfrowy Polsat.

Poland to achieve 42% broadband coverage in 2017

In early December 2016, UKE published its work-plan for 2017 which included increasing broadband coverage to 42% by the end of 2017, completing international negotiations on the liberalisation of 700 MHz spectrum and a review of six markets subject to ex ante regulation.

UKE starts process to invalidate 2007 auction of 1800 MHz spectrum

On January 26, 2017 UKE announced that it had started a process to invalidate the results of an auction of frequencies in the 1800 MHz band carried out in 2007. This is a complicated situation; in October 2007 CenterNet bid PLN128 million for frequencies in the 1710-1730 MHz band, but declined the paired band between 1805 and 1825 MHz. This was later won in a separate tender process by Tolpis, a joint venture between Italian ISP Eutalia and Telekomunikacja Kolejowa, which agreed to pay PLN102 million. The start-up subsequently took on the name Mobyland before being bought by another domestic new entrant, Aero2.

On March 1st it was announced that both CenterNet and Aero2, owned by a company called Midas, would become part of the Cyfrowy Polsat group, which also includes mobile network operator Polkomtel. In August 2009 Mobyland and CenterNet had signed a letter of intent to share usage of their 1700/1800 MHz spectrum for rolling out LTE services, going on to launch Poland's first 4G service in September 2010.

At the time of the auction, the outcome was disputed in court by second-placed bidder T-Mobile Poland (then PTC). In July 2009 the Warsaw Administrative Court ruled that the participants in the original October 2007 tender were not treated equally and that the result should be annulled. UKE launched a successful appeal, but T-Mobile continued its legal battle.

According to Polish newsite, while UKE now appears to be ready to cancel the auction result, the regulator is unlikely to force Aero2/CenterNet to hand back its spectrum or shut down its LTE network but will probably negotiate with all parties involved to settle this and other separate disputes, including the result of the 2015 tender for 800/2600 MHz 4G spectrum auction, the result of which has also caused some controversy.

UKE deactivates another 12 million unregistered prepaid SIMs

In early February UKE announced that following the expiration of the February 2nd deadline for registration of mobile SIMs, it had deactivated about 12 million unregistered prepaid ones. Telecom Paper, an authoritative news source, suggested that although the deactivated SIMs nominally accounted for 31.3% of all issued cards it is possible the effect on the official mobile subscriptions numbers base might be quite small as Polish operators are believed to typically report only the number of their active users to UKE. Previously, T-Mobile in the third quarter of 2015 deactivated 3.84 million unused accounts.

UKE ends mobile operator obligations related to wholesale market for SMS termination

On February 2nd UKE announced that following approvals by the European Commission and Poland's anti-monopoly authority UOKiK (Urząd Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów) of its proposals to end the regulatory obligations of 2010 imposed on mobile operators on the wholesale market for SMS termination. it had decided that no further regulation was justified, and the obligations would cease to apply after a 90-day transitional period.

Regulator reports weak response to offer of free 1 MHz channels

On February 20th UKE reported weak response to its offer of free 1 MHz simplex channels in the range 5.875 - 5.925 GHz in five locations of Poland's most northerly province of Pomerania. Only one application was submitted for one location and no applications were submitted for four locations.

Parliament makes Ministry of Digital Affairs responsible for personal data registers

In late February the Polish parliament introduced a law which made the country's Ministry of Digital Affairs responsible for overseeing Poland's key personal data registers due to the perception by the country's ruling Law and Justice Party of increased threats for national IT systems and the lack of an entity to coordinate personal data protection at government levels.

UKE outlines possible 5 year -plan including deregulation of broadband access market

On February 27th UKE announced that it had started a consultation on what should be included in the regulator's five year plan, and on March 7th the new UKE president, Marcin Cichy, appointed in September 2016, made the following interim comments:

·       Following the focused deregulation in 2014 of the broadband access market in 76 out of 3,000 communes, in which UKE had assessed true deregulated competition was possible, full deregulation of that market was being considered and would take place before 2021.

·       Spectrum distribution and refarming also being looked at.

·       On that issue, Cichy confirmed that 700 MHz frequencies were unlikely to be auctioned before 2020.

·       There was no plan to increase taxation on telecommunications.

Orange Polska withdraws application to extend its CDMA licence

Early in March 2017 Orange Polska announced that, due to what it considered an excessive price of PLN 115 million being asked for by the regulator, it had withdrawn its application to extend for another 15 years its licence to provide around 27,000 Polish customers with a communications service based on 450 MHz CDMA technology.

The licence had expired in 2015 but had been continued under a temporary agreement with UKE. Following the Orange announcement UKE said it would probably redistribute those frequencies via a tender. Subsequently, Orange said it might consider competing in that tender (the frequencies would have to be freed up for the tender to take place so Orange presumably might find it difficult to use these frequencies for the original fixed wireless service, although there is a chance UKE might now negotiate a lower extension  price with Orange).

Polish Ministry says operators offering TV services must register subscribers

On March 9th the Polish Ministry of Culture announced new regulations requiring operators of cable networks, digital TV platforms, broadcasting services via xDSL and IPTV services to report subscribers for registration with the Ministry within a week of the signing of the contract. Operators will be compensated with a payment per subscription reported but will also be fined if they fail to meet the requirement.

Update on the telecommunications market in Poland, the EU's sixth largest economy - Part 1

NFWare Targets Virtualised Networking Software

NFWare, a developer of network software designed to enable processing of traffic at the speeds of dedicated hardware using standard x86 servers,

a.  Founded in 2014 by Alexander Britkin, current CEO, lead developers Igor Ryzhov and Pavel Ivashchenko and Ruslan Smelyanskiy as a spin-off start-up from non-profit organisation Applied Research Center for Computer Networks (ARCCN) based in Moscow, with offices in Russia, Spain and Silicon Valley

b.  Developing virtualised IP routing technology for telco networks and data centres.

c.  Backed by VC investors including Telefonica, Almaz Capital and Maxfield Capital.

Announced that it has raised $2 million in new venture funding in a round led by Sistema Venture Capital fund, a company of Sistema, a main shareholder in mobile operator MTS serving Russia and the CIS, with participation from existing investors including Maxfield Capital and Almaz Capital VC funds, as well as Wayra, the accelerator of Telefonica Open Future_.

The company is developing solutions based on NFV (network functions virtualisation) and SDN (software defined networking) technology that are designed to enable the migration of network infrastructure functions to a software-based virtual environment that does not rely on dedicated hardware platforms.

NFWare's software-based networking technology is intended to significantly increase network speed for high-load traffic processing utilising standard x86 servers. NFWare states that its solutions enable throughput of up to 200 Gbit/s with a single virtual machine for Internet-mix traffic. The company's solutions are designed to work efficiently including in core networks and to help operators significantly reduce network infrastructure costs.

NFWare's key products are as follows:

1.  Virtual ADC, a load balancing solution that improves traffic processing speed for high-load applications via support for up to 40 million connections per second per virtual machine and protects against DDoS attacks.

2.  Virtual CGNAT (carrier grade network access translation) with 200 Gbit/s capacity, designed to extend the life of IPv4 network infrastructure, mitigate IPv4 address exhaustion and enable migration to IPv6.

3.  Packet processing algorithms designed to allow processing of more traffic with less hardware.

NFWare noted that it has deployed its solutions in European operator networks and has been involved in projects for large telecom companies including Telefonica and Rostelecom. In February 2017, NFWare announced a contract with major Internet company Mail.Ru Group.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ericsson Announces Reorganization and New Executive Team

Ericsson announced a corporate reorganization that involves the elimination of its existing two-tiered leadership structure, Executive Leadership Team and Global Leadership Team, and replacement by a single Executive Team. The current structure of ten geographic regions will be simplified into five regions, and the current structure of five market areas will be reduced to three.

Ericsson's President and CEO, Börje Ekholm, said the company has been spreading itself too thin and needs to focus on its core businesses, and that includes Networks, the radio and radio related services, and Digital Services. Ericsson plans to separate out Managed Services and focus on turning its fortunes around by employing more automation. The company will examine low-performing operations and contracts.

Ericsson is also looking for strategic opportunities for its Media business and for its IT cloud infrastructure hardware business

Börje Ekholm, Ericsson President and CEO, says: "For some time Ericsson has been challenged on both technology and market leadership and the group strategy has not yielded expected returns. In our strategy review we have listened carefully to customers around the world and made an in-depth analysis of our portfolio and performance. To enable us to immediately take action and move with speed in execution we are today outlining our path to restoring profitability and to lead with innovation and best in class solutions in areas we have decided to focus on."

The following Business Area and Market Area structure will apply to the Ericsson Group as of April 1, 2017:

Business Area Networks; Business Area Digital Services; Business Area Managed Services

Market Area North America; Market Area Europe & Latin America; Market Area Middle East & Africa; Market Area North East Asia; Market Area South East Asia, Oceania & India

Effective April 1, 2017, Ericsson's Executive Team members will be:

President and CEO - Börje Ekholm
Business Area Networks - Fredrik Jejdling, Senior Vice President, currently head of Business Unit Network Services
Business Area Managed Services - Peter Laurin, Senior Vice President, currently head of Region Northern Europe and Central Asia
Business Area Digital Services - Ulf Ewaldsson, Senior Vice President, currently head of Group Function Strategy & Technology
Market Area North America - Rima Qureshi, Senior Vice President, currently head of Region North America
Market Area Europe & Latin America - Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President, currently head of Business Unit Network Products
Market Area Middle East & Africa - Rafiah Ibrahim, Senior Vice President, currently head of Region Middle East
Market Area North East Asia - Chris Houghton, Senior Vice President, currently head of Region North East Asia
South East Asia, Oceania & India - Nunzio Mirtillo, Senior Vice President, currently head of Region Mediterranean
Technology & Emerging Business - Niklas Heuveldop, Senior Vice President, currently head of Group Function Sales
Finance & Common Functions - Carl Mellander, Senior Vice President, currently acting Head of Group Function Finance & Common Functions
Human Resources - MajBritt Arfert, Senior Vice President, currently acting Head of Group Function Human Resources
Marketing & Communications - Helena Norrman, Senior Vice President, currently in same role
Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility - Elaine Weidman Grunewald, Senior Vice President, currently in same role
Legal Affairs - Nina Macpherson, Senior Vice President, currently in same role
Advisor to the CEO - Jan Frykhammar, Executive Vice President currently in same role
Advisor to the CEO - Magnus Mandersson, Executive Vice President, currently in same role

Rigetti Computing Targets Quantum Computing in the Cloud

Rigetti Computing, a start-up based in Berkeley, California, announced $64 million in Series A and B funding for its efforts in quantum computing.

Rigetti, which was founded by Chad Rigetti in 2013, is building a cloud quantum computing platform for artificial intelligence and computational chemistry. It recently opened up private beta testing of its API for quantum computing in the cloud.

The Series A round of $24 million was led by Andreessen Horowitz. The Series B round of $40 million was led by Vy Capital, followed by Andreessen Horowitz. Major investors in both rounds include Y Combinator's Continuity Fund, Data Collective, FF Science, AME Cloud Ventures, Morado Ventures, and WTI.

"Quantum computing will enable people to tackle a whole new set of problems that were previously unsolvable," said Chad Rigetti, founder and chief executive officer of Rigetti Computing. "This is the next generation of advanced computing technology. The potential to make a positive impact on humanity is enormous."

Samsung and eSilicon tape-out 14 nm network processor

Samsung Electronics announced a successful network processor tape-out based on its 14LPP (low-power plus) process technology that was implemented in collaboration with eSilicon and Rambus.

The network processor tape-out was based on Samsung's advanced foundry process and design infra for network applications, eSilicon's complex ASIC and 2.5D design capability with its IP solutions and a high-speed 28 Gbit/s SerDes solution from Rambus.

Samsung noted that its 14LPP process technology, based on 3D FinFET structure, has been proven for performance and manufacturability through mass production The next generation process for network application is 10LPP process, based on 10LPE (low-power early), for which production commenced last year, with mass production scheduled to begin by the end of 2017.

Samsung has also named its newly developed 2.5D turnkey solution, which serves to connect a logic chip and HBM2 memory via an interposer, as I-Cube (Interposer-Cube). The 14LPP network process chip is the first product to feature its I-Cube solution and HBM2 memory and is designed to support key network applications for high-speed signalling, and potentially further applications such as computing, server and AI in the future.

Commenting on the achievement, Patrick Soheili, VP of product management and corporate development at eSilicon, said, "eSilicon brings its FinFET ASIC and interposer design skills, along with 2.5D integration skills to the project… its HBM Gen2 PHY, custom flip-chip package design and custom memory designs also helped to optimise the power, performance and area for the project".

While Rambus' Luc Seraphin, SVP and GM, memory and interfaces division, noted, "Networking OEMs are looking for quality… IP suppliers that can bring 28 Gbit/s backplane SerDes in advanced FinFET process nodes to market… the success with Samsung and eSilicon is a testament that these leading solutions are attainable…".

Packet Design and NEC/Netcracker Form Alliance

Packet Design, a provider of route analytics designed to enhance network availability and performance, and NEC/Netcracker announced they have partnered to help service providers implement software-defined networking (SDN) applications to improve service quality and reduce costs.

Citing the growing number of SDN use cases, ranging from rapid services activation to automated path restoration, Packet Design stated that its real-time analytics technology, combined with NEC/Netcracker's Transport SDN solution that includes transport SDN controller and service orchestration solutions, can help to enable these processes in operators' commercial networks.

Packet Design's real-time analytics provide a foundation for emerging WAN-SDN (also termed carrier or service provider SDN) applications by correlating control plane, traffic and performance analytics data. This information helps operators to understand how routing events and failures affect the path and performance of services.

The real-time and historical intelligence provided by the company's solution also allows predictive analytics to accurately assess application requests for network resources and the best means of provisioning them.

Combined with NEC/Netcracker's Transport SDN solution, this analytics data can enable intelligent automation and help operators to manage both planned and unexpected changes, as well as ensure network service delivery. Additionally, Packet Design's RESTful APIs support programmatic access to microservices for the creation of custom SDN applications.

Under the new agreement, Packet Design is joining NEC/Netcracker's Ecosystem 2.0 program. Packet Design and NEC/Netcracker are currently certifying the interoperability of their products and preparing joint go-to-market programs and will jointly market and sell the combined SDN solutions.

Previously, in November 2016 Packet Design announced it had joined Ciena's Blue Orbit program, designed to facilitate multi-vendor SDN and NFV deployments, to support the delivery of multi-layer SDN management and orchestration capabilities. Through the partnership the two companies planned to integrate Packet Design's IP/MPLS analytics and WAN-SDN management and orchestration (MANO) platform with the Ciena Blue Planet software for multi-domain orchestration and provisioning.

6WIND Introduces Security Gateway for 4G/5G

6WIND, a high-performance networking software company, announced its next generation security gateway solution based on its Turbo IPsec software and designed for 4G and 5G mobile infrastructure applications.

6WIND's new solution leverages the company's Turbo IPsec software, which is widely deployed in mobile and fixed telecom infrastructure for 4G/LTE to cost-effectively enable IPsec VPNs on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) servers. 6WIND Turbo IPsec can be deployed as a bare metal solution or in a virtual machine, providing the same functionality and performance, and is designed to facilitate the transition to virtualisation and NFV.

6WIND noted that as 4G/5G data and voice converge to common IP-based networks, new security and performance challenges arise and mobile infrastructure, specifically mobile backhaul, must be able to cost-effectively meet both the performance requirements and protect against threats associated with untrusted IP networks. In addition, operators are transitioning to virtualisation to reduce costs and enhance service flexibility.

6WIND's next generation security gateway (SeGW) solution is designed to address these challenges via features including:

1.Enabling linear scalability of performance, regardless of deployment configuration - bare metal or virtualised.

2. Support for 12 Gbit/s of encrypted IPsec traffic per core, or more than 100 Gbit/s on a single Intel processor.

3.Capacity for up to 100,000 IKE tunnels, with the ability to establish up to 1,000 tunnels per second.

4. Provides a virtualised SeGW appliance offering support for Linux KVM, VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors.

5. High availability via link failure detection and failover mechanisms, combined with IPsec session synchronisation, enabling local and geo-redundancy without service interruption.

6. Allows OSS and management and orchestration (MANO) integration for network management and monitoring.

MaxLinear partners with ZTE on Ethernet over Coax

MaxLinear, a supplier of RF and mixed-signal integrated circuits for the connected home and wired and wireless infrastructure markets, announced it is partnering with ZTE Cable to develop Ethernet-over-Coax (EoC) equipment for Chinese MSOs and that its customer Guangda has been awarded contracts by multiple cable MSOs in China for broadband CPE.

ZTE Cable

MaxLinear noted that China's MSOs are currently transforming from pay TV providers to MSOs offering data and voice services, and that with over 200 million subscribers the Chinese cable TV market is the largest addressable market for c.LINK and MoCA Access equipment. ZTE Cable is now entering the EoC market utilising MaxLinear-based technology and products.

MaxLinear is an established supplier to MSOs offering broadband data services in China and is currently shipping its third generation EoC technology, c.LINK 1.1+, which can deliver up to 800 Mbit/s of usable MAC throughput to up to 128 subscribers.

Based on the EN3681 network coordinator (NC) chip and EN3690 CPE chip, MaxLinear's c.LINK 1.1+ solution is designed to enable MSOs to cost-effectively overlay support for broadband data service without affecting existing TV services or the need to install new cabling.

MoCA Access is a new MoCA initiative designed to extend the performance and reliability of its home networking products to applications targeting FTTB deployments. As with c.LINK, MoCA Access will use an MDU's existing coax cabling to deliver broadband to each residential unit from an optical terminal. MoCA Access is designed to deliver aggregate MAC throughput of up to 2.5 Gbit/s for up to 128 subscribers.

Guangda MSO contracts

MaxLinear also announced that its customer in China Guangda has won contracts with cable MSOs to supply broadband CPE based on its EN3681 and EN3690 c.LINK 1.1+ EoC access technology.

Already supplying MaxLinear's c.LINK 1.0 and 1.1 EoC systems to MSOs in China, Guangda will now begin deploying the third-generation c.LINK 1.1+ EoC system to MSOs serving Chengdu, Ningxia, ZheJiang Rui’An, YueQing and CangNan to meet growing demand for higher broadband speeds.

MaxLinear noted that a c.LINK 1.1+ based network can support 4 x 50 MHz channels, each controlled by its EN3681 network coordinator (NC) SoC, providing up to 800 Mbit/s of usable throughput to 128 CPE modems. The Ethernet modem comprises a single EN3690 CPE SoC plus Ethernet PHY, or the EN3690 can be embedded into a wireless modem to provide in-home WiFi connectivity.

Tektronix enhances DSA8300 oscilloscope

Tektronix, s global provider of measurement solutions, has introduced new optical modules for its DSA8300 sampling oscilloscope that provide high mask test sensitivity and low noise, together with new features designed to increase production capacity and improve yield for current 100 Gbit/s designs that are entering production.

Tektronix also unveiled enhancements for its 400 Gbit/s test solution, including IEEE Ethernet standard-driven Transmitter and Dispersion Eye Closure (TDECQ) PAM4 and related support measurements for optical testing.

The Tektronix DSA8300 sampling oscilloscopes equipped with the new 80C17 and 80C18 optical modules provide mask test sensitivity of -14 dBm, exceeding requirements for the 28 Gbaud PAM4 standards, while also delivering noise performance at 3.9 µW with wide wavelength support. The company noted that the two-channel 80C18 allows optical manufacturing test engineers to double throughput and capacity.

In addition, in the event of device failure, Tektronix offers analysis tools to decompose the signal content for both noise and jitter to help engineers address the issue.

The DSA8300 sampling oscilloscope features an 80 GHz optical sampling module enabling support for IEEE 802.3bs-based 400 Gbit/s optical testing for TDECQ, including high-sensitivity single-mode/multi-mode optical measurements for NRZ and PAM4 up to 28 Gbaud.

The new 80C17 and 80C18 optical modules and 400 Gbit/s test software enhancements are scheduled to be available from late April 2017.

As well as the new solutions and capabilities, Tektronix demonstrated existing products at the OFC including:

1 The DPO70000SX 70 GHz ATI performance oscilloscope, shown analysing single shot PAM4 signals with live triggering and post-equalised error detection for 400 Gbit/s standards.

2. An end-to-end demonstration of optical modulation analysis software supporting multi-OMA systems, featuring the AWG70000 Series arbitrary waveform generator and DPO70000SX oscilloscope for applications such as spatial division multiplexing.

Kaloom Raises $10.7 Million for Data Center Networking

Kaloom, a Montréal, Canada and Silicon Valley based software start up that is developing a next generation networking solution for the data centre, which:

a. Was founded by technology veterans with experience in delivering large scale networking solutions via roles at companies including Ericsson, Redback Networks, 3Com, Nortel and Apple.

b. Is developing a solution designed to address the networking transformation and to enable customers to leverage new opportunities in networking using a high performance, low cost platform.

c. Announced that it has closed a $10.7 million committed Series A equity funding round led by the Quebec-based Fonds de solidarité FTQ, with the participation of Somel Investments, MBUZZ Investments, Griffin Fund II and other current investors and the company's officers. The transaction closed in December, 2016.

Kaloom is developing the Kaloom Flow Fabric, a software networking solution designed to transform the data centre. In particular, the Kaloom Flow Fabric will allow virtual network functions (VNFs) to run at scale utilising commodity hardware, merchant silicon and the existing data centre architecture. The software is intended to deliver benefits including a significant reduction in cost together with increased data centre performance, specifically lower latency and greater scalability.

The Kaloom Flow Fabric is designed to align with technology trends including open networking and the use of container based virtualisation, and is being built with a focus on providing carrier grade performance through enabling a lossless environment able to support reliable connectivity and high availability.

The company noted that the majority of its R&D operations are in Montréal, close to a number of technical universities and providing access to technical expertise and university data centre facilities, labs and other relevant R&D projects. Kaloom stated that it is presently expanding its team in Montréal and Silicon Valley and plans to release further product information and to hold demonstrations during 2017.