Monday, April 3, 2017

The ONOS Project Makes its Next Advance

The ONOS Project, which is developing an open source software-defined networking (SDN) OS for service providers, announced that its latest release is now in operation in several new lab & field trials.

"ONOS delivers important performance and scalability advancements that are needed for service providers and enterprises to advance SDN, said Bill Snow, chief development officer, ON.Lab. “New demos and POCs at ONS this week will bring to life how ONOS enables next-generation disaggregated IP/Optical transport network solutions, and how the dynamic configuration capabilities make it easy to add innovative new services, like L3VPN.”

Major enhancements for ONOS include:

  • Whitebox Leaf-Spine Fabric – the flexible datacenter fabric solution offered by ONOS has been enhanced to support IPv6 routing, vLAN tagged external interfaces and AAA endpoint authentication.
  • GUI v2.0 – an enhanced Web user interface is now included, improving usability on large-scale networks by providing regional topology views with drill-down, context sensitive help, and global search

  • SDN-IP enhancements: VLAN support, VPLS support. IGMPv2
  • Southbound Enhancements: Lumentum WaveReady support (TL1), Pipeline support for Nokia OLT, RESTCONF
  • vRouter: IPv6 support
  • Framework: New distributed system support – consistent document tree, LISP, CI/CT improvements (build speed enhancements), High Availability (HA) enhancements
  • Northbound Intent Interface Enhancements:  IETF ACTN – enabling management of multiple TEs as one, Optional Guaranteed Bandwidth Allocation, Protection Intent Support, Shared resource modeling, Hashing support for ECMP traffic distribution, RESTCONF
  • Traffic Engineering: Policers and bandwidth monitoring
  • User Interface: Scalability improvements and regionalization support

Huawei Reports FY'16 Revenue of CNY 521.57bn, up 32.0%

Huawei announced financial results for the full year 2016 ended December 31, 2015, as follows:

1. Revenue for 2016 of CNY 521.57 billion (approximately $75.1 billion), up 32.0% compared with CNY 395.01 billion in 2015.

2. Gross profit of CNY 210.13 billion, up 27.6% versus CNY 164.70 billion in 2015.

3. R&D expenditure of CNY 76.39 billion, up 28.1% versus CNY 59.61 billion in 2015.

4. SG&A expenditure of CNY 86.44 billion, up 38.8% versus CNY 62.28 billion in 2015.

5. Total operating expenditure of CNY 162.83 billion, up 33.6% versus CNY 121.89 billion in 2015.

6. Net profit of CNY 37.07 billion ($5.34 billion), compared with CNY 36.91 billion in 2015.

7. Cash and cash equivalents of CNY 123.05 billion ($17.72 billion) as of December 31, 2016, compared with CNY 110.56 billion at the end of 2015.

Additional results and notes

Reporting by business group for 2016, Huawei's Carrier unit reported sales of CNY 290.6 billion, up 25.1% year on year, the Consumer unit reported sales of CNY 179.8 billion, up 39.2% year on year, and the Enterprise unit reported sales of CNY40.7 billion, up 47.5% versus 2015.

On a geographic basis, the company reported sales as follows: China - CNY 235.5 billion, up 29.1% year on year; EMEA - CNY 156.5 billion, up 22.5% year on year; Asia Pacific - CNY 67.5 billion, up 36.6% year on year; Americas - CNY 44.1 billion, up 13.4% year on year.

Huawei reported cash flow from operating activities in 2016 of CNY 49.22 billion ($7.09 billion), compared with CNY 52.3 billion in 2015.

Intel Security Relaunches as McAfee

Intel Security officially relaunched under its old name - McAfee - as a new standalone company.

McAfee is driven by more than 7,500 cybersecurity professionals.  The company's intellectual property includes some 1,200 security technology patents.

“Cybersecurity is the greatest challenge of the connected age, weighing heavily on the minds of parents, executives and world leaders alike,” said Christopher Young, CEO of McAfee. “As a standalone company with a clear purpose, McAfee gains the agility to unite people, technology and organizations against our common adversaries and ensure our technology-driven future is safe.”

“We offer Chris Young and the McAfee team our full support as they establish themselves as one of the largest pure-play cybersecurity companies in the industry,” said Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO. “Security remains important to Intel, and in addition to our equity position and ongoing collaboration with McAfee, Intel will continue to integrate industry-leading security and privacy capabilities in our products from the cloud to billions of smart, connected computing devices.”

Ericsson and Cisco to deploy ASR9010 IP routers for Nextel in Brazil

Ericsson and Cisco, which in late 2015 established a global business and technology alliance, announced they have been selected to deliver and install IP routers for Nextel Brazil, owned by NII Holdings, to support traffic growth and improve network performance, marking their first joint project in the country.

Under the agreement in Brazil, the two companies will work together to supply and install IP routers for Nextel Brazil, which serves around 3 million subscribers, with the combined solution including hardware from Cisco and services and support from Ericsson. The deal specifically includes the deployment of Cisco ASR9010 routers, plus project management and customer support.

Recently, Cisco and Ericsson announced that Korek Telecom, a major mobile operator in Iraq serving around 7 million customers, had selected the companies to transform its IP core network to expand coverage and enhance services. Under the agreement, Ericsson, Korek Telecom's longstanding network equipment provider, and Cisco will deploy new IP core network sites and optimise existing sites using the Cisco ASR 9000 router platform as part of the Ericsson Evolved IP network.

In January, Ericsson and Cisco announced they had been selected to transform and virtualise Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA)'s networks to help VHA prepare for new emerging services and to evolve its core network to increase agility and programmability via the use of network slicing. The companies noted the project represented their first major collaboration for Telecom Cloud infrastructure.

The Ericsson-Cisco partnership is designed to enable delivery of solutions incorporating advanced routing, data centre, networking, cloud, mobility, management and control, as well as global services capabilities. To date, the companies state they have signed more than 300 active customer engagements, including over 100 deals covering IP routing and transport and services with customers such as 3 Italy, Vodafone Portugal, Aster Dominican Republic, Cable & Wireless and Telefonica Guatemala.

Update on the telecommunications market in Poland - Part 5

Profile of T-Mobile Polska, the 4th largest mobile operator

T-Mobile Polska is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telecom of Germany and the fourth largest mobile operator in Poland, serving over 10.6 million mobile customers. The company claims to provide a full range of telecommunications services to both private and business customers. In 2015 TMP acquired the fixed network and services of GTS Poland, thus enabling it to offer a full range of ICT services. T-Mobile customers also have access to a full range of financial services as part of its parent's banking services. Mobile Polska covers nearly 100% of Poland’s population with its 3G and 4G networks and currently employs around 4,400 people. For the calendar year 2016 it reported revenue of Euro 1,488 million and net profit of Euro 201 million, down from Euro 1,544 million and Euro 350 million, respectively, in 2015.

More specifically, in Q4 2016 T-Mobile Poland reported 10.634 million mobile customers, down 11.8% compared to 12.057 million at the end of 2015. This decline included the loss of 587,000 customers in Q4 2016 due mainly to the disconnection of unregistered prepaid users. Despite Q4 2016 revenue up 4.8% to PLN 1.723 billion; EBITDA margin fell by 1.8 points to 34.7%.

In mid-November 2016, T-Mobile Poland announced a limited commercial launch with the support of Samsung of VoLTE and VoWiFi but said that by the end of March 2017, it hoped to make the service available on a broader range of up to 500,000 terminal devices.  As previously reported, in early December 2016 T-Mobile Poland and Orange Poland extended their original cooperative agreement for radio access network sharing, originally signed in 2011, to include base station sharing for LTE services using the frequency blocks that they each separately obtained at auction in the 800 and 2600 MHz bands.

In early January 2017 Orange Poland announced that its LTE network, consisting of over 8,500 base stations using 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz band spectrum and at over 140 basestations 300 Mbit/s services using tri-carrier aggregation, had reached coverage of 99% of the population. In late January T-Mobile Poland announced changes in its business segment aimed at increasing the focus on customer care and its quality including strengthened management and making the Department of Business Customer Care the direct responsibility of a board member. In early February, the European Investment Bank published a request by T-Mobile Poland for Euro 250 million of co-financing investments in a mobile broadband infrastructure project in Poland expected to cost Euro 550 million.

Profile of UPC Poland the leading Polish cable operator

According to the $20 billion sales-level, 45,000 employee, 50 million homes-passed Liberty Global international TV and broadband group (with operations in over 12 European countries and the Caribbean and South America), UPC Poland is the largest of its operations in Central and Eastern Europe in terms of revenue, and the largest cable TV operator in Poland. UPC Poland, which as of the end of September 2016 projected revenue of $393.8 million for all of 2016, at that time passed 3.1 million Polish homes and provided video, broadband Internet and digital (VoIP) telephony services, including 2.9 million service subscriptions (RGUs) to 1.4 million customers split as follows: 1.2 million video RGUs; 1.1 million broadband RGUs; and 632,000 fixed telephony RGUs. According to the company, its network is 98% upgraded to two-way capacity, with almost all of its homes passed served by a network with a bandwidth of at least 860 MHz.

In late October 2016, UPC Poland agreed to acquire, for $760 million in cash, the cable operations of Multimedia Polska, the third-largest cable operator in Poland. However, that proposed merger is still the subject of a regulatory inquiry by Polish anti-monopoly authority UOKiK, whose analysis has so far shown that in many municipalities, the joint share of UPC and Multimedia Polska exceeds 40% for the pay TV and Internet market, a threshold which the competition law defines as a dominant and anticompetitive position.

According to Multimedia Polska's Q4 2016 financial report published in mid-March, its revenue were down 1.1% YoY to PLN 176.346 million compared to PLN 178.285 million in Q4 2015. Of the total, revenue from video services amounted to PLN 90.454 million, revenue from the Internet amounted to PLN 55.399 million, revenue from telephony amounted to PLN 22.073 million, and other revenue amounted to PLN 8.419 million. The total RGUs as of December 31, 2016 were 1.692 million, up 2% compared to the end of 2015. During Q4, the company increased video subscriptions by 20,300 to 868,000, and broadband customers rose by 7,100 to 537,400, while in telephony there were a total 266,600 customers.

The group had 783,200 customers at year-end, down from 790,000 at the end of Q3 2016.

Summary and commentary - economy strong, political stability in danger

Poland's economic situation for the moment looks extremely healthy, though much of it currently comes from external inputs such as foreign remittances and EU subsidies, which may not be sustainable beyond a medium-term horizon. However, Poland's political climate is blustery to say the least For the first time for many years Poland's rightwing Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc (PiS or Law and Justice Party), led by Jarosław Kaczyński, has an overall majority in Poland's Lower House, the Sejm, and is taking a strongly authoritarian approach to government, which has included the passing of a bill which seriously undermines the powers of Poland's Constitutional Court*. Together with attacks on the media, including the firing of about 60 politically suspect journalists from state television, the preparation of a bill which would limit the access of the media to the proceedings of the Sejm, and a remarkable episode in mid-December  in which opposition protests against the proposed restrictive media bill erupted into semi-violence in the Sejm, and as a result the government moved a planned session for the vote on the state budget for 2017 to another hall, with both journalists and opposition delegates banned from the session.

The EU has publicly raised questions about these anti-libertarian moves by the PiS. More recently, the Polish government has reacted with outrage to, and described as a deliberate humiliation of Poland by the EU, the re-election on March 9th as President of the European Council of Donald Tusk, a Polish politician still regarded as the de facto leader of Poland's main Opposition Party. Tusk led neo-liberal opposition party Civic Platform (PO, Platforma Obywatelska) from 2003 to 2014 and was the Polish prime minister from 2007 to 2014, and is detested by the PiS. Poland, as stated earlier, leads the four-nation Visegrad Group and has historically tended to ally itself with the UK and also look towards the U.S. politically rather than Germany. With Britain leaving the EU and Donald Trump looking to reduce the U.S.'s expensive overseas entanglements, and with a truculent and resentful Russia on its flank, Poland is beginning to feel dangerously isolated.

*   The changes introduced by the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) require a two-thirds majority of the 15 judges to support a ruling for it to be valid, and also stipulate a quorum of 13 judges for rulings to be valid.

Mexico's ALTAN Redes Picks Nokia for national LTE wholesale Net

Nokia announced that it has been selected by the ALTÁN Redes consortium to design, build and operate a new national LTE and 5G-ready wholesale network in Mexico in what represents its largest contract to date in Latin America.

Called Red Compartida, the shared network project in Mexico is an innovative program designed to provide wireless broadband coverage nationwide to 92% of the population, and thereby reduce the digital divide and strengthen the country's digital services capabilities. The greenfield deployment will utilise the 700 MHz frequency band.

The contract with Nokia includes provision of the core of the network, including 100% of the fully virtualised core network and 40% of RAN, IP backhaul, OSS and NOC solutions. The Nokia equipment is to be deployed in five regions of Mexico, out of a total of nine, including Guadalajara and Monterrey, the second and third largest cities.

The project also encompasses a range of services that mean Nokia will deliver a turnkey project, including site acquisition, construction, deployment, network integration, network planning and optimisation, master system integration (core network), operation and maintenance and managed services.

Nokia will specifically supply solutions including a virtualised core network, VoLTE and EPC based on Air Frame, 4.5G Pro radio access based on AirScale, IP and optical backhaul systems, DWDM 100 Gbit/s and IP routing platforms for aggregation, and microwave transmission platforms.

The Red Compartida project is a public-private international partnership led by the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transport (SCT) and the Office for the Promotion of Investments in Telecommunications (PROMTEL), in coordination with the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT). The project is expected to involve a total investment of over $7 billion over nine years, financed by international and local investors.

ALTÁN Redes is a new wholesale carrier supported by international investors and Mexican shareholders that won the tender process to build and operate the shared network which will support the delivery of mobile and Internet services for existing mobile operators and existing and new MVNOs.

Dobson selects ADVA fibre assurance solution for Oklahoma network

ADVA Optical Networking announced that Dobson Technologies, an Oklahoma-based telecom services, transport network and IT provider, has selected the ADVA ALM fibre assurance solution, launched last October, for its state-wide optical network.

ADVA's link monitoring technology is designed to deliver precise, real-time insight into key portions of Dobson Technologies' fibre plant, which spans over 3,000 miles across Oklahoma and the Texas pan-handle. The ALM solution provides continuous performance data and will help Dobson to improve service availability for its enterprise customers.

Leveraging the ALM solution's optical demarcation points, which are designed to provide full network visibility, Dobson Technologies will be able to rapidly respond to faults on the network and deliver enhanced service assurance for customers.

The ADVA ALM technology serves to non-intrusively monitor Dobson Technologies' network, which supports 100 Gbit/s services utilising the ADVA FSP 3000 platform. Designed to operate with low power consumption, ALM works independently and creates no interference as it proactively monitors the network. This allows both transparency and avoids any impact on applications provisioned over the fibre infrastructure.

ADVA noted that the solution enables fibre links to be monitored in-service without the need to install active equipment at endpoints. In the case that a failure is detected by ALM, maintenance teams can be immediately alerted to investigate and discover whether the problem is fibre-related or due to equipment failure on the client side, helping to reduce costs for the service provider.

ADVA unveiled its ALM link monitoring solution in October 2016. Designed to change the way operators monitor fibre networks, the plug-and-play device ALM solution was claimed at the time to be the most compact and cost-efficient fibre assurance product available. ALM enables operators to pinpoint faults and avoid unnecessary repair work.

Regarding the deployment, Adam Cavazos, VP, network systems and engineering at Dobson Technologies, said, "ADVA's fibre monitoring technology… (offers) total access-link visibility… Dobson can proactively monitor its entire network, remotely pinpoint areas of concern and quickly identify and locate faults… the ALM assurance solution supports a simpler, more sustainable process for operations and maintenance…".

Qualcomm Appoints CTO

Qualcomm appointed Dr. James H. Thompson to the additional position of chief technology officer (CTO), replacing Matt Grob, who will transition to the role of executive vice president of technology, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and continue to report to Steve Mollenkopf.  

Thompson currently servers as executive vice president of engineering, Qualcomm Technologies.  In addition to leading QCT engineering, as CTO, Thompson will align the companywide technical and product roadmaps across all business areas. He also will have oversight of Corporate R&D and Corporate Engineering, ensuring all research and development activities are coordinated across the company, and drive the development of next-generation wireless technologies.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Verizon Adopts a New Operating Structure, Hires Hans Vestberg

Verizon appointed Hans Vestberg, former CEO of Ericsson, as executive vice president for its new Network and Technology team, where he will be responsible for further developing the architecture of Verizon’s fiber-centric networks.  Vestberg will report to Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam.

Verizon is adopting a new operating structure focused on three areas: Media and Telematics, Network and Technology, and Customer and Product Operations.

Marni Walden will serve as executive vice president for Media and Telematics, which will focus on integrating, scaling and growing Verizon’s portfolio of new businesses in digital media and telematics. The company said the combination of AOL with the assets of Yahoo will give it more than 1.3 billion digital media users and generate $7 billion in revenue. Walden’s team will be responsible for integrating these businesses and building brand and market share in this growing market. In addition, Walden will continue to lead Verizon’s integration and expansion of its telematics (connected car and fleet management) portfolio, including assets from Hughes Telematics, Fleetmatics and Telogis.

John Stratton will be executive vice president for Customer and Product Operations, which will focus on operating and growing Verizon’s established businesses, including Verizon Wireless, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Verizon Partner Solutions, Verizon Consumer Markets and Verizon Business Markets. These businesses generate more than $120 billion in annual revenue and serve more than 120 million customers.

Lowell McAdam said, “This new structure is designed to accelerate our progress toward delivering the promise of the digital world to customers. It will give us greater organizational agility to continue to lead the market with our wireless and fiber services, scale and expand our media and telematics businesses, and maintain the leadership in network reliability and new technology that is a Verizon trademark.”

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Complicated Chain of Mergers and Acquisitions

A convoluted set of interrelated mergers over the past two years has brought together players from Singapore, Irvine, San Jose, Suwanee (Georgia) and the UK, with the various companies in play including ARRIS, Avago, Avaya, Broadcom, Brocade, Extreme, Motorola Mobility, Pace and Ruckus. For customers, employees and investors in these companies, such transactions are always disruptive to some degree, while for the wider networking industry it is interesting to see how shareholder value is created or destroyed by rearranging the products and development teams between a handful of players. This piece will review the key moves in this complicated dance sequence.

Avago a big buyer and seller

Perhaps the prime mover here is Avago Technologies, which in May 2015 agreed to acquire Broadcom for approximately $37 billion in a deal involving $17 billion in cash the rest in Avago shares. As part of the deal, Avago changed its name to Broadcom. This merger was premised on the goal of building the 'world's leading' diversified communications semiconductor company. In terms of overall annual revenue, the combined company entered the space in the No.3 position, behind Intel (No.1) and Qualcomm (No.2), but ahead of Texas Instruments and NXP.

Broadcom, based in Irvine, California, was founded in 1991 by Henry Samueli and Henry T. Nicholas III, two professors from UCLA; by the time of the deal, Broadcom had about 10,000 employees worldwide and more than 10,700 U.S. and 3,700 foreign patents. Revenue in 2014 was $8.43 billion.

Avago traces its origins back to 1961, when it was established as the semiconductor division of Hewlett-Packard. In 1999, it became part of the Agilent Technologies split; in 2005 Agilent sold the division to the private equity firms of KKR and Silver Lake Partners. In August 2008, Avago completed its initial public offering and shares began trading on Nasdaq under the symbol AVGO.

Even prior to the mega transaction with Broadcom, Avago had been on as acquisition binge. In 2014, it acquired LSI for $11.15 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $6.6 billion, but later sold off LSI's SSD division to Seagate and then its Axxia networking division to Intel. In February 2015, Avago agreed to acquire Emulex, which supplies Ethernet and Fibre Channel connectivity products to leading OEMS. In 2013, Emulex acquired Endace, a specialist in monitoring solutions.

In November 2016, Broadcom agreed to acquire Brocade Communications Systems for $12.75 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $5.5 billion, plus $0.4 billion of net debt. At the time the deal was announced, Broadcom said it was motivated by Brocade's Fibre Channel storage area network (FC SAN) switching business, but that it would divest Brocade's IP Networking business, consisting of wireless and campus networking, data centre switching and routing, and software networking solutions. This it has since done.

In February, ARRIS agreed to acquire Brocade's Ruckus Wireless and ICX Switch business for $800 million in cash, plus the additional cost of unvested employee stock awards, following the closing of Broadcom's acquisition of Brocade. The deal is contingent on Broadcom closing its acquisition of Brocade, as announced on November 2, 2016, which was approved by Brocade shareholders on January 26th. Broadcom presently expects to close the Brocade acquisition in its third fiscal quarter ending July 30, 2017. For ARRIS, the Ruckus deal expands its market segment into service provider WiFi and enterprise WLAN. As a side note, Brocade acquired Ruckus Wireless less than a year ago in a deal valued at approximately $1.5 billion, consisting of $6.45 in cash and 0.75 shares of Brocade common stock for each share of Ruckus common stock.

ARRIS a buyer

ARRIS began to consolidate its position as the leading supplier in cable networking five years ago by acquiring Motorola Home from Google for $2.35 billion in cash and stock. Motorola Home was a leading global supplier of digital video and IPTV hardware and software solutions for the cable, telecom, broadcast and satellite markets. Google had acquired Motorola for $40.00 per share in cash, or a total of about $12.5 billion, in 2012, primarily for its trove of 12,000 patents to strengthen the intellectual property domain of its Android ecosystem.

In 2015, ARRIS acquired Pace plc, another leading supplier of networking equipment for cable operators, for $2.1 billion (GBP 1.4 billion) is stock and cash.

Extreme also a buyer

Earlier this week, Extreme Networks agreed to acquire Brocade Communications Systems' data centre switching, routing, and analytics business from Broadcom for $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.

It is interesting to note that most of Brocade's data centre and routing team traces its origins to Foundry Networks, which Brocade acquired in 2008 for approximately $3 billion (the deal was amended prior to closing in November 2008). Foundry Neworks, established in 1996 by Bobby R. Johnson, gained notoriety for a spectacular IPO in 1999 during the height of the Internet bubble when its market capitalisation soared to $9 billion. Foundry was among the first to ship a Gigabit Ethernet switch.

In 2012, Brocade acquired Vyatta, a Silicon Valley-based developer of virtualised networking software. Financial terms of this deal were not disclosed. Brocade also acquired Vistapointe in 2014, a start-up based in San Ramon, California with operations in Ireland and Bangalore, India, for its cloud-based and real-time network intelligence solutions for mobile operators, on undisclosed terms. Vistapointe brought expertise in data extraction, analysis and insight generation technologies that enable mobile operators gain visibility into their mobile networks. These units presumably form part of the sale to Extreme Networks.

Extreme Networks has also made two other recent deals to fortify its position. Earlier this month, it entered into an agreement with Avaya to be the stalking horse bidder to acquire its networking business in an auction process. This deal was valued around $100 million. And in October 2016, Extreme acquired the wireless LAN business of Zebra Technology for $55 million in cash.

Brocade broken apart

One of the big outcomes from all this activity is that Brocade is being broken apart into its historical components: Fibre Channel, Ethernet switching, and the Ruckus Wireless Group. ARRIS emerges with a broadened portfolio and Extreme Networks appears to be rejuvenated. Most of all, Avago/Broadcom gains considerable leverage as the dominant supplier of several key networking components and also as a deal maker who is reshaping the industry.

FirstNet Picks AT&T for roll-out of National First Responder Network

AT&T has been selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to build and manage the first broadband network dedicated to America's police, firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) that will cover all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, including rural communities and tribal lands.

The communications infrastructure to be provided by AT&T will support the millions of first responders and public safety personnel nationwide. The public-private infrastructure investment is expected to create around 10,000 U.S. jobs over the next two years, with the roll-out scheduled to begin later in 2017.

AT&T noted that first responders currently use commercial networks, which can suffer from congestion, and utilise over 10,000 different networks for voice communications that may not interoperate. FirstNet is aiming to address these limitations.

For the project AT&T will create a national IP-based, high-speed mobile communications network for first responders designed to improve rescue and recovery operations, more effectively connect first responders to the information they need, support public safety initiatives based on IoT and smart city solutions and enable the use of new capabilities such as wearable sensors and cameras.

Under the terms of the 25-year agreement between FirstNet and AT&T:

1. FirstNet will provide 20 MHz of telecommunications spectrum and success-based payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to support the network build-out, with the funding raised from previous FCC spectrum auctions.

2. AT&T will spend approximately $40 billion over the term of the contract to build, deploy, operate and maintain the network, with a focus on ensuring reliable coverage for public safety users.

3. AT&T will also connect FirstNet users to the company's telecom network assets.

In addition, FirstNet and AT&T will seek to develop the network in line with technology advances, for example, to leverage 5G network capabilities as they become available over the next few years.

To help FirstNet achieve its public safety objectives, AT&T has assembled a team of partners that includes Motorola Solutions, General Dynamics, Sapient Consulting and Inmarsat Government.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Bouygues Telecom partners with Altitude Infrastructure to expand FTTH

French telco Bouygues Telecom, operator of national IP fibre-based and mobile networks with over 16 million subscribers, announced it has entered into a framework agreement through which it will begin providing a FTTH service in partnership with Altitude Infrastructure.

Under the agreement, Altitude will provide Bouygues with fibre network technology to serve both retail and business customers across France. The companies plan to launch a trial phase in September 2017, with Altitude expected to start marketing the new fibre-based services in 2018. Bouygues noted that at the end of 2016 it had 3.1 million fixed broadband customers, including 121,000 signed up to FTTH services.

France-based Altitude is an established company that works with local authorities in France to build, develop, operate and market alternate networks. The company specialises in public initiative network (PIN) projects, through which networks are deployed where no existing operator wishes to invest in building infrastructure independently. PINs are backed by public funding and may require approval from local and European regulators.

The new agreement with Bouygues covers all of the PINs implemented by Altitude, although it will initially focus on two networks in the east of France that cover around 670,000 customers. To date, Altitude has passed approximately one million premises across France with FTTH infrastructure via 19 PINs in one region covering 15 departments and four urban authorities. As of September 2016, there were 3.2 million FTTH subscribers in France for all operators.

Regarding the agreement, Richard Viel, deputy CEO of Bouygues Telecom, commented, "Bouygues Telecom has already been a customer of Altitude Infrastructure's networks for its business clients for a number of years, the new partnership… (demonstrates) its ambitions in FTTH, specifically to be present in all of France's PINs… to enable Bouygues Telecom to reach its target of 20 million premises marketed by 2022".

Telenor and Huawei Test 5G E-band multi-user MIMO

Norway-based global telco Telenor Group, serving around 214 million mobile subscribers in 13 markets worldwide, and Huawei have jointly announced what they claim is the first 5G-based E-band multi-user MIMO demonstration to be conducted in Norway.

During the demonstration the partners achieved a maximum data rate of 70 Gbit/s, and demonstrated that E-band (the 71-76/81-86 GHz frequency band) multi-user MIMO can provide deliver 20 Gbit/s speeds for a single user. Huawei noted that working as a supplementary low frequency band, E-band can be used to enhance the user experience for eMBB services.

The companies stated that they will also conduct a joint desktop study designed to provide insight and experience to help identify the steps that will be required to upgrade from 4G to 5G technology in Telenor's network. The work will be carried out at the Telenor and Huawei joint innovation centre.

In mid-2016, Telenor announced it had completed a major commercial deployment of Huawei's Blade Site wireless base-station solution in India, with more than 10,000 new sites installed across its six circles in the country. Telenor India selected the Huawei Blade Site solution to meet growing demand for voice and data services from its around 52 million subscribers.

Earlier last year, Telenor India announced that it had commercialised Huawei's Lean GSM solution to provide a path to the roll-out of mobile broadband (MBB) services across its six circles the country. The operator stated that the Lean GSM solution had been deployed in 28 Indian cities to enhance coverage through improved spectral efficiency. Huawei noted the project included the modernisation of 5,000 sites to prepare for the delivery of mobile broadband services.

IEEE 802.3bv amendment Addresses 1 GBE over Plastic

The IEEE has announced the publication of the new IEEE 802.3bv, Standard for Ethernet amendment: Physical layer specifications and management parameters for 1,000 Mbit/s operation over plastic optical fibre.

The new IEEE 802.3bv standard amendment is intended to address growing demand for high-speed Ethernet connectivity solutions for automotive, industrial and home networking, and leverages the ability of plastic optical fibre to meet the requirements of these applications where long link lengths are not involved.

The IEEE noted that automotive and industrial networks are increasingly migrating towards the use of Ethernet technology, with plastic optical fibre already being used in automobiles and other vehicles. The IEEE 802.3bv standard is designed to provide a reliable media option for Ethernet automotive networks, and also offers an alternative transmission medium applicable for harsh, electrically noisy environments such as industrial automation islands.

The non-conductive cable construction and simple installation properties enabled by plastic optical fibre are also being utilised by telecom providers to enhance Ethernet-based home networks for wireless network access based on IEEE 802.11 (WiFi) devices.

IEEE recently announced the approval of New Ethernet Applications, an IEEE-SA Industry Connections (IC) Program established to identify and address standards development requirements to support the broader utilisation of IEEE 802.3 standards across a range of industries.

The organisation noted that with emerging, non-traditional applications creating demand for new IEEE 802.3 standards, it ahs expanded the scope of the IEEE 802.3 Industry Connections Next Generation Enterprise, Data-Center, Campus (NG-ECDC) activity. Therefore the IEEE 802.3 New Ethernet Applications Industry Connections (NEA-IC) activity has been formed to cover applications outside data centre, campus and enterprise environments.

As part of this effort, study groups and standards development activities have been launched to address industrial and automotive applications, including the IEEE P802.3cg, Physical layer specifications and management parameters for 10 Mbit/s operation over single balanced twisted-pair cabling and IEEE P802.3 Multi-gig automotive Ethernet PHY study group, as well as application for networking management protocols such as the IEEE P802.3cf, Yang data model definitions task force.

LightCounting Forecasts Optics Sales to top 4 ICPs

LightCounting, in its latest High-Speed Ethernet Optics report, finds that demand for Ethernet optics from leading Internet content providers (ICPs) continues to rise, with sales to the Top 4 ICPs - Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft - forecast to increase from $0.5 billion in 2016 to $1 billion in 2017 and nearly $2 billion by 2022, representing around 30% of the global market for Ethernet transceivers.

LightCounting notes that supply shortages for 100 Gigabit Ethernet optics limited market growth in 2016, as vendors worked to ramp production. The research firm projects that, based on estimated manufacturing capacity for the leading suppliers of optics in 2017, demand will continue to exceed supply until 2018. Meanwhile, it expects volume shipments of 200 and 400 Gigabit Ethernet transceivers for applications in ICP mega-data centres will commence in 2019 and 2021, respectively.

Broken down by technology, LightCounting forecasts that the 40 Gigabit Ethernet segment will continue to decline having peaked in 2016, while sales of 100 Gigabit Ethernet solutions will continue to grow rapidly and peak at around $1 billion by 2019. For the 200/400 Gigabit Ethernet segment, it projects that sales will ramp from 2018 to reach around $200 million in 2019 and approach $1.2 billion by 2022.

LightCounting's forecast is based on a correlation between the growth rate of traffic inside mega-data centres and the bandwidth of optical transceivers sold into the market segment, while Amazon and Facebook recently stated that traffic in their facilities is increasing at a rate of around 100% per year.

Meanwhile, data on transceiver sales indicates that the top 4 ICPs increased bandwidth of optical connectivity by 70% in 2016, which is consistent with reported shortages in supplies of 100 Gigabit Ethernet optics. For 2017, LightCounting expects that bandwidth will increase by 90% as supply chain shortages moderate.

For the period 2018 to 22, LightCounting's projections assume that traffic growth in mega-data centres will decline gradually, while ICPs will find ways to use optical connectivity more efficiently. Even so, the research firm predicts that the global market for Ethernet optics will increase by 18% annually and exceed $6 billion by 2022.

ADI acquires OneTree Microdevices

Analog Devices, a supplier of analogue, mixed-signal and digital signal processing semiconductors, has announced the acquisition of Santa Rosa, California-based OneTree Microdevices, a privately-held fabless semiconductor company offering solutions for emerging broadband networks, on undisclosed terms. 

ADI is a major supplier of mixed signal solutions for cable access, ranging from data converters to clocking and control/power conditioning. Through the acquisition of OneTree Microdevices' GaAs and GaN amplifier portfolio, which are designed to offer enhanced linearity, output power and efficiency, ADI will be able to address the complete signal chain for next-generation cable access networks.

OneTree Microdevices focuses on delivering solutions for broadband networks, having developed a range of key components for CATV, including enabling support for DOCSIS 3.1 technology, and FTTH networks. Analog Devices noted that cable operators are adopting next generation architectures such as DOCSIS 3.1 and remote PHY to increase the capacity of their networks, which the acquired OneTree assets will enable it to serve.

Analog Devices recently completed the acquisition of Linear Technology, a designer, manufacturer and supplier of a broad range of analogue integrated circuits for major customers worldwide, for a total of approximately $14.8 billion in cash and stock.

Linear Technology's products are designed to provide the bridge between analogue and digital electronics, with applications in markets including communications, networking, industrial, automotive, computer, instrumentation and consumer. The company's products span power management, data conversion, signal conditioning, RF and interface ICs, subsystems and wireless sensor networks.

Commenting on the acquisition, Greg Henderson, VP, RF and microwave business at Analog Devices, said, "…. with OneTree Microdevices, ADI is positioned to solve the bandwidth and power efficiency challenges facing cable operators in their efforts to increase broadband Internet services for homes and businesses… OneTree’s expertise aligns with ADI's focus on GaN technology and extends its portfolio of RF and microwave signal chain solutions for infrastructure, defence and instrumentation markets".

Sasktel Selects Ericsson MediaFirst for IPTV

Ericsson announced it has been selected by SaskTel, the leading ICT provider in Saskatchewan, Canada with approximately 1.4 million customers, for a project to upgrade its TV service offering to enable the delivery of next generation IPTV services.

Under the agreement, SaskTel will implement the Ericsson MediaFirst solution suite this year, with plans to launch its enhanced and expanded IPTV service commercially across Saskatchewan in early 2018.

The Ericsson MediaFirst platform is designed to provide SaskTel's subscribers with new features via a new pay TV in-home and TV everywhere product. New features such as a personalised interface across all screens and the ability to watch live TV and access content on demand on any device will also be offered to existing maxTV subscribers.

Ericsson's MediaFirst solution suite incorporates the MediaFirst TV platform, video processing, video delivery and video storage and processing platform (VSPP). The MediaFirst TV platform is a software-defined, cloud-based TV platform designed to enable a converged multi-screen experience encompassing pay TV in-home, TV everywhere and OTT services utilising any content source and delivery network.

The MediaFirst platform leverages a devops approach to provide enhanced flexibility and scalability; it also features analytics tools that help operators to address relevant and related content and promotions to viewers.

Ericsson noted that MediaFirst video processing allows virtualisation in content exchange, distribution and software-defined live UHD encoding, while MediaFirst video delivery addresses each stage of the media delivery chain, including VSPP, to enable advanced time-shifted services such as cloud DVR.

SaskTel serves a total of approximately 1.4 million customer connections in Saskatchewan, including 617,000 wireless accesses, 389,000 wireline accesses, 273,000 Internet accesses and 111,000 maxTV subscribers. SaskTel and its subsidiaries offer a range of ICT solutions including voice, data and Internet, wireless data, TV, data centre and cloud-based services.

Update on the telecommunications market in Poland - Part 4

P4, operating as Play (continued)

According to UKE's report on the Polish communications market in 2015, P4 had the largest share in the market for bundled services in terms of the number of subscribers, with 30% of subscribers purchasing the service from that operator, up from 10.6% in 2014. Also according to UKE, P4 ranked third after Orange Polska and Polkomtel in terms of its share of fixed and wireless Internet subscribers, with a market share of 7.6%, up from 7.0% in 2014.

On January 6th UKE reported 1.75 million users had taken advantage of MNP in 2016 and the company, which had gained most from the scheme, was Poland's second largest mobile operator. P4 gained a net 295,241 new users from other networks to reach its market share of 25.8% by subscribers, and 23.6 % in terms of revenues. P4 also made a meaningful mobile market share gain in terms of subscribers in 2015 compared with 2014. On January 13th P4 announced that its LTE network, using carrier aggregation technology, covered 1,378 municipalities with at least 1,000 inhabitants.

On January 17th, local Polish news-source reported informed as saying that P4, which historically depended on roaming agreements, primarily with T-Mobile Polska (but also with Orange Polska and Polkomtel), intended to expand its own network coverage with about 2,000 new locations by 2018/2019. This would give it a similar number of base stations as Polkomtel and significantly reduce the difficulties of having to rely on competitive networks. 

Polkomtel, operating as Plus

To recap, in January 2014 Reuters reported that Polish media group and leading national DTH operator Cyfrowy Polsat, majority controlled by Polish billionaire Zygmunt Solorz-Zak, had agreed to a PLN6.15 billion ($2.01 billion) share issue to buy mobile provider Polkomtel in a share-swap based on purchasing a controlling stake in Polkomtel's holding company, Metelem, giving the latter's owners a 45.53% stake in the enlarged group. The merger of Cyfrowy Polsat with Polkomtel was designed to significantly help to alleviate the latter's debt burden. The deal closed in May 2014. The impact of the deal was described as follows In the Cyfrowy Polsat annual report for 2014, published in March 2015:

-    "By adding the operator of Plus network to Cyfrowy Polsat Group, it has become the biggest media and telecom group in the region, servicing 6.1 million contract customers and providing a total of 16.5 million pay TV, mobile telephony and LTE Internet services, as well as one of the biggest private Polish enterprises with the capitalisation of PLN 15 billon… total consolidated revenue of Cyfrowy Polsat Group in 2014 was PLN 7.4 billion, with EBITDA of PLN 2.7 billion and profit at PLN 292.5 million".

According to the UKE report on the Polish communications market in 2015, Polkomtel:

·         Had a 22.6% subscriber market share of the Polish mobile services market, but a remarkable 27.9% share by revenues.

·         Had a 9.2% subscriber market share of the combined fixed and wireless Internet market, up from 8.8% in 2014 (Polkomtel has virtually no position in the Polish fixed-line market).

·         Had an almost dominant position in interconnection revenue, with a market share of 38.5%, more than half as much again as P4, the second-placed player with a market share of 23.0%.

·         Had an 8.1% subscriber share in bundled services, up from 6.6% in 2014.

(NB: It should be noted that Cyfrowy Polsat and other subsidiaries of the company also participate independently in some of the same markets as Polkomtel.)

On January 20th Polkomtel and Cyfrowy Polsat, which had introduced a 300 Mbit/s mobile data service in the first half of 2016 based on LTE Plus Advanced aggregation technology, announced the LTE Plus Advanced network of Group Cyfrowy Polska covered more than 15 million inhabitants (40% of the population), while its standard LTE coverage was approaching 100% of the population.

On February 2nd Poland's UOkIK announced that it was fining Cyfrowy Polsat and Polkomtel a total of over PLN40 million for misleading advertising campaigns concerned with smartDOM and Power LTE products (both service packages offered by Cyfrowy Polsat and Polkomtel), all of which focused on the slogan 'Power LTE – LTE Internet with unlimited data'. PLN 30.7 million of this will be paid directly by Polkomtel. UOkIK is also requiring the two companies to publish details of the decision on their websites and explain it on TV.

On February 14th Cyfrowy Polsat and Polkomtel/Plus announced a new phase of communication of their smartDOM strategic bundled services offer, which would include up to nine household products and services that customers would be able to combine and thus obtain a significant reduction in their collective annual costs of running a home. Apart from mobile telephony services offered by Plus, as well as Cyfrowy Polsat's DTH , the other options include electricity supply, banking services, insurance services, security services for homes, as well as the sale of telecommunication devices, home electronics and household appliances. On March 1st it was announced that natural gas supply for homes would be added to the program.

(Errata: the reference in Part 3 to Orange Polska's 40% share of mobile revenue was meant to refer only to its revenue from outgoing voice calls. For total mobile revenue, Orange's share was given by UKE as 26.7%, 1 point below its previously quoted subscriber market share of 27.7%.)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

IEEE Women In Engineering Int Leadership Conference - May 22-23

IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity, today unveiled the conference agenda for the 2017 IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference (IEEE WIE ILC). Senior science and technology professionals are invited to come and exchange ideas, creating a community that fuels innovation and offers support to women and men who strive to Lead Beyond. Join us at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California on 22 – 23 May 2017 to collaborate and share.  

Attendees should register by April 4 to receive Early Bird rates. To register for the IEEE WIE ILC, visit

Leading speakers will discuss key strategies in these main categories: leadership, entrepreneurship, disruptive technology, innovation and empowerment. Keynote speakers include Microsoft EVP Business Development, Peggy Johnson; Intel Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Danielle Brown; DARPA Acting Deputy Director, Stefanie Tompkins; Harvey Mudd College President, Maria Klawe; and Ellevest CEO, Sallie Krawcheck. View the full agenda to meet all the speakers.

“Reflecting on previous IEEE WIE ILC events, my team and I used feedback from attendees to create a truly dynamic program,” said Nita Patel, founder and chair of the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference. “Striving to build upon their careers, attendees will experience new, in depth, hands-on workshops designed to boost learning, networking and collaboration, for a greater peer discussion experience, and problem solving setting. Our goal is for IEEE WIE ILC to be a place professionals meet and share strategies, so women find new ways to Lead Beyond.”

The 2017 IEEE WIE ILC delivers the networking, educational opportunities and tips even before the live conference begins.

Join our #WIEWednesdays Pre-Conference Virtual TracksMeet speakers while they share their experiences and strategies for success. Register for future tracks: 29 March 2017, 19 April 2017 and 10 May 2017, and watch past sessions on our YouTube Playlist.

Start-Up Pitch Competition: Hosted by our partners, VMWare and Women Who Code, IEEE invites women run startups to submit their company pitch. Six start-ups will be selected to showcase their brand to an audience of potential investors, partners and customers. The application deadline is 31 March 2017 to submit your pitch.

Workshops: There will be twelve focused workshop sessions designed to explore topics and develop skills in depth and to foster better networking and common connections. Go to our workshop schedule to plan an itinerary.

Career Fair: Held 23 May 2017 from 10:00 to 3:00, attend and learn about new career opportunity at companies like Verizon, Intel, Microsoft, Ericsson, VMware, Rockwell Automation. Don’t have a conference pass, yet would like to attend? Purchase a $5 ticket.

To learn more about the IEEE WIE ILC, visit

Verizon Launches LTE-M Nationwide

Verizon announced the commercial launch of its nationwide 4G LTE Category M1 (or Cat M1) network. The coverage spans 2.4 million square miles.

Verizon will introduce low rate, multi-year plans to match the longer useful life of Cat M1 devices, including data plans that start at $2 per month per device, with customized options available for bulk activations and volume purchases.

Verizon said its Cat M1 network is built on a virtualized cloud environment which enables rapid and agile IoT solution deployment and nationwide scaling aimed at increasing IoT adoption for developers and businesses with new and more economical IoT data plans.

“We are very proud to again demonstrate our innovative leadership by providing this commercially available network for our customers, an industry first,” said Mike Haberman, Network Vice President at Verizon.  “As the natural shift from CDMA-based IoT solutions to the more robust and cloud-based LTE technology occurs, it’s important we stay ahead of that technology evolution for our customers so we can continue to provide them service on the best and most advanced wireless network. Our commercial deployment of the nationwide LTE Cat M1 network does just that.”

Verizon’s Cat M1 partners include Sequans, Telit, U-Blox, Sierra Wireless, Gemalto, Qualcomm Technologies, and Altair.