Sunday, August 27, 2017

FCC: 4% of cell sites down in coastal Texas

As of August 27, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT,  4.1% of the cell sites were down in the coastal counties of Texas and Louisina impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Of the 55 counties in the hurricane impact zone, three were hit by outages in greater than 50% of cell sites: Aransas, Calhoun, Refugio, and San Patricio counties. Within these counties, there were 7,804 active cell sites prior to the hurricane, and of the time of the report, there were 320 cell sites down.

The FCC found there were at least 148,565 cable and wireline subscribers out of service in the affected area on Sunday morning.

There were 19 ongoing outagages or re-routing incidents involving Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).

In addition, there were 9 radio stations off the air. No TV broadcaster outages were reported.

https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-346369A1.pdf



AWS Cognito provides mobile app authentication

Amazon Web Services (AWS) introduced new capabilities to make it easier for mobile app developers to authenticate users and gain access to resources on the AWS cloud.

The new service features are part of AWS Cognito User Pools – App Integration and Federation, which is now in general availability release.

Amazon Cognito is a managed cloud service that provides authentication, authorization, and user management for web, mobile and even IoT applications. Some highlights:

  • Amazon Cognito User Pools: create and maintain a user directory in order to add sign-up and sign-in to your mobile app or web application. You can also sign in users to a user pool through social identity providers as well as, SAML-based providers
  • Amazon Cognito Federated Identities: enables the creation of unique identities for users and the ability to authenticate them with federated identity providers, such as Google or Facebook, for temporary, limited-privilege access to app resources
  • Amazon Cognito Sync: allows you to synchronize user profile data across mobile devices and the web without the need to build a backend. It supports offline access, cross-device synchronizing, and local data caching of application-related user data so the user app experience remains consistent regardless of the device.

AWS also noted that the mobile client login can now provide a sign-up and sign-in for social identity providers including Facebook, Google, Login with Amazon, as well as through SAML with corporate identity providers such as Microsoft Active Directory.

https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/

IBM Offers Data Protection Software

IBM announced a new data protection software with hybrid cloud capabilities that can rapidly move data from on-premises back-end storage to public or private clouds.

IBM said the software is designed to be used by virtual machines (VM) and application administrators. It also provides data clone functionality to support and automate DevOps workflows.

IBM Spectrum Protect Plus is offered for two different deployment options, either as a stand-alone software installed into virtualized environments or as an integrated function with IBM’s Spectrum Protect software, which can be used by large enterprise clients with diverse data protection and availability requirements.

IBM Spectrum Protect Plus also has data protection and monitoring based upon automated Service Level Agreements to provide backup status and support retention compliance.

IBM Spectrum Protect Plus provides data availability using snapshot technology for rapid backup, recovery and data management.

https://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/53024.wss

IBM and SAP team on real-time retail data

IBM and SAP have teamed up to provide a co-innovated solution for the retail and consumer packaged goods industries that uses near real-time data to markedly improve planning and execution in the physical store.

The solution leverages unique data sources, such as IBM’s Metro Pulse, which flow through SAP Cloud Platform.

"SAP S/4HANA, coupled with access to rich, hyperlocal data understood and reasoned by IBM’s cognitive services, can provide consumer product and retail business users across the C-suite with the specific insights to gain a competitive advantage in major markets,” said Laurence Haziot, IBM Global Managing Director and General Manager Consumer Industries.
“Through this exciting collaboration between SAP and IBM, retailers and consumer products companies today can respond with speed, precision and confidence to locally relevant events. SAP S/4HANA includes capabilities to enable users to execute end-to-end business processes in ways that other systems cannot,” said Lori Mitchell-Keller, global general manager, Consumer Industries at SAP.  

http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/consulting/

Splunk's sales continue to rise - up 32% yoy

Splunk reported solid sales growth for its fiscal second quarter ended July 31, 2017, with total revenues rising to $280.0 million, up 32% year-over-year. Total billings were $303.4 million, up 32% year-over-year. There was a GAAP operating loss of $82.1 million; GAAP operating margin was negative 29.3%.

Some highlights:
  • Signed over 500 new customers.
  • Announced Splunk Insights for AWS Cloud Monitoring
  • Introduced Splunk Insights for Ransomware, a new offering that delivers organizations an analytics solution to manage ransomware threats.
  • Released new versions of Splunk Enterprise 6.6 and Splunk Cloud to make it easier than ever for a wide range of users to leverage datasets, build dashboards, gain answers and share insights.
  • Released the latest version of Splunk Enterprise Security (ES) 4.7 to improve investigation efficiency and incident response, as well as provide insight from common SaaS applications.
  • Splunk and Booz Allen Hamilton announced a private beta of Booz Allen Cyber4Sight for Splunk, a new solution designed to empower security analysts and threat hunters with actionable  intelligence.
  • Released new version of the Splunk Add-on for Microsoft Cloud Services in Splunkbase, which gives Splunk administrators the ability to collect events from various Microsoft Cloud Services APIs.

“I am pleased with the solid sales execution in Q2, particularly our results in EMEA,” said Doug Merritt, President and CEO, Splunk.

http://www.splunk.com

VMware cites momentum as sales rise 12% yoy

Ahead of this week's VMworld show in Las Vegas, VMware reported Q2 revenue of $1.90 billion, an increase of 12.2% from the second quarter of 2016. License revenue for the second quarter was $732 million, an increase of 13.7% from the second quarter of 2016. GAAP net income for the second quarter was $334 million, or $0.81 per diluted share, up 30% per diluted share compared to $265 million, or $0.62 per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2016.

"We are very pleased with our Q2 results, which were driven by broad-based strength across the product portfolio in all three geographies," said Pat Gelsinger, chief executive officer, VMware. "As we continue our multi-year journey from a compute virtualization company to offer a broad portfolio of products driving efficiency and digital transformation, customers are increasingly turning to VMware to help them run, manage, secure and connect their applications across all clouds and all devices. VMware had a strong quarter and is well positioned for the future," said Zane Rowe, executive vice president and chief financial officer, VMware. "We increased our fiscal year guidance, completed our successful debut debt offering and received authorization for an additional $1.0 billion of stock repurchases."

Some highlights:

  • NSX included in all top 10 deals this quarter
  • VMware Cloud Services, including VMware Cloud on AWS service, continues to experience strong customer interest and remains on-track
  • During the quarter, VMware signed its largest ever telco deal with Vodafone, reprsenting "a huge step forward" for its NFV initiative
  • VMware now has 20,916 employees
  • In June, VMware introduced major updates across its VMware vRealize Cloud Management Platform which enable customers to manage and provision at scale -- including compute, network, storage, and application services across multi-cloud environments.


http://www.vmware.com

ZTE posts 1H17 sales of RMB 54 billion, up 13% yoy

Citing strength in mobile networking and its smartphone business, ZTE reported that its first-half revenue increased 13.1% to RMB 54.01 billion (US$8.12 billion). Net profit attributable to holders of ordinary shares of the listed company jumped to RMB 2.29 billion.

Some highlights:

  • R&D spending increased to RMB 6.68 billion in the first half, or 12.4% of revenue. 
  • In March 2017, the company was ranked No. 1 in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)'s latest annual list for patent applications, reflecting the company's increased focus on research and development of next-generation technologies.
  • The Carrier Networks division accounted for 59.9% of revenue.
  • ZTE has deployed over 60 Pre5G networks as well as 240 SDN and NFV networks globally.  
  • ZTE cited a year-on-year growth of 41.7 percent in self-developed chip shipments in the first half of 2017. 
  • In its Consumer division, ZTE reported growth in both operating revenue and gross profit, saying it now ranks fourth in the US smartphone market and ranks among the top five in countries including Australia, Germany, Canada and Spain. ZTE’s terminal STB shipment gained a year-on-year increase of 15% in first-half, exceeding the annual shipments in 2016.

http://www.zte.com.cn

Thursday, August 24, 2017

China Unicom launches LTE-Broadcast and Gigabit LTE with Ericsson

China Unicom commercially launched a Gigabit LTE network.

On August 23, passengers on a Hainan Island high-speed train were able to watch the lauch ceremony via LTE broadcast over the Gigabit wireless network. Ericsson, as China Unicom's strategic partner, is the exclusive provider of the LTE broadcast solution, which is China's first LTE broadcast commercial deployment. Ericsson also provided the Gigabit LTE network upgrade.

Hao Liqian, General Manager, Hainan branch, China Unicom, says: “This remarkable achievement will fulfill our strategy to offer the most advanced services to individuals and enterprises on the China Unicom network. Our launch ceremony today is important, innovative and fun, since we’re using Virtual Reality on a high-speed train over a high-speed network to prove the worthiness of this launch.”

Chris Houghton, Head of Market Area North East Asia, Ericsson, says: “We’re literally putting the network into the hands of the subscribers on day one.  People will be able to immerse themselves in their video experience and not just understand, but feel, the difference with a Gigabit LTE network while they are moving at very fast speeds.  It’s the perfect combination of thrilling speeds – physically and virtually.”

Ericsson said LTE broadcast will revolutionize video delivery in mobile networks enabled by the combination of three new standards: eMBMS, HEVC (H.265) and MPEG DASH/

Recently, Ericsson supported China Unicom in setting up a 1Gbps network in Guangdong, Hainan, Shandong, and Beijing with peak speeds of up to 979Mbps. With that speed, it takes just 13 seconds to download a 1080P high-definition movie. There are more on-going 1Gbps trials in Sichuan, Hubei, Shanxi, Jilin and Jiangsu province. A high-speed mobile broadband network will enable businesses and services using Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and other big data operations.

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2017/8/gigabit-network-launched-in-china


Flash Memory Summit – big changes in non-volatile memory part 3

Hyperconverged platforms, such as those offered by Nutanix, have proven to be extremely successful in the market because they integrate compute, networking and storage in a single, scale-out box. They are a new way of looking at the old problem of how best to connect these three resources. In a similar fashion, the Open Compute Project, which was launched by Facebook six years ago, set out to rethink how compute, storage and networking could be optimised at the rack level to build hyperscale data centres.

What we’re seeing now, as evidenced by the 2017 Flash Memory Summit in Silicon Valley, is that non-volatile memory is advancing at a faster pace than other storage technologies, and at faster pace than compute (CPUs and GPUs), or networking. Ethernet has continued to progress in either 10X or 4X steps, but recently, these have taken time. In data centres, 10G backbones are common. Carrier backbones typically run utilise 100G links.

These statements were true a year ago – or even two years ago. We see some 400G pluggable transceiver apparently ready for market this year. But will 400G be rapidly adopted in either data centres or carrier networks? For a variety of network engineering reasons, implementing 400G in a network is not as easily done as deploying new SSDs with 4 times the capacity as last year’s model.

More importantly, Samsung Electronics has a ten-year roadmap showing how its 3D NANDs will evolve from 4th generation to 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th over the course of a decade.

The company says the physics of the last two generations in this progression have yet to be solved but so far look possible. At this point, it seems likely that this rapid evolution will deliver 2X or 3X capacity improvements every two years of less. On the networking side, we’ve seen the Ethernet Alliance publish an Ethernet Roadmap that envisions a proliferation of new interface speeds. This roadmap predicts terabit speed interfaces by 2020, scaling up to 10 terabits/second by 2030. Storage innovation may be winning this race.

Here are some other interesting observations on the storage market.

Western Digital pushes 3D NAND to 96 layers

Western Digital, which received the Flash Memory Summit ‘Best of Show’ award for its BiCS4 technology, has now pushed its 3D NAND technology to 96 layers of vertical storage capability. This marks several years of continuous improvement. In 2016, WD announced 64-layer 3D NAND after achieving 48-layer 3D NAND in 2015. Last month, the company also announced the development of its first four-bits-per-cell (X4) 3D NAND technology. More layers translate into more capacity.
Toshiba faces uncertainty but moves to 64-layer, triple-level Flash

Toshiba’s semiconductor division has been a state-of-turmoil due to restructuring and likely sale. Various suitors have been suggested and apparently rejected either by the company or the Japanese authorities.  Most recently, Toshiba’s management appears to be nearing a deal to sell the business to a consortium led by Bain Capital, although this too may be at an impasse.  The joint venture with SanDisk (a division of WD) focused on flash memory has become mired in legal disputes. Apparently, Toshiba will not ship its latest generation of 96-layer BiCS modules to SanDisk.
Nevertheless, at Flash Memory Summit, Toshiba America Electronic Components (TAEC) introduced its first enterprise SSDs utilizing the 64-layer,3-bit-per-cell TLC (triple-level cell) technology flash memory: the PM5 12Gbit/s SAS series and the CM5 NVM Express (NVMe) series. Toshiba’s PM5 series will be available in a 2.5-inch form factor in capacities from 400GB to 30.72TB], with endurance options of 1, 3, 5 and 10DWPD (drive writes per day). Toshiba also introduced its own consumer SSDs for PCs and laptops based on the same 64-layer technology. Capacity options include 256GB, 512GB, and 1024GB.

Toshiba is also introducing the first MultiLink SAS architecture, enabling up to 3350MB/s of sequential read and 2720MB/s of sequential write in MultiLink mode and 400,000 random read IOPS in narrow or MultiLink mode.

Mellanox looks to NVMe over Fabrics

Mellanox Technologies is pushing ahead with its BlueField System-on-Chip (SoC) for NVMe over a network fabric. BlueField integrates all the technologies needed to connect NVMe over Fabrics flash arrays. It provides 200 Gb/s of throughput and more than 10 million IOPS in a single SoC device. In addition, an on-board multicore ARM processor subsystem enables flexible programmability that allows vendors to differentiate their software-defined storage appliances with advanced capabilities. The BlueField chip can be used to control and connect All Flash Arrays and Just-a-Bunch-Of-Flash (JBOF) systems to InfiniBand and Ethernet Storage fabrics. The Mellanox SoC combines a programmable multicore CPU, networking, storage, security, and virtualization acceleration engines into a single, highly integrated device. Refence storage platforms are now ready.

“By tightly integrating high-speed networking, programmable ARM cores, PCIe switching, cache, memory management, and smart offload technology all in one chip; the result is improved performance, power consumption, and affordability for flash storage arrays. BlueField is a key part of our Ethernet Storage Fabric solution, which is the most efficient way to network and share high-performance storage,” stated Michael Kagan, CTO of Mellanox.

Seagate revs its Nytro Flash storage

Seagate Technology introduced enhanced versions of two flash technologies to boost performance and capacity for mixed data center workloads. The updated solid-state drives — including the 2 TB Nytro 5000 M.2 non-volatile memory express (NVMe) SSD and the Nytro 3000 Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) SSD — address different segments of the cloud and data center markets. The latest Nytro 3000 SAS SSD offers a dual-port SAS interface to maintain data integrity in the event of an unexpected communication channel loss. Capacity is 15TB, more than four times the capacity of the previous version.

Seagate also previewed plans to offer a 64-terabyte (TB) NVMe add-in card (AIC). This forthcoming product boasts a read speed of 13 gigabytes per second (GB/s) — the fastest and highest-capacity SSD ever demonstrated.

“Large-capacity SSDs are in high demand in hyperscale computing, a market that is growing faster than any other sector,” said Jim Handy, general director of research firm Objective Analysis. “Seagate’s new SSDs, with their high-performance interfaces and high capacities, should find ready acceptance in this market and other data center applications.”

WekaIO, a start-up based in San Jose, California with R&D in Israel, introduced a cloud-native scalable file system that scales to exabytes of data in a single namespace while delivering a big performance boost to applications, processing four times the workload compared to IBM Spectrum Scale measured on Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC) SFS 2014. A key innovation is that WekaIO eliminates bottlenecks and storage silos by aggregating local SSDs inside the servers into one logical pool, which is then presented as a single namespace to the host applications. A transparent tiering layer offloads cold data to any S3 or Swift cloud object store for unlimited capacity scaling, under the same single namespace.

In partnership with Intel, WekaIO is now demonstrating a native NVMe-oF system using the new “ruler” form factor for Intel SSDs. The companies said this enables a storage capacity of beyond 1PB in 1U while delivering more than 3 million IOPS.

Apple picks Iowa for $1.3 billion data center

Apple will build a 400,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art data center in Waukee, Iowa, a town with a population of about 14,000 located in the center of the state, near Des Moines.

The investment is valued at $1.3 billion. Construction is expected to start early next year and be completed in 2020.

The new facility will run entirely on renewable energy from day one.

“At Apple, we’re always looking at ways to deliver even better experiences for our customers. Our new data center in Iowa will help serve millions of people across North America who use Siri, iMessage, Apple Music and other Apple services — all powered by renewable energy,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Apple is responsible for 2 million jobs in all 50 states and we’re proud today’s investment will add to the more than 10,000 jobs we already support across Iowa, providing even more economic opportunity for the community.”

“At Apple, we’re always looking at ways to deliver even better experiences for our customers. Our new data center in Iowa will help serve millions of people across North America who use Siri, iMessage, Apple Music and other Apple services — all powered by renewable energy,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Apple is responsible for 2 million jobs in all 50 states and we’re proud today’s investment will add to the more than 10,000 jobs we already support across Iowa, providing even more economic opportunity for the community.”

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2017/08/apples-next-us-data-center-will-be-built-in-iowa/


  • Google operates a major data center in Council Bluffs, Iowan


Facebook Plans 4th Expansion of Iowa Data Center


Facebook announced the fourth major expansion of its hyper-scale data center campus in Altoona, Iowa. Specifically, Facebook will add cold storage capabilities to the complex.  The expansion will add more than 100,000 square feet to building 3. Cold storage of Facebook photos and other archival media is currently done at Facebook data centers in Prineville, Oregon and Forest City, North Carolina. 

Verizon adds Checkpoint to its Virtual Network Services -

Verizon has added Check Point Software Technologies to its growing list of enterprise security companies to imbed their security offering within its Virtual Network Services ecosystem.

This means that global enterprises facing security concerns inherent in managing network reliant applications in an on premise, public or hybrid cloud environment can now rely on Verizon Virtual Network Services - Security with Check Point. The virtual service is designed to protect traffic, assets, data and workloads hosted in corporate data centers, customer locations or virtually in the cloud, protecting traffic both inside and outside the enterprise perimeter. Companies can help secure their physical network and cloud with the same policies, simplifying security management and accelerating the secure delivery of applications.

Other enterprise security companies offering solutions with Verizon Virtual Network Services include Palo Alto, Fortinet, Juniper and Cisco. Verizon said it is creating a software-defined technology ecosystem which makes it easy for global enterprises to deploy and manage virtual networks which require flexible bandwidth and trusted security.

"Cyber security in the cloud is currently fragmented, made up of mainly 'detection only' based solutions and fails to protect enterprises from current or future cyber-attacks," said Pierre-Paul Allard, head of worldwide sales, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. "Check Point Infinity is a fully consolidated cyber security architecture that provides the high-level, pre-emptive threat prevention across networks, cloud and mobile devices, and we are delighted that it is now available to users of Verizon Virtual Network Services."

"We add virtual network services to our portfolio to give our customers choice and flexibility to manage and secure their networks as they see fit," said Shawn Hakl, Verizon's VP of new products and innovation. "With Verizon Virtual Network Services, our customers can deploy network services as applications that traditionally are provided over multiple appliances, on demand, via a centralized orchestration engine complete with closed-loop service assurance."

http://www.verizon.com

Is throttling evidence that U.S. mobile networks are capacity constrained?





by James E. Carroll

Verizon is taking heat in the media this week for changes to its “unlimited” data plans. The new throttling policy that should sharply cut down the volume traversing its network. Customers of Verizon’s lowest-cost unlimited plan will find the video streaming is now limited to 480p resolution (approximately 1.5 Mbps) and that data tethering is limited to 600 Kbps. Higher priced unlimited plans support streaming at 720p on smartphones and 1080p on tablets. A business-class tier provides a higher standard of service. AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint also have throttling policies in effect.

We know streaming video is data intensive. We also have seen mobile operators boasting of how fast their 4G LTE access speeds have become. Now it looks like the carriers want to restrict the performance experienced by the majority of their subscribers. In the case of 480p video streaming for subscribers with the latest smartphones, the visual experience could be worse when they use the LTE than when connected by Wi-Fi.  Why would the carrier’s do this?

When word of Verizon’s newly restricted unlimited service plan got out, Net Neutrality advocates immediately warned once again that we are witnessing the end of the open Internet: service providers eager to launch special content bundles with favored partners, are now pushing other content into a throttled and capped slow lane.

But there is another way to look at this.  Over the past few months due to competition from T-Mobile and Sprint, AT&T and Verizon have jumped into offering unlimited data plans too, perhaps before their networks were truly ready to support the traffic.  Unlimited plans must have increased traffic on their networks.  Before the launch of unlimited, mobile data traffic was already surging.  Now it must be growing even faster.  Have investments in the network been sufficient?

A recent study from OpenSignal found that a significant decrease in 4G speeds for both Verizon and AT&T in the months after they introduced unlimited speeds. OpenSignal found that Verizon’s average LTE download test fell 2 Mbps to 14.9 Mbps. T-Mobil and Sprint, which have been offering unlimited plans for a while, have only seen their average download speeds increase over the same period. OpenSignal now says that T-Mobile now offers the fastest download speeds with an average of 17.5 Mbps and an overall speed of 16.1 Mbps.

Lots of talk about super-fast access

Rarely a week goes by without a press announcement from Qualcomm, a network equipment vendor or a major carrier about a field trial delivering super-fast access to a mobile handset. For example, a few days ago, Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies announced a new peak downlink speed of 1.07 Gbps using the Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE Modem, the first announced modem to support Category 18 LTE speeds. The Ericsson lab trial used 12 simultaneous LTE streams, which allow for up to 20 percent increase in peak data rates and capacity with a corresponding improvement in average speeds. Multiple technologies were combined to achieve the improved performance:

·         12 LTE streams with 3 cell carrier aggregation of FDD spectrum

·         4x4 MIMO per carrier (multiple in, multiple out), which uses multiple antennae at the cell tower and on consumers devices to optimize data speeds

·         256 QAM per carrier

Verizon said this 1.07 Gbps achievement builds on its recent announcement about Gigabit LTE with support for License Assisted Access (LAA). Also of significance, the 1.07 Gbps speed was achieved using only three 20MHz carriers of FDD (Frequency Division Duplex using separate transmit and receive frequencies) spectrum, achieving new levels of spectral efficiency for commercial networks and devices. These efficiencies will enable the delivery of the Gigabit class experience to more customers and lead to new wireless innovations.


In Australia, Telstra says it already has gigabit LTE running in some neighborhoods of Sydney.  Before long, peak downlink speeds for the big four U.S. mobile operators could also break the 100 Mbps barrier and zoom up into gigabit-class service.

But meanwhile, if Verizon is capping mobile video for most users at 480p that means that most of the traffic for most of their users is flowing at around 1.5 Mbps - far below the potential of current 4G LTE, not to mention these superfast access speeds on the horizon.

Why bother to restrict or block 1080p streaming at 4.5 Mbps if you are capable of delivering 100 Mbps to that same user? What gives? Where is the bottleneck? All four operators publicly say that they have sufficient spectrum, at least for now. Could it be not enough bandwidth to the towers or remote antennas? Not enough small cells? Are the mobile networks capacity constrained in the metro? Or are they lacking sufficient caching at the edge?

If mobile operators are throttling because they are capacity constrained, the weakness in the network could be at any one of these levels. We know that the mobile operators are engaging in network densification, another term for deploying small cells. But the intensity of these deployments is perhaps too low. Anecdotally, we've heard of small cell deployment schedules numbering in the thousands or tens of thousands for a national network. In comparison, Comcast recently boasted of having 18 million Wi-Fi hotspots available to its users. Maybe that's the size of small cell installation really needed to support a truly unlimited mobile plan.

Capacity constraints could be growing at the metro level. It's not hard to see how these could become saturated with millions of consumers on unlimited plans watching Netflix all day. As the 1G backhaul links to each base station become saturated, the next move would be to scale up until reaching to 10G links.  A robust metro transport network is needed with the ability to carry lots of 100Gs and perform intelligent switching. Are the mobile networks sufficiently prepared at this level?

Network equipment vendors have been saying for some time that service providers are underinvesting in their network infrastructure, at least compared to historic CAPEX-to-revenue levels. Maybe there is a case to be heard.

Protecting the 5G fixed line for residential video service

One further possibility is that mobile operators really fear video streaming will move from the small screen to the big screen without their permission. Truthfully, 480p video streaming to a 5” smartphone looks OK.  Streaming at 720p to the same device is better, especially on newer smartphones. At 1080p to the handset or higher, you reach the point of diminishing returns. The pixels are too small to make a big difference. However, on a 50" flat screen TV, there is a huge difference in quality. Tethering 480p streaming video from your phone to your TV is not visually compelling. But with a Gigabit LTE connection and an unlimited plan, streaming video at 4K could be very nice.

In Texas, AT&T is already testing residential, fixed-line 5G for delivering its DIRECTV NOW service. From a marketing perspective, maybe the plan is to preserve serious video watching as a premium service and to position mobile viewing as a casual service regardless of how fast the handsets become or how the networks perform.


OpenSignal mobile test report – August 2017 - https://opensignal.com/reports/2017/08/usa/state-of-the-mobile-network 

PCCW Global launches Restoration On Demand service

Hong Kong's PCCW Global, the international operating division of HKT, launched a Restoration On Demand service.

The Network-as-a-Service offering enables its customers to rapidly re-route their connections to an alternate network path in the event of an undersea cable failure, thereby restoring their international connectivity at the click of a button.

PCCW said its Global Restoration On Demand service leverages its SDN capabilities to enhance network resilience and service performance in order to meet the needs of global enterprises. The service complements PCCW Global’s existing premium always-on protected International Private Lease Circuit (IPLC) service by offering customers a quick-to-deploy and cost-effective business continuity service alternative. Link setup, traffic restoration and billing are automatically activated, ensuring the customer's traffic is safely protected until the original fiber service is restored. Once the primary circuit has been repaired, the customer can elect when to revert to the original service.

“Our Restoration On Demand service represents a massive step forward for our enterprise customers, providing them with peace-of-mind via a cost-effective and reliable business continuity alternative. Leveraging PCCW Global’s extensive fiber network, we have designed an online portal which allows our customers to restore their international connectivity with one click of a button. It is a backup capability that, once activated online, allows capacity to be provisioned automatically by our systems in near real-time and with no human intervention required,” stated Mr. Jordick Wong, Senior Vice President, Product and Vendor Management, PCCW Global.

https://pccwglobal.com/zh/

Broadcom posts quarterly revenue of US$4.463 billion, up 18% yoy

Broadcom reported quarter net revenue of $4,463 million, an increase of 7 percent from $4,190 million in the previous quarter and an increase of 18 percent from $3,792 million in the same quarter last year. Gross margin was $2,149 million, or 48.2 percent of net revenue. Operating income was $648 million, or 14.5 percent of net revenue. This compares with operating income of $474 million, or 11.3 percent of net revenue, in the prior quarter, and operating loss of $264 million, or 7.0 percent of net revenue, in the same quarter last year.

“We continue to execute consistently and delivered strong financial results for our third fiscal quarter, with revenue growth of 6 percent and EPS growth of 11 percent sequentially” said Hock Tan, President and CEO of Broadcom Limited. “We are expecting revenue growth to further accelerate in the fourth fiscal quarter, led by robust content gains and seasonal strength in our wireless segment.”

http://www.broadcom.com


Infinera Intelligent Transport Networks available to U.S. federal agencies

Infinera announced that its full portfolio of optical transport networking equipment and services is now available to all U.S. federal government agencies via General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule 70, NASA Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement V (SEWP V) and Air Force Network-Centric Solutions-2 (NETCENTS-2).

The federal government estimates spending $86B on information technology services in 2018 and relies on GSA Schedule, SEWP V and NETCENTS-2 for procurement of optical transport solutions. The federal government and many state agencies utilize GSA Schedules to pre-negotiate prices and contract terms to ensure the purchasing process flows smoothly. Infinera maintains a relationship with immixGroup, the largest value-added distributor of enterprise software and hardware products to public sector solution providers, systems integrators and U.S. government agencies, to offer Infinera’s solutions to government agencies on immixGroup’s contract vehicles.

“All federal agencies now have access to Infinera’s Intelligent Transport Networks,” said Wray Varley, Vice President of Government Sales at Infinera. “Thanks to support from immixGroup, we are making it easier to bring scalable and reconfigurable bandwidth and network efficiency to the government sector.”

https://www.infinera.com/intelligent-transport-networks-available-us-government-agencies/

VIVA Dominicana awards 5-year contract to Ericsson

VIVA Dominicana awarded a five-year, full end-to-end network modernization project to Ericsson.

The contract covers deployment of Ericsson Revenue Management products, including the Ericsson Charging System 16, Ericsson Multi Mediation, and all systems integration services and consultant services. The solution is part of Ericsson’s Digital Support Systems (DSS) portfolio and supports VIVA’s 4G 4X4 MIMO network modernization. LTE 4x4 MIMO enables enhanced mobile internet user experience and increases operator spectral efficiency by delivering up to twice the downlink data rate without the need for additional spectrum.

The modernization of VIVA’s IT environment supports monetization of voice and data services, including different options for the configuration of new plans, as well as the path to operator’s short-, medium- and long-term business evolution. Financial terms were not disclosed.

http://www.ericsson.com

Derek Aberle to step down as president of Qualcomm

Derek Aberle will step down as President of Qualcomm Incorporated effective December 31, 2017 following a 17-year with the company.

As part of its transition plan, Qualcomm announced that executive vice president and QTL president Alex Rogers, who has run QTL since March 2016, and is a member of Qualcomm’s Executive Committee, will report directly to Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf.

“On behalf of the Executive Team, I want to thank Derek for the vision, creativity, dedication, and judgment he brought to the company and wish him all the best in the future,” said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated. “Under his talented leadership, the QTL division has significantly grown in both revenues and profits, established its 4G licensing program and enabled significant competition across the industry. I believe the company is well positioned to build on Derek’s record of success and continue to deliver solid results in the future.”

http://www.qualcomm.com



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Telia narrows focus on Nordics and Baltics

The summer break is now well past its peak for many regions. For telecom operators, traffic must be carried whether the whole country is on holiday or not, and this is surely the case for Telia Company. The recent news from Stockholm was not good. A disappointing financial report for Q2 2017 issued on July 20th forced the company to announce a 3% cut in employment, or roughly 850 people, just before the summer holidays and precisely the time many new graduates are looking for opportunities. Telia is a major employer for Sweden and has a local payroll of about 21,000 employees.

For those unfamiliar with the company, Telia was once the state telephone monopoly of Sweden with roots back to 1853. After privatisation, Telia was merged with Sonera, the Finnish incumbent operator, in 2002 and the company was known for a while as Telia-Sonera, before eventually simplifying to just Telia. The government of Sweden still owns a 37% stake in Telia, while the government of Finland is believed to hold a 3% stake.

The disappointing news - flat to declining

Key numbers for Q2 include:

·         For Q2 2017, Telia's net sales in local currencies, excluding acquisitions and disposals, fell 0.4%. In reported currency, net sales fell 6.3% to SEK 19,801 million (21,130). Service revenues in local currencies, excluding acquisitions and disposals, fell 0.6%.

·         The number of subscriptions decreased from 26.7 million from the end of the second quarter of 2016 to 23.4 million. During the quarter, the total number of subscriptions increased by 0.2 million to 23.4 million.

·         Adjusted EBITDA declined 3.3% in local currencies, excluding acquisitions and disposals. In reported currency, adjusted EBITDA fell 4.6% to SEK 6,095 million (6,389). Adjusted EBITDA margin improved to 30.8% (30.2).

·         Capex increased to SEK 5,180 million (3,773) and the capex-to-service revenue ratio to 30.3% (20.9). Capex excluding license and spectrum fees increased to SEK 4,718 million (3,773) and capex-to-service revenue ratio, excluding license and spectrum fees, increased to 27.6% (20.9).

Several factors are putting stress on the business. First, Telia's FTTH business in Sweden is starting to 'reach the end of the fibre rollout potential'. The company says it is struggling with red tape in connecting new households to its fibre network. Specifically, 45,000 new fibre households were connected in the quarter of which 12,000 were single home, down from 22,000 a year earlier. The lower number of single home campaigns resulted in declining installation revenues of SEK 164 million compared to the corresponding quarter last year. At 1.6 million homes passed, Telia is the nation’s largest player. On a positive note in Sweden, Telia's mobile subscriptions grew by 77,000, of which 31,000 were for machine-to-machine services. Meanwhile, fixed broadband subscriptions fell by 1,000 in the quarter. The number of TV subscriptions increased by 10,000 in the quarter, largely driven by the acquisition of C-Sam.

Secondly, management has concluded that operational costs are simply too high. Sweden is an expensive country to do business and to employ large numbers of people. Thirdly, there is the long-term problem impacting nearly all former incumbents – legacy telephony services continue to decline at faster rate than new services are growing.

Telia's job cuts impact 650 positions in Sweden, equal to 8% of the company's Swedish employees. These cuts are expected to yield a 5% reduction in expenses for the second half of 2017. Further structural initiatives are being planned to achieve a reduction of the targeted cost base of at least 3% in 2018.

While Telia is experiencing problems in Sweden, its other Nordic markets are doing better. Revenues in Finland are growing and there is double-digit growth in Norway. Revenues in Lithuania grew 13.5% year over year, but there was a 1.5% revenue decline in Denmark. Revenue is Estonia was stable.



Finally exiting the Eurasian entanglement

Telia also now believes that by the end of 2017 it will have completely disposed of its Eurasian assets, including the disposal of its stake in Tcell in Tajikistan, and the sale of its shares in Turkcell Iletism Hizmetleri (Turkcell).

The controversies regarding the company’s alleged illegal activities in Eurasia, including bribery and money laundering in Uzbekistan, now date back over a decade and have yet to be fully resolved, despite the resignation of Lars Nyberg as CEO in 2013 along with the dismissal of involved employees. Telia still has pending legal cases with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and with the Swedish and Dutch authorities. Most likely there will be a financial sanction to pay. In its Q1 2017 report, Telia said it was looking for a likely settlement to be in the range of US$1 billion.

The longer term strategy


Along with the divestiture or disposal of its businesses in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkey, Telia has also sold its 77% interest in the Spanish operator Yoigo to MASMOVIL, bringing in Euro 479 million. Telia also sold its 100% stake in Sergel Group, a debt collection company, to Marginalen for SEK 2.1 billion. Its new strategy is to transform itself into a next generation telco focused on the Nordic and Baltic regions. New areas of interest include IoT, IT services, media and content. This week, Telia announced the acquisition of Data Logistics Center, one of the biggest data logistics operators in Lithuania, from  Lietuvos Energija (Lithuania Energy) and Litgrid for an undisclosed sum. The deal includes a state-of-the-art Tier III data centre. Telia owns eight other data centres in the Baltics.

See also