Sunday, April 22, 2018

Ericsson sees better financial performance after cost cutting

Amidst a stabilizing mobile infrastructure market with initial 5G development work in North America, Ericsson reported Q1 2018 sales of SEK 43.4 billion (US$5.134 billion), down by -9% YoY. Sales, adjusted for currency, decreased by -2% YoY with lower revenues in market areas North East Asia as well as in South East Asia, Oceania and India. The other market areas showed growth. There was an operating income loss of SEK -0.3 billion (US$35.4 million), which is an improvement from the loss of SEK -11.3 billion for the same period last year. Gross margin was 34.2% (15.7%) 1). Gross margin excluding restructuring charges improved YoY, to 35.9% (18.7%) 1), supported by cost reductions and the continued ramp-up of Ericsson Radio System (ERS).

In North America, Ericsson benefitted from the First Net project underway at AT&T. LTE deployments in mainland China diminished. Ericsson also reports increasing traction for 5G – radio, core & IoT. An additional 500 R&D engineers have been recruited to help with 5G.

As of the end of Q1, Ericsson had 97,581 employees, down from 109,127  in Q2 2017.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, stated: "Our efforts to improve efficiency in service delivery and common costs are starting to pay off. The gross margin improved to 36% (19%) in the quarter, tracking well towards our Group target of 37-39% by 2020. A cornerstone in our strategy is to invest in R&D for both technology leadership and cost leadership, which will allow us to generate higher gross margins. We continue to increase our R&D investments in Networks to lead in 5G. In Digital Services we continue to increase investments into our new cloud-native portfolio as well as changing our ways of working for better R&D efficiency. In Managed Services we continue to focus on machine intelligence, automation and analytics to further enhance user experience, improve efficiency and better manage the increasingly complex networks of tomorrow."

It may not be too late for cloud giants to enter the mobile market

It was over seven years ago, in December 2010, that NTT DOCOMO launched its 4G LTE network. Japan, of course, was already heavily saturated with 3G coverage and mobile penetration rates were among the highest in the world. DOCOMO’s 4G network was an instant success and very quickly itd subscribers upgraded their phones and moved onto mobile data plans. DOCOMO's network grew and grew, and so did those of its competitors – KDDI and Softbank Mobile. Since then, the Japanese population has not given up their mobile devices. Like everywhere, people are checking their phones all day long, from the moment they awake till late at night.

With their upcoming launch of commercial 5G services over the next 2 years, DOCOMO and KDDI are looking for history to repeat. They will be among the first operators worldwide to deploy the next generation of mobile technology and they hope the market will respond. But, there is a surprise twist. A new entrant, Rakuten, plans to launch a new 4G network by October 2019 – nearly nine years behind the market leaders, and in a market that seems oversaturated and with this little prospect of growth for the “old wave” technology.

This week, Rakuten received approval from Japan’s Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications to launch a new 4G network.based on its own mobile base stations.

Rakuten Mobile Network will operate over the 1.7 GHz frequency band with over 1,825 MHz of spectrum. The company aims to launch service in October 2019. The company plans to raise a maximum of JPY 600 billion to fund the rollout of the network. Of this, Rakuten Inc. (the parent company) plans to provide a maximum of JPY 200 billion - a hedge on its bet.

Rakuten – Japan’s e-commerce giant

Founded in 1999 by Hiroshi Mikitan, Rakuten is Japan’s e-commerce leader – the local equivalent of Amazon or Alibaba – but far from being a me-too follower, the company has consistently innovated and acquired to advance its vision. It now offers online merchandise for consumers and businesses, life insurance, fire insurance, travel insurance, digital content, an advertising network, and a growing list of communications services. Rakuten also operates the country’s biggest Internet bank and third-largest credit card company by transaction value.



Outside of Japan, Rakuten’s  major acquisitions include Buy.com (now Rakuten.com in the US), PriceMinister (France), Ikeda (now Rakuten Brasil), Tradoria (now Rakuten Deutschland), Play.com (now Rakuten.co.uk in the UK), Wuaki.tv (now Rakuten TV in Spain), Kobo Inc. (now Rakuten Kobo in Canada), Viber (now Rakuten Viber), Ebates, Viki (now Rakuten Viki), OverDrive, Inc. (now Rakuten OverDrive), Slice (now Rakuten Slice) and The Grommet.
Until now, Rakuten has experimented with being a mobile virtual network operator, claiming 1.5 million users. Going forward, Rakuten reckons that around JPY 600 billion is enough to build a nationwide network of 4G base stations. The company says it has poached key executives from the other three big mobile operators. It is also known to be seeking advice from network equipment suppliers about how to rollout a nationwide network as quickly and efficiently as possible.

A key metric for Rakuten is its global gross transaction value, which is the sum total of everything sold on its platform. For 2017, that figure was up 21%.

Strategic thinking

Given its current size and the deep pull from its consumer base, one might expect that it would be easier and faster for Rakuten to buy out one of the three existing mobile operators compared with the time and trouble of building a whole new 4G network.  Practically speaking, no such option exists in Japan for Rakuten. NTT Docomo obviously is out of reach. KDDI is doing well enough on its own as the main challenger to Docomo, so is unlikely to be interested. And Softbank Japan, with Masayoshi Son at its helm, has big ambitions of its own, making the prospects of a merger or buyout with Rakuten unlikely.

For Rakuten, the value of becoming a mobile operator is not to battle it out with Docomo in hopes of poaching subscribers and earning a thin margin on the sale of monthly 4G data plans. Rakuten’s strategic thoughts must centre on building direct access to its e-shopping consumers.  It might even be willing to accept losses in the first years of operating the forthcoming mobile network, in return for a building a better e-commerce experience for its consumers.

In India, Reliance Jio is another late-comer to the mobile market and it too has been willing to suffer deep losses to build its new nationwide network and to establish its subscriber base. However, in Jio case, there is not a thriving e-commerce business to justify the risk.
There are however other cloud giants who will be watching Rakuten’s entrance into the mobile business. Alibaba might be constrained in doing so in its home market, unless the government wants a fourth competitor. But conceivably Alibaba could try its luck as a mobile operator overseas. The other big player of course is Amazon, who might very well be studying Rakuten’s moves.

Video: Go!Foton in conversation with Verizon



The optical networking industry has always faced the challenge of how to achieve more at lower cost, says Simin Cai, CEO of Go!Foton.

This conversation with Glenn Wellbrock, Director, Backbone Network Design, Verizon, explores innovation in optical connectors, patch panels, rack flexibility, automated operations, and network design. Doing more and costing less.

See video: https://youtu.be/GSc1GKk0Crc



Alibaba Cloud expands to Turkey

Alibaba Cloud has established a partnership with Istanbul-based B2B services provider e-Glober to accelerate its entry into Turkey's cloud market.

e-Glober was already Turkey’s sole authorized agent and business partner of Alibaba's global wholesale platform. It will now deliver Alibaba Cloud’s suite of services to the exporters, small and medium-sized businesses and other local companies it Turkey.

“Alibaba Cloud has always been dedicated to making our future-proof technology inclusive within the markets in which we operate,” said Yeming Wang, deputy general manager of Alibaba Cloud Global. “We aim to become the preferred cloud service provider for all sizes of business in Turkey by providing a full range of cloud solutions and combining this with E-Glober’s local expertise.”

Alibaba acquires C-SKY Microsystems for embedded IoT CPUs

Alibaba has acquired Hangzhou Zhongtian Microsystem Co. (C-SKY Microsystems, a leading developer of embedded CPUs, for an undisclosed sum.

C-SKY, which was founded in 2001 and is based in Hangzhou's Hi-Tech Zone, offers a series of 32-bit "C-SKY" embedded CPU cores based on independent intellectual property rights. The chips are widely used in Internet of Things intelligent hardware, digital audio and video, information security, networking and communications, industrial control, and automotive electronics.


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Silicon Labs acquires Sigma Design's Z-Wave (G.9959) business for $240M

Silicon Labs has acquired Sigma Designs' Z-Wave business, including a team of approximately 100 employees, for $240 million in an all-cash transaction.

Z-Wave mesh networking technology based on the open, internationally recognized ITU standard (G.9959).0 More than 2,400 certified, interoperable Z-Wave devices are available from the thriving Z-Wave Alliance of more than 700 manufacturers and service providers worldwide.

Silicon Labs said the deal complements its wireless hardware and software portfolio for the smart home, which includes Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Thread, Bluetooth and proprietary protocols.

"Adding Z-Wave to Silicon Labs' extensive IoT connectivity portfolio allows us to deliver a unified vision for the wireless technologies underpinning the smart home market," said Tyson Tuttle, CEO of Silicon Labs. "A secure, interoperable customer experience is at the heart of how smart home products are designed, deployed and managed. Our smart home vision is one where multiple technologies work securely together, where any device using any of our connectivity options easily joins the home network, and where security updates and feature upgrades occur automatically."

"Together, Silicon Labs and the Z-Wave Alliance and its ecosystems will continue to advance the Z-Wave technology roadmap, delivering innovations that engage millions of smart home product users," said Raoul Wijgergangs, Vice President and General Manager of Z-Wave. "Z-Wave is a proven, broadly deployed technology that just reached the milestone of 100 million devices in the market. The acquisition will drive collaboration and expand access to a diverse ecosystem network of partners including Amazon, Alarm.com, ADT, Samsung SmartThings, Yale, Vivint, Google Home and Comcast."

Comcast and Charter form 50/50 partnership for mobile backend

Comcast and Charter announce a 50/50 operating platform partnership focused on the development and design of backend systems that support Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile and Charter’s Spectrum Mobile service. The partnership will be governed by a four-person board of directors, with two directors representing each of Comcast and Charter. The partnership will be based in Philadelphia and will utilize Comcast employees to support the development of the platform on behalf of both companies.

The companies said that while they will continue to develop their respective mobile brands, products, and services, there is an opportunity to work together to develop an efficient and scalable software platform, and related backend systems, which will power each company’s mobile-related customer sales and support platforms, device logistics and warehousing, and billing." The operating platform developed by the partnership will serve as the systems interface for current and any future MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) partners.

Danny Bowman, Chief Mobile Officer for Charter, said, “Our new partnership will enable us to drive faster and more cost-effective mobile product and service enhancements and provide innovative and affordable mobile service to our customers. We are excited about the launch of Spectrum Mobile in the coming months.”

“We have built a best-in-class mobile platform for Xfinity Mobile that is resonating with customers,” said Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer for Comcast. “By collaborating with Charter, we will help drive operational and cost efficiencies for both companies.”

Friday, April 20, 2018

Optelian offer 100G, temperature hardened muxponder

Optelian introduces a 100G hardened (OSP compliant) muxponder designed for 5G upgrades, remote business services access and fiber deep architectures.

Optelian said its new MPX-9103 100G muxponder does not require a temperature controlled shelter or facility. The device can aggregate up to ten 10G client side circuits onto a 100G line side interface.

The 1 RU “pizza box” can use commercially available 100G CFP transceivers for flexibility, including SR, LR and DCO variants from a number of suppliers. It provides full OTN capability.

“Demand is growing for high bit-rate edge devices, so we are excited to launch a best-in-class 100G OSP solution that achieves 100G transport capacity while utilizing the advances in 100G CFP technology,” said Scott Agnew, vice president of R&D, Optelian. “In addition, the MPX-9103 provides the reliability, extended operating temperature and much shallower depth expected for smaller OSP cabinets.”

The MPX-9103 has undergone NEBS qualification and is now commercially available.

Intel cuts water usage in semiconductor manufacturing

Intel is investing in a massive water recycling facility at its plant in Hillsboro, Oregon as part of a corporate goal to return 100 percent of water used in its global manufacturing to communities and watersheds for local use by 2025.

When complete, the huge water recycling plant in Hillsboro, will be able to recycle about 1 billion gallons of water every year – the equivalent of 90,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

RSA Conference 2018 attracted 42,000

The 27th annual RSA Conference, held last week in San Francisco's Moscone Center, attracted over 42,000 attendees.

"The goal of RSA Conference is to bring the best content the cybersecurity industry has to offer across numerous platforms," said Linda Gray Martin, Director & General Manager of RSA Conference. "We succeeded, in a week filled with knowledge sharing, collaboration and the exchange of innovative ideas among the industry’s elite. In the process, we’re beginning the journey to reach and educate a new audience through RSAC onDemand. We thank everyone for making it such a special event once again and we’re excited to further these conversations in the year ahead.”

RSAC Unplugged London will take place on June 7, 2018.

RSA Conference 2018 Asia Pacific & Japan takes place July 25-27, 2018 in Singapore.

RSAC Unplugged Abu Dhabi is set for November 14, 2018.

RSA Conference 2019 takes place March 4-8, 2019 in San Francisco.

ADTRAN appoints John Neville as Senior VP of Sales

ADTRAN announced the appointment of John Neville as senior vice president of sales, replacing Charles Marsh who is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.

Neville joined ADTRAN as head of business development, and his responsibilities expanded to include European and Asian sales organizations. In addition to serving in executive management at Ericsson, Neville has served in leadership roles at Nortel and Honeywell Bull, as well as Bell Atlantic, NYNEX and Cox Cable.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

AT&T expands 5G Evolution rollout to 141 markets

AT&T announced the launch of its 5G Evolution network service in 117 new markets, bringing its total to 141 launches so far.

AT&T's 5G Evolution offers wireless speeds up to 400 Mbps, which two times faster than standard LTE in many major markets, including in Atlanta, Chicago, Memphis, Nashville, San Diego and others.

The company  aims to have its 5G Evolution running in 500 U.S. markets by the end of this year,, including in parts of Baltimore; Charlotte, N.C.; Cleveland; Denver; Detroit; Jacksonville, Fla.; Kansas City; Las Vegas; New York City; Philadelphia; Portland; Raleigh; Salt Lake City; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.

AT&T is also making LTE-LAA available in parts of 3 new markets, bringing the total number of markets served with that technology to 7. AT&T’s LTE-LAA technologies can deliver theoretical peak speeds for capable devices of up to 1 Gbps.

“We’re building a 5G network that will fundamentally change the way the world lives and works,” said Melissa Arnoldi, president of Technology & Operations. “5G will provide a wireless experience that is faster, more responsive and more secure for our customers.”

AT&T customers need the latest 5G Evolution and LTE-LAA capable devices can access the faster speeds. These devices include the Samsung Galaxy lineup – S8, S9, S8+, S9+, Note8 and S8 Active – as well as the LG V30 and Moto Z2 Force Edition.

Megaport’s global SDN now available in RagingWire data centers

Megaport’s global Software Defined Network (SDN) is now available via RagingWire’s Cloud Connect portfolio of solution partners.

Megaport, a leading Network as a Service (NaaS) provider, operates a global SDN with over 200 data center Points of Presence (PoPs), enabling on-demand, elastic interconnection to clouds, networks, enterprises, and managed services.

RagingWire’s data center customers will now be to access Megaport’s web-based portal to provision network services in seconds, rather than weeks, and scale bandwidth instantly to increase and decrease capacity as needed. Customers can also take advantage of Megaport Cloud Router (MCR) to create high-performance multi-cloud solutions without the need for their own infrastructure PoP.

“We are excited to add Megaport to RagingWire’s Cloud Connect portfolio,” said Bruno Berti, Vice President of Product Management at RagingWire. “Together, we are achieving a significant milestone in the innovation of ‘cloud neutral’ services, to go along with the ‘carrier neutral’ services that have become an industry standard. Through Cloud Connect, our data center customers now have more options than ever to connect their companies to the best clouds in the world and quickly and securely deploy hybrid cloud systems and applications.”

The Megaport service is available at RagingWire’s massive data center campuses in Ashburn, Virginia; Northern California; and Dallas, Texas.

Chinese regulators express concern over Qualcomm + NXP

China's Ministry of Commerce is expressing market consolidation concerns over Qualcomm's pending acquisition of NXP Semiconductor and its operations in China. The Ministry will require Qualcomm to resubmit its antitrust application with additional information.


  • NXP Semiconductors N.V., which headquartered in Eindhoven, Netherlands, employs approximately 45,000 people in more than 35 countries and is known for its mixed-signal semiconductor electronics. The company was known as Philips Semiconductor prior to 2006.  Key markets include automotive, broad-based microcontrollers, secure identification, network processing and RF power. NXP has a broad customer base, serving more than 25,000 customers through its direct sales channel and global network of distribution channel partners.

Chaos Computer Club utilized the ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect

Chaos Computer Club, which calls itself Europe's largest hacker organization, utilized the ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect to provide Europe’s largest conference of digital experts with ultra-fast broadband.

The temporary network, based on German operator GasLINE’s fiber infrastructure, gave around 12,000 participants at the annual Chaos Communication Congress access to high-capacity internet connectivity. Operating at 16QAM modulation, the high-performance link transmitted 200 Gbps and stretched almost 200km between the meeting center in Leipzig and Berlin.

ADVA said its solution successfully transported alien wavelengths and enabled Chaos Computer Club members to conduct workshops and advance development projects for the duration of the four-day event.

“This year’s conference was our biggest ever with unprecedented numbers converging on Leipzig. It was vital that our temporary network could accommodate over 12,000 participants and support the technical demonstrations that have become the hallmark of Chaos Communication Congress. The speed, reliability and unbeatable energy-efficiency of the ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect made it the perfect solution to transmit alien wavelengths over GasLINE’s meshed ROADM-based optical network,” said Kay Rechthien, backbone and interconnections, Chaos Computer Club.

Pivotal prices IPO at $15 per share

Pivotal Software, a division of Dell that offers a cloud-native platform for enterprises that delivers "any app to every major private and public cloud", priced its initial public offering of 37,000,000 shares of its Class A common stock at a price to the public of $15.00 per share. Pivotal is offering 33,117,000 shares of its Class A common stock and General Electric, the selling stockholder, is offering 3,883,000 shares of Class A common stock (which represents approximately 20% of General Electric’s position in Pivotal).

Pivotal is seeking a listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "PVTL".

Pivotal Software was formed as an independent company in 2012 after spinning out of EMC Corp. and VMware (which was majority-owned by EMC). In 2013, GE invested $105 million for a 10% stake.

Empirix lands $19M contract with Tier 1 North American mobile operator

Empirix has been awarded a 3-year contract valued at US$19 million.

The unnamed, tier 1 North American mobile operator selected Empirix to improve the quality of performance for their mobile voice, VoWiFi and VoLTE networks, to score and increase customer experience satisfaction, and reduce OpEx related to MTTR.

Empirix provides an end-to-end view of voice service over any radio technology with real time analytics for a proactive and predictive approach to the service. The software solution, which is comprised of Empirix’s EXMS and IntelliSight solutions, will identify Quality of Experience anomalies and ensure customer satisfaction and operational efficiencies of the provider’s new network by establishing Quality of Service baselines and measuring performance gains.

Globalstar intros portable satellite hotspot

Globalstar introduced a lightweight, portable satellite + Wi-Fi hotspot. The Sat-Fi2 device is powered by Globalstar’s modernized satellite network and represents the first product utilizing its next generation ground infrastructure.

The $499 device is now available in the US and Canada.

See also