Monday, August 6, 2018

AT&T teams with RapidDeploy on cloud-based Computer-Aided Dispatch

AT&T and RapidDeploy are collaborating to provide Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) access to RapidDeploy's cloud-based Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) platform.

RapidDeploy, which is built on an open-API architecture, is a modern update to the dispatch solutions currently used by PSAPs. It can be integrated with relevant and emerging data-rich sources to improve public safety's situational awareness. AT&T is connecting PSAPs to the RapidDeploy platform using an AT&T Virtual Private Network.

"AT&T has a proven track record of serving as the nation's trusted 911 solutions provider. By working together, we can help speed public safety's adoption of 21st century technology. We will equip public safety with the innovative and adaptable tools they deserve," said Steve Raucher, CEO and Co-founder, RapidDeploy.

Rostelecom sees growth in Pay TV

Rostelecom, Russia’s national telecommunications operator, posted Q2 revenue of RUB 77.365 billion, up 3% from a year earlier. The company cites pay-TV and fiber broadband services as key drivers as it invests in enterprise cloud services, data centers and cybersecurity services.

In its quarterly report, Rostelcom also noted a positive marketing result from its role as regional sponsor to World Cup 2018.

Some key Rostelcom metrics:

  • The total number of Internet subscribers grew by 2% to 13.0 million in the second quarter of 2018 compared to the corresponding period of last year;
  • The B2C subscriber base grew by 1% to 12.0 million, whilst the number of subscribers connected by fibre optic increased by 6% year-on-year to 7.9 million (66% of the subscriber base);
  • The number of pay-TV subscribers grew by 5% to 10.0 million households compared to the corresponding period of last year;
  • The number of IPTV subscribers increased by 11% to 5.1 million;
  • The number of MVNO subscriber base reached 1 million users, a more than two-fold increase within 1 year;
  • The number of local telephony subscribers decreased by 8% to 18.3 million.
  • CAPEX decreased by 2% year-on-year to RUB 29.6 billion (19.3% of revenue) from RUB 30.2 billion (20.7% of revenue) in the first half of 2017
  • OIBDA increased by 1% year-on-year to RUB 46.9 billion compared to the first half of 2017;
  • OIBDA margin of 30.5% compared to 31.7% in the first half of 2017;
  • Net profit increased by 16% to RUB 7.0 billion compared to the first half of 2017.

Mikhail Oseevsky, President of Rostelecom, stated "The Q2 2018 results came in line with our expectations. Rostelecom has gained momentum: revenue has been growing at a solid average annual rate of 5% in the last 12 months. Our digital segment, which currently accounts for 53% of our top-line, has contributed significantly to this growth. Our growth engine is delivering and we are also increasing our competitive positions in the key pay-TV and broadband segments, thanks to a growing subscriber base and higher ARPU. This was achieved by promoting new services such as “Smart Home” video surveillance, where we saw the subscriber base grow three-fold in the reporting period. Higher demand for cloud services, data centers and information security solutions is also contributing to our top-line and is coming from corporate and government clients."

Twilio hits Q2 revenue of $147.8 million, up 54%

Twilio, the cloud communications platform, posted total revenue of $147.8 million for the second quarter of 2018, up 54% from the second quarter of 2017 and 14% sequentially from the first quarter of 2018. There was a GAAP loss from operations of $22.0 million for the second quarter of 2018, compared with GAAP loss from operations of $7.1 million for the second quarter of 2017. Non-GAAP income from operations came in at $2.2 million for the second quarter of 2018, compared with non-GAAP loss from operations of $4.7 million for the second quarter of 2017.

“Our core voice and messaging products grew rapidly once again, and the positive customer response to Flex further reinforces our Engagement Cloud strategy,” said Jeff Lawson, Twilio’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Our go-to-market investments are driving growth in companies of all shapes and sizes, and we’re excited to unveil our newest set of innovations and gather our customers at our upcoming SIGNAL conference in October.”

Key Metrics and Recent Business Highlights

  • 57,350 Active Customer Accounts as of June 30, 2018, compared to 43,431 Active Customer Accounts as of June 30, 2017.
  • Dollar-Based Net Expansion Rate was 137% for the second quarter of 2018, compared to 131% for the second quarter of 2017.
  • Launched the Twilio API for WhatsApp, allowing customers to add one of the most important global messaging channels to their applications through the same API they use for SMS, MMS, RCS, Facebook Messenger, and LINE.
  • Collaborated with Google to integrate Google Cloud Contact Center AI into Twilio Flex, the first fully programmable cloud contact center platform.
  • Announced Twilio Build, a new partner program to support Twilio’s growing ecosystem of technology and consulting partners as they work with Twilio to innovate for their customers, grow their businesses, and transform the communications industry through the power of software.
  • Received approval from EU data protection authorities of our Binding Corporate Rules, furthering our commitment to maintaining the highest standard of data protection.
  • Opened a new Atlanta office, with plans to add more than 50 employees over the next few years, including sales, human resources, and engineering roles.
  • Issued $550 million in aggregate principal amount of 0.25% Convertible Senior Notes due 2023.

NeoPhotonics posts Q2 revenue of $81M, up 11% yoy

NeoPhotonics reported Q2 2018 revenue of $81.1 million, up 18% quarter-over-quarter and 11% year-over-year. Gross margin was 19.1%, compared to 13.4% in the prior quarter, and there was a net loss of $10.5 million, compared to a net loss of $18.2 million in the prior quarter. Non-GAAP net loss was $6.3 million, compared to a net loss of $14.6 million in the prior quarter

“In the second quarter, NeoPhotonics delivered strong results with revenue of $81 million, coming in above the high end of our outlook range and representing 18% sequential growth and 11% growth over the same period last year. Sequential growth outside of China was 30% and the result of very strong Data Center Interconnect and Metro deployments by our key customers in the Americas and EMEA,” said Tim Jenks, NeoPhotonics Chairman and CEO. “We met our key financial metrics for the quarter and with our new product traction and increasing momentum in our core markets, we are optimistic for continued improvement.”

Italy's Open Fiber secures EUR 3.5 billion for its rollout

Open Fiber has raised EUR 3.5 billion in financing from Italy's Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), a consortium of international banks, and the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the rollout of its FTTH network. The company has now secured EUR 6.5 billion in funding commitments for its ambition to reach 19.5 million residences across Italy.

The consortium of banks includes BNP Paribas, Société Générale and UniCredit as underwriters, along with Banca IMI, Banco BPM, MPS Capital Services and UBI Banca, Credit Agricole, ING, Caixa Bank, MUFG Bank, Natwest and Banco Santander.

Wind Tre is currently marketing Open Fiber to its mobile customers in Tuscany.

Earlier this year, Open Fiber reach a deal to deliver content from Sky Italia to its FTTH customers.

Samsung debuts 4-bit Consumer SSD at 4 TB

Samsung Electronics announced mass production of the first 4-bit (QLC, quad-level cell) 4-terabyte (TB) SATA solid-state drive (SSD) for consumers.

Samsung said its 4-bit 4TB QLC SATA SSD maintains performance levels at the same level as a 3-bit SSD by using a 3-bit SSD controller and TurboWrite technology, while increasing drive capacity through the use of 32 chips, all based on 64-layer fourth-generation 1Tb V-NAND. The 4-bit QLC SSD enables a sequential read speed of 540 MB/s and a sequential write speed of 520 MB/s.

“Samsung’s new 4-bit SATA SSD will herald a massive move to terabyte-SSDs for consumers,” said Jaesoo Han, executive vice president of memory sales & marketing at Samsung Electronics. “As we expand our lineup across consumer segments and to the enterprise, 4-bit terabyte-SSD products will rapidly spread throughout the entire market.”

USDA funds 12 rural broaband projects -- $97M

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced plans to invest $97 million in 12 projects in 11 states: Arizona, Iowa, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The funding is intended to improve rural broadband. The funding will be made available through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program and the Community Connect Grant Program.

Example projects include:

Chibardun Telephone Cooperative, Inc. in Cameron, Wis., is receiving a $21.4 million loan to improve outside plant facilities in four (Almena, Cameron, Dallas and Ridgeland) of its six exchanges. It will construct 675 miles of fiber-to-the-premises and install associated electronics. Chibardun serves Barron and Dunn counties. Approximately 2,700 subscribers will receive improved service as a result of this loan.

Osage Innovative Solutions, LLC in Tulsa, Okla., is receiving a $2.7 million grant to construct a hybrid fiber-to-the-premises and fixed wireless system in an unserved and economically depressed portion of the Osage Nation in Osage County. The company will offer speeds up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload to 139 households and 22 businesses.

The Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company, in Green City, is receiving a $13.7 million loan to convert six exchanges from copper plant to fiber-to-the-premises. It will construct nearly 500 route miles of fiber. Northeast Missouri expects to improve service to 1,063 subscribers.

Acacia is cautiously optimistic with recent lifting of ZTE ban

On August 2, Acacia Communications reported Q2 revenue of $65.0 million, a decrease of 18% year-over-year. The GAAP gross margin was 38.8%; and there was a GAAP net loss of $3.2 million. Non-GAAP net loss amounted to $3.2 million.

“During the second quarter, we stayed focused on execution, particularly around new product development and revenue diversification,” said Raj Shanmugaraj, President and Chief Executive Officer of Acacia Communications. “We are pleased with the ramp of our newer products and the revenue growth opportunities we are seeing in the second half of 2018 over the first half.  As we continue to execute on our strategic vision, we believe we are well positioned with our differentiated product portfolio to further diversify our customer and revenue base and benefit from growth in the overall coherent market.”

“Our second quarter results were in-line with our expectations, despite being negatively impacted by the imposition of the ZTE denial order in April,” said John Gavin, Chief Financial Officer of Acacia Communications. “As a result of our ongoing focus on operational efficiencies, we were able to further strengthen our balance sheet while continuing to fund our core strategic projects. Additionally, with the recent lifting of the ZTE ban, we are cautiously optimistic that our re-engagement with ZTE will become more ordinary course over the next few quarters.”

Sunday, August 5, 2018

GSA: A country-by-country summary of 5G spectrum

As of mid-2017, regulators in 42 countries have advanced plans for 5G spectrum by conducting auctions, designating certain bands, holding consultations, or announced plans to auction frequencies or have already allocated spectrum for 5G use, according to GSA.

This in-depth report provides a country-by-country overview of 5G spectrum.

Some highlights:

  • In Europe, Ireland, Latvia, Spain and UK have already completed auctions of 5G spectrum.
  • Germany, Greece, Norway having recently completed auctions of spectrum that could potentially be used for 5G. 
  • Ten countries are known to have confirmed 5G spectrum auctions between 2018 and 2020 including Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland.
  • Three countries planning auctions of potentially suitable bands -- Norway, Slovakia and Switzerland.   In AsiaPac, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea have 5G auctions/allocations confirmed. 
  • In June 2018 Korea completed a 5G auction for spectrum in the 3.42–3.7 GHz and 26.5–28.9 GHz frequency bands. 
  • Taiwan, New Zealand and Singapore have initiated consultations to consider both mid-band and mmWave bands.

TSMC's fabs disrupted by virus, some shipments will be delayed

TSMC was disrupted by a computer virus outbreak on the evening of August 3 that affected a number of computer systems and fab tools in Taiwan.

As of Sunday at 14:00 Taiwan time, TSMC stated that about 80% of its impacted tools have been recovered, and the company expects full recovery on August 6.

TSMC expects this incident to cause shipment delays and additional costs. The company stated:

"We estimate the impact to third quarter revenue to be about three percent, and impact to gross margin to be about one percentage point. The Company is confident shipments delayed in third quarter will be recovered in the fourth quarter 2018, and maintains its forecast of high single-digit revenue growth for 2018 in U.S. dollars given on July 19, 2018."

TSMC also noted that data integrity and confidential information was not compromised.

ITU launches Network 2030 study program

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has established a new Focus Group on Technologies for Network 2030 with the aim of identifying emerging and future technologies beyond 5G.

"The work of the ITU Focus Group on Technologies for 'Network 2030' will provide network system experts around the globe with a very valuable international reference point from which to guide the innovation required to support ICT use cases through 2030 and beyond," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

Possible post 5G use cases include new media such as hologrammes, a new generation of augmented and virtual reality applications, and high-precision communications for 'tactile' and 'haptic' applications in need of processing a very high volume of data in near real-time – extremely high throughput and low latency. 

The ITU Focus Group on Technologies for 'Network 2030' is co-chaired by Verizon's Mehmet Toy, Rostelecom's Alexey Borodin, China Telecom's Yuan Zhang, Yutaka Miyake from KDDI Research, and is coordinated through ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Sector – which works with ITU's 193 Member States and more than 800 industry and academic members to establish international standards for emerging ICT innovations.

Faster Standards Development - MEF moves from Hardware to Software

One of the biggest trends in the industry is the movement from hardware to software, says
Pascal Menezes, CTO, MEF.

As a standards organization, MEF is dealing with this change in a couple of ways.  Rather than write the specification first, MEF is looking to developers to iterate their software first and then following with the specification development.

Filmed at the MEF Annual Members' Meeting in Nashville.

See video:

MIT researchers develop silicon-based optical filter

Researchers from MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronic have designed an optical filter on a chip that can process optical signals from across an extremely wide spectrum of light at once.

“This new filter takes an extremely broad range of wavelengths within its bandwidth as input and efficiently separates it into two output signals, regardless of exactly how wide or at what wavelength the input is. That capability didn’t before in integrated optics,” says Emir Salih Magden, a former PhD student in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and first author on a paper describing the filters published today in Nature Communications.

Potential applications include fiber-to-the-home installations.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

UAE satellite operators consolidate -- Yahsat takes over Thuraya

Yahsat, a leading global satellite operator based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and wholly owned by Mubadala Investment Company, completed the acquisition of a majority and controlling stake in the mobile satellite services operator Thuraya.

Thuraya, which was the first satellite operator from the UAE, operates two satellites serving over 160 countries. Yahsat has three satellites of its own.

The combination of geostationary satellites operating in the C, Ka, Ku and L-bands will jointly cover Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Asia, providing a broad range of Fixed and Mobile Satellite Services spanning voice and data communications to both commercial and government sectors.

Ali Al Hashemi, who has led Yahsat Government Solutions, Yahsat's specialised unit fulfilling defense and governmental client requirements, for the past few years is announced as the new CEO of Thuraya, while former CEO Ahmed Al Shamsi will remain as Advisor to the CEO. Ali Al Hashemi, will at the same time continue to be General Manager of Yahsat Government Solutions.

Commenting on the Thuraya acquisition, Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, CEO of Yahsat stated: "The Thuraya acquisition provides us with an ideal opportunity to grow and diversify our business, bolstering our satellite solutions capabilities on both government and commercial fronts.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Microsemi samples NVMe Gen 4 PCIe controller

Microsemi, which is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microchip Technology, introduced its Flashtec NVMe 3016 Gen 4 PCIe controller.

The device serves high-reliability, high-performance PCIe Gen 4 NVMe solid state drives (SSDs) and is capable of delivering greater than 8 GB per second throughput and more than 2 million IOPS.

It supports enterprise features going beyond the NVMe 1.3 protocol with the latest in security, encryption, virtualization and high availability support. Fast design of PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSDs is enabled with Flashtec firmware development acceleration tools, including an architectural simulator to enable development and debug of firmware independent of silicon.

Microsemi notes triple level-cell (TLC) and quad level-cell (QLC) NAND technologies targeted at the high growth storage end point markets, such as data center, server and storage.

"We're excited to sample our new Flashtec NVMe 3016 controller to enable the next generation of high-performance PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSDs," said Pete Hazen, vice president of Microsemi's Data Center Solutions business unit. "We're working closely with our customers to enable industry-leading solutions based on our highly flexible and programmable controller platform, and to accelerate time to market through our architectural and firmware development tools and support."

Sampling is underway.

Three UK posts 2% revenue growth in 1H18, signs Huawei for 5G

Three UK reported revenue of £1.19 billion for the first half of 2018, up 2% from 1H17.

Customer service margin was £729 million, up 1%, and EBITDA was £364 million, up 7%.

Operational highlights:

  • 6% growth of the active contract customer base; total customer base now 10.1 million
  • Contract handset churn at lowest ever level of 1%, a 9% improvement
  • Usage per customer of 7.6GB per month, up 10% from 6.9GB
  • 84% of customer base using 4G and 75% of data usage on 4G network
  • The company secured 20MHz at auction to add to its 5G spectrum portfolio
  • The company signed an agreement with SSE to unbundle BT local telephone exchanges to facilitate fibre optic connections of masts to datacentres.
  • Three UK is the first UK network to stop selling 3G-only handsets

Three UK also confirmed that it has awarded a new contract to Huawei for its 5G network roll-out.

“Over the course of 2018, we will accelerate the rollout of our 5G network and the opportunity this brings to both our existing and prospective base of customers and partners. All the key components that are needed for a successful 5G service have been procured over the last few years and I am excited by the prospect of trialling 5G soon, working together with our new IT and Core network infrastructure.

Audi looks at 5G for enhancing its production facilities

Audi is evaluating 5G as a future-proof communication technology that can meet the high demands of automotive production. Audi and Ericsson have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and in the coming months, experts from both companies will run field tests in a technical center of the “Audi Production Lab” in Gaimersheim, Germany.

Frank Loydl, Chief Information Officer at AUDI AG, says: “The fully networked factory will have a significant impact on the production of the future. A powerful network architecture that can respond in real time is of decisive importance for us. As part of the project with our partner Ericsson, we are testing the opportunities offered by 5G technology for industrial applications in the smart factory.”

In addition to the Ingolstadt plant, Audi and Ericsson are exploring whether 5G can be used in other Audi Group factories.

Erik Ekudden, Group CTO at Ericsson, says: “Ericsson is already running 5G industry programs all over the world to help manufacturers boost productivity and create new business opportunities. This project is a great opportunity to see what is possible when we bring 5G into an automobile production environment to truly enable smart wireless manufacturing.”

Microsoft Azure adds size-flexible, Virtual Machine Instances

Microsoft announced instance size flexibility for Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances, a new feature that makes reserved instance purchasing and management even simpler by applying reservation discounts to different This means users no longer have to deploy the exact same VM size to get the benefit of purchased Azure Reserved Instances (RI) as other VM sizes within the same VM group also get the RI discount.

Instance size flexibility will be enabled by default for any existing Azure Reserved Instance with shared scope.