Monday, July 29, 2019

Sparkle unveils Genome for automation, programmability, virtualization

Sparkle announced the availability of Genome, its new integrated set of platforms and tools for Network Automation, Programmability and Virtualization -- a major step toward its vision of the autonomous network of the future. Last month, Sparkle announced "Nibble," a new ultra-long-haul photonic backbone connecting Sicily with major points of presence and data centers in Europe. I

Genome.NFV will progressively evolve Sparkle’s traditional Physical Network Functions (PNF) into dynamic, cloud-native, highly resilient Virtual Network Functions (VNF). It is initially deployed at Sparkle’s core data centers in Catania (Italy) and Athens (Greece), as well as in Miami (Florida, USA), Secaucus (New Jersey, USA), with Milan (Italy) to follow later this year

The initial set of VNFs will be available to all new customers of Sparkle’s Global Signalling and LTE Diameter Signalling for international roaming services.

Existing customers will be progressively migrated to the new virtualized platforms, benefitting from increased resiliency and reduced latency, thanks to proximity interconnections. The progressive cloudification of Voice & Mobile Network Functions will continue throughout 2020 with the introduction of virtual IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and virtual Session Border Controllers (SBC).

Genome.SDN is a modular, vendor agnostic, scalable and feature-rich network automation solution for physical and virtual networks. Featuring an Automation Workflow Manager, it will assist network engineers to automate complex Method of Procedure (MOP) and Operations repetitive tasks, creating, visualizing, and executing automation workflows across the whole Seabone IP/MPLS backbone through a single interface. The solution is complemented by a Planning Tool allowing abstraction and modelling of the IP/MPLS network, supporting engineers to simulate availability and failover scenarios, automating traffic balancing and link optimization and building comprehensive forecast needs based on traffic trends, regional growth and other inputs. Genome.SDN will progressively extend to all Sparkle network domains, starting with the integration of Nibble Optical Transport Network, currently planned in early 2020.

“The relentless process of Hyper Automation of Industries requires service providers to deliver global network services at lightspeed satisfying extreme reliability requirements.” said Daniele Mancuso, Sparkle’s VP ICT Engineering. “The introduction of Genome sets the path towards the Autonomous Network of the future, confirming Sparkle leadership in technological innovation.”

https://www.tisparkle.com/PR_Genome

Sparkle to build new ULH photonic backbone with Infinera

Sparkle, the first international service provider in Italy and among the top 10 global operators, announced plans for a new ultra-long-haul photonic backbone connecting Sicily with major points of presence and data centers in Europe.

Infinera confirmed that its XT-3600 platform will power Sparkle's new "Nibble" network.

Nibble is expected to provide market-leading speeds and low-latency, high-performance, scalable, and guaranteed connectivity services between top European locations. Infinera's XT-3600 enables Sparkle to deliver 100 Gigabit Ethernet cloud-scale services in a compact form factor while automating service activation through Instant Bandwidth.



Sparkle said its new backbone will implement a "Software-defined Bandwidth" model using capacity License to disaggregate the underlying hardware installation from the capacity activation.

Nibble's ultra-performant photonic layer will progressively be integrated with its existing Mediterranean and Balkans networks and with BlueMed, the new multifiber submarine cable linking Palermo and Milan via Genoa, creating a seamless Pan Mediterranean Optical Transport Network.

The first link - planned to go live in summer 2019 - will connect Sparkle’s Sicily Hub in Palermo with Milan Caldera open datacenter; Nibble construction is planned to continue in several phases until the end of 2020 to fully deploy the entire Italian and European footprint and to integrate with the Mediterranean and Balkans networks.

“Sparkle confirms its strong leadership in the European telecom market with a solution that ensures top quality and efficiency standards,” said Mario Di Mauro, Sparkle’s Chief Executive Officer. “The Gigabit Society is demanding faster and more sophisticated capacity services and with the Infinera Instant Network solution we can expand our geographical footprint and satisfy customers’ needs at light speed, investing only in the capacity we need to deploy, where and when we need it.” 

US Department of Justice awards $984M migration contract to AT&T

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) awarded a 15-year contract value at $984 million to AT&T to help improve its mission performance with modernized technology.

The work – awarded via Task Order through the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) technology procurement program – will provide for DOJ's transition to a next-generation communications platform supporting more than 120,000 employees across more than 2,100 locations. The fully managed solution includes a breadth of networking capabilities, including IP voice, data, security, cloud access and professional services. This will serve as a catalyst for the DOJ’s long-term technology priorities.

“The DOJ and its component organizations do the hard work of protecting the freedoms, rights and safety of all Americans,” said Stacy Schwartz, vice president, AT&T – Public Safety and FirstNet. “We are honored to provide a modern communications platform and capabilities to support the DOJ’s work for the next 15 years.”

EIS is a federal technology procurement that allows government agencies to cost-effectively modernize and expand mission support. The AT&T solution will provide DOJ the flexibility and protections to meet their requirements as they aim to strike the right balance between needs to access cloud services from multiple providers and ensuring the access is highly secure. The new solution will help simplify cloud adoption across 43 component organizations and support the Department’s Joint Cloud Optimized Trusted Internet Connection Service (JCOTS), which will accelerate the path for DOJ to access multiple cloud environments with improved security, reliability and speed.

Additionally, the DOJ solution includes access to the AT&T mobility network and FirstNet, the nationwide, dedicated communications platform purpose-built for public safety.

Vodafone's quarterly revenue dips, Liberty Global merger ready to close

Vodafone reported group revenue of €10.7 billion, down by €0.2 billion due to foreign exchange rate effects, as Q1 organic service revenue declined 0.2%, improving compared to Q4 (-0.7%).

Vodafone said customer growth slowed compared to previous quarters, primarily reflecting increased competitor promotions in Spain and Germany, as well as slower broadband market growth in Italy. However, Voda Consumer mobile commercial performance in Spain stabilised in June.

Vodafone's acquisition of Liberty Global is expected to close in the coming days.

Nick Read, Group Chief Executive, commented: “Our service revenue growth improved during the first quarter, led by Italy, and mobile churn fell to another record low. Following a significant quarter of commercial activity, we expect the gradual recovery in our service revenues to continue, underpinning our financial outlook for the year. With the completion of the Liberty Global acquisitions, Vodafone will become Europe’sleading converged operator, with growing fixed and converged services contributing around half of our European service revenues. We have developed a detailed plan to deliver the customer benefits and capture the substantial synergiesfrom the deal, which we will start to execute immediately

https://www.vodafone.com

Some highlights

  • Vodafone is actively implementing simplified pricing plans with speed-tiered unlimited data launched in 5 markets. 
  • The company said it is on track to meet the Group’s €400 million FY20 net operating expenses reduction target in Europe.
  • In mobile, the company reported a 0.5 percentage point year-on-year reduction in Europe contract churn during Q1, reaching a new record low level of 14.6%. 
  • Data usage growth remained strong at 49%, with average smartphone usage increasing to 3.9 GB per month in Europe.
  • Vodafone has now launched 5G in five European markets, with services available in Spain, Italy and Romania since June, and the UK and Germany since July. 
  • 5G roaming is now live for Vodafone 5G customers roaming on Vodafone networks in Germany, Italy, the UK and Spain. 
  • Vodafone's 5G network will be live across more than 50 cities and available in nine European markets by the end of the current financial year.
  • Including VodafoneZiggo, Vodafone had 18.8 million fixed broadband customers, 14.6 million NGN customers, 6.7 million converged customers and 13.6 million TV customers in Europe at the end of the period. 
  • Excluding VodafoneZiggo, Vodafone added 54,000 broadband customers, 237,000 NGN customers and 115,000 converged customers during the quarter. 


FCC certifies CBRS Environmental Sensing Capability

The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) and the Office of Engineering and Technology certified CommScope, Federated Wireless, and Google to operate their Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) sensors consistent with the information they provided, including sensor locations, configuration, and DPA coverage.

DPAs are pre-defined protection areas that extend beyond the coastline or that enclose a protected terrestrial radar facility, which may be activated or deactivated as necessary to protect DoD radar systems.

The ESCs will be used to detect the presence of federal incumbent radar transmissions in the 3.5 GHz band and communicate that information to one or more certified Spectrum Access Systems (SASs).

In April, the companies earned FCC approval for their sensor hardware.

WInnForum, which supports the development and advancement of spectrum sharing technologies based on the three-tier architecture detailed in 3.5 GHz CBRS band rules defined by the FCC, congratulated member organizations CommScope, Federated Wireless, and Google for final FCC certification of their Environmental Sensing Capability systems in the 3.5 GHz band.

https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-19-718A1.pdf

Microsoft to acquire BlueTalon for cloud data governance

Microsoft has acquired BlueTalon, a start-up based in Redwood City, California, for its cloud data governance technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

BlueTalon, which is now part of Microsoft’s Azure Data Governance group, has architected its data control solution to provide a unified approach to policy management that brings the right level of control and consistency across the enterprise, including Hadoop, RDBMS and big data environments. The company was founded by Pratik Verma.

https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2019/07/29/microsoft-acquires-bluetalon-simplifying-data-privacy-and-governance-across-modern-data-estates

CommScope debuts 10G remote PHY for distributed access architecture

CommScope introduced its RD1322 2x2 Remote PHY Device (RPD) for cable operators deploying Distributed Access Architecture (DAA).

The RD1322 is the newest addition to CommScope's portfolio of Outside Plant (OSP) DAA solutions that enable operators to build upon their installed base of nodes to advance their plans for Extended Spectrum DOCSIS (ESD), Full Duplex DOCSIS (FDX), DAA, Remote PON, Wireless Backhaul, DOCSIS 3.1, and more. This is especially valuable in the labor-intensive OSP domain.

“As global operators continue to invest in tomorrow’s 10G networks, the outside plant will represent a primary budget focus,” said Kevin Keefe, senior vice president and segment leader, Network & Cloud, CommScope. “Our RD1322 2x2 RPD is the answer for operators looking to maximize their existing infrastructure to deliver tomorrow’s networks and services as quickly as possible. We have an unmatched portfolio and breadth of experience in helping global operators deliver next-generation networks reliably and at scale. As they evolve their networks, we’ll continue to deliver the innovation to facilitate their progress.”

CommScope’s DAA portfolio includes its RPD, Remote PON, R-PHY Shelf, Video Unified Edge (VUE), ICX Switch family, and hybrid E6000 I-CCAP/CCAP Core products. It also features a full suite of virtualized products, including the E6000 Virtual Core (vCore) and vManager framework of tools, including industry-leading monitoring, management, and traffic engineering functions.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Vodafone to create Europe's largest TowerCo

Vodafone Group Plc will spin off most of its European tower infrastructure into a new, fully independent "TowerCo" company.

TowerCo, which will be operational by May 2020, will comprise 61,700 towers in 10 markets with potential proportionate EBITDA of around  EUR 900 million.

Vodafone has recently announced active and passive network sharing agreements in Italy, Spain and the UK.

Vodafone said it believes that there is significant scope to generate operational efficiencies and increase tenancy ratios across the portfolio by creating an independent company. Based on market benchmarks for anchor tenant lease rates, existing third party revenues and the attributable cost base, TowerCo could generate proportionate annual revenue and EBITDA of around €1,700 million and €900 million, respectively. TowerCo’s attributable annual maintenance and expansion capex could be up to €200 million.

A future IPO for the new organization is a possibility.

Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone, said “Building on our position as Europe’s largest converged operator, we are now creating Europe’s largest tower company. Given the scale and quality of our infrastructure, we believe there is a substantial opportunity to unlock value for shareholders while capturing the significant industrial benefits of network sharing for the digital society. We are focussed on executing this strategic priority over the next 18 months."

Separately, Vodafone and Telecom Italia Group (TIM) agreed to an active network sharing partnership for 4G and 5G and the expansion of their existing passive sharing agreement. Specifically, Vodafone will merge its passive tower infrastructure in Italy ("Vodafone Italy Towers”) into INWIT SpA. As part of the combination, Vodafone will receive a cash consideration of EUR 2,140 million and a 37.5% shareholding in the combined entity, which will remain listed on the Milan Stock Exchange. Based on the 30-day VWAP of the INWIT share price prior to this announcement, Vodafone's shareholding would be valued at EUR 3,130 million, which implies an enterprise value for Vodafone Italy Towers of EUR 5,270 million.

Orange and Vodafone extend network sharing in Spain for 5G

Vodafone and Orange agreed to extend their current active mobile network sharing arrangement in Spain to include 5G. The original network sharing agreement signed in 2006 covered passive infrastructure nationwide and active infrastructure in smaller towns. The agreement was subsequently renewed in 2012 and in 2016.

Under the new agreement, Vodafone will be able to offer its customers broadband access and other fixed services on Orange’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network. Both companies have also agreed to explore potential co-investment opportunities to expand their fibre footprint in the future. The partnership is also expanded to include 5G. The terms of the new agreement allow active network sharing (including both the radio access network and high-speed backhaul) in cities with populations of up to 175,000 people, whereas the previous arrangement only enabled sharing in towns of between 1,000 and 25,000 people. Two thirds of the Spanish population will now be covered by Vodafone and Orange’s shared network agreement, with 14,800 sites expected to be shared vs. 5,600 shared today. The new agreement is expected to deliver cumulative opex and capex savings to Vodafone of at least €600 million over the next ten years.

Vodafone and Orange will continue to operate independent infrastructure in the biggest cities.

Friday, July 26, 2019

New T-Mobile to provide network access to DISH for 7 years

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) approved the merger of T-Mobile US and Sprint with the following conditions: Sprint’s prepaid businesses and Sprint’s 800 MHz spectrum assets be divested to DISH. Sprint and T-Mobile must also provide DISH wireless customers access to the New T-Mobile network for seven years and offer standard transition services arrangements to DISH during a transition period of up to three years. DISH will also have an option to take on leases for certain cell sites and retail locations that are decommissioned by the New T-Mobile, subject to any assignment restrictions.

The T-Mobile + Sprint deal was first announced on 29-April-2019. Deutsche Telekom holds approximately 62% stake in T-Mobile US. Softbank holds an 83% stake in Sprint.

"The T-Mobile and Sprint merger we announced last April will create a bigger and bolder competitor than ever before – one that will deliver the most transformative 5G network in the country, lower prices, better quality, unmatched value and thousands of jobs, while unlocking an unprecedented $43B net present value in synergies. We are pleased that our previously announced target synergies, profitability and long-term cash generation have not changed," said T-Mobile CEO and New T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

“This is an important day for our country and, most important, American consumers and businesses,” said Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure. “Today’s clearance from the DOJ, along with our anticipated approval from the FCC, will allow the U.S. to fiercely compete for 5G leadership. We plan to build one of the world’s most advanced 5G networks, which will massively revolutionize the way consumers and businesses use their connected devices to enhance their daily lives. The powerful combination of 5G, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things will unleash endless possibilities.”

https://www.t-mobile.com/news/t-mobile-sprint-merger-doj-clearance

New T-Mobile and DISH Agreements that become effective upon completion of the T-Mobile+Sprint merger

Agreement to Divest Sprint’s Prepaid Businesses
The New T-Mobile will be committed to divest Sprint’s entire prepaid businesses including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint-branded prepaid customers (excluding the Assurance brand Lifeline customers and the prepaid wireless customers of Shenandoah Telecommunications Company and Swiftel Communications, Inc.), to DISH for approximately $1.4 billion. These brands serve approximately 9.3 million customers in total.

Agreements Upon Closing of Prepaid Divestiture 

Master Services Agreement for Network Access
Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Sprint-branded prepaid customers, as well as new DISH wireless customers, will have full access to the legacy Sprint network and the New T-Mobile network in a phased approach. Access to the New T-Mobile network will be through an MVNO arrangement, as well as through an Infrastructure MNO arrangement enabling roaming in certain areas until DISH’s 5G network is built out.

Transition Services Agreement to Support Prepaid Customers
The New T-Mobile will offer standard transition services arrangements to DISH for up to three years following the close of the divestiture transaction. The transition services provided by the New T-Mobile will result in the orderly transfer of prepaid customers to DISH and will also ensure the continued and seamless operation of Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Sprint-branded prepaid businesses following transition to DISH's ownership.

Agreement to Divest Sprint’s 800 MHz Spectrum Licenses to DISH
DISH has agreed to acquire Sprint’s portfolio of nationwide 800 MHz spectrum for a total value of approximately $3.6 billion in a transaction to be completed, subject to certain additional closing conditions, following an application for FCC approval to be filed three years following the closing of T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint. This will permit the New T-Mobile to continue to serve legacy Sprint customers during network integration, pending later FCC approval of the license transfer. The companies have also entered into an agreement providing the New T-Mobile the option to lease back a portion of the spectrum sold to DISH for an additional two years following closing of the spectrum sale.

Option for DISH to Take Over Decommissioned Cell Sites and Retail Locations
Following the closing of T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint and subsequent integration into the New T-Mobile, DISH will have the option to take on leases for certain cell sites and retail locations that are decommissioned by the New T-Mobile for five years following the closing of the divestiture transaction, subject to any assignment restrictions.

Agreement to Engage in Negotiations Regarding T-Mobile Leasing DISH's 600 MHz Spectrum
The companies have also committed to engage in good faith negotiations regarding the leasing of some or all of DISH’s 600 MHz spectrum to T-Mobile.

Zayo shareholders approve acquisition by Digital Colony Partners

Shareholders of Zayo Group Holdings approved all proposals related to the definitive merger agreement to be acquired by affiliates of Digital Colony Partners and the EQT Infrastructure IV fund.

“Today’s favorable shareholder vote supports our view that this transaction is a very good outcome for shareholders and will enable Zayo to accelerate its growth and strengthen its industry leadership,” said Dan Caruso, chairman and CEO at Zayo. “The entire Zayo team is excited to work with EQT and Digital Colony to leverage our fiber assets to continue to fuel global innovation.”

The closing of the deal is expected to close in the first half of calendar 2020.

Private investors to acquire Zayo for $14.3 billion in cash

Affiliates of Digital Colony Partners and the EQT Infrastructure IV fund will acquire Zayo Group Holdings for $35.00 in cash per share of Zayo's common stock in a transaction valued at $14.3 billion, including the assumption of $5.9 billion of Zayo’s net debt obligations. The offer price represents a 32% premium to the volume-weighted price average of the last six months of $26.44.

The Zayo Board of Directors said the sale of the company to Digital Colony and EQT Infrastructure is in the best interest of Zayo and all its stakeholders, as it delivers immediate and substantial value to shareholders, will strengthen Zayo’s financial flexibility, enabling the company to increase investments and better position itself for long-term growth and profitability.

The companies hope to conclude the deal by the first half of 2020.

Marc Ganzi, Managing Partner of Digital Colony, said, “Zayo has a world-class digital infrastructure portfolio, including a highly-dense fiber network in some of the world’s most important metro markets. We believe the company has a unique opportunity to meet the growing demand for data associated with the connectivity and backhaul requirements of a range of customers. We are excited to work alongside the management team and EQT to grow the business and expand its presence in the global market."

Dan Caruso, Zayo’s Chairman and CEO, said, “Digital Colony and EQT share our vision that Zayo’s Fiber Fuels Global Innovation. Both are experienced global investors in the communications infrastructure space, and they appreciate our extraordinary fiber infrastructure assets, our highly talented team and our strong customer base. I am confident this partnership with EQT and Digital Colony will empower Zayo to accelerate its growth and strengthen its industry leadership.”

Separately, Zayo reported consolidated revenue of $647.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, including $555.2 million from the Communications Infrastructure segments and $92.0 million from the Allstream segment. Net income was $34.7 million, including $39.2 million from the Communications Infrastructure segments and a net loss of $4.5 million from the Allstream segment.

https://investors.zayo.com/home/default.aspx

VMware to acquire UHANA for telco AI

VMware agreed to acquire Uhana, a start-up focused on deep learning and real-time AI in carrier networks and applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.

VMware said it intends to add Uhana’s technology to its own Telco Cloud and Edge Cloud portfolio.

Uhana, which is based in Palo Alto, California, is developing a highly-scalable, low-latency, real-time stream processing and AI platform, deployable in the operator’s private cloud or public cloud infrastructure. It includes a high-performance stream processing engine that ingests subscriber-level network telemetry from a variety of data sources: the radio access network, the core network and optionally even the over-the-top (OTT) application directly, and processes the telemetry to provide real-time, per-subscriber visibility. It also includes an AI engine that discovers and predicts anomalies in the network and/or application, prioritizes them by their estimated impact, infers their likely root causes and automatically recommends optimization strategies for the best subscriber experience.

In a blog posting, Uhana co-founder Sachin Katti writes: "After the deal closes, with the addition of Uhana’s technology to VMware’s Telco and Edge Cloud portfolio, Uhana will further support VMware’s ability to serve the telecom industry and deepen intelligence in the journey to 5G. Uhana’s technology will empower intelligence and analytics for the VMware Smart Assurance and VMware Smart Experience products."

http://www.uhana.io/about
https://blogs.vmware.com/telco/vmware-to-add-uhana-to-telecommunications-portfolio-harnessing-the-power-of-ai-for-mobile-networks/

VMware to acquire Bitfusion for virtualized hard acceleration

VMware has agreed to acquire Bitfusion, a pioneer in virtualization of accelerated compute with a strong focus on GPU technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Bitfusion offers a software platform that decouples specific physical resources from the servers they are attached to in the environment. This enables better sharing of GPU resources among isolated GPU compute workloads, even allowing sharing to happen across the network.

For example, the platform can share GPUs in a virtualized infrastructure, as a pool of network-accessible resources, rather than isolated resources per server. Additionally, the platform can be extended to support other accelerators like FPGAs and ASICs. In many ways, Bitfusion offers for hardware acceleration what VMware offered to the compute landscape several years ago. Bitfusion also aligns well with VMware’s “Any Cloud, Any App, Any Device” vision with its ability to work across AI frameworks, clouds, networks, and formats such as virtual machines and containers.

VMware said the acquisition of Bitfusion will bolster its strategy of supporting AI- and ML-based workloads by virtualizing hardware accelerators. VMware plans to integrate Bitfusion into the vSphere platform.

Bitfusion is based in Sunnyvale, California and Austin, Texas.

https://bitfusion.io/

VMware to acquire Avi Networks for cloud load balancing

VMware agreed to acquire Avi Networks, start-up offering multi-cloud application delivery services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Avi Networks, which is based in Santa Clara, California, delivers multi-cloud application services including a Software Load Balancer, Intelligent Web Application Firewall (iWAF) and Elastic Service Mesh. Avi’s central control plane and distributed data plane deliver application services as a dynamic, multi-cloud fabric which intelligently automates decisions and provides unprecedented application analytics and on-demand elasticity. Avi customers can dispatch services such as load balancing and web application firewall to any application using one centralized interface. Avi technology runs across private and public clouds, and supports applications running on VMs, containers and bare metal. The company claims hundreds of global enterprise deployments, including Fortune 500 companies representing the world’s largest financial services, media, and technology companies.

VMware said it will offer both built-in load balancing capabilities as part of VMware NSX Data Center, and an advanced, standalone ADC. Avi Networks will further enable VMware to bring the public cloud experience to the entire data center—automated, highly scalable, and intrinsically more secure with the ability to deploy applications with a single click.

Cignal AI: Optical spending shifts from telcos to cloud operators

Cloud and colo spending increased over 50% in North America, offsetting declines in other regions, with Ciena continuing to lead all sales to cloud operators, according to the most recent Optical Customer Markets Report from research firm Cignal AI.

In EMEA, traditional telco (incumbent and wholesale network operators) optical spending recovered and will grow by double digits during 2019. Spending growth by these operators is slowing in APAC as total spending reaches record highs. Huawei continues to lead this market in APAC, EMEA, and CALA, while Ciena leads in North America.

“Optical spending in North America continues to shift from traditional telco providers to the cloud and colo operators,” said Scott Wilkinson, Lead Analyst for Optical Hardware at Cignal AI. “Despite traditional telco operators accounting for most spending, the rapid growth in cloud spending combined with traditional operators now adopting cloud architectures has permanently changed supplier R&D priorities.”

Additional findings in the 1Q19 Optical Customer Markets Report include:

  • Ciena Waveserver Ai market share continues to increase as cloud & colo spending grows. New compact modular platforms targeted at this market are entering the market in 2Q19 with Cisco, Infinera, and Nokia among those expecting stronger sales in the next quarter.
  • North American cable/MSO spending declined in the first quarter. However, moderate growth is still expected in 2019.
  • Enterprise and Government spending shows pressure from consolidation and Cloud and Colo encroachment and isn’t expected to recover in the next two years.


https://cignal.ai/2019/07/cloud-and-colo-optical-hardware-spending-increases-by-50-in-north-america/


Japan's Synspective targets Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites.

Synspective, a start-up based in Tokyo, announced US$100 million in funding for its efforts to deliver satellite data solutions using small sized SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellites.

SAR satellites actively observe and acquire earth surface information by transmitting and receiving reflected microwaves. Compared to optical satellites, which depend on sunlight reflection, SAR can capture images of the ground surface in all-weather conditions and any time of the day or night.

Synspective's core technology was developed by the ImPACT program* led by The Cabinet Office, Government of Japan. The company plans to orbit a constellation of small SAR satellites, allowing frequent observation of areas of interest. Clients for Synspective's geospatial data will include governments and private companies.

Synspective’s Co-founder and CEO, Motoyuki Arai, commented that “Synspective's first demonstration satellite is to be launched in 2020 and is steadily being developed. Customized solutions services have already been contracted by several companies, prior to launch. By providing objective satellite data, Synspective will contribute to the progress of the advancing world by supporting people's decision-making and impactful actions”.

Strategic Wireless Infrastructure Funds buys cell towers in Iowa

Strategic Wireless Infrastructure Funds Management has acquired a portfolio of cell towers located in various counties throughout Iowa.

“We believe this acquisition highlights our expertise and commitment to creating strategic partnerships not only with tower owners and developers but with the wireless operators as well. This was a complex and challenging acquisition that served to accentuate the unique experience and robust capabilities of our management team.”

The towers are at approximately 50% capacity, which management believes provides significant upside and value creation upon lease-up. Management expects to pursue additional wireless carriers, governmental agencies, radio stations, wireless internet service providers and others to help maximize occupancy on the towers.

Jerry Sullivan, CEO of Strategic Wireless, stated, “We believe this acquisition highlights our expertise and commitment to creating strategic partnerships not only with tower owners and developers but with the wireless operators as well. This was a complex and challenging acquisition that served to accentuate the unique experience and robust capabilities of our management team.”

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Intel posts strong Q2 results, shipments to Huawei have resumed

Intel reported second-quarter revenue of $16.5 billion, down 3% year-over-year (YoY), but exceeding its financial guidance issued in April.  GAAP EPS was $0.92, a decline of 12 percent YoY; non-GAAP EPS was $1.06, up 2 percent.

“Second quarter results exceeded our expectations on both revenue and earnings, as the growth of data and compute-intensive applications are driving customer demand for higher performance products in both our PC-centric and data-centric businesses,” said Bob Swan, Intel CEO. “Based on our outperformance in the quarter, we’re raising our full-year guidance. Intel’s ambitions are as big as ever, our collection of assets is unrivaled, and our transformation continues.”

Some highlights:
  • The PC-centric business (CCG) was up 1 percent in the second quarter due to a strong mix of Intel's higher performance products, strength in the commercial segment, and customers buying ahead of possible tariff impacts. New, 10nm-based 10th Gen Intel Core processors (code-named "Ice Lake") are now shipping, and expected to be in volume systems on retail shelves this 2019 holiday selling season.
  • Collectively, Intel's data-centric businesses declined 7 percent YoY in the second quarter. In the Data Center Group (DCG), the communications service provider segment grew 3 percent while the cloud segment declined 1 percent and enterprise and government revenue declined 31 percent.  The Internet of Things Group (IOTG) achieved record revenue, up 12 percent YoY (23 percent excluding Wind River) on broad strength and increased demand for higher performance processors. 
  • Mobileye achieved second-quarter revenue of $201 million, up 16 percent YoY on continued customer momentum. 
  • Intel's memory business (NSG) was down 13 percent YoY in a challenging pricing environment. Intel's Programmable Solutions Group (PSG) revenue was down 5 percent YoY in the second quarter.

Some notes from the conference call:
  • Cloud customers are absorbing resources that were put in place over the past year. Intel expects demand from this sector to pick up in the second half of the year
  • Government spending was weak, particularly in China.
  • Trade uncertainty is driving pull-ins from 2H
  • Intel suspended shipment of products to "certain customers" that were added to the U.S. government entity list, but was able to resume shipments. The financial impact for the quarter was limited.
  • Further tightening of export restrictions could impact future results
  • 10nm FPGAs will be shipping in 2H19
  • Optane is gaining momentum
  • Snowridge silicon for 5G basestations will be in production early next year
  • The acquisition of Barefoot Networks was completed this week.
  • There are now 2 fab facilities on 10nm and 7nm is on track for 2021





Apple to acquire Intel's modem business for $1 billion

by Benedict Chua, Assitant Editor

Apple agreed to acquire the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business for $1 billion. The deal includes intellectual property, equipment, leases and approximately 2,200 Intel employees.

Combining the acquired patents for current and future wireless technology with Apple’s existing portfolio, Apple will hold over 17,000 wireless technology patents, ranging from protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation. Intel will retain the option to develop modems for non-smartphone applications, such as PCs, internet of things devices and autonomous vehicles.

“This agreement enables us to focus on developing technology for the 5G network while retaining critical intellectual property and modem technology that our team has created,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan. “We have long respected Apple and we’re confident they provide the right environment for this talented team and these important assets moving forward. We’re looking forward to putting our full effort into 5G where it most closely aligns with the needs of our global customer base, including network operators, telecommunications equipment manufacturers and cloud service providers.”

“We’ve worked with Intel for many years and know this team shares Apple’s passion for designing technologies that deliver the world’s best experiences for our users,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies. “Apple is excited to have so many excellent engineers join our growing cellular technologies group, and know they’ll thrive in Apple’s creative and dynamic environment. They, together with our significant acquisition of innovative IP, will help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward.”

Apple and Qualcomm reach global settlement

Apple and Qualcomm agreed to settle all pending litigation worldwide and announced a multiyear chipset supply deal.

Under the agreement, Apple will pay royalties to Qualcomm for six years, including a two-year option to extend. Apple will also make a one-time payment to Qualcomm. Financial terms were not specified.

Intel abandons 5G smartphone modem business

Intel will exit the 5G smartphone modem business. The company said it will continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, but does not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020.


“We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan. “5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property. We are assessing our options to realize the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”


Intel outlines its 5G radio modem portfolio

Intel outlined its product roadmap for 5G silicon. First up is Intel XMM 8000 series, a family of 5G new radio (5G NR) multi-mode commercial modems, and the Intel XMM 7660 LTE modem.

Highlights of Intel’s wireless roadmap:

  • Intel XMM 8000 series: will operate in both sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave global spectrum bands. Intel is aiming to enable a range of devices to connect to 5G, including PC, phones, fixed wireless consumer premise equipment (CPE) and vehicles.
  • Intel XMM 8060: will offer multi-mode support for the full 5G non-standalone and standalone NR, as well as various 2G, 3G (including CDMA) and 4G legacy modes. It is expected to ship in commercial customer devices in mid-2019. Intel is targetting broad deployment of 5G networks in 2020.
  • Intel XMM 7660: Intel’s latest LTE modem delivers Cat-19 capabilities, supports speeds up to 1.6 Gbps, and features advanced multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO), carrier aggregation and a broad range of band support. It will ship in commercial devices in 2019.
Intel also announced it has successfully completed a full end-to-end 5G call based on its early 5G silicon over the 28GHz band. Intel says it is participating in dozens of 5G trials around the world.

Intel Mobile Communications Group Integrates Infineon Wireless

Intel acquired Infineon Technologies' Wireless Solutions (WLS) business. The deal expands Intel's current Wi-Fi and 4G WiMAX portfolio to include Infineon's 3G capabilities. Intel said the acquisition also accelerates its entry into LTE.

WLS is a leading provider of cellular platforms to top-tier global phone makers, and is part of Intel's strategy to accelerate always-connected computing platforms that span a variety of device and market segments, including laptops, cars, smart phones, tablets and smart TVs.

"As computing spreads across a range of connected devices, including new categories being created almost daily, we must be ready to support the next billion devices across multiple networks with smart, secure and seamless computing experiences," said Dadi Perlmutter, Intel executive vice president and co-general manager of the Intel Architecture Group. "The acquisition brings to Intel a world-class wireless portfolio and a proven track record in cellular communications, combined with our existing strength in computing positions us well for future growth."

The new wireless business will now be called Intel Mobile Communications (IMC) and will operate as a standalone business entity within Intel's Architecture Group to enable continuity of existing customer sales, projects and support, including ARM-based products.

T-Mobile US reports a solid Q2 - its best quarter in 3 years

T-Mobile US reported accelerated customer growth in Q2 2019 along with improved financials. The company described the quarter as its strongest performance in the past three years and said it on track to capture more than two-thirds of industry growth in the U.S. market.

T-Mobile ended Q2 2019 with 83.1 million total customers.

Accelerated Customer Growth
  • 1.8 million total net additions in Q2 2019, up 11% YoY
  • 1.1 million branded postpaid net additions in Q2 2019, up 9% YoY, expected to be best in the industry
  • 710,000 branded postpaid phone net additions in Q2 2019, up 3% YoY, expected to be best in the industry
  • 131,000 branded prepaid net additions in Q2 2019, up 44% YoY
  • All-time record-low branded postpaid phone churn of 0.78% in Q2 2019, down 17 bps YoY
Record Q2 Financial Performance (all percentages year-over-year)
  • Record Service revenues of $8.4 billion, up 6% in Q2 2019 with Branded postpaid service revenues up 9%
  • Record Q2 Total revenues of $11.0 billion, up 4% in Q2 2019
  • Record Q2 Net income of $939 million, up 20% in Q2 2019
  • Record Q2 Diluted earnings per share (“EPS”) of $1.09, up 18% in Q2 2019
  • Record Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $3.5 billion, up 7% in Q2 2019
  • Record Q2 Net cash provided by operating activities of $2.1 billion, up 70% in Q2 2019
  • Record Q2 Free Cash Flow(1) of $1.2 billion, up 51% in Q2 2019
Network rollout
  • On track to launch the first nationwide 5G network available next year; 99% of Americans now covered with 4G LTE
  • Aggressive deployment of 600 MHz using 5G-ready equipment; 4G LTE on 600 MHz now covering 156 million people and 1.2 million square miles
  • 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) network introduced in 6 cities including New York and Los Angeles
  • Successful participation in mmWave auctions; average nationwide mmWave spectrum position more than quadrupled

https://investor.t-mobile.com/investors/financial-performance/quarterly-results/default.aspx

AWS hits Q2 revenue of $8.4B, up 37%

Amazon reported Q2 2019 revenue of $8.381 billion for AWS, up 37% over the same period last year. Operating income for quarter was $2.121 billion. Operating margin was 26.2%. AWS is now on a $33 billion run rate.

https://ir.aboutamazon.com/quarterly-results

Historical growth rate for AWS

2019 Q1 - 41%
2018 Q4 - 45%
2018 Q3 - 46%
2018 Q2 - 49%
2018 Q1 - 49%
2017 Q4 - 45%

Nokia sales rise in Q2 as company cites risks in China

Citing growing 5G demand and growth in four of its six global regions, Nokia reported net sales in Q2 2019 were EUR 5.7bn compared to EUR 5.3bn in Q2 2018. On a constant currency basis, net sales increased 5%. Reported diluted EPS in Q2 2019 was negative EUR 0.03, compared to negative EUR 0.05 in Q2 2018.

Rajeev Suro, President and CEO of Nokia, states: "In the quarter, we saw good year-on-year growth, meaningful improvements in profitability, robust progress in our strategic expansion areas of Software and Enterprise and excellent momentum in our IP Routing business. We also continued to enhance our position in 5G, and now have 45 commercial 5G deals and 9 live networks.  Risks remain in the year, including execution demands in the second half, trade-related uncertainty and challenges in the China market. Given these risks, we will continue to focus on tight operational discipline, delivering on our EUR 700 million cost-savings program, improving working capital management and advancing the implementation of our strategy."

Nokia also noted that "Some customers are reassessing their vendors in light of security concerns, creating near-term pressure to invest in order to secure long-term benefits."

https://www.nokia.com/about-us/news/releases/2019/07/25/nokia-corporation-financial-report-for-q2-and-half-year-2019/

Juniper posts revenue of $1.102 billion, down 8% yoy

Juniper Networks reported Q2 2019 revenue of $1.102 billion, a decrease of 8% year-over-year, and an increase of 10% sequentially. GAAP operating margin was 7.5%, a decrease from 13.3% in the second quarter of 2018, and an increase from 4.3% in the first quarter of 2019. Non-GAAP operating margin was 15.8%, a decrease from 18.5% in the second quarter of 2018, and an increase from 11.2% in the first quarter of 2019. GAAP net income was $46.2 million, a decrease of 60% year-over-year, and an increase of 49% sequentially, resulting in diluted earnings per share of $0.13. Non-GAAP net income was $139.5 million, a decrease of 18% year-over-year, and an increase of 50% sequentially, resulting in non-GAAP diluted earnings per share of $0.40.

“We experienced encouraging trends during the June quarter, as we saw sequential revenue growth across industry verticals and technologies,” said Rami Rahim, chief executive officer, Juniper Networks. “We are making progress with our sales transformation efforts which, along with our strong pipeline of opportunities, is providing confidence in our ability to not only deliver sequential revenue growth through the remainder of the year, but also a return to year-over-year growth during the December quarter.”

Some highlights

  • Revenue by vertical
  • all verticals grew sequentially, as expected. 
  • Cloud was up 28%, 
  • Enterprise grew 8% but decreased 6% yoy, although bookings increased double-digits year-over-year.
  • Service Provider increased 3% sequentially but was down 15% yoy.

Revenue by technology

  • Routing decreased 15% year-over-year to $416 million. This represents growth of 11% sequentially. 
  • Switching decreased 15% year-over-year to $216 million. This represents growth of 22% sequentially. 
  • Security increased 2% year-over-year to $81 million.  This represents growth of 20% sequentially. 
  • Services business increased 2% year-over-year and 1% sequentially.
  • Software revenue continued to grow year-over-year and was greater than 10 percent of total revenue.

Of the top 10 customers for the quarter, four were Cloud, five were Service Provider, and one was an Enterprise. There was one customer that accounted for greater than 10% of total revenue, from the Cloud vertical.

Dell'Oro: Growth forecast for 10 Gbps EPON and XGS-PON

Global PON equipment market revenue is forecast to reach $7.3 B by 2023, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group.

The growth will be driven by spending on new 10 Gbps EPON and XGS-PON deployments, and on maximizing existing 2.5 Gbps GPON networks.

“Fiber deployments continue to expand around the world, thanks to increased competition and an improved funding environment for both public and private networks,” noted Jeff Heynen, Research Director at Dell’Oro Group. “Today’s XGS-PON trials are quickly moving to production deployments, positioning operators to compete with cable DOCSIS 3.1 networks,” continued Heynen.

Additional highlights from the Broadband Access 5-Year Forecast Report:

  • Broadband Access market projected to increase at a 4 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the forecast period.
  • Spending on cable infrastructure will only reach $1.6 B by 2023, as cable operators slow their Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) purchases while focusing on their Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) deployments.
  • VDSL Profile 35b and Gfast will offset some, but not all of the revenue loss from declining ADSL and VDSL port shipments. Some major Gfast deployments are already seeing signs of shrinking, as operators increase their investments in fiber.

https://www.delloro.com/news/global-pon-equipment-market-revenue-forecast-to-reach-7-3-b-by-2023/