Sunday, November 8, 2020

Deutsche Telekom enters sales partnership with Zoom

Deutsche Telekom has entered into a sales partnership with Zoom Video Communications.

Customers who book Zoom via Telekom will benefit from the advice of specialized customer teams and contract handling with their usual contractual partner.  

“With Telekom, our sales ecosystem is growing to include a strong partner with excellent market knowledge, extensive experience and an established name. We are pleased to reach completely new target audiences through this partnership, small and medium-sized businesses, for example,” commented Peer Stemmler, Head of DACH at Zoom. “We are convinced that Telekom’s clientele will also be delighted with the simple and frictionless video communication Zoom enables.”

“Most recently, ‘zooming’ has become synonymous with online video telephony. We can now offer this experience directly to our customers through our channels,” said Peter Schamel, VP of Business Collaboration Services at Deutsche Telekom. “As a telecommunications company, it is essential for us to keep up with the times. With Zoom, we are now integrating an intuitive and widely used tool into our portfolio. We are making sure that we can provide our business customers with the modern technology they need in the current situation and beyond from a single source.”

Thursday, November 5, 2020

American Tower to acquire InSite, adding 3,000 communication sites

American Tower agreed to acquire InSite Wireless Group, which owns, operates and manages approximately 3,000 communications sites, primarily in the U.S. and Canada, for approximately $3.5 billion.

Insite's portfolio includes more than 1,400 owned towers in the U.S., over 200 owned towers in Canada and approximately 70 distributed antenna system (“DAS”) networks in the U.S. In addition, InSite controls more than 600 land parcels under communications sites as well as approximately 400 rooftop sites.

Tom Bartlett, American Tower’s Chief Executive Officer stated, “This transaction augments our foundational U.S. business through the addition of a well-run, high-quality, complementary, macro-tower focused portfolio, while also marking our entry into Canada. We believe that these assets are positioned to enhance our organic growth and cash flow trajectory in the future as 5G deployments accelerate and densification initiatives progress.”

“Nearly two decades ago, we set a goal to build a leader in wireless communications by providing critical infrastructure to wireless carriers and other customers,” said David E. Weisman, co-founder and CEO of InSite. “On behalf of InSite, I want to thank our customers, employees, and investors for their support and partnership over the years in building InSite into where it is today. We believe the acquisition of InSite by American Tower will result in even greater benefits for our customers in the future.”

American Tower expects the assets to generate approximately $150 million in property revenue and approximately $115 million in gross margin in their first full year in its portfolio. 

http://www.americantower.com

  • American Tower currently controls a portfolio of 181,000 communication sites.

T-Mobile US now has 100 million mobile customers

T-Mobile US crossed the 100 million customer milestone, surpassing AT&T to become the No.2 largest mobile operator in the U.S. The milestone comes 7 months after its acquisition of Sprint.

Highlights for the quarter:

  • Net customer additions were 2,035,000 in Q3 2020, a record-high and the 23rd consecutive quarter of industry-leading performance in this category. The total customer count increased to a record-high of 100.4 million.
  • Postpaid net customer additions were 1,979,000 in Q3 2020, a record-high and the 11th consecutive quarter of industry-leading performance in this category.
  • Postpaid phone net customer additions were 689,000 in Q3 2020, leading the industry and marking the 27th consecutive quarter of leading the national carriers. Postpaid phone churn was 0.90%.
  • Postpaid other net customer additions were 1,290,000 in Q3 2020, leading the industry and nearly double Verizon and AT&T combined as T-Mobile for Business continued to connect educational institutions during COVID-19.
  • Prepaid net customer additions were 56,000 in Q3 2020 and prepaid churn was 2.86%.
  • Total service revenues increased year-over-year to $14.1 billion in Q3 2020, driven by the Sprint merger and continued customer growth.
  • Total revenues increased year-over-year to $19.3 billion in Q3 2020, driven by the Sprint merger and continued customer growth.
  • Net income increased year-over-year to $1.3 billion in Q3 2020, as revenue growth outpaced expense increases. Merger-related costs were $288 million pre-tax and $208 million, net of tax, in Q3 2020.
  • EPS was relatively flat year-over-year at $1.00 in Q3 2020, as growth in net income was offset by a higher number of outstanding shares as a result of the Sprint merger.

Russia's Yandex upgrades Moscow DCI network with ADVA

Yandex, Russia's leading search engine, has deployed the ADVA FSP 3000 TeraFlex to upgrade its data center interconnect (DCI) transport network to 600 Gbps.

Yandex’s Moscow data centers are now connected in a point-to-point network with ADVA’s high-density TeraFlex terminal. Serving 36 bidirectional 100GbE client ports, the 1RU solution injects new levels of channel capacity and spectral efficiency into Yandex’s network. Built specifically to maximize fiber utilization, TeraFlex features software-defined fractional QAM modulation capabilities. This enables it to leverage different modulation formats and optimize all optical paths over any distance.

The ADVA FSP 3000 TeraFlex was plugged into Yandex’s existing line system. The terminal supports 600 Gbps over a single wavelength and delivers a total duplex capacity of 3.6 Tbps in one rack unit. 

“We’re proud of what our FSP 3000 TeraFlex technology is helping Yandex achieve. Without the effort or expense of a complete system upgrade, it’s enabled one of Russia’s biggest technology companies to transform its infrastructure. By unlocking the full value of its fiber assets, Yandex is opening the door to further growth and innovation,” commented Hartmut Müller-Leitloff, SVP, sales, EMEA, ADVA. “Our TeraFlex™ has a large degree of configuration flexibility, using different modulation formats and software-defined fractional QAM to optimize data rate transmission performance. Together with its plug-and-play simplicity, TeraFlex™ made it easy for Yandex to transform its existing DCI infrastructure.”

“We’re helping Yandex to massively expand the capacity of its network and accommodate ever-increasing traffic demands. Our TeraFlex terminal is ensuring that one of Russia’s leading technology companies can meet its customers’ expectations and continue growing its business well into the future,” said Stephan Rettenberger, SVP, marketing and investor relations, ADVA. “Tens of millions of people rely on Yandex’s products and services on a daily basis. That’s why it’s a company keen to deliver even more by leveraging the most advanced technology on the market. Our solution enables it to continue innovating and improving quality. And, with the space- and power-efficiency of TeraFlex, Yandex’s new network also ensures that future growth is fully sustainable.”

http://www.adva.com

Ayar Labs raises $35m for its in-package optical interconnect

Ayar Labs, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California closed $35 million in Series B financing for its in-package optical interconnect (I/O) solutions.

Ayar Labs said optical I/O (OIO) solves the major computing bottlenecks in interconnect bandwidth, power consumption, and reach.  The company is developing a monolithic in-package optical I/O (MIPO) solution for applications that require high bandwidth, low latency and power-efficient short-reach interconnects. The company's patented approach uses industry-standard silicon processing techniques to develop high speed, high density, low power optical-based interconnect “chiplets” and lasers to replace traditional electrical-based I/O. The company was founded in 2015. 

Ayar Labs publicly demonstrated its monolithic electronic photonic TeraPHY chiplet at the Supercomputing 2019 conference and is now working with select semiconductor manufacturers, OEM systems builders, and end users. 

The funding round was co-led by Downing Ventures and BlueSky Capital. New investors include Applied Ventures, LLC, Castor Ventures, Downing Ventures (U.K.), and SGInnovate (Singapore), expanding Ayar Labs’ investor base with strategic ecosystem and global investors. Existing investor participation includes BlueSky Capital, Founders Fund, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Intel Capital, Lockheed Martin Ventures, and Playground Global.

“Over the last year, we have continued to invest and grow our organization, and have demonstrated a number of technology firsts while securing additional customer and ecosystem relationships,” said Charles Wuischpard, CEO of Ayar Labs. “The investment interest from new and existing strategic and financial investors despite these difficult global times allows us to continue executing our long-range plan for making Ayar Labs Optical I/O a ubiquitous computing solution.”

http://www.ayarlabs.com

Ayar Labs has been selected as Intel’s optical I/O solution partner for their recently awarded DARPA PIPES (Photonics in Package for Extreme Scalability) project. The PIPES project aims to develop integrated optical I/O solutions co-packaged with next generation FPGA/CPU/GPU and accelerators in Multi-Chip Packages (MCP) to provide extreme data rates (input/output) at ultra-low power over much longer distances than supported by current technology....

Ayar raises $24m for TeraPHY chips, appoints CEO

Ayar Labs, a start-up based in Emeryville, California, raised $24 million in Series A funding for its work in silicon photonics for high-speed connectivity. Ayar Labs said it is pursuing a unique silicon photonics approach that uses fiber optic technology to move data between chips, rather than traditional copper pins and wires. It delivers improvements of 10x more bandwidth and 10x lower power compared to electrical interconnections. The funding...


Movistar Colombia deploys Nokia's Digital Operations software


Telefónica Colombia affiliate, Movistar,is deploying Nokia Digital Operations software to modernize its Operations Support Systems (OSS).

Nokia’s Catalog-Driven Fulfillment solution is supporting the operator’s voice, mobile data, value-added and over-the-top services for 3G and 4G, as well as portability requests and VoLTE provisioning for Movistar’s 19 million mobile subscriber and 3 million fixed subscribers and TV users.

Nokia says its Digital Operations software will enable Movistar Colombia to complete more than 43 million tasks on a monthly basis, 

Francisco Javier Bertran, Digital Transformation Director Movistar Colombia, said: "Nokia is a strategic partner for Movistar's digital transformation process, allowing a convergent and profitable provision of services at scale, which facilitates reaching the market in an agile and timely manner with services for both fixed and mobile clients."

Bhaskar Gorti, President of Nokia Software and Nokia Chief Digital Officer, said: “By modernizing its OSS with Nokia Software solutions, Movistar Colombia is better equipped to deliver new customer-centric products and services and to manage these with extreme automation. Through our Common Software Foundation, Nokia Software solutions, like Digital Operations, are designed to give operators wide operational flexibility. We are pleased to be helping Movistar Colombia through its digital transformation.”




Infinera posts Q3 revenue of $340 million, up 4.2%

Infinera reported GAAP revenue for the quarter was $340.2 million, up 2.6% compared to $331.6 million in the second quarter of 2020 and up 4.2% from $325.3 million in the third quarter of 2019. GAAP gross margin for the quarter was 31.8% compared to 29.4% in the second quarter of 2020 and 26.7% in the third quarter of 2019. Non-GAAP net income for the quarter was $4.2 million, or $0.02 per share, compared to a net loss of $(17.2) million, or $(0.09) per share, in the second quarter of 2020, and a net loss of $(30.5) million, or $(0.17) per share, in the third quarter of 2019.


“We delivered a very strong Q3, achieving non-GAAP operating profitability with non-GAAP revenue, gross margin and operating margin growing both sequentially and year-over-year,” said David Heard, Infinera COO. “We remain focused on the opportunity to grow our market share, expand margins and drive earnings growth through innovation and operational execution.”

“I continue to be very optimistic about the opportunities ahead of us that are created as the industry transitions to 800G, Open Optical networks and intelligent pluggables,” continued Tom Fallon, Infinera CEO. “These transitions are happening in a healthier competitive environment where vertical integration and assurance of network security are increasingly valued.”

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


CommScope reports Q3 sales of $2.168 billion, down 8.9% yoy


CommScope reported net sales of $2.168 billion up 3% the preceding quarter but down 8.9% from a year earlier. Net sales declined primarily due to year over year decreases in the Home Networks and Outdoor Wireless Networks segments.

CommScope generated a net loss of $(116.3) million, or $(0.66) per basic share, in the third quarter, compared to the prior year period's net loss of $(156.5) million, or $(0.88) per basic share. Non-GAAP adjusted net income for the third quarter of 2020 was $123.1 million, or $0.51 per diluted share, versus $126.9 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2019.

“Since joining CommScope in October, I have been impressed by the team’s relentless focus on executing against our strategic objectives and delivering for our customers around the world,” said Chuck Treadway, president and chief executive officer. “Communication networks are essential to our economies, education system and for keeping us connected on a personal level. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of a company providing such critical network connectivity.


“As we look ahead, the Board and management team are focused on growing our business and creating long-term, profitable growth through a combination of investment opportunities and cost-cutting measures. While there remains much to do, we are confident in our ability to deliver enhanced profitability and unlock even greater value for CommScope and our shareholders. I am excited for CommScope to continue to play a critical role in advancing the 5G and 10G revolutions and shaping our global networks, today and in the future.” 

MACOM posts sales of $147 million


MACOM Technology Solutions reported revenue of $147.2 million for its fiscal fourth quarter and fiscal year ended October 2, 2020, an increase of 31.2% compared to $112.2 million in the previous year fiscal fourth quarter and an increase of 7.3% compared to $137.3 million in the prior fiscal quarter.

Gross margin was 52.8%, compared to 47.2% in the previous year fiscal fourth quarter and 51.6% in the prior fiscal quarter. Net income was $17.5 million, or $0.22 per diluted share, compared to net income of $10.5 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, in the previous year fiscal fourth quarter and net loss of $25.0 million, or $0.37 loss per diluted share, in the prior fiscal quarter.

“During fiscal 2020, we took steps to improve MACOM's financial performance, reinvigorate new product development and update our strategic plan,” said Stephen G. Daly, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to continued improvements during fiscal 2021.”


VIAVI posts revenue of $284.7 million, sees growth year ahead

VIAVI reported net revenue of $284.7 million for its first fiscal quarter ended October 3, 2020, down from $299.8 million in the same period a year ago. First quarter of fiscal 2021 GAAP net income was $14.3 million, or $0.06 per share. Non-GAAP net income was $48.3 million, or $0.21 per share.

"Our OSP business segment delivered an all-time record quarterly revenue driven by strong demand in 3D Sensing and Anti-Counterfeiting products.  Together with a stabilizing demand environment in NSE and operating expense control, we achieved a non-GAAP EPS at $0.21 which exceeded both the guidance range and a year ago levels," said Oleg Khaykin, VIAVI's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We expect NSE revenue to continue recovering and strengthen sequentially driven by Field Instruments. OSP strength is expected to continue with modest pullback in 3D Sensing and Anti-Counterfeiting products, inline with fiscal Q2 seasonality."

Khaykin added, "The near-term macroeconomic uncertainty notwithstanding, we expect calendar 2021 to be a growth year driven by the secular demand for 5G Wireless, Fiber and 3D Sensing."

  • Americas, Asia-Pacific and EMEA customers represented 33.5%, 38.0% and 28.5%, respectively, of total net revenue for the quarter ended October 3, 2020.
  • As of October 3, 2020, the Company held $595.5 million in total cash, short-term restricted cash and investments.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

DE-CIX in Frankfurt hits peak of 10 Tbps

DE-CIX in Frankfurt has set a new record for data throughput by reaching a peak of 10 Terabits per second shortly after 8 pm on November, 3, 2020. With more than 1000 connected customers, DE-CIX in Frankfurt maintains its position as one of the largest Internet Exchanges in the world.

At the beginning of March, DE-CIX Frankfurt broke through the 9 Tbps peak for the first time. 


DE-CIX is also reporting new peak throughput records for its exchanges in New York, Madrid, Marseille, Istanbul, and Dubai.

“Whether it’s for home-schooling, work-from-home, or private use, the global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic earlier in the year resulted in a meteoric rise in the use of digital applications – for streaming, chatting, or gaming. This year, there was also no slow-down in the summer months – quite the opposite! As a result of the coronavirus, digitalization has been boosted at all levels. We see in particular that large enterprises and listed corporations are currently adapting their interconnection strategies and are specifically seeking consultations and investigating the possibility of data exchange at and via Internet Exchanges like DE-CIX. With all eyes on the US election this week, a further impact on traffic has been felt around the world. It has already been made clear that the Internet can withstand massive loads – like those of a global lock-down. Now is the time to increase the quality of the Internet maximally, right through to the end user,” says Dr. Thomas King, CTO at DE-CIX.

INDIGO subsea cable to deploy Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme

Ciena has been selected by SUB.CO and its Australian entity APX Partners to upgrade the INDIGO subsea cable system, which connects Sydney, Perth, Jakarta and Singapore.

The Indigo submarine cable network spans approximately 9,000 kilometers, has two fiber pairs, and features new spectrum-sharing technology that allows consortium members to independently upgrade their networks and increase capacity, as needed and on-demand. 

This upgrade will use Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme, powered by WaveLogic 5 Extreme on the 6500 platform, to deliver 500 Gbps single-wavelength channels speeds across the submarine cable network. SUB.CO and APX Partners will leverage Ciena’s Hosted Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) software via Ciena Services. The deployment of the Hosted MCP Software-as-a-Service is a first in the Asia Pacific region. Ciena Services will also be used for site engineering, installation, testing and end-to-end project management.

“Looking to where the industry is heading SUB.CO is focused on building and operating hyperscale and software defined submarine cable capacity by fusing dedicated spectrum/fiber infrastructure ownership economics with optical platforms that will allow us to maximize spectral efficiency, yet be flexible in configuration for all our different customer demands. Deploying both Ciena’s latest coherent optical solution over a shared spectrum cable and its hosted network management software in the Southeast Asia region is a key piece of our long-term strategy,” states Bevan Slattery, CEO, SUB.CO and APX Partners.

INDIGO subsea cable is ready for service

The INDIGO subsea cable system, which connects Australia and Southeast Asia, is officially ready for use.

INDIGO features two-fibre pairs with a design capacity for up to 36 terabits per second. The cable system will utilise new spectrum sharing technology so each consortium member will have the ability to independently take advantage of technology advancements for future upgrades and capacity increases on demand.

INDIGO is backed by AARNet, Google, Indosat Ooredoo, Singtel, SubPartners and Telstra.

Qualcomm posts revenues of $6.5 billion, up 35% yoy

Qualcomm reported quarterly revenue of $8.3 billion, up 73% year-over-year, above the high end of prior guidance issued by the company. Non-GAAP revenues were $6.5 billion, up 35% year-over-year. Non-GAAP diluted EPS was $1.45, an increase of 86% year-over-year, above the high end of our prior guidance range.

“Our fiscal fourth quarter results demonstrate that our investments in 5G are coming to fruition and showing benefits in our licensing and product businesses,” said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated. “We concluded the year with exceptional fourth quarter results and are well positioned for growth in 2021 and beyond. As the pace of disruption in wireless technology accelerates, we will continue to drive growth and scale across our RF front-end, Automotive and IoT adjacencies.”

Some highlights:

  • MSM chip shipments: 162 million, an increase of 7% year-over-year, above the midpoint of the prior guidance range.
  • QCT revenues: $5.0 billion, an increase of 38% year-over-year, above the high end of the prior guidance range
  • QTL revenues: $1.5 billion, an increase of 30% year-over-year, above the high end of the prior guidance range.

Regarding the 5G environment, Qualcomm notes:

  • Over 400 operators investing in 5G and more than 110+ operators in almost 50 countries / territories have launched commercial 5G services- across both sub-6 and millimeter wave spectrum
  • 35+ operators offer 5G fixed wireless access or home broadband services
  • 148 5G phones commercially available (+56% vs June 2020) – 200 announced (+48% vs June 2020)
  • 222 5G devices commercially available (+64% vs June 2020) – 444 announced (+40% vs June 2020)
  • Release 16 completed, which expands 5G to new spectrum and services, working on Releases 17 and 18


Spectra7 Sets Sights on 56Gbps PAM4 NIC designs


Spectra7 Microsystem announced three new reference designs targeted at new server connectivity needs implementing 56Gbps PAM4 signaling on Ethernet Network Interface Cards (NICs). 

As servers adopt higher bandwidth ports that utilize 56Gbps PAM4 signaling, passive cables cannot serve all lengths needed. Instead of deploying optical interconnects that are much higher power and more costly, operators are looking to Active Copper Cables (ACCs) to serve this growing need. One example is Tencent who demonstrated a Spectra7 enabled ACC for server connectivity in September at China’s Open Data Center Committee (ODCC) conference. The 200Gbps demonstration showed a Spectra7 enabled ACC “splitter cable” connecting from a 200Gbps top-of-rack (ToR) switch port to 2 separate servers with 100Gbps NIC ports. The signaling in the cable was 56Gbps PAM4. This “splitter cable” architecture is being widely planned both in the US and in China for next generation deployments.

GCS-QSFP Reference Design

Server Connectivity Splitter Cable with 200Gbps QSFP56-CR4 form factor module at switch end and 2 QSFP56-CR2 form factor modules at server ends. A total of 4 GC2502 ICs are used in this reference design.

GCS-DSFP Reference Design

Server Connectivity Splitter Cable with 200Gbps QSFP56-CR4 form factor module at switch end and 2 DSFP-CR2 form factor modules at server ends. A total of 4 GC2502 ICs are used in this reference design.

GCS-SFP-DD Reference Design

Server Connectivity Splitter Cable with 200Gbps QSFP56-CR4 form factor module at switch end and 2 SFP-DD-CR2 form factor modules at server ends. A total of 4 GC2502 ICs are used in this reference design.

http://www.spectra7.com/pam4-referencedesigns

FCC fines T-Mobile $200 million for Lifeline violations at Sprint

The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau imposed a $200 million fine on T-Mobile in connection with Sprint's non-compliance with rules pertaining to waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program for low-income consumers.  

The payment is the largest fixed-amount settlement the FCC has ever secured to resolve an investigation. 


Prior to its merger with T-Mobile, Sprint was claiming monthly subsidies for serving approximately 885,000 Lifeline subscribers even though those subscribers were not using the service, in potential violation of the Commission’s “non-usage” rule.  The matter initially came to light as a result of an investigation by the Oregon Public Utility Commission.  In addition to paying a $200 million civil penalty, Sprint agreed to enter into a compliance plan to help ensure future adherence to the Commission’s rules for the Lifeline program.

The Lifeline program helps make phone and broadband service more affordable for low-income consumers.  Providers participating in the program receive a $9.25 monthly subsidy for most Lifeline subscribers, which they must pass along to consumers as a discount.  For most mobile Lifeline consumers served by Sprint and many other providers, the subsidy makes the service free to the consumer.

“Lifeline is key to our commitment to bringing digital opportunity to low-income Americans, and it is especially critical that we make the best use of taxpayer dollars for this vital program,” said Chairman Ajit Pai.  “I’m pleased that we were able to resolve this investigation in a manner that sends a strong message about the importance of complying with rules designed to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program.  In addition to the great work of our Enforcement Bureau team, I would like to thank the Oregon Public Utility Commission for its efforts in this case.  States play an important role in helping low-income consumers get access to affordable communications through Lifeline and making sure the program is run efficiently.” 

 

Zain Group cites impact of COVID-19 on telecom revenues

Zain Group reported consolidated revenue of KD 1.2 billion (USD 3.9 billion) for the first nine months of 2020, down 2% Y-o-Y, while consolidated EBITDA for the period reached KD 502 million (USD 1.6 billion), down 7% Y-o-Y, reflecting a healthy EBITDA margin of 42%. Consolidated net income amounted to KD 132 million (USD 429 million), reflecting a 14% Y-o-Y decrease. Earnings per share amounted to 30 fils (USD 0.10) for the nine-month period. For 9M 2020, foreign currency translation impact, predominantly due to the 14% currency devaluation in Sudan from an average of 46 at 9M 2019 to 53.7 at 9M 2020 (SDG / USD), cost the Group USD 78 million in revenue, USD 36 million in EBITDA and USD 9 million in net income. 

Zain highlighted e notable 68% Y-o-Y increase in net income at Zain Iraq and healthy 28% revenue growth in USD terms at Zain Sudan.   


Mr. Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi, Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO commented, “The telecom sector is not immune to the current pandemic facing the global community that will continue to play havoc across all aspects of socio-economic life for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, we continue our resolve and commitment to ensuring meaningful connectivity and implementing more digitalization initiatives to better serve businesses, governments, and societies, aiming to lessen the impact of COVID19 on society.”

Operational review of key markets for the nine months ended 30 September, 2020

  • Kuwait: Maintaining its market leadership, Zain Group’s flagship operation saw its customer base serve 2.6 million. It remains the Group’s most profitable operation with revenue for 9M 2020 reaching KD 236 million (USD 770 million), EBITDA reaching KD 85 million (USD 277 million), representing an EBITDA margin of 36%. Net income reached KD 58 million (USD 189 million) for 9M 2020, with data revenue accounting for 39% of total revenue.
  • Saudi Arabia: For the 9M 2020, Zain KSA generated revenue of SAR 5.9 billion (USD 1.6 billion), EBITDA for the period reached SAR 2.6 billion (USD 695 million), reflecting an EBITDA margin of 45%. Net income for the nine months reached SAR 224 million (USD 60 million).  Data revenue represents 51% of total revenue and customers served stood at 7.0 million. 
  • Iraq: Zain Iraq’s 9M 2020 revenue reached USD 708 million and EBITDA amounted to USD 285 million, reflecting EBITDA margin of 40%. The operation reported an impressive net profit of USD 61 million for 9M 2020. The operator served 15.7 million customers maintaining its market leading position.
  • Sudan: For 9M 2020, Zain Sudan generated revenue of SDG 14.9 billion (USD 278 million), with EBITDA amounting to SDG 6.5 billion (USD 121 million), reflecting an EBITDA margin of 44%. Net income for the period reached SDG 1.9 billion (USD 36 million). Data revenue represented 25% of total revenue, while the operator’s customer base reached 16.0 million, maintaining its market leadership.
  • Jordan: For 9M 2020, Zain Jordan revenue reached USD 359 million, EBITDA reached USD 160 million, reflecting an EBITDA margin of 44%, with net income reaching USD 56 million. With the ongoing expansion of 4G services across the country, data revenue represented 46% of total revenue.  Zain Jordan served 3.5 million customers maintaining its market leading position.
  • Bahrain: Zain Bahrain generated revenue of USD 123 million for 9M 2020. EBITDA for the period amounted to USD 42 million, reflecting an EBITDA margin of 34%. Net income amounted to USD 10 million. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

O-RAN Alliance update and virtual demos

The O-RAN ALLIANCE, which was formed two years ago with a mission is to re-shape the industry towards more intelligent, open, virtualized and fully interoperable mobile networks, elected a new Board of Directors including the addition of 3 new operators: KDDI, Rakuten Mobile and Vodafone

The O-RAN ALLIANCE now represents 27 major carriers along with the support of over 200 additional vendors and academic contributors.

“In its first two years the O-RAN ALLIANCE has driven a tremendous pace in delivering new standards for open and intelligent RAN, and has helped facilitate implementations by releasing open software and supporting the integration and testing of concrete O-RAN implementations,” said Andre Fuetsch, Chairman of the O-RAN ALLIANCE and Chief Technology Officer of AT&T. “We welcome the new members of the O-RAN Board, and look forward to the continuing contributions from all O-RAN participants that will drive a global mobile network ecosystem based on openness, interoperability and intelligence.”

The O-RAN Alliance provided this update on its technical progress:

  • 20 O-RAN specifications released since June 2020, bringing its total number of specifications to 40 in 73 versions.
  • O-RAN specifications published in 2nd half of 2020 introduce the initial version of O2 interface general aspects and principles, the HW reference design for the indoor picocells in 7.2 and 8.0 split, as well as an end to end system testing framework.
  • Publishing the Criteria and Guidelines for the Open Testing and Integration Centres (OTIC) initiates the global platform for testing and integration of O-RAN based network equipment.
  • O-RAN has created a Security Task Group (STG) to investigate and address the security considerations of the O-RAN architecture. In its recent blog post, the STG tackles the security challenges on all O-RAN interfaces and components.

O-RAN Virtual Exhibition Provides Insights on Companies Progressing with their O-RAN Implementations -- https://www.virtualexhibition.o-ran.org/index.html

To substitute the canceled MWC Los Angeles 2020, O-RAN member companies present their recent demonstrations of O-RAN based equipment at the O-RAN Virtual Exhibition. 23 new demonstrations of O-RAN Open and Intelligent solutions have been added:

IPLOOK demonstrates an End-to-end 5G SA/NSA open mobile core network. This demo showcases the highly scalable End-to-end 3G/4G/5G converged mobile core solution based on COTS and Cloud for MNOs, MVNOs, WISPs and Private Networks in order to reduce TCO and grow revenue.

Airspan demonstrates its 5G virtual end-to-end massive MIMO Open RAN based solution OpenRANGE. It includes: O-RAN Open Fronthaul based Massive MIMO O-RU, cloud native containerized vDU and vCU x86 based protocol stack and Airspan’s Service Management and Orchestration (SMO) framework.

Juniper Networks demonstrates 5G Network Slicing across Telco Cloud and Transport Network domains, which can be used for O-RAN xHaul slicing. The demo showcases network slices created by domain specific Juniper controllers – Contrail and Northstar – and explains how Network Slicing works to deliver service guarantees for 5G applications.

ArrayComm presents two demonstrations:

  1. an end to end 5G solution based on NXP BonnyRigg, which proves the possibility of small cell solution on new platform.
  2. an end to end 5G solution based on NXP LX2160A + Xilinx FPGA ZU21DR. It provides higher throughput performance and is ready for commercial deployment.

Comba Telecom demonstrates Open RAN Multi-band Remote Radio Unit with advanced technology that maintains low level of power consumption and better receiver sensitivity. The small form factor and improved Mean Time Before Failure performance contributes to installation and maintenance cost saving. These features facilitate fronthaul integration with O-DU partners.

Xilinx presents two demonstrations:

  1. Virtual BBU, O-DU and O-CU FPGA-based HW acceleration in the Edge Cloud based on Xilinx T1 Telco Accelerator cards, which transform a standard server into a virtual baseband unit (O-DU) with the performance, low latency, and power efficiency required for O-RAN 5G deployments. Xilinx T1 cards further implement O-RAN MCUS planes protocols for the Open Front Haul interface.
  2. O-RAN massive MIMO radio unit reference design based on Xilinx RFSoC devices incorporating GSPS integrated ADC/DACs (direct RF sampling transceiver architecture), 32TRX and 64TRX configurations, DFE, high EIRP and high TRP aligned with the requirements stated in OMAC HAR.

Calnex demonstrates precision timing and sync is a key technical challenge and standards bodies have been working on specifications. This demo showcases the methodology for conformance testing of timing for Fronthaul and O-RAN that will enable successful deployment of the new standards and technologies.

NTT DOCOMO, Fujitsu, NEC and Samsung present multi-vendor IOT with O-RAN’s Open Fronthaul and X2. It includes 5G NSA by multi-vendor RAN with NR on sub 6GHz and mmWave, which is already live in NTT DOCOMO’s commercial network. It also includes a pre-commercial realization of Fronthaul Multiplexer (FHM) and NR sub 6GHz inter-band Carrier Aggregation.

Baicells, QCT and Wind River demonstrate the E2E outdoor micro cell solution based on Open Fronthaul and Open Cloud platform. In addition, the co-platform for both O-CU/O-DU and 5GC are tested with commercial UEs to showcase the MU-MIMO peak throughput with Outdoor micro AAU.

VIAVI presents 3 demonstrations:

(1) the TM500 O-RU tester, which covers a wide range of test capabilities, addressing the conformance, interoperability and performance test needs for NEMs and Service providers.

(2) its TM500 O-RU Emulator to test the interoperability and interworking of the O-RAN O-DU. Including full bandwidth testing of CU plane with multi-UE traffic while monitoring signal quality for different bandwidth.

(3) end-to-end 5G NSA performance system testing across multiple O-RAN components from multiple vendors. Providing performance and interoperability validation with integrated test automation across a full O-RAN multi-vendor network with the TM500 Network Tester.

Keysight presents 7 demonstrations:

  1. a virtualized RU Simulator that runs on commercial hardware to test O-DUs/O-CUs. This helps accelerate the development/manufacturing, Operator, and OTIC Labs to accelerate O-RAN development and testing.
  2. a RIC tester that is built as a microservice and can be deployed on private/public cloud environments. This verifies the E2 interface as well as the ability for RIC to respond to KPM reports from simulated O-DUs and O-CUs.
  3. 5G SA O-RAN network end-to-end performance verification. MNOs can now evaluate the performance of a multi-vendor RAN.
  4. automated O-RAN Test Solution for O-RUs. This test suite enables NEM development/manufacturing, Operator, and OTIC Labs to accelerate O-RU conformance testing.
  5. xhaul transport Network validation solution using IxNetwork. It enables transport device vendors and operators to benchmark forwarding performance and total delay budget of time sensitive fronthaul network
  6. IxNetwork TSN test solution for time sensitive fronthaul network. This test enables transport devices vendors and operators to validate frame preemption capability of transport devices, ensuring end-to-end latency of the express radio traffic.
  7. IxNetwork Segment Routing test solution for xHaul transport. This test enables transport devices vendors and operator to validate transport network slicing infrastructure supporting differentiated 5G services.

AT&T, VIAVI, Samsung and Nokia demonstrate an end-to-end traffic steering use case based on a number of open source components namely, near-RT RIC platform, Traffic steering xApp, KPI monitoring xApp and a RAN Simulator.

NEC demonstrates its 5G base station equipment with open fronthaul interfaces, ie, Open Radio Units (O-RU) for macrocells that support the 3.7GHz and 4.5GHz bands, as well as Open Fronthaul Multiplexers (FHM) for 5G.

Ericsson demonstrates how the SMO performs automated management of RAN xNFs (any Network Function) through O1 interface. It also demonstrates how OSC (O-RAN Software Community) A1 Controller function supports QoE (Quality of Experience) refinement in RAN through the use of A1 policies.

https://www.o-ran.org/

Celona raises $30 million for private LTE/5G

Celona recently closed a $30 million Series B round of funding backing its LTE/5G enterprise networking solutions.

Celona is developing its solution that fully automates the deployment and operations of private LTE/5G wireless networks within the enterprise. Celona said its AI-ops based architecture enables the integration of cellular wireless functions with existing enterprise IT and cloud infrastructure as an overlay. 

The round was led by NTTVC and Qualcomm Ventures LLC with participation from Celona’s initial investors: Lightspeed Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Cervin Ventures. The company has raised $40 million to date.

“Our goal at Celona is to usher in a new era of enterprise services and applications leveraging 5G and give enterprises their own private mobile networks,” said Rajeev Shah, CEO and co-founder, Celona. “Our collaboration with NTTVC and Qualcomm Ventures validates our view that making 5G technology fully accessible to the enterprise will have a transformational impact on the future of networking.”

“As new cellular spectrum for private mobile networks is being made available around the world, we are excited to partner with Celona’s founding team to accelerate adoption of 5G for enterprises and operators,” said Vab Goel, founding partner at NTTVC. “With Celona, enterprises can deploy a mobile-first network, enabling new, real-time applications powering the future of enterprise connectivity.”  

https://www.celona.io/

Alaska Comm. Sys to be acquired for $300m

Alaska Communications Systems Group (NASDAQ: ALSK) will be acquired by an affiliate of Macquarie and GCM Grosvenor (through its Labor Impact Fund) in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $300 million, including debt. 

Under the deal, all the outstanding shares of Alaska Communications common stock will be acquired for $3.00 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 57% over the closing per share price of $1.91 on November 2, 2020, the last trading day prior to the date the merger agreement was executed.

David W. Karp, Chairman of the Alaska Communications Board of Directors, said, "After carefully evaluating Macquarie Capital’s and GCM’s offer, we are confident that this transaction is in the best interest of Alaska Communications and its stockholders. Macquarie Capital has a proven track record of delivering large and complex transactions globally on accelerated timelines, and GCM’s Labor Impact Fund provides strategy driven capital that we expect will generate real value for our customers and the Alaska Communications workforce."

Bill Bishop, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alaska Communications, stated, "GCM’s Labor Impact Fund provides strategic value to our business both through its experience in the telecommunications sector and in fostering partnerships with a unionized workforce. We firmly believe this transaction will allow us to enhance our expanded fiber network services and drive long-term value for our customers in Alaska and the Lower 48."


StackPath picks CommScope to expand edge cloud capacity

StackPath has selected CommScope to support the expansion of its cloud capacity across twelve global sites. 

StackPath, which is based in Dallas, offers an edge computing platform. 

CommScope’s Professional Services team will manage the upgrade of StackPath’s data centers—including the installation of new switches, power distribution units and network cabling, as well as the decommissioning of equipment, asset tagging and recovery, bespoke packaging, logistics, and warehousing in preparation for future redeployment.  The initial projects are scheduled for completion in Q4 2020, with further growth planned into 2021.

“StackPath is experiencing tremendous demand for our edge computing platform, and we tapped CommScope to lead the build out of our data centers around the world to stay ahead of that demand,” said Paul Drew, vice president, Infrastructure & IT, StackPath. “CommScope offers unique, global expertise in large-scale data center deployments, and we’ll be working hand-in-hand with them in a number of key areas to prepare our network for tomorrow’s hyperscale opportunities.”

“CommScope’s Professional Services team offers leading cloud operators like StackPath the complete set of tools and expertise to expand cloud capacity on a global scale,” said Rich Soucie, vice president, Hyperscale and Cloud Services, CommScope. “We act as an extension of their network, allowing them to scale capacity quickly and simultaneously across multiple markets all over the globe.”