11 Ağu 2009

Six million lines now unbundled in U.K.

Six million lines now unbundled in U.K.

The progress of unbundling telephone lines in the UK has reached a significant milestone with six million lines now out of BT's hands. Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) is a process that gives other communications providers the ability to use BT's copper telephone lines to offer broadband and telephone services without having to pay wholesale charges to BT. This means that ISPs such as Sky and TalkTalk can offer packages with significantly reduced line rental charges, for example, and higher speeds than BT or BT-based services. Ed Richards, Ofcom's chief executive, said: "In just four years unbundling has gone from a flicker on the dial to a major competitive force in telecoms. This has delivered the dual benefits of driving up broadband take-up and driving down prices." Ofcom reckons that consumers were paying on average £23.30 a month, excluding VAT, for a broadband service delivered over a copper phone line in the last quarter of 2005, but since the introduction of LLU, that figure is now closer to £13.61 excluding VAT. BT set up a division known as Openreach to look after LLU in 2005, but the Office of the Telecoms Adjudicator (OTA), the body tasked with overseeing the process, was recently critical of Openreach's progress. According to the Office of the Telecoms Adjudicator (OTA) "a number of issues remain outstanding that should have been closed down some time ago", despite the landmark figure having been reached.

How the Mobile Internet can be Realized through New Technologies & Applications

How the Mobile Internet can be Realized through New Technologies & Applications

Siavash(Intel) asks, "Mobile WiMAX is available today, why not use it"? He concludes, "When LTE becomes available, Intel will definitely embrace it, but we will not wait for that at the expense of WiMAX since this will only delay mobile Internet further into the future."


Siavash Alamouti(Intel) has stated that mobile broadband needs to evolve from its current primitive state (a packet overlay of a cellular TDM network), to a wireless broadband network that can accommodate much higher bandwidth per user and overall traffic capacity.

A network optimized for mobile voice cannot be "upgraded" to handle high numbers of high bandwidth mobile Internet users that access rich multi-media content or are uploading/ downloading large video and multi-media files. The following graphic depicts the mismatch between requirements of today's voice oriented mobile networks and tomorrow's mobile broadband Internet.To achieve acceptable service levels, more spectrum is needed along with higher capacity backhaul and a different network architecture. Alamouti believes that the mobile Internet requires a technology revolution to accommodate multi-Mbps subscriber connections from many simultaneous users. Clearly, the more bandwidth available per user, the more people benefit from the mobile internet, assuming of course that the service is reasonably priced (which it's not on 3G networks).To obtain a low cost per bit, a much higher level of spectrum efficiency is needed than can be achieved by 3G or 3.5G networks.

All operators are now in agreement that 4G networks will be characterized by OFDM, MIMO, and all IP architecture. Mobile WiMAX has these features now; LTE will once it's deployed. Here's an illustration of the timeline envisioned for the mobile broadband Internet to be realized:

New 4G Applications & Services Attract More Subscribers

Here are some examples of new innovative mobile Internet applications and value added services (mobile network providers collaborating with application service providers):- A smart camera uploads photos to FLICKR via a mobile broadband network just after the photos are taken. FLICKR then manages the on-line photo album for designated friends or family members that were permitted access. The mobile network operator and FLICKR would share revenue equitably so that pricing would be attractive to the subscriber. - Location Based Service (LBS) combined with GPS. In this scenario, a subscriber searches the Internet for a leather jacket. The Mobile Internet Device (MID) advertises its location to retail merchants that stock that type of garment. Retail merchants receiving the broadcasted message have previously agreed to a revenue sharing arrangement with the mobile network operator. The merchants nearby that have the garment in stock are seen on the MID's display in order of closest distance. - A pager messenger service. In this case, the network maintains a list of the people permitted to send electronic messages to a mobile subscriber. When any of those people send a message to the subscriber, the network "wakes up" the MID and displays the message title, providing a richer service than SMS with more efficiency than contemporary Internet services using Yahoo Messenger on a MID.- Subscription based mobile video.

A user interested in a particular news program or TV channel subscribes via the mobile operator, who guarantees QOS for that channel or program.These are only some obvious examples, with many other applications and value added services that haven't even been conceived. According to Siavash, once the mobile Internet is enabled, these applications will become pervasive.Editors Note: To read about more innovative and disruptive 4G applications, please see interview part II with Jose Puthenkulam of Intel.Major Performance & Feature Upgrades Require New 4G TechnologiesSiavash lists the following key performance characteristics and features for 4G networks:- Higher peak rates and average sector throughput - Lower access and handover latency (<10> 4x better cell edge throughput) - Higher mobility (up to 500 km/hr) - Better coverage area with no signal drop- outs- Larger VoIP capacity - Enhanced broadcast and multicast services - Enhanced location based services - Deployment flexibility Technology Enablers for the Mobile Internet include:- Higher order single and multi user MIMO Techniques (4x4)- Integrated Relay- Interference management- Standards-based techniques for multi-radio coexistence- Multi-carrier (multi-channel) support- Self organization and optimization, AKA as Self Organizing Networks (SON)While most of these technology enablers are well beyond the scope and depth of this article, we'll briefly describe a few of them.1. Interference ProblemMobile WiMAX and other mobile broadband technologies support single frequency reuse throughout a given geographical area. All cells/sectors operate on one frequency channel to maximize spectrum utilization. There is often heavy interference in common frequency reuse, resulting in users at the cell edge to suffer from low connection quality. High power interferers characterize the Downlink (DL), with a limited number of interferers, e.g. maximum of eight in the IEEE 802.16m draft standard. Interference estimation- using DL preambles - may be an effective control mechanism. There are more potential interferers on the Uplink (UL) - on the order of 100s. These are low power interferers, where interference estimation is harder and must be dynamic. 2. Multi-radio co-existenceA wide variety of different radio types may exist in a given geographical area and these must co-exist without interfering with one another. This is depicted in the graphic below:3. Multi-carrier supportNetwork operators have spectrum in different frequency bands with different bandwidths. Next generation broadband wireless systems should provide flexibility to aggregate physically non-contiguous and non-uniform channels into a single radio bearer channel. This will aid in achieving efficient use of spectrum and incremental scaling of the system bandwidth. The resulting system bandwidth would no longer be limited by the size of a single radio channel. The figure below illustrates what layers and protocols are needed to achieve multi-carrier support:4. Self Organization and OptimizationIn addition to the visible features and technology upgrades required for 4G, Siavash sees several internal network control mechanisms that will be required. These will not likely be subject to standardization, but will have to be worked out between the mobile operator and network infrastructure equipment vendors. He says 4G networks should support:- Real plug and play installation of network nodes- Self-configuration of the initial installation, including the update of neighbor nodes and neighbor cells - Fast reconfiguration and compensation in failure cases- Support automated or autonomous optimization of network performance - Self-optimization of service availability, QoS, network efficiency and throughputIs LTE the Holy Grail?With the cellular industry now strongly backing LTE, Siavash asserts that LTE is a positive development but the timing is too late. He believes the cellular industry is using LTE as a way of slowing down Mobile WiMAX and is not committed to providing the capabilities of the technology near-term - even the name itself is an indication. How can we expect a technology called "Long-Term" be available in short-term? Would you deposit your savings in a long-term account when you know you need to access it today? Of course not! That is why the Mobile WiMAX industry is not stopping its work and waiting for LTE. As a result, Siavash believes that LTE will be much "Longer Term" for deployment than most pundits expect. Another important issue is that LTE is not an Evolution, but rather a "forklift upgrade" - with a new RAN, new Base Stations, new backhaul, new packet core, new network management equipment, and new spectrum all required for deployment. Mobile operators are spending billions of dollars on HSPA development today and it is unlikely that they will start investing in new spectrum and infrastructure to deploy LTE in the near future. With the exception of Verizon in the US, there are no firm dates given by mobile operators on availability of LTE services - and Verizon's end of 2010 date is for fixed LTE service- not for mobile LTE deployment.LTE modem pricing may also be an issue, if one extrapolates from already expensive 3G modem pricing. 3G-HSPA modems are priced two to three times higher than a Mobile WiMAX modems, but only deliver a peak rate of 14 M bit/sec vs. 40 M bit/sec for WiMAX. (HSPA's average throughput per sector was said to be 3-5 Mbit/sec by Alamouti). With LTE offering much higher peak rates than 3G, LTE modems will likely cost quite a bit more and therefore will be unaffordable for many potential mobile Internet subscribers.The cellular industry has always underestimated future data rate requirement. That's why 3G only targeted 100's of Kbits/sec data rate. "It's a stagnant view of user demand for mobile broadband," says Siavash.


Alamouti states, "As necessity is the mother of invention, WiMAX is the father of LTE." Mobile WiMAX is the first deployable wireless broadband technology based on OFDMA and MIMO. It also features a flat, all IP networks that includes technology ingredients to enable a new service paradigms and business models for truly open Internet. He believes the cellular industry has not delivered to the pent up consumer demand for mobile Internet. "We require a short-term revolution not a long-term evolution". He believes the battle between radio technologies need to end and the industry needs to bring affordable Internet access to the consumer in order to stimulate the economy globally. Siavash asks, "Mobile WiMAX is available today, why not use it"? He concludes, "When LTE becomes available, Intel will definitely embrace it, but we will not wait for that at the expense of WiMAX since this will only delay mobile Internet further into the future."

Google Voice coming to iPhone as web app

Google Voice coming to iPhone as web app

by Marin Perez

Apple iPhone users may soon have an official way to use Google Voice, as Google is working on a Web application for its calling service, according to an unconfirmed report on David Pogue's blog on The New York Times's Web site.

Google Voice enables users to funnel multiple numbers to a single number, send free text messages, and make inexpensive long-distance calls. The service is not a VOIP app like Skype for iPhone, so users still have to use cellular minutes to make and receive calls.

Apple pulled a Google Voice app from the App Store a few weeks ago, saying the service duplicated functionalities of the iPhone, which is against Apple's developer policies. The move garnered the attention of the Federal Communications Commission, which sent letters to AT&T, Apple, and Google seeking an explanation for why the app was blocked.

Google has not confirmed it is working on a Web app version, but the Times report indicates Google Voice for iPhone will be a specialized Web page that should retain the functionality of a native app. The Web app will enable users to send SMS messages, as well as make and receive calls from their Google Voice number. Users will also be able to add a Google Voice bookmark to their home screen, so it will look and feel like a native app, the report said.

"Apple did not approve the Google Voice application we submitted six weeks ago to the Apple App Store," a Google spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement. "We will continue to work to bring our services to iPhone users, for example by taking advantage of advances in mobile browsers." Google did something similar with its location-sharing Google Latitude service, which was rejected from the App Store in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone. Google released Latitude for the iPhone as a Web app in July, but some users have complained the Web version is not as good as the native version for competing platforms like Android, Blackberry, S60, and Windows Mobile.

Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Reduces Work Days Alcatel-Lucent's China company

Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Reduces Work Days Alcatel-Lucent's China company

Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell announced last Thursday that it will add two additional non-paid holidays to the work calendar every month for the rest of 2009, reports ChinaByte. According to the report, salaries will now be calculated on a basis of 19.75 paid work days per month, down from 21.75 days, for all employees including executives

114-year-old Nortel’s CEO Zafirovski Resigns as Asset Sales Near End

114-year-old Nortel’s CEO Zafirovski Resigns as Asset Sales Near End

by Kelly Riddell and Hugo Miller

Nortel Networks Corp., the Canadian phone-equipment maker in bankruptcy protection, said Chief Executive Officer Mike Zafirovski stepped down today as efforts to sell off the company’s businesses wind down. The company’s business units will now report to Chief Restructuring Officer Pavi Binning, Nortel said today in a statement.

Zafirovski, 55, who joined Toronto-based Nortel in November 2005, worked to cut costs and shift its focus to new technologies. He had to cope with slumping telecommunications spending and the loss of customers to competitors such as Cisco Systems Inc. Nortel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January after losses of almost $7 billion over two years.

“He inherited a difficult situation,” said Ashok Kumar, an analyst at Collins Stewart LLC in San Francisco. “It’s probably the optimal outcome: finding the right home for the assets and employees, and moving on.”

The company also reported its second-quarter loss widened to $274 million, or 55 cents a share, from $113 million, or 23 cents, a year earlier. The loss included reorganization costs of $130 million. Sales fell 25 percent to $1.97 billion.

Nortel was little changed at 5 cents in over-the-counter trading today. It has lost almost all of its value in the past year.

Asset Sales

The company plans to give accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP, its Canadian monitor during bankruptcy proceedings, an enhanced oversight role. It will also name a principal officer for the U.S., who will work with a committee of Nortel’s creditors. Both are subject to court approval.

The 114-year-old company won approval last month to sell its primary wireless carrier business for $1.13 billion to Ericsson AB, the world’s largest maker of wireless networks.

Nortel’s biggest customers, including Verizon Wireless, forced the sale of the unit after voicing concerns about buying new technology because of Nortel’s financial troubles, Chief Strategy Officer George Riedel said in June.

Earlier this month, Nortel got court permission to sell its enterprise solutions unit at a Sept. 11 auction. Phone-equipment maker Avaya Inc. plans to make the opening bid of $475 million. Customers of the unit, which has about 7,800 employees, include retailers and health-care providers. Nortel has at least three bidders lined up, Zafirovski said today in a phone interview.

The company said today it plans to give accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP, its Canadian monitor during the bankruptcy proceedings, an enhanced oversight role. Nortel will name a principal officer in the U.S., who will work with its creditors there. Both appointments are subject to court approval.

Turnaround Guy

Zafirovski joined Nortel after accounting fraud led to the ouster of 10 executives including former CEO Frank Dunn. Zafirovski built his reputation as a turnaround guy at Motorola Inc., where as president and chief operating officer he helped revive its wireless unit with the top-selling Razr phone.

“Mike made a commitment to see the process through the stabilization of the company, sale of its largest assets and the right plans and people to continue operating our business,” Chairman Harry Pearce said in the statement. “He has done so.”

Nortel’s gear is largely based on code division multiple access, or CDMA, networks, which are found mostly in the U.S. and Canada. Demand dropped as customers moved to faster systems available more broadly around the world. Carriers are now testing 4G, or fourth-generation, standards such as LTE, or long-term evolution.

The company was denied aid from the Canadian government that may have helped avert bankruptcy and safeguard severance pay and pensions, Zafirovski told Canadian lawmakers in June.

Zafirovski said in the interview today Nortel expects to have bidding arrangements in place for all its businesses by the end of September.

6 Ağu 2009

Google buys video technology firm

Google buys video technology firm

Google has announced a deal to buy On2 Technologies, which provides technology that should help improve video quality on the internet search engine. The deal for $106.5m (£62.7) should be concluded later this year, subject to On2 shareholder approval. On2's technology helps shrink video files, allowing high definition images to be delivered over the internet. "We believe high quality video should be part of the web platform," said Sundar Pichai at Google. "We are committed to innovation in video quality on the web, and we believe that On2's team and technology will help us further that goal," he added. Current On2 customers include Adobe, Skype, Nokia and Sony. Google is the undisputed leader in internet search engines. Last week, technology giant Microsoft and website Yahoo announced a tie-up designed to break Google's stranglehold.

Cisco reports a 46% drop in quarterly profit

Cisco reports a 46% drop in quarterly profit

Cisco reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $1.1 billion, or 19 cents a share, compared with a profit of $2 billion, or 33 cents a share for the year-earlier period. Revenue was $8.5 billion, down from $10.4 billion for the same quarter last year. Adjusted income was 31 cents a share. Analysts had expected the San Jose, Calif.-based networking gear maker to report earnings of 29 cents a share, on revenue of $8.5 billion, according to data from FactSet Reseach.