Telecom Timeout

A blog

July 19, 2010  10:25 AM

NSN gobbles up some of Motorola’s wireless network infrastructure goodies

Posted by: Jessica Scarpati
4G, LTE, M&A, mergers, Motorola, Nokia Siemens Networks, NSN, vendors, wireless

Nothing like starting off the week with a bang. Nokia Siemens Networks announced today it’s paying $1.2 billion for some of Motorola’s wireless technologies — and perhaps just as significant, its customer base and foothold into the North American market.

Here’s the rest of the details from NSN’s release:

Nokia Siemens Networks expects that based on revenue, with the addition of the Motorola wireless network infrastructure business, it will become the #3 wireless infrastructure vendor in the United States, the #1 foreign wireless vendor in Japan, and strengthen its current #2 position in the global infrastructure segment.

Motorola’s networks infrastructure business provides products and services for wireless networks, including GSM, CDMA, W-CDMA, WiMAX and LTE. This business is a market leader in WiMAX, with 41 contracts in 21 countries; has a strong global footprint in CDMA with 30 active networks in 22 countries; and a robust GSM installed base, with more than 80 active networks in 66 countries; and excellent traction with LTE early adopters.

NSN is licking its chops over the potential 50 operator customers it expects to acquire in the deal. The company also says the merger will “strengthen its position” with some of its existing customers, including China Mobile, Clearwire, KDDI, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone. They expect the deal to close by the end of the year.

As MarketWatch points out, this moves Motorola a step closer to its assertion earlier this month that it would split the company in two. The pub also notes that this comes after NSN’s two failed attempts to buy similar assets from Nortel Networks, beaten out by Ericsson and Ciena Corp.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Although this merger includes a pretty broad portfolio, our story last month predicted lots of M&A activity in the LTE market. Bill Rubino, principal analyst at ACG Research, expects most of the action will be core infrastructure incumbents acquiring radio vendors.

June 30, 2010  3:21 PM

High demand for Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G; vlogger sparks smartphone beef

Posted by: Ddevine
4G, Apple, BlackBerry, EVO, HTC, iPhone, smartphones, Sprint, WiMAX, wireless service

We’ve been keeping an eye on the market’s response to the HTC EVO 4G ever since hearing that the dual-mode smartphone would be a key element in Sprint’s push to improve wireless customer satisfaction and stem subscriber base decline. So we weren’t too blown away when Sprint CEO Dan Hesse told attendees at a conference in New York on Tuesday that high demand was causing spot shortages of the new phone. (Exhale, eager consumers who’ve been shut out during the roughly one-week drought: Our buddies at tell us that EVOs are once again in stock.)

The impressive early sales of the unit did have us wondering, though: What exactly sparked the demand? The crisp 4.3-inch display? The unique WiMAX capability? The fact that it runs on an Android OS 2.1? Or was it the catchy pro-EVO/anti-iPhone 4 hip-hop track? (Video after the jump.)

Continued »

June 28, 2010  7:16 AM

Network operators’ top 4 service layer architecture needs

Posted by: KateGerwig
network architecture, over-the-top, service delivery platform, service layer architecture

Is anyone old enough to remember the slogan, “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen”? In the ads, when someone mentioned the broker’s name, the room would go silent and everyone strained to hear the advice. Let’s vary that a bit for our own selfish purposes. When telecom service providers speak about their network needs, everyone should listen, especially when it’s about service layer architecture requirements and differentiating themselves from over-the-top (OTT) players.

Network operators talked to trusted telecom consultant Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corp. who sums up what he learned about carriers’ four main service layer architecture needs .

Here are the main things he discovered in his conversations:

  1. Operators want their service layer architectures to be able to handle partnerships, an ecosystem, if you will;
  2. They need modular components that can be put together in various ways – kind of like Legos — to accommodate different experiences;
  3. While tradition dictates that standards are the way to go, operators aren’t so sure standards-setting will work quickly enough for them;
  4. And finally, there’s vendor commitment – and that’s a whole issue to itself.

As you plan out your network architecture, make sure you read up on the details from the survey here.

June 4, 2010  11:00 AM

Verizon Wireless: Ready for hurricanes and zombie apocalypse

Posted by: Jessica Scarpati
emergency preparedness, Verizon, wireless

Verizon Wireless pumped out a press release today promoting a sort of ho-hum video about emergency preparedness. Yawn.

To be fair, I did appreciate the split-screen, 24-style scene about how to change a cell phone battery one minute into the clip. Dammit, Chloe, we’re running out of time!

Digging through its YouTube channel, I spotted this much more interesting video the telco made in late March to show off its new Mobile Telephone Switching Office (MTSO) in South Florida (dubbed its “Super Switch”) that’s able to withstand hurricane winds, torrential downpours and all the debris violent Gulf storms hurl at buildings.

I think it’s pretty safe to assume Floridians will also find it to be an awesome fortress during a zombie apocalypse. That’s the kind of emergency preparedness I’m talking about.

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June 1, 2010  11:41 AM

Can we get a price check on microwave radios in aisle 5?

Posted by: Jessica Scarpati
4G, LTE, microwave, vendors, wireless

As noted in last week’s news story on, operators need to be mindful of the mergers and acquisitions likely to come in this very young LTE equipment market. That’s because when we say young, we don’t mean a cute and gurgly baby opening its eyes to a new world young. We mean an immature, volatile, unpredictable, door-slamming young teenager — full of indie microwave vendors that are driving down prices and becoming attractive M&A targets for bigtime packet core (rather, evolved packet core in LTE) players.

And it just got more grouchy: Despite an uptick in shipments, revenues in the point-to-point microwave equipment market declined 3% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2010 partly due to falling prices, according to a report by Dell’Oro Group released today.

It was an especially gloomy year for microwave in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), where revenues sunk 13% year-over-year, according to Jimmy Yu, senior director of microwave transmission research at Dell’Oro Group.

“Microwave market revenues declined in the first quarter partly due to heightened competition among vendors that resulted in steep price declines, [which] overrode the 14% growth in radio unit shipments,” Yu said. “In addition, demand in EMEA, especially Europe, was low as a result of the persistent economic distress affecting certain European countries.”

North America was “a bright spot for the market,” growing 50% year-over-year as a result of the large WiMAX deployment by Clearwire in the U.S., Yu said. The other good news came from the newest market segment, packet microwave (for which Huawei has a neat little primer), which grew 15% from the fourth quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2010.

Ericsson ranked No. 1 with 22% of the microwave market revenue share for 1Q10, followed by NEC at 15%, Huawei at 12% and Alcatel-Lucent picking up the rear at 10%.

Image courtesy of CNBC.

May 24, 2010  7:58 PM

FTTH: Knowing where the fiber is buried and following the money

Posted by: KateGerwig
broadband, fiber to the home, FiOS, optical networking

Talk to David Hashman about how to build out and finance fiber to the home (FTTH) and you know you’re talking to someone who has drawn the plans for the trenches, been in the trenches, and knows where the fiber is buried (couldn’t pass up a lame criminal organization joke). Even if you’re Verizon, fiber to the home is one tough business, with the added incentive of no guarantees when it comes to getting your investment back from customers who want to pay higher prices for walking toward the light of your services.

Let’s review. Verizon’ says FiOS is on track to pass 18 million homes by the end of 2010. The cost for that effort is $750 per customer to wire a neighborhood and another $600 to extend the fiber to an individual home. So with a per customer investment of $1,150 up front, Verizon FiOS has a 28% overall uptake rate. And its FTTH service can’t command higher prices because of DSL and cable competition.

How does FTTH work if you’re not Verizon? This week Hashman analyzes FTTH business models that might actually help the U.S. reach the FCC’s broadband goal of having 100 million homes with affordable access to to 100 Mbps of download speed. Hashman looks at the FTTH scenario for greenfield builds, government funding and municipal/private partnerships. Check out the numbers and the potential.

April 26, 2010  11:34 AM

Optical diagnostic probes: Turn your network and cough

Posted by: KateGerwig
network management, optical networking

You can learn a lot from another carrier’s problems, and in this example, wholesaler 360networks provides the case in point. Faced with TDM-to-IP translation problems that degraded voice call quality, the wholesaler replaced manual diagnostics with passive test probes in its optical network. The result? A 50% cut in mean time to repair (MTTR) and improved optical network monitoring.’s Jessica Scarpati walks you through the probing solution.

April 26, 2010  11:21 AM

Carriers must understand enterprise WAN optimization services trends

Posted by: KateGerwig
managed services, WAN optimization

Not all that much is new in the WAN optimization market lately, except for how to actually deliver capabilities to enterprise customers, and there the changes are major. The expanded opportunity for telecom carriers is selling WAN optimization as a managed service, but with the opportunity comes four caveats that carriers have to deal with or risk losing the business.

In this week’s featured article, we look at those four emerging enterprise trends that will make or break a service provider’s WAN optimization managed services offerings. From application SLAs to TCO concerns, vendor equipment shelf life and management tool sets, TRAC Research Principal Analyst Bojan Simic outlines the four steps to keep providers out of pain.

April 21, 2010  6:08 PM

Available IPv4 addresses continue free fall; now what about IPv6?

Posted by: KateGerwig
IPv4, IPv6

Holy IPv6! The RIRs sent their Q1 data to the NRO, and the results show a lower IANA free pool of IPv4 addresses than expected, especially since APNIC (you know, the Asia-Pacific RIR) allocated almost 24 million IPv4 addresses – an historic high. Oh, and for only the second time ever, LACNIC issued more IPv4 address space than ARIN. Check out the new Internet Number Resource Status Report if you don’t believe me. As a side comment, that’s a whole lot of acronyms to follow.

To translate for the IPv4-challenged, the bottom line is that the Number Resource Organization (NRO) found that demand for both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses continues to grow. The five global Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) oversee the allocation of all Internet number resources, and their collective Q1 results show that the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) free pool of IPv4 addresses are down to 8.5%. That’s because IP-enabled devices are snowballing, and many of the IPv4 address requests are coming from developing countries with populations coming online quickly. Even since the report came out, unallocated IPv4 addresses are down to 7.8%

But wait. Isn’t everyone transitioning to IPv6 now because it’s urgent? The five RIRs saw an increase of almost 30% the amount of IPv6 address space in 2009, which is an encouraging sign that the transition is happening. Whew. No one wants the Internet to fall down. Check back for detailed IPv6 transition issues facing telecom carrier when we talk to ARIN President and CEO John Curran.

April 19, 2010  11:34 AM

Mobile appliance growth changes mobile network planning

Posted by: KateGerwig
4G, mobile devices, Wireless networks

You’d think the wild growth in mobile device traffic would mean wireless operators are in the money, as the popular Depression song said. But the stress that traffic is putting on wireless networks is causing depression instead because the money isn’t rolling in. So much content can be accessed for free on the Internet that operators find themselves in the lose/lose situation of investing billions to upgrade their infrastructure to 4G when the payback isn’t clear.

Wireless network planning is more critical now than ever, and telecom consultant Tom Nolle takes a thorough look at the issues and potential solutions in a two-part article on how the
mobile appliance explosion is changing mobile network planning
, especially when operators have to calculate how much to invest in new technology if the ROI is marginal.

And things are getting curiouser and curiouser as the broadcast industry is hatching plans to target mobile devices with more content, which may take some of the pressure off wireless networks. Catch up on why broadcasters are suddenly embracing that idea.

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