AT&T is expanding its Higher Speed U-verse Internet service to five more states. In addition to the 17 states where the new speeds have already launched, U-verse High Speed Internet Power will be available to eligible residential and small business customers in selected markets in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. High Speed U-Verse subscribers will get up to 45 Mbps downstream and 6 Mbps upstream, beginning 29 September 2013. AT&T plans to upgrade top tier U-verse speeds to up to 100 Mbps in the future.
Comment: Note that the “last mile” (or last few kilometers) U-Verse transport is over 2 wire copper -with VDSL vectoring- for all but greenfield build-outs. The greenfield – new buildouts- will get fiber to the premises, according to AT&T. AT&T’s move forward with U-verse is another example of telcos leveraging existing, inexpensive copper lines, vectored VDSL technology, and fiber to the cabinet to achieve speeds up to 100 Mbps.
In other AT&T news, the telco is launching its Digital Life smart home service in Milwaukee, Charlotte, Hartford, Jacksonville, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Including the new markets, Digital Life will be available in 45 markets, with plans to launch the service in up to 50 markets by the end of 2013.
With Digital Life, customers can use their existing home broadband provider, and any wireless phone service, and enjoy the security and convenience of a home management system with the flexibility to meet their unique needs.
— Actively Protected & In Control: The foundation of Digital Life is complete home security with 24/7 professional monitoring that allows you to know what is happening at home, or where an event has occurred. Through AT&T-owned and operated, U.S.-based monitoring centers, professionals will respond to emergencies and alert police and fire authorities.
— Seamlessly Connected: Digital Life is an all-digital, fully integrated, wireless home management system, giving customers flexibility to manage their home from their smartphone, tablet or PC. Our takeover module lets you easily extend your existing security system and investment. The Digital Life application is available on most web browsers. Apps are available for iOS, as well as Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phones. To ensure customers’ privacy is protected, Digital Life has a secure log in system each time the app is opened from any Internet-connected device.
— Amazingly Simple & Intuitive: A user-friendly application was designed to be as simple as possible, making it easier than ever to manage your home. The Digital Life application gives customers control over cameras, door locks, lights, thermostats, small appliances and more by setting alerts or programs to manage your home. It’s all integrated into one simple system.
— Personalized & Flexible: Digital Life provides total flexibility so you can personalize your home to adapt to everyday life — with custom notifications and scheduled tasks. Add devices and solutions anytime, as your needs grow, or your lifestyle changes.
“AT&T remains committed to providing our customers with easy, fast and affordable ways that allows them to manage and secure their homes all from the touch of their smartphones, tablets and PCs,” said Kevin Petersen, president, Digital Life, Inc. “With the launch of these six new markets, we’re looking forward to making Digital Life available to more customers throughout the country.”
Comment: AT&T (as well as VZ) can now offer a 5-play for residential customers: high speed internet, VoIP, and video services using U-Verse (FiOS in the case of VZ) and wireless/mobile 3G/4G-LTE service using their cellular network. Sprint can’t make this claim as it sold off its local telco wireline operation to Embarq, which was acquired by Century Link several years ago.
FBR’s Scott Thompson wrote:
The platform, which comes in three different sizes (6000-core, 4000-aggregation, 2000-edge), dramatically simplifies
high-end networking for service providers. It is a family of converged optical routers that provides a glimpse into Cisco’s strategy for the network transformation as it blurs the lines between optics, switching, and routing. Cisco’s acknowledgment that network architectures are undergoing significant change is an important shift in tone from a year ago, when Cisco’s marketing message seemed to question whether the transformation was necessary or even taking place. Cisco seems to position the NCS platform as an overlay fabric that “glues” the existing network infrastructure together. We see the NCS launch as Cisco’s acknowledgment that a multi-product, legacy network design will not work going forward, but we question if the focus on an additional piece of hardware is a step in the right direction. We expect carriers could, over several years, use it to simplify and displace many traditional functions of edge, aggregation, and core of the network. Meanwhile, we continue to believe carriers are likely to spend significantly less with vendors like Cisco as early as calendar 4Q13.
* Cisco has the right intentions, but will carriers adopt the strategy? The NCS solution seems to be hardware intensive and contingent on sizable capital investment. This runs counter to our checks that indicate capex trends at telcos in 2H13 and FY14 will not be as strong as they were in 1H13. Recall that AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson recently confirmed that AT&T is driving change, which is resulting in cost savings of nearly 70% versus NCS’s targeted TCO savings of 45%. We believe other SPs will follow suit and start changing buying patterns over the next six to 18 months as they migrate from current proprietary hardware systems to “bare metal” commoditized hardware.
* Could NCS affect Cisco’s existing product portfolio? We see Cisco’s NCS platform as a near-term catalyst to help offset slumping routing and switching growth and market share. However, we need to take some time to analyze the impact of collapsing the routing, switching, and optical layers into a single platform. At first pass, allowing operators to aggregate layers and simplify the network design could diminish demand for stand-alone routers, switches, and optical transport in total. We also remain concerned about the pricing models associated with the platform. Industry analysts have indicated Cisco has been less than transparent with pricing detail, which is not a positive sign.
Press Release: Cisco Delivers Network Convergence System to Power “Internet of Everything”
Cisco this week introduced the Network Convergence System (NCS), a network fabric family designed to help service providers handle rapidly growing volumes of Internet traffic in cloud, mobile, video and machine-to-machine applications. A key focus for NCS is the “Internet of Everything” – the trillions of programmable device-driven events generated by networked devices and sensors.
NCS is a solution combining hardware, software and silicon, featuring the recently announced nPower X1 integrated network processor. It is designed to help service providers build services and capabilities to build business from the explosion of data being generated by new devices being used to monitor our world. Cisco cites data from Machina Research projecting market opportunities of $174 billion in health care, $284 billion in manufacturing and $850 billion in smart homes.
Addendum from FBR’s Scott Thompson:
In an article published today on Barron’s Tech Trader Daily, Cisco’s CEO John Chambers took a giant leap forward in reestablishing the networking vendor’s credibility. After months of Cisco’s marketing machine denying that white box and cloud services are a threat, Chambers set the record straight.
According to the publication, “when asked what Cisco’s biggest competitive threat is, Chambers mentioned that at or near the top of the list is service providers who just buy cheap ‘white box’ routers and switches.” We applaud CEO Chambers for his candidness and believe it sets Cisco on a solid foundation to begin to publicly address (and correct) one of several significant threats the business faces. While it is encouraging to see that CEO Chambers may be focused on the right risks, it also makes us question why Cisco’s marketing message has been misaligned with how executive management truly perceives the business environment.
CEO Chambers also stated that Cisco may compete against the likes of Amazon, which could offer IT as a service (IaaS) on a much cheaper network infrastructure and at a fraction of the price, by training its sales force to sell against it. We are skeptical of this strategy and do not believe that the solution will be that simple.
While we view today’s announcement as the second positive step forward in as many days, we look forward to seeing Cisco come out with good solutions for its very real threats before we become more comfortable with the direction that the company seems to be heading.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson today affirmed his company’s interest in investing in Europe at “good value,” saying the regulatory environment precluded the company from making significant deals in the U.S. “We have pretty much written off that any kind of large-scale deal in our sector is going to get done,” he told an investor conference. Stephenson’s remarks came on the heels of Vodafone Group’s sale of its Verizon Wireless asset, a move that could open up the European market for AT&T. Stephenson touted the company’s stable balance sheet and Verizon Communications’ “eye-opening” ability to sell $49 billion in bonds earlier this month
AT&T sees room to move the European market in the direction of the U.S. by investing in networks, shifting pricing strategies to encourage mobile data use and collecting more revenue as use increases. At the same time, heavy competition, declining revenue and the regulatory environment pose risks.
The European mobile industry feels consolidation is overdue. While AT&T remains interested, Mr. Stephenson said Tuesday that public-policy issues, especially in standardizing spectrum regulation, are holding the region back. Unlike the U.S., where spectrum licenses have an indefinite life, Mr. Stephenson said licenses in Europe might have a 10- to 12-year time span. “It slows things down,” he said. “You think differently about investing in that spectrum.”
“In fact, the world’s largest cellco has gone its usual route of breaking its contract into a large number of chunks and including just about all the contenders in the mix – nine equipment suppliers have been selected.
This approach can be complex to manage, in terms of a harmonized network deployment across China’s scattered and diverse regions. However, it gives Mobile access to the innovations and brainpower of as many companies as possible, which it regards as critical as it builds the world’s largest platform for TD-LTE.
The operator has been determined not to be left in a technology backwater as it was with its TD-SCDMA 3G network, and has been putting its considerable weight behind getting every infrastructure and device maker to support a TD-LTE ecosystem. It is also working closely with other holders of unpaired spectrum round the world to encourage build-outs and roaming deals, and so drive economies of scale.
China Mobile has already been working with a number of vendors on its trial TD-LTE build-outs, which are larger and more service-rich than many fully commercial deployments in other countries. However, it will only be able to turn on full commercial services once it receives its 4G licence, expected late this year or early 2014. Therefore this new round of contracts is the largest so far, with a total value of CNY20bn ($3.27bn), though it certainly will not be the last chance for suppliers to get a piece of the huge network.
Together, the companies will build a network covering 31 provinces with 207,000 TD-LTE base stations. The roll-out will be closely watched round the world, especially by other TDD operators such as Sprint/Clearwire in the US, Sprint’s majority owner Softbank of Japan, and Bharti Airtel and Reliance Infotel in India. However, there will be lessons for the wider LTE community too, since Mobile is increasingly taking on the role familiar among Japanese and Korean carriers – experimenting with new architectures, and driving suppliers’ R&D programs accordingly, a process which can inject significant funds into next generation architectures, and also goes a long way to defining ‘4G+’ platforms for the whole world.
For instance, China Mobile has been running extensive trials of Cloud-RAN architectures, and wants to scale these up dramatically to support 100 or more cell sites in the macro layer, with all their baseband processing virtualized in the cloud. This approach to network design is likely to become increasingly mainstream, and many of the rules will be established by this Chinese deployment. Here Alcatel-Lucent will be particularly important (along with other C-RAN partners like Intel and ZTE). ALU may have received only about 11% of the deal, reportedly, but it has worked closely with Mobile on a TDD version of its lightRadio design, which will be key to C-RAN and HetNet deployments.
The cellco also aims to be a leader in small cells (it calls its own version of this technology the ‘nanocell’), both for LTE and Wi-Fi (where it already accesses a network of perhaps two million hotspots). Therefore it will move quickly to a full HetNet, in which the various layers of cells, in different bands, will interwork fully to create a seamless pool of capacity. It has the advantage of a relatively clean slate, a huge budget and a vast resource of sites with fiber backhaul. Few will be able to emulate that elsewhere, but they will certainly be able to study the possibilities of the new architectures when deployed at scale.”
2013 SPIFFY Award Nominees were selected by the 25 members of the Telecom Council’s Service Provider Forum (SPIF) from among over 100 early-stage representing the broad a range of telecom products and services who presented in Telecom Council meetings from June 2012 to May 2013. But only seven start-ups were selected for awards.
The winners of the 2013 SPIFFY Awards are:
Infonetics Research released excerpts from its 2nd quarter 2013 (2Q13) 2G, 3G, 4G Mobile Infrastructure and Subscribers report, which tracks 2G, 3G, LTE, and WiMAX network equipment and subscribers.
2Q13 MACROCELL MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE MARKET HIGHLIGHTS:
. The global macrocell 2G/3G/4G mobile infrastructure market totaled $10.3 billion in 2Q13, up 4% sequentially driven by LTE ramp-ups in North America, Brazil, and EMEA
. Yet, modest 2G and 3G activity kept the mobile infrastructure market down 5% on a year-over-year basis (2Q12 to 2Q13)
. Projects at Bouygues Telecom, Etisalat, Everything Everywhere, MTS, Mobily, Vodafone D2, Claro, and Vivo propelled Huawei past long-time #2 NSN to move behind king of the macro 2G/3G/4G radio Ericsson
. Estimated at $3.3 billion in 2Q13, LTE revenue grew 17% quarter-over-quarter, and 119% year-over-year
. Europe joined the LTE bandwagon in 2Q13, and is now the 3rd strongest LTE market behind North America and Brazil
. LTE rollouts began in earnest at Russia’s MTS, MegaFon, and VimpelCom
. Infonetics anticipates that 4G LTE subscribers could top 608 million by 2017
MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE REPORT SYNOPSIS:
Infonetics’ quarterly 2G, 3G, 4G (LTE) report provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, analysis, deployment trackers, forecasts through 2017 and trends for macrocell mobile network equipment and subscribers. The report tracks more than 50 subsegments of the market, including radio access networks (RAN), base transceiver stations (BTSs), mobile softswitching, packet core equipment and E-UTRAN macrocells. Vendors: Airspan, Alcatel-Lucent, Alvarion, Cisco, Datang Mobile, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Genband, HP, Huawei, NEC, NewNet, NSN, Proxim, Redline Communications, Samsung, UTStarcom, ZTE and others.
“LTE continues to ramp up at a fast pace with a shift away from Japan and Korea to EMEA, Brazil, and Russia. And China is joining in a big way with two-thirds of total spending this year earmarked for LTE and expected by year’s end. As a result, 2013 is shaping up to be a peak year for macrocell mobile deployments,” notes Stéphane Téral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research.
To buy the report, contact Infonetics: http://www.infonetics.com/contact.asp
At the Telecom Council’s annual TC3 Summit this week, almost every cellular carrier talked about the importance of micro/nano cells to improve capacity to cope with exponentially increasing mobile data traffic. None talked about macrocells or LTE Advanced (ITU-R compliant “4G” RAN technology that many thought would start getting deployed next year).
More interesting at TC3 was that BT announced it had acquired licensed spectrum and was looking for innovations from vendors in femtocells, Self Organizing Networks (SONs), and “open models.” That strongly implies that BT is preparing to re-enter the mobile network provider market- either on its own or by sharing spectrum with O2 (owned by Telefonica).
This April, the Financial Times reported: “The UK telecoms group has begun a tender for an operator to provide BT mobile services to its customers, both in the consumer and business markets, as well as supplying its own staff. Auction experts said BT had been unexpectedly aggressive in bidding for spectrum, ending up with more than it needed for simply boosting its widespread WiFi networks.”
Software for mobile health was a theme that came up frequently at TC3 sessions with wireless telcos. Sprint expressed a strong interest in this area, and in the data that mobile health apps can generate. When asked about how it hopes to monetize this data Sprint said that strategy is still evolving. Note that Sprint is a leader in M2M communications and that IEEE ComSocSCV has visited their M2M Collaboration Center in Burlingame, CA three times over the last few years.
China Mobile’s large TD-LTE deployment was described. As the biggest mobile operator with 740 million subscribers, China Mobile is rolling out the largest LTE network with 200,000 base stations throughout 100 cities in China this year. China’s largest mobile carrier uses equipment from 9 wireless network infrastructure vendors, including Huawei, ZTE and 3 smaller Chinese companies. They claim to be the world leader in TD-LTE deployments.
China Mobile is looking for innovations in various fields to address the above challenges: Cloud-RAN, ET and GaN power amplifier, low cost WDM transmission solution, mmWave Fronthaul, small cell, TDD/FDD integration, VoLTE, SON, massive MIMO etc. More in follow up articles.
Posted on behalf of author Scott Thompson:
The march by service providers and large enterprises toward more open, bare-metal, and virtualized networks seems to be taking another unexpected detour, this one more positive for vendors focused on L4-7 special-purpose hardware. Recent carrier checks indicate a reluctance to aggressively shift from SP hardware platforms to bare-metal hardware as much of the existing infrastructure has not been fully depreciated. The virtualization of existing special-purpose hardware improves the usable life of the hardware and the overall relevancy of the associated vendors. While it is unlikely that the virtualization of special-purpose hardware will drive new and significant deployments for L4-7 vendors, it should provide a near-term stream of high-margin software and feature-set and module upgrades, as well as slow the transition away from special-purpose hardware. We expect the combination could improve an otherwise troubled outlook for many of these vendors.
* F5 improves virtual and special-purpose hardware by adding Versafe functionality to platform. F5 has recently announced several solutions that reflect a shift to this type of model. F5’s acquisition of Traffix is likely to be a cornerstone of this strategy. Its recent marketing announcements around Virtual Clustered Multiprocessing and virtual edition solutions work to enable these solutions as well. We believe F5’s acquisition of Versafe (announced Sept 17) is another example of how F5 is improving its relevancy in both the security and hybrid NFV markets.
* Versafe Ltd., a Tel Aviv-based software company, provides Web anti-fraud, anti-phishing, and anti-malware solutions under its WebSafe and MobileSafe product lines. We expect F5 to deploy Versafe’s solutions across the company’s existing modules as enhanced feature sets; therefore, it is not likely to have an immediate material impact on operating results. We continue to expect that a shift to more software-based revenue could eventually make F5’s revenue more steady and predictable. However, we remain concerned about the earnings impact associated with transitioning from a transactional to a license-based revenue model.
* Checks indicate special-purpose security vendors are gaining traction with hybrid models. We expect traditional firewall and security vendors are following a similar strategy to remain relevant to service provider, government, and enterprise accounts. Information generated from FBR’s BIG “switches:” little SERVERS Conference last week led us to believe that some of the most respected names in security are working to virtualize their hardware platforms in an attempt to create hybrid cloud and NFV solutions. We expect this shift to be much more defensive than offensive, and do not expect the architecture to remain relevant through the mass deployment of rack-scale architectures, which should begin to gain significant momentum in 2014.
Written by Scott Thompson, FBR
Infonetics Research released excerpts from its 2nd quarter (2Q13) Wireless LAN Equipment and WiFi Phones report, which tracks access points, WLAN controllers, and WiFi phones for the enterprise.
2Q13 WLAN MARKET HIGHLIGHTS
. Globally, the enterprise wireless LAN equipment market recovered from a seasonally slow 1st quarter, growing 12% to $1.12 billion in 2Q13
. Interactive access point revenue is up 21% in 2Q13 from the year-ago 2nd quarter (2Q12), reflecting the shift toward centrally-managed WLAN
. Following years of languishing, outdoor access point shipments are back on a strong growth trajectory, up 22% year-over-year in 2Q13, propelled by service provider WiFi deployments
. 90% of access points sold in 2Q13 were based on the 802.11n standard
. After showing resilience against negative macroeconomic trends in 2012, growth in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) is slowing in 2013
. The perennial leaders in the WLAN space-Cisco and Aruba-both turned in solid performances in 2Q13, gaining revenue share
“The major event in the wireless LAN space this quarter was initial shipments of enterprise class 802.11ac access points, marking the beginning of another technology transition,” notes Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise networks and video at Infonetics Research.
“But the impact of 802.11ac will be minor in 2013, and with the transition to 802.11n almost complete, growth rates have been cut in half in 2013,” Machowinski adds. “Global wireless LAN equipment revenue grew 14% year-over-year in the 2nd quarter of 2013, versus growing almost 30% year-over-year in the 2nd quarter of 2012. Still, WLAN remains the fastest growing network equipment segment.”
WLAN REPORT SYNOPSIS
Infonetics’ quarterly WLAN equipment and WiFi phones report provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2017 and analysis for WLAN infrastructure, including access points by type and technology, WLAN controllers, and enterprise single-mode WiFi phones. Vendors tracked: Alcatel-Lucent, Aruba, Brocade, Buffalo, Cisco, D-Link, Enterasys, Extreme, Juniper, Meru, Motorola, Netgear, HP, Ruckus, TP-Link, Ubiquiti, Xirrus, others.
To buy the report, contact Infonetics: http://www.infonetics.com/contact.asp
WLAN BYOD WEBINAR
Join Matthias Machowinski of infonetics on September 25 for Architecting Wireless LANs for BYOD, a live event: http://w.on24.com/r.htm?e=668715&s=1&k=D5AFD17C2F2C3E8EEC3BDF97B2C77E32
History of WiFi -from WiFi Alliance
Aberdeen Group: Measuring the Real Value of Wireless LAN Deployments
Infonetics: Carrier WiFi market is red hot