Displaying items by tag: United States
US telecommunications behemoth AT&T has been roundly criticized by its rival operators in the United States who have described its 5G marketing as ‘overhyped’ and ‘misleading’.
US operator Verizon has urged those within the industry to resist the temptation to overhype and subsequently under-deliver on the promise of next-generation technology. In a statement released by Verizon, it’s CTO, Kyle Malady pointed out that whilst new technologies including AI, virtual reality and Internet of Things would all be underpinned by 5G, he stressed the importance of being realistic in terms of what operators can actually deliver in relation to the revolutionary technology.
AT&T launched a mobile 5G service towards the end of 2018, and claimed that it was offering the service to select businesses and consumers in 12 US cities via a mobile hotspot device provided by Netgear. The network operator has adopted an ambitious approach to 5G and was also pushing its 5G Evolution program which promised users speeds faster than your standard LTE.
In addition to this, it was also disclosed in a previous statement by AT&T that Android devices from the operator will display a 5G E logo pop-up on the home screen which would indicate they have connected to AT&T’s 5G evolution experience.
However, critics have claimed that the service provided by AT&T should not be considered as a 5G network offering. Verizon’s CTO said, “If network providers, equipment manufacturers, handset makers, app developers and others in the wireless ecosystem engage in behaviour designed to purposefully confuse consumers, public officials and the investment community about what 5G really is, we risk alienating the very people we want most to join in developing and harnessing this exciting new technology.”
Although not mentioned by name, Verizon’s comments appear to be directed at its main rival AT&T.
Verizon is still preparing for its mobile 5G launch after deploying a fixed wireless access service in October 2018.
In another apparent swipe at AT&T’s Android device move, Malady also cautioned on the industry to only commit to labelling something 5G if new device hardware is connecting the network using new radio technology to deliver new capabilities.
The CTO added, “Verizon is making this commitment today: we won’t take an old phone and just change the software to turn the 4 in the status bar into a 5.”
Also turning up the heat was T-Mobile US, which didn’t pass up the opportunity to seemingly mock AT&T on Twitter, while making the same point as Verizon. “Didn’t realise it was this easy, brb updating,” the operator said on its official Twitter account, with the message accompanied by a video of someone taping a 9G sticker on a smartphone.
The CFO at Chinese telecommunications behemoth Huawei has been arrested and detained in Canada, in a move that has been met with vehement criticism amongst authorities in Beijing, who have called for her immediate release.
Chinese telecommunications vendor Huawei has vehemently denied that it collected data from Facebook users after the Silicon Valley social media colossus confirmed that it granted the Chinese smartphone manufacturer with access to user information.
Huawei has been deemed a threat to national security in the United States by a number of leading US intelligence officials and Republican congressman. The Chinese vendor has been subjected to intense scrutiny over the last few months, and this latest revelation by Facebook will only serve to heighten concerns over national security.
Facebook confirmed that Huawei along with several other companies was allowed to access Facebook data to get the world’s leading social network to perform on its smartphones. Following a fierce backlash in the US congress, Facebook mobile partnerships leader Francisco Varela has leapt to the defense of Huawei, saying that the information utilized by the Chinese vendor was stored on the device and not on Huawei’s servers.
Varela said, “Facebook along with many other US tech companies have worked with them and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services onto these phones. Given the interest from Congress, we wanted to make clear that all the information from these integrations with Huawei was stored on the device, not on Huawei's servers.”
A spokesperson for Huawei told AFP that it cooperated with Facebook as part of a concerted effort to improve user services, and strongly denied it collected or stored the data of users. In addition to this, it also rubbished claims it had any links to the Chinese government and dismissed fears in the US over national security.
The spokesperson said, “Like all leading smartphone providers, Huawei worked with Facebook to make Facebook's services more convenient for users. Huawei has never collected or stored any Facebook user data. Our infrastructure and computing products are used in 170 countries and we’ve worked hard to become a trusted ICT provider for our customers.”
US Senator Mark Warner, who is also vice-chairman of the senate select committee on intelligence, expressed his concern regarding the revelations by Facebook that Huawei had access to users’ data.
Warner said, “Concerns about Huawei aren't new. I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers."
Contracts with phone makers placed tight limits on what could be done with data, and "approved experiences" were reviewed by engineers and managers before being deployed - according to the social network. Facebook said it does not know of any privacy abuse by phone makers who years ago were able to gain access to personal data on users and their friends.
New Zealand-based company Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP, and TE SubCom, a TE Connectivity company specializing in undersea communications technology, announced that more than half of the 15,000km of undersea fiber-optic cable that comprise the Hawaiki transpacific cable system have been implemented by TE SubCom.
“The start of 2018 finds Hawaiki closer and closer to ready for service”, said Remi Galasso, CEO of Hawaiki. “Landing the cable in its home country represents a major event for our team and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our New Zealand partners for their continuous support. Hawaiki will bring huge benefits to New Zealand in terms of greater connectivity to Australia and the US, security of supply, diversity and increased business opportunities for the telecom and IT industries.”
With several thousands of kilometers of undersea fiber-optic cable on board, TE SubCom’s cable-laying vessel CS Responder is now berthed in Auckland, poised to begin marine activities for the New Zealand leg of the transoceanic cable system later this month. The operation will include the landing of the Hawaiki cable in Mangawhai Heads.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license was granted to Hawaiki in December 2017. The US domestic segment between Oregon and Hawaii was completed in the last quarter of 2017. The international segment between Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii has been underway since early November 2017.
Cable landings in Pacific City, Oregon; Oahu, Hawaii; and Sydney, Australia have been successfully completed. Cable landing in American Samoa is scheduled in March 2018, and the Hawaiki cable system will be ready for service in June 2018.
Chris Carobene, vice president, Marine Services, TE SubCom said, “We’re proud of the progress to date on the Hawaiki system and look forward to it being ready for service later this year. The project showcases the SubCom team’s expertise in the transpacific market and has been a great example of the kind of partnership that results in a successful venture.”
Hawaiki will link Australia and New Zealand to the mainland United States, as well as Hawaii and American Samoa, with options to expand to additional South Pacific islands. With more than 43 Tb of new capacity available to the market, Hawaiki will introduce true competition and dramatically drop the cost of connectivity across the Pacific region.
As the first and only carrier-neutral cable system between Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., Hawaiki will be in a unique position to meet new market requirements and deliver tailored capacity solution at the most competitive price.
Ericsson released a statement on January 16 noting that it will book SEK 14.2 billion (US$ 1.77 billion) in write-downs in its Q4 2017 financial results. The write-downs, Ericsson said, are related to the company’s Digital Services and Other divisions, in addition to an SEK 1 billion charge related to tax changes in the United States.
The announced write-downs did not come as a surprise however, as Ericsson did warn in December 2017 that it would likely book an impairment charge in its Q4 results, which is due to release on January 31, after an internal review following a previously announced corporate restructure.
In the statement, Ericsson said the write-downs will have no “impact on cash flow, but impairments will have negative impact on reported operating income mainly in segments of Digital Services and Other, while tax asset revaluation will impact income tax expenses, in Q4 2017.”
Ericsson said majority of the write-downs are related to goodwill from its Digital Services segment, accounting for SEK 6.7 billion, and SEK 6 billion goodwill from its Other segment. Goodwill refers to a range of non-physical assets such as brand name and reputation, and is often added to balance sheets after the acquisition of another company.
“The majority of goodwill originates from investments made 10 years ago or more, and has limited relevance for Ericsson's business going forward,” Ericsson said in the statement. “All impairments are non-cash accounting adjustments. The adjustments have no influence on Ericsson's commitment to executing its strategies and to investing in technology to support customers' success.”
The company’s Digital Services division is said to be a priority of CEO Borje Ekholm, and is being refocused towards software services to reflect the changing needs of Ericsson customers. Ericsson’s segment referred to as Other includes its media and broadcast units, which the company is reportedly planning to sell.
Other write-downs in Ericsson’s statement include Segment Managed Services: impairment of SEK 0.3 billion of deferred costs related to “termination of certain transformation activities”. In addition, Ericsson’s Segment Networks division recorded impairment of SEK 0.2 billion of “capitalized development expenses related to technologies that are no longer planned to be used”.
The other significant write-down Ericsson announced is the SEK 1 billion charge related to a change in the corporate income tax rate in the United States. The lowering of the U.S. corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% (effective 1 January 2018) requires a revaluation of U.S. deferred tax assets.
Ericsson said the current estimated impact will be “a non-cash charge to the Group income statement of approximately SEK 1.0 b. that will impact income tax expenses.”
Ericsson admits that the impairments and the tax asset revaluation will impact reported net income in its Q4 earnings report, but insists that it will have “no impact” on the company’s cash flow and cash position. “Ericsson’s gross and net cash position remain strong,” the company said. “An impairment is not an indication of the performance of the business in the quarter.”
Ericsson announced in 2017 that it was restructuring the business, following an extensive cost-cutting program as it seeks to offset the decline of its traditional network business. In Q3 2017, the company recorded a loss of SEK 4.3 billion, which included a restructuring charge of SEK 2.8 billion and a write-down of assets in Canada amounting to SEK 1.6 billion.
"We continue to execute on our focused business strategy," said Borje Ekholm in a statement following the Q3 results. "While more remains to be done, we are starting to see some encouraging improvements in our performance despite a continued challenging market.” He said the “general market conditions continue to be tough.”
Ericsson’s focus on 5G
It’s not all looking downhill for Ericsson. In November 2017, the company filed a landmark 5G patent application in preparation for the next-generation technology. The patent application, which combines the work of 130 Ericsson inventors, is the largest in cellular communications in terms of number of inventors, anywhere in the world.
Ericsson’s Middle East and Africa president, Rafiah Ibrahim, acknowledges that the company has been going through a rough patch, but remains vigilant, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. Speaking to Telecom Review, she said Ericsson has signed MoUs with leading telecom operators to plan for the introduction of 5G.
Helping operators introduce the next-generation technology is one of Ericsson’s focus points moving forward, she said, while also helping operators to monetize existing 4G networks. Rafiah said the company’s experience and understanding of using automation and processes makes it the ideal partner for telecom operators willing to embrace change.
Japan-based SoftBank Group’s plans to break off negotiations toward a merger between subsidiary Sprint and T-Mobile US amid a failure to come to terms on ownership of the combined entity, dashing the Japanese technology giant's hopes of reshaping the American wireless business.
SoftBank is expected to approach T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom as early to propose ending the talks, according to Nikkei. They had reached a broad agreement to integrate T-Mobile and Sprint, the third- and fourth-largest carriers in the US, and were ironing out such details as the ownership ratio.
The German parent had insisted on a controlling stake, according to a source familiar with the situation. Some at SoftBank were initially amenable as long as the Japanese company retained some influence. But SoftBank's board discussed at a meeting that the company would not give up control. The decision was made to call the talks off.
Sprint's position in the US mobile market is weaker than its No. 4 ranking would suggest. The carrier sits well behind the top two Verizon Communications and AT&T in scale and subscribers. The hope was that a merger with T-Mobile would reinforce Sprint's customer base enough to let it challenge the duopoly while allowing for more efficient network investment. In addition, they have sold or mortgaged most assets.
SoftBank tried to buy T-Mobile in 2014, but the idea was abandoned amid opposition from regulators under then-President Barack Obama. The failure of this latest effort leaves Sprint, which was acquired by SoftBank in 2013, to keep working toward a turnaround on its own.
In early morning trading in Tokyo, SoftBank shares fell to 9,830 yen, down 5.8 percent from Monday's closing price. The share price had risen to 10,550 yen on Monday (Nov. 30), a 17-year high since the burst of the dot-com bubble. The shares closed the morning session at 9,921 yen, down 4.9 percent.
"Investors were buying SoftBank partially on the merger hopes, so the news has a negative impact. It will be difficult to maintain the stock price over the 10,000 level," said Tomoaki Kawasaki, senior analyst at Iwai Cosmo.
US communications provider CenturyLink has completed its acquisition of US telecommunications and Internet service provider Level 3 Communications for an estimated $30 billion. The combination of CenturyLink and Level 3 creates a global network services company capable of providing customers a wide range of technology solutions over a secure fibre-rich network.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the merger on November 30. CenturyLink's network now connects more than 350 metropolitan areas with more than 100,000 fibre-enabled, on-net buildings, including 10,000 buildings in EMEA and Latin America. The combined company will compete against US telecom heavyweights AT&T and Verizon.
The combined company, with estimated pro forma revenue of $24 billion for the twelve months ended June 30, 2017 (excluding revenue related to CenturyLink's May 1, 2017, colocation business sale and including estimated intercompany eliminations and purchase accounting adjustments), anticipates that approximately 75 percent of its core revenue will come from business customers and nearly two-thirds of its core revenue will come from strategic services.
"CenturyLink is now poised to offer an expanded, robust portfolio of communications solutions focused on our customers' networking and IT services needs," said Glen F. Post III, CenturyLink's chief executive officer. "Our customers, from individual consumers to global enterprises, will benefit from our expanded, innovative network solutions, our complementary managed services and our highly talented workforce."
The acquisition is more like a merger, with CenturyLink shareholders getting 51 percent ownership and Level 3 stockholders 49 percent. CenturyLink remains headquartered in Monroe, La., with a key operational presence in Colorado and the Denver metropolitan area.
Following the acquisition, CenturyLink is now better positioned to offer a broader, innovative product portfolio of network solutions and advanced IT services designed to meet complex technology and threat protection needs.
The acquisition allows CenturyLink to deliver these solutions and services to enterprise, government, wholesale and consumer customers over a large-scale, fiber-rich global network. CenturyLink will also continue to invest in the reach and speeds of its broadband infrastructure for small businesses and consumers.
"Our goal is to be the world's best networking provider and we have the ability to achieve this as one company," said former Level 3 CEO Jeff Storey, now CenturyLink's president and chief operating officer. "CenturyLink is focused on providing a differentiated experience for our customers, while driving profitable growth and increasing free cash flow per share. Our scale and experience will enable us to deliver on behalf of our customers, employees and our shareholders."
PLDT, NTT Communications, PCCW Global, SoftBank, Facebook and Amazon have selected TE SubCom to install a high-capacity transpacific cable system scheduled to launch in 2020. TE SubCom, a TE Connectivity Ltd. Company, is an industry pioneer in undersea communications technology.
“The demand for bandwidth in the Pacific region continues to grow at a remarkable rate, and is accompanied by the rise of capacity-dependent applications like live video, augmented and virtual reality, and 4k/8k video,” said Koji Ishii of SoftBank, co-chairperson of JUPITER consortium.
The JUPITER cable system will connect the following locations: Maruyama, Japan; Shima, Japan; Los Angeles, California; and Daet, Camarines Norte, Philippines. The new transpacific route will provide greater diversity of connections and enhanced reliability for customers, as well as optimal connectivity to data centers on the West Coast of the United States.
“JUPITER will provide the necessary diversity of connections and the highest capacity available to meet the needs of the evolving marketplace,” Ishii added. “TE SubCom has a proven record of success in the design and implementation of innovative, scalable and robust transoceanic cable systems, making the company the most reliable choice for the JUPITER supply partner.”
Sanjay Chowbey, president of TE SubCom, said submarine cables continue to have a critical impact on the global economy, as well as cultural, educational and medical advancement around the world.
“It is our privilege to help facilitate the growth of global connectivity and provide reliable, high-capacity and low-latency transmission to regions where bandwidth is at a premium,” Chowbey said. “We look forward to the next phases of what will be a high quality and industry leading system implementation.”
Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Saudi Arabia’s largest telecom company, announced the company’s interim financial results for the period ending at 30 September 2017. The group’s net income for the 3rd quarter of 2017 increased 18.2 percent compared to the comparable quarter last year, and for the 9 months period of 2017, net income reached SR 7.5 billion, an increase of 10.4 percent compared to the comparable period last year.
The company’s operating profit for the 3rd quarter increased 23 percent compared to comparable quarter last year, while earnings per share for the 9 months period of 2017 grew to reach SR 3.76 compared to SR 3.41 for the comparable period last year.
STC CEO, Dr. Khalid Biyari, said the results reflect growth in enterprise and wholesale sectors which achieved revenue despite a decline in consumer revenue during the period. The results were also achieved, he said, despite various economic and regulatory conditions in the domestic market.
STC adopted a strategy years ago to focus on diversifying sources and introducing innovative programs to achieve operational efficiency. Therefore, net income for the 3rd quarter increased 18.2 percent compared to the comparable period last year, and for the 9 months period of 2017 net income increased 10.4 percent compared to the comparable period last year.
Dr. Biyari said that STC, through its various subsidiaries, works “hard and steadily side by side with public and private sector in the Kingdom to establish a contemporary environment for the digital transformation in Saudi Arabia and to establish a modern environment that contributes to the spread of the digital environment.”
STC’s growth strategy adopted recently seeks to achieve the kingdom’s Vision 2030 and the NTP 2020 which means entering into major transformation. The telecom sector, said Dr. Biyari, is seeking new opportunities outside of traditional services. The transformation will provide STC with new opportunities outside its core business, and thus its market capitalization will rapidly increase.
“As an example of a new era for Sales and Distribution, (STC channels) was re-launched recently with an innovative digital vision and new spirit as an important selling and distribution arm of the group, which is an important part of the transition to digital channels in the service of our clients and providing innovative new services,” Dr. Biyari said. “This will be followed by successive steps in the near future that will bring us closer to our objectives in meeting the customers’ needs and achieve attractive returns for the investors.”
In accordance with the approved dividend policy for three years starting from the 4th quarter 2015 which was announced on 11 November 2015, and have been ratified during the General Assembly Meeting on April 4th 2016, STC will distribute a total of SR 2,000 million in cash dividend for Q3 2017, representing SR 1 per share.
Cisco announced it will acquire publicly-held BroadSoft, Inc., the global communication software and service provider headquartered in Gaithersburg, MD. Cisco will pay $55 per share, in cash, or an aggregate purchase price of approximately $1.9 billion net of cash, assuming fully diluted shares including conversion of debt. The acquisition has been approved by the board of directors of each company.
"Together, Cisco and BroadSoft will deliver a robust suite of collaboration capabilities across every market segment," said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Applications Business Group. "We believe that our combined offers, from Cisco's collaboration technology for enterprises to BroadSoft's suite for small and medium businesses delivered through Service Providers will give customers more choice and flexibility."
"We are excited about this transaction, which represents the culmination of a robust process undertaken by BroadSoft's Board of Directors to maximize shareholder value," said Michael Tessler, president and CEO, BroadSoft. "As businesses continue to move toward the cloud in search of simplicity and speed, joining Cisco will allow us to deliver best-in-class collaboration tools and services.”
“BroadSoft's hosted offerings, sold through the Service Providers and aimed at small and medium businesses, are highly complementary to Cisco's on-premises and enterprise-centric HCS offerings,” Tessler added. “Together, we can inspire teams to create, collaborate and perform in ways never before imagined."
More and more businesses expect fully featured voice and contact center solutions with the ability to deploy them on premises or in the cloud. By combining BroadSoft's open interface and standards-based cloud voice and contact center solutions delivered via Service Provider partners, with Cisco's leading meetings, hardware and services portfolio, the combined company will offer best-of-breed solutions for businesses of all sizes and deliver a full suite of collaboration capabilities to power the future of work.
The acquisition of BroadSoft reinforces Cisco's commitment to Unified Communications and enhances its ability to address the millions of aging TDM lines poised to transition to IP technology and cloud native solutions over the coming years.
"Cisco recently marked a significant milestone with our 200th acquisition. Acquisitions continue to be a core part of our innovation strategy and over the past two years have helped Cisco accelerate or enter areas such as IoT, application intelligence, AI, hyperconvergence and SD-WAN," said Rob Salvagno, vice president of Cisco Corporate Development. "With the addition of BroadSoft, we expect to accelerate the pace of innovation across our entire collaboration portfolio."
The acquisition is expected to close during the first quarter of calendar year 2018, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory review. Prior to the close, Cisco and BroadSoft will continue to operate as separate companies. Upon completion of the transaction, BroadSoft employees will join Cisco's Unified Communications Technology Group led by Vice President and General Manager Tom Puorro, under the Applications Group led by Trollope.