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AT&T Wins Statewide Cable Television Franchise in Ohio

American telecom giant, AT&T Inc., has become the first provider to win a statewide license to offer pay-TV services, under the terms of Ohio’s new statewide cable franchising legislation.

The regulatory authorization was granted on November 7, for a term of ten years. It covers all 192 of AT&T’s telephone exchange areas in the state.

AT&T has already launched its U-verse fiber-optic television service in 38 Ohio communities in Cuyahoga, Portage, Summit, and Lake counties, under local cable franchises. A further nine communities in Union, Delaware, and Franklin counties will soon be added to this list, the company noted in its statewide franchise application.

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December 12, 2007 Posted by | Business, Regulation, Telecom Services, Television | , , | Leave a comment

Avaya Selects Broadcom’s VoIP Chips to Power IP Deskphones

Enterprise telecom equipment maker, Avaya, has decided to use Broadcom’s VoIP chips in two of its award-winning lines of one-X Deskphone IP telephones.

Avaya’s 9600-series one-X Deskphones will leverage Broadcom’s most advanced VoIP solutions to deliver full-featured IP phones for enterprise customers, while the company’s 1600-series models will utilize a lower-end Broadcom VoIP solution to deliver cost-efficient IP communications functionality and satisfy a variety of business needs.

“Broadcom’s expansive VoIP portfolio and unique integration capabilities helped us to quickly build an entire line of IP phones for a variety of enterprise and small business customers,” commented the director of Avaya’s Communications Appliances Division, Paul Weismantel. “As more small businesses transition to IP telephony and their larger companies deploy Gigabit IP networks, our Avaya one-X Deskphone line will serve the broad needs of each of these growing markets.”

December 12, 2007 Posted by | Telephone, VoIP | , , | Leave a comment

Wireless Services Drive 46% Increase in Bell Canada Profit

Canada’s biggest telephone provider, Bell Canada Enterprises Inc., reported a 46% increase in third-quarter profit yesterday, boosted by the back-to-school cell phone rush.

The company’s net income came in at $440 million, or $0.50/share, compared to $302 million, or $0.36/share, in the same period a year earlier. Revenue climbed 2% to $4.49 billion, driven by an 8% jump in wireless revenue.

BCE managed to expand its wireless customer base by 137,000 users, by releasing several advanced new mobile handsets, including Research In Motion’s BlackBerry 8830 email device, which features web and music capability.

“I think it was a very strong quarter for us,” commented Bell Mobility president, Wade Oosterman, president of Bell Mobility, who believes that these results will please the private equity investors who recently agreed to purchase BCE’s operations.

December 12, 2007 Posted by | Business, Corporate, Telecom Services, Wireless | , , | Leave a comment

SK Telecom to Continue Funding Helio; EarthLink Accepts Diluted Share

American internet service provider, EarthLink Inc., confirmed on Wednesday that it will not invest any more money in wireless joint venture, Helio, leaving its partner, South Korea Telecom to fund the joint venture for the foreseeable future.

SK Telecom apparently plans to invest up to an additional $270 million in Helio, diluting EarthLink’s 50% share in the startup, but leaving it with a significant minority stake.

“This new agreement enables EarthLink to retain a substantial ownership position in Helio without investing any more cash into the joint venture, and these changes should result in our prior investment having real future value as the joint venture continues to grow,” commented EarthLink president and CEO, Rolla P. Huff.

EarthLink retains the right to make additional investments in Helio if and when its own finances improve. If it chooses not to invest further in the venture, and SK Telecom injects the full $270 million, EarthLink will be left with a stake of about 22%.

EarthLink has agreed to relinquish one Helio board seat as part of the deal, giving SK Telecom effective control of the company.

December 11, 2007 Posted by | Business, Cell Phones, Corporate, Telecom Services, Wireless | , , , | Leave a comment

Sprint Nextel Cancels WiMAX Partnership with Clearwire

American mobile phone carrier, Sprint Nextel, has scrapped plans to partner with wireless broadband startup, Clearwire, on a nationwide WiMAX network.

The partnership was reversed after Sprint decided to dismiss its CEO, Gary Forsee, last month. The collapse of this partnership is being seen as a major blow to Clearwire, whose stock price dropped more than 25% yesterday, to close at $13.49 on the NASDAQ.

Clearwire’s losses have swelled significantly for the past three years, and its third-quarter sales totaled just $41.3 million, or less than one hundredth of Sprint’s.

“The Sprint deal was really good for Clearwire, and it’s bad that they lost that,” commented Jefferies & Co. analyst, Jonathan Schildkraut. “Clearwire will have to shoulder a bigger burden to get broader network coverage.”

December 11, 2007 Posted by | Business, Corporate, Internet, WiMAX, Wireless | , , | Leave a comment

Customers Show Interest in PC-Home Theater Convergence

A growing number of consumers are interested in accessing PC and broadband internet content from their home theater systems, according NPD Group’s recent Connected Home Theater study.

17% of survey respondents expressed interest in accessing their PC hard drives from a home entertainment system. This included 25% of users who already have a home broadband network up and running.

19% of respondents, meanwhile, said that they would like to access the internet from their TVs.

“[Faster] Internet access, new content sources, and the evolution of the PC as a multimedia repository promise to change the features and functionality of devices in the home entertainment center,” explained NPD Group’s director of industry analysis, Ross Rubin. “This in turn will lead to new opportunities and challenges for manufacturers, as well as more choices, and possibly greater confusion, for consumers.”

December 11, 2007 Posted by | Internet, Telecom Services, Television | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vonage Expects to Settle AT&T Patent Lawsuit by Month’s End

Vonage has reached an “agreement in principle” to settle its intellectual property dispute with AT&T, the VoIP pioneer announced yesterday.

The deal under discussion would have Vonage pay $39 million over five years, in exchange for AT&T dropping its patent infringement lawsuit. Vonage would also agree to drop its counter suit against the telecom giant.

“We’re moving in the right direction with regard to AT&T and are focused on finalizing our agreement by the end of this month,” said Charles Sahner, a spokesman for Vonage. “We would like to be able to put AT&T behind us together with Verizon, Sprint and our other recent settlements.”

Vonage’s new strategy of settling patent infringement complaints has been a convenient and effective way of avoiding crippling injunctions against its technology, but it has also been very costly, cutting into the unprofitable company’s ever-dwindling supply of cash.

“The company’s cash requirements in the fourth quarter increased due to the release of $78 million of restricted cash to Verizon, an additional $2 million to Verizon, $40 million placed into escrow and reported as current restricted cash until the Verizon appeal is decided, $80 million to Sprint and $2 million in other IP litigation settlements,” the company said in its most recent financial statement.

December 7, 2007 Posted by | Business, Law, Telephone, VoIP | , , | Leave a comment

Bloggers Speculate About Possible Google-Skype Acquisition

Internet search giant, Google Inc., may be poised to acquire the world’s leading online VoIP service, Skype, according to speculation in the blogsphere this week.

The rumours originated with the UK’s well-respected Guardian newspaper on Monday, and have been reverberating through investment firms and the blogsphere all week. No solid basis has been provided for the speculation, but there are logical reasons for Google to consider acquiring, or at least forming a partnership with Skype, which is currently owned by online auction leader, eBay.

“Currently in favor around London’s webbist community is the rumor that Google has been in negotiations to buy Skype,” wrote Jemima Kiss, a blogger with the Guardian. “Google bases all of its mobile projects in London, so this is the fitting place for such a rumor.”

It’s true that Google and Skype have been moving in a similar direction in recent months; for example, partnering with several other companies to fund Fon, a Spanish startup attempting to build a worldwide network of shared Wi-Fi hotspots.

Skype and Google also have some shared interests with regard to an upcoming 700-MHz airwaves auction in the U.S., where both companies have pressured regulators to make existing wireless carriers “open up” their networks.

A Google acquisition of Skype “makes sense on a number of levels, particularly because it fits with Google’s ambitions for disrupting the mobile industry through its new open mobile phone development platform Android,” Kiss wrote, noting that a such a deal might also be attractive to eBay, “which was recently forced to admit that it had paid too much for Skype.”

When asked to comment on the speculation, however, Skype itself remained silent, insisting that it does not respond to rumours.

December 7, 2007 Posted by | VoIP, Web Services | , , | Leave a comment

50 Wireless Subscriptions per 100 People, Says Informa Report

There are now approximately 3.3 billion active mobile phone connections worldwide, enough to cover half the global population, according to new data from Informa Telecoms and Media.

Wireless subscriptions have increased 18% in the past year, from 2.8 billion in late 2006, as a growing number of people buy handsets in emerging markets like India and China. The Indian market alone is expected to achieve penetration of over 40% within the next few years, up from just 13% at the beginning of 2007.

It took 19 years – from the launch of the first commercial wireless network in 1981 until 2000 – for mobile phone subscriptions to reach 10% penetration worldwide, and just 12 months to grow from 40% to 50%, representing the remarkable growth that has occurred this year.

Informa believes that it will take longer reach further wireless market milestones, however, now that developed cell phone markets in Europe and North America have largely matured. The research firm predicts that 60% global penetration won’t be achieved until 2009, and 66% isn’t likely to happen until 2012.

December 5, 2007 Posted by | Cell Phones, Telecom Services, Wireless | , , | Leave a comment

Mexican Internet Population Over 20-Million; Half Use Broadband

22.1% of Mexican households had one or more computers at the end of March 2007, double the figure in December 2001, according to a recent study by Inegi, the country’s national institute of statistics, geography, and IT.

Of all households, 12.3% had some sort of internet connection, about half of which were classified as broadband.

There were a total of 30.5 million computer users and 20.8 million internet users in Mexico at the end of March. Of internet users, 70.2% were aged 12 to 34, and 65.9% routinely accessed the web outside their homes.

December 5, 2007 Posted by | Internet, Telecom Services | , , | Leave a comment