Geeknizer » Telecom http://geeknizer.com iPhone, Android, mobile, Technology news Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:02:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Why 2G cellular Networks will still play a Big role http://geeknizer.com/why-2g-cellular-networks-will-still-play-a-big-role/ http://geeknizer.com/why-2g-cellular-networks-will-still-play-a-big-role/#comments Tue, 03 Jul 2012 13:35:11 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/?p=10531 Read more »]]> The biggest buzzword in today’s mobile market is 4G LTE. Yes, it represents something real: a network upgrade that provides faster data speeds and more efficient transfers. But it wasn’t so long ago that LTE was not considered 4G; it wasn’t until Verizon and other companies lobbied heavily that LTE technology was even considered fourth generation. Still, the technology is changing mobile as we know it.

Perhaps the most impacting change of the LTE revolution is the consolidation of services. Since the advent of 3G networks, cellular operators have used divided services. Voice and text messaging services run on legacy 2G networks, while mobile data is delivered over 3G or 4G frequencies. But with LTE comes the promise of a data-driven market. Soon enough all of our voice, messaging, and data services will simply be data, running on LTE networks.

Yet not all spectrum is fit for LTE. What’s to become of those old 2G networks that used to handle our voice calls and text messages? It might seem as though they’ll simply become obsolete. But with a scarcity of cellular spectrum, any available network capacity is valuable. And as it turns out, 2G networks might provide plenty of function for our everyday lives.

The smart grid

For those unfamiliar with smart grid technology, it is the next step in providing efficient energy solutions. The power company ABB has plenty of resources on its smart grids page, including news, blogs, and videos. It all goes a long way into explaining how smart grids work, and how they’ll distribute energy based on need. That level of efficiency will help us use less energy overall, which means we’ll have more energy for the times we need it.

They key to the smart grid is monitoring. In order to distribute power to the areas that need it, power companies need signals from that power-hungry area. While there have been a few implementations of this, cellular networks have provided the most accurate and instant information. As operators start to migrate cellular data away from 2G networks, they can start renting that spectrum to power companies for smart grid usage.

The key to this, and other 2G spectrum usage, is that smart grids do not consume much data. They send simple signals, which can travel quickly over 2G networks. It would be a waste, in fact, to use 4G or even 3G networks to transmit this data. Our old technology comes in quite handy, it seems.

Point of sale

It might seem arcane now, but there were days when processing a credit card would take a few minutes. Even after the abolition of manual machines and the move to computers, sending data signals could take two or three minutes. That’s because the machines had to dial up to the server with each transaction. So you’d swipe your card, the machine would initiate the call, validate the information, and then finally approve it. Needless to say, it often caused lines at department stores to back up.

In modern times we have moved to always-on connections, much like we have at home with cable modems. Yet many payment companies wish to use the more reliable wireless technology. We’re still seeing this, even as many companies try to maximize their spectrum by migrating 2G networks. In fact, T-Mobile USA has been aggressively using its 2G network for such purposes. They’re reportedly working with Raco Wireless to provide even more point of sale services.

Other uses

There are so many ways that we could connect gadgets and devices to cellular networks — even items that don’t make any sense. For instance, ice vending machines. You know, the ones at stores where you pull out a bag of ice. By connecting these machines to a 2G network vendors could monitor the temperature, ensuring that the ice remains frozen. They could also monitor inventory, knowing exactly when to send a refill.

ATMs around the world could also benefit from cellular connectivity. Many of them suffer the same problem as old credit card machines: they have to dial up to the server for every transaction. By going wireless, they could provide funds more quickly.

In our fast-moving wireless world, the focus is on the newest technology. The 4G LTE networks are what will deliver us information the fastest and most efficiently. Yet it’s old technology that could make the most sweeping changes. As we start to use the old 2G spectrum, we can find that many, many areas of our lives can gain an upgrade.

Joe Pawlikowski writes about wireless technology at a number of niche blogs. He covers issues such as 2G networks at his prepaid wireless blog, Prepaid Reviews.

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Airtel Launches 4G LTE in India http://geeknizer.com/airtel-launch-4g-lte-india/ http://geeknizer.com/airtel-launch-4g-lte-india/#comments Wed, 04 Apr 2012 15:42:55 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/?p=10142 Read more »]]> Where the world is buzzing around the Long Term Evolution LTE, a 4G technology, India is still on its 3G and 3.5G speeds of HSDPA.

The government of India had kept high license prices for the 3G spectrum, the reason why 4G LTE is even a harder game. While the telecom providers like Vodafone, Airtel, Idea have not yet profited from 3G (Investment was huge, returns are still lagging), its almost time for everyone to start moving to 4G.

Bharti Airtel, nation’s biggest Telecom provider, is now ready for the 4G LTE launch in the metropolitan cities of India. Bharti group having won spectrum for four markets nearly two years ago, the company will debut its ZTE-built 2300MHz next-gen network in Kolkata (Calcutta).

There’s little info on what happens to other regions of India: Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai. For now, Airtel announced that Nokia Siemens will be heading up the effort in Maharashtra later this year, followed by Punjab and Karnataka. This is a big investment for a market that’s not yet have proven to be profitable. The risk is of course the strategy that drives big brands and Bharti is definitely up for it.

So far, Airtel has delivered excellent 3G / HSDPA speeds of 7.5Mbps+, time will tell us what happens to 4G LTE.

According to industry estimates, by 2016 – 6% of all mobile connections will have 4G connection, which would create 36% of the total mobile data traffic – thus paving way for the ensuing data revolution. The impending launch of 4G in the country will provide ultra high speed data access, driving fundamental changes in society at large. We look forward to the launch of 4G technology in India, which will be timed to match the world in its launch.

4G LTE service starts in Kolkota this month (April 2012). Stay tuned for more updates on rest of the India.

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Skype Video Calling on Android http://geeknizer.com/skype-video-calling-android/ http://geeknizer.com/skype-video-calling-android/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2011 18:23:08 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/skype-video-calling-android/ Read more »]]> skype-android-video-callingSkype for Android gets the much awaited update. Skype 2.0 for brings in Skype Video Calling between Android phone and other Skype contacts on the iPhone, Mac, Windows PCs and even TVs***.

The Android video call app works over Wi-Fi or 3G/4G data connections, no hacks needed.

"With approximately 30 million concurrent users logging into Skype at any given time and making up to half a million simultaneous video calls, the Skype video chat on Android app makes it even easier for users to share moments with their contacts wherever they are."

Skype 2.0 gets a complete redesign of interface, other than improved support for Phone calling, and SMS. There’s a new main menu on the Skype app for Android where users can navigate easily through their contacts, access their Skype profile to change personal details or see the balance of their Skype Credit. Skype also gets a bit social by letting users set mood message.

skype-androidskype-android-video

Video calling for Skype isn’t supported on all devices, right now it would just work with the HTC Desire S, Sony Ericsson Xperia neo, Sony Ericsson Xperia pro and the Google Nexus S. More phones soon. Hopefully we would find a hack to Enable Skype video on any android phone, soon.

Get Skype

 

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Verizon launches iPhone 4, What’s New http://geeknizer.com/verizon-launches-iphone-whats-new/ http://geeknizer.com/verizon-launches-iphone-whats-new/#comments Tue, 11 Jan 2011 16:29:24 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/verizon-launches-iphone-whats-new Read more »]]> Apple and Verizon have just announced the big thing, the wait is finally over after 2 long years of Rumors, the Verizon iPhone.

iPhone comes to America’s most Reliable wireless network, which would work with 3G CDMA (non-LTE) version of the iPhone 4.

Verizon iPhone would be available on Apple stores, Verizon outlets on Feb 10th starting at $199.99, and pre-orders start from Feb 3rd. Talks started way back in 2008, and the phone has been in testing for a year.

verizon-iphone

What’s different in Verizon iPhone:

  • iPhone CDMA antenna changes, to avoid antenna gate
  • White iPhone
  • Mobile Wifi Hostspot Tethering:  upto 5 devices.
  • New Qualcomm CDMA chip
  • New, cheaper Data plan with upto 5GB usage.
  • iOS 4.2.5 preinstalled
  • No more speed hogging, no more signal troubles. Yay!

Official Verizon

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How to Hack GSM Nework, Phone http://geeknizer.com/how-to-hack-gsm-nework-phone/ http://geeknizer.com/how-to-hack-gsm-nework-phone/#comments Sat, 01 Jan 2011 13:05:15 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/how-to-hack-gsm-nework-phone Read more »]]> gsm-hackedA Group of researchers demonstrated a start-to-finish means of monitoring an encrypted GSM cellphone calls and text messages, using only sub-$15 telephones as network “sniffers,” attached to a laptop computer  powered by open source softwares.

GSM Security is inherently weak and that’s why it was made possible to Hack GSM Security (GSM’s 64-bit A5/1 encryption), last year. However, governments own devices that are worth $50,000, which essentially monitor phone activities for National security.

“GSM is insecure, the more so as more is known about GSM,” said Security Research Labs researcher Karsten Nohl. “It’s pretty much like computers on the net in the 1990s, when people didn’t understand security well.”

Every aspect of the GSM Hack was demonstrated from start to end including scenarios in which GSM networks exchange subscriber location data, in order to correctly route phone calls and SMSs, allows anyone to determine a subscriber’s current location with a simple Internet query, to the level of city or general rural area. Once a phone’s City is known, a potential attacker can drive through the area, sending the target phone “silent” or “broken” SMS messages that do not show up on the phone. By sniffing to each bay station’s traffic, listening for the delivery of the message and the response of the target phone at the correct time, the location of the target phone can be more precisely identified.

GSM Network Sniffer

Researchers replaced the firmware of a simple Motorola GSM phone with their own, which allowed them to retain the raw data received from the cell network, and examine more of the cellphone network space than a single phone ordinarily monitors. Modifying the USB interface, helped them send this data in real time to a computer, which captured every bit of the information.

By sniffing the network while sending a target phone an SMS, they were able to determine precisely which random network ID number belonged to the target. This gave them the ability to identify which of the myriad streams of information they wanted to record from the network. After that, the next step is essentially decrypting the information. ITs not that easy, but was made possible by the way operator networks exchange system information with their phones.

gsm-hack

As part of this background communication, GSM networks send out identifying information, as well as “keepalive” messages and empty spaces are filled with buffered bytes. Truth be told, a new GSM standard was put in place several years ago to turn these buffers into random bytes, they in fact remain largely identical today, under a much older standard. Sticking to older standards enabled hackers to predict with a high degree of probability the plain-text content of these encrypted system messages. This, combined with a 2 terabyte table of pre-computed encryption keys (a so-called rainbow table), allows a cracking program to discover the secret key to the session’s encryption in about 20 seconds. (Rainbow tables are usually used in all kinds of Brute-force password hacking).

Many GSM operators reuse these session keys for several successive communications, allowing a key extracted from a test SMS to be used again to record the next telephone call, minimizing the need for recomputation.

The process was demonstrated using their software to sniff the headers being used by a phone, extract and crack a session-encryption key, and then use this to decrypt and record a live GSM call between two phones in no more than a few minutes.

gsm-phone-hack

Can something be done about GSM’s security?

Any geek can make such devices and with the help of the open source software, can mimic these hacks. So can we really do something to prevent these kinds of hacks from happening?

“Much of this vulnerability could be addressed relatively easily”, Nohl said. “Operators could make sure that their network routing information was not so simply available through the Internet. They could implement the randomization of padding bytes in the system information exchange, making the encryption harder to break. They could certainly avoid recycling encryption keys between successive calls and SMSs”.

“This is all a 20-year-old infrastructure, with lots of private data and not a lot of security,” he said. “We want you to help phones go through the same kind of evolutionary steps that computers did in the 1990s.”

Worst part is, all the current 3G phones are NOT shielded from this hack. Knowing that 3G is primarily used for Data, its now easy to capture any 3G user’s online activity including their passwords and credit card numbers.

Maybe its high time for GSM consortium to wakeup and address these issues, or atleast learn few things from CDMA networks, which are inherently secure.

Resources:

Rainbow tables, Airprobe, Kraken  srlabs.de
OsmocomBB firmware osmocom.or

PDF Presentation

The Video Presentation can be downloaded here: Part1, Part2.

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Who sued Whom: Mobile, Telecom Lawsuits http://geeknizer.com/mobile-telecom-lawsuits/ http://geeknizer.com/mobile-telecom-lawsuits/#comments Thu, 07 Oct 2010 13:48:15 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/mobile-telecom-lawsuits Read more »]]> There’s a utter chaos in the Mobile world where each one is fighting to win the crown.

The real fight is ON between Apple and Google. No brand has left any chance and that is why we’ve seen a numerous number of lawsuits from a number of manufacturers/OEMs within last 2 years. Microsoft sues Motorola for Android, Apple sues HTC over android, gets sued by Nokia, which is counter-sued and bla bla.

Here is a demographic of Who is suing Whom in Telecom/Mobile Industry:

image credit: informationisbeautiful

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Nokia Siemens buys Motorola Wireless, boost 4G Networks http://geeknizer.com/nokia-siemens-buys-motorola-wireless-boost-4g-networks/ http://geeknizer.com/nokia-siemens-buys-motorola-wireless-boost-4g-networks/#comments Mon, 19 Jul 2010 17:43:11 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/nokia-siemens-buys-motorola-wireless Read more »]]> The Telco equipment manufacturer giant, Nokia Siemens Networks, has agreed to purchase the network equipment division of Motorola for $1.2 billion.

The business proposition is easy: The dying Motorola’s business would prove out to be profitable for Nokia Siemens, as they now achieve #3 spot in Top wireless network vendors in the United States and hence expand business propositions with Motorola’s existing customers.

The acquisition gives  Nokia Siemens 7,500 employees plus solid relationships with Clearwire, Sprint Nextel, Verizon Wireless, Vodafone, and China Mobile.

In the press release from NSN, Rajeev (CEO) said “Motorola’s current customers will continue to get world-class support for their installed base and a clear path for transitioning to next generation technologies while employees will join an industry leader with global scale and reach. Nokia Siemens Networks will see the benefits of a deal that is expected to enhance profitability and cash-flow and to have significant upside potential.”

But at the end of the day, ROI of the  acquisition will depend on how successfully the operations of the two companies are merged  and how well they streamline the development, manufacturing, distribution, bringing overall efficiency.

The acquisition is also aimed to build a stronger infrastructure for 4G/LTE wireless networks being setup all around US.

Most of the industry leading Telecom operators, like Verizon, believe that this is good move for the betterment of wireless industry.

Motorola intends to build a separate entity called  “Motorola Mobility” out of its cellphone division which has got some industry appreciation after the launch of Android smartphones starting with Droid and then Droid X, but that plan has been postponed due to heavy losses in that unit.

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How Firmware Upgrade can Fix iPhone 4 Signal, Reception Issues http://geeknizer.com/firmware-fix-iphone-4-signal-reception-issues/ http://geeknizer.com/firmware-fix-iphone-4-signal-reception-issues/#comments Thu, 01 Jul 2010 14:43:14 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/firmware-fix-iphone-4-signal-reception-issues Read more »]]> Everyone seems to be complaining about the  iPhone 4 signal Reception issues, when held Incorrectly.  Holding iPhone 4 in left hand covering left side’s bottom bridges the left and bottom antennas which results in a serious attenuation in signal.

Obviously, the issue is not same for every one. Users living in areas having good signal coverage would not observe issues. Every phone, agnostic of brand/make, has antenna attenuation problems when covered with hand. These attenuations can lie anywhere between 14dB and 18dB drops. But iPhone 4’s attenuation is as high as 24db, which means total loss of signal in areas where you otherwise get upto 4 bars.

Related: iPhone 4 vs. Android – Why Apple has lost it

That’s definitely a significant problem. But its not as bad as what it might look like.

Steve jobs already hinted on fixes, but is it practically possible to fix an Hardware issue via a software/firmware updates?

iPhone 4 can actually use signal at the lower threshold far more reliably than any previous iPhone could. Thanks to the new baseband, hardware is much more sensitive, which makes the reception is massively better on the iPhone 4 in the real world.

Apple appears to be using digitally adjustable solid state capacitors that can tune the iPhone 4′s antennas to a different level where problems are resolved. Hiring new antenna engineers to reliably test this makes much more sense than ever.

Fixing iPhone 4 Reception via Baseband Tuning

The hack lies in the common RF fundamental: Antenna impedance matching. In every wireless application,every circuit and antenna need some kind of impedance-matching circuit between them. Impedance matching is essential for maximum power output for a given input or in more technical terms: minimum Voltage standing-wave ratio (VSWR) loss, and improved efficiency.

Modern RF devices (iPhone 4 might be the first one) can use variable capacitance to tune more flexibly on runtime. For example, when you place your cell phone to your ear, your body detunes the antenna, the surrounding the ambiance also adds to it. The problem is particularly acute in 3G phones that are technically multiband, multimode handsets that must operate over a wide range of frequencies.

The VSWR in a typical handset is rarely better than 5:1 (3.5 dB loss) when filters, switches, or duplexers are added in. When users put their hands on the handset antenna, they can raise the VSWR to 9:1, severely reducing transmitted/received power and hence the efficiency.

This Impedance-match problem has been solved over the years in higher-power transmitters and larger equipment with variable capacitors or inductors in a feedback network that automatically compensates for changes in antenna orientation, impedance variations, or frequency changes by user’s hands. Very recently, they have been made portable enough to bring to cell phones like iPhone 4.

Solution: All we need is a capacitor that’s small and is controlled by internal circuitry. Dune, pioneers in this technology, has used MOSFET switched capacitors that permit higher-frequency operation, faster switching, and higher Q (quality, tuning). The digitally tunable capacitor (DTC) chip contains five capacitors switched by MOSFETs that operate from a serial input bus with a 5-bit code providing 32 possible capacitor values which help cellphone adjust to surroundings dynamically, without a glitch.

Typical switching speed is less than 5 µs, for the frequency range up to 3 GHz, and power handling up to 40 dBm, which is good enough for phones which operate at 800, 1800, 1900 mhz.

Tuning Mechanism: The closed loop system uses a directional coupler to sense forward and reflective power. A tuning algorithm is implemented to provide automatic adjustment to bring the VSWR to its lowest possible value.

Verdict:

The fix might be coming anytime, it may or may not fix 100% of the issue, but the degree of improvements rather depends upon how smartly Apple’s Engineers tune this antenna.

Tech details: electronicDesign

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Verizon: 4G Network in November, iPhone 4 in January 2011 http://geeknizer.com/verizon-4g-iphone-4/ http://geeknizer.com/verizon-4g-iphone-4/#comments Wed, 30 Jun 2010 16:47:15 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/verizon-4g-iphone-4 Read more »]]> Apple might have sold iPhone 4 in millions in its first week but it could have been way better if it had not been exclusive on AT&T, in U.S.

The good things are inevitable, and Verizon Wireless will start selling the iPhone in January of next year, according to a report from Bloomberg. Unless you are living under the rock, you must be well aware of flawed antenna causing reception issues for AT&T / iPhone 4 users. Had it been Verizon, issue would have been trivial.

While there had been so many predictions in the past over iPhone and Verizon, this one comes with solid assets where Bloomberg is citing two people familiar with the matter.

iPhone 4 will not land as-is on the Verizon. As you might be aware, Verizon had been testing 4G LTE network over period of a year and as per the latest announcement, they plan to start servicing 4G services to nationwide mobile phones. In the beginning it would be more concentrated in the west, and then gradually expanding to the rest of the country.

Verizon will begin rolling out its LTE network in 25 markets starting on November 15th. While 25 markets might not sound like a lot, but apparently they’re enough to give 100 million subscribers access to the next-generation wireless network. LTE handsets will not be immediately available at launch, but Verizon is planning to release “a slew of new devices” on Black Friday which is on November 26th. LTE data plans will indeed be tiered, but Big Red won’t be pulling a Sprint and charing a $10 premium for access to its 4G network. Oh, and don’t be surprised if Verizon starts harping about how its “empowering the user” with open devices. [via]

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Leveraging Cloud Computing to Drive Mobile Wireless Networks http://geeknizer.com/wireless-network-management-cloud/ http://geeknizer.com/wireless-network-management-cloud/#comments Sun, 28 Mar 2010 18:59:25 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/wireless-network-management-cloud Read more »]]> Planning and building a Wide area Wireless Network could be painfully challenging.  Mobile service Providers have faced different kinds of challenges in Maintaining the 3G network throughout countries like US, UK, India, China where the urgency had taken flight long ago.

Lot of the back-end work deals with complex signalling and RF management which is both tedious and expensive to maintain. But seems like  IBM researchers in China have come up with a faster, yet, elegant solution that reckons shifting the signal-processing overhead from base stations into the cloud. This will make it cheaper and easier to upgrade networks, leading to wireless networks that can provide better coverage by rapidly adapting to user demand.

In order to make offloading the signal processing to the cloud, A new architecture called the Wireless Network Cloud (WNC). WNC would make it possible to step away from “the usual” dedicated hardware for RBS (radio base stations) that serve Radio Frequencies for networks like GSM and 3G cell phone networks. This technique would decouple the radio antennas from the base stations, which now will be processed in the Cloud.

Carrying a voice/data signal is a costly job. There’s a lot of signal processing–the modulation and encoding of the signals to and from the physical antennas–which is carried out using software radio technology. Witht he power of Multicore processors and network grids, a general-purpose data center can do all the signal processing, making it much more cost-effective.
Advanced Network Management
Apart from what is said, WNC enables management of the network in a more centralized way. The Bearer signals would be relayed to and from multiple antennas, “remote radio heads,” via optical fibres from as far away as 40 kms. (The limitation of the distance is set by the acceptable delays.)

Having a centralized network management can certainly give providers added benefits. When it comes to managing networks Optimally, it can provide smart solution. e.g. In areas where cell traffic may vary dramatically depending upon the time of day–residential area where daytime voice traffic is light but evening traffic is heavy, or business areas where the opposite is true–WNC should allow the network operator to allocate, scale resources on-demand, something which was never so easy with traditional Networks.

Cost Benefitbts antenna
The main attraction for network operators is the cost. Traditional base stations currently account for about 40 percent of a network’s total cost. So that means of a new company starts its setup for say 4G service, 40-50% is spent on the netowrk equipment leaving aside the staffing, assets, etc. And because Telecom hardware is totally proprietary, whenever a network is upgraded, almost all of this equipment has to be replaced. On the other side, WNC upgrades can be implemented relatively cheaply by installing new software.
So is this Cloud Network Management New?

“IBM’s concept is not totally new but rather a combination of familiar themes, such as software-defined radio, network equipment virtualization, and networks as software,” says Dipankar Raychaudhuri director of the Wireless Information Network Laboratory (WINLAB) at Rutgers University.

“For example, there is a U.K. company called picoChip that offers a variety of base stations in software using the same parallel computing platform.

“I think there is a good, strong argument to use software radio in base stations,” says David Grace head of the communications research group at the University of York, U.K., and chair of the World Universities Network Initiative on Cognitive Communications. Grace says the approach is capable of handling the signal processing required of base stations, but he is less convinced about the need to relocate this software and absorb it within the cloud. “It’s the old argument of whether to centralize or distribute,” he says.

Is there a downside of Cloud Network  Management?

Of course, the one I see is that we have to introduce the additional communication between devices to allow that to happen, which can cause problems in bad times. Even with AtoD (analog-to-digital) converters at the antennas, the raw streams of data they would create would be of very high frequencies. Processing this is notoriously difficult because it requires even higher frequency sampling. For instance, a typical GSM network at 1800 Mhz would need sampling at atleast double the frequency 3600 Mhz and converting that into bitstream would quote to very high bitrates, hence large data capacity would be needed for the Fibre, but certianly its not as high as what you would assume, few mbps can serve a typical GSM Antenna (BTS) quiet well.

Has this been Tested in field?

IBM already seems to have a prototype for a 4G technology:  WiMax. This has demonstrated that a general-purpose data server can handle the software radio requirements in realtime.

Verdict

The potential for WNC is huge. Beyond cost effectiveness, it will improve their ability to manage mobile virtual network operators–phone companies that own no infrastructure and instead lease it off larger companies. And although WNC would be most suitable for urban areas with very high density, it could also help in rural areas where network nodes can be hard to access and have unreliable power supplies. Overall, providing optimal solutions in every sector.

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Open Source GSM Base Station [OpenBTS] http://geeknizer.com/open-source-gsm/ http://geeknizer.com/open-source-gsm/#comments Sun, 17 Jan 2010 19:01:54 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/open-source-gsm Read more »]]> antenna btsClosed Technologies have had the enough, the future is bound to be open. I can’t think of a stream where Open source has not contributed. In few of the relatively newer streams, like telecom, Open source is still catching up.

I had been into telecom for a long time now, and had often heard a complaint from Telecom startups and sometimes even giants about the cost to go to the market in rural/developing areas. A simple BTS (a.k.a Mobile antenna) could cost anywhere from thousands of dollars to millions (depending upon the capability 2.5G, 3G, 3.5G, 4G).

OpenBTS is one project that can change the game by bringing down costs.

Basically OpenBTS is a Base Transceiver System [BTS] with open source implementation of cellular interface for GSM using software that runs on open source hardware called USRP [Universal Software Radio Peripheral]. Using this, a cellphone interface can be achieved, just like any other GSM phone does.

On the network  back-end, it is an Asterisk server. The system doesn’t have much to do with signalling susbsytems,  at layer 3, GSM call control is very much like ISDN.  What they have implemented is GSM air interface in layer 1, GSM air interface LAPDm in layer 2, and then in layer 3 is very much like ISDN SIP gateway.

The two things they support, right now, are speech: Q.931-type call control, and text messaging, SMS.

All that’s exposed to the BTS is the air interface, because of this all the complexity in the network is pretty much abstract. As the lead developer claims, “It’s not that complicated”. he says “Once you understand the specification, it’s not that complicated.  We have had three people working on this project for about two years, well, for about eighteen months of actual programming.  We started coding this stuff in August of 2007.” and finished in December 2009

The  short-term goal of the project is to  find a sponsor for a pilot deployment in a rural area, in the developing world. They are trying to get one in Africa, in India, and in Central America.  Because it can be deployed and operated at much lower costs, you have the potential to push the cost of service down to $1 a month range.

The plan looks good, all we have to see is how fast the adoption is. The project is willing to learn from your experiences on the platform. Yes, at this time it’s pretty much 2G [with no packet or even circuit switched data] but it ain’t bad for a new idea, new open project.

On the other note, from what we have seen in the past – GSM is very much hackable and having a new Open source project that can replace GSM with a more secured System could make more sense.

For Latest Tech updates in Open Source, Programming, Telecom, Tech News find us Twitter @taranfx or subscribe below:

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Airtel acquires Bangladesh-based Telecom http://geeknizer.com/airtel-acquire-bangladesh-telecom/ http://geeknizer.com/airtel-acquire-bangladesh-telecom/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2010 18:00:20 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/airtel-acquire-bangladesh-telecom Read more »]]> Bharti Airtel, India’s mobile and Internet services giant having 118 million subscribers, will acquire 70 percent stake in Warid Telecom International, 4th largest  mobile operator in Bangladesh.

The acquisition is estimated to be around $300 million. As a result of the deal, Bharti Airtel control of the management and the board of Warid.

Airtel has long aspired to expand into international market, and this becomes the second practical step. In actual, this was the third attempt, the last one was with MTN Group, South Africa which didn’t get through approval from government. In addition to this years’ deal, last year also Airtel launched operations in Sri Lanka where it fetched over 1 million customers.

With a population of over 160 million, and with only 32 out of 100 people having telephones, Bangladesh is a promising market for growth for Airtel.

The Indian mobile services market is meanwhile also growing. India added 17.65 million new mobile subscribers in November, taking the total to 506 million, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Bharti Airtel had about 116 million subscribers at the end of November.

Due to the Strong competition, India happens to have cheapest mobile voice calls in the world: The tariffs for Airtel are below INR 0.01  which is roughly US$0.0002 per second for voice calls. And the cheapest one goes even beyond upto 0.01 INR for 6 seconds as provided by TATA DOCOMO for limited groups.

The competition is on the large, and its tough for Telecom companies in India to operate at very low margin. Rising to the intentional market means alot more sense.

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In India, 25 Million Chinese Phones Die Today http://geeknizer.com/in-india-25-million-chinese-phones-die-tomorrow/ http://geeknizer.com/in-india-25-million-chinese-phones-die-tomorrow/#comments Mon, 30 Nov 2009 15:58:19 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/blog/in-india-25-million-chinese-phones-die-tomorrow Read more »]]> Indian Government has taken a big step to counter Mobile Phone Piracy. MSAI, Mobile standards Authority of India)  has put down a new rule abiding to which, cellular operators will ban BTS-Registration for any of the cellphones which has a non-legal International Mobile Equipment Identity  number also popularly known as the IMEI.

As I write this, there are only couple of hours left till all those phones meet the graveyard. However, MSAI wants peeople to get their IMEI registered, a way to control the legality of Phone identification and usage upto the standards. Owners of the Chinese-made handsets are crowding authorized outlets to get the IMEI on their handsets.

As per the Times of India:

MSAI feels that even by conservative estimates, at least 2.1 crore [20.1 Million] mobiles may not get GII (Gemmological Institute of India) by Monday and are bound to go dead. NVS Prasad, who handles GII programme for MSAI in Bangalore, said the crowd has been overwhelming during the last week. However, no one is sure as to what next for Chinese handsets that will go dead after the deadline is past.

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Ribbit Mobile Targets Google Voice http://geeknizer.com/ribbit-mobile-targets-google-voice/ http://geeknizer.com/ribbit-mobile-targets-google-voice/#comments Tue, 03 Nov 2009 15:18:05 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/blog/ribbit-mobile-targets-google-voice Read more »]]>

Google Voice has long threatened other VOIP providers – Google Voice Killing Skype made sense, but there’s something to compete:  Ribbit Mobile.

Ribbit Mobile is a cloud-based VoIP telephony service that brings together web-based calling, smart call routing and voicemail transcriptions – Just like Google Voice does.

Just like Google Voice, Ribbit gives users a new phone number or they can use call forwarding to transfer calls from their mobile phones to Ribbit’s platform.

Ribbit Mobile has few unique features [that Google doesn't offer], like the ability to ring different phones simultaneously and to make calls from within the browser.

What`s More than Google Voice
Unified: Ribbit follows it’s own open VoIP platform. Basically, the service can forward calls to your Skype, MSN or Google Talk account if you don’t pick up your mobile phone. Whenever you miss a call or when a new voicemail arrives, Ribbit can also ping you by email, Skype, Google Talk or SMS. This is something totally new that Google forgot to implement.Extensibility: Ribbit offers widgets for popular start pages like iGoogle and social networks like Facebook and MySpace. Through these – as well as on the service’s homepage – users can receive and place calls from their browsers.

However, the bad part is GrandCentral offered some of the features that Ribbit Mobile now offers. Google dropped quite a few useful features like simultaneous rings and call chains from Google Voice’s feature line-up.

Ribbit Mobile

Besides call chains, another nice feature of Ribbit Mobile is that you can choose which number will appear on your contacts’ phones when you call, even if you are calling from your computer. Once you are on a call, you can also easily transfer calls from any device to another. Because of this, you can start a call in the web interface or iGoogle and then continue the call on your cell phone.



Caller ID 2.0
Ribbit Mobile, unlike others, doesn’t just display a caller’s name and phone number. Users can also add notes to every call and connect their Ribbit address book with their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Flickr accounts. Through this, the Ribbit team noted, conversations can now take place within a context.
Ribbit Caller ID

Voicemail
The service offers two levels of Voicemail transcriptions. There are two variants, however,  Free accounts, come with automated transcriptions, Professional accounts (free during the beta period)  can also choose to have ‘business-class’ level transcriptions, where a human checks the computer-transcribed text and edits it.

Developer Program
Because Ribbit is an open platform, developers can use the service in their own applications. Ribbit already features Five apps in its App Store, including an SMS widget, an Adobe AIR app for checking voicemails and a conference widget. Ribbit also plans to launch its own mobile applications for the iPhone and Blackberry platforms soon, just like Googel voice. Developers, just like iphone App Store, are free to charge for their applications.

Ribbit will slowly raise the scale and no.of users and eventually move out of beta over a month. To begin with, you can signup for a Ribbit account here.

We would like to hear from you. Let us know your experiences with the product.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook or Subscibe to RSS for latest updates.

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Cisco could become 4G Leader: WiMax and Now LTE http://geeknizer.com/cisco-could-become-4g-leader-wimax-and-now-lte/ http://geeknizer.com/cisco-could-become-4g-leader-wimax-and-now-lte/#comments Sun, 20 Sep 2009 11:47:06 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/blog/?p=1938 Read more »]]> Cisco already had it’s underlying technology of WiMAX with their previous acquisition of Navini Networks and involvement with Service Provider Clearwire, Cisco now plans to explore and play in the LTE space.

Why? –

LTE is one of several all-IP radio access technologies that will enable the Mobile Internet. The others include HSPA and EV-DO for paired licensed spectrum, WiMAX for unpaired licensed spectrum, and Wi-Fi in the unlicensed bands. LTE is being developed as part of an industry-wide effort to stay ahead of the tremendous growth in mobile data traffic.

LTE is an Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA)-based radio access technology that has been highly optimized for packet traffic. The Serving Gateway (SGW) will be primarily tasked with issues related to micro-mobility and the PDN gateway is the IP point-of-attachment for mobile users. Cisco will be building both Serving and PDN gateways.

Cisco, today, offers a mobile gateway on its 7600 series routers by way of the Service and Application Module for IP (SAMI). But they will not be LTE gateway capable until LTE-specific software is available for it. Whatever the case is, Cisco calls themselves LTE Ready, though their SAMI is incomplete solution.

Senior director of Worldwide SP marketing at Cisco, Nagesh, doesn’t yet tell when that will be, but he added that it will be in early field trials with mobile operators later this year.

That ain’t all, Cisco plans to offer a “LTE readiness assessment service” to integrate its gateway with a packet data node (PDN) and mobility management entity (MME), which forms the ControlPlane for wireless access. Cisco will supply the LTE gateway and PDN (7600 router), but rely on third-party LTE RAN vendors for the MME. The result will be a “single, unified LTE solution” pulled together by Cisco, Nagesh says: “We won’t just go as a (LTE) gateway.”

Cisco’s interest and imminent involvement in LTE does not conflict with its immersion in WiMAX. “Our strategy is to be radio aware, or agnostic,” Nagesh claims.

Cisco is currently experimenting a femtocell solution with Big-fish and we should see an announcement soon on Cisco’s overall strategy. It will mesh with the vendor’s connected home/connected business initiatives to support unified communications, video and collaboration applications — e.g. a coverage augmentation for Cisco’s Telepresence, Unified communications  WebEx Connect offering.

The current 4G plan can blend into Cisco’s femtocell strategy.

As per cisco:

“We believe each technology has a role to play. WiMAX is ahead since it was built end-to-end IP. But Clearwire is building a lot of LTE capabilities even though the RAN is WiMAX. It doesn’t matter if it’s WiMAX or LTE on the RAN side. How will operators make money out of their spectrum assets? The challenge of figuring out the business model is still at play.”

• In the future we plan to allow our mobile gateway applications to be more easily ported onto service modules that run on a variety of our high-end edge routers. This gives operators far more flexibility in their choice of a platform to host the gateway function.

• We are announcing our intention to develop LTE gateway functionality. We will support operators that are migrating from a CDMA environment as well as those migrating from a GSM/UMTS environment. Our plan is to develop both Serving and PDN gateways. Our gateways will be built on the SAMI module, the only shipping LTE-ready platform in the industry.

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Orange and T-Mobile Join Hands to Become UK’s Biggest Telecom Provider http://geeknizer.com/orange-and-t-mobile-join-hands-to-become-uks-biggest-telecom-provider/ http://geeknizer.com/orange-and-t-mobile-join-hands-to-become-uks-biggest-telecom-provider/#comments Tue, 08 Sep 2009 19:37:08 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/blog/?p=1859 Read more »]]>

The deals like this, brings new hopes for the customers and areas where Mobile usage isn’t as dense as US, Japan, China.

Today, as per the latest press release, Orange and T-Mobile, will join hands in a new joint venture, this fall.

At the moment, they are 3rd and 4th largest Telecom providers in UK. The merger will create the largest mobile company in the United Kingdom, with a subscriber base of more than 28.4 million which builds up roughly 37% of the market.

Currently the largest UK operator with a 27% share is Telefonica’s O2, which is the exclusive iPhone carrier. At the  second place with 25% of the British market is Vodafone, the company which jointly owns a 48% stake of Verizon Wireless.

The merger of Orange and T-Mobile in the UK would be like Sprint and T-Mobile merging in the United States, breaking up the market into thirds.

The deal, which is due to be signed November, comes on the heels of poor financial results from T-Mobile and lackluster sales from Orange, and the reasons behind it are quite obvious: saving money. Despite the huge initial cost of the merger, the two companies expect to save, over time, up to 5.7 billion dollars. Part of these savings will probably reflect on the combined staff of the two companies: Orange’s 12,500 and T-Mobile’s 6,500 employees, although a spokeswoman said that it’s too early to talk about the impact on the workforce, but we can expect cuts.

As far as branding goes, both brands will remain separate in the first 18 months after the deal is completed. Orange chief executive Tom Alexander will lead the new company, while T-Mobile’s UK boss Richard Moat will become the COO.

Though both Vodafone and O2 were recently reported to have made bids on T-Mobile, a mutual interest was shared between executives at Orange and T-Mobile. Orange’s CEO Tom Alexander, for example, came to the company in 2007 from T-Mobile-owned MVNO Virgin Mobile. Alexander will become the CEO of the joint Venture, and T-Mobile’s CEO Richard Moat will take over as COO.

For the first 18 months of the joint venture, both brands will remain separate. T-Mobile this morning said that period will be used to “review branding alternatives” for the new company.

sources: betanews, Mashable ]]> http://geeknizer.com/orange-and-t-mobile-join-hands-to-become-uks-biggest-telecom-provider/feed/ 0 TATA DOCOMO – NTT DOCOMO’s Plan to Conquer World, Steps into Indian Mobile Market http://geeknizer.com/tata-docomo-ntt-docomos-plan-to-conquer-world-steps-into-indian-mobile-market/ http://geeknizer.com/tata-docomo-ntt-docomos-plan-to-conquer-world-steps-into-indian-mobile-market/#comments Sat, 15 Aug 2009 09:10:49 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/blog/?p=1608 Read more »]]> NTT, Nippon Telegraph & Telephone, is world’s 2nd biggest Telecom company revenue wise after AT&T. With AT&T Standing at $124Billion, NTT has reached $104Billion, leaving Verizon behind last year with Total Revenue of $97.3Billion.

NTT DOCOMO is a Japanese Telecom famous for it’s most high-end telecom VAS, value added services, is Japan’s premier provider of leading-edge mobile voice, data and multimedia services. With more than 54 million customers in Japan, the company is one of the world’s largest mobile communications operators.

After having winning in Japan, and China’s Invasion, they are stepping into another international Market. Their current step is to capture World’s most Dense Mobile Network – India.

UPDATE: They have launched two Unlimited GPRS plans for prepaid users. So what speed can you expect – upto 26-48 kbps depending on network. Two plans are available, both are cheap.

The Deal goes in partnership with Indian Communications and Steel Giant TATA Group.

Motivated by the Business and Technology Cooperation Committee that DOCOMO and TTSL have jointly established, symbolizes the two companies’ strong partnership and their commitment to the development of India’s rapidly growing mobile phone market.

TTSL plans to launch the GSM service in southern India and gradually expand it nationwide. The southern part has already been covered, now plans to conquer Northern India continues.

TTSL has created significant strengths with its high-quality network and extensive retail stores and customer-service outlets covering nearly all of India, where new subscribers have been surging with net monthly increases of more than 10 million.

DOCOMO, as part of its effort to leverage TTSL’s continued growth and development, is participating proactively in TTSL’s management by providing human resources and technical assistance to help realize improved network quality and the possible introduction of leading-edge, value-added services.

Tata DOCOMO is Tata Teleservices Limited’s telecom service on the GSM platform.

Tata DOCOMO marks a significant milestone in the Indian telecom landscape, as it stands to redefine the very face of telecoms in India. NTT DOCOMO has played a major role in the evolution of mobile telecommunications through its development of cutting-edge technologies and services. Over the years, technologists at DOCOMO have defined industry benchmarks like 3G technology, as also products and services like the i-Mode, e-wallet and a plethora of lifestyle-enhancing applications. Today, while most of the rest of the industry is only beginning to talk of 4G technology and its possible applications, DOCOMO has already started conducting 4G trials in physical geographies, not just inside laboratories!

DOCOMO is also a global leader in the VAS (Value-Added Services) space, both in terms of services and handset designs, particularly integrating services at the platform stage. The Tata Group-NTT DOCOMO partnership will see offerings such as these being introduced in the Indian market through the Tata DOCOMO brand.
Tata DOCOMO has also set up a ‘Business and Technology Coordination Council’, comprising of senior personnel from both companies. The council is responsible for the identification of key areas where the two companies will work together. DOCOMO, the world’s leading mobile operator, will work closely with the Tata Teleservices Limited management and provide know-how to help the company develop its GSM business.

Till date, Tata has heavily advertised their new plans for Mobiles. And they already achieved few thousand subscribers in less than a month which  shows how well DOCOMO brand name is in capturing Indian market. As part of the initial attraction, they have introduced 1 second call pulse which reinforces people to pay per second rather than per minute. So user gets flexibility of paying exactly what he used.

They plan to bring High speed 3G services in coming months. HSDPA, EVDO upto 7.2Mbps is set to launch in 4-5 months. Followed by 4G services which are is tests in Japan, currently.

The DOCOMO’s year-on-year revenue growth is faster than others in the Telecom industry, growing at whooping 11%. Within next 3-4 years, they can easily beat AT&T.

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Skype eBay Dispute can Finish Skype. Best time for Google Voice and Others. http://geeknizer.com/skype-ebay-dispute-can-finish-skype-best-time-for-google-voice-and-others/ http://geeknizer.com/skype-ebay-dispute-can-finish-skype-best-time-for-google-voice-and-others/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2009 12:43:11 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/blog/?p=1528 Read more »]]> eBay filed a concern with SEC – A legal dispute between the Skype unit and Joltid - the organisation from which Skype was purchased.  If nothing is done, the entire Skype service could die.

Skype is the largest carrier of international telephony in the world (around 8% of global traffic). though Skype provides alot of free calls, but an increasing number of customers are using the paid Skype Out service – amounting to 8.4 billion minutes alone in 2008.

On page 15 of eBay’s quarterly SEC filing, it wrote the following -

(Don’t worry if you don’t understand this, I’ve explained it in the later section)

“Skype licenses peer-to-peer communication technology from Joltid Limited pursuant to a license agreement between the parties. The parties had been discussing a dispute over the license. … Following the filing of the claim, Joltid purported to terminate the license agreement between the parties. In particular, Joltid has alleged that Skype should not possess, use or modify certain software source code and that, by doing so, and by disclosing such code in certain U.S. patent cases pursuant to orders from U.S. courts, Skype has breached the license agreement.”

“Joltid has brought a counterclaim alleging that Skype has repudiated the license agreement, infringed Joltid’s copyright and misused confidential information… Joltid’s notice of breach and subsequent notice of termination are invalid, and that Joltid has certain indemnity obligations in relation to the U.S. patent proceedings. Trial is currently scheduled for June 2010.”

“Although Skype is confident of its legal position, as with any litigation, there is the possibility of an adverse result if the matter is not resolved through negotiation. Skype has begun to develop alternative software to that licensed through Joltid. However, such software development may not be successful, may result in loss of functionality or customers even if successful, and will in any event be expensive.  If Skype was to lose the right to use the Joltid software as the result of the litigation, and if alternative software was not available, Skype would be severely and adversely affected and the continued operation of Skype’s business as currently conducted would likely not be possible.”

Ok, I didn’t understand this, can you explain it in simple language?

To make it simple, Millions of internet users who use Skype could be forced to find other ways to makephone calls after parent company eBay said it did not own the underlying technology that powers the service, prompting fears of a shutdown.

eBay would have purchased most of Skype.  Some of the fundamental peer-to-peer (p2p) components remained with the original developers.  Obviously, eBay is racing to re-implement these components in-house but they warn that there is no guarantee of success.

Ebay paid a total of $3.1billion for the telephone service between 2005 and 2007 and is now locked in a legal battle with the technology’s owner, Joltid, a company owned by Skype’s founders. That may make it impossible for eBay to follow its plan to float Skype on the stock market next year – and give one of Skype’s creators, Niklas Zennström, the upper hand in any negotiations. Zennström has been angling to buy the company back.

Skype is a big money-earner for eBay. The stats of minutes given in start of blog is the proof.

It has more than 480 million registered users and revenues of $170m for the last quarter. It does not need telephony systems as people’s own computers route traffic over the internet; its only significant costs will be payments to telephone operators where calls exit the internet, for which Skype’s customers pay.

eBay says that it filed a claim against Joltid in the English high court in March, and that Joltid, which owns the key technologies for Skype, then “purported to terminate the licence agreement”. Without the licence, Skype may be worthless to eBay because it will be unable to run it legally – or might have to pay swingeing licence fees to keep it going.

However, eBay’s legal counsel insisted that “our plans to separate Skype have not changed”. There was no other comment from eBay on the litigation.

The case has arisen because Joltid, set up in 2001 by Zennström and Janus Friis – who both went on to found Skype in 2003 – licenses its software to Skype, which enables the company to build its huge internet telephony system, which connects millions of computers. Whereas most systems only connect a couple of computers, Skype’s distributes the call among thousands of machines, making it extremely robust.

Joltid alleges that Skype “should not possess, use or modify certain software source code” and that eBay has disclosed some of that code in US patent cases following US court orders. It is seeking to revoke Skype’s licence on the basis of copyright infringement and misuse of confidential information.

There are two interesting outcomes from this.  Firstly, unless a solution is negotiated very quickly, the planned IPO for the first half of next year will have to be placed on hold (or even killed off entirely).

Secondly, if the June 2010 case goes against eBay, a lot of people will have to return to the POTS to carry their calls or look for an alternative.

Rise of the Fallen – Other Providers

Right now, It’s the best time for other VOIP providers to showcase their features and outrun Skype. This is the best time when users will not mind switching to something that has a more reliable future.

Google Voice, which serves free internal calls within US, might take the best advantage of the scenario. Earlier we articulated how Google Voice can kill Skype, but now it’s much more easier than what it use to be then.

The Market is open, competition awaits a good opportunity from alternate providers.

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Ericsson to Buy Nortel Wireless at $1.1Billion, after Winning Auction http://geeknizer.com/ericsson-to-buy-nortel-wireless-at-11billion-after-winning-auction/ http://geeknizer.com/ericsson-to-buy-nortel-wireless-at-11billion-after-winning-auction/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2009 23:14:33 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/blog/?p=1472 Read more »]]> Nortel is long in news now. Earlier, we have talked about Avaya’s plan with Nortel. And today that fate of Nortel has been taken further, Ericsson has won the bidding over the wireless division of Nortel Networks, agreeing to pay US$1.13 billion for Nortel’s CDMA business and LTE Access technology 4G.

How does it Benefit Ericsson?

The deal will greatly expand Ericsson’s foothold in North America, bringing customer relationships with large operators such as Verizon and Sprint.

Nortel had been operating under court bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 since January. In June, the company accepted a $650 million offer from Nokia Siemens Networks for its CDMA and LTE assets. That offer set the stage for Private equity firm MatlinPatterson to jump in with a counter offer of $725 million for the wireless assets.

RIM also made an offer for the assets but was barred from the sale after a bidding procedure dispute with Nortel.

Ericsson was a late entrant to the bidding process, with its interest publicly declared just Thursday. As part of deal, announced early Saturday, Ericsson will offer employment to a minimum of 2,500 Nortel employees supporting the CDMA and LTE Access business.

“This is one of those gifts from heaven for Ericsson in the otherwise very competitive world these companies operate in. Rather than competing with Nortel, Ericsson has won,” said telecom industry analyst Jeff Kagan in e-mail. The consolidation of the industry, however, is not necessarily a good thing for customers”, he noted.

“There are other competitors today, however Nortel posed a large competitive threat to Ericsson, and without that dynamic, what will the affect be on pricing and innovation and customer responsiveness?”

Ericsson and Nortel officials tend to reassure customers, with the statement:

“The anticipated sale of our CDMA business and LTE Access assets to Ericsson for $1.13 billion represents a very positive prospect for our customers who will be able to continue their relationships with a long term partner; for employees who will have new opportunities at Ericsson and for many of our other stakeholders,” said Nortel President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Zafirovski, in a statement announcing the deal at the official Nortel website.

Ericcson CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg added,

“Ericsson is committed to meeting the needs of our new CDMA customers today and bringing the next generation of mobile broadband to the world with LTE.”

Nortel said that it expects to close the deal by the end of the year.

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Avaya Ready to Buy Nortel for $475M. Visions, Challenges Ahead http://geeknizer.com/avaya-ready-to-buy-nortel-for-475m-visions-challenges-ahead/ http://geeknizer.com/avaya-ready-to-buy-nortel-for-475m-visions-challenges-ahead/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2009 19:47:19 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/blog/?p=1447 Read more »]]> Nortel was once among the most powerful Telecom euipment manufacturer. This Canada-based company once had a stock quote of $240/share. Industry had worst for Nortel, It went down to as low as few cents recently. After struggling for years and Filing Bankruptcy under chapter 11, Nortel was desperately looking for a total Overhaul and an Interested Investor. Today, the leaders finally found a breath of relief. Nortel finally finds a hope. Nortel has entered into a “stalking horse” asset and share sale agreement with Avaya for its Enterprise Solutions business.

After almost a month of ongoing discussions, the proposed amount has been set to $475 million by Nortel. As per the agreement : It includes the planned sale of substantially all of the assets of the Enterprise Solutions business globally as well as the shares of Nortel Government Solutions and DiamondWare, a maker of softphones.

On this Eve, Nortel CEO Mike Zafirovski said:

“We continue to be fully focused on running our operations and continuing to serve our

customers while actively engaged in the sale of our businesses. We have determined that the sale of our businesses maximizes value while preserving innovation platforms, customer relationships and jobs to the greatest extent possible. The CDMA and LTE Access stalking horse asset sale agreement announced on June 19th, and today’s agreements around our Enterprise business are solid proof of that value. This represents the best path forward, and we are advancing in our discussions with interested parties for our other businesses.”

“The many customers I have spoken with have been highly supportive of our efforts and transparency throughout this process. They value our employees and technology platforms and are appreciative of our service levels which are at multi-year highs.

“Today’s agreements underscore the value of Enterprise Solutions and the investments we have made in enterprise telephony, unified communications and data networking core competencies. If successfully completed, this transaction will provide clarity on the path forward for our Enterprise customers, partners and employees, and enable the industry to continue to benefit from Nortel-created technology, know-how and leading-edge innovation.”

Avaya president and CEO Kevin Kennedy added to it, stating that the deal will benefit Avaya on several fronts.

“The addition of Nortel Enterprise Solutions will increase Avaya’s global scale, expand our channel partner network, and strengthen our world-class portfolio of products and services,” Kennedy said in a statement. “This is a strategic opportunity to acquire talent and complementary assets that position the combined company for growth and success. We are committed to protecting the communications investments of the customers of Avaya and Nortel, and to effectively executing the integration of Nortel Enterprise Solutions and Avaya.”
One industry analyst sees the deal benefiting all parties involved.
Want to compare LAN/WAN management products? Visit the IT Product Guides now.

“This puts Avaya ahead of Cisco for enterprise voice sales and enters them into the networking business,” says Henry Dewing, an analyst at Forrester Research. “There are advantages for Avaya and Nortel — achieving scope and scale to lead the worldwide communications market. There are opportunities for buyers to have a global vendor offering hardware, software, and services to advance their communications and collaboration capabilities. Both firms recognize the need to serve mixed vendor environments and leverage many channel options and partners for delivery.”

Avaya had 16.6% of the $16 billion enterprise telephony market in 2008 to runner up Cisco’s 14%, according to Dell’Oro Group. Nortel came in 4th, with 9.6%, trailing Siemens at 11.4%. Together, It gives more market share to Avaya.

Challenges for Avaya: Merits and De-Merits of Merger

Thouth Avaya will attain a larger customer base, and wider product ranges, challenges would remain with product overlap. As a matter of fact, Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent and Siemens, Huawei could benefit as Avaya works through the redundancies.

On the Positive side, Nortel’s LAN switching portfolio gives Avaya an entry into that market and could end its joint marketing relationship with Extreme, Kidron states.

But first, Avaya has to win the bidding.

“We see a strong possibility for an additional bidder(s) for Nortel’s enterprise assets emerging, especially given the low price,” Kidron states in his bulletin. “Siemens or private equity firms such as MatlinPatterson (a major bondholder) could participate in the bid. Both have either shown interest in the past or would make a good fit. Overall, this is another milestone in Nortel’s ultimate asset-unwinding process.”

MatlinPatterson is preparing a bid for Nortel’s CDMA and LTE wireless assets, which Nokia Siemens has already offered $650 million for in another stalking horse arrangement.

The International Nortel Networks Users Association (INNUA), which represents more than 4,000 Nortel enterprise customers worldwide, issued a statement saying that it “believes the acquisition will allow the company to refocus its energy and resources on its solutions, and quiet concerns about the corporate structure that has beleaguered the company.”
“This chapter in Nortel’s history is closed,” said INNUA Executive Director Victor Bohnert in the statement. “We understand that there is still much that can change during the auction process. However, we will begin working with Avaya as soon as it’s appropriate to determine how we can best represent the collective voice of their new customers.”

Under the stalking horse arrangement, Nortel will file the asset and share sale agreement with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware along with a motion seeking the establishment of bidding procedures for an auction that allows other qualified bidders to submit higher or otherwise better offers. Following completion of the bidding process, final approval of the U.S. and Canadian courts will be required.

As previously announced, Nortel does not expect that the company’s common shareholders or the preferred shareholders will receive any value from the creditor protection proceedings and expects that the proceedings will result in the cancellation of these equity interests. Nortel was delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange on June 26.

So It’s all upto the Industry’s top telecom-equipment leaders. Who would bid the highest and swipe away the Avaya’s hopes.

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Google Voice captures Mobile – Android and Blackberry. iPhone soon. http://geeknizer.com/google-voice-captures-mobile-android-and-blackberry-iphone-soon/ http://geeknizer.com/google-voice-captures-mobile-android-and-blackberry-iphone-soon/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2009 14:07:22 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/blog/?p=1397 Read more »]]> Earlier, I blogged about considerable improvements in google Voice like Google Voice gets Presence, and How Google Voice can Kill Skype. Now it’s the next Big step.

Google Voice has finally captured it’s space on Mobile Platforms- Android and BlackBerry as a Native application (though the service still being an invitation-only).

Today,  Google plans to change that dynamic by allowing users to make Google Voice calls directly from their mobile phones. The company plans to release two mobile applications to make that possible.

The Google Voice app will allow users to use their mobile phones to access their inbox, place calls and send SMS messages with their Google Voice number, and make low-rate international calls.

When sending SMS messages in this manner, users don’t have to pay SMS charges levied by their mobile carriers because the SMS messages are sent by Google.

The experience of using Google Voice through one of these mobile apps is much more seamless, said Paquet.

The Google Voice apps will allow users to set whether all calls, only international calls, or no calls get routed through Google Voice.

The Android app will be available for free from the Android Market Place and the Blackberry app will be available for download from Google voice Web site.

Google launched Google Voice in March as a private beta test. Last month, it began sending invitations out to new users who had submitted a request to try the service. Paquet said that the reaction to the service has been pretty enthusiastic and that more people had requested invitations than anyone expected.

What About iPhone?

Vincent Paquet, product manager for Google Voice, said that Google is working with Apple on an iPhone app for Google Voice. It isn’t ready yet, and we will soon see it on App Store free of cost.
The Next Steps
Google Voice is designed to facilitate personal communications, but is not well suited for customer-facing applications that allow a company to establish conversations based on business logic and job functions.
Google Voice, the Killer VOIP is slowly yet effectively expanding. In a period of 6 months, we should start seeing corporate solutions. End of era of commercial Telecom Voice providers?
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Verizon and LTE 4G Triple Play Challenges http://geeknizer.com/verizon-and-lte-4g-triple-play-challenges/ http://geeknizer.com/verizon-and-lte-4g-triple-play-challenges/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2009 18:48:12 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/blog/?p=1376 Read more »]]> The long anticipated 4G from Verizon wireless is starting to gain spotlight now. As per their plans, Intial testing and deployments will start appearing by the end of the year.

Though we heard that LTE is ready for showtime but despite these statements from telecom leaders, a major challenge is still left un-answered. As we know, 4G or LTE is based on packet switched networks rather than circuit switched that used to be in older standards (3G and 2G). This industry giant leap has added benefits of more bandwidth but has raised a crucial concern about incompatibility with older circuit-switched networks.

Till today we had been living in a circuit switched telecom cores connecting to ip network core as a legacy. IP was never our REAL core as far as Telecom mobile operators are concerned. A drastic movie has brought the issue of integrating the reverse i.e. Mobile core will be IP, and it will connect to older circuit switched networks for services like SMS, voice calls.

Verizon would be the first one but carriers like t-mobile are already ready for it. All of them are facing these challenges and implementing different solutions.

Currently, there are a few ways this problem can be tackled. For SMS and Voice, there is IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), the 3GPP way that delivers voice and SMS through IP architecture, like a VoIP system with messaging enabled. There is network hybridization, where the 4G network would only handle data and the legacy 2G/3G networks would handle voice and SMS. Finally, there is a Forum called VoLGA, or Voice over LTE via Generic Access, a spec based upon 3GPP’s GAN standard(wikipedia), which allows circuit switched traffic to be encapsulated into LTE packets.

VoLGA is backed by a Forum of wireless industry leaders such as Alcatel-Lucent, ZTE, Starent Networks, Nortel, and Ericsson, as well as consumer electronics companies LG, Motorola, Samsung, and Huawei, which are collectively known as the VoLGA Forum.

At the LTE Forum in May, T-Mobile’s core network architecture lead Franz Seiser said, “There’s a big risk if we don’t decide how to go forward with our cash cow…If we don’t get this right, we could put the whole of LTE at risk.”

The point is if more carriers are unified behind VoLGA, it is more likely to be approved as a 3GPP standard, and the technology could then move forward crossing the hurdles created today. Even though it is already a 3GPP standard, IMS innovation is reportedly slow and costly, and voLGA is a better alternative.

voLGA forum recently made a milestone with its second draft of the VoLGA spec in May, and estimates on wrapping-up by the end of the year to submit it to 3GPP release 10, the LTE Advanced official standard.

We hope to see more Carriers joining the Forum and making life of 4G demanding consumer easier.

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Google Voice gets Presence, Virtual Call Centers come into Play. http://geeknizer.com/google-voice-gets-presence-virtual-call-centers-come-into-play/ http://geeknizer.com/google-voice-gets-presence-virtual-call-centers-come-into-play/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2009 16:01:58 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/blog/?p=1306 Read more »]]> Earlier, I wrote how Google Voice can kill skype and redefine Unified communications. Here is the best example. OnState Communications has adopted Google voice for Virtual Call-Center services. They announced today that their cloud-based call center and PBX solutions will fully integrate with Google Voice, enabling customers to leverage full benefits of Google Voice. This support combines with existing Google Talk and Google Apps support as part of OnState’s virtual call center and PBX solutions, and allows Google users to retain all of the inherent product features while building upon them to improve customer-facing communications.

“With this new support, OnState allows you to turn Google Voice into a full-featured PBX or call center for a fraction of normal industry prices,” said Pat Kelly, CEO of OnState. “And while using Google Voice you can reap the benefits inherent to OnState, including multi-modal capabilities, business- and skills-based routing, seamless application integration, reporting and analytics, and our business presence capabilities.”

with OnState, now its possible for Businesses to add Google Voice, Google Talk, and even video chat to customer-facing communications, websites, and applications with OnState, and use their layer of abstraction of business presence to direct inbound inquiries to employees that can best serve the query based, independent of employee location or available in-use applications like PBX phones, Google Talk, Google Voice, PC phones, or mobile phones.

Currently, Google Voice is designed to facilitate personal communications, but is not well suited for customer-facing applications that allow a company to establish conversations based on business logic and job functions. Business presence layered on top of Google Voice and Google Talk helps companies extend the application to improve customer satisfaction and enhance worker productivity by connecting customers on the first attempt to the person who can best serve them.

In future, We expect google to play role in Enterprise sector by supporting ways to integrate into existing communications system that can suite Enterprises better. May be Google already ahs plans, first they want to test with the small sector, then they might get their hands into BIG market.

Benefits are clear, lower costs, more features at almost no new hardware.

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How Google Voice can kill Skype http://geeknizer.com/how-google-voice-can-kill-skype/ http://geeknizer.com/how-google-voice-can-kill-skype/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2009 15:47:20 +0000 http://geeknizer.com/blog/?p=1275 Read more »]]> The VOIP and Unified communications are coming to the next steps. Days are gone when you needed collaboration tools from your service provider. Your Virtual service providers can do it all for you, and that too at a negligible or No cost. The best examplee to quote is Google Voice.

Google Voice started from GrandCentral, will eventually conquer large part of US and the world. Google last week started sending out invitations for Google Voice, its new VoIP service built on technology it acquired  in 2007. Google Voice will be rolled out slowly, according to Google, but as of last Thursday, the service is now available to anyone who had requested to try the beta version.

What is Google Voice Hype All about?

Google Voice provides users with a universal phone number to cover all their phone communications – work, home, mobile – but more important are Google Voice’s bells and whistles, which include a transcription service for voicemails, the searchable cataloging of text messages and lots of different routing and forwarding options

Why it could pose a threat to Skype?

As a a consumer-grade VoIP service, Google Voice is Ready for a showdown with VOIP leader Skype. Here are the reasons why Skype, despite its enormous popularity, will need new things to compete:

1. Routing & forwarding Re-Defined: Google Voice allows users to customize the call routing. As per the need, Incoming call can be routed to certain phone number, ring certain tones and all this on any number of phones. Talking about customized preferences: The service offers the ability to direct your calls automatically to whichever phone (personal calls automatically to home phone, for example) as well as send calls automatically to voicemail.

2. A new definition of “Call Screening”: Call screening generally means throwing a glance at the incoming call number or caller ID screen and deciding whether to answer. According to Google however, when a call is made through Google Voice, the user gets to see the name plus four options: Answer it, answer it and record, send it to voicemail or send it to voicemail while listening to the caller leaving the voicemail, just like you did on landline answering machines :) . Google Voice can also apparently ask for a caller’s name if it isn’t in a user’s saved Google contacts and get that name to the user before he or she picks up the call.

3. On the Fly Switching: No matter which channel a call comes in through Google Voice, you can switch the phone midway through the call and pick up again without dropping it. Everything is done on the Fly without any disruptions.

4. Read your calls: When you send a Google Voice call straight to voicemail, you can listen live to what the caller is recording, and also answer the call part way through that recording. Not only that, but you can listen to your saved voicemails online (via Gmail-like interface) as well as forward them, and for a small fee, receive transcriptions of your voicemails as well. using internal voice recognition system.

5. The Google God: Skype has enjoyed a long period of dominance. When its to fight with Google, I haven’t seen any survivors so far (don’t argue about Android, its a success in its own stream).

Google has previous records to start with a base service, and eventually make it one of the most feature-full products in the market. Just like the Gmail, which once came just as an email client. And now its a boom with all integrated GTalk, plugins, Gadgets, Docs, Google Apps for corporates, to name a few. I foresee integration of all these with Google Voice. It will be fun to see how you could call Google Voice and check your meetings, prepare docs and send it out to all without opening the mail. commercial POTS will vanish, Possibilities are endless. And then someone will have privacy concerns over Google Voice just like they did over search, Gmail ;)

Unified communications was once initiated by Cisco, Verizon, and now Google will Raise the bar.

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