Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cox Clarifies Wireless Plans

Light Reading published an article that clarified Cox Cable's wireless plans a bit.
  • Cox will have autonomy on the Sprint network, controlling the backoffice, customer service, product integration, branding, supported devices, packaging, and product plans.
  • Cox will use its AWS spectrum that it acquired in 2006 to support a 3G network based on EV-DO Revision A.
  • It plans 700 MHz spectrum LTE field trials sometime in 2009.
This approach means that Cox's own AWS 3G service and its Sprint-based service will both be based on CDMA. It is likely that it will be able to offer handsets that can run on both networks. It is less clear how LTE will fit in, but Verizon's commitment to LTE is likely to produce handsets that support both CDMA and LTE. It will be interesting to see how this works out.

Cox historically has taken the leadership on new technologies such as cable telephony. It has taken a strong technical approach in the past that has led to the deployment of robust services. It looks like it is taking the same approach with wireless.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cox Cable to Offer Wireless Bundle in 2009

Cox announced that add a wireless component to its bundled offering that includes TV, high speed Internet, and telephone services today. Cox will utilize Sprint's wireless network to enter the market in 2009. At the same time, Cox is building its own 3G wireless network for additional market launches in 2009. Cox will also test 4G technology utilizing LTE. Cox acquired 700 MHz spectrum in about 10 areas in the U.S., including Los Angeles, Phoenix/Tucson, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Atlanta.

Cox partnering with Sprint is no surprise since it is one of the partners in the Clearwire deal. However, its strategy is not clear. It seems to have the following options:
  • Sprint's CDMA service on a national basis
  • 3G in the 10 areas where it has 700 MHz spectrum
  • LTE later in the 10 areas where it has 700 MHz spectrum
It will be interesting to see how Cox weaves all of this together in a way that makes sense to its cable customers. There is no compatibility between CDMA, WiMAX, and 3G. It does not seem likely to me that they will find any handsets that can support all of these serves.

Even with all of these problems, this is a key trend. The cable companies will have to develop strong wireless service offerings in order to be competitive in 2020.

Friday, October 24, 2008

How Much Will Network Traffic Grow?

Probably the biggest issue in planning for a network for 2020 will be the amount of trafficthat it will have to support. Network traffic has been growing by about 50 percent per year over the last 10 years. At this rate, the amount of traffic will be 100 times what it is today.

The question is how long will this party go on? It seems reasonable that this torrid rate of growth will have to moderate at some point of time. Any decrease in this rate of growth will certainly make life easier for the carriers. They would be able to reduce their investment in their networks.

It is clear that wireless networks are just now starting to see the impact of the growth of data services on their networks. The iPhone and similar devices are bringing a new set of Internet users to mobile networks. This is only the start. During the next decade most mobile users will be making extensive use of data services.

This means that the growth of data usage on mobile networks will probably grow faster than 50 percent per year over the next several years and grow at a rate similar to wireline networks after that.

It is hard to see what will continue drive growth on wireline networks at such high rates. I believe that it will be video and TV content. TV content will particularly important based on the increasing popularity of HD and 1080p.

Over the last 15 years there have been a steady stream of new applications that generate ever increasing amounts of traffic. I am not going to bet that this innovation has stopped. I think that anybody thinking about networks for 2020 must assume a factor 100 increase in traffic.

TelecomView Publishes Report on Telecom 2020

TelecomView has released its report Telecom 2020: Transformation Strategies. This report discusses the services and networks that will be available in 2020 after the adoption of IP and Ethernet technologies is complete. It discusses the impact on wireless and wireline networks as well as both consumer and business market segments.

This new report finds that this transformation will have major effects on the carriers and on the industry itself. It provides strategies that carriers and systems companies can use to be successful over this transition period.

You can get information on this report at our website. You can also order a free white paper that is based on this report.

Telecom 2020 Blog

TelecomView has launched this blog as a result of the work that we have done to produce our new report Telecom 2020: Transformation Strategies. This blog will include news items that are relevant to this transformation. We will also publish a weekly column that will give our opinion on an important issue that is relevant to this subject.

We encourage you to post your comments. Anything that is said about the state of telecom in 2020 is an opinion. Your opinions are at least as good as ours. We would love to hear them. The more diverse the opinions included in this blog, the better it will be.

Monday, October 20, 2008

BT Introduces Integrated Wireline/Wireless Data Service

BT introduced broadband packages for small businesses that include mobile broadband as part of a wireline/wireless offering. It provides a service that includes wireline broadband along with BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile networks (GPRS/3G/HSDPA/HSUPA). It now offers three usage plans:

BT Business Total Broadband Options

Broadband Option 1

Broadband Option 2

Broadband Option 3

Price Per Month (on a 24 month term)




Fixed line Download Limit




BT Business Mobile Broadband

Unlimited usage available for £17.50 per month

One Mobile Broadband USB stick per contract – 1GB usage

2,000 BT Openzone minutes

One Mobile Broadband USB stick per contract – 1GB usage

2,000 BT Openzone minutes

Wireless Router

£79 or £59 online exc. VAT




Anti Virus and Anti Spam

Anti Virus and Anti Spam

Internet Security Pack for 5 PCs


24/7 UK-based Freefone Support

24/7 UK-based Freefone Support

24/7 UK-based Freefone Support

IT Support Manager - allows our IT experts to help fix problems remotely, no need to call out an engineer

This is one of the first examples of what I expect will be a very important trend. I believe that similar integrated services will be offered to consumers and will become an important competitive advantage for Telcos over their cable competitors. However, this approach to offering services will have a significant effect on the organization of the Telcos as well as the structure of the industry itself. I will write more about this later.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tecordia to Address ROADM Security Holes

Light Reading has published and article that describes a technique that can be used for encrypting 100 Gbps optical streams. Telcordia is planning to bring optical layer security to market that uses optical phase shifts for its encryption keys and promises the possibility of 100-Gbps security. The technology, called Photonic Layer Security (PLS).

Telcordia stated that the rise of ROADMs has created a security hole in the network. It is possible to intercept traffic at that add/drop point. It's also possible to insert spoofed traffic there. PLS gets around this because the recipient must have the proper key, otherwise the optical signal cannot be unscrambled.

This is an example of the security problems that the new technologies will bring with them. Paying attention to these issues will an important part of deploying these new technologies.

Friday, October 17, 2008

FTTH Council Says 3.8M FTTH Subscribers in North America

The Fiber to the Home Council of North America published a presentation giving its latest FTTH statistics. It has found that there are currently 3.8 million FTTH subscribers and 2.2 million FTTH IPTV subscribers in North America. This is an increase of 848 thousand FTTH subscribers and 550 thousand FTTH IPTV subscribers over the last six month. The current take rate for FTTH services in North America is 30 percent.

Verizon is driving this growth, but there are a number of smaller deployments as well. It is well spending the time to review the entire presentation.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Maravedis Says 2.3M WiMAX Subscribers in 2Q08

Maravedis said that there were 265 WiMAX deployments at the end of 2Q08 with a total of 2.33 million subscribers. This was up from 264 deployments and 1.99 million subscribers at the end of 1Q08. Clearewire was the number one operator with 462 thousand subscribers and Korea telecom was number two with 202 thousand subscribers.

Maravedis said that 67 percent of subscribers were residential and 33 percent were business subscribers. The residential ARPU was $46.73 and the business ARPU was $135.08.

This is the start of the deployment of 4G services. The size of these deployments are still modest. Clearwire and KT are the two service providers to watch.

Femto Cell Interest in Spain and China

Telefonica's O2 mobile arm is planning a femto cell trial. It expects its femto cell commercial roll out to start ramping up in 2010.

picoChip Designs demonstrated its Chinese femtocell reference design in China today announced that femto startup Digimoc Telecom Technology (Shanghai) will use its chips and software designs to make femtocells based on the country's homegrown 3G standard, TD-SCDMA. The news is an indication that China Mobile is interested in the low-power home base stations, because it is the only Chinese operator that will deploy TD-SCDMA in the country.

This is the start of an important trend. Femto cells will off load mobile networks and blur the lines between wireless and wireline services. This will have a major effect on how services are offered in 2020.

XO Deploys Ciena Ethernet Switches

XO Communications, a provider of communications for businesses and carriers, has deployed Ciena’s Carrier Ethernet Service Delivery Switches throughout its metropolitan networks as part of its Ethernet Hub service, which provides a way for domestic and international carriers to expand the reach of their Ethernet services in the United States.

XO has approximately one million miles of metro fiber networks in major markets across the United States. XO’s Ethernet Hub service offers customers dedicated access to its Ethernet footprint via a single connection and supports a variety of Ethernet bandwidth options ranging from 5 Mbps to 10 Gbps and key Ethernet features including 802.1Q, VLAN stacking and jumbo frames.

Carrier Ethernet is a key 2020 technology. This is an example of how it is being enhanced to provide new services.

BT's 21CN to Switch VoIP Strategy

BT is switching its VoIP strategy to emphasize VoIP over broadband rather than using VoIP to replace PSTN services. It said that it is doing this to respond to customer demand.

Putting its emphasis on VoIP over broadband brings BT into line with the strategies of other major operators such as France Telecom and NTT in Japan. It makes more sense to focus on the growing broadband segment rather than the shrinking PSTN market. There will be plenty of time to replace POTS with VoIP later.

BT Working Toward 2010 VDSL Rollout

BT has announced that it will operate two VDSL trials of about 15,000 customers each starting in the summer of 2009. It plans to provide up to 40 Mbps as part of this service. BT expects to announce plans for the initial market VDSL deployment in early 2010.

It looks like BT is taking a very orderly process that will lead to a commercial VDSL roll out starting some time in 2010. BT will be experiencing serious bandwidth pressures from the demand for HD content well before this. I would not be surprised to see it accelerate this schedule due to significant competitive pressure. In the long run it will have to adopt a FTTH strategy.

Alcatel-Lucent TPSDA 2.0 Provides Better Video Support

Alcatel-Lucent has introduced IPTV application awareness into its Triple Play Services Delivery Architecture (TPSDA) 2.0. It will add flash storage to its edge routers, its switches, and its access nodes that will support fast channel change, packet retransmission, and targeted ad insertion.
  • For fast channel change the last few minutes of every multicast channel will be stored in the network and the new channel will be started immediately, eliminating the latency that typically occurs today. Alcatel-Lucent said that HD channel change time will be reduced from several seconds to well under a second.
  • For packet retransmission the network will store enough packets to immediately service the packet retransmission request.
  • For ad insertion targeted ads will be stored and inserted in the network.

If the service provider uses Alcatel-Lucent access nodes, these functions can be provided in the access network. These functions can also be provided in the Alcatel-Lucent switches or edge routers for service providers using Alcatel-Lucent's TPSDA 2.0 architecture.

Alcatel-Lucent has also discussed plans to increase the amount of storage in these network elements in order to support rewind TV and video on demand delivery.

TPSDA 2.0 can support these functions for service providers using access nodes from other manufacturers by implementing them in the switches and edge routers.

Microsoft has not announced any support for these network capabilities.

This approach will give service providers new flexibility in managing the bandwidth demands from an IPTV service, especially as more and more on demand and personalized services are provided. I think the flexibility that it gives in placing storage in the network will improve the ability of service providers to optimize their networks.

I think that this solution is a good one for the next several years. I believe over the long run that TelcoTV and other video traffic will need to be pushed down to the optical layer. There will be too much of it for packet switches to handle.

IPTV 3D To Push Bandwidth Requirements

Light Reading published a keynote interview at IBC given by Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg discussing the resurgence of 3D. He said that all of the major studios have 3D projects under way. He also said that the quality of the 3D is much higher than in the past. Digital 3D is expected to be widely rolled out in 2009, when an estimated 2,500 theatre screens will be equipped with the technology.

I saw a compelling 3D HDTV demonstration by NHK at NAB. They told me that this is already available in Japan over satellite. If 3D becomes an important part of IPTV service, it is likely that the bandwidth required to support it will be too much for VDSL. I believe that FTTH will be required to support 3D.