Thursday, May 7, 2020

GSA: 30 operators now offer 5G-based Fixed Wireless Access

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has established a Fixed Wireless Access Working Group to coordinate industry initiatives to deliver fixed wireless broadband services based on LTE and 5G access networks.

The founding members of the FWA Working Group are Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Samsung and ZTE.

To support the activities of the new Working Group, GSA has undertaken a study to determine the extent and nature of fixed wireless access broadband service availability based on LTE or 5G around the world. GSA analysed 927 companies including all known existing LTE operators, plus companies that are known to be investing in or have previously announced plans to invest in LTE networks (including trials, companies with licences, and those planning or involved in deployments), in 232 countries and territories.

Some highlights

  • Fixed wireless access broadband based on LTE is available worldwide, although is much more prevalent in some regions than others. 
  • GSA identified 395 operators in 164 countries selling FWA services based on LTE. 
  • In addition, of the 73 operators that have announced 5G launches worldwide, GSA counted 37 operators that have announced the launch of either home or business 5G broadband using routers. 
  • Of these 37, GSA identified 30 operators selling 5G-based FWA services.  

“As technology has improved, operators have been turning to mobile networks to deliver home and office broadband services, in some cases offering mobile-based services as an alternative to fixed-line broadband technologies,” said Joe Barrett, President, Global mobile Suppliers Association. “The home/office broadband services on offer are no longer limited to mobile data subscriptions associated with mobile phones, dongles, or even MiFi devices. They now include use of mobile technology to provide the main broadband connection for a home or business in the form of a fixed wireless access services. In a relatively short space of time, fixed wireless broadband access has become a mainstream service offer and the formation of this new GSA Working Group is testament to the acceleration in industry activity in Fixed Wireless Access.”

The full data set collected is available to GSA Members through its first Fixed Wireless Access Member Report.

Liberty's Virgin Media to merge with Telefónica's O2

Liberty Global plc and Telefónica SA will merge their operating businesses in the U.K. to form a 50:50 joint venture focused on broadband + mobile + video + entertainment consumer services. O2 is the largest mobile platform in the UK, while Virgin Media claims to be the nation's fastest broadband network.

The "fully-converged" JV is also expected to become a leading challenger in the B2B space as the combination will accelerate the adoption of converged fixed-mobile services to Virgin Media’s and O2’s existing business customers.

The JV will have an approximate annual turnover of £11 billion, and 46 million mobile, home, and business connections.

The companies cite significant operating benefits for the JV, with estimated run-rate cost, CAPEX and revenue synergies of £540 million on an annual basis by the fifth full year post closing, equivalent to a net present value of approximately £6.2 billion post tax and net of integration costs, as well as significant synergies from the accelerated usage of existing tax assets. The vast majority of the benefits relate to demonstrable cost and CAPEX synergies, with an annual run-rate of approximately £430 million out of which approximately 80% are expected to be achieved by the third full year after the closing.

CAPEX synergies:

  • Use of existing infrastructure to provide services for each entity’s customers at lower cost compared to standalone / wholesale capabilities;
  • Migration of Virgin Media mobile traffic to Telefonica UK’s network;
  • Combination of regional and national network infrastructures and IT systems;
  • Reduction in combined marketing expenditures;
  • Potential to reduce general and administration costs; and 
  • Site rationalization

Telefónica's Chief Executive Officer, Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, said, “Combining O2’s number one mobile business with Virgin Media’s superfast broadband network and entertainment services will be a game-changer in the U.K., at a time when demand for connectivity has never been greater or more critical. We are creating a strong competitor with significant scale and financial strength to invest in UK digital infrastructure and give millions of consumer, business and public sector customers more choice and value.  This is a proud and exciting moment for our organisations, as we create a leading integrated communications provider in the U.K.”

Mike Fries, Chief Executive Officer of Liberty Global, said, “We couldn’t be more excited about this combination. Virgin Media has redefined broadband and entertainment in the U.K. with lightning fast speeds and the most innovative video platform. And O2 is widely recognized as the most reliable and admired mobile operator in the U.K., always putting the customer first. With Virgin Media and O2 together, the future of convergence is here today. We’ve seen the benefit of FMC first-hand in Belgium and the Netherlands. When the power of 5G meets 1 gig broadband, U.K. consumers and businesses will never look back. We’re committed to this market and are right behind the Government’s digital and connectivity goals.”

Zoom acquires Keybase for messaging encryption

Zoom Video Communications as acquired Keybase, a start-up offering a  secure messaging and file-sharing service. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Keybase, which is based in New York City, is a key directory that maps social media identities to encryption keys in a publicly auditable manner. Additionally, it offers an end-to-end encrypted chat and cloud storage system, called Keybase Chat and the Keybase Filesystem respectively.  The company was founded in 2014 by Chris Coyne and Maxwell Krohn. Investors included Andreessen Horowitz.

Zoom said the deal accelerates its plan to build end-to-end encryption that can reach current Zoom scalability.

“There are end-to-end encrypted communications platforms. There are communications platforms with easily deployable security. There are enterprise-scale communications platforms. We believe that no current platform offers all of these. This is what Zoom plans to build, giving our users security, ease of use, and scale, all at once,” said Eric S. Yuan, CEO of Zoom. “The first step is getting the right team together. Keybase brings deep encryption and security expertise to Zoom, and we’re thrilled to welcome Max and his team. Bringing on a cohesive group of security engineers like this significantly advances our 90-day plan to enhance our security efforts.”

“Keybase is thrilled to join Team Zoom!” said Max Krohn, co-founder and developer. “Our team is passionate about security and privacy, and it is an honor to be able to bring our encryption expertise to a platform used by hundreds of millions of participants a day.”

ADVA upgrades its Oscilloquartz timing technology

ADVA launched a major new software upgrade and introduced additional hardware cards for its high-capacity core Oscilloquartz synchronization solutions, the OSA 5430 and 5440, to help mobile network operators (MNOs) meet stringent 5G sync requirements while supporting all existing mobile technologies.

ADVA said the enhancements to the OSA 5420 edge device and the OSA 5430 and 5440 core solutions enable a seamless transition to ePRTC and emerging PRTC-B specifications while supporting legacy interfaces for frequency synchronization. In addition, transparent and boundary clocks with tighter specifications assure precise timing delivery to base stations.

The new solutions, as well as the OSA 5420 Series, feature firmware that supports the ITU-T’s newly specified boundary clocks, class C and D. With their enhanced timestamping capabilities, the devices distribute time with accuracy better than 5 nanoseconds. The new line cards enable operators to achieve precise synchronization of legacy network architectures based on PRCs, SSUs, composite clocks and NTP. The OSA 5430 and 5440 also support highly accurate multi-band, multi-constellation GNSS receivers, engineered to overcome inaccuracy caused by ionospheric delay variation.

“These new features give communication service providers exactly what they need. Now there’s a truly risk-free route to the new breed of mobile services. With our technology, network operators can keep their legacy services up and running while cost-effectively achieving the extremely stringent timing requirements of 5G,” said Gil Biran, general manager, Oscilloquartz, ADVA. “MNOs rely on their existing applications and we don’t expect them to be phased out any time soon. Yet it’s also important to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that 5G connectivity is ready to go. That’s why we’ve enhanced our modular devices to both protect and future-proof legacy synchronization architectures. With our technology, it’s easy to maintain existing revenue streams while preparing to meet the strict new ePRTC/PRTC-B specifications needed to support tomorrow’s phase and time synchronization.”

NTT West picks Fortinet Secure SD-WAN and SD-Branch

NTT West has selected Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN and SD-Branch solutions as the foundation of its "FLET’S SDx" subscription service.

NTT West's service, which enables centralized management of both WAN and LAN, comes with built-in security features enabled by Fortinet’s FortiGate Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) to provide customers with a flexible, secure network environment that adapts rapidly to change.

Fortinet cited the following advantages to its platform:

  • Centralized management for the entire branch: Organizations can manage both their WAN Edge and LAN from a central location, which consolidates the entire branch operations and improves visibility, control, and operational efficiency.
  • Automation-driven operations: As part of its Secure SD-WAN solution, Fortinet offers zero-touch provisioning, which eliminates the need for local configuration even at remote office locations, reducing the need for additional IT personnel.
  • Integrated Security: Advanced security features such as next-generation firewall, antivirus, web filtering, intrusion prevention and application control are integrated into the FLET’s SDx service to protect enterprise networks.

“Through our Secure SD-WAN and SD-Branch solutions, Fortinet is positioned to support NTT West as it delivers a flexible, agile solution to customers,” said John Maddison, EVP of Products and CMO of Fortinet. “By leveraging a security-driven networking approach, Fortinet’s solution addresses multiple uses cases and can grow with businesses as they require further connectivity to multiple clouds, open new branch offices, and adapt to digital innovation requirements.”

Fortinet reports Q1 sales of $576.9 million, up 22% YoY

Fortinet reported Q1 2020 total revenue of $576.9 million, an increase of 22.1% compared to $472.6 million for the same quarter of 2019. GAAP net income was $104.0 million for the first quarter of 2020, including $28.3 million from gain on intellectual property matter, net of tax, compared to GAAP net income of $58.8 million for the same quarter of 2019. Non-GAAP net income was $104.4 million for the first quarter of 2020, compared to non-GAAP net income of $80.8 million for the same quarter of 2019.

“Our strong first quarter performance is the result of strategic internal investments we made to deliver industry-leading products and services, expand into adjacent addressable markets, grow our global sales force and invest in the channel,” said Ken Xie, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Fortinet is an important strategic partner to our customers. Our proprietary FortiASIC security processing unit (SPU) can deliver 10 times the VPN throughput capacity of comparable competitor solutions to support teleworkers. This significant competitive advantage is one reason we believe we will continue to gain market share during a period of tougher economic conditions. We believe our industry-validated teleworker and secure SD-WAN offerings, along with our SPU-driven FortiGates, Security Fabric platform and hybrid- and multi-cloud offerings, provide companies with more cost-effective solutions across their entire digital infrastructure.”

Some highlights:

  • Product revenue was $192.3 million for the first quarter of 2020, an increase of 18.2% compared to $162.7 million for the same quarter of 2019.
  • Service revenue was $384.6 million for the first quarter of 2020, an increase of 24.1% compared to $309.9 million for the same quarter of 2019.

NETSCOUT reports flat revenue of $229 million

NETSCOUT reported total revenue (GAAP) for its fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020 of $229.4 million, compared with $235.0 million in the same quarter one year ago. Non-GAAP total revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020 was $229.4 million versus $235.2 million in the same quarter one year ago.

Product revenue (GAAP and non-GAAP) for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020 was $116.5 million, which was approximately 51% of total revenue. This compares with fourth-quarter fiscal year 2019 product revenue (GAAP and non-GAAP) of $125.5 million, which was approximately 53% of total revenue.

Service revenue (GAAP) for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020 was $112.8 million, or approximately 49% of total revenue versus service revenue (GAAP) of $109.5 million, or approximately 47% of total revenue, for the same period one year ago. On a non-GAAP basis, service revenue for fiscal year 2020’s fourth quarter was $112.9 million, or approximately 49% of total non-GAAP revenue, versus non-GAAP service revenue of $109.8 million, or approximately 47% of total non-GAAP revenue, for the same quarter one year ago.

NETSCOUT’s income from operations (GAAP) was $12.6 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020, compared with income from operations (GAAP) of $29.2 million in the comparable quarter one year ago. Fourth-quarter fiscal year 2020 non-GAAP EBITDA from operations was $54.9 million, or 24.0% of non-GAAP quarterly revenue, which compares with $76.0 million, or 32.3% of non-GAAP quarterly revenue in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019. The Company’s fourth-quarter fiscal year 2020 (GAAP) operating margin was 5.5% versus 12.4% in the prior fiscal year’s fourth quarter. Fourth-quarter fiscal year 2020 non-GAAP income from operations was $48.7 million with a non-GAAP operating margin of 21.2%. This compares with fourth-quarter fiscal year 2019 non-GAAP income from operations of $68.7 million and a non-GAAP operating margin of 29.2%.

Net income (GAAP) for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020 was $7.3 million, or $0.10 per share (diluted) versus net income (GAAP) of $19.2 million, or $0.24 per share (diluted), for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019. On a non-GAAP basis, net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020 was $37.4 million, or $0.50 per share (diluted), which compares with $52.0 million, or $0.66 per share (diluted), for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019.

“For fiscal year 2020, we delivered solid earnings per share growth on relatively flat revenue compared with fiscal year 2019, excluding the divested HNT Tools business, despite some order delays in our fourth quarter related to the COVID-19 global pandemic. These delays occurred in one of our historically stronger quarters, as customers were focused on adjusting their operations to react to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation,” stated Anil Singhal, NETSCOUT’s president and CEO.

Inphi posts strong Q1 revenue of $139 million

Inphi reported Q1 2020 revenue $139.4 million, up 69.6% year-over-year, compared with $82.2 million in the first quarter of 2019. The increase was due to higher demand for Cloud and Telecommunications products as well as the inclusion of eSilicon revenues as a result of the acquisition that closed on January 10, 2020.

Gross margin under GAAP in the first quarter of 2020 was 52.9%, compared with 57.9% in the first quarter of 2019. The decrease was mainly due to amortization of intangibles, step up value of inventories related to the eSilicon acquisition and product mix.

GAAP net loss for the first quarter of 2020 was $20.3 million or ($0.44) per diluted common share, compared with $22.7 million or ($0.51) per diluted common share in the first quarter of 2019.

Non-GAAP net income in the first quarter of 2020 was $31.5 million, or $0.62 per diluted common share. This compares with non-GAAP net income of $15.4 million, or $0.33 per diluted common share in the first quarter of 2019.

“As the global health crisis continues to be a challenge, the demand for bandwidth remains solid, as detailed in our April 22 blog on Inphi’s website,” said Ford Tamer, President and CEO of Inphi Corporation.  “Prior to the crisis, we were already delivering on new product cycles for our cloud and telecom customers.  These included upgrades of data center, 5G, metro and long-haul networks to PAM and Coherent technologies, designed to increase available bandwidth.  Now, we believe the significant paradigm shifts brought on by ‘work from home’, electronic commerce, distance learning, streaming and other remote usage activities may result in further acceleration of bandwidth upgrades. While we remain cautiously optimistic for continued growth, we will also work to verify the sustainability of this new demand.”

Business Outlook
  • Revenue in Q2 2020 is expected to be in the range of $147.8 million to $152.0 million.   
  • GAAP gross margin is expected to be approximately 51.6% to 53.9%.
  • Non-GAAP gross margin is expected to be approximately 63.5% to 65.5%.
  • Stock-based compensation expense is expected to be in the range of $26 million to $28 million.
  • GAAP net loss is expected to be in range between $15.0 million to $21. 5 million, or ($0.31) to ($0.45) per basic share, based on 47.8 million estimated weighted average basic shares outstanding.
  • Non-GAAP net income, excluding stock-based compensation expense, acquisition expenses, amortization of intangibles and inventory fair value step up related to acquisitions and noncash interest on convertible debt, is expected to be in the range of $33.15 million to $36.35 million, or $0.62 to $0.68 per weighted average diluted share, based on 53.1 million estimated non-GAAP weighted average diluted shares outstanding. 

CommScope posts Q1 2020 revenue of $2.03 billion

CommScope reported that net sales in the first quarter of 2020 increased 84.9% year over year to $2.03 billion primarily due to the contribution of $1.03 billion from the ARRIS acquisition. On a combined company basis, net sales decreased 18.0% year over year to $2.03 billion. The company estimates that first-quarter 2020 net sales were negatively impacted by approximately $70 million related to supply chain disruptions as a result of COVID-19, as well as certain other COVID-19 related disruptions.

CommScope generated a net loss of $(159.9) million, or $(0.89) per basic share, in the first quarter, a decrease from the prior year period's net loss of $(2.3) million, or $(0.01) per basic share. Non-GAAP adjusted net income for the first quarter was $27.2 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, versus $93.0 million, or $0.48 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2019.

Due to the evolving and significant uncertainties related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, CommScope is withdrawing its full-year 2020 outlook.

CommScope President and CEO Eddie Edwards states: "I am incredibly proud of our team and how resilient our business model is. We quickly mobilized across the company to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic; supporting the phenomenal and sudden increase in demand for broadband and connectivity by everyone: our emergency services, businesses, remote workers and everyone sheltering-in-place at home. On behalf of the Board and management team, I thank our employees for their fortitude, creativity, innovation, positive spirit and resilience in providing essential services.”

Ribbon posts Q1 sales of $158 million

Ribbon Communications reported Q1 2020 revenue of $158 million compared with $119 million in first quarter of 2019, an increase of 33%. Approximately $30 million of the year-over-year revenue increase was attributable to the acquisition of ECI Telecom, which closed on March 3, 2020. There was a GAAP net loss of $33 million, and a non-GAAP loss of $1 million.

"We are pleased with our first quarter sales results.  In the face of very difficult global conditions for our customers and employees arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, we achieved organic revenue growth of eight percent compared with the first quarter of last year, driven by strong demand for our communications software as our customers responded to increased traffic on their networks," said Bruce McClelland, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ribbon Communications.  "We saw an increase in session software deployments to facilitate remote work and Ribbon's multi-year investments in fully virtualized software and cloud products allowed us to rapidly deploy solutions for our Service Provider and Enterprise customers."

Mr. McClelland added, "During March we successfully completed the merger with ECI.  Although the ongoing pandemic has impacted demand in certain regions and created supply chain challenges for our Packet Optical Network products, we are excited about the opportunities this merger provides, with an impressive breadth of products to serve our combined global customer base."

ECI's Darryl Edwards steps down following Ribbon acquisition

Darryl Edwards, President and CEO of ECI Telecom, has stepped down as planned following the recent acquisition of the company by Ribbon.

Edwards joined ECI in June 2012, with the goal of re-establishing ECI's reputation for innovation and breaking boundaries in the telecommunications industry. Under his leadership, ECI has made significant investments in research and development and refreshed its product portfolio with new packet and optical product lines, making the transition to SDN and NFV.

"We're immensely grateful for the great work that Darryl has done in cementing ECI's place as an innovation leader in the packet and optical networking space," said Bruce McClelland, CEO and President of Ribbon.  "We are now very focused on executing on our strategy to significantly scale the ECI business by leveraging the strong foundation that Ribbon has with major Service Providers and Enterprise customers around the world, particularly as we enter the 5G networking era."

"It has been a great pleasure to lead ECI for the past eight years. During this time, the industry has changed dramatically, and so did ECI," added Mr. Edwards. "When I became CEO of ECI, we had to re-assert ECI's innovation and put it back at the heart of the company. We've since become a pioneer in the industry, supporting a large number of customers, helping them realize their ambitions with our unique elastic network philosophy and approach. The merger with Ribbon is a natural and positive next step for ECI as it looks to continue to expand its global presence."

Ribbon completes merger with ECI Telecom

Ribbon Communications completed its previously announced acquisition of ECI Telecom Group, which supplies packet-optical transport and SDN/NFV solutions for service providers, enterprises, and data center operators.

The newly combined company will offer an extensive portfolio of advanced voice, security, data and optical networking solutions. In addition to extending the company’s solutions portfolio into adjacent markets, the merger advances Ribbon’s strategy of expanding into the service provider 5G data domain with bundled network analytics, intelligence and security offerings. The newly combined company allows Ribbon to enhance and broaden its existing customer offerings with ECI’s industry-leading packet optical transport solutions.

"We are thrilled to welcome ECI to the Ribbon family,” said Bruce McClelland, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ribbon. “Our expanded product offering combines ECI’s leadership in packet optical networking with our existing proven portfolio of software-based, real-time communications security, analytics and digital transformation solutions. Our new organization will leverage the strength and presence of our global sales force to create a very formidable market leader in the communications industry.”