Monday, November 22, 2021

Ericsson to acquire Vonage for its cloud communications platform

Ericsson agreed to acquire Vonage, one of the earliest developers of a commercial VoIP service, for US$6.2 billion in cash.

Vonage traces its roots to 1998 when Jeff Pulver established as a VoIP exchange. In 2001, the company changed its name to Vonage and launched a commercial VoIP services aimed at consumers. Vonage went public in 2006. Vonage is headquartered in Holmdel, New Jersey and has 2,200 employees throughout the United States, EMEA and APAC.

Currently, the cloud-based Vonage Communications Platform (VCP) serves over 120,000 customers and more than one million registered developers globally. The API platform within VCP allows developers to embed high quality communications - including messaging, voice and video - into applications and products, without back-end infrastructure or interfaces. Vonage also provides Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions as part of the Vonage Communications Platform.

Sales were US$1.4 billion in the 12-month period to 30 September 2021, and over the same period, Vonage delivered an adjusted EBITDA margin of 14% and free cash flow of US$109 million.

VCP accounts for approximately 80% of Vonage’s current revenues and delivered revenue growth in excess of 20% in the three-year period to 2020, with adjusted EBITDA margins moving from -19% in 2018 to break-even in the 12-month period to 30 September 2021. Vonage’s management team projects annual growth of over 20% for VCP in the coming years.

Ericsson said the deal accelerates its strategy to expand its presence in wireless enterprise and broaden its global offerings.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, says: “The core of our strategy is to build leading mobile networks through technology leadership. This provides the foundation to build an enterprise business. The acquisition of Vonage is the next step in delivering on that strategic priority. Vonage gives us a platform to help our customers monetize the investments in the network, benefitting developers and businesses. Imagine putting the power and capabilities of 5G, the biggest global innovation platform, at the fingertips of developers. Then back it with Vonage’s advanced capabilities, in a world of 8 billion connected devices. Today we are making that possible.”

“Today Network APIs are an established market for messaging, voice and video, but with a significant potential to capitalise on new 4G and 5G capabilities. Vonage’s strong developer ecosystem will get access to 4G and 5G network APIs, exposed in a simple and globally unified way. This will allow them to develop new innovative global offerings. Communication Service Providers will be able to better monetize their investments in network infrastructure by creating new API driven revenues. Finally, businesses will benefit from the 5G performance, impacting operational performance, and share in new value coming from sapplications on top of the network.”

Rory Read, CEO of Vonage, says: “Ericsson and Vonage have a shared ambition to accelerate our long-term growth strategy. The convergence of the internet, mobility, the cloud and powerful 5G networks are forming the digital transformation and intelligent communications wave, which is driving a secular change in the way businesses operate. The combination of our two companies offers exciting opportunities for customers, partners, developers and team members to capture this next wave.”

On completion, Vonage will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Ericsson and will continue to operate under its existing name. It will be reported as a separate segment in Ericsson accounts. 

Ericsson acquires Cradlepoint for $1.1 billion

Ericsson has acquired privately-held Cradlepoint, a provider of Wireless Edge WAN 4G and 5G Enterprise solutions, for US$1.1 billion.

Cradlepoint operates a subscription-based cloud platform that uses wireless edge routers designed to connect fixed and mobile sites, vehicles, field forces, and loT devices over LTE and 5G. The service hepls enterprises connect branch, mobile and IoT endpoints on one WAN. Cradlepoint, which is based in Boise, Idaho, will become a fully owned subsidiary of Ericsson while continuing to operate under its existing brand and be part of Ericsson’s Business Area Technologies & New Businesses. Cradlepoint currently has more than 650 employees. The company was founded in 2006.  In addition to its headquarters in Boise, the company operates a research and development center in Silicon Valley, California, and new market offices in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Ericsson said the acquisition advances its ongoing mission to capture market share in the rapidly expanding 5G Enterprise space. Cradlepoint complements Ericsson’s existing 5G Enterprise portfolio which includes Dedicated Networks and a global IoT platform.

Cradlepoint’s sales for 2019 were SEK 1.2 b. with a gross margin of 61%. Ericsson’s operating margins are expected to be negatively impacted by approximately 1% in 2021 and 2022 - where half is related to amortization of intangible assets which arise from the acquisition. Cradlepoint is expected to contribute to operating cash-flow starting in 2022. Ericsson’s 2022 group financial targets remain unchanged. 

T-Mobile Polska to deploy Ciena for 500–800G wavelengths

 T-Mobile Polska will deploy a coherent optical solution from Ciena for its high-performance, flexible 800G network. 

Specifically,  T-Mobile Polska is deploying Ciena’s WaveLogic 5 Extreme coherent optics over a 6500 fully flexible colorless, directionless, and contentionless photonic system. The carrier plans offer a new long-distance 400 Gigabit Ethernet (400GbE) service to its enterprise, content provider, and wholesale customers.

Ciena said its solution will be used to provide high-capacity 500Gbps–800Gbps wavelength connectivity, low latency, and reliability, making it possible to transport services such as 5G, cloud, and data center interconnect (DCI) at a lower cost per bit. Additionally, encryption capabilities allow for secure transmission of sensitive financial and government data.The network is managed by Ciena’s Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller, allowing for operational efficiency and quick turnup of new services.

“There’s increasing demand for ‘big pipe’ connectivity throughout Poland, and our innovative coherent optical solution is helping T-Mobile Polska roll out the high-speed services that a digital economy requires,” states Virginie Hollebecque, Vice President and Leader of EMEA at Ciena.

Telstra Wholesale expands Ethernet with network reconfiguration

Thanks to an architectural update, Telstra Wholesale is making Ethernet service available via most managed NTU (Network Termination Units) on the Telstra fibre network. For Ethernet Access over 50,000 additional devices are already in place. For Wholesale Business Internet over 30,000 additional devices are now in place. 

This enables Telstra Wholesale customers to now connect to a total of 110,000 business premises, with no extra infrastructure build required.

Glenn Osborne, Executive, Sales and Wholesale Segment, Telstra Wholesale said: “This new network configuration which we’re calling Unified Access unleashes the potential of our assets by extending access across Telstra’s entire network, making it easier and more cost effective for Wholesale customers to switch on more end user customers, fast and most often with no upfront charges.” 

The new capability also enables customers to move their services from one Wholesale product to another more seamlessly than ever before.

“If a customer wants another public internet solution - for example, for diversity to cloud access applications – we can now offer Wholesale Business Internet on the same device as Ethernet Access,” Mr Osborne said.

“In Telstra Wholesale we are extremely proud to deliver this cross-Telstra network reconfiguration program which enables more connected sites for our Wholesale customers instantly.”

KKR bids $12 billion for Telecom Italia Group

 TIM’s Board of Directors met to discuss a bid from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (“KKR”) to acquire and privatize the company. The offer is for Euro 0.505 per ordinary and/or savings share, the equivalent of about US$12 billion for the group.

The offer is considered provisionary as the companies perform due diligence. A deal would require clearance by key stakeholders in the Italian government and possibly the Brazilian government, as well as by shareholders.

From TIM's recent Q3 investor presentation:

Indonesia's Moratelindo picks Ribbon for optical backbone

Moratelindo, Indonesia's second largest fixed broadband provider, has selected Ribbon Communications to expand its capacity on two key sections of its network.

Ribbon said its advanced optical solutions enable Moratelindo to more than double the capacity of its Sumatra backbone to 3.6 Terabits per second. Additionally, the 280 kilometer-long Batam subsea link, which extends Moratelindo's reach to Singapore, now boasts an additional 2 Terabits of transmission capacity.

Moratelindo now benefits from a 200G network that is 400G-ready, enabling it to introduce new bandwidth-hungry services quickly and easily. The Sumatra optical backbone uses Ribbon's Apollo 9932 Core OTN Switch at multiple nodes, leveraging its massive 16T switching capacity for efficient services grooming and routing over the backbone. Ribbon's TM800 programmable transponders maximize transmission capacity on the Batam subsea link.

"This is a critical project and Ribbon prevailed in a highly competitive process by offering a range of solutions that best meet our needs," said Michael McPhail. CTO, Moratelindo. "We know from previous experience that Ribbon are able to deliver in these challenging sections of our network and we look forward to our expanded relationship."

"This is a tremendous win for Ribbon," said Mickey Wilf, Ribbon's General Manager APAC and MEA, IP Optical. "Moratelindo is an important provider in one of the world's most populous nations and we're thrilled to know that they count on us to provide the fast, reliable capacity their business and consumer customers require."

Keysight reports record orders, revenue, gross margin

 Keysight Technologies reported record revenue of $1.29 billion for its fourth fiscal quarter ended October 31, 2021, compared with $1.22 billion last year. Non-GAAP net income was $338 million, or $1.82 per share, compared with $305 million, or $1.62 per share in the fourth quarter of 2020.

“Keysight delivered a record quarter and strong finish to our fiscal year. Despite tight supply conditions, exceptional execution drove all-time high orders, revenue, gross margin, and operating margin,” said Ron Nersesian, Keysight’s Chairman, President and CEO. “Demand for our first-to-market solutions is strong, resulting in double-digit, year-over-year order growth across all end markets and regions. Our momentum is being fueled by the success of our software-centric solutions strategy as we capitalize on long-term secular growth trends in our markets."


  • Communications Solutions Group (CSG) - reported revenue of $919 million in the fourth quarter, up 2 percent over last year, driven by strength across the 5G and aerospace, defense and government ecosystems, as well as investment in 400G and 800G R&D.
  • Electronic Industrial Solutions Group (EISG) revenue amounted to  $375 million in the fourth quarter, up 18 percent over last year, driven by semiconductor measurement solutions and next-generation automotive and energy technologies, with growth across all regions.

NTT Research builds its team in Silicon Valley

NTT Research announced the appointment of six scientists in the first eight months of 2021 to its Physics & Informatics (PHI) Lab in Sunnyvale, California.  These additions bring the total number of PHI Lab scientists to 18, including PHI Lab Director Yoshihisa Yamamoto. New staff includes: 

  • Adil Gangat: Dr. Gangat joined the NTT Research PHI Lab in February 2021 from the University of Queensland, where he received his Ph.D. in physics in 2014 under the supervision of Professor Gerard Milburn. Since then, he has held post-doctoral and visiting researcher positions at the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Sherbrooke, National Taiwan University, University of Hannover, Free University of Berlin and University of Leeds. In the year prior to joining NTT Research, he was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems at the University of Queensland. His current areas of research include the design and application of tensor network algorithms. 
  • Sho Sugiura: Dr. Sugiura joined the NTT Research PHI Lab in April 2021. Over the previous three years, he was a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) post-doctoral fellow for overseas research in the Department of Physics in Professor Eugene Demler’s group at Harvard University. Before that, he was a JSPS postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Solid State Physics in Professor Masaki Oshikawa’s group at the University of Tokyo. Dr. Sugiura received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 2015 from the University of Tokyo, where his advisor was Professor Akira Shimizu. Dr. Sugiura’s areas of research include quantum statistical inference, thermalization and many-body scar states. 
  • Thibault Chervy: Dr. Chervy joined the PHI Lab in August 2021 as a Research Scientist. He received his Ph.D. in Physics at the Institute of Supramolecular Science and Engineering (ISIS), a joint research unit of the University of Strasbourg and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). Since then, he has been a Post-doctoral Researcher and a Visiting Scientist at ETH (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule) Zürich in the lab of Dr. Prof. Atac Imamoglu. His research focuses on the behavior of light in complex, topological and interacting media. 
  • Edwin Ng: A Ph.D. candidate in applied physics at Stanford University, Ng has worked under the supervision of Professor Hideo Mabuchi at the Edward L. Ginzton Laboratory, using coherent control principles, dynamical systems theory and model reduction methods to study the information-processing potential of nascent quantum-optical hardware and architectures such as ultrafast nonlinear nanophotonics and coherent neuromorphic networks. He joined the PHI Lab as a research scientist in June 2021.
  • Gautam Reddy: Dr. Reddy joined the PHI Lab as a Research Scientist in August 2021. He had been an Independent Post-doctoral Fellow at the NSF-Simons Center for Mathematical & Statistical Analysis of Biology at Harvard University. He received his Ph.D. in Physics in 2019 from the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Reddy works on the intersection of physics, reinforcement learning and neuroscience with a focus on the strategies that animals use to solve complex navigational tasks. His goal is to understand how artificial and biological agents process relevant information and learn to solve complex tasks from high-dimensional data. Previously, he has worked on how gliders optimally extract energy from atmospheric turbulent flows, how animals track odor trails and theoretical aspects of optimal sequential decision-making. 
  • Yonghwi Kim: Dr. Kim joined the NTT Research PHI Lab in June 2021 as a post-doctoral fellow, soon after receiving his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) under the supervision of Prof. Harry A. Atwater. His doctoral research, supported by a Kwanjeong Educational Foundation Fellowship, focused on tunable nanophotonic devices based on a phase transition material. 

“This internal growth reflects well on the Lab’s foundational research into topics ranging from quantum physics to neuroscience and promotes our long-term mission of re-thinking and redesigning computers,” said NTT Research President and CEO Kazuhiro Gomi. “We believe these impressive new appointments will help bring us closer to that goal.”

In addition to its 18 scientists, the PHI Lab has entered joint research agreements with nine academic research organizations, including those at University of Tokyo, Caltech, Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Notre Dame, Stanford University, Swinburne University of Technology, the University of Michigan and the Tokyo Institute of Technology. It is also conducting joint research with the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley and 1QBit, a private quantum computing software company. Through these collaborations, the PHI Lab also has gained 21 research partners – quantum physicists, electrical engineers and neuroscientists who share the Lab’s vision of building a next-generation computing machine.

NTT Research inaugurates "OneVision" Center in Silicon Valley

Kazuhiro Gomi, President and CEO of NTT Research, introduces the new NTT OneVision Center in Sunnyvale, California.  The new facility is built for a post-pandemic vision of the workplace, with collaboration-focused spaces, state-of-the-art health monitoring capabilities, and new layouts. 

The video also features the ribbon cutting and inauguration speech on September 19, 2021.

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