Light Reading
Cisco and ip.access are working on an end-to-end femtocell solution, while the femto vendor has landed an important win at AT&T

Cisco, ip.access Prep Femto Combo

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
5/13/2008
50%
50%

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is jointly developing a femtocell offering for mobile operators with ip.access Ltd. , the home base station vendor in which it holds a stake, Unstrung has learned. (See Cisco Invests in ip.access.)

Collaboration between the femtocell vendor and the IP networking giant has reportedly already paid off with a big win at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), according to industry sources and a report from ThinkPanmure.

The research and investment banking outfit suggests in its report that the AT&T deal could even lead Cisco to acquire ip.access.

An AT&T spokesman says only that the carrier is interested in femtocell technology "and we are testing it, with a view to a trial later this year. We have not been specific about which vendors we might or might not use," the spokesman added.

The success at AT&T, which has been confirmed by industry sources, gives ip.access its second major carrier scalp, following its RFP (request for proposal) success last year at Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD). (See Vodafone Picks Femto Vendors and Vodafone RFP Fuels Femtocells.)

Cisco is a strategic investor in ip.access, but the relationship involves more than just a stakeholding, and the companies are now actively working together to develop an extended femtocell solution that stretches from the mobile core network to the home base station customer premises equipment (CPE). That sort of integrated package would compete with the strategies of Nokia Networks and NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701).

But the extent of any product integration is not yet clear.

"We have a very positive partnership with Cisco... We are working closely with them to deliver an end-to-end femtocell solution that leverages both companies' strengths in wireless and IP technologies," says Andy Tiller, vice president of marketing at ip.access. "The whole solution that we're putting together will have some bits that are Cisco's and some bits that are ours."

But Cisco isn't ready to spill the beans yet about what it's doing with ip.access.

"We use direct investments such as the one in ip.access to gain market insight, to create linkages into adjacent markets, and to capitalize on go-to-market opportunities through complimentary organizations such as service providers," says a Cisco spokesman in an email response. "That's the extent of the relationship at this point."

The relationship with Cisco seems to have already helped ip.access to win a femtocell request for proposal (RFP) at AT&T, which has been widely reported. Unstrung sources can confirm the AT&T win, but not the reported size of the order.

ThinkPanmure's research note suggests ip.access has won a deal to supply AT&T with up to 7 million femtocell units priced at less than $100 each, with the total value of the deal coming in at $500 million or more. According to the research outfit, ip.access beat Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Nokia Networks , Airvana Inc. (Nasdaq: AIRV), and 2Wire Inc. to win the AT&T deal.

Unstrung sources are not convinced that the size of the initial order is as large as ThinkPanmure suggests. One source, who did not want to be named, believes ip.access won an order for femtocells that will be used in friendly user trials in two of AT&T's markets, and that other vendors will have a chance to bid again after the trial.

Cisco's pulling power
It's understood that Cisco -– and more specifically, Cisco's home gateway subsidiary Scientific Atlanta -- was instrumental in ip.access securing the winning bid in AT&T's RFP.

“It is widely rumored that it's the Scientific-Atlanta guys [at Cisco] who won this at AT&T, and that Cisco is doing the integration and using ip.access boxes,” says Stuart Carlaw, vice president and research director at ABI Research .

ThinkPanmure goes so far as to suggest the AT&T win could make ip.access an attractive acquisition for Cisco, which is already a strategic investor in the firm. Such a buy would follow other Cisco acquisitions of Linksys , Scientific Atlanta, and Navini Networks Inc. (See Cisco Buys Navini for $330M, Cisco Buying Linksys for $500M, Cisco to Acquire Scientific-Atlanta.)

Tiller at ip.access would not comment on AT&T, but said it was important to partner with a large equipment supplier.

"Operators are saying they want to buy their femtos from a large supplier," says Tiller. "They want to buy their femto access point from large companies. We provide the hardware and software that go into the CPE."

Ip.access has a partnership with Thomson S.A. (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453), for example, to integrate femtocells into home gateways. (See Thomson, IP.access Team and Femto Players Gun for Gateways.)

Working together
Tiller would not provide specific details on what kind of products ip.access is developing with Cisco. But we have some ideas of what the two companies could be planning.

There are three scenarios where Cisco and ip.access can collaborate: Cisco can act as a systems integrator for ip.access femtocell access points and gateways; the pair could develop a femtocell gateway together; or they could integrate ip.access femtocell technology into Cisco's CPE equipment. Of course, the companies could be doing a combination of these scenarios.

On the CPE side, an ip.access femtocell module could be integrated into Cisco's Linksys wireless networking platforms or the Scientific Atlanta set-top boxes. This strategy would fit with the partnerships ip.access and other femto vendors, such as Ubiquisys Ltd. , have formed with home gateway providers. (See Netgear, Ubiquisys Team and Netgear Gateway Goes Femto.)

Given Scientific Atlanta's reported involvement in the AT&T RFP, the CPE integration scenario seems the most likely joint product development for the two companies.

In a femtocell gateway, ip.access could combine its existing femto gateway with security gateway capabilities from Cisco that could sit on Cisco's 7600 edge router platform, for example. So, the ip.access element in the gateway would handle radio access management, which is what its existing gateway does, while Cisco would contribute the security, IP routing, and authentication.

Such a strategy would throw Cisco into the path of mobile packet core vendor Starent Networks Corp. (Nasdaq: STAR), which is busily developing just such a gateway product. (See Starent Intros Femto Solution.)

An end-to-end femto solution from Cisco and ip.access would be competitive with NEC's partnership with Ubiquisys, or Nokia Siemens's CPE partnership strategy, for example. (See NSN's New Femtofriend, NSN, Pirelli Partner, and NEC, Ubiquisys Team.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Inaugural Optical Innovation Forum in Nice

9|2|14   |     |   (0) comments


More than 170 attendees from network operators, service providers, analyst firms, and component companies from around the world convened in Nice in June for the inaugural Optical Innovation Forum, co-produced by Huawei and Light Reading.
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX – Live from the Show

8|21|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


An overview of VeEX Test and Measurement solutions including TX300S multi-service test set with VeExpress cloud-based management system, UX400 universal modular platform supporting 100G testing, and the redesigned RXT modular platform.
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Hot Topics
Rogers, Shaw Take Aim at Netflix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/26/2014
Nokia's Maps Land on Samsung Devices
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/29/2014
Now Google Planning Drones-to-Go
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/29/2014
Music to My Mobile
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/28/2014
Be Open to the Freedom of Openness
Kelly Herrell, 8/29/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed