& cplSiteName &

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. , 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        ADD A COMMENT
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
Can Cable Climb Upmarket?

12|7|16   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson and Alan Breznick assess cable's prospects for winning more enterprises in a landscape rocked by corporate M&A activity.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
TalkTalk Exec: Find Your North Star at Work

12|7|16   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


Women need to find their purpose, a professional North Star, and create a personal board for themselves, according to Alex Tempest, director of partners at TalkTalk Business.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon: Beware Unknown Unknowns

12|7|16   |   04:58   |   (0) comments


Chris Novak, director of the Verizon Enterprise Solutions Risk Team, explains that enterprises who don't conduct a thorough audit of their assets often leave some things unprotected because they don't know they exist. Many times these unprotected assets are part of corporate M&A activity but left unshielded they can become a hacker's playground, he tells Light ...
LRTV Interviews
ETSI's CTO Talks NFV, 5G & NGP

12|5|16   |   09:45   |   (0) comments


Adrian Scrase, CTO at standards body ETSI, talks about the various initiatives and specifications developments related to NFV, 5G and NGP (next-generation protocols) that will underpin next-gen networks.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (2) comments


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
ITU: The Broadband Is Our Future

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Ultra-broadband Forum, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, discussed how important it is for countries, companies and everybody to be working together to help to build the broadband and digital economies (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Tackling 5G in Dallas

11|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Here are our highlights of the 5G North America show in Dallas, Texas with Light Reading's Dan Jones.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Prepping for Virtualization Trials

11|14|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this video interview, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein discusses MSO's plans to test managed business services in early 2017 and tackle Distributed Access Architectures.
Upcoming Live Events
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cable Nodes Becoming a Choke Point
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 12/5/2016
WiCipedia: After-School Coding, Salary Probing & Pro-Parenthood Companies
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 12/2/2016
Consolidated Snaps Up Fairpoint for $1.5B
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/5/2016
Altice FTTH Bill Could Hit Almost $9.6B in US
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/1/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.