Optical/IP Networks

AsiaBites: LTE's Business Edge

A flurry of news snippets from Asia/Pacific have caught our eye in the past day or so, so here's a run-down of the major talking points.

  • LTE has been long talked about as a technology that could help mobile operators play a bigger role in the enterprise services market, especially cloud services, not because of the greater data throughput (that helps) but because of the reduced latency. NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) talked about that in late 2010 and on Friday, South Korea's SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) noted in its second-quarter financials that "B2B revenues are increasing as [the operator] is launching new enterprise solutions and winning more projects based on its competitive edge in the LTE market." (See South Korea: 4G Nation and Docomo Links LTE to the Cloud.)

  • Could Japan's NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701) or South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) be suitable suitors for Nokia Networks ? Heavy Reading 's Patrick Donegan reckons so and the NEC/NSN combo looks like a neat fit to me. (See Matchmaking NSN and Who's Going to Buy NSN?).

  • More South Korea: Both KT Corp. and SK Telecom are deploying LTE small cells using Cavium's "base station on a chip" hardware and software platform. Small cells are set to be key to LTE coverage, so operators globally will be looking at the strategies adopted by operators in the initial significant LTE markets (currently South Korea and the U.S.). (See Cavium Scores in Korea and Small Cells Among Next Big Challenges for LTE .)

  • And more NSN! The vendor has landed a 4G deal in Australia with Optus, part of the SingTel group. The vendor is the sole supplier of evolved packet core capabilities and is also supplying radio access gear. (See NSN Wins 4G Deal Down Under.)

  • Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY) announced its first-half results this week. There are all sorts of verticals in there (ports, retail, utilities, property) including three telecom operations: Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong, which recently launched LTE services; Hutchison Asia Telecom, which has more than 37 million mobile users in Indonesia and Sri Lanka; a half share of Vodafone Hutchison Australia, which is having a tough time; and 3 Group Europe, which, despite the economic malaise in the region, managed "good growth momentum" in earnings margins and customer acquisition (it now has 22.2 million 3G users around Europe, up 3 percent from a year ago), though revenues were flat. See all the details in this press release.

  • Singapore's OpenNet Pte Ltd. , which runs the island state's core Next Generation National Broadband Network (NGNBN), has appealed against a decision by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) that imposes stricter quality of service (QoS) guidelines on the passive infrastructure provider. The IDA isn't happy with OpenNet's performance, but the operator believes the new demands re-write its original contract and "leaves OpenNet to either default on the QoS or to hold on standby a very large workforce which will in most times not be used." Robert Clark, Light Reading's Hong Kong-based contributing editor, notes that an official appeal/complaint is "rare" in Singapore. To get the background on the role OpenNet plays in Sinagpore, and some of the challenges it has been facing read Clark's article from earlier this year, Monopoly Practices Taint Singapore's NBN.

  • Still in Singapore, near-field communications (NFC)-based mobile payments are to be launched later this month by the nation's three operators, MobileOne Ltd. (M1) (Singapore: MONE), Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY) and StarHub in partnership with Citibank, DBS, EZ-Link and Gemalto . Users will need a NFC SIM card and a smartphone approved for secure NFC payments, such as the Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) Xperia Sola, Xperia S or Samsung Galaxy S lll.

    — Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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