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Some of the talk about powering consumer electronics was pretty interesting last week at Mobile World Congress.


At the end of Wednesday’s keynote extravaganza, the moderator asked keynoters what we should invest in, and Intel’s Paul Otellini talked about battery companies. He said lithium ion is not the answer; instead, consumer electronics gear in the future will be powered by silicon-based batteries.


In a separate presentation, Qualcomm’s Paul Jacobs said the company is working on a way to use wireless technology to deliver power to consumer electronics devices.


The Beauty of Fractals

December 15, 2010 2:31 PM | 0 Comments

My daughter is only 10 years old and she’s already convinced that she’ll be attending MIT. So I spend my spare time saving my pennies and watching the PBS science show Nova with her.


Last night a particularly interesting Nova was broadcast. It was about fractals. And it talked about how fractals play an important role in communications and could have significant impact on other fields such as medicine.


One part that I found particularly interesting was the discussion about how many years ago a ham radio operator whose landlord didn’t want a big antenna on the building resulted in the former gentleman building an antenna leveraging fractals. He found that by shaping the antenna in this way he could achieve the reach he required with a far smaller antenna. The show went on to mention that today fractal antennas are used in tens of millions of cell phones and other wireless communication devices and that, over the next 10 to 20 years, fractal technology will become even more broadly used because it's the only way to get cheaper costs and smaller size for our complex telecommunication demands.


In other fields such as health care, meanwhile, scientists have discovered that a healthy heartbeat has a distinctive fractal pattern. Identifying these signatures could in the future help cardiologists spot heart problems sooner, according to the show.

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The Human Experience

December 3, 2010 2:45 PM | 0 Comments

This week was a busy but exciting one. I went to a media and analyst day at ADTRAN headquarters in Huntsville, Ala., which I discovered this week is considered one of the 10 smartest cities in the world.


It’s always enjoyable to get together with the folks at ADTRAN, as well as my peers in the industry, to learn about what’s happening in the industry, what’s expected in the future, and just to touch base on a personal level.


ADTRAN had a bunch of news, about which I expect to write next week. It also took the opportunity to share its success story and invited several customers, who seemed eager to share their stories about how, as one customer put it, “rock solid” ADTRAN is as a partner.


We also ate a lot of good food and listened to a charming gentleman named Dr. O’Neal Smitherman from HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, a Huntsville-based non-profit and business incubator (which, by the way, also is an ADTRAN customer) talk about the advancements being made in human genome sequencing. He talked in part about how dropping costs for such sequencing is driving vastly larger data storage and networking needs.

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Wingardium Leviosa

November 16, 2010 10:04 AM | 0 Comments

I just returned from a few days in Orlando. While many people would probably consider a trip to Florida a perk, I’m no fan of the place – it’s too hot and sticky. As a desert dweller for 12 years now, I’ve come to favor a dry heat. But it was pretty nice in Orlando this time, not too hot. In fact, the evenings were even a bit cool. And the trip involved a combination of work and play, so that was kind of nice too.


I spent my first couple days in Orlando at TM Forum’s Management World of the Americas sitting in the press room meeting with more than a dozen solutions providers. Policy was a hot topic. I also asked many of the interviewees how all the recent service provider merger and acquisition action would likely impact their businesses, and whether it could lead to more M&A in the OSS/BSS space. Check out the January issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY to hear more about all of that.


After the show, I met up with my hubby and daughter to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. It was pretty cool, but I must say that computer technology has greatly changed the amusement park experience from what it was when I was kid.


I remember going to Disney World years ago, and my family going nuts over the incredible moving birds and totem poles in the Tiki Room. But in recent years when we’ve been at Disney, my husband and daughter just laugh and shake their heads when I try to get them to go into the Tiki Room so I can revisit these childhood memories. Moving birds and wall hangings are hokey; most people visiting amusement parks today go to see fast action images while they’re being flung around like a coin in a piggybank.


So I took my kid to the Harry Potter theme park. We all loved it, but the rides were a bit much for two out of the three of us.


I let my husband take her on Dragon Challenge, the big scary rollercoaster. And I volunteered to take her on the “family-friendly” coaster while my husband tried to recover. That worked out great, actually. It was The Forbidden Journey that did us in.


I thought it might be like the fun but tame Haunted House at Disney. But after riding it, my husband and I were so upside down that all we could do for the next hour was drink butter beer (cream soda with a butterscotch whipped topping) at The Hogs Head. The Forbidden Journey, you see, places you in a chair that flings you every which way for about three minutes while you watch fast-action clips from Harry Potter movies. Not good.


Not good for the two of us anyway. Our 10 year old loved it. So our MO from there on out was for one of us to wait in line with her and make sure she got on the ride, while the other one hung out at the ride’s exit.


For some of us who can’t deal with a lot of motion and disorienting imagery, these rides don’t make a lot of sense. But most amusement park goers probably are there for a thrill ride, and given most of these folks already have access to great technology via computer, TV, game consoles and, increasingly, 3D games, TV and movies, in their day to day lives, the parks need to kick it up a notch. And have they ever.


But for my husband and me, it’s good to be back on terra firma.

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As the power balance in politics shifts and the stock market rises and falls, one consistent trend we continue to see in the U.S. technology sector is M&A.


In the third quarter among the largest deal was Intel’s move to buy McAfee for $7.7 billion, which PricewaterhouseCoopers notes is the largest security deal on record. Other whoppers were Intel’s $1.4 billion purchase of mobile chip outfit Infineon Technologies; HP’s $1.5 billion acquisition of security company ArcSight and $2.3 billion effort to buy data storage firm 3PAR; and IBM’s $1.7 billion buy of Netzza, a data storage company.

PwC, which just released its quarterly M&A update for the sector, notes that while we recently saw the closing of several billion-dollar deals announced in the latter part of Q2, mid-market transactions continue to dominate. The firm expects more of the same in the mid market for the rest of 2010, with action to be prevalent in the areas of data storage, security, virtualization, and other areas related to the cloud.


Indeed, last week alone saw a handful of new action on this front.


Cbeyond contacted me late last week trumpeting the fact that it has acquired two companies MaximumASP and Aretta Communications. The combined transaction value is approximately $40 million.


MaximumASP offers cloud services such as managed virtual servers and dedicated servers. Aretta sells cloud services such as cloud PBXs and SIP trunking. Both target U.S. SMBs.


“The acquisition of MaximumASP and Aretta Communications is an important step forward for Cbeyond’s business,” says Cbeyond CEO Jim Geiger. “We believe these acquisitions will provide significant growth opportunities, leverage our existing channels of distribution, and expand our innovative technology and expertise.”


Last week also saw the combination of hosted VoIP outfits M5 Networks (the acquirer, which it out of New York) and Geckotech (the acquiree, which is based in the Windy City).


"We have built the best delivery system and backoffice in the business and are excited to offer it to another customer base," says Dan Hoffman, president and CEO of M5 Networks.

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Simplified Collaboration

October 28, 2010 2:10 PM | 0 Comments

I enjoy collaboration and using new high-tech tools as much as the next guy, but when it comes to doing interviews I prefer simply to talk to sources on the phone so I can focus on listening closely to what they have to say and taking copious notes on that commentary. This is important so that I can produce detailed and accurate stories based on these conversations.


So I was struck when a company with which I accepted a meeting recently seemed uncomfortable with the fact that I wanted to do a plain old audio interview rather than taking part in the company's multimedia demonstration of its collaboration tool.


This situation was kind of ironic for two reasons. First, you have a reporter who is covering multimedia collaboration, but doesn't actually want to collaborate beyond using the phone because it's just too hard to jump between the presentation and the Word file to take notes. Second, you have a company talking about how its collaboration tool is personalized, so users can customize it based on their own personal needs, but it is uncomfortable expressing its message without employing live conferencing capabilities.


Maybe I should just stop taking notes and record these meetings so I don't have to worry about moving between applications and doing a lot of typing. Or maybe new collaboration tools and unified communications will make it easier for me in the future to take details notes while still being able to experience a real-time multimedia presentation.


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More on the ShoreTel, Agito Deal

October 22, 2010 12:21 PM | 0 Comments

A girl can't even take some time off these days without missing news of an acquisition. While I was enjoying some R&R yesterday in the dentist's chair, ShoreTel revealed its plans to buy Agito.


For $11.4 million ShoreTel gets an enterprise mobility platform that will enable users to communicate on any device at any location and using any network.


Bringing mobility into the fold is important for companies like ShoreTel given smartphones, laptops and, increasingly, tablets are becoming the key tools employed by business users. With the Agito acquisition in its pocket, ShoreTel will be able to provide PBX functionality on a variety of popular wireless endpoints including the BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, and Nokia and Windows Mobile smartphones.


As discussed in the October issue of Unified Communications Magazine, which should post on TMCnet by the end of this month, Synergy Research's latest data reported in the quarter shows ShoreTel grew market share once again in the June quarter to 8.2 percent in the U.S. pure IP market and 5.6 percent of the U.S. IP telephony market. ShoreTel sold approximately 96,000 end user licenses in the quarter, with more than 800 new customers added in that period.


The company is making gains both in the U.S. and abroad by going up market, and winning more and larger contracts.


ShoreTel started out selling to small businesses, but now also has medium and large enterprise users. The target is opportunities involving between 20 and 10,000 users. It recently sold it first contact center in EMEA in excess of 1,000 lines.


International now represents 10 percent of ShoreTel's business, and that's growing. The company has seen the best success in Australia and Europe. As part of its most recently reported quarterly financials ShoreTel revealed it had record high international revenues of $5 million - about 12 percent of four quarter total revenues. That represents a 130 percent year-over-year increase.


ShoreTel wins and retains customers by delivering what Gavin says are simple and straightforward solutions to their unified communications problems.


"The whole notion of brilliant simplicity is what we focus on," he says.

While the move to 4G networks would at first glance seem to indicate wireless service providers should have adequate capacity to meet mobile bandwidth demands for years to come, sources at the CTIA show earlier this month in San Francisco told me that those networks will be flooded quickly by mounting usage and bandwidth-hungry applications like video.


Dave Gibbons, Opanga CEO, was among the sources who told me this. Opanga at CTIA was demonstrating its video delivery optimization solution, which prepositions content on end devices. That way, service providers will be able to offer customers the content of their choice for something like $1 a month, and preposition that content on devices so networks don't get overloaded, he said.


"We just think that has to happen," he said, adding that it is now in trials with service providers in the Americas.


Another company, Eden Rock Communications, sells a real-time coordinated multimode resource optimization solution called Eden-NETT. It's a controller that talks to thousands of base stations to get information about what's happening on each channel, Chaz Immendorf, president and CEO, told me. He said that allows the company's solution to deliver to wireless service providers a map of how best to allocate radiofrequency at any time. This solution can provide capacity improvements on the order of 40 percent for LTE networks, he added.

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I just got back from California and am again writing from the comfort of my own home. But I must say I had a fabulous time this week at ITEXPO, and I hope all of you who were there had a great experience too.


It was fun to see many of the folks with whom I've had existing relationships, and a pleasure to meet many new sources. And it's always nice to meet sources face to face to learn about exciting new products and services, and to get an extra dose of positive energy.


ITEXPO, and all the collocated events with it, provided a significant breadth of interests and topics. But the key themes that I saw based on my interviews and the sessions I covered were cloud computing, LTE, multi-channel customer care, multimedia phones, policy-based networking, social networking for business, unified communications and collaboration, video solutions, wireless backhaul. Another consistent theme was just the proliferation of connected devices (which often ties into the category of M2M) and what they mean for networks and our culture.


One of the events at ITEXPO that really energized me, and seemed to do the same for the audience, was the standing room-only StartUp Camp 2, in which five startups presented their business plans to a group of panelists and the audience.


The exhibit floor also had a lot of good energy, and got off to a great start Tuesday night as a flurry of attendees filled the aisles and booths.


While I certainly enjoyed ITEXPO, and all of the folks I met with there said they did too, there was one individual who didn't have such a great time this week - my dog, Rosie. That's because my sweet little border collie has become accustomed to having me at home.


But this week she had to spend some time in her crate. She willingly goes into the crate and doesn't seem to mind it much, but after the fifth day she'd apparently had enough. Rosie tried to escape.


She did pretty well too, having managed to pry several of the metal bars of the crate open. Rosie is ok, but it got me thinking that perhaps Rosie and other pups like her might benefit from an application that would allow pet owners to remotely monitor and let out their pets.


I just thought I'd throw that out there for our readers who are developers. If you like the idea, you have my permission to take it. Just remember to send me and Rosie the solution when it's ready for beta.


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A Delicate Balance

September 29, 2010 2:26 PM | 0 Comments

Today's public networks are at an inflection point.


VoIP, video, broadband, and mobile services and capabilities are creating great new functionality for business users and consumers. That can translate into new opportunities for incumbent network operators, competitive carriers and over-the-top application providers to introduce new offerings, capture new customers and, potentially, grow ARPU.


A recent Harris Interactive online study suggests that new entrants like Facetime now have the opportunity to dominate the market. About 56 percent of adults are looking to switch the way they make international calls and 43 percent of those individuals indicate they would switch to using their mobile phone to make those calls, according to the U.S. survey, conducted between Sept. 1 and 3, which included 2,258 adults. Of the adults who said they would switch to their mobile phone, 19 percent suggested they would switch to using special long-distance packages, 16 percent would switch to using their mobile phone using regular carrier calling rates; and 11 percent talked about their interest in using a VoIP service or application.


"The message seems clear, consumers want to change their existing provider and change to calling from a mobile hand set," says Andreas Bernstrom, CEO of Rebtel, which sponsored the report.


 And that indicates there's significant opportunity for new service providers of both voice and video services to capture a majority of the U.S. consumer market, he says.


Of course new technologies and networks don't always translate into more money and new growth - at least not for everybody. And they can create a lot of uncertainty for all players in the market as those players, and regulators and legislators, decide on the different models for network engineering, pricing and setting other requirements for new networks and services.


As many of the readers of the publication keenly understand, it can be a huge challenge for newcomers to come up with innovative approaches; find the funding that will enable them to bring them to market and sustain them until they are self sustaining; get the necessary legal, technical, marketing and distribution requirements in place; and then capture and keep enough of the customers that will allow them generate enough margin to enable their businesses grow and become profitable.


Meanwhile, for incumbent service providers - which typically have more assets and have had the experience of addressing new technologies and changing business models over the years - the industry's move to IP-based communications and the open application creation model that has recently emerged are viewed both as an opportunity and a threat.


These companies have existing network assets and customers they are paying for, deriving revenues from, and fighting to protect. At the same time, network owners need figure out how to contend with all this new bandwidth-loving traffic, which is putting an ever-greater load on public networks. That is pushing those that own these networks to invest in new infrastructure so they can bump up their capacity, and better manage bandwidth and real-time application considerations like latency and jitter. The question is, what kind of solutions will help these companies move forward to support more, and more high-margin, services and not set them up for losses, as bandwidth pricing trends are not tracking at the same rate as are bandwidth demands - far from it, in fact.


Another major question for all involved is to what kind of control network owners will be able to have over their own networks, and how it will impact them and their competitors.


At the same time, there's a big question mark as to how remote and rural customers services will be supported over time given the federal government's national broadband initiatives and the fact that IP-to-IP federations are moving traffic - and dollars - away from the public switched telephone network.


Pointing to Sprint's recent PIN announcement as just one example of services that are enabling VoIP providers to bypass the PSTN, Tom Skidmore, regional sales director of of BillSoft Inc., recently noted that while this may be a positive development for the VoIP space, it only complicates things for Washington regulators who have long been trying to figure out how to contend with the Universal Service Fund's "death spiral".


That said, while there's a great amount of new opportunity out there for companies in the IP communications space, there are also many challenges for both IP service providers, and those that are working with them and other interested parties to create the physical and legal infrastructure to support all of this.


It's a delicate balance.

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Being Fair to Flare

September 17, 2010 4:35 PM | 0 Comments

The blog I posted earlier today (around 5 a.m. my time, I believe) talked about the new Avaya Flare interface as well as the Avaya tablet on which it runs.


I mentioned in the blog that an anonymous reader had e-mailed me some comments about the product and indicated that when you figure in $2,000 for tablet and $1,750 for the Flare application, the total solution cost $3,750. However, as I also noted, TMC's Rich Tehrani today reported the tablet's street price is $1,500 to $2,000.


This post you're reading is just to set the record straight, in case anybody is confused about the pricing. Deborah Kline, Avaya's senior manager of public relations, this afternoon confirmed to me that the street price will be around $2,000 for both the Avaya Flare Experience and Desktop Video Device.


"Until we make the software available as a standalone product, there is no individual, software vs hardware pricing," Kline e-mailed me. "So you are correct in citing what Rich said - $2000 street for both."


Get it? Got it? Good.

I reported yesterday about the new Avaya tablet solution for business. Since my story hit the TMCnet website - alongside on-the-scene coverage from TMC's Rich Tehrani, who attended the product's official unveiling (I must say, I find it amazing how he is everywhere at once when it comes to being where communications news is being made) - a reader comment and a marketing-related thought of my own have come to light. So I'd like to share.


My posting "Avaya Aims to Bring Workplace Video to The Tipping Point" from yesterday starts out by mentioning a comment that Lawrence Byrd, director of unified communications architecture at Avaya, made to me about how leveraging video for work applications is far from widespread because the barriers of entry for making video work easily as needed - and where desired - are still a bit high for many organizations and employees to overcome. The article then goes on to say how Avaya has launched various products, including the 1000 series of video devices, and a tablet with Avaya's new Flare interface (although at the time that I talked to Avaya about it they didn't mention the Flare branding), aimed at end user ease of use.


Yesterday I received an e-mail from a reader who declined to provide his/her contact information. In the communications this individual says that the 1000 series devices are rebranded LifeSize equipment and that "while the tablet supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, it does not support cellular networks. That will come from adding a dongle (a bit of an anachronism) to one of the USB ports. Not very elegant."


The reader goes on to say that while Avaya talks about how video adoption has suffered from high costs and complexity, he questions whether "a $3,750 device and software application ($2,000 for tablet and $1,750 for Flare application) breaks the cost barrier," particularly if it's not replacing a PC.


I should mention that in my conversation last week with Byrd he said over time Avaya expects third-party devices to emerge to support the experience now delivered by the tablet, and that he added that 4G cellular networks will increase bandwidth to better support rich media applications like mobile video.


Also, while Byrd would not disclose to me the price of the Avaya tablet, he said it will cost more than a tablet and less than a typical personal video desktop product. However, Rich Tehrani's more recent reporting on the Avaya A175 tablet (with two speakers, two microphones and a video camera) notes that its street price is $1,500 to $2,000.


Just one last note on the Avaya solution - particularly, relating to the name. Given Apple's iPad - whose name was greeted with groans by some media and customers - went on to huge success, it's obvious to ask the question: What's in a name? On the other hand, I'm not sure Avaya is doing itself any favors by calling its new tablet interface Flare.


For me, anyway, the word Flare brings to mind three things:


One is a flame. And that makes me, as journalist, think about how editors (at other media outlets, of course) term some products flameouts. Let's give this new tablet and interface a chance before assigning it this connotation.


Two is a car accident. You know, how the police use road flares so other motorists are alerted that they need to drive around the obstruction?


And three is the movie Office Space. This cult classic, about a bunch of office drones, has the main character dating a waitress played by Jennifer Aniston. She works at a restaurant that's strangely similar to TGI Friday's. And the main concern of her manager seems to be the fact that she doesn't wear enough silly buttons and other decorations on her uniform - what the restaurant refers to as flare.


Not good. But then again, the images brought to mind for some with the name iPad weren't the greatest either and look what happened with that.




Expand. Contract. Expand.


That's been the pattern over the past few years for Tekelec, which today announced plans to acquire policy control company Camiant for $130 million and divulged it closed its acquisition yesterday of subscriber data management Blueslice Networks for more than $35 million.


News of these acquisitions comes three years after Tekelec sold off its money-losing Switching Solutions Group, which primarily sold softswitches, applications and gateways. Tekelec sold the business, made up of its previous Santera Systems LLC and Taqua Inc. acquisitions, to GENBAND (which subsequently spun off Taqua).


The news that Tekelec is now buying Camiant, however, doesn't come as a huge surprise, given policy control has become a hot area of late. As more subscribers and more applications get online, network operators need to better monitor and control their experiences to ensure these users and services are getting the network resources they have paid for, and have the ability to act if some users are taking more than they deserve. While the idea of service providers using such tools for fair use, it raises red flags for some network neutrality advocates. Still, I think it's pretty well understood that some level of policy management and control is not only justifiable but is in fact becoming a requirement.


"The mobile market has really come out of nowhere in the last 12 to 18 months in having to start managing the traffic on their networks," Jonathon Gordon, director of marketing at Allot Communications, which sells deep packet inspection gear that is used in policy-related applications, told me for a January INTERNET TELEPHONY article I did called "Policy Management Keeps on Truckin".


Indeed, as Tekelec points out in its release today, mobile data traffic is expected to grow at almost five times the pace of mobile data revenue from 2009 to 2013.


"The prospect that network growth could consume revenue faster than operators can generate it marks a new phase in the industry's maturation," Randy Fuller, vice president of business development at Camiant, said last year.  "... there are definite opportunities for mobile operators to use rate plan structures to help solve this problem and that users are receptive to creative alternatives." 


Camiant, a well-known name in the policy space, has 30 fixed and mobile broadband customers worldwide, including Comcast and Cox Communications, Sprint, Verizon and Vodafone, Sprint.


As for Blueslice Networks, which Tekelec acquired yesterday, I have to be honest, I don't recall having ever heard of them. But Tekelec informs us that Blueslice's evolved Subscriber Data Management solutions are in use 19 customers worldwide and address mobile (2G, 3G, IMS and LTE), VoIP, FMC and M2M applications.


Anyway, this deal also ties into a strategy to help service providers more effectively manage their networks to optimize bandwidth and support new services to help them keep and add customers, grow revenues, and justify further network investment.

And Then There Were Two

April 22, 2010 5:35 PM | 0 Comments

In my day there were seven RBOCs. That's right, seven.


That was not so many that you couldn't keep track of them, but just enough that you could make a game out of remembering them. OK, close your eyes and give it a shot.


In case your memory failed you, here's the list:


Bell Atlantic



Pacific Telesis

Southwestern Bell (SBC)


U S West


As I recall, Ameritech was the nice, conservative, Midwestern one. Bell Atlantic and NYNEX were the East Coasters, who were willing to try new things, like attempting to merge with big cablecos and/or staging interactive TV trials. BellSouth was the golden boy, known for its great customer service. Pacific Telesis, like so many of those West Coast types, was comfortable taking the plunge into new things. SBC would rarely return my calls and, when it did, would never tell me anything. And U S West was so spread out over such a weird area that it was often hard to figure out what they were all about, or to care, with all the other Bell action going on.


Of course, Pacific Telesis and Ameritech eventually got swallowed up by SBC, which a few years later made a game-changing move by acquiring AT&T. After expending a reasonable amount of effort to push the SBC name, the company decided instead to keep the widely known and valued AT&T brand, and the name stuck. The new AT&T then went on to buy BellSouth, which many had flirted with up to that point.


Meanwhile, Bell Atlantic bought NYNEX and GTE and then changed its name to Verizon. To match SBC's AT&T move, Verizon also brought MCI into the fold.


And newcomer Qwest merged with U S WEST.


Despite this last merger, however, folks have pretty much been wondering about Qwest ever since.


Although the deal made it larger, the company remained a bit of an odd bird considering its significant financial challenges early on, its size compared to the other remodeled Bells, its far-flung and partially rural footprint, and its lack of both a cellular network and significant telco TV initiative. That said, we've all quietly wondered, what will become of this one?


Today we got our answer, sort of, when CenturyLink announced plans to take the hand of Qwest in a stock deal worth $10.6 billion. The companies' believe the deal, which is expected to close early next year, will generate annual operating and capital synergies of approximately $625 million over a three- to five-year period.


Qwest is the nation's third-largest telephone company. CenturyLink is No. 5. As of Dec. 31, 2009, CenturyLink and Qwest served local markets in 37 states with approximately 5 million broadband customers, 17 million access lines, 1,415,000 video subscribers and 850,000 wireless consumers.


"We believe the combination of CenturyLink's and Qwest's employees, assets and service areas will provide us greater scale, scope and expertise and will provide significant benefits for shareholders, customers and our communities," says CenturyLink President and CEO Glen F. Post III, who will remain at the helm of the company following the close of the Qwest deal. "This combination will enhance our ability to deploy innovative IP products and high-bandwidth services to business customers, expand broadband availability and speed to consumers, and offer superior, differentiated video products.


"The combined company's highly recognized national network will significantly expand our ability to deliver strategic and customized product and service solutions to our business, wholesale and government customers throughout the country. In addition, we will still maintain the focus on our local markets through our effective regional operating model and targeted marketing strategies. We believe shareholders will benefit through their investment in a company that has greater financial resources and flexibility, including a more diversified revenue base and an enhanced competitive position."


As TMCnet contributor Gary Kim notes, the merger creates a new independent telco of very-large scale, with 2009 revenues of nearly $20 billion.


"In some ways, the merger also recreates a Sprint-style company with both local telephone assets and a major long-distance network," writes Kim. "Likewise, the merger puts the new CenturyLink into a new market space as a provider of services directly to enterprise and trans-national customers for the first time."


However, some pundits view the deal as a way for CenturyLink to better respond to the cableco threat on the landline voice services side, although that is becoming an area of less and less focus for the telcos due to the long-standing trend of wireline replacement.


While the specific strategy behind this combination is not necessarily clear, perhaps the story is not over. As Kim points out, CenturyLink remains in a good position to make addition purchases.


What ever happened to that nice little company called Sprint?

The End of Frivolity

April 15, 2010 12:56 PM | 0 Comments
As the recession hit and many folks had a lot less money to spend, I started to notice multiple media outlets reminding us that it was a time to get back to the basics. Advertisers, magazines and newspapers, meanwhile, began pushing the message that, while it's important to stay within your budget, it also makes sense to invest in quality products that offer value and longevity.
This got me thinking about how the high-tech industry has changed over the course of my career.
During the boom times, most people in the industry are so focused on what is new and exciting - and on defining the next killer app -- that it is often hard for the companies that have proven technology, and a focus on meeting customer needs, to get a word in edgewise.
But the tough economy, while it has been hard on everybody, also has been an opportunity to separate the wheat from the chaff in many industries, and high-tech is no exception. Clearly, the companies that deliver cost-competitive, reliable and lasting solutions to their customers are the ones that will survive - and maybe even thrive - during both good and rough times.
When I'm trying to define an angle for any story, I still always ask what's new and exciting in the chosen area of coverage. It's fun to learn about what's new and what's next. And I think readers in the industry want to hear about the latest advancements and experiments in the industry, whether those relate to technology, standards, support systems and personnel, marketing, pricing, or whatever.
At the same time, the fact that what counts to customers is getting solid products at competitive prices and the ongoing support and services they need to keep them working is not lost on me, and it's certainly not lost on customers.
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