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FirstNews - August 07, 2008

Thu, 08/07/2008 - 7:47am

DT’s Net Profits Slump

By Rhonda Wickham

Deutsche Telekom AG reported that its Q2 net profit fell 35% due to economic and business effects such as 1-time charges, a stronger euro and higher interest payments.

The operator posted net profits for the period ended June 30 of $607.2 million, down from $929.7 million a year earlier, when the company booked a gain from the sale of T-Online France.

Deutsche Telekom, parent company of T-Mobile USA, saw revenue fall 2.9%, due to the strong euro against the dollar and pound.

Deutsche Telekom also saw a 7.1% decline in its German fixed-line customers to 29.82 million from 32.09 million. Its retail broadband customers grew 23.5% to 9.9 million. Total mobile customers increased 8.7% to 125 million, with the U.S. customer base rising 12.3% and Europe increasing 7.5%.

 

Qwest Profit Plummets Despite VZ Switch

By Evan Koblentz

Qwest Communications International’s profit fell drastically to $188 million from $246 million a year ago, even as revenue only declined 2% to $3.4 billion.

There was some good news but it’s mostly potential.  “The company remains ahead of plan on its fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) build-out and now reaches more than 1 million potential customers. Qwest Titanium and Quantum broadband services feature connection speeds of up to 12 Mbps and 20 Mbps. In late July, Qwest began selling Verizon Wireless service to new residential and business customers and the migration of existing Qwest-branded customers is expected to commence later this year,” officials said, in a prepared statement.

In voice services, revenue of $1.8 billion represents a 9% drop because of more competition, wireless substitution and economic trends, the company said.  It doesn’t look to improve: “As the result of the migration to the Verizon Wireless agency arrangement and a corresponding change from gross to net revenue accounting, wireless revenue is expected to begin to decline at a rapid pace in the second half. Full year wireless revenue could be down 20%,” the company said.

Qwest previously resold Sprint’s cellular services and switched to Verizon in May.

Qwest has cash and investments worth $910 million but also a massive net deficit of $13.3 billion – yet still plans to pay an $0.08-per-share dividend on Aug. 29.

 

T-Mobile USA Cracks Down on Prepaid Traffickers

By Monica Alleven

T-Mobile USA is making inroads in its efforts to crack down on prepaid phone traffickers who buy phones in bulk and resell them at inflated prices.

The Bellevue, Wash.-based carrier said it obtained two final judgments and permanent injunctions as part of its efforts to combat the problem. One judgment was entered against defendant Rafiq Wazir Ali, individually and doing business as Fone Xchange, in a federal lawsuit filed in Houston. The other judgment was entered against ASPAC, its principals and affiliates, by a federal court in Dallas and awards T-Mobile $6.5 million in damages, in addition to a permanent injunction against the defendants.

In a press release, T-Mobile said it subsidizes its prepaid phones, making them more accessible to consumers who want to become customers. But the traffickers profit by pocketing the subsidies; they typically buy, or ask others to buy, prepaid mobile phones in bulk from retail stores, remove the original packaging, throw away the warranties and manuals, hack into the software and resell the phones to unsuspecting customers.

Because the phones still may carry T-Mobile’s brand, consumers might get the idea that they’re buying handsets manufactured for T-Mobile and covered by original warranties.

T-Mobile said that the if the defendants violate the injunctions, the orders provide a mechanism for enforcement by the courts and, in the case of Fone Xchange, carry a minimum charge of $1 million in damages to be paid to T-Mobile.

T-Mobile has at least six more lawsuits pending in federal courts across the country.

Various industry prepaid players, such as TracFone, also have dealt with the trafficking problem for years.

 

Loopt Adds MetroPCS

By Monica Alleven

Add another carrier to the growing list connecting with Loopt’s friend-connection service. MetroPCS is the latest one to sign on.

Loopt’s goal is to be available on all carriers so users don’t have to worry about which phone or carrier they’re using. So far, it has deals to work with the networks of Boost, Sprint, Nextel, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA (for BlackBerries) and AT&T with the iPhone.

With MetroPCS, Loopt is available on the Motorola RAZR and ROKR and the Samsung U520 and MyShot (R430). On its company blog earlier this week, Loopt said it soon will be supported on many more devices in MetroPCS stores.

Loopt will be free to all MetroPCS subscribers for the first month of use. It is included free of charge in the $50 calling plan and in the $40 and $45 calling plans at $4 per month.

 

Berliner Fires up Green Energy Group

By Rhonda Wickham

Wireless veteran Rich Berliner is taking the FCC’s 8-hour mandate to heart and starting Green Energy Group, a new company designed to provide traditional network power equipment integrated with "environmentally friendly" primary and backup power solutions.

“As our customers work to develop power solutions for their networks to comply with the FCC's mandate, BCI will provide a wide array of power options that meet their backup power needs, including hydrogen fuel cells, micro turbines, solar and wind power solutions,” Berliner said, in a statement. “These new product and service offerings will seamlessly integrate with our existing network installation and technical services business. Moreover, using alternative "green" energy solutions is another way to help respond to the environmental issues that we, as an enterprise, and our customers, are concerned about."

Berliner heads up Berliner Communications, Inc. and its wholly-owned operating subsidiary, BCI Communications. The company is based in Elmwood Park, N.J.

 

Wireless Vendors Put Their Marks on Olympics

By Rhonda Wickham

With the Olympics set to open tomorrow in Beijing, a number of wireless vendors have announced their contributions to the networks and services that will be serving the many participants and spectators.

  • Andrew, a division of CommScope, provided wireless communications to a new high-speed train that is commuting between Beijing and Tianjin in China. Andrew and Siemens jointly designed an advanced wireless communications system for the CRH3 Harmony multiple unit trains, which were developed specifically for the Olympics and have maximum speeds of 350 km/hour. The CRH3 trains began running on the Beijing-Tianjin high-speed railway line Aug. 1.Andrew installed MIR-T in-train repeaters in some compartments, which transmit and receive wireless signals to passenger handheld devices from existing base stations near the railways. Andrew has provided wireless coverage systems for China’s railways before, most recently in the Beijing Metro’s six lines, also in preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
  • Tata Communications is providing its prepaid roaming with its Intelligent CAMEL eXchange (ICX), a service that reduces the time and cost of implementing international prepaid roaming relationships between mobile network operators.
  • Enfora, supplier of wireless networking solutions, provided its mobile tracking platform to increase the transportation efficiency, safety and manageability for visiting dignitaries, volunteers and spectators during the Beijing Olympic Games. Working in conjunction with its partner RCG China, Enfora provided the core communications technology supporting an end-to-end mobile tracking application that enables surveillance and location based services for various leased vehicles, city taxis and the Audi vehicles used during the Games.
  • For enthusiasts who didn’t go to China but want to stay in the loop, go2 Media, a company that provides localized, personalized mobile content, is providing up-to-the-minute coverage via its mobile content site created specifically for the Summer  Games. go2 Olympics will provide access to event results, top stories, key event coverage and previews. The site can be accessed through the go2 Main and Sports mobile channels on any wireless browser.

 

Nortel Arms Russian Comstar with WiMAX

By Rhonda Wickham

Russian service provider Comstar-United TeleSystems has tapped Nortel to help with its mobile WiMAX network in Moscow. With the highest penetration of mobile phone and Internet subscribers of any major Russian city, Comstar will use WiMAX to provide mobile Internet services throughout the city, giving its subscribers broadband access similar to their wireline home services.

The WiMAX solution, which will operate in the 2.5 GHz-2.7 GHz frequency band, includes the Nortel’s WiMAX BTS 5020, mobile WiMAX base station. This equipment will be compliant with WiMAX Forum and RosSvyaz standards.

During the first stage of the WiMAX project, Comstar will deploy more than 160 mobile WiMAX (802.16e) base stations (BTS 5020). The network also will include Nortel's Access Services Network Gateway (ASG) 5100, devices such as USB adapters, indoor and outdoor gateways, BSS and OSS platforms as well as Nortel Global Services for WiMAX such as network design and training.

 

FirstNews Briefs for Aug. 8, 2008

Companies in today's briefs include: Quattro Wireless, Proxim Wireless

• North American ad network Quattro Wireless is expanding its relationship with the NFL by partnering with the New England Patriots. The network will bring football fans up-to-date news and additional features on their mobile devices.

Proxim Wireless has introduced an investment protection plan that extends preferential pricing to all Motorola customers and partners that transition from Motorola’s Symbol, MeshNetworks, Canopy and Orthogon products to Proxim’s WLAN, Wi-Fi mesh, WiMAX and point-to-point solutions. As a result, any customer concerned with the implications of Motorola’s recent reorganization of its Home and Networks Mobility division on the future of their wireless networking investment can transition to Proxim solutions.

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