Mobilicity starts restructuring process

Canadian cellco Mobilicity (the trading name of Data & Audio-Visual Enterprises Holdings) released a statement on 26 April 2013 announcing that it will ask its debt holders to approve a restructuring plan that involves a recapitalisation of the company and a potential sale. Mobilicity obtained two orders of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List) authorising it to hold meetings on 21 May 2013 at which two arrangements will be voted on by security holders pursuant to the Canada Business Corporations Act. The relevant stakeholders entitled to vote at the meetings will be asked to approve both a recapitalisation plan and a sale plan. The two proposals are mutually exclusive, though the statement continued that: ‘both plans are being pursued in parallel so that one of the two plans can be implemented on an expedited timeline… If both plans are approved and the sale plan cannot be completed on the terms contemplated, then the recapitalisation plan would be engaged.’

The sale plan provides a structure for an as yet to be determined purchaser to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Mobilicity. The purchase price received would be applied to repay all of the outstanding first and second lien debt of Mobilicity, with the remainder being used to repay outstanding unsecured debt securities issued by Mobilicity.

Under the proposed recapitalisation plan, the share capital of Data & Audio-Visual Enterprises Holdings would be reorganised, certain existing second lien notes would be repaid and Mobilicity would receive additional liquidity to enable it to continue as a going concern, continuing to service its existing subscribers and dealers in its coverage areas.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the company is currently owned by Obelysk (16.1% equity, 62.6% voting share), which is the diversified investment arm of Toronto entrepreneur John Bitove, and Quadrangle Capital Partners of New York (75.9% equity, 22.4% voting share), which is a global investor in the telecoms and media sectors.

One party with a vested interest, Catalyst Capital Group, released a statement on the same day as Mobilicity’s communication, saying that it ‘is encouraged to see that today’s court orders maintain the [debt holding] parties’ substantive rights. However, Catalyst is concerned that it is hard to see how the proposed plans would provide the capital required for Mobilicity to grow its business, acquire spectrum or provide viable, sustainable services to Canadian consumers… Catalyst is very concerned that neither the new financing nor the proposed plans will benefit creditors or result in a successful sale of Mobilicity, which, according to Mobilicity’s court papers, has apparently been attempted for many months… Catalyst wishes to see Mobilicity restructured in a way that fully respects its existing stakeholder rights and interests and that leads to a successful and viable major mobile player in Canada. Catalyst intends to take an active role in the restructuring with a view to achieving that result.’

Thanks to TeleGeography for this Article

Rogers posts record quarterly results

Rogers Communications has posted revenue of CAD3.03 billion (USD2.95 billion) for the first quarter of 2013, up 3% year-on-year as sales growth in each of its wireless, cable and business divisions offset a decline in media revenue. Adjusted net income for the period grew 15% year-on-year to CAD414 million. Rogers added 32,000 post-paid wireless subscribers during the quarter, below the 47,000 added during the first quarter of 2012, amid increased competition from established rivals Bell and Telus, as well as from newcomers Wind Mobile, Mobilicity and Public Mobile. However, the company’s wireless division activated and upgraded approximately 673,000 smartphones overall, compared to 642,000 in the corresponding period last year. This growing take-up of smartphones helped produce a 3.5% year-on-year increase in monthly blended ARPU to CAD59.68, some 45.3% of which is now derived from data services (up from 38.9% in the first quarter of 2012).

‘The record first quarter levels of both revenue and adjusted operating profit which Rogers reported represents a solid start to 2013,’ said Nadir Mohamed, president and CEO of Rogers Communications. ‘The positive operating trends which we achieved during 2012 are carrying into the new year as evidenced by the continued improvements in ARPU, data and internet revenue, churn and margin profiles which we reported for the first quarter of 2013.’

Thanks to TeleGeography for this article

Shenick Introduces New Simplified GUI for IP testing

Shenick New GUI for IP TestingShenick New Simplified GUI Overview

With software release 10.0, Shenick has introduced a simplified graphical interface which requires minimal training and therefore greatly reduces the time required to build and execute tests. The original GUI is still available in its entirety and users can easily toggle back and forth between the simplified GUI and the original GUI.

The simplified GUI comes pre-configured with key test types such as:

  • TCP connection rate test
  • Throughput test
  • Internet Mix test

Click the play button on the graphic below to view a short video (3 minutes) introducing Shenick’s Simplified GUI.

Shenick Network Load testing - Simplified GUI

SaskTel expands LTE network

Saskatchewan telco SaskTel has announced that it has completed another 22 different 4G wireless network infrastructure enhancement projects across the province in March. The company says it is using a variety of infrastructure options to enhance its wireless service based on usage patterns and demands. In addition to traditional towers, SaskTel says it is also installing carrier antennae to increase coverage strength inside buildings. The communities to have received 4G network enhancements in March were: Regina, Saskatoon, Warman, Christopher Lake, Cowessess First Nation, Dalmeny, Chaplin, Herbert, Kelliher, Cudworth, Osler, Bruno, Shaunavon, Kyle, Estevan, Nekaneet, Mosquito First Nation and Goodwater.

Thanks to TeleGeography for this article

What CIOs need to know when integrating SDN into their monitoring strategy

Net Optics Bob Shaw recently did this interview with Rake Narang of Network Product Guide, very interesting comments on how the Network Security Space will change in the next 2 to 5 years

Net Optics specializes in designing visibility into networks to address challenges related to virtualization, compliance and security. The company is the leading provider of Total Application and Network Visibility solutions that deliver real-time network intelligence for peak performance in network monitoring and security. As a result, businesses achieve the scalable end-to-end visibility they need to optimize network performance of physical, virtual and private cloud environments, and remote branch offices. Net Optics is located in the heart of Silicon Valley and serves over 7,500 global enterprises, including 85 of the Fortune 100.

Rake Narang: Where are the main vulnerabilities in our internet?

Bob Shaw: Every 20 minutes, 10,000 customer records are stolen from networks around the world. What is more shocking is that 9,500 of these will go unnoticed by the organizations losing them. Network visibility is becoming increasingly challenging and our internet vulnerabilities are increasing exponentially on a number of fronts.

We are putting more strain on our networks – asking networks to do more, and faster than ever. Server virtualization is causing a loss of visibility into the interactions of traffic flow between guest Virtual Machines (VMs) on a common virtualized host. We are seeing an increase in application related vulnerabilities as well. Targeted attacks are on the rise, with organized DDOS attempts and an increase in hacking attacks. These attacks are being performed by professionals striving to achieve professional goals, not by a ragtag bunch of amateurs playing around. The attacks today are intended to cause damage, not simply embarrassment or defacement.

The rise of BYOD introduces its own set of challenges. With traffic proliferating, it’s increasingly difficult to track the people and devices accessing applications. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are a fertile breeding ground for infectious malware and social engineering scams. Android and Apple iOS platforms are also attractive targets for opportunistic hacker infections. Nevertheless, the buck stops at IT for controlling access and monitoring user and network behavior.

Rake Narang: How do you see the network security space shifting in the next 2-5 years?

Bob Shaw: We are moving toward a future involving bigger pipes, higher speeds, and increasing users. This means we must find new ways to architect our networks to anticipate demands and curb threats. The future requires protection of and visibility into every intersection of the network.

Net Optics believes the future of network monitoring and security requires an integrated approach, wherein NPB, AA-NPM, SDN, and APM solutions work in sync to provide total visibility for data centers, private clouds and virtual networks. Point solutions no longer suffice. That’s why we’ve expanded our range of solutions and continue to innovate integrated approaches such as the first NPB to integrate SDN and the first 40G bypass capable of bridging the gap for 10G migration.

We’ll see a rise of a host of new performance and security scalability challenges due to 40 and 100 Gigabit network deployments. It’s getting harder for legacy solutions to keep up as network data continues to speed up. We’ll see new higher-performance networking tools displace legacy solutions.

Keeping pace with the needs of compliance, security, and service level agreements will continue getting more difficult for organizations as the network expands, accelerates, and continuously changes in response to the growing demands of users. CIOs need to think beyond individual products and solutions that will become outdated as soon as they are implemented. We need architectures that are elastic so they can be molded to tomorrow’s needs with minimal disruption.

Rake Narang: What is Net Optics’ key technology and how do businesses benefit from it?

Bob Shaw: Net Optics is the leading provider of Total Application and Network Visibility solutions. Our solutions deliver real-time network intelligence to help businesses achieve scalable end-to-end visibility so they can optimize network performance, monitoring and security. We help them gain total visibility of their physical, virtual and private cloud environments and remote branch offices.

Since launching in 1996 and introducing the network Tap to market, we have maintained a leading position, co-founding the Network Packet Broker (NPB) space and expanding into Application Aware Network Performance Monitoring (AA-NPM), as well as virtual/cloud and Visibility Management System (VMS) solutions. More than 7,500 enterprises worldwide rely on Net Optics to achieve total visibility of their networks.

Rake Narang: How does SDN play into network security and what do CIOs need to know when integrating SDN into their monitoring strategy?

Bob Shaw: The great thing about SDN is that it allows you to mix and match solutions for a variety of vendors to suit your particular needs. It gives you a number of choices that wouldn’t otherwise be available. While SDN increases openness, a potential pitfall is to lock oneself into specific platforms, therefore losing some or many SDN capabilities. So it’s really important to maintain your freedom of choice.

CIOs need to be careful of getting locked into specific products. “Openness” can be a vague term and some vendors may be using the term to describe the availability of proprietary APIs that can only (or mostly) support products from those specific vendors. It’s essential to find out whether the openness discussed would actually lock you down.

A big advantage of SDN from a security perspective is the ability to control, block and reroute traffic on demand at various junctions of the network without having to be deployed into each of these junctions. That control is achieved by leveraging open APIs to provide directions to switches, routers and NPB devices that are deployed at those various junctions.

Network Packet Brokers (NPB) are the devices which hand off monitored traffic to tools and devices that consume packet data (eg. APM, NPM). NPBs add a layer of flexibility that natively supports dynamic routing and control decisions. In SDN enabled networks, monitoring tools should be able to consume traffic from different sources. Instead of deploying more monitoring tools in additional locations, customers are using NPB to forward traffic of interest to the tools. To make the NPB more efficient, an open protocol is needed. We recommend considering deployments that use both dynamic and static switching as well as hybrid implementations of Openflow and Netconf.

Rogers buys BlackIron Data for CAD200m

Rogers Communications has purchased BlackIron Data from Primus Telecommunications Group for a cash consideration of CAD200 million (USD195 million), subject to certain adjustments. BlackIron Data is a provider of data centre and cloud computing services in Canada with approximately 4,000 customers, and Rogers announced that the acquisition enables its Rogers Business Solutions division to enhance its suite of enterprise-level data centre and cloud computing services along with fibre-based network connectivity. In 2012 BlackIron Data reported revenue of USD33.7 million and EBITDA of USD13.0 million, and has 132 employees. BlackIron has eight data centre facilities in five major cities across Canada: Toronto, Ottawa, London, Edmonton and Vancouver, located within 200km of 80% of all Canadian businesses, supporting the rapidly growing need for hosted and cloud-based applications. In addition, the business recently opened a Tier III design and construction certified data centre in Markham, Ontario providing the capacity to expand current operations by more than 45%. Rogers’ press release continued: ‘The cloud continues to enable businesses to innovate and evolve in a dynamic market. This acquisition presents Rogers with a significant growth opportunity in the business-to-business market that aligns with our overall enterprise strategy.’

Thanks to TeleGeography for this Article

Net Optics Pioneers Migration to 40G and Streamlines SDN Integration with New Solutions

Net Optics iBypass SwitchThe Net Optics 40G iBypass Switch is the first high-density low latency solution on the market to offer high performance 40G bypass capabilities that can be used to bridge the 10G migration gap. The 40G iBypass provides seamless failover during link, application, or power loss events with zero packet loss, by using a feature such as microsecond heartbeats to provide real time protection. Additionally, the 40G iBypass switch comes with advanced management capabilities utilizing a secure Web UI, secure shell (SSH), SNMP, and SNMP traps for monitoring events.

Read More Here

Industry minister indicates opposition to Rogers-Shaw spectrum deal

The minister of Industry Canada, responsible for telecoms policy decisions, indicated to reporters yesterday that he is against a deal under which nationwide mobile operator Rogers Communications gained an option to buy cableco Shaw Communications’ 2100MHz AWS frequency licences in 2014 when they become valid for sale having been awarded in a 2008 auction to encourage new wireless entrants. Quoted by Reuters news agency, Industry Minister Christian Paradis responded to questions about Shaw’s spectrum trading plan by saying: ‘The intent of the [2008 AWS spectrum auction] policy was not to have this set-aside spectrum to end [up] in the hands of incumbents.’ The comment comes amid a public consultation, launched last month, aimed at forming new rules for spectrum licence transfers, with a focus on deciding whether such sales could degrade the competitiveness of the market. Meanwhile, consumer and advocacy groups have lobbied the industry minister to block the sale of AWS spectrum to Rogers; Industry Canada has the final say on licence awards and transfers, and can overrule the sector regulator, the CRTC.

Thanks to TeleGeography for this Article

Net Optics – Network Packet Broker 2.5

Reduce Security Threats in Converged Environments with xFilter™ Network Packet Broker Version 2.5

Version 2.5 enables high-density, high-throughput network monitoring in areas using advanced tunneling protocols. xFilter’s capabilities include:

  • MPLS and PPPoE stripping
  • Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN) decapsulation
  • Cisco FabricPath and ER-SPAN decapsulation
  • LTE / GTP de-capsulation
  • Layer 2 and Layer 3 Filtering and policy-based forwarding
  • GRE encapsulation of traffic of interest point to point

Read More Here

Cogeco Cable revenues rise 35% and revenue increase by 36%

Canada’s Cogeco Cable has reported its results for the second quarter and first six months of its fiscal year 2013, which include three months operating results of its recent acquisition, US cableco Atlantic Broadband, and one month of results for internet infrastructure provider Peer 1 Network Enterprises. Group revenue increased by 35.2% year-on-year to reach CAD429.7 million in the three months to the end of February 2013, and by 19.7% to reach CAD757.6 million in the six-month period. Operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) increased by 36.2% in fiscal Q2 to CAD195.8 million and by 24.4% to CAD342.9 million in the first half.

On 31 January 2013 Cogeco Cable completed the acquisition of 96.57% of the issued and outstanding shares of Peer 1 by way of a takeover bid valued at approximately CAD649 million. On 3 April 2013 Cogeco completed the acquisition of the remaining 3.43% of the issued and outstanding shares of Peer 1 for a cash consideration of CAD17 million pursuant to compulsory acquisition provisions.

Thanks to TeleGeography for this article