th-7  CenturyLink Plans to Sell its Data Centers

   November 9, 2015 . By M8Trix Communications

CenturyLink, the telecommunications company that has an extensive data center services business, no longer wishes to own its substantial data center fleet.

CenturyLink has hired financial advisors to assist the company as it looks into different options to ownership of its nearly 60 data centers in the US, Europe, and Asia, equalling over 180 MW of power and 2.6 million square feet of data center space. CenturyLink doesn’t own all of those facilities, renting a great deal of its footprint from data center providers.

The company intends to to continue offering colocation and additional data center services. Possible alternatives to owning the large portfolio are joint ventures or sale of some or all of its facilities. The leadership is under pressure to reduce costs, and escaping data center ownership is one way to do it. It’s not critical to own data centers in order to offer the entire range of data center services.

To be clear, CenturyLink rents most of the data center facilities in its portfolio from wholesale data center providers; so the question is likely more related to infrastructure inside the facilities, such as power and cooling equipment or cabinets and racks.

Company spokesman, Justin Lopinot said, “We are exploring a range of strategic opportunities that may be available for all of the data centers we operate, not just those owned by CenturyLink, This includes assets that support our colocation business, whether we own the underlying land and physical structures or just the infrastructure inside the buildings.”

CenturyLink acquired most of its data center portfolio when it bought Savvis, data center service provider, in 2011 for $2.5 billion. The company has been actually growing its data center capacity until recently. In fact, earlier this year it revealed that it had finished data center expansion in six new markets, adding a total of 10.8 MW of power capacity to meet increasing demand.

However, CenturyLink’s colocation service has not been performing well. Colo revenue is not increasing, and the telecommunications giant wants to avoid investing further capital in the segment.

CEO Glen Post said in a statement that he was confident in the company’s business strategy on hosting, network and managed services. “We expect colocation services to remain part of our service offerings”, he said, “but we do not believe ownership of the physical data center assets is necessary to effectively deliver those services. Therefore, we are exploring all of the strategic alternatives available for our data centers.”

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AT&T tests NumberSync technology on iOS gadgets, including iPhones

November 9, 2015 . By M8Trix Communications

A&T Mobility customers will soon be able to take a call on their Apple Watch even if their iPhone is not nearby. The carrier is testing its “NumberSync” technology in the most up-to-date beta version of iOS. The technology allows customers to share their main phone number with additional connected devices even if their phone is not connected to a cellular network.

The update to software and its connection to NumberSync was first spotted by 9to5 Mac. Last week, Apple launched the second beta version of iOS 9.2 to users running the iOS public beta. According to 9to5 Mac, the new beta is available from the Software Update section of the Settings app on iOS devices running the existing public beta build.

To gain access to NumberSync, users running iOS 9.2 beta can open the Setting app, select Phone, then Wi-Fi calling, and next click on the option to “Add Wi-Fi Calling For Other Devices.” After customers agree to the terms and conditions, Wi-Fi Calling will be enabled for other devices linked to the user’s iCloud account.

NumberSync functions in AT&T’s network using IMS technology and call and text message resolution. A customer’s main phone doesn’t need to be powered on or connected to the network in order to work. If customers miss a call, they can manage voicemails from one inbox. The goal is to release customers from their smartphones by having the same number connected to several devices, and the first compatible NumberSync devices will be available later this month, with more devices announced ahead of the holidays.

AT&T announced recently that customers can order the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE and Samsung Gear S2, which are the initial two smart watches that are scheduled to support NumberSync. The technology will be available at no additional cost initially on the Samsung Gear S2, and the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition in early 2016.

Sprint said its iPhone customers will get access to enhanced Wi-Fi calling features that will allow them to make and receive calls from numerous Apple devices with one number. Sprint’s iPhone customers can take calls to their iPhone on an iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, and their Mac because of the iOS 9.1 software update. T-Mobile US have said they also plan to offer a service that will allow customers to share their main phone number with additional devices.

COO of T-Mobile, Mike Sievert, didn’t offer details on the service, but told Re/code recently that T-Mobile would move past what AT&T is promising for its initial offering. “What we are working on will make this version one offering from AT&T look small,” Sievert said, taking a chance to tweak AT&T, as T-Mobile CEO John Legere often does. “Our strategy is to ask customers what they want and need, and then build it. AT&T’s is to build or buy things, and then try to convince customers they asked for it.”

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  Verizon May Sell its Enterprise Business for $10 Billion

  November 9, 2015 . By M8Trix Communications

According to Reuters, Verizon Communications is contemplating selling its enterprise assets, which could cost up to   US$10 billion, in order to focus on its core business. The report said that Verizon is continuing to explore how to structure a sale, but no deal is imminent.

Verizon’s roots lie in long-distance giant MCI that Verizon bought in 2006. It operates a global network and offers services in over 140 countries for large business customers, in addition to its data center unit, Terremark. The carrier says that 99% of Fortune 500 companies are customers.

The plan additionally entails selling off the cloud services enterprise that emerged out of Verizon’s $1.4 billion acquisition of Terremark in 2011. That deal did not launch Verizon into being one of the top tier of cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and Google. The businesses have found it difficult to keep up with new developments in cloud computing, and faces tough price competition from rivals such as Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.

Verizon’s business assets may not be easy to disentangle and a potential buyer would probably need to sign commercial agreements with the company, according to Reuter’s sources. Apparently, Verizon is currently considering how some of its asset sales could be structured best and no deal is imminent.

Purportedly, Wireline provider CenturyLink Inc was in conversation with Verizon earlier in 2015 to acquire some of the assets but couldn’t agree on terms. CenturyLink announced last week that it would be exploring options for some of its data centers, including potentially selling them.

Verizon has had Citigroup Inc has its advisor on the potential sale of the assets, which have an estimated annual earnings of around $2 billion before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Verizon, CenturyLink and Citigroup declined to comment to Reuters.

Verizon has also been selling other non-core assets. In February, it launched the sale of residential landline assets to Frontier Communications for $10.54 billion, and sold its tower portfolio for over $5 billion.

Verizon has recently been changing its focus to mobile services and connected devices in the Internet of Things. In February, it announced it was selling its consumer wireline operations in Florida, California and Texas to Frontier Communications for $10.5 billion. The business telecommunications industry has needed to adapt in recent years to business customers looking for more sophisticated and cheaper offerings to manage their data.

However, its FiOS fiber-to-the-home network still has 5.8 million TV subscribers and 6.9 million Internet customers. Verizon Wireless serves 110.8 million retail connections, making it one of the two leading mobile operators in the U.S.A.

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  Ericsson, Cisco Pool Telecom & Internet Know-how in Digital Tie-Up

   November 9, 2015 . By M8Trix Communications

Two of the world’s biggest telecom-equipment providers, Ericsson and Cisco Systems, announced an international    partnership joining their platforms to target telecom operators and purportedly produce at least $1 billion in incremental  revenue opportunities for both companies starting in 2018.

Ericsson and Cisco Systems have secured a broad technology and commercial partnership that aims at an uncommon level of cooperation in all areas from research and development to customer service.

The companies said they would collaborate across the board, including jointly developing a wide range of products employed in wireless networks and Internet infrastructure as the companies experience heightened competition from Nokia Corp’s EUR15.6 billion takeover of Alcatel-Lucent, expected to be formally launched later this week.

For the Swedish company, the move could help Ericsson maintain its position as the world’s biggest telecom-equipment supplier by sales as Nordic competitor Nokia regains strength. Nokia’s takeover of Alcalet-Lucent could generate a powerful rival to both Ericsson, a leader in wireless equipment, and Cisco, which dominates market for Internet equipment.

Ericsson Chief Executive Hans Vestberg said, “This is a much more agile and efficient choice. We can start already tomorrow.” Vestberg explained that the partnership with Cisco will allow it to expand its offering at once, much more quickly than through an acquisition or via developing Internet equipment in-house. Mr. Vestberg noted that conversations with Cisco had begun 13 months ago. The U.S. company, on the other hand, said joining forces with Ericsson will assist Cisco in addressing a bigger market, and didn’t raise an overlap issue. Cisco Chief Strategy Officer Hilton Romanski said, “Ericsson’s portfolio is highly complementary to ours, there is no better combination we can think of.”

The alliance will apparently offer a platform that includes data center, routing, cloud, networking, mobility, management and control, and utilize their respective global footprints to “create the networks of the future.” The companies said the network support will include “5G,” cloud, IP and the “Internet of Things,” and that Ericsson and Cisco will crate teams that work together on an initiative specifically aimed atsoftware-defined networking, network functions virtualization, and network management and control.

Telecom operators who will benefit also asserted their support. AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said, “This type of initiative is in line with the plans and investments we’ve laid out over the last four years for integrated solutions.”

Vodafone Group Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said, “We welcome the partnership between Ericsson and Cisco which we believe will accelerate the pace of innovation across the communications industry as ultrafast networks, cloud services and the ‘Internet of Things’ become increasingly central to our customers’ needs.”

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