• Alcatel-Lucent appoints new 4G division exec
By Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week
Alcatel-Lucent is shuffling executives after the head of its 4G/LTE wireless networks unit announced her departure less than eight months after taking the job.
Mary Chan became head of the division in January and is leaving Alcatel-Lucent to “pursue opportunities outside of the telecom network infrastructure segment,” according to the company. Ken Wirth, who is currently heading Alcatel-Lucent’s business segment, has been appointed as her successor. His replacement has not yet been announced.
In her role as president of Alcatel-Lucent's 4G/LTE wireless networks unit, Chan helped drive the commercialization of the company’s LTE product. Alcatel-Lucent scored a major contract with Verizon Wireless in February. The infrastructure giant was the only vendor chosen by Verizon to supply solutions in three areas: IMS, enhanced packet core and radio access network.
AT&T has yet to name its LTE vendors, but the announcement is expected soon. NTT DoCoMo and Rogers are also expected to announce their LTE vendors this year.
• Clearfield’s FieldSmart chosen for FTTH deployment in S.D.
By Traci Patterson
South Dakota’s Midstate Communications has selected Clearfield’s FieldSmart fiber management platform for its three-year fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployment. Headquartered in Kimball, S.D., Midstate provides telecommunications services to approximately 5,000 access lines in 11 exchanges throughout central South Dakota.
Midstate has also purchased Clearfield’s Network Interface Device (NID) Outside Plant (OSP) bend-insensitive fiber pigtails.
According to Midstate plant manager Fay Jandreau, the deployment is part of a brownfield overbuild in and around the Platte, S.D., area, which will encompass approximately 250 miles of construction. “Our customers want more bandwidth and higher Internet speed. With this deployment, we will bring customers faster Internet speed – with each service being customized to each customer’s needs. We will also bring a full host of video services that we previously did not provide.”
• Parks Associates: STB shipments increasing
By Brian Santo
Set-top box shipments are likely to exceed 200 million a year by 2013, driven largely by providers upgrading their current installed base with new STBs capable of delivering more sophisticated services.
Competition is going to increase from new distribution techniques, including digital terrestrial TV (DTT), IPTV and over-the-top video, and that will compel providers to install units capable of supporting applications such as time- and place-shifting and Internet-based content, according to Parks Associates.
"Consumers are attracted to the concept of connected CE, with one-third of U.S. broadband households very interested in a set-top box that connects to their PC and Internet service, as well as their TV," said Jayant Dasari, research analyst at Parks Associates. "While less than 10 percent are willing to pay a monthly fee, demand is still on an upward trend, especially as the set-top connects to more and more services."
• J.D. study ranks customer care
By Monica Alleven, Wireless Week
Wireless customer care is improving, according to the latest J.D. Power and Associates customer care performance study. Customers reported shorter hold times and improved rates of problem resolution on the first contact.
More than three-fourths (76 percent) of calls to customer service are resolved on the first contact, compared with just 66 percent six months ago. Hold times now average 5.55 minutes, compared with 6.58 minutes in February, according to the study.
Alltel, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless rank highest in wireless customer care performance, in a tie, each with a score of 747. J.D. Power says that Alltel performs particularly well when contacts are resolved through customer visits to the retail store and the automated response system (ARS), while T-Mobile's strength is in transferring customers from an automated response system to a live service representative. Verizon Wireless performs well with regard to identifying customer problems quickly and resolving them efficiently with service representatives.
AT&T received an index score of 730, and Sprint Nextel’s score was 704, with the industry average score being 735.