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No. 358, July 1999

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American Companies in Japan


TELECOMMUNICATIONS

All of the considerable resources that LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES INC. has invested in becoming a major supplier of carrier-class equipment to NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. finally seem to be paying dividends. Going up against major Japanese and other bidders, Lucent won a contract to supply an optical networking system designed to give a significant capacity boost to NTT's core long-distance network while minimizing the cost of this expansion. Lucent's WaveStar OLS400G dense wavelength division multiplexing system allows a dramatic increase in the volume of voice, data and video traffic that can be carried over a fiber-optic network by simultaneously transmitting as many as 80 multiple wavelengths over a single fiber. For parts of NTT's routes, Lucent also will supply its brand-new WaveStar OLS400GL system. This technology will enable the carrier, the first to deploy it, to run two optical networking systems in parallel, thereby transmitting up to 160 wavelengths on a single fiber. Lucent will begin delivering its current-generation DWDM equipment to NTT in the fourth quarter of this year. The next-generation WaveStar OLS400GL system is scheduled for shipment in early 2000.

The operator of one of the biggest Internet backbones in the United States, GTE CORP.'s GTE Internetworking division, is partnering with INTERNET INITIATIVE JAPAN INC., the country's top ISP, to provide a full range of Internet services to multinationals doing business in the world's second-largest economy. These span dial-up and dedicated Internet access, Web hosting, managed Internet security, VPNs, fax-over-IP and voice-over-IP. At the heart of the deal is a peering arrangement under which the two ISPs connect their networks and exchange traffic. In addition, GTE Internetworking has established a POP (point of presence) in Tokyo to aggregate VPN and dedicated connectivity traffic. It also established a data center to support e- commerce applications and Web hosting. The expansion into Japan includes as well the opening of an office in Tokyo to backstop the company's relationship with IIJ and to provide additional services to customers and GTE Internetworking partners around the world that belong to its Net.Alliance Program.

A San Francisco company that provides high-speed, broadband Internet access and content services by tying up with small and midsize cable TV operators will move into Japan through a somewhat unusual arrangement. SOFTNET SYSTEMS, INC. has a tentative agreement with INTERACTIVE CABLE AND COMMUNICATIONS CORP. — a MARUBENI CORP. subsidiary that delivers high-speed Internet access to multiple cable operators affiliated with the trader — to form a joint venture. The goal of the pending partnership is to speed the deployment of high-speed Internet access to the 1 million or so homes that receive cable television from Marubeni-owned CATV companies. In reality, SoftNet Systems will supply a turnkey Internet service package to ICC consisting of VSAT (very small aperture terminals), caching, cable modem and cable head-end technology as well as ISP management expertise and capital in exchange for an equity interest in ICC described only as significant.

HELIUS INC., a developer of satellite-delivered data access, believes that it can meet the speed, reliability and ease-of-use requirements of Japanese educational sites, branch offices and small businesses for robust Internet access. ITOCHU COMMUNICATIONS CORP., its primary reseller and systems integrator, INNO MICRO CORP., as well as FUJITSU, LTD. and MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. agree. Itochu Communications signed a master distribution agreement covering the Orem, Utah company's data-over-satellite products. Those include the new Helius Satellite Router, an all-in-one hardware/software/service appliance that provides high-speed (up to 3 megabits per second) data access via satellite to any network operating system and that can be supported and maintained remotely. Fujitsu already has installed the Helius Satellite Router at many of discounter MYCAL CORP.'s stores, and both it and MELCO have orders to install several hundred more systems within 1999.

In a deal worth $5 million, 3COM CORP. sold 30 Total Control multiservice access platforms to JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD. for installation by its Open Data Network ISP. This product provides support not only for remote access but also for IP telephony and VPN applications. Spokespeople for the long-distance carrier said that they chose 3Com's Total Control platform because it met the company's requirements for density, performance and reliability and offered the flexibility to handle future needs. With more than 300,000 subscribers, Open Data Network is one of Japan's larger ISPs.

Longtime collaborators HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. and NEC CORP. have extended their alliance into the IP backbone network market in the belief that a tight integration of advanced switching and open server technologies will be at the core of next- generation communications networks. Their general goal is to advance what the two powerhouses call IP infrastructure server technology to provide carrier-grade control of IP-based communications traffic for a variety of applications, including end-to-end QoS, VPNs and VoIP. More specifically, HP and NEC have three objectives. First, the Japanese partner will bring to the market carrier-grade IP servers based on the HP-UX operating system and incorporating a variety of Hewlett-Packard software applications, such as HP OpenCall, which provides computer-based intelligent voice services over SS7 and IP networks. Second, the two companies will meld their know-how and expertise to support the high-availa-bility, real-time performance demanded by carrier- class applications. Third, HP will deliver OpenCall platforms that integrate NEC's IP infrastructure technology.

Replicating a 1997 alliance between their parents, the subsidiaries of internetworking giant CISCO SYSTEMS, INC. and HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. will work together to develop IP-based networking solutions for businesses. The local Cisco unit is responsible for internetworking hardware and software solutions, while HEWLETT- PACKARD JAPAN LTD. will handle the computer side of the hardware equation and provide consulting and support services. HEWLETT-PACKARD SOLUTIONS DELIVERY LTD. is in charge of systems integration. To backstop the venture, which is projecting first-year revenues of $165.3 million, HP Japan is setting up IP network technology centers at its offices in Tokyo and in Kobe. In time, each will have a staff of roughly 100 people.

As soon as yearend, MCI WORLDCOM, INC. could be providing broadband data and information services to corporations located in the heart of Tokyo. Its subsidiary has the tentative go-ahead from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications to build a fixed wireless network. That infrastructure will be linked with the fiber-optic system that MCI WorldCom is installing in the business districts of the capital as well as in Osaka (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 349, October 1998, p. 28), thereby enabling end-to-end services with transmission speeds as fast as 150 Mbps. Fixed wireless services will be limited at first to the Chuo, Chiyoda, Shinagawa, Minato and Shinjuku areas of Tokyo. MCI WorldCom hopes to extend operations to parts of Osaka in early 2000.

A company backed by an upstart American communications services provider has beat the number-two U.S. long-distance carrier to the punch. KDD WINSTAR CORP. — a joint venture of WINSTAR COMMUNICATIONS, INC. (35 percent), KDD CORP. (55 percent) and SUMITOMO CORP. (10 percent) (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 29) — has launched fixed wireless broadband services in Tokyo under the New York City partner's Wireless Fiber brand. Businesses can use KDD WinStar for local and international frame relay, ATM, high-speed Internet access and private line services. More importantly, the company signed up its first customer, an unnamed ISP based in Tokyo. In time, KDD WinStar's broadband wireless services will be available to customers in Osaka and Nagoya.

STAR TELECOMMUNICATIONS, INC., a Santa Barbara, California-based provider of global communications services to long-distance carriers, ISPs, businesses and consumers that has capacity on several of the transpacific cable networks, has moved into the Japanese market. It formed a joint venture with ITO INC. whose ITO TELECOM INC. subsidiary wholesales long-distance services. STAR JAPAN INC. already has a Type II license. That will allow it to resell capacity leased from facilities-based operators to carriers and businesses. Within 1999, however, the STAR partnership expects to receive a Type I license so that it can offer more profitable facilities-based long-distance services. Now and in the future, ITO will give STAR an established distribution channel to market its services.

AT&T Global Network Services is the new name in Japan as well as in the United States for what had been the IBM Global Network. A month after AT&T CORP. completed the acquisition of INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s portfolio of managed network services for multinationals on one side of the Pacific, it did so on the other. The Japan operation of AGNS, which is part of the AT&T Solutions Group, the communications giant's network professional services unit, took over from IBM JAPAN LTD. such jobs as network design, construction, operation and servicing as well as Internet connection services. About 250 people also changed corporate hats. Sometime in the coming months, AT&T and NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP., which provides a variety of operational support and transport services for the rechristened AGNS in Japan, will form a company to operate and develop AGNS's managed network services (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 30).

One of the companies advancing a new carrier-class technology that enables the movement of traffic to converged public-circuit/packet networks — or what is known as voice-over-packet — has lined up MITSUBISHI CORP. and NISSHO IWAI CORP. as distributors. SONUS NETWORKS, INC. makes some bold claims for its scalable and open GSX9000 switch and Packet Telephony suite. More than legacy circuit switches and the competition's voice-over-packet solutions, the Westford, Massachusetts company says, its approach enables carriers to develop and deploy new, money- making customer services faster while at the same time trimming network operational costs.

MITSUBISHI CORP. also is representing NETCORE SYSTEMS, INC. and the Wilmington, Massachusetts company's Everest Integrated Switch in Japan and elsewhere in the world. This modular, carrier-class product combines in a single platform IP routing and ATM switching, making it well-suited for services providers building new-generation data networks that require both capabilities. Everest also can reduce network costs by replacing multiple products from different vendors. NetCore's choice of Mitsubishi as its international distributor no doubt was influenced in part by the fact that the trader has an equity interest in the start-up.

For its part, ACUCOMM, INC. has the powerful team of NICHIMEN CORP. and NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. marketing its xDSL-based networking equipment for delivering high-speed Internet access to concentrations of customers over telephone lines. The Santa Clara, California company describes its iDAC platform (short for intelligent data access concentrator) as creating an intelligent POP since it provides a complete set of bandwidth management, routing and data transport features. In operation, the stackable iDAC system routes IP traffic to and from four to 24 xDSL ports. It must be paired with the iRACER, an intelligent communications network access node, to actually deliver broadband, always-on Internet access to customers.

A hardware-based solution that automates all VPN steps — encryption, authentication, key exchange, data integrity checking and data compression — at the network layer is on the market through Tokyo's INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CORP. The developer of the VPN Series, FORTRESS TECHNOLOGIES of Tampa, Florida, touts other advantages of the two models in the line, including fast encryption, self-configuration and platform independence. The VPN-10, which has a minimum encryption throughput of 13 Mbps, costs $14,900. Encrypting at better than 70 Mbps — a record, according to Fortress — the VPN-100 is targeted at telephone companies, ISPs and other operators of large networks. It is priced at $114,000.

Companies interested in cutting their long-distance telephone bills by using their existing IP networks have an option from MULTI-TECH SYSTEMS, INC. The Mounds View, Minnesota company's MultiVOIP gateway connects PBXs (private branch exchanges) to other remote PBXs, key telephone systems or handsets and fax machines via an IP network for delivery of voice and/or fax traffic. The latest versions of the Multi-Tech line of two-, four- and eight-channel voice/fax IP gateways, which are stand-alone units that require no additional PC hardware, add dynamic addressing, better security and call-management capabilities. Tokyo-based DATA CONTROL LTD. is marketing the line.

Small businesses can save money on their phone bills by using the Internet to fax documents if they buy one of the WebRamp Fx series of products made by RAMP NETWORKS and distributed exclusively by MACNIA, INC. under a recent agreement. The Santa Clara, California company says that its products — which are designed to complement, not replace, standard fax machines — are an alternative to IP faxing solutions that are too expensive for small offices to install and too complex for them to manage. With the Web-Ramp Fx series, faxes pass through a WebRamp and either are intercepted by a preaddressed distribution list within the product and sent free over the Internet as an e-mail attachment or are transmitted as normal faxes with the associated phone charges.

A struggling but willing to experiment SILICON GRAPHICS, INC. sees Internet broadcasting, particularly to corporate customers, as one possible way to boost business in Japan. It and two KYOCERA CORP. companies will test this concept with help from NHK, Japan's public broadcasting network. People with Internet access will be able to view programming on a Web site run by NHK using free video-streaming software from Seattle's REALNETWORKS, INC. Transmission, which will be much slower than TV broadcasts, will be handled by Kyocera affiliates DDI CORP. and KYOCERA COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD. They will set up a processing center equipped with hardware and software supplied by SGI's subsidiary.

In the latest expansion of its distribution channels, CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary contracted with NETMARKS, INC. to handle its broad product line as well as to provide systems design help to potential buyers. A supplier of network integration services that is owned by such companies as NEC CORP. and SUMITOMO ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES, LTD., Netmarks is particularly interested in making available to its largely manufacturing client list Cisco's VPN products and LAN switches. It believes that these and other Cisco products can produce sales of $41.3 million in the remainder of FY 1999 and double that in FY 2000.

Whether recent or old, CISCO SYSTEMS, INC. distributors will be marketing the new Catalyst 3500 Series XL, a scalable, stackable line of 10/100 and Gigabit Ethernet desktop switches. Beyond the performance, flexibility and investment protection that Cisco claims for these products, they deliver an innovation in stacking. The use of the Cisco Switch Clustering technology allows network operators to manage geographically dispersed Catalyst 3512 XL, 3524 XL and 3508G XL switches through a single IP address employing a standard Web browser. Pricing on the new line ranges from $3,000 to $5,900.

CATV operators can deliver business-class IP data, voice and fax services to SOHO customers and telecommuters, CISCO SYSTEMS, INC. promised in introducing the uBR924 cable access router. The combination of a cable modem and a Cisco router, this standards-based product is installed in the end-user's premises and connects the customer's computer or LAN to the cable network. Cisco's subsidiary priced the uBR924 at $2,100.

GENERAL DATACOMM, INC. of Middlebury, Connecticut tentatively has agreed to supply its GDC APEX multiservice ATM switch to NEC CORP. on an OEM basis. Designed to allow services providers to offer premium, feature-rich video, data and voice services while ensuring guaranteed service levels, the platform can be used, for example, to deliver VCR-quality video and CD-quality audio. Shipments to NEC could start as early as this fall.

The first Java technology-enabled i-mode digital wireless phones could be on the market as early as the end of 2000, services provider NTT MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK, INC. says. It and technology partner SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 31) have unveiled prototypes of these products, which are powered by Sun's small- footprint K virtual machine technology. NTT DoCoMo's 300,000 or so current i-mode subscribers already can browse the Web, check their e-mail and use on-line services. Java technology-enabled i-mode phones, however, will provide enhanced security for applications like on-line banking and trading as well as increased functionality, such as game downloading services. Sun and NTT DoCoMo are working with cellular phone suppliers FUJITSU, LTD., MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD., MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. and NEC CORP. to commercialize next-generation i- mode equipment.

New wireless services will be developed for the Palm Computing platform — a handheld computer that is starting to gain momentum in Japan — under a technical and business alliance between 3COM CORP. and NTT MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK, INC. The goal of the tie-up is to optimize Palm products and Palm- compatible personal organizers or PDAs like the IBM WorkPad PC to leverage the power of NTT DoCoMo's infrastructure, which represents Japan's largest wireless network. 3Com recently released a Japanese-language version of the Palm operating system (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 16, and No. 356, May 1999, pp. 28-29).

PICTURETEL CORP.'s subsidiary has introduced a videoconferencing system designed to handle the most demanding situations, including telemedicine, distance learning, meetings, manufacturing and other motion-intensive applications. The Concorde 4500ZX, which lists for $37,100, comes standard with such features as LimeLight dynamic speaker locating technology so that camera positions do not have to be planned in advance. It also has a Look-At-Me-Button for multiple preset camera positions. In addition, users have the flexibility to create customized videoconferencing solutions.

The leader in videoconferencing technology faces competition from POLYCOM, INC. in the low end of its market at home and in Japan. The San Jose, California manufacturer of the affordable ViewStation SP group videoconferencing system for small meeting rooms and offices has established a marketing subsidiary. An integrated system consisting of a CCD camera, minispeakers and a remote controller, the ViewStation SP is priced at $6,600, which is said to be a fraction of what similar equipment from other companies costs. That price buys not only high-quality video but such features as a voice-tracking camera that automatically focuses on the person speaking and an embedded Web server for remote system management and diagnostics.

TIME WARNER INC. quietly pulled out of Japan's cable television market four years after it partnered with three other companies to form equally owned TITUS COMMUNICATIONS CORP. The media giant sold its 25 percent interest in the number-two CATV operator to fellow shareholder MEDIAONE GROUP, INC. for an undisclosed price. The Englewood, Colorado cable operator, which AT&T CORP. expects to buy early next year, has the distinction of being the first foreign company to be a majority owner of a Japanese cable system. MediaOne's partners, each with a 25 percent interest, are ITOCHU CORP. and TOSHIBA CORP. .....The ownership change occurred right after TITUS COMMUNICATIONS CORP., which served 73,000 homes at the end of May, announced that it would spend roughly $66.1 million to expand its network in Tokyo. The new infrastructure will cover 20,000 households initially, providing them not only with television service but also high-speed Internet access and, from next April, telephone service.

An exchange rate of ¥121=$1.00 was used in this report. aaaaaa

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