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News recap: Google Wi-Fi mobile service launches

In telecom news, Google's Wi-Fi MVNO service officially launches for Nexus 6 phones, while Juniper Networks' first quarter exceeds expectations.

This week in telecom news, a new Google Wi-Fi service signals the company is adding mobile networks to its service portfolio. Google has partnered with T-Mobile and Sprint to offer the service. Meanwhile, Juniper Networks saw a strong first quarter and exceeded revenue predictions.

Verizon announced its plans to implement software-defined networking in its network infrastructure to improve service delivery. But the operator is also dealing with an ESPN lawsuit over its new FiOS bundle plan that allows customers to pick and choose the channels they want in a cable bundle.

Google Wi-Fi service launches on Nexus 6 phones

Google has entered the mobile carrier space with the launch of Project Fi, its wireless phone service.

Project Fi is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that is delivered by Sprint, T-Mobile and Wi-Fi. The mobile service moves from one network to another to maintain a strong signal.

"As you move around, the best network for you might be a Wi-Fi hotspot or a specific 4G LTE network," Google said in its official blog. "We developed new technology that gives you better coverage by intelligently connecting you to the fastest available network at your location whether it's Wi-Fi or one of our two partner LTE networks."

There is no contract for the service, which offers voice, text and 1 GB of data for $30 per month. The Google Wi-Fi service currently only works with the Nexus 6 smartphone and users must be invited to use the service.

Juniper shares hit highs

Juniper Networks' first quarter financial report exceeded expectations, reaching a 52-week high at 32 cents per share, with $1.07 billion in sales. Analysts had estimated 31 cents per share with sales of $1.05 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Juniper CEO Rami Rahim said the networking equipment provider is off to a good start in 2015 and is focused on profitable growth and innovation.

"The company continues to see the long-term demand drivers as healthy and is confident in its innovation pipeline," Juniper said in a statement. "Juniper expects to return to its historical pattern of higher revenue in the second half of 2015 versus the first half."

Much of Juniper's revenue comes from sales to U.S. carriers like AT&T and Verizon, which are expected to increase equipment purchases after licensing new wireless spectrum this year. Juniper predicted that second quarter revenue will be between $1.09 billion to $1.12 billion, while analysts are estimating $1.1 billion in revenue.

Verizon hops on SDN bandwagon

Verizon announced it is implementing software-defined networking in its network architecture to enhance its service and replace aging hardware-based network infrastructure.

Verizon said in a statement the SDN-based architecture is designed to introduce new operational efficiencies and allow for the enablement of rapid and flexible service delivery to its customers. Verizon said it is partnering with Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Juniper Networks and Nokia Networks to build out the network.

"With this SDN architecture, we will continue to ensure our network and services meet the needs of our customers, today and in the future," said Roger Gurnani, Verizon chief information and technology architect.

Verizon and its partners have created an SDN network architecture document, which includes interface specifications, reference architectures and requirements for the control layer and forwarding box functions. The documents aim to help Verizon's partners develop an SDN-enabled network.

New Verizon FiOS bundle faces ESPN lawsuit

ESPN has filed a lawsuit against Verizon this week after the operator announced it would offer "Custom TV" bundles that allow FiOS customers to purchase bundles by genre.

ESPN alleged that Verizon is violating licensing agreements by offering the slimmer bundles, which are a departure from traditional cable bundles. The lawsuit sends a message that cable partners can't "unilaterally change deals" without permission, according to ESPN. Other networks, including NBC and Fox, have protested the new bundles.

"Consumers have spoken loud and clear that they want choice, and the industry should be focused on giving consumers what they want," said Deidre Hart, a Verizon spokeswoman. "We are well within our rights under our agreements to offer our customers these choices."

The Custom TV bundle allows FiOS customers to buy a base bundle that includes local and basic channels. Customers can augment the base bundle with channel genre packs, like sports and news, which they can switch out each month.

Next Steps

AT&T announced a similar SDN strategy as Verizon

Verizon plans to build a fiber optic network to support growing bandwidth demands

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