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MTA Launches ClearSky’s iCode® Service to Bring Shortcodes to Alaska Subscribers

ClearSky Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of mobile data services to regional wireless carriers, today announced a multi-year contract extension with long-time customer MTA, along with an agreement to add ClearSky’s iCode® Common and Local Shortcode Services.

Shortcodes are part of a multi-billion-dollar phenomenon and are a competitive “must-have” in today’s wireless world. During the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, mobile giving via shortcodes accounted for 20 percent of relief funds (Source: Mobile Commercial Daily), as the public turned to wireless as a key donation channel to repair $20 billion in damages. Subscribers from nearly a dozen ClearSky carrier customers participated in the Sandy disaster relief effort by sending mobile donations to the American RedCross via the company’s iCode Common and Local Shortcode Services. MTA is the most recent carrier to choose ClearSky’s standard and premium rate shortcode platform, which enables their subscribers to participate in a wide range of national campaigns including disaster relief.

“We want to create an interactive mobile environment for our subscribers by allowing them to participate in the same popular campaigns as Tier 1 subscribers,” said Carolyn Hanson, MTA Director of Sales and Marketing. “Whether it’s accessing retail discounts from Bed, Bath and Beyond, requesting credit card or banking alerts, staying up-to-date on entertainment news from MTV, or receiving flight updates from airlines such as our local Alaska Airlines, ClearSky allows us to offer more than 3,000 shortcodes, and makes it easy with a single point of integration to multiple aggregators.”

“The opportunity to deliver high-profile shortcodes is often lost by carriers in rural areas, such as Alaska, because most aggregators will only engage with carriers that have a national footprint or millions of subscribers. To address this issue, ClearSky has connected with key aggregators that appreciate our significant customer base and large geographic footprint,” said Tony Tagliareni, ClearSky Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. “Not only do we offer thousands of high-profile shortcodes like Google and Twitter, but we also manage the aggregator relationships, handle the process of adding shortcodes, and work with carriers to provision and test the shortcodes to ensure they are working properly.”

About MTA

Matanuska Telephone Association (MTA) is a member-owned cooperative founded in 1953 to bring telephone service to rural South-Central Alaska. Today, MTA delivers some of the most advanced communications products available in the marketplace, including Local, Long Distance, Wireless, Internet, Business, Directory and Digital TV services. The MTA service area covers over 10,000 square miles–south to Eagle River, north to Anderson, east to Glacier View, and west to Skwentna. MTA stores are located in Eagle River, Palmer, and Wasilla, Alaska. For more information, visit www.mtasolutions.com.

MTPCS Selects ClearSky’s Total Traffic Manager to Control and Monetize High-Speed Data Traffic

ClearSky Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of mobile data services to regional wireless carriers, today announced the signing of a multi-year agreement with MTPCS, LLC, d.b.a. Cellular One for Total Traffic Manager (TTM). Recognizing the value and importance of traffic control, MTPCS joins many other regional carriers that have selected ClearSky’s TTM to manage and monetize their data traffic.

Data-hungry, Internet-based mobile services dominate today’s smartphone-centric world; YouTube alone comprises 25 percent of all mobile traffic (Source: Wireless Week). Higher demand on mobile networks means more subscribers sharing limited spectrum, and the lack of comprehensive traffic management and policy enforcement can result in network congestion and customer support calls from disgruntled subscribers complaining about service degradation.

MTPCS is the latest regional carrier to choose ClearSky’s TTM to monitor and analyze data traffic as it flows through the carrier’s network. TTM provides real-time traffic visibility, and then generates actions based on a detailed analysis and a set of pre-configured rules or policies. By gaining insight into why and how traffic is impacting the performance of its network, MTPCS can define and enforce network policies, satisfy subscribers with fair allocation of resources, and ensure traffic flow continues unaffected–even if capacity limits are exceeded.

“ClearSky has worked with us to tailor its traffic management solution to fulfill all of our specific policy requirements. TTM enables us to reduce ‘wasted’ data without weakening the customer experience, identify top devices, sites, protocols and data users, and shape the user experience according to protocol (i.e., streaming video, streaming audio, P2P sharing),” said Michael Metcalf, EVP/CTO at MTPCS. “We also needed the flexibility to implement additional policies in the future, such as tethering detection, a customized social media package, and tiered data plans including “top off” policies and bill shock notification. Our objective is to use bandwidth more effectively, and TTM delivers the unique features and flexibility to help us reach that goal.”

“The deployment strategy behind ClearSky’s TTM is unlike that of most other solutions on the market. Rather than the traditional installation of a platform in the carrier’s network, charging a license fee, and moving on to the next sale, ClearSky works with its clients to configure, recommend and deploy specific policies,” said ClearSky Director of Product Management Lou Grilli. “Our exposure to the data traffic challenges faced daily by our 80 carrier customers uniquely qualifies us to add significant value to their traffic and policy management.”

About MTPCS, LLC d.b.a. Cellular One

Formed in 2005, MTPCS, LLC has grown into one of the largest regional wireless carriers in the United States. Operating under the Cellular One brand, MTPCS serves customers in Montana, Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. MTPCS’s success comes from providing its customers with greater value and exceptional service in markets typically underserved by national carriers.  MTPCS’s service area covers a population exceeding 2 million, and the company employs over 400 people across the United States.  For more information, visit: http://www.cellonenation.com.

CellularOne Looks to ClearSky for Traffic and Policy Management

ClearSky Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of mobile data services to regional wireless carriers, today announced the signing of a multi-year agreement with Cellular One of Northeast Arizona for Total Traffic Manager (TTM).

In order to stay competitive with tier 1 players in a 4G world, rural wireless carriers must manage their high-speed data traffic and offer a variety of creative data plans. Industry heavyweight Verizon Wireless recognized the importance of offering custom choices to subscribers; their new “Share Everything” campaign allows customers to choose from a variety of tailored plans—from 1GB for light users to 10GB for bandwidth-hungry 4G users. Using ClearSky’s TTM service, Cellular One of Northeast Arizona can capitalize on revenue opportunities while matching the data plan strategies of tier 1 competitors.

ClearSky’s TTM actively monitors and analyzes data traffic as it flows through the carrier’s network, and then generates actions based on a detailed analysis and a set of pre-configured rules. Providing real-time visibility to the various types of data traffic running through its network, TTM will allow Cellular One to identify and create new services to increase data ARPU such as:

  • Offering data plans that include a limited amount of access (e.g., 2GB for $20, then provide subscribers the ability to self-manage their data plans to purchase incremental data access).
  • Providing bronze, silver and gold tiered pricing plans based on levels of throughput.
  • Enforcing policy to prohibit non-authorized devices from accessing the carrier’s mobile data network.

“Today’s surge in data traffic will only benefit carriers who can manage and monetize the increased consumption,” said Lou Grilli, ClearSky director of product management. “ClearSky’s TTM service allows carriers to manage exponential growth in data traffic while increasing revenue from data plans.”

“By placing ClearSky’s TTM Enforcement Platform in our data stream, Cellular One can measure traffic and subscriber patterns, and perform real-time traffic and policy enforcement. The end result is the ability to identify and create new services to increase data ARPU, satisfy all subscribers including heavy users, and minimize costs of future expansion through ‘fair usage’ policies,” said Louise Finnegan, CEO of Cellular One. “We plan to give subscribers the option to “top-up” when threshold limits are reached by purchasing additional capacity. Additionally, we plan to offer tailored data plans that more closely meet our subscribers’ needs.”

About CellularOne

Cellular One www.cellularoneonline.com is a leading provider of wireless communications service committed to providing the most reliable service to its customers in rural Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Headquartered in Show Low, Ariz., Cellular One operates a network of more than 159 cell sites, with additional sites in the works, and a total of 22 stores within its coverage area—providing nearly 200 jobs in the region.

Many of the communities Cellular One serves are rural and/or situated on Native American reservations. In fact, before Cellular One arrived, telephone penetration for most regional tribal communities was roughly 27%. In cooperation with the FCC, the U.S. government, and the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, and White Mountain Apache Native American Tribal Councils, today Cellular One currently provides basic cellular telephone service to approximately 80% of these rural tribal areas.

For more information, visit www.cellularoneonline.com and www.facebook.com/CellularOneOnline

ClearSky and NEC Team to Offer World’s First “Femtocell as a Service” to GSM/UMTS Carriers

After supporting a successful carrier trial, ClearSky Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of mobile data services to regional wireless carriers, announces the signing of a multi-year contract with NEC Corporation of America (NEC) to offer Femtocell as a Service (FaaS) to regional wireless carriers.

According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, global mobile data traffic is predicted to increase 26-fold between 2010 and 2015; Cisco calls this growth the “mobile data tsunami.” But as demand for mobile data services increases year over year, so does the need for additional wireless capacity and abundant coverage. Traditional macro cellular networks alone cannot fulfill this need. Informa Telecoms & Media predicts femtocells will become the “backbone” of wireless networks in the future, as they can offload much of the wireless demand onto existing wired connections.

“We are keen to enable operators of all sizes and technology interests to access the benefits of femtocells to the benefit of their customers. Femtocell as a Service offers an alternative approach to launching services for many carriers and we welcome ClearSky’s announcement,” said Simon Saunders, Chairman of the Small Cell Forum. “Femtocells are a key component of next generation networks and a ubiquitous network society, and the availability of this technology as a hosted service puts femtocell deployment within reach for all rural operators.”

“We believe femtocells can be deployed by rural carriers to cost effectively address a number of operational challenges including reducing roaming costs by filling coverage gaps in their own markets, offloading data traffic from their core networks, and eliminating poor coverage within their subscribers’ residences,” said Tony Tagliareni, ClearSky Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. “NEC’s Femtocell Gateway and corresponding plug-and-play Residential, Enterprise and Outdoor Femtocell Access Points (FAPs) ideally address all of these challenges.”

“With more than 15 years of hosting network infrastructure along with a reach of 80 carrier clients, ClearSky was the obvious choice to work with us in offering FaaS as a hosted solution,” said Harumi Ikeda, Executive Vice President, NEC Corporation of America, Carrier Solutions. “Given the success of our market trial with ClearSky so far, our alignment has already been proven successful.”

About NEC Corporation of America

Headquartered in Irving, Texas, NEC Corporation of America is a leading provider of innovative IT, network, communications and biometrics products and solutions for service carriers, Fortune 1000 and SMB businesses across multiple vertical industries, including Healthcare, Government, Education and Hospitality. NEC Corporation of America delivers one of the industry’s broadest portfolios of technology solutions and professional services, including unified communications, wireless, voice and data, managed services, server and storage infrastructure, virtualized and carrier network systems, microwave radio communications and biometric security. NEC Corporation of America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NEC Corporation, a global technology leader with a presence in over 44 countries and more than $37 billion in revenues. For more information, please visit www.necam.com.

New ClearSky Program Simplifies LTE Network Build-out to Save Carriers Time and Money

ClearSky Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of mobile data services to regional wireless carriers, today announced the launch of its FastStart Program, designed to allow carriers with small footprint requirements to quickly and cost-effectively build an LTE network and offer fixed-wireless broadband service. The program offers a rapid start-up and simplified operations environment, and is fully upgradeable to a network that supports mobility and roaming.

ClearSky offers a comprehensive suite of LTE services that range from its License Preservation Program, designed to fulfill FCC coverage requirements, to a roaming-enabled, full-scale LTE network that supports 3G Circuit Switched Fall Back. FastStart is positioned in the middle of this array of LTE options, offering a high-performance RAN and a state-of-the-art core architecture that is ideal for launching wireless broadband service to rural markets. FastStart delivers a variety of benefits including:

  • Cost-effective deployment with as few as two towers.
  • Low on-going operating expenses in line with fixed wireless revenue opportunities.
  • Access to value-added services such as RF planning, tower installation, as well as devices and SIM/UICC cards.
  • Upgradeable to full mobility and roaming.

“All national carriers have already begun their LTE build-outs, and regional carriers need to move forward now with LTE or risk being left out of the wireless industry,” said Dean Fresonke, ClearSky Senior VP of Business Development. “We developed the FastStart Program to speed and simplify the purchasing, installation and configuration of an LTE fixed wireless network—all at a significantly reduced cost. We can provide everything from initial RF planning to end-user device fulfillment through our open ecosystem of partners. We allow you to choose only the services you need today, so you can avoid locking yourself into an arrangement that will greatly limit your future options.”

As 700 MHZ License Holders Feel the Heat from 2013 FCC Deadline, ClearSky Launches License Preservation Program to Reach 35% Requirement

ClearSky Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of mobile data services to regional wireless carriers, today announced the availability of its License Preservation Program to satisfy the FCC’s minimum build-out requirements for 700 MHz license holders. The License Preservation Program not only provides rapid and cost-effective compliance with the FCC’s stringent performance requirements, but it also sets the stage for conversion to a profitable LTE network.

700 MHz A & B license holders have less than a year to fulfill the 35% geographic coverage requirement set by the FCC. ClearSky offers a streamlined LTE solution that takes all the necessary FCC requirements into account. The centerpieces of ClearSky’s offering are a cost effective, high-performance, radio access network (RAN) and a hosted Evolved Packet Core (EPC). The RAN is designed to simplify the build-out while yielding maximum coverage. The hosted EPC vastly reduces the total system cost and dramatically speeds service launch. To complete the program, ClearSky provides access to engineering and installation services as well as end-user devices. The License Preservation Program is a complete solution to safeguarding an expensive license investment.

ClearSky’s License Preservation Program delivers many economic benefits:

  • Volume discounts that apply to even low-volume RAN purchases.
  • Low one-time implementation fees for both the RAN and hosted EPC.
  • Nominal monthly service fees to keep the network on-air.
  • Cost-effective migration to a feature-rich, high-capacity commercial network.

“The License Preservation Program enables carriers to purchase discounted eNodeBs and a minimum configuration of the hosted LTE Services Suite Core,” said ClearSky’s SVP of Business Development, Dean Fresonke. “The benefits include greatly reduced CAPEX and OPEX, faster time to market, and unlimited scalability for the future.”

ClearSky and NEC Enter into Agreement to Support “Femtocell as a Service” Trial with National Wireless Carrier

ClearSky Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of mobile data services to regional wireless carriers, today announced its agreement with NEC Corporation of America (NEC) to support a Femtocell as a Service (FaaS) market trial for a national North American wireless carrier.

The trial customer is one of a growing number of carriers that prefer to outsource their entire wireless network. Outsourcing frees carriers to focus on increasing market share, promoting their brand, meeting subscriber needs, and differentiating themselves from competitors. Additionally, carriers that outsource their network infrastructure benefit from reduced CapEx and quicker time to market.

“We believe Femtocells can be deployed by rural carriers to cost effectively address a number of operational challenges including reducing roaming costs by filling coverage gaps in their own markets, offloading data traffic from their core network, and eliminating poor coverage within their subscribers’ residences,” said Tony Tagliareni, ClearSky Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. “NEC’s Femtocell Gateway and corresponding plug-and-play Residential, Enterprise and Outdoor Femtocell Access Points (FAPs) provide the platform to address all of these challenges. Offering this technology as a hosted service puts Femtocell deployment within reach for all rural operators.”

“In order to accommodate the needs of our growing customer base, it was crucial for us to find a partner to offer FasS; ClearSky was the obvious choice for our North American market with more than 15 years of hosting network infrastructure, along with a reach of 80 carrier clients,” said Masaaki Nakajima, Senior Vice President, NEC Corporation of America, Carrier Solutions.

About NEC Corporation of America

Headquartered in Irving, Texas, NEC Corporation of America is a leading provider of innovative IT, network, communications and biometrics products and solutions for service carriers, Fortune 1000 and SMB businesses across multiple vertical industries, including Healthcare, Government, Education and Hospitality. NEC Corporation of America delivers one of the industry’s broadest portfolios of technology solutions and professional services, including unified communications, wireless, voice and data, managed services, server and storage infrastructure, virtualized and carrier network systems, microwave radio communications and biometric security. NEC Corporation of America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NEC Corporation, a global technology leader with a presence in over 44 countries and more than $37 billion in revenues. For more information, please visit www.necam.com.

i Wireless Chooses ClearSky for Traffic and Policy Management and Renews Long-term Contract

ClearSky Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of mobile data services to regional wireless carriers, today announced the signing of a multi-year agreement with Iowa Wireless Services, LLC (dba i wireless) for Total Traffic Manager (TTM). Additionally, the long-standing ClearSky client signed a long-term renewal of their existing agreement for other services including Mobile Internet Gateway, MMS, mobile analytics and more.

i wireless, along with many other rural carriers, has been challenged with the need to increase data capacity to satisfy a small number of bandwidth-hungry users, which is not cost effective. ClearSky’s TTM will allow i wireless to manage their existing network resources more efficiently while increasing revenue from newly conceived data plans based on subscriber usage trends.

TTM provides sophisticated real-time traffic and policy enforcement, allowing i wireless to:

  • Facilitate new charging/billing mechanisms for value-added services.
  • Satisfy subscribers by fair allocation of resources.
  • Provide more tailored choices and entry-level data plans to subscribers, thus maximizing data ARPU.
  • Define and enforce network policies.
  • Ensure traffic flow continues unaffected, even if capacity limits are exceeded.
  • Detect tethering and allow subscribers to opt-in to a data plan that enables tablet and laptop tethering.

“The popularity of video streaming and peer-to-peer file sharing sites can quickly tax a carrier’s resources, and cause a major inconvenience to the remaining subscribers who are left with congested airwaves. ClearSky’s TTM allows us to assign policies on data traffic in a way that promotes fair allocation of resources while retaining the extreme heavy users, thus providing excellent service for all our subscribers and avoiding the high cost of additional capacity,” said Maggie Squires, i wireless Director of Marketing.

“Smartphone apps, unlimited data plans, and bill shock notification requirements make traffic management an essential tool to balance airwaves while accommodating active users and minimizing costs,” said ClearSky Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Tony Tagliareni. “We are proud to expand our long-term and highly-valued relationship with i wireless to include a cost-effective solution to manage their rapid growth in data traffic and create new services to increase data ARPU.”

About i wireless

Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Urbandale, Iowa, i wireless is a partnership between T-Mobile USA and Iowa Network Services (a consortium of 127 Iowa Independent Telecommunications Companies). i wireless has over 250 full-service company stores and authorized dealers across Iowa, western Illinois, and eastern Nebraska, and offer customers access to the world’s largest and fastest wireless voice and data network. For more information, visit www.iwireless.com.

Wireless Carriers Manage and Monetize Rapid Growth in Data Traffic Using ClearSky’s Total Traffic Manager

ClearSky Technologies, Inc., the leading provider of mobile data services to regional wireless carriers, launches Total Traffic Manager (TTM) to enable carrier clients to manage exponential growth in data traffic while increasing revenue from data plans.

In many networks, only 0.5% of subscribers consume 80 percent of a carrier’s data network bandwidth. Carriers need to keep increasing capacity just to satisfy this small percentage of users, which is not cost effective. ClearSky’s TTM allows carriers to manage their existing resources, while adding the capability to charge for incremental services. Additionally, TTM provides carriers visibility to what data traffic is running through their networks, thereby allowing them to identify new products and services to increase data ARPU.

TTM empowers carriers by giving them the tools to manage today’s exponential growth in data traffic—for example, carriers can:

  • Detect tethering (connecting a laptop to a handset) and incrementally charge the subscriber for using his or her phone as a “hotspot.”
  • Implement structured or tiered data plans (such as 2GB of data for $20/month, 5GB for $40/month) to acquire new data subscribers with attractive introductory plans, while charging heavy users more. TTM can also offer a subscriber-initiated upgrade to a larger data plan.
  • Apply data traffic rules, such as a “fair usage” policy, under which streaming apps are bit-rate limited after the first 30 seconds. This keeps traffic congestion evenly distributed by preventing a few heavy users from “hogging” all the bandwidth.
  • Prevent “bill shock” by tracking data usage and sending a notification as subscribers reach their usage thresholds.
  • Work with ClearSky’s subject-matter experts to study data traffic and identify new revenue-generating opportunities and drive higher data ARPU.

TTM actively monitors and analyzes data traffic as it flows through the carrier’s network, and then generates actions based on detailed analysis and pre-configured rules. This is accomplished by placing the ClearSky TTM Enforcement Platform in the data stream to measure traffic and subscriber patterns, and perform real-time traffic policy enforcement. The end result is the ability to create and bill for new services, satisfy existing subscribers with fair allocation of resources, and minimize costs of future network expansion.

Tony Tagliareni Appointed ClearSky Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Followed by Hire of New VP of Sales

ClearSky Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of mobile data services to regional wireless carriers, today announced the promotion of Tony Tagliareni to Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, along with the hire of VP of Sales Orral Sezer, both wireless veterans with 30+ years of industry experience each.

Tagliareni has led ClearSky’s sales and marketing team for the past seven years and also is responsible for its Account Management and Customer Service organizations. Since his arrival in 2005, ClearSky revenue has increased nearly 300 percent and the number of clients has increased from under a dozen to 80 in the same time frame. He began his career in the wireless industry in 1982, and worked for several key industry providers including AUXCO, CBIS (now Convergys) and ITDS (now Amdocs). While at ITDS, he led a sales and marketing team that helped grow the company from 50 to over 1,000 employees in five years. Tagliareni earned a B.S. in Computer Science with a minor in Economics.

The company’s launch of new services, including its LTE Services Suite, drove the expansion of the company’s sales efforts, and led to the hire of Sezer to join existing VP of Sales Paul McGahen. Sezer joins ClearSky from Huawei Technologies, where he worked as a Senior Account Manager for the USA market. Prior to Huawei, Sezer spent more than seven years at Tekelec and more than 20 years at Nortel Networks. He earned his first BS degree in Telecommunications at Kara Harb Okulu (Turkish Military Academy), and his BSEE at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

“ClearSky’s product portfolio continues to expand with services for which the regional wireless carriers have an immediate need, such as our new LTE Services Suite; therefore it was imperative to expand our sales force with a seasoned sales professional to bring these much-needed services to the industry as quickly as possible,” said Tagliareni. “Orral has a superior sales pedigree and brings a wealth of experience and specialized wireless networking knowledge to ClearSky; he is sure to be a driving force behind the success of our LTE Services Suite as well as other advanced ClearSky services which will be announced in the coming days.”