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The number of mobile phone subscribers that use their phones for mobile banking transactions will exceed 150m globally by 2011, according to a new study by Juniper Research. The figures refer to additive banking which is focused on developed markets rather than transformational banking, which is focussed on extending banking services to customers who cannot be reached profitably with traditional branch-based financial services

The Juniper Research report is said to have established that the mobile banking market is currently most advanced in the Far East, but that growing numbers of mobile banking services are being offered in North America and Western Europe. The developed nations of the Far East, North America and Western Europe are forecast to account for over 70% of the user base by 2011.

Mobile Banking report author Howard Wilcox commented: "Transactional or "push" mobile banking is being offered increasingly by banks via downloadable applications or the mobile web, complementing existing SMS messaging services for balance and simple information enquiries. Mobile banking is a key element in banks' distribution channel strategies as they compete to attract and retain customers."

The Juniper report highlighted the extra user convenience as a key benefit. The mobile phone is the device that people - especially Generation Y - will not leave home without. Mobile banking is an addition to the wide choice of applications and services that they can access through their handsets to make life easier, especially via smart phones such as the iPhone.

However the report identified several factors that will need addressing to really foster market development including financial regulations which vary from country to country, application slickness, and security. Whatever the reality of the strength of the security, it is the perception and image in the mind of the user that dictates whether they will trust the service, says Juniper.   

The study is said to provide an analysis of the trends and issues affecting this market, exploring how the mobile banking market will develop. The report provides forecasts of user take-up, user-level messaging traffic, user-level transaction volumes and gross transaction values for "Push" Mobile Banking Information Services, and "Pull" transactional banking services. The report also presents the strategies of 15 key vendors and 12 mobile banking services in the developing market.

Cellebrite, a provider of carrier-grade mobile phone POS synchronization systems, has today announced that the third largest German mobile operator, the E-Plus Group has introduced Cellebrite's UME-36Pro into 105 stores across Germany to enable customers to easily transfer personal data when buying a new mobile handset. 

Customers purchasing a new mobile phone or moving to the E-Plus network will now be able to transfer personal data like their phonebook contacts from an old device to a newly purchased phone at the point-of-sale (POS). The UME 36 Pro is said to eliminate the tedious and time consuming task of transferring data and protects customer privacy by securely transferring content without exposure to store personnel.

UME-36Pro can also offer backup of mobile content to a USB disk drive, PC, web site or to a server hosted by the operator. Cellebrite claims to be the first and only company that offers a complete backup and transfer solution for the POS and for subscribers by integrating OTA systems to the UME-36Pro.

"We are very satisfied that the E-Plus Group has chosen the UME 36 Pro to enhance their customer relationships" comments Mr. Bernhard Pawlak, CEO of Cellebrite Germany "In the highly competitive and saturated German mobile market, the E-Plus Group counts on direct interaction with their customer at the POS and differentiates through additional services, like mobile phone data transfer. This increases customer loyalty and satisfaction."

Icomera, a provider of cellular broadband gateways, and The Green Bus, a specialist in school transport thinking in the UK, have announced the deployment of free Internet access for students and real-time vehicle tracking on twenty-three routes served by the Birmingham-based school transport operator.

The vehicles utilize Icomera's Moovbox M Series mobile broadband gateway that provides Wi-Fi connectivity on the move with download speeds in excess of two megabits per second. The Green Bus vehicles also leverage the Moovbox for GPS-based location, allowing parents to track a bus's progress in real-time from any web browser. The Green Bus was established in 2005 by a former teacher and now operates environment-friendly bus services for schools throughout the West Midlands. The company's double-decker buses carry over 1,400 children to and from school each day - replacing an estimated two thousand car journeys in the process - with routes designed to travel as close as possible to students' homes and removing the need for passengers to change buses en route.

"We want to make the experience of travelling with us a positive one for the new generation of tech-savvy school children," said Ian Mack, Managing Director at The Green Bus. "With an increasing number of mobile phones and handhelds supporting Wi-Fi, our investment in Icomera's Moovbox enables students to check email, surf the web, and play peer-to-peer games on devices like the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS - all free of charge. More importantly, the built-in GPS functionality of the Moovbox means we can see where our buses are at any time; this feature is being made available on our web site where parents and school staff can securely log in and follow the progress of any particular bus is during its journey via a familiar Google Maps display."

The Wi-Fi service, which is free to all bus pass holders, has been popular with students since its launch late last year with over 50% of users spending more than 20 minutes online, and 25% using the service more than five times. Research has shown that students prefer to travel in the social atmosphere of bus rather than by car, while for parents The Green Bus is more convenient, cost-effective and reduces peak-time congestion outside schools.

"Across our Moovbox deployments worldwide Wi-Fi usage by students is the next biggest demographic after business travelers," said Dave Palmer, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Icomera. "The Green Bus's commitment to providing Wi-Fi access to its school-age passengers while leveraging the GPS capability for schedule adherence and parent reassurance sets a new standard for other school bus service providers to follow."

The Moovbox mobile gateway is a ruggedized Wi-Fi access point and cellular router, offering multiple wide area network (WAN) radios for automatic failover between carriers, and featuring built-in GPS for real-time positioning. Moovbox products are also said to offer secure Ethernet for IP-CCTV, DVR and telematics equipment with remote in-bound access for device control, and supports plug-and-play upgradability to future technologies such as WiMAX and LTE. The multi-user MoovManage service provides real-time device tracking, schedule adherence monitoring, remote device configuration, and Wi-Fi portal and usage statistics.

Although the 2009 outlook for many semiconductor manufacturers is worsening by the day - with share prices have taken a severe hit with millions shaved from companies' market capital over the last 12 months - IMS Research is projecting that the GPS market represents one of the few areas of growth in 2009.
 
In the new report, "WW Market for GPS/GNSS in Portable Devices", the GPS market is forecast to increase by over $200 million between 2008 and 2009. IMS Research Analyst, Tom Arran, states "2008 was the breakout year for GPS in mobile phones. In 2009 GPS will begin to penetrate into a range of vertical markets, such as cameras, laptops, UMPCs, sporting equipment and first responder radios. This will help to drive shipment growth of over 25% YoY". 
 
"OEMs in these markets can use GPS to differentiate their product, while also drive new service revenue streams. Furthermore, location is emerging as a key component of future offerings from companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Nokia, Intel, Mozilla and Ericsson. This will enable a host of new services across all key vertical markets, which in turn will further drive the uptake of GPS".
 
Despite a significant increase in revenue in 2009, IMS Research believes that the best is yet to come. Arran goes on to say "2009 will not be booming year for GPS in portable devices. Looking beyond the current economic turbulence, IMS Research is forecasting the overall market for GPS to demonstrate a 21.2% CAGR between 2008 and 2013.
 
 "There is still a lot of untapped potential and the GPS market needs to mature before breaking the 500 million units per year barrier. One of the more general issues is poor performance in challenging environments. GPS manufacturers need to start seriously considering hybrid location in their offering. The report forecasts the uptake of WLAN location in each of these markets, both as a competitive and complementary technology."
 
"The GPS market remains competitive, despite a number of acquisitions by large semis companies. Standalone GPS manufacturers will need to specialise to monetise, as each vertical market requires different hardware considerations. By developing a diverse portfolio of solutions tailored to specific markets, they can spread risk across a number of OEMs in different vertical markets - ideal in troublesome times".

Orange has today launched Flexible Workforce, a ‘pay as you consume' plan for small and medium business customers. Flexible Workforce provides small and medium businesses that have contract employees, conduct their business at temporary fixed off-site locations, have unpredictable/low mobility requirements or require access to a shared resource, with more adaptable tariff options. 

Martin Lyne, Director of SME, Orange UK, said ‘No one needs to be told of the detrimental effects the recession is having on business in the UK at present. We are particularly conscious of the uncertainties affecting our smaller business customers and we need to ensure we provide flexibility in our plans to help support their changing communications needs. As the only operator to provide such an alternative we feel confident that Flexible Workforce will assist SME's to better weather these economic conditions.'

Available to existing business customers who already have two or more contract subscribers, Flexible Workforce is said to have been designed to address the following concerns of businesses fighting back in order to beat the recession: Provides flexibility around fluctuations in workforce numbers/locations for seasonal/project based businesses; Tackles unpredictable future requirements - so no monthly line-rental contract is required and therefore minimal commitment needed. This will give customers greater control over their costs which will be in direct relationship to usage patterns; Enables shared resource for staff who will only have sporadic non-essential needs for use of a mobile phone for business purposes; Customers will be able to manage their cash flow better as payment is made in arrears of use. This means costs do not have to be absorbed ahead of any incoming revenue; This is a resource that is always available. Therefore if a SME makes the decision to use Flexible Workforce for last minute freelance help etc, deployment is rapid; There are no requirements for top-up payments; Billing is simple with Flexible Workforce subscribers receiving a monthly statement for managing their business costs efficiently.

Option, a wireless technology company, has today announced that its new entry-level USB modem has been selected by O2. Carrying the O2 branding, Option's new iCON 210 HSPA USB modem is shipping to Telefónica O2 Germany. The iCON 210 is the third distinctive USB modem designed and released by Option in the last three months to meet specific market needs of major European and US operators. 
 
The iCON 210 is said to be a compact, easy-to-use device, affordable yet high-performance mobile broadband solution. Option's Zero-CD Plug 'n' Play software allows consumers to access reliable internet and email at HSPA speeds of up to 3.6 Mbps.

BuzzCity, a provider of global wireless communities and consumer services, has announced the release of the BuzzCity Mobile Advertising Index for Q4 2008. The report documents the growth of mobile internet advertising and represents inventory sold across the BuzzCity Mobile Advertising Network. The BuzzCity report tracks, by extension, the growth of off-portal mobile internet use, in more than 200 countries around the world. 

The following statistics show paid advertising banners delivered in the fourth quarter of 2008. Banners are delivered to more than 2000 publisher sites, including BuzzCity-owned mobile community service, myGamma.

Banners Served on BuzzCity Mobile Advertising Network  
Q4 Position         Country             Q4 Banners          Q4 Growth  
  1                     Indonesia             3.6 billion              100%  
  2                       India                  727 million             10%  
  3                   South Africa           465 million            -14%  
  4                  United States           382 million            47%  
  5                      Kenya                  241 million           -19%  
  6                      Egypt                   150 million            54%  
  7                     Romania               135 million             32%  
  8                   Bangladesh             135 million              1%  
  9                   Philippines              116 million           119%  
  10                    Libya                   101 million              -2%  
Total   6.0 billion   49%  
Network Total   7.6 billion     
Network Growth   40%    
 
In the fourth quarter, just over 7.5 billion advertiser banners were delivered across the entire network, representing a quarterly growth of 40%, a slight increase from the previous quarter's growth of 38%.

KF Lai, CEO of BuzzCity, commented on the news: "The Q4 results are significant in light of the current economic situation. We are clearly seeing more advertising on mobiles and expect to see further growth in 2009 as advertisers focus more on accountability in their campaign execution. Even the apparent shrinkage of advertising inventory in South Africa has a silver lining to it: publishers providing greater value and transparency for consumers will sustain demand as they continue to monetise their content in this market."

While the Top 10 performers contributed 80% of the traffic, the network continued to grow beyond these markets; by the end of December 2008, 28 markets exceeded 10 million banners per month compared to 23 in Q3. Year-on-year the network grew by some 300% and growth is expected to continue.

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has today announced that its Board of Directors has named mobile industry veteran Mike Wehrs as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the association, with immediate effect.

In his previous role as Vice President of Industry Affairs and Evangelism at Nuance Communications,  Wehrs was responsible for the company's overall mobile business strategy, product strategy, industry and public policy and a key member of the mergers and acquisitions team. As President and CEO of the MMA, Mr. Wehrs will continue to promote its charter to build a sustainable ecosystem for the mobile marketing industry globally, focusing on delivering benefits to MMA members, establishing guidelines and best practices for future growth, and driving mobile adoption worldwide.

"The MMA has grown tremendously in recent years in terms of membership and our geographic footprint, so we needed a person with world-class leadership skills combined with relevant experience and business acumen to continue to drive our success.  After an extensive search, we found Mike to be the best person to lead the association's activities going forward," said Russell Buckley, MMA Global Chairman and Vice President of Global Alliances at AdMob. "Mike is a proven leader with extensive international executive experience and an established track record within the global mobile industry."

Appointed to lead MMA activities worldwide, Mr. Wehrs has a range of industry association experience, having served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committees for organisations such as CTIA - The Wireless Association, Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) and dotMobi Advisory Group, as well as being an active participant as board member or committee chair for many other industry bodies.

"The MMA is thriving -- representing the entire mobile ecosystem, experiencing a more than 15-fold membership increase and firmly establishing itself as the leading association for the mobile marketing industry worldwide," said Tom Daly, MMA North American Chairman and Group Manager, The Coca-Cola Company. "Mike's record of achievements is impressive. Under his leadership, we're confident that the MMA will continue to lead and implement yet more positive industry advances, maintaining the MMA's position at the forefront of mobile marketing education and guidelines."

Prior to Nuance Communications, Wehrs served as Vice President, Product Management and Global Marketing for Tegic Communications, an AOL company.  As the product management visionary for Tegic's wireless platform and embedded products, and global marketing group leader, he also served as industry standards and public policy representative within a number of industry bodies. Prior to Tegic Communications, Wehrs worked for Microsoft Corporation, where he was responsible for driving industry adoption and business development opportunities in support of many of Microsoft's Windows products. During his tenure at Microsoft, Wehrs held various senior roles, working on technology and standards, as well as directing market research and product planning for Microsoft's Mobile and Embedded Devices division.

"I am honoured and excited to lead the MMA at such an important time in its history," said Mike Wehrs, President and CEO of the MMA. "The mobile channel has been experiencing tremendous growth, and marketers worldwide are embracing mobile marketing as an essential component of their global advertising strategies, capitalizing on its capability to establish a direct link with consumers on a global scale.  I look forward to working together with MMA member companies, MMA Board of Directors and other industry leaders to ensure a vibrant and healthy mobile marketing ecosystem for all."

Ericsson has been selected by Luxembourg operator, P&TLuxembourg, to replace its existing nationwide WCDMA/HSPA access network. This will enable P&T's mobile LUXGSM subscribers to benefit from the latest high-speed mobile broadband services, and is the first contract Ericsson has been awarded by the incumbent operator, P&TLuxembourg.

Under the six-year agreement, Ericsson will supply a WCDMA access network including HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) functionality. This will improve the performance of LUXGSM's mobile broadband services and enable peak speeds of up to 7.2Mbps, the maximum speed commercial HSPA subscriber devices can support at this date. The contract also covers network deployment and integration, as well as support services.
 
Ericsson's HSPA provides fast data-transmission speeds, boosts network capacity and lowers response times for interactive services. The contract will underpin the widespread availability of the latest high-speed mobile broadband services across Luxembourg and give LUXGSM subscribers access to a wide range of innovative services. The 3G radio network renewal will start in the first quarter of 2009.
 
Jean-Marie Spaus, Managing Director of P&TLuxembourg's telecom business, says: "P&TLuxembourg was the first operator to introduce commercial UMTS services in Luxembourg back in 2003. We are now excited about bringing our excellent LUXGSM mobile network to the next technology level. After a well-followed RFQ process, we have selected Ericsson which is the world market leader in this domain and which will provide us a smooth and efficient evolution of our high-speed mobile broadband services. We are looking forward to this new partnership and are committed to delivering the best technology and services to our customers via our LUXGSM subsidiary, the leading provider of mobile services in Luxembourg."
 
Jean-Marc Engels, President of Ericsson Belgium & Luxembourg, says: "We are honored to have been selected by P&TLuxembourg for the supply of a WCDMA/HSPA network. Ericsson's advanced technology will significantly increase network capacity and allow P&TLuxembourg to offer their customers high-speed mobile broadband experience anywhere, anytime."
 

Rohde & Schwarz is introducing the R&S TS DVBH, said to be the first test system for DVB-H-capable user equipment. The new platform is up to now the only DVB-H test solution that has been validated by the Global Certification Forum (GCF). It can handle all five test cases of the GCF's work item 55.

Many network operators already require GCF certification for mobile phones that will be deployed in their networks. The WI 55 tests will be mandatory as of February 2009 as part of DVB-H mobile phone compliance testing. Test houses and user equipment manufacturers will then be able to use the new R&S TS DVBH to perform DVB H compliance tests to ensure that their products are in line with GCF. The system is also suitable for precompliance tests to prepare for certification, says R&S.

The new test solution for DVB H test cases is based on the R&S SFU broadcast test system from Rohde & Schwarz. The multi-standard tester is already being used as a reference signal source in the development of broadcast receivers.

Blyk, the free mobile network for young people funded by advertising, has today announced that as part of the company's recent organizational realignment, Antti Öhrling, the co-founder and current executive director of Blyk will take the helm in the UK as Shaun Gregory, Blyk's current UK CEO, resigns for personal reasons.

"In 2008 Blyk achieved milestones in member and advertiser growth in the UK and it was a pivotal year for Blyk in demonstrating that the model works for both young people and advertisers alike.  We thank Shaun for his contribution to this success." said Antti Öhrling.

Antti Öhrling co-founded Blyk in 2006 with former Nokia president, Pekka Ala-Pietilä, and has been a driving force in the company's strategic direction.  Öhrling's move to the top spot in the UK will ensure that the company's innovative model continues to be a leading force in UK youth media.

At the same time Pekka Ala-Pietilä will lead Blyk's international media partnering approach through which the company will gain greater flexibility and speed to capitalize on new growth opportunities and global demand for its media model.

The announcement follows the company's recent news of an additional €40 million in funding to support it's ongoing operations and accelerated international expansion.

The latest issue of the GSA GSM/3G Market Update is now available for download with the latest facts on the progress of mobile broadband network deployments globally, devices availability, global and regional mobile subscriptions, and commitments to future evolution including HSPA+, EDGE Evolution, and LTE.

This GSM/3G Market Update references results from several new surveys by GSA, with highlights including:

  • WCDMA increased its share of commercial 3G networks to over 70%
  • 254 operators have launched WCDMA in 110 countries
  • Over 93% of commercial WCDMA networks have launched HSPA
  • 237 operators have commercially launched HSPA in 105 countries
  • Over 70% of HSDPA networks support 3.6 Mbps (peak) or higher
  • Over 34 % of HSDPA networks support 7.2 Mbps (peak) or higher
  • 66 commercial HSUPA systems commercially launched in 47 countries
  • 1,095 HSPA devices launched by 148 suppliers. This is broadly equivalent to one new device announcement every day since the first HSPA mobile broadband system was launched on October 18, 2005.
  • The number of HSUPA-capable devices more than quadrupled in just over a year and has reached 153 announced products
  • Opportunities are opening for UMTS (WCDMA-HSPA) deployments in the 900 MHz band (UMTS900)
  • Seven operators have launched UMTS900 services
  • 74 UMTS-HSPA 900/2100 MHz user devices launched
  • Over 1.75 billion GSM, GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA and HSPA subscribers in commercial HSPA-enabled networks
  • New GSA survey confirms 413 EDGE network launches in 177 countries (January 2007 = 196 launched in 105 countries)
  • Over 80% of GPRS operators committed to EDGE
  • Over 62% of commercial HSPA networks also launched EDGE for service continuity and the best user experience

The mobile industry is consolidating around the LTE system with several leading operators committing to LTE deployment. LTE is a natural evolution for GSM/WCDMA-HSPA operators. The LTE path is also supported by the leading CDMA operators

The first HSPA Evolved (HSPA+) systems will shortly enter commercial service, delivering 21 Mbps peak on the downlink

The first step in EDGE Evolution (Dual Carrier) brings the promise of doubling today's EDGE speeds to 592 kbps on existing EDGE-capable networks

Deutsche Post World Net, the global express and logistics provider with its DHL brand, has selected Telefónica to manage its communications services across 28 European countries over the next five years. Telefónica will become Deutsche Post World Net's primary fixed and mobile telecommunications provider in Europe and is expected to help the logistics group save over 150 million euros in costs over the period.

Telefónica will provide secure telecommunications services for 125,000 employees and 2,400 sites in Europe, and will transform Deutsche Post World Net's Internet Protocol (IP) network services.  The service will be delivered by Telefónica in Spain, its O2 businesses in UK, Ireland, Czech Republic and Slovakia as well as new operations and partnerships in 23 other Western European countries. The European service will be managed by a dedicated 24x7 Service Management Centre in Prague and is expected to go live in early summer of 2009, subject to the usual approval by the competition authorities and the completion of the transaction. 

"Deutsche Post World Net has grown through acquisitions and in some countries we operate multiple networks with multiple standards," said John Allan, Deutsche Post World Net's Chief Financial Officer and Head of Global Business Services. "We are delighted that Telefónica will manage and transform our network services across Europe over the next five years and help us pave the way for more cost efficiency throughout our operations."

Julio Linares, COO and Managing Director of Telefónica SA, said: "This contract reflects Telefónica's strategic commitment to the multi-national corporate market and its ability to deliver integrated communications to global leaders like Deutsche Post World Net.  Telefónica's position as the world's leading converged communications provider enables us to quickly develop and deploy the most suitable fixed and mobile solutions as well as IP managed services for global corporates anywhere in the world."

Telefónica will reinforce and extend its global IP backbone in Europe to provide services in 28 countries, including wide area network connectivity, centralized Internet access, local-area network (LAN) services such as wireless LAN, fixed voice, mobile voice and data as well as IT services such as managed security, web conferencing, unified messaging and fixed mobile convergence.  The contract comprises more than 100,000 LAN Ports, more than 60,000 fixed voice devices and 80,000 mobile connections including 24,000 mobile and smartphone devices.

The agreement includes a commitment to continuous innovation in addition to strict service level agreements in order to assure further optimisation and cost savings over the lifetime of the contract.  There are no job cuts planned at Deutsche Post World Net as part of the telecommunications streamlining.

The agreement, with a total contract value of nearly 350 million euros, is Telefónica's largest pan-European combined fixed and mobile contract, and will span Deutsche Post World Net's Freight/ Global Forwarding, Supply Chain / Corporate Information Solutions, Express, Global Mail as well as Global Business Services business divisions in the 28 European countries, excluding Germany.

AdMob, the mobile advertising marketplace, has today highlighted 'explosive' iPod Touch growth and smartphone Operating System (OS) market share in its December 2008 Mobile Metrics Report.
 
iPod Touch requests more than tripled worldwide from November to December, with a particularly large spike in requests the week after Christmas. The iPod Touch is now the #2 device in the AdMob Network with 4.7 percent share.  While 70 percent of iPod Touch requests in December came from the US, it experienced strong growth across major markets including Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany, and France. Combined, the iPhone and iPod Touch represent 15.5 percent of all worldwide requests. 

Other highlights from the December 2008 report include:

  • Smartphones increased from 22 percent of total requests worldwide in May to 33 percent in December.
  • Symbian is the #1 smartphone OS worldwide with 41 percent share. In Asia and Africa it has more than 90 percent share, however the iPhone is challenging its dominance in Latin America and Europe.
  • The iPhone OS had 32 percent worldwide share in December, up from 6 percent in May.(1)
    Worldwide RIM has 10 percent and Windows Mobile has 9 percent OS share. Both are strongest in North America and Latin America.
  • Palm has 4 percent of smartphone OS share worldwide with more than 95 percent of its requests generated in North America. In the US, Palm had 9 percent share in December, declining from 20 percent in July.
  • Android already leads Symbian in North America with 2 percent of OS share.