The newly founded Siemens Communications Group started operations today on October 1, 2004.

The merger of the former Siemens fixed and mobile communications units - IC Networks and IC Mobile - has created one of the world's largest suppliers in the telecommunications sector. In terms of sales, Siemens Communications shares rank three with Motorola, behind Nokia and Cisco.

The new Group, which is currently represented in more than 160 countries, is headed by Lothar Pauly and subdivided into the three segments Carrier Networks, Enterprise Networks and Devices, with a total of eight divisions. Its Group Executive Management has five members: Lothar Pauly is the Group President and is also in charge of fixed and mobile networks in the carrier segment; Michael Kutschenreuter is responsible for finances; Anton Hendrik Schaaf holds the post of Chief Technology Officer and also oversees the Group's carrier service business; Andy W. Mattes is responsible for enterprise business; and Thorsten Heins heads the Devices unit.

"Siemens Communications has a clear, two-pronged strategy," explains Lothar Pauly. "First, we plan to expand our established business toward end-to-end solutions, from the core network to devices. Second, we will be consolidating our role as a trendsetter in convergence solutions for fixed and mobile networks, public and private networks, and multifunctional devices. Here, we already have a good head start in terms of innovations." Pauly goes on to explain that Siemens Communications is currently the only supplier capable of offering its customers a complete portfolio that covers everything from devices for end-users to complex network infrastructures for enterprises and operators, along with associated lifecycle and professional services.

The Devices segment is subdivided into the three divisions Mobile Devices, Customer Premises Equipment and Wireless Modules, which offer a complete portfolio of multifunctional devices for fixed networks, mobile networks and wireless access, thus enabling a wide range of mobile solutions. The Devices portfolio includes mobile, cordless and system telephones, broadband modems and radio modules.

The Mobile Devices division is headed by Clemens Joos, with Paul Reitmeier in charge of Customer Premises Equipment and Jose Costa e Silva heading Wireless Modules.

The Carrier Networks segment consists of the three divisions Mobile Networks, Fixed Networks and Carrier Services. Carrier Networks provides the complete infrastructure, applications, turnkey solutions (including broadband) and a full portfolio of professional services for mobile network and fixed network operators. On the basis of its fixed/mobile convergence concept, Siemens offers operators of hybrid networks common platforms, applications and broadband solutions for all access types and services.

In addition to being number one in digital telephone switching systems (with more than 300 million installed ports) and in IP convergence solutions, Siemens is a technology leader in broadband access. Over 180 network carriers around the world currently use Siemens mobile communications technology. Siemens is also among the leaders in segments such as Prepaid and Microwave, as well as applications and mobile communication services.

Mobile Networks will be headed by Karl-Christoph Caselitz, Fixed Networks by Christian Unterberger, and Carrier Services by Daniel-Rui Felicio.

Enterprise Networks comprises the two divisions Enterprise Systems and Enterprise Services. Enterprise Networks provides enterprise customers with real-time communications systems and applications, solutions (including security) and a full range of professional services designed to help them improve their business processes. With presence-based applications such as HiPath OpenScape, the common HiPath 8000/ SURPASS softswitch platform bridges carrier and corporate networks and supports enterprises in boosting their productivity.

Enterprise Systems is headed by Bernd Kuhlin, while Gerhard Otterbach is responsible for Enterprise Services.

Zi Corporation's Text Input Technology Pre-Integrated on Series 60; Easier Texting Now Available on the Leading Smartphone Platform

Zi Corporation, the leading provider of intelligent interface solutions, today announced that its advanced eZiText technology is now pre-integrated and available to Series 60 licensees worldwide.

With this Series 60 Platform announcement, Zi is now pre-integrated on all the major operating system platforms for mobile phones. It further strengthens the profile of Zi's expanding presence in the global wireless market. Series 60 licensees will be able to license eZiText directly from Zi.

Series 60 Platform is developed by Nokia, and it is the world's leading smartphone platform, with millions of devices already in the market. The platform is noted for its data capabilities and extensive feature set.

With the pre-integration of eZiText, licensees of the Series 60 Platform now have the option to use eZiText's core capabilities in all supported languages and benefit from minimal integration effort and faster time-to-market. Through eZiText's robust Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), licensees will also be able to customize and enhance the eZiText input experience to add features or create differentiation. An eZiText Front End Processor (FEP) is also now available to manufacturers through Zi. The FEP is a fully developed user interface that manages the entire text input interface and display of eZiText on the Series 60 Platform.

"Smartphone manufacturers that have chosen the Series 60 Platform can now benefit from Zi's competitive and feature-rich technology quickly and seamlessly," said Mike Donnell, president and CEO of Zi Corporation. "Zi is committed to fully supporting the Series 60 Platform and to extending the benefits of eZiText to smartphone users everywhere."

eZiText functions within all Series 60 applications that require or provision predictive text entry including messaging (SMS and MMS), Web browsing, calendar, phone book, notes and others. End users will benefit from the ease of use and speed benefits of Zi's text input capabilities as a core function of the handset. eZiText is available in and supports over 41 unique language databases.

Panasonic Mobile Communications has introduced the X300 to the UK market. The X300 is the first mobile phone to incorporate a one-push pop-up screen. This tri-band handset also combines video record and playback capability, polyphonic ring tones, Multimedia Messaging (MMS) and a CMOS VGA built-in digital camera.  Shipments for the UK have already begun.

Graham Carter, General Manager, Panasonic Mobile Communications UK, comments, "This handset is an exciting addition to Panasonic's product line up.  Combining an innovative design with advanced mobile and imaging technology, the X300 draws on many of Panasonic's core areas of expertise. Its innovative, pop-up screen design, transforming a high-quality mobile phone into a digital camera with the capability to shoot short video clips as well as still shots, will appeal to the growing number of digital camera phone users in the UK market."

Style and function
In accordance with the other mini and fashion handsets in the Panasonic mobile phone range, the X300 brings advanced technology into a stylish and creative design.  Available in a silver and black finish, it weighs just 87 grams and measures 92 x 49 x 21mm.  Light and easy to use, the X300 is designed for the style-conscious user who will also benefit from the latest mobile technology available.

Share the moment
The X300 allows users to send photos and video clips to other mobile users through its GPRS, EMS and MMS functionality.  Its innovative design will give the user maximum flexibility when creating these images.

Video capability
With its one-push, pop-up screen and built-in digital VGA camera with video capability, the X300 is a pioneer in mobile imaging technology. This handset has a 65K colour screen allowing the user to view photographs and short video clips with excellent clarity.  The camera also incorporates a self-timer function as a further benefit to users.

Back to basics
In addition to its advanced imaging and design features, the X300 has all the functions that you would expect from a mobile phone.  'Its tri-band capability allows users to make calls and send messages whilst abroad.'The handset's 40-polyphonic ringtones, WAP capability, calendar, calculator, built-in games and wallpapers, as well as the option to download additional logos and ringtones, further enhance and personalise the user experience.

New appointment will provide Series 60 licensees with a comprehensive solution for their product creation needs

Mobile Innovation, the leading user interface (UI) designer, developer, and integrator for mobile devices, has announced that it has joined the Series 60 Product Creation Community. The appointment of Mobile Innovation as a Series 60 Competence Center further underscores Mobile Innovation's reputation for delivering quality software for Series 60 licensees, whilst also recognising its unique expertise in creating differentiated, innovative UI solutions.

"As the mobile industry continues to migrate to robust smartphones such as those powered by the Series 60 Platform, the requisite advancements in communications, messaging, and application functionality creates unique design challenges and opportunities," says Antti Vasara, Vice President, Technology Marketing and Sales, Nokia. "Close collaboration with expert companies, such as Mobile Innovation will increasingly provide innovative, integrated solutions that reduce system cost and enable us to bring products to market more quickly."

The Series 60 Platform, developed and licensed by Nokia, is built on Symbian OS. Series 60 is currently a leading smartphone platform in the world and licensed by some of the foremost mobile phone manufacturers. The large colour screen size, easy to use interface and suite of applications make the software ideally suited to support new mobile services, such as rich content downloading and Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS). Series 60 based phones have been on the market since 2002.

The Product Creation Community was created to accelerate the crucial steps in bringing a Series 60 terminal to market. Series 60 Product Creation Community members provide services ranging from Symbian OS base porting and Series 60 integration to target hardware, to User Interface customization and the development and integration of new applications. As a Competence Center, Mobile Innovation will offer a broad range of capabilities and extensive resources for large-scale Series 60 design, development and integration projects.

Mobile Innovation is known around the world as a leading developer of user interface and application software for smartphones and communicators, and will therefore bring a wealth of experience in designing, developing, integrating and delivering customised user interfaces to the Product Creation Community, providing Series 60 licensees with a comprehensive solution for their product creation needs. The company's unrivalled experience in managing platforms based on Symbian OS - and in shipping devices based on these platforms - coupled with its unique UI design skills, makes the company an ideal partner for Series 60 product creation projects.

"The opportunity to work with Nokia and Series 60 licensees is extremely exciting for us. We are passionate about Series 60 product creation and about the opportunity to develop quality solutions with the world's leading handset manufacturers for the rapidly developing smart phone market" says Jonathan Sulenski, chief executive officer and co-founder, Mobile Innovation. "Our world-class engineering expertise and skill base is at the heart of our ability to deliver reliable and profitable products. Through our proven design, delivery, and integration approach, we are committed to simplifying the creation of advanced mobile phones."

As a Series 60 Competence Center, Mobile Innovation has been recognised as a top-tier software development company with a deep understanding of end-to-end Series 60 integration. Series 60 Competence Centers are required to have extensive mobile industry experience and ability to offer licensees a broad scope of expertise in many areas of a Series 60 phone project. Also, because Competence Centers are capable of dedicating whole engineering teams to Series 60 projects, they are an ideal choice when licensees require more extensive collaboration.

Product Creation Community members are evaluated against stringent qualification criteria. The Product Creation Community, as a whole, is orchestrated to ensure Series 60 licensees can choose from a comprehensive portfolio of world-class expertise. In addition, collaboration with industry-leading experts helps accelerate continual innovation around the Series 60 Platform.

Stereo quality music, comedy, sporting or movie clips bring ring backs to life!

A new service that dramatically improves the sound quality of RingBack Tones  has been announced by Alatto Technologies, the leading provider of value added solutions for mobile operators. 

Crystal Tones  is an innovation that allows phone users to replace the standard ringing tone that is heard before the call connects with personalised, stereo-quality music, comedy, sporting or movie clips.

It is widely expected that RingBack Tones will become as pervasive with mobile users as ring tones and logos. Market analysts Ovum predicts that European operator revenue from RingBack Tones will reach €721m by 2008. The only European independent research on this area was commissioned recently by Alatto. The  results showed  that 37% of all Europeans between the ages of 15 and 49 would pay for a ringback service.

To date, RingBack Tones have delivered disappointing listening experiences for callers as mobile networks were optimised for speech rather than music.  However, Crystal Tones, uses a unique proprietary algorithm to improve the  quality of the audio clips. The result is that callers hear higher-fidelity sound reproduction with far less distortion.

The consumer interface (known as "vConnect") is exceptionally easy to use.  Subscribers can use a web interface or a phone keypad to select personalised RingBack tones from a library of songs, comedy clips and sound effects.  Different tones can be selected and played for different callers.  However mobile operators' technical staff will also find Alatto's Crystal Tones easy to deploy as it integrates with any RingBack tone system and can be customised to meet operators' existing processes.

John Whelan, Product Manager of  Alatto says: "The higher the fidelity of the music transmitted, the more consumers will use the service.In head to head comparisons, the audio processed by Crystal Tones consistently beat all comers.  It could be the answer for operators seeking a competitive advantage and higher revenues per user.”

People kept close to their keypads during August, traditionally a quiet time as schools break up and families head off to enjoy some quality leisure time together at home and abroad.

Text messaging figures continued to climb, recording their second highest monthly total for 2004 of 2.193 billion, according to figures released today by the Mobile Data Association (MDA). Person-to-person texts sent across the UK GSM network operators last month show an increase of 29.1% on the total sent during the same period in 2003, and a daily average of 71 million compared to 55 million in August 2003. The overall total of messages sent during the summer months of June, July and August was 6.45 billion.

On the 26th August 79 million text messages were sent as youngsters shared GCSE results and success with friends and family, according to statistics also released today by the Mobile Data Association. The new total is 52% higher than the 52 million text messages recorded in 2002, when the MDA last monitored text messaging statistics on GCSE results day, and continues the upward trend of communicating by text at this nail biting time.

It’s not just the kids that are sharing their news by text either! During the Summer months, the Mobile Data Association (MDA) and Shearings Holidays hosted a series of drop in text messaging workshops and special promotion days for the 50+ age group at Wyevale Garden Centres throughout the UK. A team of Text Messaging Experts were present at each centre to answer specific queries, teach people how to text and provide guidance on using handsets at home and abroad.

Of all the visitors to the 30 garden centres, 50% expressed an interest in learning how to text, 16% were happy to give it a go and 30% were already comfortable using the technology! The highest number of people shown how to text at any single location were 260 recorded in Swindon. In fact, people generally were amazed at how easy text messaging was once they had been shown what to do.

Most popular questions asked were about how to use predictive text, how to punctuate a text message and there was much interest in the subject of picture messaging.

15% of visitors were interested in improving their existing text messaging ability whilst those attending the workshops from Harlestone Heath, Northampton and Hereford were already happy texting on a regular basis.

Over the last five years text.it (www.text.it) has witnessed text messaging grow from a popular craze to becoming an essential communication tool. The full statistics of this text message explosion and monthly figure releases can be found at: www.text.it/mediacentre/default.asp?intPageID=96.

Text.it carries out text message counts on specific days throughout the year. Diary dates incorporating the most recent figures are listed on the web site at www.text.it/mediacentre/default.asp?intPageID=478.

Mobile Operator Streamlines Back Office to Improve Efficiency and Service Levels

Cramer today announced the successful operational deployment of its software at Pannon GSM, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norwegian incumbent Telenor, and Hungary's premier mobile operator serving approximately 36 percent of the market.

Pannon GSM is using Cramer to improve speed, consistency and efficiency across Planning and Operations.

Cramer is now Pannon's application for managing changes to its transmission network configuration, including automatic circuit routing, data integrity management and network inventory.

The project has migrated data sources into the Cramer application, providing a much simpler, more accessible and complete view of both backbone and access networks. Further project phases will increase the integration between Cramer and other applications such as trouble ticketing and fault management.

With Cramer now live, Pannon has an efficient tool to find root causes of network defects, and has reduced considerably the amount of time previously spent searching for free capacity and available physical links on the network.

Cramer partner Fornax provided systems integration support for the project.

Douglas Gracie, Cramer's SVP Worldwide Services commented: "Cramer has established a strong track record in supporting integrators to deploy our software. The success with Fornax at Pannon adds to that record, and reflects our partner-centered model for solution delivery."

VidZone deal brings Franz Ferdinand, Stereophonics, Eric Prydz and The Libertines music videos to 3

3, the UK’s first video mobile network, is enhancing its video jukebox service with a repertoire from Independent artists including Mercury award winners Franz Ferdinand, Stereophonics, the UK’s No1 single Eric Prydz and The Libertines.

The video jukebox service offers 3 customers a selection of the latest full-length music videos to watch on their mobiles, four to six weeks in advance of the single launch. The service launched in August with BMG’s roster of major artists such as; Outkast, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, and Britney Spears, has proved popular with 3’s customers, who are downloading tens of thousands of music videos every month.

VidZone, which runs Europe’s largest online video subscription service, will supply 3 with music videos from the Independent record sector. Fifteen Independent labels are already signed up to offer videos to 3 customers including Beggars Group and XL Recordings, V2, Ministry of Sound, Sanctuary Group and Domino Records.

From this week, the independent video selection will include Franz Ferdinand’s Michael, The Libertines’ Can’t stand me now, Ultrabeat’s Better than Life and the UK’s No 1 single Call on Me by Eric Prydz.

Graeme Oxby, Marketing Director at 3, commented:  “For most of our customers, the mobile phone is the first place that music lovers see the latest music videos – this deal with VidZone gives them an even wider choice.”

Adrian Workman, CEO of VidZone, said “Including Independent music videos on 3’s video jukebox is a critical step in broadening the distribution of independent music in the UK. The artists from Independent labels that have supported this initiative will benefit enormously from their videos reaching 3’s customer base of over 1.2 million.”

Videos will be priced at £1.50 and will be available to stream (i.e. play once) or download to the handset. 

Alternatively, music-mad 3 customers will be able to purchase a ‘Video value Add-on’ which for £10 per month will allow them to enjoy as much of 3’s unparalleled music and entertainment content as they can squeeze in over the course of a month.

Video jukebox is the latest addition to 3’s constantly evolving music services which include a range of original programming from music partners such as MTV, Pete Tong and Zane Lowe to provide the latest exclusive video news, views, and performances to ensure 3 customers see as well as hear what hot in music.

Ofcom today published proposals for the future pricing of Wireless Telegraphy Act (WT Act) licences. The proposals are aimed at ensuring that radio spectrum - the frequencies used for hundreds of different wireless communications services - is allocated to those people and organisations that value it most.

The spectrum is a finite and scarce resource, vital to the UK economy. Providers of a broad range of wireless communications services - from television and radio broadcasts to radar and mobile phones - must hold a WT Act licence.

Section 3 of the Communications Act 2003 requires Ofcom to secure the optimal use of the spectrum and to secure a wide range of electronic communications services throughout the United Kingdom. Ofcom is also required (under Section 2 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1998 and Section 154 of the 2003 Act) to have regard to present and future demand for use of that spectrum for wireless telegraphy.

Later this year, Ofcom will outline its overall approach to spectrum management in the Spectrum Framework Review. However, it has already made clear its intention to adopt a more dynamic, market-oriented approach. Today's consultation is another step toward this goal.

An important part of these plans is the continued application of Administered Incentive Pricing (AIP). AIP helps to encourage efficient use of the spectrum by providing a financial incentive for WT Act licence holders to utilise their spectrum allocation fully.

Today's proposals take account of the findings of an independent report by Indepen, Aegis and Warwick Business School along with further research by Ofcom which reviewed the case for AIP and the appropriate level of prices.

TODAY'S PROPOSALS
Many licence holders will see no change in their WT Act licence fees, although others will be affected as follows:

* Fixed Wireless Services - Point-to-Point Microwave Links
- Some increases.

* Programme Making and Special Events
- Some increases.

* Business Radio
- Some increases affecting certain national and regional licences.

* Television and Radio Broadcast
- No immediate changes.
- However, Ofcom is consulting on outline proposals for ways in which AIP could be applied to television broadcast spectrum in the future. For example, AIP could serve as a valuable incentive for broadcasters to achieve switchover to digital transmission in line with Government plans. Further consultation will be carried out in this area before any
changes are introduced.

* 2G mobile telecommunications
- No change.

* 3G mobile telecommunications
- AIP does not apply here as these licences were acquired through an auction.

The closing date for responses to the consultation is 3rd December 2004.

New version of desktop SMS includes low cost reply functionality and message status tracking

(aq), one of the UK’s fastest growing mobile messaging providers, has launched a new version of desktop SMS which allows users to send SMS, receive replies and track the status of message delivery at an extremely low cost.

The interactive desktop SMS software, which is free to download, allows SMS to be sent securely from your computer to mobile and fixed-line handsets, and includes reply functionality as well as status tracking, address book and distribution list features. 

The main benefit of desktop SMS is that it is a more secure and faster way of sending SMS and the software can sit on your desktop PC at all times.  Users can then send bulk text messaging campaigns at the touch of a button, and when a reply is received the software will pop up and notify you of an inbound message.  As well as inbox and outbox features, the application includes proxy support for corporate networks and message delivery status reporting.

Dr Adam Beaumont, managing director of (aq), comments: “We have thought long and hard about how to develop low cost inbound SMS functionality, and are delighted with the performance of our new desktop application. It uses a reply window, so that any sent messages which are replied to within 12 hours of delivery will be routed back to the sender automatically. The sender simply pays the cost of the outbound message. The alternative solution is for companies to establish a dedicated outbound number, which will allow an unlimited reply window but at a much greater cost."

Kodiak Networks, the leading provider of advanced wireless systems, has announced that is has been ratified as the newest Associate Member of the GSM Association (GSMA). The GSMA is a global trade association for the world’s GSM mobile operator community, whose members serve more than 1.1 billion people across 209 countries and territories.

Kodiak recently announced the commercial availability of Orange’s TalkNow GSM service in Europe. Orange TalkNow service is powered by the standards-based, Kodiak Real-Time Exchange (RTX) System and allows end customers to enjoy premium wireless voice services in addition to PTT, including instant availability, quick conferencing and real-time contact and group management via the handset.

Kodiak Networks is the first member of the GSMA to commercially deploy advanced PTT systems around the world. Commercial deployments of the Kodiak RTX span several continents and include Asia/Pacific wireless operator IT&E Overseas, located in Guam; multi-national European operator Orange S.A., and U.S.-based carriers, ALLTEL and Cellcom.

Bill Gajda, the GSMA’s Chief Marketing Officer said, “We are pleased to welcome Kodiak Networks as the newest member of the GSM association and look forward to the knowledge, foresight and expertise they will bring to our forums and meetings.”

“Kodiak Networks is delighted to be a ratified member of the GSMA. This important step affirms our continued support of wireless industry standards, which we consider a cornerstone for developing innovative, advanced wireless services for the global GSM market,” said F. Craig Farrill, president and CEO, Kodiak Networks. “Our membership in the GSMA validates our ongoing commitment to commercially deliver standards-based, next-generation packet-switched solutions to GSM wireless operators around the world.”

Racal Instruments Wireless Solutions, an Aeroflex company, has announced its enhanced and upgraded 3G base station test system, the 6413A. The 6413A has been designed to help network operators rigorously test their networks prior to roll-out and to guarantee continued quality of service. It is expected to replicate the success of RIWS’ market leading 6113 base station test system used by virtually every manufacturer and operator in the world with sales standing at over 2,000 units.

Traditional base station test systems focus on transmitter testing mainly because receiver testing is inherently complex and difficult. The 6413A’s lub control is a unique feature allowing network operators to carry out both receiver and transmitter testing. Operators that conduct transmitter only tests or just use a test mobile to make test calls risk failing to meet their expected quality of service. This feature makes the 6413A unrivalled in the level of test coverage it can provide and the thoroughness with which operators can test all aspects of a base station’s performance. In addition to increasing confidence levels in the performance of 3G networks as they are rolled out, a further benefit of receiver testing is that it allows operators to identify any gradual degradation in base station performance that may be missed by conventional network monitoring tools.

Commenting on the importance of the 6413A to the industry, Stephen Hire, RIWS’ marketing manager said, "As mobile networks have matured, subscribers have become less tolerant of poor quality of service. This makes it all the more important for network operators to ensure that their base stations are properly installed and then adequately maintained on an ongoing basis."

The new 6413A is more compact for increased portability and is even easier to use than its predecessor the 6413, incorporating embedded touch-screen technology. Orders are now being taken and the majority of initial sales are expected in Europe and APAC.

External Links

RIWS

Mobeon, the mobile messaging software provider, has launched Creator – an SMS plug-in for Outlook. Similar to a wireless ‘instant messenger’ service, it will enable users to send SMS messages direct from their email account.

Designed for the corporate sector, the service specifically integrates telecoms messaging into desktop email, rather than the other way round. This ensures that all email stays behind the firewall, thus avoiding any security issues.
 
The Mobeon solution meets the growing demand for keeping in touch while on the move, as staff can choose the most appropriate method of communication  email or text message  to reach a colleague out of the office urgently, from one email account. Using a full-size keyboard also makes it easier to write text messages quickly and accurately.
 
For mobile working to be a viable option for businesses, employees need to be able to keep in touch wherever they are, said Robert Vangstad, vice-president of marketing at Mobeon. Our solution provides a quick link to mobile workers - its the instant messenger of the mobile world - and were confident it will be the next big thing following the initial success of SMS. This has the potential to revolutionise internal communications - office-based staff dont need to use their mobile phones to text an urgent message to colleagues; they now have access to all communication methods through one application.
 
Users are already familiar with the Outlook interface, so do not need any further training. The service is also totally secure as email stays behind the firewall while voicemail and SMS are brought into the corporate environment, which meets most company security requirements, he added.
 
Individuals can either install the software themselves from a Microsoft Outlook CD or via their mobile operators website. This creates a Send SMS function within the email application. When a message is sent via the Mobeon M3 centre installed at the mobile operator, it turns the message into SMS format, so it can be viewed on a mobile phone.
 
In addition, users can programme SMS alerts to remind them of appointments, send a calendar summary or as notification of new email. Currently available to users of Outlook XP and Exchange 2003, all the usual SMS functions exist, including the ability to resend and forward old SMS messages, as well as add in new phone numbers.

External Links

Mobeon

In trials conducted as part of a GSM Association initiative, Vodafone, Belgacom and Cable & Wireless have demonstrated dramatic reductions in the cost, complexity and time involved in supporting cross-network MMS traffic

The new standards-based system enables payment information to be cascaded through the various networks across which MMS messages travel, allowing multiple operators involved in the delivery of a message to be recognised. The trial establishes a multilateral ‘hub’ concept whereby operators will only have to connect once to reach all the networks connected to that hub, (and through interconnect arrangements between hubs, reach operators connected to other hubs). This combined solution offers mobile operators unrivalled levels of connectivity, security, billing and settlement, while maintaining the independence of each operator to determine its own pricing structures.

Alan Harper, Head of Strategy at Vodafone Group and champion of the Initiative on the GSM Association’s Board explained, “As the system provides the ability to connect to many other operators with one connection and one agreement, we and any others that connect will be able to offer our customers seamless, global MMS services much more quickly. This is something that can benefit all mobile operators and their customers. We were looking for a global solution not just a system for Vodafone and that is why we worked with the GSMA to trial this system.”

“The MMS trial proves the concept of new structures for new data services and demonstrates that the operator community is leading the industry’s development for the benefit of all customers,” explained Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board, GSM Association.

The new standards-based system has been developed in direct response to a specific need amongst operators that were frustrated by the complexity of the existing processes. To date, network interconnection has been achieved bi-laterally which means, for example, that for a user on one network to have the ability to send an MMS messages to any GSM network, over 660 operators would have to create 650 bilateral connections and agreements. Without a hub, each connection would need to be implemented and tested to ensure technical interoperability and a commercial structure would need to be put in place for each.

In the trials, both Belgacom and Cable & Wireless added switching and billing functionality to their GRX networks to provide the hub function and cascade billing support and Vodafone subsequently connected a number of its member companies into the hubs. This additional capability, which builds on Belgacom and Cable & Wireless’ existing products, has provided both GRX carriers with the ability to offer mobile operators a one-stop-shop for MMS connections amongst multiple networks.

Alan Whelan, Managing Director, Carrier Services, Cable & Wireless explained, "We're delighted to have contributed towards the establishment of a new standard for the mobile data industry. Our collaboration with the GSMA should help pave the way towards a viable one-stop-shop solution that allows mobile operators to connect into a single community, offering greater economies for operators, enhanced speed to market, and provides the mobile operators with a sustainable commercial model going forward."

Bridget P. Cosgrave, President of Belgacom International Carrier Services concluded, “We are proud that we have succeeded to deliver the foundation for multimedia messaging inter-networking in conjunction with the GSMA and Vodafone group of operators.  We are convinced that the ability to send and receive MMS, to and from other networks is key to stimulate take-up and deliver on high expectations for these new services.”

External Links

GSM Association