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Keynote SIGOS, a specialist in active testing of mobile networks, services and components, is showcasing its latest products for mobile operators and service providers at Mobile World Congress.

Keynote SIGOS brings 20 years of expertise and innovation in dealing with the testing and monitoring needs of the mobile world, which it has used to develop and extend the reach of its flagship product SITE (SIGOS Interactive Testing Environment). SITE is now capable of calculating KPIs for moving subscribers performing end-to-end services in addition to static subscriber probes. These mobility tests are geared for vehicles like taxis, trucks or trains and test the real subscribers' experience on the move.  The information is processed to KPIs and displayed on a brightly coloured geographic map.

Key to a global perspective on roaming quality is the consistency of measurements and thus comparability between home network and visited networks, regardless of the monitoring and testing methods used.  This has driven the development of newly defined GRQ (Global Roaming Quality) / IR.81 standards - developed by the GSMA in co-operation with selected partners like Keynote SIGOS.  The new standards will provide a conclusive framework for pro-active testing and reactive monitoring whilst assuring the quality of end-to-end roaming services.  As an additional service, Keynote SIGOS will now be offering special managed service packages on its GlobalRoamer product, in line with the SLA monitoring approach of GSMA.

In addition to these services and products, Keynote SIGOS is attempting to tackle the worldwide issue of the fraudulent use of SIMboxes which continues to impact the revenue of network operators around the world.  Typically roaming calls are intercepted, redirected and terminated whilst being re-conducted via the fraudulent SIMbox, creating a cost / revenue shift along the way.  The revenue leakage caused often goes unnoticed, therefore usually no or only little action is taken, but SIMboxes can result in significant revenue leakage for operators and roaming hub providers and poor quality service for customers, resulting in overall damage to the brand.  With GlobalRoamer, Keynote SIGOS' sophisticated testing infrastructure for roaming calls, SIMboxes can be detected and their negative effects eliminated.

"The quality of a subscriber's experience is not only driven by static service usage but also by service deployment on the move.  Mobility truly represents a real end user experience in the network and it is important that operators fully understand how their service is working at all stages," said Joachim Bamberger, head of sales at Keynote SIGOS.  "In addition to this, it is imperative that operators secure any possible revenue leakage, particularly in the current economic climate.  We aim to arm operators with the tools to do this allowing them to combat threats such as SIMbox fraud, which is an ever increasing problem across the world."

Keynote SIGOS expects to see increased demand in testing of Iu Interfaces over IP in the future due to replacements in network infrastructure with a shift towards IP based technology, as a result, the company now offers the possibility to test circuit and packet switched core network components, like MSC and SGSN with Iu Interfaces over IP.

Anite has announced a forward leap in the implementation of next generation mobile broadband, with an advanced LTE demonstration incorporating the LG Electronics (LG) LTE UE and Anite SAT LTE protocol tester.

The demonstration at Mobile World Congress 2009 is the culmination of more than a year of collaborative working between Anite and LG on a range of LTE mobile development and testing initiatives.

Highlighting the super low latency of LTE, the demonstration is built on Anite's Development Toolset, managing UL / DL datastreams incorporating dual antenna operation and a fully featured protocol stack.

"Working with our long-term test and measurement partner, Agilent Technologies, we are committed to providing the industry with a market leading portfolio of test solutions to accelerate the commercialization of LTE and the mobile broadband experience," said Daniel Oosthuizen, Managing Director, Anite. "We are delighted to have achieved this significant milestone with our partner LG and as a result are now so much closer to helping the industry realize this goal."

The Anite SAT LTE Development Toolset provides a suite of development tools for UE designers. It is the first of the Anite/Agilent portfolio of test solutions designed around a common protocol stack and test environment, enabling rapid development and debug cycles.  Based on the Agilent E6620A the portfolio provides a consistent approach to testing throughout all stages of the handset development lifecycle, reducing risk in customer deliverables and speeding time to market.

"LG is committed to providing the latest innovations in telecommunication networks and advanced technologies like LTE." said Jin-Sung Choi, Vice President and Head of Mobile Communication Technology Research Lab, LG Electronics. "We are pleased to work with Anite to improve LG's 4G LTE network devices of a technology that will be available for end-users soon."

Anite is introducing its latest LTE developments at Mobile World Congress.

Vodafone has signed an agreement with Opera Software to develop a custom-made version of the mobile browser Opera Mini aimed at giving customers with low and mid priced handsets a high quality mobile internet experience on the go.

Opera Mini will be available in Vodafone markets across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The browser is particularly appealing to customers in developing countries who are likely to experience the internet for the first time through a mobile phone. It allows them to browse the internet on the go even on Java low cost mobile handsets.

Vodafone customers will benefit from the ability to enjoy the full web-browsing functionality on Java mobile phones as well as an icon-based display that is easy to personalise. In addition, customers will be able to take advantage of an easy zoom in and out feature which automatically fits the mobile screen and on selected handsets the ability to view video content from popular sites such as YouTube.

At the same time, web pages are compressed by up to 90 per cent before being sent to the customer's handset, which means that browsing is fast even in areas of relatively low network speeds. As a result, the handset is able to devote more of its resources to giving the user a high quality browsing experience.

In early trials in Vodafone Egypt, more than 400,000 customers downloaded the product in a month.

As part of the global framework agreement with Opera Software, selected Vodafone operating companies will be able to pre-embed the Vodafone version of the Opera Mini browser on Java-based portfolio handsets or encourage customers to download it themselves.

"We are confident that the agreement with Opera Software will help to ensure that customers will be able to enjoy an even more fulfilling mobile internet experience on their handsets" said Pieter Knook, Vodafone Internet Services Director.

"The agreement between Vodafone and Opera empowers more people around the world to benefit from a fast and user-friendly mobile internet experience," said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software.

Radware, a provider of integrated application delivery solutions for business-smart networking, introduced today a new version of its Mobile Internet Gateway, a scalable service- and network-aware policy switch for flexible and profitable service introduction.

The Mobile Internet Gateway provides mobile operators a tailor-made, pay-as-you-grow scalable application delivery model; enabling improved real-time classification of on/offnet traffic and partner sites for effective service factory optimization and reduced implementation complexities of mobile back-end resources, while enhancing further monetization of the network for flexible and effective introduction of new service delivery models (SDP) and support new billing policies.

As end-users continue to leverage the mobile Internet for real-time access to next-generation applications and services, mobile operators will require stricter transactional-level management and network insight to ensure optimal quality of experience (QoE). The Mobile Internet Gateway provides an evolutionary path to intelligent service management - when the operator needs it - through increased control over mobile traffic by adding "dynamic awareness" of user status and 3GPP attributes gained through the operator's authentication, authorization and accounting AAA (RADIUS), enabling high speed header enrichments and modifications. These in turn help gain deeper network intelligence and visibility at the microflow level and allow for new ways to optimize and introduce new services in an effective manner resulting in dramatic reductions in total cost of ownership (TCO) as well as new ways to increase the ARPU.

By aligning high speed header enrichments and modifications, Radware's Mobile Internet Gateway will enable service factory optimization by utilizing new "smart" dynamic flow redirection and offloading techniques to reduce the number of servers and optimize service delivery. It will enhance service-level management, optimize and adjust the number of service proxies resulting in better alignment of network and service resources and improved user QoE. Various optimization models such as effective bypass WAP GW for major cost reductions, parental control and more, can be archived by segregation of on/offnet traffic and partner sites, and utilization of high speed header enrichment and modifications.

Operators can also deploy additional mobile front-end capabilities such as modem acceleration (WTCP optimization, caching, image reduction and
compression) to better utilize the radio access network bandwidth and servers available, further enhancing network performance.

"Focused on mobile operator investment protection, our goal is to deliver an intelligent service management path that opens the door to new revenue-generating mobile service opportunities," said David Aviv, Vice President, Advanced Service, Radware. "By deploying our Mobile Internet Gateway mobile operators will be able to advance their back-end datacenters to serve business requirements and ensure long-term cost reductions."

Radware's Mobile Internet Gateway can be deployed transparently in the network, requiring no routing modifications. This simplifies implementation complexities through new capabilities of header enrichments, to improve the time-to-market required to build new mobile combinational Internet and "Walled Garden" value added services.

David Aviv continued, "Enhancing business-resource alignment through added network visibility, control and optimization is critical for future network monetization. Radware's opportunity is to offer its Mobile Internet Gateway as the transitional tool that can help operators evolve their networks from a traditional ‘dumb' pipe into an intelligent, services-rich revenue-generation vehicle."

Radware's Mobile Internet Gateway is part of the company's Business-Smart Data Center initiative, based on an approach that offers a range of innovative capabilities inclusive of pay-as-you-grow procurement models, state of the art on demand platforms, real-time behavioral security and the alignment of network behavior based on business events.

Sonus Networks, a specialist in IP communications infrastructure, today announced the launch of Mobile SecurEdge, a secure IP-peering solution which brings mobile operators the benefits of end-to-end IP connectivity for international roaming and national peering traffic, ultimately providing their end-user customers with greater security, appropriate billing and higher quality for real-time services.

Mobile operators are quickly realizing the cost and performance benefits IP offers in the network. However, as they migrate to all-IP, they require unique solutions that enable them to interconnect legacy equipment with next-generation IP-core technology. Paramount to meeting this challenge is ensuring these connections are made seamlessly, in a cost-effective, highly scalable and efficient manner.

The Sonus Mobile SecurEdge solution provides wholesale carriers with a GSMA-compliant IPX proxy interconnect platform supporting multiple standards for signaling, network interworking and legacy TDM interworking. In this way, wholesale carriers can offer their mobile network operator customers best-in-class interworking solutions via Mobile SecurEdge platform connection to their IPX hubs.

"In a world that becomes more connected each day, IPX interworking is essential to driving the efficiency of our communications," commented Shailin Sehgal, vice president marketing and product management at Sonus Networks. "Interworking between different signaling standards enables mobile operators to connect via the IPX's multi-lateral interconnects without having to implement the complex interworking themselves. Sonus is committed to providing our customers with innovative solutions that support this evolution."

As multimedia communications services evolve such as GSMA's Rich Communications Suite (RCS) for presence-enabled phone books with instant messaging, voice and video content exchanges, the Sonus Mobile SecurEdge is ready to support these.

The Mobile SecurEdge solution builds on Sonus' scalable, carrier class trunking and IP peering platforms  including the GSX9000 Open Services Switch, the PSX Call Routing Server and Sonus' Network Border Switch for enhanced border security, carrying 40 Billion MoU per month across 150+ operators. Deployed in mobile operators IP cores it provides signalling interworking, border security and Gateway MSC (GSM and IS41) functions and within carriers carrier networks it provides arbitrage of least cost routed traffic both through IP and TDM peering, with comprehensive billing/settlement, O&M and performance management to optimise the IP interconnect solution.

Derdack, provider of mobile messaging platforms and notification workflow software today announced that it is launching the beta program of message master nx, the next generation mobile messaging service delivery platform (SDP).  The new product, scheduled for General Availability in April 2009, will bring operational excellence to mobile operators that are running multiple Value Added Services (VAS) and reduce total cost of ownership and improve efficiency for these services.

message master nx is a complementary product to Derdack's message master xsp, the established product which enables businesses such as application service providers, media companies and financial institutions to design and roll out mobile messaging services. message master nx has been specifically developed to meet the requirements faced by mobile operators, delivers greater business agility and more cost effective operational performance.

Mobile network operators typically run a number of different VAS, mobile messaging applications and connectivity services, spread over several servers.  This can be expensive and time consuming to support.  Additionally making changes to existing service offerings or adding new applications can be challenging, often requires external resources and adds to the overall maintenance overhead.

message master nx enables operators to achieve operational excellence across their mobile messaging applications.  Using the innovative software, operators can consolidate existing messaging services onto a single platform and reduce the cost of service, connectivity management and user provisioning.

message master nx provides the following capabilities:

    a.. aggregates and manages external 3rd party SMSC and MMSC traffic via multiple APIs, e.g. for premium SMS services.
    b.. works as a centralised service platform that aggregates VAS logic and traffic
    c.. provides a straightforward graphical interface to enable non-technical resources to design and manage value added messaging services.

Faced with the continued explosive growth of SMS as a communication tool, operators need to invest in new services, capacity and infrastructure to maintain retention rates and appeal to an increasingly discerning customer. message master nx enables users to quickly and easily create new value added services.  Operators will benefit from lower risk and less effort when developing and adapting innovative services that are essential in today's market.

Matthes Derdack, Managing Director, of Derdack said, "Mobile operators are facing a number of challenges that threaten existing business models. This puts a greater focus on optimising data networks in order to remain competitive. message master nx will enable these companies to consolidate their VAS applications and identify profitable services through a holistic view on the overall messaging business thus delivering the potential for significant Return on Investment."

Mobile Internet will grow dramatically despite economic downturn, consumers say Nielsen survey of over 50,000 consumers reveals mobile operators' issues and opportunities.

The first major survey of European and U.S. mobile users conducted during the economic slump gives the telecom industry reasons to be optimistic. Consumers intend to dramatically increase use of mobile data services over the next two years - with a significant ramp-up in the next 12 months.

The Tellabs-commissioned survey shows that up to 71% of consumers anticipate daily use of services such as mobile Internet. Yet mobile users continue to raise concerns about cost, speed and quality of service.

The research, conducted in the five larger Western European countries and the United States by The Nielsen Company for Tellabs, analysed 10 mobile data services. It reveals that more than half of the approximately 200 million mobile data users in those countries expect to increase use in the next two years.

"More significantly, according to the research more than a quarter of the millions of consumers who do not use mobile data services today intend to start using them shortly," said Jesse Goranson, senior vice president of Mobile Media, The Nielsen Company.
"By delving deeper into consumer intent, the Tellabs survey comes just in time as the industry debates demand for services and capital requirements at MWC."

In the surveyed countries alone, operators can expect more network traffic from around 175 million consumers for services such as mobile Internet, E-mail, photo uploading and Multimedia Messaging (MMS). Mobile data is clearly here to stay, offering operators a multi-million dollar opportunity.

Mobile data has become a consumer necessity "Mobile data services are not a luxury, but a necessity that consumers plan to purchase despite economic conditions," said Pat Dolan, vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Tellabs. "By planning urgent and strategic network upgrades, operators can quickly and cost-efficiently address users' issues and meet increasing demands on networks."

The detailed breakdown of the top five services that non-users intend to start using shows that anticipated demand is not evenly split. U.S. consumers will drive more new mobile Internet use than Europeans: Around half of U.S. non-users of the mobile Internet intend to use it in the next two years, compared with a third of non-users in Europe.

In the European countries close to 40% of non-users also expect to start using MMS. Italy tends to be the leading adopter across all services, while Germany shows comparatively low adoption rates.

Survey points to issues to be addressed
Consumers also highlighted the greatest issues operators need to address:  cost (too expensive or unclear), speed, quality and reliability.

Pressure on networks will be compounded as 41% of European and 71% U.S. respondents anticipate daily use of mobile Internet services. Mobile e-mail is on a similar growth trajectory, as it is increasingly available through a range of mobile devices.

The sustained increase in high-bandwidth applications and corresponding data traffic will create significant challenges for mobile operators looking to maintain profitability. Since most of the growth is expected within the next 12 months, this issue demands immediate attention.

"In Tellabs' experience, timely, strategic changes to mobile operators' networks will enable them to reduce costs, increase speed of services and improve quality and reliability," said Dolan.

GeoSentric Oyj's GyPSii business unit today announced the launch of the GyPSii OpenExperience API (OEx), the all-inclusive platform for incorporating location-based social networking functionality into embedded mobile clients and applications. The company will be demonstrating select services of OEx on the soon to be released GyPSii native application support for the iPhone at Mobile World Congress.

OEx supports a whole new "user experience" on mobile devices, as seen on the iPhone and other new user experience based mobile platforms. OEx allows GyPSii partners to enhance their own products and services with the rich location-specific features, content and community of the GyPSii mobile social network.  In using the API, partners can leverage GyPSii's vast international infrastructure and immediately offer new services to their customer base.  

"The launch of GyPSii OEx falls straight in line with our on-device business strategy," said Dan Harple, CEO at GyPSii. "It already powers our own mobile social network and is currently in use by industry leaders Samsung, Navteq and Garmin to offer enhanced services to their customers.  As demand grows for a smarter mobile and Internet connected world, OEx is focused on embedding GyPSii on as many devices as possible, where the actual UI (user interface) is owned entirely by the customer."

Unlike other mobile social networking platforms, which offer only a tiny subset of the desktop functionality, the OEx API is the same platform upon which GyPSii's own experience is built, providing partners access to new, feature-rich services from deep within the GyPSii community.  It will give partners complete flexibility on how GyPSii is integrated into their own devices and applications, providing the platform to integrate anything from a single "create a piece of geo-tagged content" or "friend finding" feature, to a full social networking experience, including the serving of location based advertising.

"From day one, GyPSii was built as a multi-platform social network with mobile-specific features and numerous location lookup technologies being at the center of our API," continued Harple.  "OEx is also battle-tested, being the platform on which GyPSii's large and growing stable of clients is built, working across the iPhone, Symbian, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and Web based operating systems."

GyPSii members can experience a broad range of location-specific functions and mobile lifestyle services - including user generated content sharing, friend finding and social networking, as well the ability to view it all on a map - within a single easy-to-navigate user interface. 

NEC will showcase its latest developments in real-time, multi-device personalisation services which will be available for live demonstrations at Mobile World Congress 2009.

NEC has developed a personalisation module for service delivery platforms (SDP), which allows multiple devices' behaviour to be adapted to a specific user based on personal details. The module dynamically changes the delivery of services to utilize user preferences, context and device capabilities. End users personalise their communications experience via a secure web-based profile, adding value to the information they receive and allowing them to set preferences and permissions individually to all their contacts and service providers.

This technology places end users at its heart. Based on dynamic analysis of all communications, it is set to generate great change to the end user experience of their mobiles, televisions, laptops and other devices, integrating all of these on one management platform.

At the core of the technology is a middleware that sits on the network and provides a policy-based communication control system. This enables user-driven, dynamic personalisation including personalised real-time decisions. The technology can handle multi-device and multi-session scenarios for an advanced NGN service platform. It provides single, user-centric converged control of all communication and content services in fixed and mobile networks and presents multi-device support.

This technology presents customers with a high quality, personalised experience aiming towards future SDP technologies in the market. It will lead to revenue generation and important market differentiation for operators and third party service providers in the service delivery chain.

Heinrich Stüttgen, Vice President of NEC Europe, says: "Telecommunication markets are experiencing strong competition for delivering new revenue-generating services. It is thereby crucial to satisfy increasing user expectations for advanced services that utilize available devices, their capabilities, a variety of subscriptions, context information, and user profiles. These new services need to support group interactions (Social Networking) and advertisement-supported services."

Heinrich Stüttgen continues: "It is NEC's aim to provide a simple, intuitive, high quality customer experience and a way for operators and third party service providers to add value to their end users."

SpinVox, a global specialist in voice to content messaging, has announced its intention to release SpinVox Create, an open API (Application Programming Interface) to VMCS, the world's largest commercial speech platform.

SpinVox Create is a response to an increasing demand for voice conversion services from technology developers who recognise that a speech interface enables the most natural form of communication and who want to build Speech 2.0 applications and are looking for best-in-class open products. 

SpinVox intends to deliver SpinVox Create as a simple, straightforward API to leverage its commercial speech platform - which is growing fast and already has 30 million users - to enable any developer with Web access to quickly build commercial speech applications.  It will also enable SpinVox to collaborate with third parties to foster further innovations in voice and expand the Speech 2.0 market, complementing SpinVox existing platform development services for Enterprise application partners and Carrier networks.

Voice innovation on Apple, Nokia, Google and Windows Mobile platforms
"SpinVox has already created a lead in restoring the primacy of voice with carriers on five continents around the world and with its range of Web 2.0 and Enterprise Unified Communications services.  Speaking is also the most efficient way of communicating and further connecting it across the divide to messaging and Web will transform the value of speech," says SpinVox co-founder and CEO, Christina Domecq.

"It's that convergence of the voice and text-based worlds that is causing a paradigm shift in how we communicate daily.  Now, with the pre-announcement of SpinVox Create we will see a new generation of speech-enabled applications delivering increasing levels of productivity in Enterprise applications and adding Voice to the User Interface innovations on the Apple iPhone, Nokia Series 60, Google Android and Microsoft Windows Mobile platforms," she emphasises.

Developers can pre-register their interest in SpinVox Create in advance of its launch via a Web registration page - www.spinvox.com/services - which will be released at Mobile World Congress 2009 as part of SpinVox brand new Web presence.  The site will also feature a brief overview of the API programme that will lead to the development of a SpinVox software development toolkit (SDK). 

The first hundred registrations will each receive a package of SpinVox voicemail-to-text conversions worth over £200 each.

SpinVox is expecting rapid uptake of the API, particularly in Silicon Valley where SpinVox Web 2.0 Services such as SpinVox Blog and SpinVox Social Networks have been particularly popular.

"This is just the beginning of SpinVox extending its business in a three-stage strategy that will be rolled out in the first half of 2009.  We believe that Speech 2.0 applications will be one of a cluster of innovations that will drive the next upturn as people are increasingly enabled to re-discover the power of their voice," adds Domecq.

"SpinVox has created a new category of real-time, carrier-grade speech conversion and is now helping talented developers take advantage of the next growth opportunity.  In particular, the potential for innovation between carriers and the Web is enormous - along with our own innovations we're helping create platforms for the development of world-beating applications and supporting their transformation to carrier-grade services."

Anite, a specialist in testing technology for the wireless industry, and Azimuth Systems, a provider of wireless broadband test equipment and channel emulators for MIMO broadband wireless technologies, today announced the launch of their WiMAX Performance Tester. It combines a channel emulator and a base station emulator, allowing users to run conformance and bespoke test cases on subscriber stations under varying RF channel conditions. The product is the first development of its kind addressing WiMAX technology.

The WiMAX PT measures the device performance of test subscribers under varying radio frequency channel conditions, which results in exceptionally detailed tests for locations such as high-rise buildings, downtown areas, and other challenging scenarios where WiMAX subscriber stations will be used.

Test scenarios and channel conditions can be scrupulously tested in a short amount of time with automated test scripts on the new PT, thus recognising the impact of RF environment, modulation, coding schemes, security and throughput on device design.

"Performance Tester will allow developers to test the mobile station in the lab for performance and compliance under real world conditions. This results in a simplified testing process and a reduced time-to-market," said Vijay Harikumar, Head of WiMAX Sales and Marketing, Anite. "Our partnership with Azimuth ensures that customers can access the best in class technology on basic testing and channel emulation."

"The ability to anticipate behavior in the field will improve the design of devices manifold and reduce the time to market substantially. Given the lack of accessible test infrastructure, Performance Tester will be a critical support system to mobile station developers", said Peter Paglia, VP, Worldwide Sales and Business Development, Azimuth. "There is no other existing mechanism to extensively test mobile stations in deployment conditions."

Developers can verify different deployment scenarios such as driving in built up areas, office environments and walking in wide open spaces with Anite's WiMAX PT.

Shortening the time-to-market with thorough, effective testing is a critical success factor in the evolving WiMAX ecosystem. Anite's leading position in the development of WiMAX test solutions helps bring to market WiMAX Forum Certified components necessary for the roll-out and adoption of new technology.

"WiMAX Forum" is a registered trademark. "WiMAX", "Mobile WiMAX", "Fixed WiMAX", the WiMAX Forum logo, "WiMAX Forum Certified," and the WiMAX Forum Certified logo are trademarks of the WiMAX Forum. All other trademarks are the properties of their respective owners.

The GSMA today reported significant progress in the Rich Communication Suite (RCS) Initiative, a service providing interoperable, enriched communication capabilities such as in-call multimedia sharing, conversational messaging and presence-enhanced contact management, all accessible through a user's mobile phone contact list.  The initiative has generated considerable momentum across a number of fronts since the GSMA brought RCS into its work programme in September 2008, including the delivery of the RCS Release 1 specification, the addition of new programme participants and the successful completion of interoperability tests.

"We live in a world where users want to be able to communicate and access and share information any place, any time, over any device," said Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer for the GSMA.  "RCS supports these requirements, providing users the ability to launch a variety of enhanced communications, all from the personal contact lists in their mobile devices.  Importantly, mobile operators are ideally positioned to deliver these new communications services to the mass market and drive mainstream adoption, with a combined user base of 3 billion people. It's a win-win for operators and for business users and consumers."
The GSMA recently issued the first technical specification for RCS, defining the feature set for the first version of the service and ensuring that vendors will be able to develop standard, interoperable implementations.  The specification outlines the requirements for features including:
--   Enhanced Address Book -- provides presence and capability indications, enables users to initiate communications including voice calls, video calls, file transfers or messaging, and allows users to integrate multimedia elements, such as photos of contacts.
--   Rich Call -- enables users to exchange different types of content, such as video or photos, during a call.
--   Rich Messaging -- expands on traditional instant messaging to simplify and unify multiple messaging mediums and provide a richer user experience.

Future releases will include providing RCS functionality on other platforms such as PCs, offering a seamless user experience across PCs and mobiles.

"Today a mobile user utilises separate and distinct services, resulting in a disconnected communications experience.  RCS addresses this issue by providing enhanced and integrated services that can be customisable," said Diane Myers, Directing Analyst for Service Provider VoIP and IMS at Infonetics Research.  "The ability to utilise the core components of RCS to enhance other applications and services is very compelling, and RCS represents an important milestone for operators to offer and market seamless and differentiated service capabilities."
The number of operators and vendors supporting RCS has doubled in the past 5 months, growing to 60 participating companies. New members include OKI Electric Industry Co., Smart Communications, SoftBank Mobile, T-Mobile and Wind Telecomunicazioni S.p.A., among others.  The organisations collaborating in the RCS initiative are focused on driving the development and adoption of the industry-standard enhanced communications service.
Last month, the RCS Technology Group held the latest round of interoperability testing, with 14 companies coming together to test RCS services on eight different handsets.  Attending companies included Alcatel-Lucent, Comneon, Ecrio, Ericsson, Huawei, LG, Movial, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, Orange, Samsung, SFR, SK Telecom and Sony Ericsson.  Over a one-week period, participants initiated more than 7,000 RCS sessions, testing core services including Enhanced Address Book, Content Sharing and Enhanced Messaging.  Importantly, this represented the first joint tests of RCS in an environment with two operators -- Orange and SFR -- and two infrastructure suppliers -- Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks.
"We have made important progress in the RCS initiative to drive the development and adoption of applications and services that provide an interoperable, convergent, rich communication experience based on IMS," said Aude Pichelin, chair of the RCS Initiative and Head of Multimedia Services Standardisation, Orange.  "Following the approval of the RCS technical specifications and the successful completion of the latest round of interoperability testing, operators are now ready to start trials of RCS and plan commercial deployment of the service."

mBlox today announced the launch of the world's first mobile cross-operator ‘sender-pays data' trial. The trial is testing an innovative business model for the mobile industry, which allows content providers and service providers to bundle together the associated data costs for the purchase of mobile content, on behalf of the consumer.  It will enable consumers to purchase data-rich content with the data cost included at the point of purchase. mBlox is the first to market with the trial, which is taking place in the UK.

The UK trial involves most UK network operators, covering over 75% of consumers.  Launching with four content providers, the trial encompasses film, music and games, marketing and education.  The diverse group of content providers include Shorts International, Fox Mobile Distribution, Incentivated and Creative North.  The services consist of:

 *   Fox Mobile Distribution, part of Fox Mobile Group - launching trials offering
customers zero rated games and music services
 *   ShortsTV - Mobile video on demand
 *   Incentivated - mobile video drama called "Thmbnls" for the Department of Children, Schools and Families"
 *   Creative North - UK local authority funded educational application

"The launch of the first cross-operator ‘sender-pays data' trial is a great innovation for the mobile entertainment industry," said Andrew Bud, executive chairman, mBlox. "The mobile entertainment market is predicted to grow to $32bn* this year, in part due to a convergence of 3G handsets, high speed data networks, and innovative applications and content.  This is creating a strong demand for access to content on the mobile and this significant trial will help pave the path for existing and new mobile services to thrive."

"Benefiting both content providers and network operators, the trial offers great scope for collaboration between all parties involved in the mobile content industry, such as collaborations between content providers and mobile advertisers to provide sponsored content."

A "Zero Data Charge" logo has been developed to identify content that utilises the sender-pays trial. Through the use of this logo on the web and mobile internet sites, consumers will be able to easily identify which content will be delivered with any associated data charges paid by the content provider.

"As the global leader in mobile content distribution, licensing and production we are excited to deliver one of the industry's largest content catalogues to consumers with clearer, more transparent pricing," said Mauro Montanaro, CEO of Fox Mobile Group.  "Enabling our customers to download large pieces of content, like videos, games and full track music, without paying a data charge is a unique and attractive proposition with the potential to positively impact our business and the entire mobile content marketplace."

"This cutting edge trial will finally bring transparency to the cost of mobile content." said Carter Pilcher, Chief Executive of Shorts International. "This is a huge development for our audience who already enjoy short films on ShortsTV (Sky Channel 342) and iTunes. We are delighted to partner with mBlox in bringing the wonders of short film to the UK's mobile universe."

Jonathan Bass, Managing Director of mobile agency Incentivated, said, "Solutions like this from mBlox are both welcome and indeed necessary if marketers are to adopt the mobile channel and provide rich media campaigns at their cost rather that at the cost of those on the receiving end of the campaign."

Ubiquisys, a provider of 3G femtocells, and SerComm, a manufacturer of broadband and wireless networking equipment, today announced the availability of the FC210U integrated home gateway. The gateway incorporates 3G femtocell technology, together with WiFi and DSL, providing network operators with a single box to deliver quad-play services.

Developed to meet the specifications requirement of mobile operator customers, the FC210U is currently in mass production to support a forthcoming commercial deployment. In addition to providing high-quality 3G coverage and network capacity, the FC210U will also allow operators to deploy a range of exciting new revenue generating applications and services to mobile handsets including; automatic audio and video downloads, social networking and multimedia streaming all linked to a user's presence in the "home zone".

One application being demonstrated at Mobile World Congress is Home Monitor, where a SerComm RC4020 IP video camera is combined with the femtocell home gateway.  This low-cost solution enables people to remotely monitor their home or office using a standard 3G mobile phone.

"We are beginning to see the first commercial deployments of our femtocells with operators across Europe and Asia," said Chris Gilbert, CEO of Ubiquisys. "Operators with both fixed and mobile offerings are keen to work with their existing hardware partners to integrate femtocell technology into home gateways. From day one we designed the ZoneGate module so to minimize footprint and power usage to make integration as simple as possible and we are delighted to be working with industry leaders such as SerComm to fulfill this need."

"We are pleased to announce the availability of FC210U, as it not only underlines our leadership in providing networking products with latest femtocell technology to our customers but is testimony to a new era of fixed and mobile convergence," said Ben Lin, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of SerComm. "SerComm is committed to driving new innovative and integrated designs that offer our customers flexible, cost-effective solutions and faster time to market."

Ubiquisys and SerComm will be demonstrating the product on the Ubiquisys stand at Mobile World Congress.