In the latest white paper from Northstream, one of the world's leading independent mobile analysts, Push-to-talk solutions for circuit switched networks are compared to solutions for packet switched networks. The estimation shows that PoC (Push-to-talk over Cellular) over GPRS is at least five times more efficient than Push-to-talk solutions over circuit switched networks from a radio resource consumption point of view. Furthermore, EGPRS shows to be 14 times more efficient.

When this is translated into cost for a sample case, dimensioned according to prevalent rules, a circuit switched solution proves to be over six times more expensive than PoC over GPRS.

PoC is a Push-to-talk solution for packet switched networks specified by OMA (Open Mobile Alliance). Even though there is support for a standardised solution, proprietary pre-standards solutions (both circuit switched and packet switched) are not ruled out by the operators at this point in time.

Both circuit switched Push-to-talk and PoC based solutions offer acceptable speech quality. A circuit switched Push-to-talk solution has the same speech quality as provided by GSM systems. PoC solutions offer somewhat lower quality in the common case, using the AMR half rate coding, but does on the other hand offer the possibility to trade resource consumption for quality.

PoC provides a faster session set-up and is from this aspect a better alternative than a circuit switched solution.

Northstream sees clear advantages with Push-to-talk solutions based on the evolving OMA specifications since these will enable:
• Interoperability between terminals and networks
• Interoperability between operators
• Native PoC client support in terminals
• Synergies in terminals and networks with other future IMS based services
• The possibility to use performance boosters such as SIGCOMP for SIP signaling and Header Compression mechanisms for RTP frames carrying speech samples

There are many attractive aspects of push-to-talk, and if positioned and priced correctly it is likely to create traffic and revenue growth. Also addressed in the report is the scepticism regarding the feasibility of providing Push-to-talk over the European GPRS networks. Northstream has studied whether the network infrastructure provided by GSM/GPRS radio technology, can meet the requirements generated by Push-to-talk services and has concluded that these can meet the Push-to-talk requirements if tuned correctly.

"We believe Push-to-talk from a business perspective has a great potential, and our studies show that it is feasible to implement it over GPRS and as packet radio networks evolve the service will improve even further from an end-user point of view," says Bo Åström, Technical advisor at Northstream. He concludes that "a standardised solution is essential to make Push-to-talk a mass market service".

To obtain a free copy of the report, visit www.northstream.se

Mobile Tornado and Jabber, Inc. has announced that they are jointly developing a mobile messaging product that combines voice, text, and availability information in a single interface. Compatible with a very wide range of handsets, the combined product will incorporate Mobile Tornado's Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC) solution with Jabber's Extensible Communications Platform (Jabber XCP) for commercial IM applications.

"Integration of IM with PTT improves the users experience and puts choice back into the customers hands," said Maria Archer (CMO, Mobile Tornado). "The main advantage is that the joint presence on IM and PTT is that it starts to realise Mobile Tornado's vision of integrated instant communications that delivers revenue to operators and choice to the customer. 

"Our strength is in interoperability and extensibility, attributes that allow us to build best-of-breed solutions with companies like Mobile Tornado," said Mark Troyer, European Technical Director at Jabber, Inc. "We operate an open architecture that allows us to serve the greatest number of mobile and fixed platforms with the greatest array of high value presence and IM applications."

The combined product will allow customers to view their address book with a variety of contact presence information such as connection status, handset information, handset state, software capabilities, mood, and location. Presence information in the customer' s address book can come from a variety of network sources including XMPP-based servers, consumer IM services such as Microsoft Messenger and ICQ, and any SIP-based presence service.

Jabber, Inc.'s Extensible Communications Platform (Jabber XCP) is the most widely deployed instant messaging and presence platform based upon XMPP, the only IETF-approved Internet standard for presence and instant messaging.  A native XML streaming protocol, XMPP is often used as a real-time transport layer between a disparate instant messaging systems.

"The wireless industry recognises that interoperability is key to the success of new services. Working alongside companies such as Jabber is part of our strategy to provide our customers with compelling solutions," added Maria Archer.

UK text messaging figures continued to climb in May 2004 to 2.19 billion, according to figures released by the Mobile Data Association (MDA). Person-to-person texts sent across the UK GSM network operators last month show an increase of over 28% on the total sent during the same period in 2003, and a daily average of 72 million compared to 56 million in May 2003.

The release of May’s figures co-incide with the beginning of a series of drop in text messaging workshops and special promotion days being held jointly by the Mobile Data Association (MDA) and Shearings Holidays at Wyevale Garden Centres throughout the UK for the 50+ age group.

Throughout June and July experts will be on-hand to provide customers with general information about how to text and receive messages, as well as offering guidance on using handsets at home and abroad. Customers can pick up top texting tips, learn how to use predictive text and get a taste of the latest text shorthand.

The programme of workshops has been developed by the MDA as part of its ongoing education initiative for older consumers and follows its recent launch of a texting facility for SAGA 105.7fm, the independent radio station targeting the 50+ age group based in the Midlands. For further details on where to find your nearest texting workshop please visit http://www.text.it/mediacentre/default.asp?intPageID=146 and view news release dated 14th June ‘Wish You Were Here’.

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 also 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.

"With subscriber numbers having passed the 1.5 billion mark in the first week of June 2004, EMC forecasts that global net additions of more than 240 million in both 2004 and 2005 will set the mobile industry up to break through the 2 billion subscriber mark as soon as July 2006," comments Kester Mann, Senior Research Analyst at EMC, sourcing EMC’s latest Insight: Understanding Subscriber Growth in Key Global Markets.

Driven by strong growth in emerging markets, EMC forecasts that the 2 billion milestone will be surpassed ahead of recent industry predictions. EMC expects 2.45 billion mobile subscriptions by the end of 2009.

Despite long since reaching saturation point in Western Europe, the mobile industry is still poised for sustained growth thanks to the enormous potential of emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil. By 2009 there are forecast to be almost 550 million subscribers in China alone, more than twice as many as in the second largest market, the USA. India, currently the worlds 13th largest market, is forecast to quadruple in size to take third place with 117 million subscribers. Boosted by the TDMA to GSM migration, Brazil is on track to hit 100 million subscribers in late 2008, up from just over 50 million currently.

"With a global penetration rate of just 23%, there are still almost five billion potential new mobile users worldwide and this represents a tremendous opportunity for the industry," commented Mann. Continued subscriber growth can be achieved by further widening the addressable market for mobile services to include segments of the population that have previously been unable to afford a mobile phone service or have lived outside areas of mobile phone coverage, or both.

Largest five markets: Dec 2003 (source: EMC)

Country/Subscribers (millions)
China/257.5
USA/157.3
Japan/79.8
Germany/62.3
Italy/55.5


Largest five markets: forecast Dec 2009 (source: EMC)

Country/Subscribers (millions)
China/547.3
USA/223.9
India/116.6
Brazil/106.1
Japan/103.2

Deploys SMS Gateway from Redknee

Redknee, the leading global provider of communication software to wireless telecommunication network operators, today announced the commercial deployment of its Synaxis 2100 Universal Messaging Gateway (UMG) solution for the O2 group in Germany. The successfully deployed Redknee solution has been live since March 2004.

Redknee’s Synaxis UMG is a modular solution that allows O2 to simplify and expand the distribution of interactive SMS services, such as TV voting and gaming to all connected GSM subscribers globally, increasing SMS traffic and revenue generation opportunities. The Redknee solution provides a powerful, configurable, and flexible service evolution path that leverages existing infrastructure and distribution services.

“O2 Germany is now able to take advantage of a robust and scalable architecture which will enhance their services and increase their profitability because of Redknee’s Universal Messaging Gateway solution,” said Lucas Skoczkowski, Redknee’s co-CEO. “This will enable O2 Germany to offer valuable cross-network services and increase their target market in messaging.”

“The Redknee Synaxis UMG solution provides a “single point of contact for sending and receiving international short messages,” said Georg Weidinger, O2 Germany - Product Manager SMS/MMS Wholesale. “Redknee’s solution now allows O2 Germany to sell interconnection from foreign subscribers to O2 Germany service providers which will enhance customer loyalty.”

The Synaxis UMG solution provides a value added platform for subscriber usage that allows access to network applications to foreign network subscriber, simplifies application delivery, and increases revenue potential.

External Links

O2 Germany
Redknee

Order volume of 20 million euros

The Serbian operator 063 Mobtel Srbija (Mobtel) has selected the mobile communication group at Siemens AG, Siemens mobile, as supplier for the expansion of its GSM network. The framework contract encompasses the delivery and installation of GSM radio technology and microwave radio relay. In two phases, Siemens mobile will deliver and install base stations, switching systems, and microwave technology to connect the base stations with each other. The project should be completed by the end of this year. The order is worth 20 million euros.

Mobtel was founded in April 1994 and started operating its GSM network in October 1996. The company’s network covers 90 percent of Serbia’s territory and 95 percent of the population. The mobile operator currently has about two million subscribers. To meet the rising needs of its customers for new applications, Mobtel integrated GPRS technology in its network last year. By the end of 2004 the operator wants to take the next step and introduce EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution). This will permit higher data rates than GPRS and hence allow multimedia data services, such as videostreaming.

"The Serbian mobile market offers great growth potential", said Patrick Harpur, CEO of Mobtel. "We are relying on Siemens mobile as a dependable partner to expand our existing network and help us to introduce EDGE."

"We are pleased to have now acquired Serbia’s second mobile operator as a customer", said Christoph Caselitz, head of the Networks Division at Siemens mobile. "This first order from Mobtel will lay the ideal foundation for additional joint activities in Serbia."

External Links

Siemens Mobile
Mobtel

Telia is launching two new mobile subscriptions today for private customers: Telia Mobile 50 and Telia Mobile 100. Just like their predecessor, Telia Mobile 25, these subscriptions include free calling minutes. 50 and 100 free call minutes a month are now on offer to 10 million Telia customers.

Telia Mobile 25, which was launched in January 2004, has very quickly Telia's most popular mobile subscription. Its successors, Telia Mobile 50 and Telia Mobile 100 are based on exactly the same principles. For fixed monthly fees of SEK 90 and SEK 170, customers can make 50 and 100 free minutes worth of calls a month to Telia's fixed and mobile network. The fixed monthly fee for Telia Mobile 25 is SEK 50 and provides 25 free minutes of calls.

"With our new subscriptions, we are creating simple services to meet our customers' needs," said Marie Ehrling, MD of TeliaSonera Sweden. "Telia Mobile 25 has been a success, and we will be continuing in this vein. The new subscriptions are chiefly aimed at our medium and major callers, and with this launch we have an attractive and complete offering to our private customers."

The free calling minutes apply round the clock, for calls to over ten million numbers, in other words' Telia's fixed and mobile network in Sweden. The free call minutes apply to the current month and cannot be accumulated. In conjunction with the launch, sales of the Telia Classic Flat and Telia Classic Talk 5 mobile subscriptions are being discontinued. 

External Links

Telia

SDC supplies Java based DRM

Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology from Secure Digital Container AG (SDC) is powering the first integrated digital music player and mobile phone, launched by O2 Germany in June 2004.

The new Siemens SX1 Music is the first ever handset with the ability to download DRM protected, full-length music tracks over the air and directly on to the device without the need for a separate music player.

The integrated mobile music device has long been the 'holy grail' of the mobile phone industry - however, to date, standards issues have prevented this, with mobile download according to OMA (Open Mobile Alliance) standards anticipated only in 2005. Siemens, using SDC's Java DRM technology, has now made the integrated mobile music phone a reality today. The mid-range Symbian phone is available from O2 Germany now, priced €149.95. O2 is expected to launch the device in the UK and Ireland by August 2004.

The Siemens SX1 Music has been developed as a multi media phone with special features for mobile music download, and is the first device ever to integrate SDC's Java DRM package into the handset. The handset has a pre-installed music player with all the functionality needed for full-length music download, which will provide consumers with an "out-of-the-box" experience.

The handset was jointly developed by SDC and Siemens and is easy to navigate, with a unique keypad arrangement enabling a large 65K colour high-resolution. In addition to the music player, the SX1 also hosts a stereo plug for a pair of headphones, which results in high music quality.

With the launch of the SX1 handset, O2 Germany customers can now progressively download their choice of track directly to their handset, storing about 120 songs at any time on the SX1's replaceable 128 MB memory board (expandable up to 1GB). Users can also transfer their tracks to a PC. SDC's DRM technology protects the license of each individual track, avoiding any need for duplicate payment.

The new device marks the first delivery from O2's Active Music Download roadmap, announced at CeBIT 2004 in Germany. SDC's Java DRM is powering the evolution of the entire roadmap in Germany, the UK and Ireland, protecting the rights of both customers and the music labels throughout the download process.

 "With the SX1 Music, O2, Siemens and SDC are demonstrating the first evolution of the future mobile music business," said Michael Bornhäusser, CEO of SDC. "Our technology has essentially removed the technical constraints for mobile music handset development, making this 'holy grail' a reality. SDC is planning, alongside varied customers and partners, to launch more than 10 GPRS mobile music phones, and the first 3G mobile music device, within the next 4 months. This is a major step forwards for mobile music delivery - we're delighted to have been able to help O2 and Siemens deliver mobile music to their customers today."

Java DRM is the only mobile DRM solution currently on the market to receive the endorsement of major content players including BMG, EMI, Warner Music, Sony Music and Universal. SDC's unique, Java-and Symbian based technology architecture means that no client installation for the DRM is required, facilitating simple, fully-fledged DRM security and easy upgradeability to any mobile or fixed device.

External Links

O2 Germany
SDC

Video highlights from TWI's Interactive Division

For the first time, tennis fans will be able to catch the on and off-court action from Wimbledon on video mobile phones. With the start of the tournament on Monday June 21st, customers of video mobile network 3 will be able to watch news, interviews and match footage featuring all the stars of the 2004 championships on their handsets

The daily service for Wimbledon will include three news bulletins, four key interviews and an end of play highlights package featuring the best of the day's play. Customers will also be able to watch profiles of the leading players in this year's tournament, including Tim Henman and Andy Roddick. The video highlights are being provided by TWI's Interactive division in conjunction with The All England Lawn Tennis Club.

Along with a video review of last year's tournament, an archive of 'Golden Highlights' footage from previous tournaments is also available to download, including the classic McEnroe v Borg final, Boris Becker's first win aged 17 and the two Williams sisters' finals encounter in the ladies' singles.

The Wimbledon service from 3 also includes a text alerts option, which will offer updates on men's and ladies' singles results and will highlight availability of new video clips of the action. 

The Wimbledon Championships service is available through 'Today on 3', the UK's first live video mobile news and entertainment channel.

Each news and interview video clip will cost 25p and the end of day highlights package costs 50p.  Video clip alerts are free of charge.

Rob McCowen, AELTC Marketing Director: "One of the Club's objectives has always been to bring the excitement of Wimbledon to as wide an audience of fans as possible, be it on TV, radio, the internet and now video mobile.  We are delighted that, for the first time, thanks to our association with 3, fans will now be able to watch Wimbledon highlights on their mobile phones. "

Graeme Oxby, 3's Marketing Director said: "With this service, 3 customers can experience all the excitement of Britain's favourite summer event through their video mobiles. Keep up to date on how Tim is progressing with the latest news, results and video alerts. 3 is committed to providing the leading mobile sports service and the launch of our service for Wimbledon 2004 underlines that commitment. With this announcement, for the first time, customers will be able to watch the highlights from SW19 on video mobile."

Todd McCormack, CEO, TWIi: "We are pleased to be facilitating the Club's delivery of all the highlights of the fortnight to 3 customers so they can enjoy the Wimbledon Championships.  TWIi looks forward to working with 3 on this innovative and compelling service.  As one of the leaders in delivering new media services to the world of sport and entertainment, we are well positioned to leverage our experience to deliver the video features to 3's customers in a standard consistent with Wimbledon's stature." 

The Wimbledon service is also included in a new and expanded 'sports add-on' from 3, which combines video news and match highlights with a comprehensive text alert, fixtures and live scores service. 

For £5 a month, the add-on offers unlimited access to Britain's largest mobile sports portfolio, including video from Sky Sports news, next season's Premiership and UEFA Champions League football, and this year's Open Golf Championship in Troon.

External Links

3 UK

Eurêka  - Wavecom and Owasys have got it

Wavecom and Owasys Advanced Wireless Devices are delighted to have been awarded, at the last Eurêka Ministerial Conference in Paris on 18 June 2004, the  Eurêka  label for their project of mobile remote assistance terminals. This label rewards the innovative solutions developed jointly by the two European companies: a set of mobile remote assistance terminals intended for the elderly or people with physical or mental disabilities.

The importance of remote assistance services was demonstrated during the heat wave last summer, which raised European awareness of the need for surveillance and monitoring of elderly people due to their isolation. Remote assistance services are today mainly available in the home, whereas people who need remote services would also benefit from them when away from home.

The wireless terminals developed by Wavecom and Owasys are unique in the market, and enable improvement in the quality of life for these people by offering:

·        rapid access to an assistance and control centre

·        an easy-to-use dedicated button for emergency calls

·        user localisation using GPS positioning

·        remote checking of the physiological state of the user, with this data being sent directly to a medical centre or a doctor

·        increased stand-by and communication time

·        superior hearing quality due to high-volume sound

The project includes the development of a family of terminals of which the first product is the Owasys112C, based on Wavecom's WISMO Quik Q2406 wireless module.

"Eurêka encourages cooperation between European companies, a source of technological innovations which can, as in this case, improve the quality of life for people," says Pierre Piver, Vice President of Wavecom's Vertical Applications business unit. "We are proud to receive the Eurêka label, which recognizes not only the innovative aspect, but also the economic viability and the social value of the project."

"Our first user-adapted telephone, the "talking telephone" intended for the blind and visually-impaired, was developed jointly with Wavecom, and launched in 2003. Its success shows that there is a real demand in the market for products customized for users who have specific needs," adds Fernando Aguirre, Marketing and Sales Director of Owasys. "More than 100,000 people are users of home teleassistance services in Spain only, and we are confident that this new mobile teleassistance terminal will appeal to a wide range of users."

External Links

Owasys
Wavecom

France Telecom and Motorola today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the joint development of Seamless Mobility Solutions. This collaboration aims at developing and deploying new and innovative, integrated services, using a wide range of wireless access networks and technologies, for the home, office, car and on the move.

The MoU includes:
 The establishment of joint research and development teams,
 The sharing of R&D funding,
 And the principle of sharing intellectual property resulting from today’s announcement

For France Telecom, this collaboration with Motorola is a clear demonstration of France Telecom’s strategy to develop new and innovative integrated services for its customers independently from the access network they are using. This project will allow customers access to communication services through the Internet, Interactive TV as well as fixed or mobile lines. It marks the commitment taken by France Telecom to join forces with industry leaders in order to leverage resources and expertise, and to offer the best services to its end customers.

For Motorola, the announcement marks a significant step towards the realization of its vision for seamless mobility through next generation networks, devices and applications based on its innovative heritage, extensive R&D investments and understanding of both service provider and end-user needs.

In today’s market context, both companies are convinced of the need to develop new types of relationships between telecommunications operators and equipment vendors in order to cope with the challenges of increasing competition and the convergence of the Telecom, IT and Multimedia industries.

External Links

France Telecom
Motorola

New forecast projects mobile data revenues will doubleto $50 billion over next five years

Mobile data will generate all mobile revenue growth in Western Europe until 2008, according to the Yankee Group's new EMEA Wireless/Mobile Data Forecast. Released today at the Yankee Group's Wireless Leadership Forum in London, the forecast projects mobile voice revenues stagnating at around $124 billion, while data revenues will more than double over five years to approximately $50 billion. Fueling this data market growth will be quadruple revenue growth in wireless entertainment revenues as well as a doubling of enterprise data users.

"Data is what it's all about for Western European wireless carriers," said Declan Lonergan, director, Wireless/Mobile Europe. "Voice markets are saturated and voice ARPU is declining. Data ARPU, however, will more than double over 5 years, representing 29% of total ARPU. This is significant both in terms of absolute numbers, and the applications behind the numbers as well. Entertainment revenue will be key to long-term growth and video, music and games will be growing at an impressive rate compared with more nascent data applications such as messaging, which will have begun to stagnate by 2008."

The Yankee Group EMEA Wireless/Mobile Data Forecast, a 5-year prospective view of key indicators for the EMEA wireless data application markets, including total market, messaging, entertainment, information, M-commerce, enterprise and value-added voice segments. The forecast includes metrics for the total region plus regional European segments, as well as country specific metrics for 16 major
national markets.

Almost half of teen subscribers want camera and MP3 on next device

Camera phones are likely to continue to drive upgrades in the European mobile device market in the next year, according to a new study by Telephia, the leading provider of marketing and service quality intelligence to the global mobile industry. There also appears to be substantial customer demand for several additional emerging entertainment applications, including music/MP3, the capability to view/download video, and integrated TV.

The Telephia European Device Report, based on a survey of 27,000 mobile device users in six major Western European countries, reveals that currently 11 percent of European subscribers regularly use the camera feature on their phone, with another 27 percent interested in having it on their next device. Teenage subscribers (ages 15-17) lead the marketplace in camera adoption and interest, with 16 percent using camera and 47 percent desiring it on their next phone.
  
Teen subscribers also exhibit considerable interest in several up-and-coming mobile entertainment applications. Almost half of teen users want the music/MP3 feature on their next phone (45 percent). That is more than double the percentage of all Europeans (19 percent). Teen subscribers were also enthusiastic about video viewing/downloading (3 percent use; 28 percent desire) and integrated TV (1 percent use; 27 percent desire).
  
"The success of camera phones in Europe has generated desire for more sophisticated entertainment applications and produced an important inflection point, at which entertainment has joined messaging as a key utility of mobile devices," said Mick Mullagh, president and chief executive officer of Telephia. "The challenge for device manufacturers is to extend demand beyond the current youth base and build awareness in new segments and geographies."
  
Telephia observed sizeable differences in demand across the six countries surveyed. Spain had the greatest percentage of subscribers who don't currently use camera but desire it on their next phone (34 percent). Spain also exhibited the most untapped interest in music/MP3 (27 percent). Italy had the highest level of interest in integrated TV (17 percent).

The Amdocs PRM product will enable O2 Ireland to cost-efficiently capitalise on growing partner-based content opportunities, while ensuring enhanced partner and customer satisfaction

Amdocs, the world's leading provider of billing and CRM products and services for true integrated customer management, today announced that O2 Ireland, a leading mobile provider and market innovator, and a wholly owned subsidiary of mmO2, has chosen the Amdocs Partner Relationship Management (PRM) product for superior partner billing and revenue settlement capabilities. Amdocs PRM will enable O2 Ireland to support multiple partnerships with increased operational efficiency. It will also allow O2 Ireland to promote new revenue streams from innovative partner-based content offerings and realise profitable growth. This project follows previous successful Amdocs implementations at O2 Ireland for convergent GSM and GPRS billing.

"We required a proven and scalable solution that would enable us to achieve maximum benefit from our growing content business and ensure we have an attractive platform for partners," commented Oliver Coughlan, Technology Director, O2 Ireland "We chose Amdocs PRM for its unmatched functionality, including advanced partner self-care capabilities for greater partner satisfaction. Amdocs PRM will seamlessly integrate into our existing Amdocs billing platform, driving further operational efficiencies."

Amdocs PRM automates and centralises partner-billing processes. It simplifies auditing procedures, eliminates error risk, and significantly reduces handling time and costs associated with manual processing. Pre-configured for quick deployment, Amdocs PRM will enable O2 Ireland to accelerate the introduction of new content partnerships and business models, and achieve a rapid return on investment and incremental profitability. 

"Partnering to deliver value-added content services is proving to be an effective way for service providers to grow revenue and retain their best customers," said Michael Couture, vice president of marketing at Amdocs. "Amdocs is providing market leaders like O2 Ireland with solutions that enable them to strengthen their role in the emerging content value-chain, while growing stronger, more profitable customer relationships."