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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other highlights from the December 2008 report include:

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

According to ABI Research, the global mobile handset market went into a tailspin in October and November, which will result in a nearly 5% YoY decline in unit shipments in Q4. While 2009 is likely to see more stormy economic weather, there are a few rays of sunshine, it says.
"The number of WCDMA and CDMA2000 mobile handsets sold (currently 39% of the total) is expected to exceed 50% in 2009," says ABI Research Asia-Pacific vice president Jake Saunders. "Much of the brunt of the economic downturn will be experienced in the 2G categories. WCDMA handset shipments are projected to grow from 258 million in 2008 to 725 million in 2009. By 2013, more than 67% of all handsets shipped will be 3G/3G+ capable."
"Another robust segment is smartphones," adds practice director Kevin Burden. "Smartphones captured 14% of the 2008 market and are expected to grow throughout the challenging period of 2009 and comprise 31% of the market by 2013." Smartphones are among the most coveted pieces of prosumer electronics, says ABI.
Cellular modems will also be a high growth sector in 2009, driven largely by USB modems which will account for 80% of the shipment volume. Market volume is expected to increase by more than 55% in the coming year as Asian vendors push forward with low-priced modems, says ABI.
Operators have continued to be creative with broadband plans to entice new users, offering options such as a free month with a modem purchase, as well as daily and weekend plans and per MB fees. "For as long as operators aggressively price and promote mobile broadband plans, cellular modems will continue to be a hot category with considerable potential in SOHO and SMB segments," concludes Burden.

PageOne, a UK provider of mobile messaging solutions to the public and enterprise sectors, has today announced that it has been chosen by public sector procurement body OGCbuying.solutions as one of the official suppliers for its £170million Mobile Solutions (II) framework agreement, to be launched in January 2009.

OGCbuying.solutions is making a range of mobile voice and data services available to public sector bodies, and PageOne has been chosen as a supplier of mobile messaging solutions.

Chris Jones, CEO at PageOne commented, "PageOne was subjected to a rigorous tender process by OGCbuying.solutions and we are absolutely delighted that our proposal has been accepted and successfully meets the needs of the government agenda. This contract is a significant one for PageOne as it illustrates our commitment to supporting the needs of this key market sector and our desire to continuously innovate our products and services."

AdMob, the mobile advertising marketplace, has launched Download Tracking for iPhone applications, allowing advertisers to accurately monitor App Store conversion rates - clicks on an ad that lead to a completed download of the advertised application - enabling them to precisely measure their return from advertising on AdMob's network. AdMob says it has a reach of more than 8.4 million unique iPhones and iPod Touch devices worldwide, as of December 2008.

"Advertisers have been clamoring to get more detailed information from the iPhone App Store and want to use it to maximize the value of their mobile ad campaigns," said Jason Spero, Vice President and General Manager of North America for AdMob. "AdMob's new iPhone Download Tracking gives advertisers the information they need to accurately assess marketing effectiveness, including the return from advertising spend."

Advertisers can use Download Tracking to view and track multiple applications and drill down to look at conversion rates by specific ad and for specific dates. AdMob says its advertisers are already using this new information to write better ads, calculate their return on ad spend, tune their App Info pages, and develop better pricing strategies.

A limited group of iPhone applications began testing AdMob's Download Tracking in December, and the aggregate data already highlights some interesting trends, says AdMob:

 ·  Free applications have an average conversion rate of 10 percent, significantly higher than the average 1 percent conversion rate for paid applications.
·   Games generally have higher conversion rates than other categories of applications, up to a 100 percent improvement over non-game applications at similar price points.
·   The App Store is an effective distribution platform for free applications. The average acquisition cost for free applications is under $1.00, significantly less than average application download costs on the PC Web.
"AdMob's conversion tracking has solved a major problem for TapJoy. Previously we were playing guess-and-check with our TapDefense ad purchases; some ads did better than others and it was hard to know which was which," said Lee Linden, Co-Founder of TapJoy. "With conversion tracking we now know exactly which ads to show, when to show them, and how much we can afford to bid."

"We've had great success with our Urbanspoon application on the iPhone, but it has been challenging to precisely track the success of our mobile marketing efforts," said Ethan Lowry, Co-Founder of Urbanspoon. "AdMob's new conversion tracking allows us to truly analyze our marketing spend and increase the return on our investment for every mobile ad campaign."

Vodafone UK today announced that National Grid has awarded it a three year contract worth over £5m as its sole mobile voice and mobile data network provider in the UK.

National Grid owns the high voltage electricity system in England and Wales and operates the system across the UK. It also owns and operates the high pressure gas transmission system, and four gas distribution networks, delivering gas to 11million homes and businesses in England. The Vodafone service will provide embedded SIMs in laptops and telemetry SIMs – for diagnosing potential issues within the electricity and gas network and mobile broadband devices ensuring field engineers have connectivity and access to company information at all times.

Steve Samways, IS asset and vendor manager, said: “Having completed a comprehensive tender process, Vodafone proved that they could provide us with a robust voice and data services across the UK and demonstrated that they understood the importance of reliable communications for National Grid. We look forward to working with Vodafone for the next three years”

Peter Kelly, Enterprise Director, Vodafone UK, concluded: “We conducted stringent testing to prove our network capabilities could meet and exceed National Grid’s expectations.  We are pleased that a company that is so essential to the UK’s energy supplies is relying on our network to ensure their workforce is mobile and able to operate, safe in the knowledge that we can connect them reliably to the information they need, wherever they are.”

Vyke Communications has announced that it has released a beta version of its Mobile VoIP software and service for Blackberry devices using RIM software, which is available through Vyke's enterprise sales channels.

With the addition of this Blackberry software, Vyke now offers its Mobile VoIP solution on the three most used mobile operating systems in the enterprise market namely Symbian, Windows Mobile and RIM. However, Vyke's Blackberry solution is claimed to be unique as it uses a variation of VoIP which enables users to make VoIP calls over the Vyke network at any time their phone has GSM coverage, not only when the phone is in range of Wi-Fi or 3G mobile data coverage. The software supports most Blackberry devices dating back as far as 2003.

Aaron Powers, Head of Business Development at Vyke, commented: "Having only announced in November our Mobile VoIP software and services for Windows Mobile, we are extremely pleased to be moving so aggressively into the enterprise market sector with the addition of support for RIM devices. With Blackberry's extensive penetration into the enterprise sector, incorporating Vyke's services into its RIM devices means we reach an even wider audience, so a greater number of users can benefit from significantly discounted calls. This is another milestone for Vyke's Mobile VoIP offering."