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Orange UK has announced the launch of its Device Management service, claimed to be the first product of its kind that enables businesses to effectively manage their employees' mobile devices in-house, without having to bring them into the office or contact customer services.

Orange Device Management is a simple, hosted solution that enables companies to remotely manage their device fleet, with IT managers able to send updates, troubleshoot, and even lock or wipe devices over the air. It requires no back-end server and is simple to set up and get running. Employees get the freedom to work where they like, safe in the knowledge that any issues they have can be dealt with quickly and securely without them having to come back into the office.

Orange Device Management enables businesses to make better and more efficient use of their assets. Applications no longer need to remain dormant or out of date, as IT managers can send the latest software versions directly to employees' devices. Organisations are also able to reduce the amount of time spent on support, as device problems can be diagnosed and rectified over the air.

With security of information high on the list of priorities, and remote access to business systems becoming increasingly vital, Orange Device Management gives organisations peace of mind that their information is secure.

Anthony Keyworth, Director of Business Products, Orange Business Services UK said: "With business mobile needs constantly evolving, it is becoming increasingly important for organisations to be able to manage their device fleet in a cost-effective and time-efficient way. Orange Device
Management helps increase the productivity of the mobile workforce, as well as providing businesses with greater security for their data."

Purple Labs, a software provider for mass-market mobile phones, and Openwave Systems, a software specialist enabling revenue-generating personalized services which converge the mobile and broadband experience, have announced a joint testing programme, confirming their commitment to open standards and interoperability. Purple Labs will continue to test its newly acquired Messaging and Browser software against Openwave servers, in order to assist customers of both companies with their own portfolio planning.

"Open standards and interoperability are critical success factors for our carrier customers," said Olivier Bartholot, Purple Labs VP, Product Management. "Following our recent acquisition of the Openwave messaging and browser business, it is important to provide our joint customers with a clear statement of our ongoing commitment to working with Openwave to test our embedded client software".

"We are pleased to confirm our commitment to this program," said Susan Davies, SVP Products and Worldwide Support. "Openwave places the highest priority on meeting our customer needs, and interoperability is key amongst these. Working with Purple Labs on this program ensures a continuity of service for our joint customers."

On June 30th, the companies announced that Purple Labs acquired the Openwave mobile phone software business for $32m, which develops and markets the industry-leading browser and messaging technologies. Purple Labs now supplies mobile browser software to all of the top 5 phone manufacturers, which together produce over 80% of the world's mobile phones.

TeliaSonera and EMT have announced they will bring iPhone 3G to Estonia on August 22.

"The launch of iPhone 3G represents another strategic step for us in the development of the mobile broadband market and strengthens our position in the Nordic and Baltic region," said Kenneth Karlberg, president, Business Area Mobility Service, TeliaSonera. "With iPhone 3G, we offer our customers an amazing new way to meet their demands for access, speed and mobility."
"I am glad that by offering iPhone, EMT has proven once again to be the leader in the Estonian mobile market," said Valdo Kalm, CEO of EMT.

Orange has run the world's first in-SMS advertising trial in Switzerland in partnership with Amobee Media Systems, a provider of advertising solutions for mobile phones. Several major brands participated in the project.

Orange says it ran a trial with SMS-embedded ads in Switzerland to leverage the mobile advertising potential in European markets, saying that SMS is probably the most efficient channel to link brands with mobile customers. With widespread usage, text messages reach a much larger audience than traditional media, and that SMS are not intrusive and can be consulted by mobile users at any time.

Customers who signed up to the trial were offered a discount on their invoice in return for insertion of advertising in the SMS they received. Advertising was inserted at the bottom of the message in the remaining available characters, total capacity of an SMS being limited to 160 characters.

"Text messaging represents the largest potential advertising opportunity in the mobile world," comments Zohar Levkovitz CEO at Amobee Media Systems. "Given that billions of messages are sent and received every day, the number of total viewers exceeds audiences of the largest web sites, TV and radio stations and newspapers. When it comes to global audience reach no media format exceeds text messaging."

Ads inserted in peer-to-peer SMS have a much higher chance of being read as they are less intrusive than the usual SMS push. In-SMS advertising allows for the integration of multiple interactivity features such as click-to-WAP, click-to-call or click-to-download. Moreover, using Amobee's technology, Orange is able to accurately target specific geographical zones or delivery times. Test results measured during the nine-week testing period are very positive in terms of acceptance rate, service delivery, click rates, number of inventories and the impact on brand recognition.

"This is a groundbreaking solution and we're very happy to be the first to test it," comments Fabrice Allegro, Vice-President Marketing and Solutions at Orange Switzerland. "Mobile advertising provides a compelling opportunity for brands and their media agencies while allowing our customers to consume more mobile services for less."

dotMobi has announced that Microsoft's MSN Mobile group will use dotMobi's DeviceAtlas mobile device database to help develop and deliver mobile-aware content to its customers.

DeviceAtlas is a superset of existing mobile device databases and contains attribute information for more than 5,500 devices around the world, including leading-edge mobile devices like the Apple iPhone, RIM Blackberry, Nintendo DS Lite and Amazon Kindle. Because of dotMobi's unique industry position, it offers DeviceAtlas for free to mobile Web content developers worldwide, with extremely low-cost versions available for enterprise use.
As part of its goal to meet the needs of its mobile Web users, MSN Mobile plans to use DeviceAtlas to understand the mobile capabilities of its customers and help deliver content that best meets those needs. 
"We're pleased to lead the way in adopting DeviceAtlas as our standard for mobile content development," said David Raissipour, group program manager, at Microsoft's MSN Mobile group. "dotMobi's DeviceAtlas is unique in that it ties together the mobile content, operator, and handset communities, and lets us create the kind of specialised content that continues to differentiate MSN in the market ."
Another company that has adopted DeviceAtlas as its in-house standard is international call provider Morodo.
To promote and provision MO-Call, a software-based service that offers low-cost international calls direct from a mobile phone, Morodo needed a solution to handle the thousands of different phones and operators in the world. The company implemented DeviceAtlas to provide their users with a seamless experience on its site.
"Since implementing DeviceAtlas and launching our .mobi site, we've seen an increase in registrations. Interestingly, customers are coming from all over the world. I think that shows the power of the .mobi domain in marketing a brand," said James Barnes, Technical Director, Morodo.
Paul Nerger, Vice President of Advanced Services and Applications at dotMobi, said, "DeviceAtlas continues to grow by the day in the number of phones and attributes that are available to developers. We're excited that Microsoft and Morodo have seen the benefits of DeviceAtlas in helping to resolve the issues inherent in the heterogeneous nature of the mobile handset industry."

According to Juniper Research, its new analysis of the global mobile payments opportunity forecasts that 2.1bn mobile subscribers will "pay by mobile" for digital goods downloaded to their mobile phones by 2013. Juniper Research defines digital goods as music (ringtones and full tracks), tickets, TV, user-generated content, infotainment and games - in fact any content bought by phone and delivered to the phone.

A region by region analysis by Juniper Research found that there is a significant growth opportunity not only for mobile payment systems, software, support and consultancy services vendors, but also for mobile operators to increase their ARPU as transaction frequencies accelerate.

Report author Howard Wilcox stated: "Many digital content goods and services are becoming basic ‘must haves' - particularly in the sub 35 age group.  Devices like the iPhone - even in its 3G incarnation - are undoubtedly contributing to consumer awareness and usage of mobile music services. People who are 15 to 20 today will expect to buy directly with their phones and will drive this market over the next few years."

Highlights from the report include:

  • Users are forecast to make at least two payment transactions per month for digital goods by 2013
  • Nearly half of all mobile phone users will have bought digital goods at least once with their phones by 2013
• The two leading regions (Western Europe and Far East & China) will account for over 50% of the total digital goods gross transaction market value by 2013.


Howard Wilcox continued: "Even though typical transaction sizes will remain in the $3-$5 bracket a sufficient number of users will be using their mobiles to buy music, games, tickets, infotainment and the other digital goods sufficiently often to see gross transaction value grow nearly seven fold by 2013."

The report also focuses on purchases of physical goods - ranging from gifts to household goods to electronics - via the mobile web. It provides six year regional forecasts of mobile payments for digital & physical goods, providing data on subscriber take-up, transaction sizes and volumes as well as detailed case studies from companies pioneering in this market. Juniper Research interviewed 37 senior executives across a wide range of vendors and operators.

UK company, Next2Friends, the mobile social media platform, has announced that Roy Shelton, an international telecom and technology executive has joined Next2Friends as Chief Executive Officer. The company has also expanded its international footprint by opening an office in New York City.

Shelton's appointment as CEO brings to Next2Friends over two decades of technology and telecom business expertise. Working with government, industry and investment communities worldwide such as Prime Carrier, Azure Solutions and Cerebrus, Shelton has gained a reputation for early identification of successful emerging technologies. At Next2Friends he will be leading an international team to deliver a strategic set of business opportunities that harness the convergence of mobile technologies and internet services.

"The Next2Friends business model is an obvious winner;" commented Roy Shelton, CEO of Next2Friends. "With such a comprehensive range of services for businesses and consumers alike, and the incredible groundswell of early interest and support, ramping up and extending our global reach is going to be both fast and fulfilling. We're already getting excellent feedback from major players in the industry and exciting times lie ahead for us all."

The New York City office is headed by Rachel Wilde, VP of Sales & Marketing. A business development specialist most recently at T-Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, Wilde specialises in building partnerships that drive businesses forward. Her role at Next2Friends includes managing a growing worldwide sales and marketing force delivering scalable social media marketing solutions.

Based out of the Midtown section of Manhattan, New York City, Next2Friends is strategically placed to take advantage of this business district's global news and entertainment outlets, major advertising agencies and growing financial services industry. "Midtown is the ideal choice for our first North American office;" added Rachel Wilde, Next2Friends VP of Sales & Marketing. "New York City is home to a large percentage of the nation's total technology early adopters as well as the innovative organisations shaping the new media trends and opportunities of the future."

Next2Friends also plans to launch offices in Asia as part of its drive to expand the company's global presence. Funded previously by a seed round from its management team and DropJaw Ventures, an early-stage emerging technology investor, Next2Friends has now closed its Series A round with a major US S&P 500 corporation and several UK Angel Investors.

Purple Labs, a software provider for mass-market mobile phones, has announced  that it has signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire the mobile applications suite and software engineering team of Sagem Mobiles, the French manufacturer that develops mobile phones branded by Sony Ericsson, Orange, Vodafone and other customers. The asset sale to Purple Labs is linked to an announcement by SAFRAN, a French technology group, that it is selling its Sagem Mobiles business unit to Sofinnova Partners, one of Europe's leading venture capital firms and an investor in Purple Labs. SAFRAN will join Sofinnova as a shareholder in the new entity, which will be called Sagem Wireless.

Purple Labs and Sagem Wireless also agreed to enter into a multi-year license and development agreement, whereby Purple Labs will provide Sagem Wireless with all of the application software for its products, and all of the software for its future 3G Linux devices based on LiMo Foundation requirements.

Both deals are expected to close by the end of this year, subject to the approval of employee representative bodies.

"Sagem has long been at the forefront of mobile phone innovation in Europe," said Simon Wilkinson, Purple Labs CEO. "Following our recent acquisition of the Openwave browser business, the addition of this Sagem portfolio and engineering team will clearly position Purple Labs to lead the industry in creating rich user experience on mass-market devices."

On June 30th, Purple Labs announced that it had completed a $32 million deal to acquire the Openwave mobile phone software business, which develops and markets the industry-leading browser and messaging technologies. Purple Labs now supplies mobile browser software to all of the top 5 phone manufacturers, which together produce over 80% of the world's mobile phones.

Based in Chambéry, France, Purple Labs is funded by three European venture capital firms: Sofinnova Partners, Earlybird Venture Capital, and Partners Group.

Wireless broadband services will create significant opportunities for revenue growth, and cellular technologies will take the largest share, according to the latest report from Analysys Mason.

According to the report, globally, 2.1 billion wireless broadband customers will generate USD784 billion in service revenue by 2015. This revenue increase of about 2400% will be underpinned by continued developments in wireless technologies, improvements in devices and more flexible pricing options.

HSPA will support 88% of all wireless broadband consumers at the end of 2008, and its importance will continue. "Despite the increasing availability of LTE and WiMAX, HSPA and HSPA+ will still support 54% of wireless broadband users by the end of 2015," according to Dr Mark Heath, co-author of the report.

Developing regions will account for only 17% of wireless broadband customers at the end of 2008, but the lack of fixed-line infrastructure in these regions will bolster the growth of wireless broadband services, and developing regions will account for 57% of wireless broadband customers worldwide by the end of 2015.

Key findings of the report are said to include:

- Because W-CDMA to HSPA to HSPA+ is the natural evolution path for GSM operators, the number of HSPA and HSPA+ customers worldwide will increase from 61 million at the end of 2008 to 1.1 billion at the end of 2015.
- Cellular technologies will dominate wireless broadband services, with twenty times as many users as WiMAX by the end of 2015.
- LTE will take off relatively slowly, but its customer base will reach 440 million by 2015, with associated revenue of USD194 billion.
- WiMAX will be squeezed from developed markets by fixed and cellular broadband services and by 2015 will serve just 98 million customers worldwide, of which 92% will be in developing regions.
- WiMAX will fail to achieve a significant share of the rapidly developing wireless broadband market, contributing only 2% of global revenue.

 "By 2015, there will be twenty times as many customers for cellular broadband services as for WiMAX," according to Dr Alastair Brydon, co-author of the report, "The vast majority of MNOs will not break ranks to WiMAX, but will upgrade to LTE, resulting in over four times more LTE users by the end of 2015."

Turkcell, the provider of mobile communications in Turkey, has announced that it signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement to acquire a 80% stake in Belarusian Telecommunications Network (BeST). The completion of the transaction will be subject to the fulfillment of the conditions set forth in the SPA.

The stake will be acquired from the State Committee on Property of the Republic of Belarus for a consideration of US$500 million. The payment is expected to be realized in 3 tranches of which US$300 million is expected to be paid on the closing date, which is expected to be 30 days after the signature date and additional US$100 million tranches are expected to be paid on December 31, 2009 and 2010 respectively. An additional payment of US$100 million shall be made when BeST records a full-year positive net income for the first time.

Turkcell CEO Sureyya Ciliv commented: "The acquisition of BeST represents an opportunity for Turkcell to gain access to a market with a growth potential. Belarus is an attractive emerging market within Turkcell's growth geography with its young and well educated population and steadily growing economy. We are also happy to be starting our operations with an already established third operator in Belarus. We believe we can use our complimentary skills we gained in Ukraine and CIS very effectively in Belarus to differentiate BeST as soon as possible.

WIN, a specialist in interactive mobile entertainment and information, says it has opened the doors to Greece for premium mobile content services to be sold by large brands and media owners. According to WIN, the untapped market had previously been difficult to penetrate as it uses a different billing system to most countries and the technology required to make it accessible is expensive.  With all the major Greek networks on board and QTelecom joining imminently, the service is ready to go. 

WIN has made it possible for its customers to take their subscription-based services to Greece by setting up a Mobile Terminated (MT) billing connection.  This allows consumers to text in a keyword to a shortcode and receive alerts-based messages, or to join clubs to receive the latest mobile content.  Until this point Greek Mobile Network Operators only had the option of Mobile Originate (MO) premium billing.  Relying on the customer to send a message to content providers before being billed, it has been proven that MO systems do not suit the subscription business model. 

With a mobile penetration of 138% and roughly three times more mobile traffic than any other European territory, Greece is a key emerging market with a lot of opportunity. Mindful of this, WIN Plc has an office in Athens so that it can offer its customers local knowledge and significant media contacts to help them broker marketing and promotional deals.  Services such as front line customer support can also be delivered from base, meaning consumers have access to local language speakers.

WIN says it has also tackled the technological expense its customers face when reaching into new markets.  They can use their existing API connections to easily integrate their existing service frameworks.  The solution is not only affordable it minimises the headache of setting up a new network infrastructure, can be quickly implemented, and keeps running costs low.  Feedback from customers who have already launched in Greece has been impressive, with some already exceeding their KPI targets.  "We love our mobiles in Greece, believe me it's hard to get us off them.  Our obsession is something WIN clients are already reaping benefits from. Early reports suggest high growth curves for the first wave of companies using us to deliver subscription based services; and we're expecting a lot more enquires in the months and year to come," says Kerstin Trikalitis, MD, WIN Greece.

"To remain competitive in this business you've got to see things from the eyes of your customer.  International development is a must and we need to make it easy for them.  The Greek market is a big opportunity for our customers to increase their revenue; most people in Greece have more than one phone and they have a ferocious appetite for content.  In fact, Greece is such a prime market that I wouldn't be surprised if some of our competitors start using us for connectivity in the interim", concludes Graham Rivers, CEO of WIN.

The Mobile Data Association (MDA), the non profit UK association for vendors and users of mobile data and their advisors, has today announced its latest quarterly data report on mobile phone usage across the UK.  The report covers activity from January - May 2008 for Text Messaging (SMS), Mobile Internet (MI) and Picture and Video Messaging (MMS) and identifies new trends in the way people are increasingly relying on their mobile phones.

According to the MDA, all three measured metrics continue to grow; SMS has again surpassed expectations with 1.4 billion text messages being sent in the UK every week.  SMS has established itself as a true social connecting tool and continues to have mass consumer appeal, at the same time there are signs of SMS being applied in commercial applications which will see the volume continue to rise, says the MDA.

Mobile Internet has seen steady growth in the UK; 16.5 million people accessed the mobile internet in May 2008.  This represents a 25 per cent growth since May 2006, indicating an average 4,500 new users every day. Picture and video messaging (MMS) is showing excellent and sustained growth, with volumes rising steadily supported by some interesting seasonal peaks.  10 million picture messages are sent every week in the UK and year-on-year growth is at 30 per cent.

According to the MDA, the growth can be attributed to a number of factors such as; the increased number of mobile devices with picture and video messaging capabilities and the emphasis placed on ease of sharing images via the mobile networks.

The outlook for mobile data usage remains very positive, says MDA.  The moves by mobile operators to offer all inclusive tariffs will stimulate further growth and with predicted lower roaming charges, this will also drive usage.  The MDA expects to see SMS growth of around 30% in 2008.

New operator pricing combined with new function-rich, internet enabled devices such as the iPhone and Nokia N95, are key to driving adoption of mobile internet access.  There are powerful signs all around that mobile internet access will supersede traditional PC access; a recent US study indicated that iPhone owners were responsible for 1 in 1,000 web page views last month.  The MDA is predicting that mobile internet will become a true rival for traditional desktop internet access, with growth of around 20% being seen in 2009.
Assessing the findings of the MDA's Q2 report, Rob Bamforth, Principal Analyst at Quocirca, said: "It is well understood and been demonstrated in recent years that the mobile phone has become one of the three most important items people carry - along with keys and a wallet or purse - when heading outside.  For business or personal use, it is no longer simply a mobile equivalent of the fixed phone, but a pocketable tool for remote control and connection across several modes of communication.

The access and sharing of snippets of information while on the move has become part of working and personal lives.  It started with voice, then expanded to text - which as MDA figures have consistently demonstrated has grown astronomically over time - and now most recently has grown into richer messaging media and mobile access to the internet.  While these are still in their early stages, with some aspects of the technology still evolving, adoption looks set to follow similar paths to other communication and media formats."

The growth of text messaging is also said to continue to defy expectation.  The growth curve is set to continue as new devices promote messaging applications at the centre of their functionality.  1.4 billion text messages are now sent every week in the UK alone. 

Steve Reynolds, Chairman of the Mobile Data Association comments: "Text messaging has been without question one of the great success stories of the mobile age both for the industry and consumer.  With announcements this month around reduced cost of sending and receiving text messages abroad, this type of mobile operator action will only act to stimulate further growth.  In 2008 we are increasingly seeing other applications come into focus for business and consumer use.  Mobile e-mail and instant messaging represent new communication mediums but mobile operators need to simplify set-up and access to encourage adoption.

"Picture and video messaging volumes are gathering real pace. The proliferation of camera enabled devices has been key, but improved and automated settings around MMS set up have made the process simpler for the end user.  The mobile phone now goes with us all everywhere; the seasonal trend of sending holiday messages is testament to that."

Mobile Internet usage has has also grown 25% in the past two years, Reynolds continues: "There remain a number of challenges that mobile operators need to address to accelerate the growth of Mobile Internet.  The MDA is calling for greater price transparency on the costs associated with using the Mobile Internet.  The findings of this report suggest a real consumer appetite, but confusion and fear over costs may be holding back growth."

The triple-play market is not reaching its full potential. Content and branding issues are hampering operator strategies to increase customer numbers, according to the latest report by Analysys Mason.

The report - Multi-play services in Western Europe: market sizings and forecasts 2008-2013 - estimates that the number of Western European households subscribing to a triple-play package is forecast to rise to 31.1 million by the end of 2013, representing an average annual increase of 17% since 2007. The proportion of households in Western Europe that will subscribe to a triple-play service will increase from 7% to 18% between 2007 and 2013. Spend on triple-play services will increase to EUR14.8 billion by 2013. This growth in triple-play households will primarily be driven by the continuing take-up of IPTV services and the upgrade of cable networks.

"While the increase in triple-play household penetration is promising, adoption is far from overwhelming," says the report author Richard Hadley. "This suggests that triple play, despite its advertised benefits of lower prices and greater convenience, remains a supplier-led proposition."

"The take-up of triple play will be slower than expected for a number of reasons, including a lack of compelling TV content from telcos, difficulties in transferring telco brand attributes to the TV content market, fixed-mobile substitution and, in some cases, a legacy of poor customer service," concludes Hadley. Adoption of triple-play services in 2013 will be highest in the Netherlands (36% of households), France (33%) and the UK (24%).

This report presents forecasts for multi-play services (triple-play, double-play and single-play services) and includes data on penetration and spend in Western Europe as a whole, and for France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Nordic region, Spain and the UK, individually.

NDS, a provider of technology solutions for digital pay-TV, has announced that Russian media specialist Sistema Mass Media (SMM) has selected the NDS Unified Headend to manage and protect TV content delivery to subscribers across both IP and mobile networks.

The NDS Unified Headend integrates conditional access (CA), Digital Rights Management (DRM) and third party applications, allowing operators to deliver secure broadcast and Video-On-Demand (VOD) services to a variety of devices - set-top boxes (STBs), mobile phones, PCs, Portable Media Players (PMPs) and digital video recorders (DVRs). SMM will use the NDS Unified Headend to deliver content to STBs, PCs and mobile devices with 'optimum operational efficiency', using a single system to control content distribution.

SMM's deployment will include VideoGuard Mobile, NDS' secure mobile TV solution, part of the NDS Unified Headend, to protect its upcoming DVB-H mobile TV service. Digital Teleradiobroadcasting (DTB), an SMM subsidiary, will launch the mobile TV service.

The DVB-H service will debut in Moscow, which will be followed by a series of launches in 16 other Russian cities with populations of over one million. Unlike most other DVB-H deployments which are tied to a specific mobile operator and require a subscription and operator-specific SIM, SMM's upcoming DVB-H service will be available to all Russian mobile subscribers regardless of their network service provider.

VideoGuard Mobile supports both the Open Security Framework (OSF) and OMA BCAST smartcard profile standards and is claimed to offer a clear and seamless migration path between both. VideoGuard Mobile is fully compliant with DVB-H, DVB-SH, DMB, MediaFLO, CMMB and STIMI standards.

VideoGuard mobile will protect the broadcast content delivered over SMM's mobile TV network, safeguarding its subscription revenues, while enabling the company to benefit from a variety of business models and enhanced services. VideoGuard Mobile is fully integrated with various handsets and standalone devices that will be available in the Russian market, including new models to be supplied by Samsung, LG and Gigabyte.

"Only NDS was able to provide us with a complete and cost-effective solution that enables us to offer truly converged services to our customers. NDS not only provides the flexibility to combine multiple platforms for a single management view of operations but it also gives us the opportunity to offer new advanced services in the future," said Dr. Vitaly Shub, Deputy CEO SMM. "NDS is the world leader in content protection. Its technology is proven, and we are confident that it can deliver the functionality and scalability that our business needs," said Artem Kudryavtsev, First Deputy Managing Director, SMM.

"SMM is demonstrating its pioneering spirit as it adopts the latest technology to deliver a compelling converged environment," said Jeremy Maddocks, Regional Director, Russia, CIS & Eastern Europe. "With the enormous scale and reach of its operations, SMM has the potential to change the way millions of subscribers consume TV across Russia."