Radio Frequency Systems (RFS) has launched the new Optimizer CELlite base station antenna (BSA) series. The slimline dual-polarised Optimizer CELlite antenna series is said to complement RFS's vertically-polarised CELlite variant, providing users with a stable and lightweight antenna solution. 

The new Optimizer CELlite antenna series supports CDMA (806-870MHz), and GSM (870 to 960MHz) frequency bands, and is claimed to exhibit the 'superior' performance of the RFS Optimizer antenna family--including upper side lobe suppression typically better than 18dB across the entire frequency range, high gain, and 'impressive' front-to-back ratio (typically around 28dB).

According to Rémi Deniel, RFS Area Product Manager Wireless Infrastructure Solutions, the latest addition to RFS's world-renowned Optimizer antenna suite features a robust microstripline power feed system constructed from monolithic aluminium, in place of the traditional cabled feed system. "This, coupled with the antenna's one-piece panel construction and reduced number of weld joints delivers advanced passive intermodulation (PIM) performance," he said. "Optimised PIM performance plays a significant role in maximising call quality and avoiding dropped calls--crucial in high-capacity networks." 

The new Optimizer CELlite antenna series is also claimed to provide network operators with new levels of deployment and operational flexibility. "The new Optimizer CELlite BSA has been designed to accommodate the rapid roll-out of wireless networks in densely populated regions," said Deniel. "Its lightweight construction makes it quick and easy to install, while its advanced RF performance makes it ideal for providing coverage in high-capacity wireless networks."

Supporting all services between 806MHz and 960MHz, the first release of RFS's new Optimizer CELlite antenna series will comprise three variants--the 2m 0-degree fixed-tilt (APX86-906515S-CT0), the 2.6m 0-degree fixed-tilt (APX86-906516S-CT0), and the 2.6m six-degree fixed-tilt (APX86-906516S-CT6). "The Optimizer CELlite antenna with six-degree downtilt is the ideal ready-made solution for networks with high levels of call traffic that require smaller coverage cells," said Deniel. "The combination of flexibility and performance of the Optimizer CELlite is synonymous with RFS's reliable Optimizer antenna range."

Dutch operator T-Mobile Netherlands has signed a four-year strategic-partnership contract with Ericsson. The agreement, which follows T-Mobile's acquisition of Orange in the Netherlands, will result in the continuation and expansion of existing contracts.

Under the contract, Ericsson will continue to manage end-to-end network operations for the former Orange network. Ericsson will also take on responsibility for streamlining T-Mobile Netherlands' overall network infrastructure by dismantling the former Orange mobile networks.

Ericsson will step up the expansion of T-Mobile Netherlands' WCDMA network, including the building and acquisition of more than 900 new sites by 2010. Ericsson will also deliver more than 2000 MINI-LINK microwave transmission units to help boost capacity and to enable the efficient handling of packet data in T-Mobile's transmission network.

Jan Kuijpers, Director of Technology for T-Mobile Netherlands, says: "We are pleased to continue and expand our partnership with Ericsson. This plays an important role in the further rollout and optimization of our network."

Nils de Baar, President of Ericsson Netherlands, says: "This strategic partnership is an important milestone in Ericsson's relationship with T-Mobile. It underlines our strong market position and means Ericsson is now a supplier to all Dutch operators."

Vodafone has today announced that, after five years in the role, Arun Sarin will be retiring as Chief Executive at the end of the Company's AGM on 29th July 2008. He will be succeeded by Deputy Chief Executive Vittorio Colao.

Sarin became Chief Executive in July 2003 and over the last five years has led the company through a period of significant change, both strategic and organisational. Under his leadership Vodafone has developed and implemented a new strategy to become a total communications company, which is already delivering results. As part of its strategy Vodafone has also expanded into emerging markets including Romania, Czech Republic, Turkey, and most recently, India where Arun Sarin led the acquisition of Hutchison Essar, which is the largest foreign investment made in the country.

In portfolio management, during this time the Company also disposed of its businesses in Japan and Sweden, together with interests in Switzerland and Belgium. In Europe the new strategy has delivered new products, improved revenue and significant cost reduction.

Organisationally the Company says it has been structured to take advantage of its significant global footprint by becoming an integrated business with a clear distinction between global and local activities.

During his time as Chief Executive the Company has also grown its proportionate customer base from 120 million to more than 260 million globally and over this period Vodafone has consistently delivered strong results. Returns to shareholders over this period have also been very positive with dividends increasing from 1.69p to 7.51p, an increase of more than 400%. Sarin also built a new senior management team and taken the lead on major industry issues, including mobile broadband and internet services.

Commenting, Chairman Sir John Bond said: "Arun has done a tremendous job as Chief Executive. He has led the Company with distinction and navigated Vodafone through a period of rapid change. He has developed a new strategy for the business and significantly expanded our footprint in emerging markets. The acquisition in India was very well timed and executed. The Board has a great deal to thank him for and I would like personally to thank him for all he has done for the business and wish him and his family all the best for the future. In Vittorio Colao we have a fine successor and I am looking forward to working with him in his new role."

Sarin commented: "It has been a privilege to lead Vodafone for the last five years and to have been involved in the company for such a long time. I feel that I have accomplished what I set out to achieve, particularly in developing and implementing a new strategy. I am very proud of what Vodafone and its 71,000 people have achieved and the good momentum we have in the marketplace. I know that the business is in capable hands with Vittorio Colao. Having worked with him for many years I know that he has the experience and vision to take Vodafone on to future success."

Vodafone Group Plc also announced today that Non Executive Directors Michael Boskin and Jürgen Schrempp will not be seeking re-election at the AGM. Michael Boskin joined the Vodafone Board in 1999 on Vodafone's merger with AirTouch Communications Inc, having served for a number of years previously on the AirTouch Board. Jürgen Schrempp became a Director of Vodafone in 2000 when Vodafone completed its acquisition of Mannesmann, having been a member of Mannesmann's Supervisory Board before then.

Sir John Bond said: "I would like to thank Michael and Jürgen for their contributions and for the different and important perspectives each has brought to our Board. Both have served with distinction and I am very grateful for their tireless work on our Board Committees, especially Michael's Chairmanship of the Audit Committee. Jürgen has, at one time or another, been a member of each of our principal Board Committees. We wish them both well in the future."


Vodafone: Arun Sarin Leaves 'em Wanting More - IDC's John Delaney Comments

This morning, Vodafone announced its results for the year ending 31 March 2008. Group revenues are up 14.1% to £35.5 billion, with operating profits up 5.7% to £10.1 billion. Revenues in Europe grew by 2.0%; revenues in EMAPA, the division that includes emerging markets such as India and Africa, grew by 45.1%. It was also announced that Vodafone Group CEO Arun Sarin intends to step down in July, to be succeeded by the CEO of Vodafone Europe and Deputy Chief Executive of Vodafone Group, Vittorio Collao. 

In the end, it turns out that Arun Sarin's forte was the long game. After five years as the frequently beleaguered CEO of the Vodafone Group, Arun Sarin goes out on a high note.

In its 2007-08 results, Vodafone has announced revenues that exceed both consensus expectations and its own guidance. Its core European operations tell a story of well-managed maturity, with modest growth in ‘old' service revenues, strong growth in ‘new' service revenues and steadily improving margins. Its ‘EMAPA' operations, where growth is driven mainly by uptake rather than usage, show strong growth in all services, and comprise a fast-increasing proportion of Vodafone's total revenues. The combination of well-managed maturity and vigorous youth in the business shows good prospects of continuing, being underpinned by a number of long-term structural initiatives that were put in place during Sarin's reign - initiatives such as network sharing, facilities outsourcing, back-office consolidation and the terminal platform programme. And to complete the picture of a well planned and confidently managed succession, Sarin announces that he will soon (but not too soon!) be stepping down as CEO in favour of the man who, as soon as he re-joined Vodafone nearly two years ago, was widely identified by external commentators as Sarin's chosen successor.

The most remarkable thing about this stately transfer of power in a well-run kingdom is that it feels entirely predictable. It's not an outcome that many people would have bet on 18 months ago.

Arun Sarin has had a torrid time of it during much of his tenure as CEO. The basic problem he has had to deal with is that it is easier to command affection and respect by building an empire, than by managing one. His predecessor Chris Gent was the empire-builder par excellence, and is still best known today as the hero of the battle of Mannesmann - nothing is more endearing to the British public than thrashing the Germans, however long ago. By contrast, Sarin's image was damaged early on by the failure of a move to extend Vodafone's reach by acquiring control of US operator AT Wireless. The nadir of his reign came in 2006, when Vodafone announced the biggest loss in UK corporate history (ironically, a delayed result of the Mannesmann acquisition) and 14% of investors failed to vote confidence in Sarin at the company's AGM.

And then, it all started to come good. The turning point was in early 2007, when Vodafone acquired the Indian operator Hutchison Essar. Sarin's reputation was enhanced greatly by both the substance and the style of this acquisition. India is the world's fastest-growing and second largest mobile market. By taking control of an operator there, Vodafone made the most convincing move possible away from the 'maturity trap'. And the stylewell, by bringing a long, complicated and nail-biting saga to a successful end, Sarin turned out to be second to none in the swashbuckling stakes. Subsequently, two well-received sets of annual results in succession, punctuated by the contemptuous swatting-away of an attempt to force the divestment of Vodafone's stake in Verizon Wireless, have kept Sarin's stock travelling steadily north.

Time for Sarin to leave on a high note. It's a decision that seems obvious, now that it's been announced. But it's only in recent months that having a high note to leave on looked like anything better than a very long shot.

Moovera Networks, a developer of fixed and mobile wireless communications systems, has today announced that Arriva Scandinavia A/S has selected the Moovbox M Series Mobile Broadband Gateway to deliver Internet connectivity on trains running across Denmark.

Arriva has equipped an initial twenty-nine trains serving commuters traveling between Aarhus, Thisted and Tønder in Jutland, and will provide free Wi-Fi hotspot services to passengers. Arriva will also utilize the Moovbox for GPS-based automatic vehicle location (AVL) to keep track of the train fleet via Moovera's MoovManage centralized monitoring system.

"We are continually seeking new ways to improve the quality of rail travel in Denmark," said Johnny Hansen, Managing Director of Arriva Scandinavia. "We believe that the introduction of broadband services on our trains in Jutland today will enhance the passenger experience and provide a useful and productive way for our customers to spend their journey time."

The Moovbox M Series delivers Wi-Fi Internet access on the Arriva fleet of Alstom Cordia Lint trains at speeds up to 7.2 Mbps by creating a bridge between the train and a next-generation 3G HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) cellular broadband network from 3 (www.3.dk). The Moovbox offers Ethernet connectivity for in-train systems such as CCTV and telematics data, and includes built-in GPS for real-time fleet tracking. The cost of the deployment will be partially underwritten by advertising on the Wi-Fi hotspot landing page that users see when they access the Internet service.

"This is a landmark deployment for Moovera as it is our first major installation with a national rail network operator," said Jim Baker, Moovera CEO and founder. "We have an established reputation as a leading provider of Internet access systems on buses, coaches and ferries so it was only a matter of time before we encompassed trains as well. Many of our large transportation customers who use the Moovbox mobile broadband gateway on their bus fleets also own train operations, so it is a natural progression for them to use tried and tested Moovbox technology to deliver Wi-Fi services to rail passengers."

Nokia has announced that its update for Nokia Maps has left beta stage and is now ready for consumers to download.
 
Downloaded over 240,000 times since announced in February, Nokia Maps 2.0 is said to have improved its optional Car Navigation, enhanced its pedestrian navigation, added multimedia city guides, now offers satellite images, and is sporting a redesigned user interface. Nokia's mapping and navigation solutions give people navigation features, local content and world maps directly on their mobile device, in a way that only connected devices can.
 
Nokia Maps 2.0 uses vector maps provided by Navteq and TeleAtlas, and now has maps covering over 200 countries, with over 70 of them navigable. Maps can be downloaded over the air directly to selected devices or by using the Nokia Map Loader on a PC.  A new beta version of the Nokia Map Loader is available on the Nokia Betalabs web site.

Orange and Nokia today announced a strategic international partnership, extending the first agreement signed by the two companies in February 2008. The two have committed to a three year partnership, which will include the addition of ten new Nokia handsets to the Orange Signature range and the addition of music to a combined offer of games, advertising, maps and location based services. 
 
Orange and Nokia have agreed to launch a suite of integrated multimedia services on the new Nokia handsets, launching in H208 across nine major markets, in an initiative designed to boost the adoption of mobile digital entertainment. As part of the strategic partnership, customers will have direct access to the Orange Music Store, both Orange and NGage games, as well as Nokia Maps. Under the Orange Signature programme, all services will be integrated into the familiar Orange user interface, providing one click access to information and entertainment.
 
"This collaboration underlines Orange's drive to create strategic partnerships that will give customers the best possible mobile multimedia experience in the simplest way," said Olaf Swantee, EVP of Orange's Personal Communications Services. "Combined with our leadership in mobile multimedia innovation and relationships with leading content providers, Orange believes that Nokia's devices and Ovi platform will make a powerful environment for the provision of a joint range of services," added Georges Penalver, EVP of Orange's Group Strategic Marketing.
 
"We are pleased to create this strategic partnership with Orange and believe that the combination of Signature and Ovi services will extend and enrich consumer choice," said Kai Öistämö, EVP, Devices, Nokia. "We also expect our close collaboration to extend beyond the initial focus areas of music, games, maps and advertising to include other services over time."
 
Under the agreement, the two companies will work jointly on marketing to support the launch of new devices and the development of multimedia applications. For instance, Nokia's Mobile Maps platform and GPS technology will be introduced to a wide portfolio of Nokia handsets in the Orange Signature range, allowing for navigation, location based search and advertising services. The two companies plan to create 10 million active Mobile Maps users on Nokia devices within the Orange footprint by 2010.

Andrew has won a multi-year contract for communications systems that will provide improved wireless coverage inside Deutsche Bahn AG's high speed train ICE in Germany.

Andrew in-train repeaters will be installed in all 250 ICE train sets covering nearly 1,500 carriages-the majority of the ICE fleet-that will feature high quality, high-availability mobile telephony signal coverage for passengers and official rail communications.  The project, which began this month and is scheduled for completion in 2010, is a common project between Deutsche Bahn and the German mobile network operators T-Mobile, Vodafone, the E-Plus Group and O2. 

The Andrew repeater system will support five separate GSM networks, covering the four operators plus the rail system's communications network, in the GSM-900, GSM-1800 and GSM-R bands.  The company has previously supported Deutsche Bahn in providing in-train coverage systems on portions of the ICE system since 2002.

"High-speed rail is one of the most challenging environments in which to provide wireless communications, with the complexities of different terrain and rapidly changing outdoor signal levels of the various networks," said Matt Melester, vice president and general manager, Wireless Innovations, Andrew.  "Andrew has vast experience around the world in successfully supporting such requirements.  We are proud to be chosen for this important project benefiting German rail passengers and ICE personnel."

NeuStar has announced that Tele2, said to be one of Europe's leading "alternative telecommunications" operators, has selected NeuStar's Next Generation Messaging (NGM) services to roll out mobile Instant Messaging services across Tele2's mobile phone networks. Tele2 will be working with NeuStar to roll out mobile Instant Messaging solutions to its mobile operators serving more than 17 million customers.

Tele2 has worked with NeuStar to implement NeuStar's industry-leading Mobile Instant Messaging, Presence, and Interconnect services into Tele2's mobile solutions.  Furthermore, NeuStar has developed additional billing software solutions to assist Tele2 in enhancing Tele2's end-to-end solution.

"Our philosophy is to always offer our customers easy-to-use services at great value for their money, and the rollout of mobile IM will provide our customers just that," said Karl-Johan Nybell, Director, Product Implementation and New Markets at Tele2.  "NeuStar has a track record of being able to provide solutions that are easy and intuitive for the end user and quick to market for the operator. We have worked closely with NeuStar to deliver a solution that is right for our customers."

"Tele2 prides itself in offering great value and simple to use mobile services to its customers, and we are very happy to be working with them," said Allen Scott, General Manager of NeuStar NGM.  "We are confident that Tele2 will be able to roll out mobile IM solutions to their customers quickly and easily, offering them a new mobile service that Tele2 subscribers will enjoy and use regularly."

B2M Solutions, specialist in managing the mobile enterprise, has entered an Alliance Partnership with NetMotion Wireless, a provider of mobile productivity and management software.  The relationship allows both companies to collaborate on software development to provide customers with a fully managed mobile enterprise where the wireless communications are both secure and stable.

NetMotion's extensive customer base of over 1,200 organisations now has access to the B2M mprodigy mobile management system, with the peace-of-mind that it will work seamlessly with NetMotion's Mobility XE, the company's award-winning mobile virtual private network (VPN) software. In turn, B2M's customers can use Mobility XE as part of an mprodigy installation to ensure a highly secure communications path between mobile devices and company servers. 

Peter George, Vice President of International Operations at NetMotion Wireless says, "Full systems management is a vital component for all large mobile enterprises and B2M mprodigy has been selected by NetMotion Mobility customers looking for a comprehensive management system. The success of projects for these joint customers has proven our Mobility XE mobile VPN is entirely complementary with mprodigyTM.  Together we are committed to delivering a best-of-breed robust solution, providing our customers with the confidence they need to deploy in highly scaleable and mission critical environments."

Julie Purves, Managing Director of B2M Solutions adds, "Both B2M and NetMotion have designed their solutions from the ground-up to be used in a mobile environment and we have a mutual advantage over systems built on legacy fixed networks and office based systems.  This makes for a perfect partnership where we can offer a very secure end-to-end solution. NetMotion Mobility secures the communications links between devices and the host and mprodigy delivers total management over a mobile estate." 

Alongside mprodigy's management capabilities, the new features of Mobility XE version 8.0 (introduced on 5 May 2008) are specifically designed to meet the security and connectivity needs of highly mobile field personnel.  It allows devices to connect to the enterprise network only after meeting specified security policies, but gives IT administrators greater control and flexibility.

AdaptiveMobile, provider of mobile subscriber protection for enterprises and individuals, has issued a stark warning to both mobile operators and parents that the cyber-bullying of schoolchildren highlighted by recent research in Ireland is actually an escalating international problem.

The survey, carried out by Trinity College Dublin, questioned nearly 2800 pupils from eight secondary schools and shows that children as young as 12 are being targeted by cyber bullies through various forms of communication including mobile phone calls, text messages and e-mails.

Other disturbing findings are that one in seven students have been targeted by bullies via their mobile phones or the internet, with one in eight boys questioned having been 'cyber-bullied' in recent months.

As a result, the Irish Government has been criticised for failing to respond to this growing problem. However, Lorcan Burke, CEO of AdaptiveMobile, asserts that this is a problem facing many more countries than Ireland: "The problem of cyber-bullying in Irish schools concerns me at a personal level, but my experience of dealing with mobile operators around the world shows me that unfortunately Ireland is one of dozens of countries suffering a growth in cyber-bullying, especially in mobile phone harassment.

"Children and teenagers are typically the fastest adopters of mobile technology, which means they are the first to realise the benefits of mobile access and content, but also the drawbacks. We want parents to know the real risks that exist and also to encourage them to work closely with their children and mobile service provider for a safer mobile experience for their child."

AdaptiveMobile is said to be working with mobile operators to safeguard their infrastructure and enable them to deliver appropriate controls to ensure a safe mobile experience for teenagers and children. Its parental controls are multifaceted, allowing parents to block applications, phone numbers and sites, or allow certain technologies in a limited capacity. It is encouraging parents to become an active partner in their children's mobile experience, working closely with their mobile service provider to get the best level of protection available.

Anritsu, a provider of testing, monitoring and management solutions for advanced and converged networks, has today announced release 6.2 of its Service Assurance solution MasterClaw. Providing extensive support for IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem), VoIP and wireless broadband services, the latest release of MasterClaw is a converged network and service monitoring solution that supports operators and service providers in their migration to IMS and NGN (Next Generation Networks). With MasterClaw, Anritsu says that operators and service providers can efficiently scale their OSS solution from a single technology implementation into a converged deployment, spanning legacy technologies and new technologies such as HSPA, IMS, VoIP and NGN.

MasterClaw is an integrated Service Assurance platform for converged next generation networks. Based on non-intrusive probes, MasterClaw provides end-to-end network and service visibility across GSM, GPRS, UMTS, VoIP, triple play, IMS and NGN networks. The integrated application suite combines network monitoring and troubleshooting with service and customer quality monitoring.

Some of the most significant new features in MasterClaw 6.2 are said to include:
* Full monitoring support for IMS monitoring including R7 As IMS is maturing and reaching the commercial deployment phase, the newest release of MasterClaw now supports IMS R7, including the charging related Diameter interfaces: Rf, Ro, Gy, Gx.
* MasterClaw Insight, the new interactive operations intelligence tool
MasterClaw Insight brings operational insight to your fingertips. Through drillable reports and online encyclopaedia that guide users through the analytical process, MasterClaw Insight gives direct access to service quality and customer centric monitoring information needed to optimize the customer experience.
* User Plane tracing and analysis of wireless broadband services

To support management of wireless broadband services MasterClaw 6.2 offers the ability to analyze service sessions that are a part of the user plane signalling. The functionality includes in-progress tracing and statistical support, as well as full user sessions can be captured for offline analysis in external third party tools such as Wireshark.

The new release also includes further enhancements of MasterClaw's flexible Web based user interface. The upgrade includes both the application launch portal and the intuitive dashboard that provides instant information about the performance of any key indicator, with dynamic self-learning alarms.

"We are of course very proud to be able to announce the release 6.2 of MasterClaw", says Svend Dahl-Pedersen, Product Managing Director at Anritsu's Service Assurance Division. "Many of our customers are now entering into IMS and NGN with real commercial service offerings and with its full support for IMS R7 and VoIP our latest version of MasterClaw is designed to help our customers in the migration to IMS/NGN and reduce the technical risks.

Mr. Dahl-Pedersen continues: "During 2007 we had a growth in our business in excess of 25%, which is more than twice as much as the Service Assurance market in general. This proves that our customers appreciate our award winning suite of integrated Service Assurance applications, and MasterClaw's ability to seamlessly span across both today's and tomorrow's network and service technologies. Especially the brand new operation intelligence package, MasterClaw Insight, will help our customers to optimize their operations further."

Nokia Siemens Networks is claiming to be the first in the industry to offer harmonization layer for traffic data in multivendor networks that helps operators improve customer service and operational efficiency. The harmonization layer enhances the existing real time data analysis of NetAct Traffica with productized out-of-the-box probe interface for eased creation of customer key performance indicators. The productized interface between Traffica and probes allows operators to cut custom integration costs, says the company.

Telefónica Spain is one of the first operators to take full value out of the harmonized traffic data analysis, with the operator upgrading its existing NetAct Traffica solution with Nokia Siemens Networks certified probe for harmonized customer traffic data analysis.
 
Operators can select the most suitable probe vendor from the certified probe vendors offered by Nokia Siemens Networks. Selected vendors have to meet the Nokia Siemens Networks certification criteria, including technical and operational compatibility such as licensing, maintenance and support, and release compatibility. Certification also requires technical verification in customer environment.

"Traffica certification is a concept where everybody wins: operators, certified probe vendors and Nokia Siemens Networks. Our service management solutions help operators to maximize customer experience in multitechnology, multivendor environments. NetAct Traffica provides operators with consistent information for decision making, bringing accuracy and efficiency to their service life-cycle management," says Vesa Tuomisto, Head of Service Management Business Line, Operations and Business Software, Nokia Siemens Networks.

The first probe vendors to join the certification program are Nexus Telecom, Polystar Instruments, and Radcom.

"Nexus Telecom greatly values the possibility to work with NSN to build a future Service Management Platform. This co-operation allows to incorporate the Nexus Telecom know-how into this solution aiming to achieve a substantial competitive edge. Such a solution is a significant move towards future service management," says Thomas Sutter, CEO, Nexus Telecom.

"We are excited to extend Polystar's role in the expanding Service Assurance and Customer Experience Management (CEM) markets," says Mikael Grill, CEO of Polystar Instruments. "By having our technology as part of Nokia Siemens Networks' Traffica Certification program, operators and service providers will benefit world-wide from an increased visibility into their networks. With the ability to accurately receive, aggregate and sort terabits of real-time data, our non-intrusive probes will help take real-time monitoring to an entirely new level."

"We are very excited by the potential of our collaboration with Nokia Siemens Networks to enhance our access to top-tier operators worldwide," added David Ripstein, President and CEO of RADCOM. "We believe the combination of our powerful probe-based technologies with Nokia Siemens Networks' NetAct Traffica will be a winning solution that helps operators deliver the high-quality advanced services they need to increase their ARPUs and maximize subscriber satisfaction."

Kineto Wireless, a specialist in UMA technology, and Agilent Technologies have announced the companies are collaborating on 3G and 2G UMA/GAN handset testing. 

The companies will focus on expanding Agilent's 8960 'real world' UMA/GAN test capabilities to provide a full-featured, non-scripting test solution for mobile operators, handset vendors and platform developers in the UMA/GAN market.  The first phase of collaboration will result in a robust 3G/2G UMA/GAN development and engineering validation tool.

"Agilent is committed to enhancing the 8960 wireless communications test set portfolio to meet the needs of wireless developers," said Niels Faché, vice president and general manager of Agilent's Mobile Broadband Division. "Working with Kineto will further enhance our 3G and 2G UMA/GAN test solutions - providing our mutual customers with unique solutions to help them produce high-quality devices that capitalise on and support the fixed mobile convergence."

As part of the collaboration, Kineto will use the Agilent solution to develop and validate its own client software, as well as support Kineto's platform and handset customers in bringing new UMA-enabled products to market.

"Bringing Kineto's field-proven expertise in UMA software development to Agilent's leading test platform will result in a best-of-breed solution," said Mark Powell, co-founder and vice president of Kineto's client business unit. "We expect to bring 3G and 2G UMA-enabled handsets to market faster to meet the increasing demand from mobile operators."

Telefónica Group president César Alierta and Huawei Technologies president Ren Zhengfei have officially inaugurated the Global Technical Assistance Centre (GTAC) in the Málaga Technology Park in Spain. The centre will provide technical support services to operators in all Spanish speaking countries.

The centre will eventually employ up to 50 professionals, most of them engineers specialising in areas such as wireless, broadband, data and core network technologies. With this opening, Huawei is taking an important new step in its growth strategy in Spain. Currently, Huawei has more than 300 professionals working in different offices in the country, 60% of whom are local employees.

"Global operators need to create long term partnerships with key industry suppliers and it is therefore important that our relationships are based not only on the technology we use but also on the high quality standards we require in order to fulfil our service commitment to our customers," explains Vicente San Miguel, Infrastructure and Information Technologies director at Telefónica. "Huawei's opening of this Spanish speaking centre to provide specialised technical assistance to our operations in Spain and Latin America is an important milestone in the cooperation between our two companies."

"The opening of the GTAC site is a decisive step for Huawei," explains Tang Xiaoming, president of the Telefónica global account at Huawei. "We have excellent growth prospects in the Spanish and Latin American markets and this centre will be a base for providing high level services for Telefónica and Spanish speaking operators. It will also help to attract qualified professionals to our organisation, to provide high-quality training programmes and to establish the basis for our future growth."

The presidents of Telefónica and Huawei have also signed today a cooperation agreement with the aim of creating an Innovation Centre. This innovation centre will focus on fixed and mobile broadband technologies, services, applications and software and core network solutions.