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Synchronica has announced Synchronica SimpleMail, a consumer push email (CPE) solution that, it says, brings mobile email to almost 100 percent of handsets in use today. Based on technology from the recent acquisition of former competitor AxisMobile and available immediately, Synchronica SimpleMail extends the addressable market for push email to even the most basic handsets, making it an ideal service for mobile operators in emerging markets.
Synchronica has already signed license agreements for the new technology with two mobile operators in emerging markets and has received an expansion order from a mobile operator in Russia / CIS for additional licenses.
Synchronica SimpleMail includes email-to-SMS and email-to-MMS gateways and a clientless solution for WAP / XHTML browser access. It also features the patented Optimizer transcoding gateway which reduces the size of pictures and allows a large variety of attachments, such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents to be displayed on feature phones that would otherwise be unable to support this functionality. Users can register for the service from their mobile handset rather than having to register via a PC - a key benefit in emerging markets where broadband connectivity is rare.
Carsten Brinkschulte, CEO of Synchronica, comments: "There are more than 3.5 billion mobile users and more than two billion mailboxes in use worldwide. Our mission is to bring mobile email to the mass market on the widest range of devices. Synchronica SimpleMail which is based on technology from our recent acquisition of AxisMobile extends our reach from smartphones and feature phones right down to even the most basic of handsets. This is a key proposition for emerging markets and has already brought us two new mobile operator customers, one in Africa and one in India."
Forecasts point to emerging markets as a breakthrough area for mass market mobile email. Informa predicts that there will be 4.81 billion mobile phone subscribers by 2012, with the next billion subscribers coming predominantly from emerging markets where PC and fixed-line penetration is low.

Although proponents of mobile WiMAX are positioning it as the best choice for a next generation network technology, IMS Research has said it believes that it will struggle to gain traction with operators, and will ultimately remain a niche mobile technology.  

Many in the WiMAX community however are quick to emphasize the time-to-market advantage that 802.16e has over LTE, says IMS.  While it is true that mobile WiMAX networks already have subscribers logging on to 802.16e networks around the world, and LTE networks are still at least three years away from commercial deployment, this time-to-market advantage will not tip the scales in favour of mobile WiMAX.  Network operators are just now beginning to see a return on their 3G investments as increasing numbers of consumers take advantage of mobile data plans, it says. 

IMS says that the fact that LTE won't be ready for another two to three years may actually turn out to be an advantage for LTE as the timeframe will allow mobile operators to get as much life as possible out of their existing 3G networks. Incremental upgrades to enhanced 3G technologies such as HSPA+ and EV-DO Rev B will allow for almost the same data rates as the initial LTE deployments. This will effectively set the stage for large scale LTE commercial rollouts in 3-4 years. 

While it is certain is that, while both standards will achieve some level of success, the road to mass adoption for mobile WiMAX will certainly be more challenging than that of LTE. This is further evidenced by the fact that the 3GPP has already tabbed LTE as the 4G standard for the GSM evolution path and the fact that the majority of cellular networks around the world are GSM does not bode well for mobile WiMAX supporters. This lack of wide-spread adoption will leave little incentive for mobile device manufacturers to develop products that support mobile WiMAX applications, says IMS. 

According to IMS Research Analyst Bob Perez, "The truth is that WiMAX is a very robust technology that has been quite successful in many parts of the world as a fixed broadband solution and will continue to do so, especially in underserved markets."  He continued by saying that, "although mobile WiMAX networks are already going live thanks to Sprint/Clearwire and Korea Telecom the prospect of additional mobile WiMAX networks from Tier 1 operators are looking pretty grim." 

The market for both fixed and mobile WiMAX is examined in detail in the new IMS Research report, "The Worldwide Market for WiMAX & Competing Products - 2008 Edition".

All five emerging markets saw double digit growth in 2007 due in large part to continued strong uptake of mobile services, says a new report published by OSS Observer, a global telecoms software analyst house and part of global telecoms adviser Analysys Mason. 

The report - CSP Strategies Market Review - details how Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Emerging Asia-Pacific and Central/Latin America all had 20% or more growth in mobile revenues, in sharp contrast to mature markets in North America, Western Europe and Developed Asia-Pacific, where only North America had more than 10% growth.

The global market for telecom services is dominated by large incumbent CSPs in mature markets. However, the growth rates varied widely among the leaders, with those with significant presence in emerging markets, like Telefonica, having much stronger growth at 7% than did those, like NTT with a 1% decline, which derive most of their revenues in mature home markets.

"While revenues in mature markets continue to make up the bulk of global revenues, emerging markets are seeing faster growth rates, and are increasingly important to the large tier-1 CSPs," says the report author, Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst at OSS Observer. Certainly investments are still being made in mature markets, especially for mobile data, but the growth potential in emerging markets is too great to ignore, as CSPs struggle to increase top line revenue."

Key findings from the new report include:

  • Total global revenues were $1.8 trillion in 2007, and are forecast to grow at 5% CAGR to $2.3 trillion by 2012.
  • Mobile data, helped by increases in mobile content, will grow from 19% of mobile revenues in 2007 to 32% in 2012--which translates to nearly $370 billion.
  • North America, which lags its peers in deploying higher-speed mobile networks, will grow twice as fast as other mature markets, at 5% CAGR from 2007-2012Globally, all CSPs will be focused on reducing opex, with those in mature markets seeking to maintain margins in an atmosphere of slow growth, while those in emerging markets seeking to be profitable in markets with severe pricing pressure

Neomobile, the Italian player in the mobile entertainment D2C Sector, and Spain's Arena Mobile, the global B2B mobile content provider, have announced the signing of an agreement that will lead to the creation of the Neomobile Group.

Operating in the market since 2004, Neomobile is said to have achieved a prominent role in the Italian market. The experience gained in Italy, considered to be one of the most advanced and competitive mobile entertainment markets, has allowed Neomobile to successfully set-up operations at international level in Turkey, Spain, and this year in Brazil. Neomobile markets directly to consumers (D2C) a wide variety of content and services. It is claimed that, in 2007 alone, more than 2.5 million unique users downloaded Neomobile digital contents.

Commenting on the transaction, Gianluca D'Agostino, CEO of Neomobile, said:  "This deal represents a key milestone in Neomobile's global growth strategy allowing us to accelerate our penetration in high potential markets, especially in Latin America and Asia Pacific regions and to bring a new B2B offering in those markets in which we have gained great expertise, such as Italy and Turkey. Arena Mobile has in the past proved to be an invaluable partner to Neomobile, and through this acquisition we look forward to establishing a tighter relationship between our complementary offerings and operations. I am confident that the synergies between the two companies will prove instrumental to further growth, allowing us to garner together the best business opportunities in the global scenario."

Josep Anton Aliagas, CEO of Arena Mobile, added: "Neomobile is the partner we have been looking for to strengthen our business model and service offerings. We bring to the table a solid reputation and proven success story, having been a pioneer of the Mobile Entertainment Industry since 2000, edging technology and content, and serving global customers.  Arena Mobile will be able to leverage Neomobile's exposure in the global B2C market and contribute to improving its offering to operators.  I have no doubt that this important move will benefit all parties involved and drive value generation. Current shareholders including myself will remain with the new Group, and are confident that this operation will add much value and contribute to the Neomobile Group becoming one of the leaders in the global mobile entertainment market in years to come."

Blyk, the free mobile network for 16-24 year olds funded by advertising, has chosen Nokia Siemens Networks to host its core network as it expands into the Netherlands and Belgium. Prepaid charging, messaging systems and device management will also be hosted for those two countries. .
 
Blyk runs an advertising funded mobile service aimed at young people. It provides free text messages and calls to young subscribers funded by advertisements delivered directly to their phones. Blyk started its service in the United Kingdom in mid 2007.
 
The centrally hosted solution provided by Nokia Siemens Networks will help Blyk to expand its service simultaneously to the Netherlands and Belgium quickly and cost-effectively. Recently in September, Blyk announced having doubled its member base in the UK to 200 000 from last autumn.
 
"At Blyk we want to be pioneers in this industry. The company's strength lays in its innovative idea and business model. The telecommunications industry, however, is incredibly competitive and leadership in the youth segment requires continuous business and service innovation," said Blyk's CEO and co-founder Pekka Ala-Pietilä. "Our collaboration with Nokia Siemens Networks provides us with the opportunity to focus on our core business, with the confidence that the service operations are in good hands."  
 
Under the two turnkey service deals, Nokia Siemens Networks will provide the infrastructure, prepaid charging and messaging systems, software and operations to Blyk as a fully managed, hosted service to Belgium and the Netherlands. The hosting service is delivered remotely from the Nokia Siemens Networks hosting center in Vienna.
 
"This agreement further reinforces collaboration between Nokia Siemens Networks and Blyk, a true innovator in the mobile industry," said Patrik Sallner, Global Head of Hosting Services, Nokia Siemens Networks. "With these agreements, Nokia Siemens Networks will demonstrate the benefits of its shareable multi-country mobile virtual network operator platform. The centrally hosted model allows the companies to quickly and cost-effectively deploy services across multiple countries without the need for significant numbers of local staff or investments," he added.

Spb Software, maker of Windows Mobile applications, has developed a user interface panel for Sony Ericsson's Xperia X1. As part of the strategic partnership between Sony Ericsson and Spb Software, Spb has provided a Mobile Shell-based solution that compliments the X1 in both style and speed. Taking advantage of the smartphone's panel technology, hardware and dynamic wide VGA touchscreen, the custom version of Spb Mobile Shell is optimized for the new Xperia, and comes with all X1 devices as a free download.

"We are very happy to be working with Spb, one of the most respected Microsoft Windows Mobile software developers in the market," said Mats Ekstrand, VP and Head of Convergence Unit at Sony Ericsson. "The addition of Spb to our panel ecosystem gives Xperia X1 users the opportunity to customize their handsets with an already established interface for the Windows Mobile environment, alongside enjoying the eight other active desktops through the unique Xperia Panel user interface."

Spb Mobile Shell is said to be an application that improves the innate Windows Mobile user interface, and is claimed to make it more direct, logical, and slick. The first version of software came out in February 2007.

"The Xperia panels are an innovative approach to personalization," - comments Yaroslav Goncharov, the Product Manager of Spb Mobile Shell - "With 3D acceleration, the panels are visually appealing for consumers, and at the same time present new opportunities for the developer community."

Volantis, the supplier of Intelligent Content Adaptation solutions for the Mobile Internet, has announced the availability of BuzzCast client for Apple iPhone, which is claimed to provide mobile operators with a way to brand their own content reader to quickly generate incremental data revenues. A similar client for Google Android devices will also be available soon.

Buzzcast is said to be a next-generation platform for integrating multiple content feeds, personalizing those feeds into custom channels, dynamically inserting advertisements and delivering content to multiple on-device clients.

The BuzzCast client for iPhone is the first Volantis-built on-device application for mobile devices. It enables subscribers with iPhones to access a range of syndicated content that they can search for and choose in a natural way by taking advantage of the touch-based user interface. 

"These new clients for BuzzCast will provide Volantis customers with the ability to offer compelling additional branded services to their subscribers," said Mark Watson, Volantis CEO. "Topical and frequently updated mobile content can help to drive data revenues and encourage takeup of higher-value data plans. The availability of BuzzCast clients on some of the most exciting mobile device platforms allows BuzzCast-delivered content to be in the hands of subscribers more rapidly than ever before."

The BuzzCast client for Android will provide equivalent functionality for any device based on the Google Android Platform.

Subscribers of Hutchison 3G Ireland, the operator of 3 Ireland network, have begun to receive high-speed mobile broadband services across the whole country as 3 expands its WCDMA/HSPA services in response to the growing demand for high speed broadband connectivity across Ireland.
 
Nokia Siemens Networks is upgrading and extending 3's network and is also providing the flat network architecture solution known as "Internet High-Speed Packet Access" (I-HSPA), a technology optimized for carrying huge volumes of data traffic, with its all-Internet Protocol (IP) backhaul. 
 
With the network extension, end users, whether they are on PC's, using laptops, or on the move with Internet enabled handsets, will have access to high-speed and high-capacity wireless broadband, with enhanced voice, data and multimedia services, enabled by the High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) functionality. In addition, with the higher data rates and increased network capacity the subscribers of 3 will have access to a vast range of service offerings.
 
Robert Finnegan, Chief Executive of 3 said: "This strategic agreement with Nokia Siemens Networks reinforces our position as the leading mobile broadband network and 3's commitment to deploying the very best technologies available. 3 has constantly challenged the established broadband providers to up their game and we're already seeing huge changes in the market place - mobile broadband connections are growing far faster than fixed line and we believe Ireland will be at the forefront of mobile replacing fixed line altogether, much like the trend we're seeing in the voice market. Not only is the mode of access changing but prices have dropped dramatically across the board since 3 introduced its 19.99 per month for 10 Mb last May. The broadband market is changing at a rapid pace and 3 is leading the charge to bridge Ireland's digital divide."
 
Under a three-year contract, Nokia Siemens Networks has already started to replace 3's legacy radio network with it's energy-efficient 3G connectivity solution, bringing 3 both environmental and operational benefits. The advanced solution, featuring the market-leading Flexi Base Stations, is said to provide significant power savings of up to 70 percent.
 
The setup will also simplify 3's network thanks to I-HSPA, the cost-effective flat network architecture concept, which is said to provide scalability to meet the demands of growing traffic and, at the same time, offers a smooth migration path to the future mobile networks, or Long Term Evolution (LTE).
 
"We are very pleased to extend and consolidate our partnership with this important agreement," said Sampsa Lahtinen, Head for West Europe at Nokia Siemens Networks. "We are also glad that our innovative solutions which simplify mobile networks, like the Flexi Base Station and Internet-HSPA, will provide the Irish consumers with a fast, reliable broadband experience."
 
Nokia Siemens Networks is also providing 3 with the NetAct network management and service management solution for maximizing network performance.

mBalance says it is helping mobile operators protect the environment, with software claimed to minimize energy consumption and provide operators considerable savings in both hardware costs and carbon footprint. And with mBalance's latest TextPass Suite 7 software release, the company is claiming to provide extreme SMS routing and delivery performance on existing hardware.

"Sending an SMS is becoming cheaper due to competition and regulatory price rulings, which results in even more use of SMS by subscribers. At the same time, mature operators need to be more conscious of the environmental impact of their heavy energy consumption. The result: these operators are now, more than ever, focused on reducing their carbon footprint. mBalance's new messaging systems allow them to do this while at the same time save considerably  on server hardware. This all means a more competitive business for them," commented mBalance CEO Marien van Ouwerkerk.

Mobile network capacity, one of the most effective ways to compare offerings, has traditionally been expressed in messages per second, but this number doesn't tell the customer anything about the hardware or energy efficiency needed to achieve it. mBalance believes this is better expressed as the power consumption per messages delivered, the common unit for this is kiloWatt hour (kWh). The mBalance modular SMS routing platform handles 140 Million messages per kWh - 30 times less energy than traditional SMSC (Short Message Service Centre) systems with comparable delivery capacity. 

mBalance's Green Messaging is also said to fall in line with the new environmental policies set by the GSM Association, which has launched a renewable energy push for mobile networks called the Green Power for Mobile Program.  The goal is to help the mobile industry to become more aware of its power consumption and its effects on the environment. The idea is not only to lower the energy consumption of existing (messaging) infrastructures, but also to introduce renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, or sustainable bio-fuels.

Although embedded cellular modem sales have been slow to take off, momentum is building for increased sales, according to a recent study from ABI Research. One recent development is the GSMA's Mobile Broadband Service Mark initiative which, backed by media spending of $1 billion, will create awareness of laptops with embedded connectivity, says ABI.
 
Other drivers include: Qualcomm's Gobi chipset that enables modem connectivity on both GSM and CDMA networks; lower mobile broadband pricing; and networks maintaining their current EV-DO Rev A and HSPA air interfaces for at least two more years. ABI has forecast that these and other market forces will increase embedded cellular modem sales to nearly $9 billion in 2013.
 
However ABI Research principal analyst Dan Shey observes that there are some near term barriers to market development. "Although embedded connectivity is convenient, operators can apply the important levers of PC Card and USB modem pricing and promotion, as well as device-specific mobile broadband pricing. These factors can change the total value proposition of an embedded modem device and limit their uptake in the near term."
 
Another near-term barrier is the current negative economic environment.
 
Shey concludes, "The holiday season will be difficult this year for purchases of bigger ticket items such as laptops. It would not be surprising for laptop OEMs to work more closely with operators to help drive the sales of these devices both with and without embedded connectivity. In other words, product bundles that include laptops, mobile broadband price offers and/or USB modems may be made available to entice buyers during these difficult economic times."  

The GSMA, the global trade body for the mobile industry, has called on
governments across Europe to emulate the "Digital Plan" unveiled by the
French Government. By allocating part of the digital dividend spectrum to
mobile broadband services, France is well-placed to improve its economic
competitiveness by closing the digital divide between those with access to
broadband and those without, it says.

"The French government has acted decisively by allocating 72MHz of the
spectrum freed up by the switchover to digital television to mobile broadband
services, which will reach rural communities that can't be served
economically by fixed-line broadband networks," said Tom Phillips, Chief
Government & Regulatory Affairs Officer of the GSMA. "Radio signals in this
spectrum band travel much further than signals in the higher bands, enabling
future mobile broadband networks to reach as far as 2G networks do today. The
rest of Europe should follow France's example as soon as possible."

The French Government's decision to initially allocate the 790MHz to
862MHz band for mobile broadband services will further encourage equipment
makers to develop handsets and base stations for this frequency band, which
the World Radiocommunication Conference has allocated to the provision of
mobile broadband services in Europe, Middle East and Asia.

The GSMA is calling on other European governments to also commit this spectrum
band to mobile broadband services. Harmonisation of spectrum across countries
provides manufacturers with the economies of scale necessary to drive down
the price of mobile devices and makes it easier for people to continue using
their handsets while traveling abroad, it says. The success of GSM is partly due to
the harmonized allocation of spectrum by European governments. The Swedish
and Finnish governments have already decided to make the 790MHz -862 MHz band
available for mobile applications.

Texas Instruments has today announced that its Bluetooth and WLAN technology software drivers are available for use in Open Handset Alliance's Android platform. Open access to these technologies simplifies the design process for handset manufacturers and software developers, providing the resources to architect Android-based devices. TI, a long-time supporter of the open source software community, is the first company to provide open source Bluetooth and WLAN software drivers for the Android platform, and is among the first to open WLAN drivers for the mobile industry.

"TI continues to increase its contributions to the open source community, removing barriers and sparking development of a new breed of mobile devices," said Haviv Ilan, general manager, TI's Wireless Business Unit. "Contributing our Bluetooth and WLAN driver source codes to Open Handset Alliance's Android platform is another step in this initiative."

TI previously announced support for the Android platform with its OMAPT3 applications processors, and is now providing the connectivity elements for its BlueLinkT Bluetooth and WiLinkT WLAN technologies. According to TI, pre-integrating the codes into the Android platform places a comprehensive set of tools directly into the hands of developers and handset manufacturers easing the innovation process, while reducing time to market. Additionally, TI leverages the Apache and BSD-style licenses in support of the Android platform. With these licenses, a broader number of companies will be able to adopt the Android platform and build on top of it without having to expose proprietary technologies. This is a competitive advantage that increases flexibility and encourages further adoption of open source software, says TI..

TI  joined Open Handset Alliance as a founding member in 2007, supporting Android development with its OMAPT, Bluetooth and WLAN technologies. In addition to Open Handset Alliance, TI participates in a number of consortiums that further promote open source development, including the BlueZ community that provides support for the core Bluetooth layers and protocols.

AIRCOM International, a UK independent network planning and optimisation consultancy, has been selected by Egypt's largest mobile operator Mobinil, to help plan and implement 3G technology into its existing 2G network. 

Mobinil has purchased the UMTS+HSPA module of the ASSET network planning tool from AIRCOM's ENTERPRISE tool suite, as it seeks to roll out a wide range of 3G services to its customers.  As well as the 3G module of ASSET, AIRCOM delivered 3G technology courses and will also provide a range of training and consultancy services to Mobinil's engineers, to ensure a seamless integration into the network. 

Commenting on the deal, Mahmoud Hatab, Senior Manager, RF Design & Optimisation at Mobinil said: "As part of the Mobinil mission to maintain its position as the leading mobile service provider in Egypt, we partnered with AIRCOM as they were in the best position to help deliver quality 3G services to the market quickly.  Having a great radio planning tool helps us deliver this quality efficiently and it was obvious that ASSET offered the best solution to meet our needs."

ASSET works across multiple technology mobile networks - including WiMAX, HSDPA, 2, 2.5 and 3G - and has been used by Mobinil since 2006 to plan and optimise its existing 2G network. 

"We are delighted to have been selected by Mobinil as it rolls out its 3G network," said Bashar Zako, Regional Managing Director for MENA and India, at AIRCOM International.  "ASSET will be able to generate sophisticated network statistics and reports for Mobinil to ensure the network provides optimum quality and capacity.  Ultimately this will reduce Mobinil's OPEX spend and help to ensure it delivers the best possible quality of service to its customers. 

Deployment of ASSET into the Mobinil network began in April and the tool is currently being used by Mobinil planning and optimisation engineers across Egypt. 

mobilkom austria, and fring, a mobile internet service and community service provider, have jointly launched a partner program for the mobile internet, including mVoIP, instant messaging and more.

Following the adoption of the SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) telecommunications standard, fring has developed a dedicated version of its mobile client to support the functionalities of mobilkom austria's service A1 over IP, along with additional popular internet communities. This is said to be a first step of the partner program -  fring plans to expand its portfolio to include additional features of mobilkom austria's A1 over IP, providing a true convergence of residential and mobile SIP telephony, mobile community and mobile internet provision.

Hannes Ametsreiter, CMO mobilkom austria and CMO Telekom Austria TA said, explaining the objectives of the partner program: "Internet services and mobile communications will become increasingly integrated. We were among the first operators to adopt the international SIP standard. Through the partnership with fring we can demonstrate today how the two worlds will merge in the future."

Avi Shechter, fring co-founder and CEO, added: "We are delighted to be working with mobilkom austria, a network operator who is among the first to truly embrace mobile internet communication and communities and build it into their business.  The A1 over IP offering demonstrates mobilkom austria's leadership and the commercial opportunities and rich user benefits available by offering integration into fring's mobile internet community and communication service."

A1 over IP was launched by mobilkom austria in 2007, primarily as a service for the PC, offering customers the possibility to make calls via ‘Voice over IP' using their mobile phone number, accept calls to the phone number on the PC and send and receive text messages on their computer. From the start, instant messaging as well as the presence function, which signals the online availability of all call parties, were elementary components of the service.

Following the launch of the partner program, these functionalities will also be supported by fring, which will continuously expand its portfolio to support all new features of A1 over IP, just as with traditional internet communities. As a result, users of the mobile version of this VoIP application will be able to keep in contact with their friends via the same service as on the PC.