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A leading group of mobile operators have today unveiled a new initiative to create a blueprint and roadmap for opening up mobile functionality to encourage the development of exciting mobile applications without compromising customer security. The new initiative will be known as BONDI.

Supported by the OMTP members including 3 Group, AT&T, T-Mobile, Telenor, Telefonica, Telecom Italia and Vodafone, BONDI will provide a consistent and secure web services interface that can be used by all web developers across multiple device platforms. This will provide the opportunity for web developers to address a mass market of consumers and to drive the use of data services on mobile.

BONDI will harmonise the various open and proprietary ongoing initiatives and this cooperative work will minimise the potential for technology fragmentation in this exciting area. BONDI, under the OMTP umbrella, will contribute towards ongoing standardisation work to help create a new rich web experience for mobile while also ensuring an appropriate degree of protection that will maintain the current high level of trust by mobile phone users.

BONDI will expose key handset features to web developers to help them develop more function-rich, user friendly and relevant applications. The new handset software will be engineered in such a way as to prevent fraudulent and malicious activity through unauthorised access to functions or sensitive personal information.

Colibria, the provider of new generation mobile instant messaging (MIM) and Presence-enabled solutions, has announced the availability of its SIP IM Server. Designed to enable the convergence of voice, media and text based communication across mobile, fixed and converged networks in both IMS and pre-IMS networks, the product offering is said to include many of the features of Colibria's MIM solutions.
 
According to Colibria, the SIP IM Server is said to plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the concept of ‘rich communication', as set out in the Rich Communication Suite (RCS) initiative, becomes a reality for communication service providers (CSPs) and end-users alike. RCS is a joint effort of key telecom industry players to speed up the evolution of mobile phone communication towards ‘rich communication', including features such as a Presence-enabled address book, with the introduction of new IMS-based interoperable services.
 
Colibria's SIP IM Server provides a base upon which CSPs can introduce new service packages and deploy integrated communication services that not only greatly enhance the consumer experience, but also open up new revenue opportunities. For example, by deploying the Colibria SIP IM Server new ‘Communicator' solutions can be created which are access type independent and combine MIM, VoIP, file and video sharing within a single package.
 
Colibria's SIP IM Server supports Session Mode Messaging with MSRP (Message Session Relay Protocol) reducing signalling network load when transporting media whilst simultaneously increasing reliability and allowing tighter integration of services. In addition, a deferred messaging capability ensures that whilst the user is offline all messages are captured, with the option of waiting MIM alerts for the user via SMS.
 
As a fundamental element of the IMS framework, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is perceived to be an emerging market technology, but the potential for future growth is already being heralded, with analysis firm ABI Research predicting that SIP services will generate $150 billion in annual revenue by 20121.
 
Lars Kristian Roland, Chief Technology Officer at Colibria, commented, "Previously SIP IM products have originated from the fixed environment, bringing with them poor interworking across platforms. With our heritage and expertise in the mobile instant messaging market, we have developed a ‘best-in-breed' SIP IM solution that boasts SMS, MMS and IMPS interworking and ultimately enables CSPs to offer their customers a truly converged communication service."
 
The Colibria SIP IM Server complies with IETF, 3GPP and OMA standards, and has proven interoperability with major IMS vendors, where it performs as an IMS application server, and is ideally placed to be deployed in multi-vendor IMS and pre-IMS environments. It will interface to any SIP compliant 3rd party client enabling the CSP to choose the best solution to support their mobile and fixed terminal requirements. As a key component of the Colibria Evolve Solution, Colibria SIP IM Server can be deployed with Colibria's SIP Presence and XDM Server offerings, or with 3rd party Presence products.

Damovo UK, an enterprise ICT provider, and Red-M, a wireless professional services company, have today announced a partnership agreement designed to meet the growing demand for wireless connectivity across a number of large-scale and diverse business locations.

The partnership is said to combine Damovo's experience delivering and supporting enterprise-wide ICT deployments, with Red-M's expertise in designing and implementing large and complex wireless networks. It is claimed that this will enable both companies to offer leading-edge wireless solutions to large-scale UK companies in the private and public sector.

Damovo chose to work with Red-M due to its specialisation deploying a variety of wireless technologies, including in-building radio, 3G, WiFi and WiMAX.  Red-M has extensive expertise in WLAN surveys, whereby it audits existing or potential wireless coverage at a range of challenging and diverse locations - these include campus sites, airports, shopping centres and hospitals.  Based on the audit results, the most appropriate wireless solution can then be designed and implemented to meet the customer's specific needs. Damovo will also be offering Red-M's Radio Extension Service (RES), which provides organisations with a cost-effective wireless alternative to fibre-based data networks, allowing multiple buildings on a campus site to connect seamlessly.

Voice-over WiFi and location-based asset tracking are currently two of the main drivers for wireless infrastructure.  For example, in the healthcare sector hospitals are deploying WLANs as part of their asset tracking strategy, whereby valuable equipment and even patients are tagged with RFID chips.  This enables hospitals to locate their assets much more effectively and prevent the theft of expensive equipment or loss of blood samples.   Voice-over WiFi also has potential benefits for the healthcare sector, as it allows greater mobility for hospital staff.  By enabling staff to speak to each other wherever they are on campus, hospitals stand to significantly increase efficiency and productivity.

Nick Dean, Managing Director of Damovo UK, said: "We are seeing a considerable demand across many sectors for wireless solutions.  By partnering with specialist technology partners such as Red-M we can ensure that both existing and potential clients optimise their wireless capability.  Through having the appropriate infrastructure these organisations can then deliver business critical services to their employees and customers."

Steve Leach, CTO of Red-M, commented: "Working with Damovo is a key part of our channel strategy.  Damovo has enormous experience in the enterprise ICT arena, particularly in the public sector, and this partnership will open up a number of opportunities for both companies in the delivery of wireless infrastructure solutions."

Vodafone and MySpace have today announced the launch of an online global interactive platform, "Vodafone Music Reporter", which will expand Vodafone's music activity and continue to deliver a music experience to Vodafone customers. The "Vodafone Music Reporter" interactive profile, hosted on MySpace, builds on the collaboration of both companies which began in 2007 with the launch of MySpace on Vodafone mobile internet.

Vodafone will use the profile to share its existing music initiatives, including summer festivals such as Music Unlimited Cologne in Germany and Vodafone TBAs in the UK. The "Vodafone Music Reporter" profile will also feature user generated content to help create communities for all music fans initially in Germany, Spain and the UK with Italy to follow in the next few days.

Music fans in the UK, Italy, Germany and Spain can click and start sharing their music experiences, upload and download content including pictures and videos related to Vodafone Music Unlimited events. Members of the "Vodafone Music Reporter" community will be able to interact with their fellow users through a blog featuring regular updates on Vodafone Music Unlimited activities. 

iPoint-media, a video calling specialist and provider of interactive video application delivery platforms for web, 3G mobile and media, has announced the signing of a reseller agreement with Consort NT S.A., a French systems integrator. Consort NT will resell and integrate iPoint-media's Vitrage 3G video calling application platform in France with a focus on French mobile operators and value added service providers.

As the take up of 3G mobile phones increases, mobile operators and service providers are looking for new interactive services to offer their customers to generate new revenue streams. The Vitrage 3G video calling application platform enables the deployment of a wide range of interactive video services such as entertainment, interactive video chat, video dating, video call centres and participation TV. The platform's development environment speeds up time to market of new mobile video services and reduces operational expenses.

Marc Fesler, Consort NT's Director of Telecom Business Unit, commented: "There is a growing interest in 3G video calling services in the French mobile telecom market. iPoint-media's Vitrage platform will enable us to work with our customers to deliver the richest visual experience for French mobile subscribers. We believe there will be significant interest in the Vitrage solution and hope to generate significant revenues as a result."

Joseph Daniel, iPoint-media VP Sales & Marketing, commented: "We've seen a growing number of system integrators interested in offering our Vitrage 3G video calling application platform to telecom operators. With the rapidly increasing number of 3G mobile phones in France, we believe this market offers good potential for video calling services. We look forward to working closely with Consort NT as we believe that it is well positioned to finalise transactions with French operators and to deliver our leading 3G video calling solutions in France."

iPoint-media's Vitrage 3G video calling service platform offers a platform for delivering interactive video calling services. The company's platforms are currently used by leading mobile operators, service providers and broadcasters in Europe and Asia Pacific.

Telefónica and IODA, specialist in digital distribution, marketing, and technology solutions for the independent music industry, today announced a worldwide partnership with Telefónica. The
agreement will enable Telefónica to make IODA's catalog of independent music available to its users in 24 countries.
 
Telefónica will make IODA's more than one million tracks available to consumers as ringtones, mastertones and full tracks, as well as video tones and album art for wallpapers. IODA content will also be available via Telefónica's subscription services.
 
"IODA is a pioneer in the mobile industry and holds a unique position as a conduit between thousands of independent labels and fans around the world. We believe our partnership will help satiate the growing thirst for independent music among our customers, and look forward to a fruitful relationship," said Antonio Santacruz, director of music products and services for Telefónica.
 
"IODA's partnership with Telefónica reflects both our commitment to mobile as a growing part of our business, as well as our passion for Spanish, Latin and World music. In the last four years, we have built the largest roster of independent Latin music labels available in the industry," commented Kevin Arnold, founder and CEO of IODA. "Telefónica's commitment to independent music and video is opening up an enormous opportunity for labels to connect with their fans. We look forward to an exciting partnership."

NEC has announced a definitive agreement to acquire NetCracker Technology, a US based software and solutions company delivering Operations Support Systems (OSS).

With the acquisition, NEC says it adds a key element of software and services to its portfolio of mobile and fixed infrastructure products. NetCracker's products, services and domain expertise will be integral to leveraging complementary assets within both companies.

"NetCracker has distinguished itself with a record of successful OSS transformations and exceptional software solutions and professional services for leading communications service providers," said Mr. Kaoru Yano, President of NEC. "The acquisition of NetCracker strengthens NEC's offerings and brings even greater value to the global communications industry."

"NEC and NetCracker share a vision of operations and business support systems being critical to communications service providers, enabling them to build a sustainable competitive advantage," said Andrew Feinberg, CEO of NetCracker. "NEC's scale and solution offering will help us extend our core application and services footprint and continue to broaden the solutions we offer to our global customers."

NEC says it will now leverage the acquisition of NetCracker to strengthen its existing business foundations and to provide total solutions for communications businesses whose IP and service diversification needs continue to grow. The company anticipates that Operations Support Systems will represent a key element to new international growth that is expected to generate approximately 200 billion yen over the next 5 years.

 

Sony Ericsson, the 50/50 joint venture between Ericsson and Sony Corporation, has announced that the company sees continued market challenges impacting sales and profit in the second quarter 2008.

Sony Ericsson expect to ship approximately 24 million phones during the second quarter of 2008 with an estimated ASP (Average Selling Price) of EUR 115. Gross margin is expected to decline both year over year and sequentially. Net income before taxes is estimated to be about break-even for the second quarter of 2008.

Mobile messaging operator TynTec has accepted a significant minority investment from HarbourVest Partners, LLC, a global private equity investment firm. The funds will assist TynTec's rapid expansion into Asia, the Middle East and Africa and will help accelerate market penetration of the company's recent product innovations.  HarbourVest investment professionals Alex Rogers and Claudio Siniscalco will be joining TynTec's Board of Directors.

Ralph Eric Kunz, Co-Founder and Chairman of TynTec, said:  "We are delighted by HarbourVest's investment in our business.  We believe their experience as an investor in growth companies with technical and market leadership will help TynTec continue to grow and enhance its product offering."

Robert Wadsworth, Managing Director of HarbourVest, said:  "TynTec is the preeminent technology leader in the fast growing enterprise-quality SMS market, and is being relied upon increasingly by its customers to deliver mobile messaging applications in mission critical environments.
HarbourVest are strong believers in the continued growth of SMS as one of the world's primary global communication media, and we are looking forward to this new partnership and helping TynTec to achieve global scale."

TynTec is claimed to differ from traditional SMS providers because the company can offer operator-level SMS services, enabling greater speed, reliability and measurability than standard messaging services. As well as guaranteed delivery in less than 15 seconds, TynTec says it can also provide full delivery receipts and a guarantee of control and security of the message direct to the handset.

Michael Kowalzik, CEO of TynTec, said:  "We are excited to embark on this next phase of growth for our company alongside HarbourVest Partners, and believe that their global presence, combined with their financial and strategic backing will provide TynTec the appropriate platform from which to further execute our global expansion strategy.For instance, Harborvest will help us accelerate the market penetration of our innovative products including International Messaging Transit, a SMS hubbing platform for operators, or OneNumber, which allows businesses and internet service providers  to receive any communication form (voice, fax, SMS, VOIP calls, MMS, etc) on a single phone number."

GyPSii, the geo-location and mobile social networking provider, has today announced it has entered into a multi-year worldwide agreement with Garmin, the specialist in satellite navigation.

Under the terms of the agreement, GyPSii will provide technology, products, worldwide data center infrastructure, development licenses, and GyPSii branding rights to Garmin, on a worldwide non-exclusive basis for a range of Garmin products. Garmin anticipates that future products will include friend finding applications that support the GyPSii-powered location-based social networking services platform.

The agreement provides development licenses to Garmin, to leverage the GyPSii location-based geo-social networking services infrastructure for internal development and integration with its products. The agreement also has provisions for revenue sharing between GyPSii and Garmin.

GyPSii incorporates a wide range of location-specific functions and mobile lifestyle services - including mobile search, user generated content-sharing and social networking - in a single platform.

"We're very excited to work with an established global market leader like Garmin to deliver its consumer navigation solutions," said Dan Harple, founder and CEO of GyPSii. "This agreement underscores GyPSii as the leading platform for delivering on a global level the next generation of mobile social networking communities and location-aware mobile lifestyle services. Our agreement with Garmin opens up these new functions and services to consumers everywhere and takes the multi-billion dollar navigation market in an exciting new direction."

The Femto Forum, the independent industry association that supports femtocell deployment worldwide, and the NGMN Alliance, the group focused on the evolution to the next generation of mobile networks, will cooperate on how femtocells can benefit the architecture of next-generation mobile broadband networks such as WiMAX and LTE.

The two bodies say they will work together to ensure that next generation mobile networks can incorporate femtocells from the very beginning of their deployment rather than integrating the technology afterwards. This is expected to enable mobile operators to use femtocells to manage the cost of rollouts, plan spectrum use and ensure optimum coverage and capacity precisely where it is needed.  The two bodies say they will be involved in establishing clear performance targets, fundamental recommendations and deployment scenarios for next generation mobile broadband networks incorporating femtocells and to help ensure that cost/performance ratios are optimised.

"Adding femtocells to existing cellular networks provides operators with numerous benefits, but rolling out a completely new mobile technology designed to include femtocells introduces fundamental and powerful advantages," said Dr. Peter Meissner, Operating Officer of the NGMN Alliance. "The partnership between the Femto Forum and the NGMN Alliance will offer operators a completely different approach to network rollout than exists today."

"Femtocells can transform how next generation mobile networks can be deployed. For example, femtocells could be employed using higher frequencies to deliver targeted intense high bandwidth requirements inside buildings - exactly where subscribers need it. This is expected to enable operators to use the scarce lower frequency spectrum to provide good quality coverage across entire markets with the minimum number of macro network cells" said Prof. Simon Saunders, Chairman of the Femto Forum "The range of possibilities opened up by femtocells is extensive and this agreement will help ensure that the most can be made of the opportunity."

The NGMN Alliance recommendations include a clear requirement for a cost-optimised indoor node design. It also includes requirements for self-organising networks with automated self-optimising and self-configuring functionality.  Femtocells are the first example of a self-organising network and therefore meet both these requirements. The two bodies will work together to define technology requirements, and make recommendations which will then be converted into solutions to be developed within the Femto Forum and promoted jointly.

Sony BMG Music Entertainment UK has become the UK's first record label to license MIDAS, MIG's mobile messaging platform to manage a host of in and outbound SMS campaigns, opening up mobile as an instant activation channel and enabling Sony BMG to communicate directly with its database of over one million opted in mobile subscribers throughout the UK.

The 12 month contract gives Sony BMG's in-house direct marketing team the capability to set-up, manage and run targeted mobile marketing campaigns.  These include distributing weekly SMS newsletters, event driven alerts services, and special offers on digital content from Sony BMG artists.

Simon Daniels, Direct Marketing Manager, Sony BMG Music Entertainment UK said: "MIG were able to offer us exactly what we were looking for from a mobile messaging platform - Speed, capacity and reliability.  Licensing MIG's MIDAS platform will give us one hundred per cent control over our mobile marketing activity and enable us to be more nimble and responsive to our subscribers needs.  MIG are widely regarded as the market leaders when it comes to mobile interactivity and were the natural partner of choice for Sony BMG."

Tim Dunn, Head of Marketing Services, Mobile Interactive Group said, "Partnering with Sony BMG has enabled the MIG team to broaden its experience of working with big name brands in the media and entertainment industry.  Due its high capacity, high performance and reliability, MIDAS is ‘the' mobile messaging platform for tier one media brands in the UK such as ITV and FIVE, providing Sony BMG's direct marketing team with the knowledge they are working with the best messaging platform in the market place."

Convergent billing specialist, Cerillion Technologies, has today announced the launch of Cerillion Express, a pre-integrated and pre-configured CRM and billing solution for telecoms operators. Said to offer rapid implementation and a 'very low' total cost of ownership, Cerillion Express is claimed to provide all the elements required to support a communications provider's business in one off-the-shelf package.

The first edition of the new solution, Cerillion Express for Mobile, is targeted at mobile service providers who require a proven business support system to support their mobile operations. Utilising core components of Cerillion's bundled component product suite, the solution covers the entire customer lifecycle from initial sales and order handling, to billing and collections, and includes the integration of prepaid and postpaid services. 

"With Cerillion Express we are able to dramatically lower the entry barrier for operators who want a complete solution to support their end-to-end customer management and billing processes," says Guy O'Connor, business development director, Cerillion Technologies.  "Based on best practice configuration and process support, Cerillion Express also delivers optimal system performance and can be run with a very small operations team or operated on a wholly managed service basis."

"Cerillion Express is able to grow easily in breadth and sophistication, enabling operators to add extra functionality as and when required," he adds. "We have drawn on more than ten years' experience and expertise of CRM and billing projects to build the solution, so that our customers benefit by being able to focus on critical 'go to market' decisions without the distraction of system constraints or integration issues."

The turnkey solution incorporates a full suite of professional services, including implementation in ten weeks; complete product and operations training; and a support and maintenance service, based on defined service level agreements. In addition to the full managed service option, the solution can be provided under a build-operate-transfer model, which offers a managed service for the first year of system operation.