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Ericsson and 3 Italia are claiming an industry first with the successful establishment of enhanced HSPA mobile-data connections in a commercial network. The enhanced HSPA technology enables maximum uplink data rates of 5.8Mbps and a significant reduction in network latency, resulting in markedly better performance for interactive consumer applications.

The milestone, achieved in 3 Italia's existing commercial network, is claimed to mark another step towards HSPA Evolution and reconfirms HSPA as the leading mobile broadband technology. The higher uplink data speeds and lowered latency in the mobile network make more efficient interactive communication possible for the consumer. The faster uplink will provide an improved consumer experience in areas such as video conferencing, uploading user-generated content and sending e-mails with attachments, and better performance for interactive online gaming.

Vincenzo Novari, CEO of 3 Italia, says: "This world-first achievement reaffirms our commitment to accelerating the development of the mobile broadband market."

Cesare Avenia, President of Ericsson Italy says: "This achievement is a strong proof of the excellent service capabilities of Ericsson, which has the responsibility for the overall management of 3 Italia's network."

Ulf Ewaldsson, Vice President and Head of Product Area Radio, Ericsson, says: "With this world-first achievement we underline Ericsson's technology leadership in the mobile broadband area. We thank 3 Italia for the close co-operation to reach this milestone."

The much lauded femtocell could make the transition from domestic homes to larger scale commercial in-building coverage applications, by teaming up with advanced distributed antenna systems (DAS), predicts wireless technology leader, Radio Frequency Systems (RFS). The company's Vice President Wireless Indoor Solutions, Marc Kaeumle (pictured), has noted that advanced passive and active DAS architectures are fast evolving into forms that could ultimately assist femtocell technology overcome its mid-to-large enterprise challenges, allowing femtocells to play a role in the corporate in-building world.

"The femtocell is an exciting domestic coverage technology, particularly as we start to see more affordable consumer-level units," said Kaeumle. "It is destined to play an immediate and powerful role in ensuring that the premium data throughput of HSDPA-, WiMAX- and LTE-based services needed to provide broadband wireless data applications will soon be achieved deep within our homes."

In applying it to larger premises, said Kaeumle, the femtocell potentially presents enormous ‘scaling' advantages, as each femtocell brings with it a finite unit of both coverage and network capacity. This makes it an immensely scalable RF technology.

According to Kaeumle, although the femtocell does offer such theoretical scaling advantages, multi-femtocell networks deployed over larger corporate premises currently face three practical application challenges: core network connectivity (backhaul); network operation and management; and handover and signal ‘spillage' issues.

The first of these--establishing the link between base transmitter station (BTS) and the access gateway--presents a complex challenge, particularly when contemplated over hundreds of femtocells that might be required in a corporate campus. "In conventional macro cellular systems, the BTS-to-RNC link is supported over private high-capacity links. This approach isn't commercially viable for a network comprising a multiplicity of femtocells, so less costly compromises--such as using the public Internet to realise ‘femto-to-core-network' connectivity--have to be considered," Kaeumle said.

Equally challenging are the issues of cell-to-cell handover, and network operations and management. A network comprising hundreds of active femtocells will demand elaborate active unit monitoring and alarming, plus complex handover procedures. "The challenge with femtocell handover in a multi-cell architecture is that the small cell size dramatically escalates the rate of cell handover events per cell, when compared with conventional outdoor cell systems. As a result, the handover network burden is predicted to be very high indeed in multi-cell femtocell networks," he said.  

Similarly, signal ‘spillage' outside of the premises' boundary will tend to occur, due to the femtocell's inherently fixed ‘omni' RF distribution pattern. This will inevitably result in an increase in unauthorised femtocell access attempts by external callers inadvertently passing through the ‘spillage area', resulting in a ‘ping-pong' effect (where call access is attempted and subsequently rejected) that will further burden the network. 

"Today's active DAS topologies are bringing enormous functionality and benefits to the in-building domain," said Kaeumle. "Most obvious, is the shaped and sculptured RF coverage pattern they offer, which minimises spillage and maximises in-building signal strength. In addition, the systems are driven from a central BTS or NodeB, overcoming handover issues. Also, advanced active DAS systems are capable of efficiently extending network coverage far from the BTS or NodeB, using technologies such as RF-over-fibre, and other exciting transport mechanisms."

Furthermore pairing the femtocell with an active DAS system goes a long way towards solving many of these femtocell application problems. "In high-capacity femtocell applications, the advanced active DAS system can act as a coverage booster to the core-placed femtocell base station. In such applications, the active DAS can boost or extend the coverage of the femtocell, thus meaning that fewer femtocells--in terms of total cell count--are required for any given space. This overcomes many of the femtocell's current consumer problems. It's important to note that the inherent coverage flexibility and scalability benefits of the active DAS, particularly when compared with conventional distributed base station architectures. In extreme cases, we could see the femtocell as a pure capacity provider, and the DAS as the coverage distribution medium-a perfect pair."

Combining the femtocell with an active DAS will bridge the ‘domestic-to-corporate' gap for femtocell technology, ultimately seeing it play an effective role in larger corporate wireless data applications. "Advanced active DAS technologies will help overcome the shortfalls that the femtocell currently experiences outside of the domestic environment. Quite frankly, the two technologies could pair to form powerful combinations for future in-building solutions," Kaeumle predicted. 

The Femto Forum, the independent industry and operator association that supports femtocell deployment worldwide, today announces that its members have agreed to implement the Broadband Forum's TR-069 "CPE WAN Management Protocol", a worldwide standard for real-time management of customer premises equipment (CPE), as the basis for the management protocol for femtocells.

Following its definition in 2004, approximately 30 million devices now use this standard, making it robust and well-proven, with full interoperability. Management and provisioning of very high volumes of femtocells has been a major concern for carriers; adopting TR-069 and being able to re-use all the proven experience of that standard will enable femtocells to be easily deployed and configured reliably, and in high volume.

Unlike traditional cellular equipment, femtocells will be deployed in high volumes and installed by the subscriber, so the provisioning and configuration must be completely automated and managed remotely by the mobile operator. The TR-069 standard has proven it allows operators to offer simple installation and provisioning; perform advanced diagnostics and conduct remote firmware and service upgrades with millions of end devices, in an extremely cost-effective manner. Most importantly, it eliminates the need for operators to send technical personnel on-site, a practice that will be unfeasible given millions of units that are set to be rolled out. The two organizations plan to continue working closely together to define extensions to TR-069 to add additional femtocell capability to the standard.

"The remote management of consumer equipment like femtocell access points is a vital tool for operators to introduce new revenue-generating services and to consistently provide a high level of service," said Simon Saunders, the Femto Forum's Chairman. "Femtocells are sophisticated pieces of telecommunications equipment, but they are also first and foremost consumer devices and as such they have to be simple enough to be installed and used by the average consumer. Many people have been concerned about the scalability of provisioning and management for femtocells: with this initiative that concern is addressed."

"Femtocells represent a very different approach to mobile network architecture and therefore require a suitably different approach to network management.  The similarity to fixed broadband networks is obvious so TR-069, the dominant standard for the management of broadband gateways and other consumer devices, such as set top boxes, VoIP devices, and storage devices, is the natural choice," said George Dobrowski, The Broadband Forum's Chairman and President.  "With femtocells likely in many cases to be included in home gateways, this makes the use of a common protocol especially fitting."

The two bodies have been working together over recent months to ensure the protocol is able to meet the criteria of femtocells. The TR-069 protocol standardizes secure CPE auto-configuration practices and incorporates other CPE management functions, including diagnostics and troubleshooting, performance monitoring, and software/image management, into a common framework. Some Femto Forum members have already adopted the protocol into their existing solutions but today's agreement means it will become the femtocell industry's first de facto management standard.

The time is right for services such as banking, money transfers and on-line payments to make the move to mobile handsets and services, claims IMS Research in a new report.  Improved coverage, greater uptake of feature phones and smartphones, higher mobile penetration and service availability have all contributed to this and, as much as anything, greater demand from consumers, operators and financial stakeholders has seen the number of application developers and platform providers all multiply in numbers in recent years, says IMS.

"There has been a marked increase in the level of activity of key players in the market, from both the mobile and the financial companies in the past 12 months", stated John Devlin, lead analyst for the report entitled "The Mobile Wallet: How? What? Where? And When?"  "In regions such as North America, Japan and South Korea strong partnerships are being formed between mobile operators and banks.  In regions where banking infrastructure is much more limited in availability, battle lines are being drawn between the different stakeholders, with operators well positioned and less restricted in providing financial services to their subscribers".

According to the report, there are a number of technologies and features that could positively or negatively affect the uptake of mobile financial services.  These include SMS, MMS, WAP, e-mail and Bluetooth penetration and usage, all of which are reviewed in detail in the report.  Growth in the cellular installed user base, handset shipments and replacement rates were also considered important.

 "To illustrate the forecast level of growth for mobile financial services, we are forecasting the number of cellular users to grow by 32% over the next four years; a significant number given the size of the market.  By comparison the number of active users of mobile banking and payment services is estimated to grow by 662% over the same timeframe, demonstrating the high growth potential that we see for mobile financial services", adds Devlin.

This is not to say that making money mobile will not be without barriers, says the report.  Whilst the technology is there, the biggest concern, particularly in more mature markets, will be security.  In these regions, the driver is convenience and mobile services are competing with a number of other means of banking access, such as telephone, Internet and in-person - as opposed to emerging markets where mobile may be the only means of accessing personal financial services.  In regions such as Europe and North America awareness and security are much higher on the agenda for consumers and it will take time to educate them and overcome concerns, reassuring them that their mobile phone is a secure access device. 

"This will initially affect user behaviour and the type of financial services that they utilise on their mobile phones.  In these markets people will have a much greater tendency to test the water with quick, low risk uses, such as checking account balances and topping up pre-paid cards.  In the developing markets, where there are fewer alternative means, users will be much quicker to start transferring money and making payments for goods and services in the early days of adoption", concludes Devlin.

Spanish fans of Formula One can watch this season's races live on their handsets via HyC - part of the Ericsson group - in partnership with Boomerang TV and Spanish broadcast network Telecinco. The mobile TV service was launched in May.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ericsson's HyC supplies an end-to-end, scalable service including encoding, editing and transmission, which enables Boomerang TV and Telecinco to stream the Formula One races to mobile subscribers via live or scheduled repeat broadcast. HyC also provides related systems integration services.

Live streaming to the consumer is a key aspect of the agreement. Viewers can enjoy personalized coverage and choose between live streaming and downloading selected moments of the races which are recorded, archived, managed and published automatically in real time as part of the service.

Streamed via the first off-portal in Spain, the service will run through the Formula One season, which ends in early November.

Manuel Villanueva, Content general manager at Telecinco, says: "Consumer demand for live mobile TV is increasing in line with technology improvements. Through this agreement with Ericsson's HyC, we can offer our customers a richer communications experience though a personalized and interactive service."

Ingemar Naeve, President, Ericsson Iberia, says: "This agreement to launch Formula One on mobile TV marks an important step for Ericsson. It reaffirms our position as a key player in the multimedia arena, supported by strong systems integration capabilities. It also confirms our ability to enable dynamic content and provide end-to-end solutions, supported by our recent acquisitions such as HyC."

The Mobile Marketing Association, which represents 650 member companies worldwide, has today released its Global Code of Conduct, designed to provide guidelines that all Mobile Marketers should consider and build their mobile marketing initiatives around. The MMA Global Code of Conduct, or "the Code", is intended to guide companies within the mobile ecosystem so that they can effectively, and responsibly, leverage the mobile channel for marketing purposes, whilst always protecting the consumer experience.

Produced by the MMA's NA Privacy Committee, with input from MMA Regional Board of Directors in APAC, LATAM and EMEA, the Global Code of Conduct updates the 2007 revision and aligns the Code with generally accepted global privacy principles.  It has the following five categories:

  a.. Notice - The fundamental principle of the MMA Privacy Code of Conduct, informing users of the marketers' identity or products and services offered and the key terms and conditions that govern an interaction between the marketer and the user's mobile device.
  b.. Choice & Consent - Respecting the right of the user to control which mobile messages they receive by obtaining consent (opt-in) and implementing a simple termination (opt-out) process.
  c.. Customization & Constraint - Ensuring that collected user information is used to tailor communication to the interests of the recipient and is handled responsibly, sensitively and in compliance with applicable law. Mobile messages should be limited to those requested by the user and provide value such as product and service enhancements, contests, requested information, entertainment or discounts.
  d.. Security - The implementation of reasonable technical, administrative and physical procedures to protect user information from unauthorized use, alteration, disclosure, distribution, or access.
  e.. Enforcement & Accountability - The MMA expects its members to comply with the MMA Privacy Code of Conduct and has incorporated the Code into applicable MMA Guidelines, including the U.S. Consumer Best Practice ("CBP") Guidelines. Until the Code can be enforced effectively by a third party enforcement organization, Mobile Marketers are expected to use evaluations of their practices to certify compliance with the Code.

"The MMA believes that strong consumer privacy standards are essential to the success of mobile marketing by protecting mobile users from unwanted communications on their mobile devices. It is only through industry support of strong privacy guidelines that the power of mobile marketing can reach its full potential," said Russell Buckley, MMA Global Board Chairman and Managing Director, Europe for AdMob.

"It is the heart and soul of the MMA to ensure a positive, consistent consumer experience, encouraging marketers to get the consumer interaction right first time round so that mobile interactions from brands are not viewed negatively," said MMA President Laura Marriott.  "The MMA Global Code of Conduct creates clear and consistent global guidelines for the careful treatment of each and every consumer interaction to help build a sustainable industry for mobile marketing."

Mobile messaging operator TynTec has announced that it has been selected by TextMagic, the online SMS service provider, to provide the company's messaging services.  Under the deal, TynTec will provide TextMagic with incoming and outgoing SMS messaging to underpin its online SMS communications service.

TextMagic will be using TynTec for the two parts of its services.  When users send a message via TextMagic's online, API or email SMS interfaces, TynTec's high-reliability SMS sending (MT) capabilities will power the communication.  By using TynTec in this way, TextMagic can take advantage of its local time stamping capabilities, meaning the recipients of messages will always have accurate local time stamps on their received messages.  TextMagic will also use a TynTec-hosted long number to manage incoming reply messages.  As well as offering high-reliability in message receipt, this TynTec service will give TextMagic the ability to use memorable and marketable numbers.

By deploying TynTec's services at the heart of its products, TextMagic will be able to take advantage of the company's significant geographical reach, covering 400 networks in 160 countries. In addition, the TynTec's promise of high speed (under 15 seconds) messaging transmission will further enhance TextMagic's offering to its customers. TextMagic also takes advantage of a real-time Mobile Number Portability check and reliable delivery notifications.

Priit Vaikma, TextMagic, said: "TynTec offers us everything we need in an SMS services provider - as well as a reliability promise for both sending and receiving, they can give us massive geographical reach at a competitive price point.  Our customers use TextMagic to send and receive SMS from their computers - they want their text messaging to be quick, cost-effective, reliable and measurable.  Working with TynTec we can offer all of this and more."

Michael Kowalzik, CEO of TynTec, said: "TextMagic has been providing SMS services since 2002, and by using TynTec,, TextMagic are getting the best of both worlds - they get the speed, reliability and reach that we can offer through our unique technical infrastructure combined with a great price point that means that they can maintain their margins in a competitive market."

A new analysis of the Near Field Communications mobile payments opportunity has forecast that the gross transaction value of payments made via NFC contactless technology, for relatively low value purchases (such as refreshments, tickets and food), will exceed $75bn globally by 2013.  

In the second report in its Mobile Payment Markets series, Juniper Research says it has found that there is a significant opportunity for NFC mobile payment services, chips, phones and supporting services as the market reaches its tipping point over the 2011 to 2013 period.  The study is said to explore how NFC will transform the mobile phone into a mobile wallet payment tool that will be used by more and more people, more and more often in future.

Report author Howard Wilcox said: "NFC will achieve traction initially in developed countries and regions, with Japan already leading the way with FeliCa-enabled phones. North America, Western Europe and countries such as Korea, Singapore and Australia are likely to see service take-up."

According to Juniper, highlights from the report include:

  • Global annual gross transaction value will grow over 5 times between 2011 and 2013
  • 2009 will see limited numbers of NFC devices shipped (except in the Far East & China region) but the market will begin to ramp up from 2010 onwards and by 2013 20%, or 1 in 5 phones shipped, will possess NFC capability.
  • The top 3 regions (Far East & China, North America and W. Europe) will represent nearly 90% of the $75bn p.a. market (by gross transaction value) by 2013.

 

However, Howard Wilcox cautioned: "Whilst trial results so far have been encouraging, the industry as a whole will need to convince both consumers and merchants of the merits of yet another payment mechanism on top of cash, cheques, credit and debit cards, and to allay understandable (even if unfounded) fears and scepticism about the security of The Mobile Wallet." 

The report provides six year regional forecasts of NFC mobile payments for physical goods, providing data on device shipments, subscriber take-up, transaction sizes and volumes as well as detailed case studies from companies 'pioneering' in the market.

Opera Software today announced that Swisscom, Switzerland's leading telecoms provider, has selected the Opera Mini browser to deliver a 'better' Web experience to its mobile phone customers. Opera Mini will be available for download over the air (OTA) on most Swisscom-operated phones in the near future.

With Opera Mini, Swisscom customers can take advantage of the full Web on their mobile phones. Opera Mini's compression technology is said to mean that the content that users are viewing will be delivered faster and more cost efficiently by reducing the amount of data transferred to the phone.

"We are the leaders in providing the Internet to Switzerland. We are proud of our advanced HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) network that currently covers 90 percent of the Swiss population," says Thomas Hüter, Head of Internet Experience, Swisscom. "We wanted the most feature-rich and fast browser available that will work on all the Swisscom mobile phones on the market today. Opera Mini has proven its value to millions of users all over the world, and we want to offer our customers a great mobile browsing experience."

US research  company, comScore, has reported that iPhone users surpass all others in mobile media usage, with more than 80 percent of iPhone users in France, Germany and the UK using the device to browse news and information on the mobile Web, compared to 32 percent of other smartphone users. 

As the market anticipates the launch of the 3G version in Germany and the UK today, comScore M:Metrics says it confirms that even on the slower 2.5G mobile network, the iPhone has increased mobile Internet consumption by a factor of 13 times in the case of a category such as social networking sites.  The study also found that 42 percent of iPhone users visited a social networking site on their device in May compared to the market average of 3 percent and 10 percent of smartphone owners.  E-mail is another popular feature, with nearly 70 percent of iPhone users sending and receiving e-mail with the device, compared to just 26 percent among other smartphones users and 7.6 percent of the cell phone market overall. 

"Our data confirm that the iPhone and its requisite data plan have succeeded in drawing consumers to the mobile Web," said Paul Goode, senior analyst, comScore M:Metrics, "Even without 3G networking, users are happy to browse and consume as much content as they can, and as soon as the data speeds improve, these figures will likely continue to increase."

The improvement in iPhone handset features and reduced pricing should have a significant impact on uptake, especially in the European markets where, according to comScore M:Metrics data, the UK has 3G penetration at 26 percent, Germany at 23 percent and France at 17 percent. 

comScore M:Metrics also found that while smartphones are adopted by a higher proportion of men than mobile phones overall, iPhones have an even stronger skew to men in the U.K. and Germany.  In the U.K for example, 75 percent of iPhone users are male, while men account for about 68 percent of smartphone users. In contrast, in France, 67 percent of iPhone users are men compared to a higher 71 percent of smartphone users 

"It is worth noting that the Nokia N95 8GB with high speed 3G and significant handset subsidies now has over twice as many users as the iPhone across the UK, Germany and France," observed Goode. "Yet the iPhone, despite its small user-base, is already in the top 10 handsets for online browsing in the UK and in the top 5 in France and Germany.  It is giving devices like Nokia's N Series and Sony Ericsson K and W Series a definite run for their money."

Mobile payments specialist Dialogue Communications has announced more Payforit developments with the launch of Payforit single click payments.  Dialogue says this latest feature will significantly improve Payforit's usability and revenue generating potential.

The Payforit payment mechanism allows consumers to pay for content, goods or services purchased on the mobile internet or web via their mobile phone, currently up to the value of £10. Although the Payforit system is said to have been well received, mobile users have complained that going through the full payment cycle for every purchase is monotonous.

As a result of the feedback, Dialogue looked to create Payforit single click and made a proposal to the operators in March 2008. The new single click feature will allow customers to buy from an internet page with one easy click, without having to additionally click-thru the standard Payforit pages on every occasion.

Guiom Peersman, Dialogue's MD, introduced the idea of integrating single click purchases into the Payforit framework to mobile operators earlier this year, and he believes it will further enhance the payment mechanism: "Single click purchases are widely available on the web, on sites such as Amazon and iTunes, so there is no reason why mobile internet services should be any different and I think it is something mobile users are also starting to demand. The single click option will not only improve the user's experience of Payforit but it will also encourage repeat purchases and give users the power to tailor their buying preferences.

"Dialogue is proud to be driving Payforit innovation forward and that its single click proposal has been approved to be included in the next version of the Payforit framework."

The single click function works from the Payforit pages once the user has selected the item they wish to buy. Initially users will be required to go through the normal payment flow for their first purchase but once they are comfortable with Payforit, they will be given the opportunity to use the single click version of Payforit in the future.

Vodafone Ireland has selected Ericsson to be the systems integrator of a real-time charging and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) solution, including upgrading and expanding the operator's network.

Under the agreement, Ericsson will be responsible for systems integration of existing solutions into the next-generation IMS environment. Ericsson will also upgrade and expand network capacity, enable real-time charging and underpin demanding multimedia functionality.

Ericsson's real-time charging solutions provide operators with a flexible, secure and efficient revenue management system, and enable consumers to better manage their spending. The IMS environment and expansion of IP service capacity will support next-generation broadband multimedia applications that facilitate a richer user experience.

The deal builds upon Ericsson's long-standing relationship with Vodafone Ireland as its sole supplier of an IP-based circuit core network. Based on the Ericsson Mobile Softswitch Solution, the network will now be upgraded to support interworking with IMS.

Mats Svärdh, Chief Technology Officer at Vodafone Ireland, says: "The always-on multimedia demands of our customers challenge us to deliver consistent high quality with real-time charging at home, on the move and when traveling abroad. Ericsson's strength as an end-to-end systems integrator is helping make our multimedia vision a reality."

John Hennessy, Managing Director, Ericsson Ireland, says: "We are delighted to extend our partnership with Vodafone. The integration of this next-generation, end-to-end solution will help the operator realize new revenue opportunities and expand its multimedia offering to its customers."

According to a new study by Frost & Sullivan, the future of the mobile market in Eastern Europe rests in the growing popularity in mobile TV.  

"Mobile TV refers to the transmission of audiovisual content to mobile devices," reports Frost and Sullivan Research Analyst, Saverio Romeo.  "It means viewing any content on the move, anywhere and anytime. This concept completely changes the usage of audiovisual services, and consequently, the consumer's experience. In fact, the mobility not only allows users to view content on the move, but also to share content on the point of inspiration with other users introducing new forms of interactivity."

Eastern European countries are already tapping into Europe's success, says F&S. New technologies such as MediaFLO, T-DMB, DVB-H and TDtv are being reviewed in various countries. In Poland, the Office for Electronic Communications (UKE) has launched the tender for 38 channels to major cities within the country.  In Russia, MTS, the market leader, is ready to launch a mobile TV service offering 20 channels.  In Hungary, the four companies of Vodafone Hungary, Nokia-Siemens Networks, T-Mobile Hungary, and Antenna Hungaria together launched a trial of a DVB-H network in Budapest in January 2008.  The Czech Republic and Romania will not be left behind.  Since the end of 2006, T-Mobile Czech Republic is running DVB-H trials in Prague with the help of the media company, Radiokomunikace. Orange Romania is currently orchestrating trials in Bucharest.

According to Frost & Sullivan, the success story of the Italian mobile operator, 3 Italia, commanded the attention of western and eastern European countries alike. "In 2006, 3 Italia launched its mobile TV (DVB-H) service.  3 Italia started the service in time for the football world cup and so had an astonishing take-up rate. The reason for this success was quite simple," says Saverio. "Football supporters do not really care about technologies. They want to view their teams when they are not at home at a good quality and at a package, which meets the needs of their wallets. 3 Italia managed to do all of this. The Italian mobile operator gained 400,000 subscriptions in 10 months. At the end of 2007, almost 900,000 Italians used 3 Italia's mobile TV platform. At the beginning of June 2008, 3 Italia launched a mobile TV service out of charge and ad-based."

The 2.6 million current European consumers are driven by three major factors: content quality, cost of service, and cost of mobile device. Satisfying the target consumers, in Eastern Europe, brings challenges for the operators and providers.  Success depends on having 3G and beyond 3G network coverage for unicast (streaming video to a mobile device via the cellular networks) and on-demand solutions.  Operators and providers must also establish and pay for the high cost of quality network infrastructures like DVB-H. The regulatory framework should be established to allocate spectrum.  Along with this, handsets with sufficient audiovisual functionalities and easy-to-use interface must be readily available. Finally, the price must be attractive enough to draw in a vast audience.

F&S says that the evident success of this new mobile service offers an exciting opportunity for mobile operators and providers in Eastern European countries, as they jump on the mobile TV bandwagon.

free-hotspot.com, said to be the world's largest free Wi-Fi Internet service provider, announced today that it has successfully installed its service in two Brittany airports, Quimper Cornouaille and Lannion - Côte de Granit. The installations are said to reflect a commitment by free-hotspot.com to provide its free Wi-Fi service in regional as well as international airports. The company plans further airport installations in the UK and the rest of Europe in the near future.

Equipped for several months now, the Quimper Cornouaille airport was the first to benefit from the free Wi-Fi service offered by Irish company free-hotspot.com. Within just a few months, passengers have quickly adopted the new service that allows them to stay connected and to work using their own laptops whilst waiting for flights. Use of the free Wi-Fi service has increased month on month, and now one in every 20 passengers passing through Quimper airport are said to benefit from the free Wi-Fi offering.

Lannion - Côte de Granit airport has also just partnered up with free-hotspot.com to offer free Wi-Fi to its passengers. The installation was undertaken recently, but initial feedback is claimed to already suggests that the service will be at least as successful as the HotSpot in Quimper.

Joe Brunoli, Vice President, Business Development at free-hotspot.com comments: "We are delighted to be providing our service to regional airports such as Quimper and Lannion. The increasing demand for free Wi-Fi by air passengers of all types means that our service is a must-have for all airports, and not just the major hubs."

"Airports are well suited for providing free Wi-Fi services," explained Brunoli. "Offering free Internet access means that the passengers are likely to spend more time at the airport, and may even arrive earlier to go online while in the gate area. The result is less congestion through security, a better customer experience, and more terminal revenue thanks to increased per-passenger spend," concludes Mr. Brunoli.