On October 12, 2004, Sonera will launch the commercial use of its UMTS network in twenty locations in Finland.

Mobile working, which has been on the rise, and diversifying mobile services set higher requirements for the capacity and data transmission rate of the network. The data transmission rate of Sonera's UMTS network is 384 kbps at its best. High-speed data transmission is useful, for instance, when the user opens email attachment files, browses the Internet or sends video. Faster data transmission also makes it smoother to use video content, listen to music and play games.

"Our aim is to have the highest quality network in Finland, regardless of the technology, so that our customers can use the services they wish with the devices they choose. We believe that by opening our UMTS network in twenty locations, we offer the most extensive 3G service in Finland right from the start. Behind our services, there is always the most advanced and appropriate technological solution. It has been important for us to ensure that our services operate well in different mobile networks and that the changeovers from one network to another are seamless," says Anni Vepsäläinen, President of TeliaSonera Finland.

Network to be expanded according to demand
Sonera's customers will be able to use the faster data transmission offered by the UMTS network by acquiring a UMTS phone  and a Sonera 3G card from a Sonera dealer. Voice calls and text messages in the UMTS network will cost the same as in the GSM network. Likewise, data transmission will be priced according to the current pricing regimes as regards both consumer and corporate services.

The network will be expanded according to demand. In addition to building the UMTS network, Sonera also continues to introduce other high-speed data transmission methods, such as EDGE, into the GSM network.

The currently available terminal devices operate either with GPRS/EDGE or with GPRS/UMTS technology. The first tri-mode GPRS/EDGE/UMTS terminal is expected to be launched by the end of this year, and Sonera believes that tri-mode terminals will become common later on. Sonera expects mass markets for the third generation mobile communications to arise when there are a sufficient number of low-end terminals on the market.

The UMTS network has been in pre-commercial use since December 2003. Over 1,000 users at about 30 companies have participated in the pre-commercial use. These companies have utilized the network in their own service development. Sonera has received a great deal of valuable feedback on the pre-commercial use and has utilized the feedback in developing the network.

Pricing of data transmission for consumer customers:

Fun Data
Connection charge: EUR0
Monthly charge: EUR0
Data transmission: EUR5.99/MB

Active Data
Connection charge: EUR8.21
Monthly charge: EUR9.99
Data transmission included in the monthly charge: 20MB
Data transmission exceeding 20MB: EUR2.37/MB

Pro Data
Connection charge: EUR8.21
Monthly charge: EUR18.30
Data transmission included in the monthly charge: 100MB
Data transmission exceeding 100MB: EUR1.74/MB


Pricing of data transmission for corporate customers:

Sonera Company Data
Connection charge: EUR6.73
Monthly charge: EUR3.36
Data transmission: EUR1.9456/MB

Sonera Company Data + 100MB extension package
Connection charge: EUR6.73
Monthly charge: EUR15
Data transmission included in the monthly charge: 100MB
Data transmission exceeding 100MB: EUR1.4336/MB

External Links

TeliaSonera

At today's Mobitex Association and Networking Conference, Mobitex Technology AB is announcing a significantly enhanced product portfolio and a new packaged offering for small private wireless data networks. Mobitex has long been established as a proven and extremely reliable technology for large public wireless data networks. Mobitex Technology AB is now enhancing its product portfolio to meet the increased demand for dedicated private or semi-private networks, covering industrial areas and serving a defined group of users in prioritized segments such as emergency services, transport and machine-to-machine communications (M2M).

"This is a new phase for Mobitex. Continuous improvements and new functionality will ensure that Mobitex will remain a leading-edge technology that is specifically designed to meet the requirements of business users," notes Andrew Fitton, CEO at Mobitex Technology AB.

"With the addition of the new compact BRU1 base station and the smaller MSN switch, we are further simplifying the network elements for use in small networks and optimizing them to interface seamlessly with standard IP components. Outstanding features, including the new radio priority function, will enable us to deliver wireless data network solutions highly suitable for mission-critical applications"
 
To ensure a competitive offering for small private networks, a new pricing structure is being introduced. Optimization of the key network elements allows hardware costs to be greatly reduced, while software licensing costs are being aligned to the number of users in a typical private network, resulting in a packaged offering that will make Mobitex even more attractive, not only in terms of low investment costs, but also for cost-efficient operation.

External Links

Mobitex

Bouygues Telecom selects Nextreaming as 3GPP encoder of choice

Nextreaming Corporation, a leader in mobile multimedia solutions for mobile operators, handset manufacturers and content providers, announced today that Bouygues Telecom has selected Nextreaming as its preferred encoder for its i-mode partners. The agreement enables the French mobile operator’s content and application partners, including Europe's largest mobile content provider 123 Multimedia, to produce high quality encoded video content for its recently launched i-mode video service.

Europe's largest mobile content provider 123 Multimedia is the first i-mode partner to use the Nextreaming solution with Bouygues Telecom. Part of Index Corporation, a global provider of mobile and media services, 123 Multimedia has used the solution to encode its multimedia services for i-mode. The content is available now on Bouygues Telecom’s i-mode service and can be enjoyed by the operator’s 800,000 users.

“Using Nextreaming technology has allowed 123 Multimedia to quickly and easily encode our 123Funclips video clip content for Bouygues Telecom i-mode subscribers,” said Bertrand Perez, chief technology officer of 123 Multimedia. “123Funclips is one of Bouygues Telecom’s most popular i-mode services, featuring a variety of high quality downloadable video clips and animations from film and TV.”

"The high quality encoding platform represents another important step towards mass usage of our i-mode enabled mobile multimedia services," says Cedric Nicolas, i-mode expertise and roadmap manager from Bouygues Telecom. "We have adopted an approach that is particularly open to third-party content and applications; encouraging our partners to embrace our i-mode offering. Our decision to recommend the Nextreaming encoder will contribute to the successful launch of added-value video download services for our customers."

"Bouygues Telecom’s decision to recommend our encoding platform is testament to the effectiveness of Nextreaming solution," said Dr. IL-TAEK LIM, chief executive officer of Nextreaming. "We believe that to ensure mass usage of video on mobile devices, it is critical that 3G operators provide the highest quality video content possible for consumers. Ensuring video content is sufficiently protected is also essential in order to encourage media owners to release their most valuable and engaging video footage across mobile networks.”

Nextreaming’s services are recommended for content providers and encoding service firms who need to quickly and effortlessly create large amounts of high quality 3GPP or MPEG multimedia content with forward lock content protection. With its advanced features such as pre-processing, double pass encoding and batch job functionality, Nextreaming’s solutions gives these partners the power to create videos and their multimedia content.

External Links

Bouygues Telecom
Nextreaming

Mobile Streams, the global mobile content company, announced today the launch of a range of innovative Pay-to-Play mobile betting games including a choice of three reel slots and scratchcards. 
 

The fully licensed gaming service will operate under the Go Gaming Go brand and will be offered to carriers and white label partners as well as Mobile Streams’ own extensive consumer base.  Players download the games for free by sending an SMS to 89944.  Slot players can purchase 15 credits for £1.50 and can choose to pay for each spin with upto 5 credits.  Scratchcards are also priced at £1.50. 
 
Simon Buckingham, CEO of Mobile Streams said: “We are excited to be the first company to offer a really compelling range of Pay-to-Play betting games.  By enabling players to pay through reverse SMS, we are opening up the services to the mass market.  The service is aimed at people seeking an occasional flutter rather than serious gamblers. To appreciate the scale of opportunity it is worth considering that 70% of the UK population purchase lottery tickets, 20% purchase scratchcards, and over 2 million people regularly play the land-based slots.”  He adds,  “Without doubt, a significant proportion of these people will be attracted to games that require no learning curve or experience and offer immediate gratification through winning real money.” 
 
“Our range of games are superior to anything that is available today, and allows players to enjoy a quick punt at the push of a button.” commented Jonathan Shoham, Head of Gaming at Mobile Streams.  “Whether in pub with a few minutes to kill, or in the comfort of an armchair at home, these games are bound to have a massive appeal to a large audience.”
 
The Go Gaming Go service is for adults over the age of 18, and will conform to the strict age verification processes currently being introduced by the mobile carriers.  Monitoring systems will flag patterns of activity, which may indicate problem gambling.

External Links

Go Gaming Go

Key distribution partners deliver the Voq phone to mobile professionals in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, the Nordics, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom

Sierra Wireless today announced that the Voq Professional Phone, a Microsoft Windows Mobile-based Smartphone developed by Sierra Wireless, is now commercially available across Europe through key distribution partners. The phone is now available to purchase from A & C Systems in Belgium, Luxemburg, and The Netherlands; from BagLAN in Turkey; from Cedros in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland; from Daimler in the Nordics; from Dangaard Telecom in Western Europe; from Hugh Symons Mobile Computing and from Yes Telecom in the United Kingdom; from Speeka in Italy; and from Xacom Comunicaciones in France and Spain.

"Today's announcement marks a milestone in the launch of the Voq Professional Phone - widespread availability throughout Europe," said Derek Evans, Vice President and Managing Director, EMEA for Sierra Wireless. "We are pleased to build upon our relationships with these partners and to deliver the phone to mobile professionals in Europe, who are looking for a simple solution to help them stay connected with clients and keep current corporate and personal information close at hand while out of the office."

The Voq Professional Phone is a new class of mobile phone that offers the best features of a mobile phone, a personal messaging device, and a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). The product offers a flip-open QWERTY thumbpad and easy-to-use software solutions, including VoqMail, a secure, "Always There" e-mail solution that requires no additional enterprise server or desktop redirector software to purchase, install, and maintain. The unique, easy and powerful myVoq software enables predictive search, storage, and sending of information.

"Sierra Wireless is an established leader in providing mobile professionals with tools to help them improve their productivity," said Bruno Lisen, Chief Executive Officer of A & C Systems. "The Voq Professional Phone demonstrates the evolution of that expertise, and we are pleased to offer it to our customers today."

"The combination of mobile phone, messaging device, and PDA functions available in the Voq Professional Phone make it an excellent value," said Necdet Kabil, Managing Director of BagLAN. "It allows our mobile customers to meet all their connectivity needs with one tool that is simple to carry and use."

"We have seen growing demand for Smartphones in Germany, and we are pleased to build upon our relationship with Sierra Wireless to deliver the Voq Professional Phone to the German market," said Markus Michels, Managing Director for Cedros. "With the phone's unique features and the strength of the Sierra Wireless name, we are confident that mobile professionals will consider it their first choice."

"The Voq Professional Phone is an innovative solution for mobile professionals looking for a single tool to meet their need for reliable voice and data connectivity," said Ib Bronnum, Chairman of Daimler Mobile Partner. "We are pleased to work with Sierra Wireless to deliver the phone to our customers today."

"Timely access to email and critical corporate information can make a significant difference in both the business and personal lives of mobile professionals," said Alfred Blank, Managing Director of Dangaard Telecom, "The Voq Professional Phone allows them to access up to date company information and stay in touch with both colleagues and family from anywhere."

"There has been tremendous interest in the Voq Professional Phone since it was first announced," said Andrew Baxendine, Commercial Director for Hugh Symons Mobile Computing. "The reputation Sierra Wireless has developed for producing high-performing, reliable wireless network products, and backing them up with industry leading technical support, makes the Voq Professional Phone an attractive choice for our customers." 

 "Our customers are looking for simple, efficient ways to improve their productivity in today's competitive business environment, and the Voq Professional Phone is well-positioned to fill this need," said Ppaolo Poli, Chief Executive Officer of Speeka. "Its unique features make it easy to set up and efficient to use, and we expect it to fill an important niche for mobile professionals in the Italian market."

"We are pleased to expand our Sierra Wireless product line to offer the Voq Professional Phone to the French and Spanish market," said Luis Santos, Managing Director for Xacom Comunicaciones. "Our business customers have come to trust Sierra Wireless to deliver high-quality, reliable data connectivity through their AirCard wireless PC cards, and the Voq phone combines that data expertise with superior voice functionality in a package we think customers will find appealing."

"With the flip-open QWERTY thumbpad and unique software solutions like VoqMail and myVoq, the Voq Professional Phone offers a compelling solution for our business customers," said Keith Curran, Managing Director for Yes Telecom. "It offers mobile professionals a simple, efficient, and intuitive way to allow them to complete tasks on the move, all while staying connected to their head office."

Powered by an Intel Xscale processor, the Voq Professional Phone is based on Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 software and offers a rich telephony experience with the addition of a unique flip-open QWERTY thumbpad. The Voq Professional Phone provides:
    *    Phone-first capabilities with the power of a PDA and ability to synchronize contacts, calendars, and tasks to a Windows-based computer;
    *    The best features of mobile phone, messaging device, and PDA in a single phone - resulting in lower cost, ease-of-use, and need for fewer devices;
    *    Out-of-the-box personal and corporate e-mail solutions, including POP3, IMAP4, and Microsoft ActiveSync for wireless synchronization to Microsoft Exchange 2003; 
    *    Powerful search, send and storage capabilities with myVoq, which also offers the ability to enhance business applications and mobile web services;
    *    The ultimate e-mail experience with VoqMail Professional Edition, which offers secure, "Always There" e-mail and alerts, supporting standard, broadly deployed VPN and business e-mail systems including Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes, and Novell GroupWise software.

External Links

Voq Phone

Telcordia Technologies, a global provider of telecommunications software and services, today announced that Greece’s National Telecommunications and Post Commission, also known as EETT, has successfully launched the Telcordia Number Portability Clearinghouse solution, which has now been in operation for six months, enabling fixed line and mobile number portability for all service providers in Greece. 

The solution, which went fully operational for mobile customers in April 2004 and for fixed line customers in June 2004, puts Greece in compliance with the European Union number portability mandate and, ultimately, provides all Greek residents with more choice.

“Telcordia’s clearinghouse solution enables EETT to effectively manage the complexity and the speed at which number porting transactions must be processed,” said Emmanuel Giakoumakis, President of the EETT. “Now, Greek consumers have unprecedented competitive choice for fixed line and mobile service and service providers can embrace new market opportunities and new revenue streams.”

Part of a five-year exclusive contract, the Telcordia solution enables fixed line and mobile number portability to Greece’s 14 million phone lines, including 5.5 million fixed line and 10 million mobile lines.  Telcordia and its in-country regional subcontractor, Spirit S.A., have worked closely with EETT and Greek carriers to get relevant business processes agreed upon, integrated and fully implemented.

“We are pleased to be part of this successful implementation for EETT that will have lasting impact on customer service and competition in Greece’s telecommunications market,” said Nikos Skarpetis, General Manager, Spirit S.A.

Telcordia’s Number Portability Clearinghouse is a highly scalable software system that addresses the inherent challenges in number porting. Implemented to support all service providers in Greece, Telcordia’s solution enables flow-through automation for the porting of numbers in and out of wireline and wireless carriers’ networks with trouble-free efficiency. The Telcordia solution offers multiple standard interfaces for service providers to automate their flow through for the porting process as well as direct access to the clearinghouse. Telcordia’s regional subcontractor, Spirit S.A., operates the data center that serves as the in-country clearinghouse and provides first-level support, help desk support, training and other support services to Greek service providers.

“Number portability provides telecommunications service providers worldwide with opportunities to capture greater market share and increase customer loyalty and satisfaction,” said Mary Turney, President, Operations and Network Solutions, Telcordia. “The Telcordia solution seamlessly handles the complex technological process of porting numbers and ensures that it is handled quickly, efficiently and accurately, allowing telecommunications service providers to focus on their core business – their customers.”

This implementation reflects the significant momentum Telcordia has achieved in global markets as well as its leadership in number portability.  Through its innovative Elementive‰ approach, Telcordia provides fixed line and mobile Service Providers with flexible, standards-based, robust software that helps them deliver high-quality, reliable voice and data services across multiple networks and technologies.

External Links

Telcordia Technologies

According to a new IDC study, the number of PC data combo cards in Europe is expected to grow from 1.2 million in 2004  to more than 5.7 million in 2008, with a CAGR of 47.8%. In 1Q04, major mobile operators such as Vodafone and T-Mobile started with a "business only" UMTS/GPRS mobile data card service. Now, there are more than 10 mobile operators that offer mobile data services across Western Europe.

In 2003, most PC data card sales were GPRS/GSM combo and some UMTS/GPRS/GSM combo cards. As the market is still in the introductory phase, prices are  expected to be adjusted as competition increases. However, the price model that  operators are currently using is based largely on the mobile worker (mainly business users) paying per data byte used. Prices of operators in different countries range from $90 to $160 per month for "unlimited" use (mostly with a maximum of
1GB per month), with an additional charge for the PC data card of around $160-$220, excluding VAT. Most operators do offer cheaper package options depending on  the number of bytes included in the package, and the price of card also varies, depending on the package. Data consumed above the package is priced per additional MB.

According to Romolo Pusceddu, research manager for IDC's European Mobile and WiFi Infrastructure service, operators are starting to realize the need to focus all their efforts on marketing and selling data services as the way to go in the future. It is all about integration - users are not concerned about the technology behind it, as long as it is available, low priced, fast, secure, and easy to use.

The study, Western European Mobile Access PC Data Card 2004-2008 Forecast and Analysis, IDC #31860, September 2004), focuses on wireless combo PC data cards, including technologies such as HSDPA, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS, and WLAN. 1H04 vendor share figures are presented for the Western European market.

Vendors' market shares are calculated according to wireless PC data card units shipped. The study also provides a PC data card market forecast for 2004 to 2008 for the number of PC data cards by country, technology, and installed base.

External Links

IDC

Digital Airways introduces Wapaka MIDlet, the version of its Wapaka micro-browser that exists in the form of a component
to be integrated to a MIDlet. A MIDlet is a small Java application conform to the Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) and MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) specification.

Wapaka MIDlet is designed to help content providers offer customized access to their content from J2ME-equipped mobile phones.

Many content-based MIDlets require browsing capabilities, but content providers rarely have the time and resources to develop their own browsing technology, which needs to be optimized on resource-constrained devices such as mobile phones.

“Until Wapaka MIDlet, content providers had to choose to develop their applications either in a pure browser environment, which limits the features and hence the quality of the customer experience, or in a pure native, procedural Java code, which can be complex to develop” says the company.
“With Wapaka MIDlet, they can now easily add browsing capabilities to their own MIDlet, reducing time to market and development costs, while focusing on their own area of expertise.”

Wapaka MIDlet is based on the Wapaka micro-browsing technology, which has been developed since 2000 and is deployed worldwide. Wapaka complies with J2ME, MIDP 1.0 and MIDP 2.0, it supports WML1, WML2, XHTML Basic MP with
CSS, and cHTML, and provides advanced features such as online and off-line management (upload and download) allowing download of files to be browsed offline. In addition, Wapaka has a very small footprint (60 to 180Kb depending on options).

Delivered as a component, Wapaka MIDlet allows content providers to customize its features for specific use and maximum performance.

External Links

Digital Airways

Integrated Wi-Fi solution

Capgemini, one of the world's foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, has introduced a new
business model for the Wi-Fi market. Enterprises that are building integrated Wi-Fi service platforms can reap the benefits of cost-saving enterprise mobility solutions and branded revenue-generating public Wi-Fi services, significantly enhancing their profitability.

@Anyplace Access is a fully secure, end-to-end, integrated Wi-Fi platform solution based upon open standards technology from Cisco and Intel, combined with a portfolio of innovative value-added solutions from four European partners - Appear Networks, Aptilo Networks, Birdstep and The Cloud.

With @Anyplace Access, enterprises can use a single Wi-Fi infrastructure to deploy services for their guests and their employees. For example, a train operating company can offer public WLAN access inside its stations, to generate new revenues and enhance the quality of its service. Using the same WLAN infrastructure, the company can deliver wireless applications to its frontline personnel, turning the network into a productivity tool.

Pieter Zylstra, Head of Capgemini's global Wi-Fi initiatives, stated "In the coming years the Wi-Fi market will be dominated by services, and access will become nothing more than a commodity. Profitable Wi-Fi operations will require technologies that companies like Appear Networks, Aptilo, Birdstep and The Cloud are offering. In order to sustain our position as a global mobility leader, we clearly view the construction of such an ecosystem as a key component of mobility transformation programs for our customers."

External Links

CapGemini

moodmessaging Pty, an Australian-based multimedia content development company, today announced that it will be launching their IamEmo mobile content at Mobile Content World 2004, being held over two days later this month in the United Kingdom. The IamEmo( mobile content has been uniquely designed to enhance Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS).

moodmessaging are launching their IamEmo mobile content in the UK market on the back of securing a global content distribution deal with Nokia earlier this year. Nokia have partnered with IamEmo for the global launch of their new 3220 handset. An introductory selection of IamEmo content
has been preloaded onto all 3220 handsets, and is being distributed throughout Europe by 123 Multimedia. In the United States, the IamEmo content is being distributed by AT&T Wireless via moodmessaging's distributor Ztango and in the Asia-Pacific Region, the IamEmo content is being
distributed by SAM CLICK and by Nokia Tones, Graphics and Games.

moodmessaging has developed, under their IamEmo brand, colour animations featuring Emo, the Chameleon, that consumers can download onto their mobile phones and send as part of an MMS message to their friends, families and colleagues. The animations featuring Emo use colour, facial
expressions and body language to illustrate one of eight human emotions in a number of different guises. Emo adds emotional context to ordinary text messages, transforming messaging from plain black-and-white text to a colourful, engaging and meaningful exchange.


"Communication is not just about what you say, but how you say it. Using Emo, users can create emotionally-rich messages that immediately engage with whoever you send them to. With Emo, you know that whoever receives your text message will know exactly how you feel," said Kevin Brough, CEO of
moodmessaging.

IamEmo is a breakthrough proposition for MMS as it meets the genuine consumer need for expressive, rich messaging. The content is being offered to handset manufacturers and network carriers for preloading into MMS capable handsets.


"This not only creates massive differentiation for the handset itself, but also encourages daily MMS usage and the ongoing downloading of new IamEmo content," added Brough.

moodmessaging launched their IamEmo mobile content in Australia and New Zealand in mid 2003, and had extended distribution to more than seven Asia-Pacific markets by February 2004. There are currently over 40 Emo animations available for download to consumers with MMS capable mobile
phones, with new Emo animations being released globally each month.


Telstra, Australia's largest telecommunications carrier has also
partnered with moodmessaging to provide Telstra customers with access to unique IamEmo characters including some that have been specifically designed to align with Telstra's  sponsorship and marketing efforts such as Australian Idol.


moodmessaging will initially provide Telstra with exclusive customised content preloaded onto Sony Ericsson handsets, with further plans to preload content onto a range of other handsets, including those manufactured by both Motorola and Nokia.

moodmessaging plans to launch their IamEmo(TM) mobile content in other markets throughout Asia before the end of the year and is currently reviewing commercial agreements in other overseas markets.

IamEmo will enable users to finally let people know how they really feel using multimedia messages," commented Brough.

External Links

mood messaging

NMS Communications announced today that SFR, the number one private mobile operator in France, with voice quality systems from NMS installed in its network, has outperformed its key competitors in an annual quality of service survey of mobile telephone operators conducted in France by that country's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ART).

The survey, which evaluates the quality of service under a variety of common conditions of mobile telephone usage, found SFR to provide the best quality mobile communications to users in France's 12 largest metropolitan areas while aboard
high-speed commuter trains and while commuting by car along France's major motorways.

The 7th annual ART survey has been conducted in France since 1997, and is designed to evaluate the quality of service of mobile telephone networks in metropolitan France as experienced by customers of the three incumbent operators: Orange SA, SFR, and Bouygues Telecom. Calls were tested in the most common user conditions, including: on foot (indoors and outdoors), in cars as passengers (in cities and on
motorways), and in trains (both suburban trains and high-speed "Train a Grande Vitesse", or TGVs). SFR led the competition by a wide margin in the survey results for the two places in which voice quality is of most importance to a mobile user--in a car and on a train.
 
Not coincidentally, SFR has installed in its network voice quality systems from NMS, the leading provider of technologies and solutions for enhanced services and efficient networks. NMS voice quality systems feature Studio Sound(R), the industry's most advanced and comprehensive voice enhancement technology. Studio Sound delivers noise compensation, noise reduction, and automatic gain control for consistently clear calls, even in the noisiest environments, like those evaluated in the ART survey.

A study released in August 2004 by J. D. Power and Associates
cites voice quality as significantly impacting customer usage of and satisfaction with wireless services. According to J.D. Power's 2004 Wireless Call Quality Performance Study(SM) of typical wireless user calling patterns, such as those measured in the ART survey, three of the top four problem areas impacting overall call quality experience the most are static and interference, voice distortion, and echoes--all of which can be addressed using Studio Sound voice quality technology. By investing in the voice quality improvements offered by
Studio Sound, SFR has done just this, and the ART survey proves the positive impact of Studio Sound on SFR's network and its subscribers is clear and measurable.

"The results of this year's ART audit do not surprise us one bit," said Clarke Ryan, VP and General Manager, NMS. "The entire value proposition behind our Studio Sound technology is to improve communications in noisy environments where wireless telephones are most commonly used. Any operator can experience the same quality results as SFR brings its customers by employing our voice quality systems powered by Studio Sound. The results really do speak for themselves."

"Overall call quality performance varies based on where a call is placed or received. In order to provide the best possible call quality experience, carriers need to manage their network to reflect their specific customers' usage patterns," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power, in a press release. "With an increasingly competitive environment and changing industry landscape, carriers that offer superior network quality will increase their likelihood of attracting new customers and will retain more of their existing base."

External Links

NMS Communications voice quality

PaymentsPlus chosen by Orange as the engine for new Simpay-compatible micro-payment service

Valista, the leading provider of payments software enabling the purchase of premium services, today announced that Orange, working with France Telecom's w-HA, has chosen its payments technology to provide connectivity to Simpay. w-HA will operate the service for Orange while Valista will provide the technology based on PaymentsPlus, its installed platform. Simpay, founded by Orange, Telefónica Móviles, T-Mobile and Vodafone, will focus on enabling interoperable micro-payments over mobile and fixed Internet channels.  The founding members of Simpay represent more than 280 million wireless subscribers worldwide.

Thanks to this connection with Simpay, Orange users will be able to purchase digital goods and services over mobile and fixed Internet from all content providers participating in the Simpay scheme, including those acquired by other Simpay members.  Simpay forecasts that, thanks to the openness of its platform, it will enable over EUR1billion of extra transactions for the mobile phone industry by 2007.

Orange already successfully uses the services of w-HA - powered by Valista PaymentsPlus technology- for the monetization of the content provided through the Orange portal and other third party services like Orange Gallery in France. It is rolling it out throughout the Orange European markets. The addition of Simpay connectivity will further boost the diversity of content and will allow seamless cross-operator and cross-border transactions.

"The secret to successful m-Commerce lies in enabling our customers to access an immense variety of content or services relevant to their individual needs," comments Richard Brennan, Executive Vice-President, Global Brand, Marketing and Products at Orange. "Our mission is to deliver that freedom in the field of mobile payments, and our arrangement with Valista and w-HA to provide the connection to the Simpay scheme is fundamental to achieving this mission. After a thorough selection process, we are satisfied that Valista will assist in making simple, easy micro-payment purchases a reality, to our specifications and timelines."

"This is a significant breakthrough for the mobile payments market," said Raomal Perera, CEO of Valista. "Valista's global experience and expertise in payments technology will enable us to support Simpay's mission, helping to make m-payments a reality for millions of users around the world. We are delighted to be working with an innovative operator like Orange and we look forward to working with the expanding Simpay community long into the future."

External Links

Simpay
Valista

The mobile communication group at Siemens together with Openwave Systems has supplied a 3G/UMTS Video Mailbox System and a Video Termination Gateway for the largest mobile operator in Portugal, TMN.

Siemens mobile has already installed radio and core infrastructure components of the 3G/UMTS network and supplied 3G/UMTS terminals as well as advanced charging and multimedia solutions for TMN and now allows this mobile operator to offer new advanced video services to its 3G/UMTS subscribers.

Starting mid of August 2004 customers of TMN will enjoy next generation video answering service capabilities just as they are used to with traditional voicemail services. The subscribers will be able to record personalized video and audio greetings and retrieve recorded video messages from missed callers with their video enabled handsets such as the Siemens U15.

With the help of a 3G/UMTS Video Termination Gateway installed within TMN’s mobile network users are now also able to retrieve video messages over a web interface on a standard multimedia PC. Furthermore, the 3G/UMTS Video Termination Gateway allows real-time video communication between 3G/UMTS mobile terminals and fixed network terminals such as web cam-equipped PCs, 3G-324M video terminals, and PSTN video phones.

Openwave, a Siemens long-standing partner, provides the voice and video messaging solution that is the basis for the Video Mail System. This solution is an all-IP content based management and Mx infrastructure designed around the Voice XML standard.

Fernando Rodrigues, general manager of corporate business at TMN, said: "We are very pleased to further strengthen our relationship with Openwave and Siemens with this groundbreaking deployment. TMN has a history of leading the mobile market in Portugal with attractive, advanced services. This deployment will enable us not only to launch a new and appealing 3G service but also to benefit from the reliability and efficiency of a single platform for multiple messaging services."

"With approximately five million users TMN holds a very strong GSM market position in Portugal," said Christoph Caselitz, President of Networks within Siemens mobile. "With the installation of an innovative 3G/UMTS video service we are confident to support TMN also to extend their leading position in the 3G/UMTS market field." Siemens is the number one worldwide in terms of network launches. One out of every two 3G/UMTS networks in commercial service throughout the world today comes from Siemens and its technology partner NEC.

Said Rich Wong, general manager of messaging, Openwave: "We’re delighted to be working with Siemens and TMN to introduce a crucial 3G application to a key European market for the first time, and to deliver one of the industry’s first truly integrated messaging deployments. With years of experience at the forefront of IP messaging, Openwave was the first company to build a voice and video messaging platform based on the flexible Voice XML standard. We remain committed to making products that help our customers deliver innovative and easy to use services as simply and cost-effectively as possible."

External Links

TMN
Openwave

Microsoft "serrenders" Sendo shares

Microsoft and Sendo today jointly announced that a settlement has been reached in the litigation between the two companies, both in respect of the Claim and the Counterclaim. Although the monetary component and terms of the settlement are confidential, Microsoft will surrender its shareholding in Sendo. In reaching this settlement, all parties deny any and all liability. The terms of the settlement are otherwise confidential.

Robert Pocknell, Sendo's Group General Counsel, stated that the settlement reinforces Sendo's commitment to the protection of its intellectual property.  "With this action behind us, the company can now focus on its future development and growth."

Tom Burt, Microsoft's corporate vice president and deputy general counsel said that, having reached this agreement, "We're pleased with this resolution and look forward to continuing to collaborate with phone manufacturers to bring innovative products to mobile customers."

This settlement resolves all claims in this litigation, both in the United States and in the United Kingdom.

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