The Mobile Data Association (MDA) today announced the quarterly figures for the total number of GPRS and MMS devices being used by customers in the UK as of 30th September 2004.  The quarterly figures from UK GSM network operators O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone show a rapid increase for both GPRS and MMS devices on the previous quarter.

From a total active customer base of over 53 million*, GPRS active devices topped 26 million as of 30th September 2004, an increase of 10% on the previous quarter and double that of last quarter 2003 .  This figure represents a 50% penetration rate for GPRS devices for the total UK market. This trend is expected to continue with the MDA predicting by the end of 2005 that 75% of all UK handsets in use will be able to access the internet.

GPRS services have illustrated an increase in popularity in the last 12 months in both the consumer and corporate markets.  Popular applications include access to news services, timetables and mobile music with Band Aid being the fastest ever-selling ring tone.  Mobile chat continues to be one of the most popular applications; last month saw the Rt. Hon Tony Blair MP become the first Prime Minister to use text message technology to talk directly to the people.  Members of the public were able to submit questions to the Prime Minister in real time via a mobile chat room, transmitted live from No. 10 Downing Street.

MMS active capable devices reached 17 million as at 30th September 2004, with a penetration rate of 32% for the total UK market.  September's figures show an increase on the previous quarter of 14%.  With an ever increasing number of MMS handsets and applications, Christmas 2004 has seen an increase in animated Christmas cards on mobile screens, and this evolution will continue in 2005 with the increased use of MMS moods and emotions cards.

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MDA

Commercial launch in 2005

Eurotel Praha has launched the Czech Republic's first Push to talk over Cellular technology, using a solution provided by Nokia.  Eurotel will follow this initial launch of technology with a full commercial launch in early 2005. 

In addition to a complete PoC solution, Nokia is providing implementation and care services for the deployment of the solution.  Nokia is also supplying Nokia 5140 mobile phones, which support PoC.  Nokia has been Eurotel's main supplier of GSM network systems since 1996. 
 
"Over the years, our cooperation with Eurotel has been extremely important to us," said Matti Palomaki, Country Director, Networks, Nokia.  "We are pleased to see this close cooperation strengthened even further with the launch of this attractive and instant form of mobile communications." 
 
"We have always looked to Nokia for innovative end-to-end solutions," said Michal Herman, Chief Executive Officer of Eurotel Praha, spol. s r.o. "Nokia's support leading up to the launch of our push to talk technology has been key to bringing this exciting technology to our market.  We strongly believe that push to talk will open up new communication possibilities to our customers."
 
With more than 30 operator trials ongoing and commercial contracts with 22 operators, Nokia is leading the market for Push to talk over Cellular in GSM.  Nokia's solution offers a full feature set and smooth migration to the upcoming Open Mobile Architecture (OMA) standard, and it is compatible with the IP multimedia subsystem as standardized in 3GPP.
 
Nokia has introduced several push to talk phones.  The Nokia 5140, Nokia 6260, Nokia 6170 and Nokia 7270 are already commercially available.  The Nokia 6020 and Nokia 3230 are expected to be shipping in the first quarter of 2005.  Also, users of Nokia 6600, Nokia 6620, Nokia 6670 or Nokia 7610 are able to use push to talk by downloading the push to talk client to their terminals.  From 2005 onwards, push to talk will become available for almost all Nokia GPRS/WCDMA phones. 

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Nokia

Frame contract also includes the Nokia Intelligent Content Delivery solution

Nokia is to further expand and modernise ONE Austria's GSM 1800 and GPRS network under a new frame contract. In addition ONE also has an option to buy the Nokia Intelligent Content Delivery, a network based centralised service and content control system. It provides an intelligent delivery of IP-based content enabling ONE Austria to analyse, charge and manage their data services.

Deliveries have begun and network roll-out will take place during 2005.
 
"We are happy to further strengthen our strategic relationship with Nokia, allowing us to increase our capacity as demand surges and continue to launch the most innovative services. With the option to buy Nokia Intelligent Content Delivery solution ONE will be able to react in a flexible manner to changing market demands and support the take up of future data services," says Jorgen Bang-Jensen, Chief Executive Officer, ONE GmbH.
 
"The modernized and expanded GSM and GPRS network of ONE is an ideal platform for mobile voice and data services today and tomorrow. The frame contract gives ONE also the option to buy the Nokia Intelligent Content Delivery solution, which will enable ONE to offer highly flexible pricing schemes for data services to its customers," adds Walid Moneimne, Senior Vice President, Networks, EMEA, Nokia.
 
"We are pleased to continue supporting ONE in modernizing and expanding its network to meet the needs of the future. Nokia is very happy that ONE Austria has made a frame contract with Nokia, strengthening our close cooperation in GSM, GPRS and 3G WCDMA core networks," says Günter Haberler, Managing Director Nokia Austria GmbH.
 
In addition to GSM/GPRS core and base station subsystem, Nokia is providing consulting, solution integration and implementation services for the Intelligent Content Delivery solution.
 

External Links

Nokia

mobilkom austria, Austria´s leading mobile operator, has launched Tecnomen´s Missed Call Notice to more than 3 million subscribers. Missed Call Notice alerts subscribers about calls diverted to voice mail and the caller does not leave a message. With Missed Call Notice, mobilkom austria can provide customers with an easy-to-use, innovative service, which helps manage their personal communication.
 

Tecnomen has developed a wide range of voice mail services in response to operators´ needs to increase voice mail and other voice services usage and revenues. Missed Call Notice keeps track of missed calls, noting the caller's number, and the time and date of the call, and delivers this information by SMS. Missed Call Notice also keeps track of the number of times the person has called as well as information about the first and last call made.
 
"Resulting from our long-term, close co-operation with Tecnomen, we can rely on the maturity of their solution and on their flexibility. In today´s hectic life, we are happy to launch this new service to help our customers in their daily communications", says Alexander Kuchar, Head of Division, Mobile Service Network, mobilkom austria.
 
"Tecnomen has accompanied mobilkom austria from the very beginning on its road as the innovative market leader in Austria. We are very proud to help mobilkom austria to launch this enhanced service offering to their customers," says Mr Eero Mertano, Vice President, Sales, Tecnomen. "Missed Call Notice is really an easy-to-use, mass market service. It is an addition to the phone´s missed call function as notification is provided even if the phone is out of coverage or turned off, or if the line is busy."

External Links

Tecnomen

AIRCOM International's post processing and analysis tool now supports multple technologies

UK based specialists in OSS and Network Planning Solutions, AIRCOM International, have announced that their Post Processing and Analysis tool RANOPT is now fully multi-technology ready.

With more and more Network Operators rolling out 3G networks and co-locating 2G and 3G sites, RANOPT now offers a major advantage allowing operators to use one single tool and one common database for all drive testing as well as allowing 3G to 2G coverage, neighbour and handover analyses.

RANOPT is a feature rich 2G, 2.5G and 3G drive test post processing tool, which automates KPI report generation and auto fault identification. Its architecture allows significant productivity, cost and operational improvements whilst its integration into the planning environment provides unique additional functionality. RANOPT makes use of a common database methodology providing a secure method for data warehousing and maintenance.

RANOPT is part of AIRCOM’s ENTERPRISE suite, a single platform software solution for Network OSS, Planning & Optimisation. Consisting of 13 integrated software modules covering Radio Planning & Design Optimisation, Transmission & Core Planning, Configuration & Performance Management and Service Assurance, it is the most complete solution available to the telecoms industry.

External Links

Aircom International

Introduces BlackBerry Connect and BlackBerry Built-In

T-Mobile International and Research In Motion today announced plans to support a wider choice of devices with push-based BlackBerry email services. Through the introduction of BlackBerry Connect and BlackBerry Built-In, T-Mobile is extending the range of devices on which BlackBerry services are supported and available to business professionals in Europe.

Support for BlackBerry services will be initially introduced with T-Mobile's popular organizer, the MDA II; and the rollout with other devices is expected to continue in early 2005 with T-Mobile's MDA III, Sony Ericsson P910i, Siemens SK65 and Nokia 6820.

RIM's BlackBerry Connect licensing programme enables mobile device manufacturers to equip their handsets with the integrated ability to connect to BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Internet Service.

With the BlackBerry Built-In licensing programme, mobile device manufacturers can incorporate various BlackBerry applications into their own devices including BlackBerry Email, BlackBerry Calendar and BlackBerry Browser applications.  The first device to support BlackBerry Built-In is the Siemens SK65.

T-Mobile International will now be able to offer a much wider choice of devices to suit the preferences and user needs of different staff within the enterprise, all managed on the same robust BlackBerry mobile data infrastructure.

"A widening range of mobile professionals are recognising the productivity benefits of BlackBerry," said Mark Guibert, Vice President, Corporate Marketing at RIM. "We are very pleased that T-Mobile International is broadening its BlackBerry offering with the introduction of BlackBerry Connect and BlackBerry Built In."

André Stark, Head of Business Marketing, T-Mobile International comments: "The extension of the BlackBerry service to a much wider range of new and stylish mobile phone handsets allows T-Mobile to address the needs of a broader target group of mobile workers which can now have a much larger variety of handsets to choose from."

Stark continued: "Both user groups, those with preference for a small and handy voice phone as well as mobile workers with need for a feature rich wireless device will have the freedom to choose the device of their preference from a larger choice of BlackBerry enabled handsets from T-Mobile."

BlackBerry platforms for both corporate and personal email use are supported. For corporate customers, BlackBerry Enterprise Server software tightly integrates with Microsoft Exchange or IBM Lotus Domino to enable secure, push-based, wireless access to email and calendar. For individuals and smaller businesses, BlackBerry Internet Service allows users to access multiple personal and/or corporate email accounts (including many popular ISP email accounts as well as Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Domino accounts) from a single device.

External Links

T-Mobile International
Blackberry

Cartoon Network has announced the launch of its mobile services featuring Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, The Powerpuff Girls and a whole host of its other world famous characters in a new deal with Zed in the UK.

Zed will now market the Cartoon Network mobile content via its website, www.getzed.co.uk, to its customers.

The deal is aimed predominantly at phone users between the ages of 10 and 25. Visitors to the site will be able to download innovative java games, colour wallpapers and polyphonic ringtones featuring classic and contemporary characters to their phones. All content is developed by Macrospace Ltd.

“This represents another super distribution opportunity for Cartoon Network to reach beyond our mobile operator partners to provide Cartoon Network fans with our compelling Java games, ringtones and screensaver content,” said Mitch Lazar, Vice President Wireless & Emerging Technology for Turner Broadcasting. “Zed is a well-established and a recognised leader in mobile device offerings online and we are keen to work with such a company in this arena.”

Based on much loved characters known through Cartoon Network’s television channel, the mobile games offering includes Yogi Bear’s Pic-A-Nic, Dexter’s Laboratory Security Alert, The Flintstones’ Grocery Hunt, Samurai Jack’s Samurai Showdown, Courage The Cowardly Dog’s Haunted House, Tom and Jerry’s Cheese Chase Game and The Powerpuff Girls’ Bad Mojo.

There will also be wallpapers and ringtones from top shows including Top Cat, Scooby Doo and The Jetsons available.

“It is becoming increasingly common for children to own mobile phones at an ever younger age, and it is not just to call mum and dad. They want to have access to all their favourite cartoon characters. We offer our customers a hand-picked selection of colour graphics, ringtones  and games available to download quickly and easily via our web site.” commented Mark Harris, product director at Zed. “This partnership is indicative of the standards we are setting in the mobile services market, by offering people of all ages exactly what they want. We are delighted to be able to offer our mobile customers their favourite characters from the popular Cartoon Network channel.”

The deal is also effective in Austria, Finland, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland.

First MVNO to pick Blackberry

BT today reinforced its presence in the mobile market by signing an agreement with Research In Motion (RIM) to become Europe's first Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) to sell the  BlackBerry(R) wireless solution.

The deal will enable BT to offer BlackBerry to its corporate customer base, building on BT's success in the business mobile market and extending the benefits currently available to BT's mobile customers. The BlackBerry Wireless Handhelds(TM) will be co-branded by both BlackBerry and BT. 

Developed and manufactured by RIM, BlackBerry offers BT's customers secure, always-on, wireless access to their corporate email and data, via an advanced BlackBerry handheld with integrated phone, text messaging, browser, calendar and organizer capability. The BlackBerry always-on 'push' technology also means customers don't have to periodically connect to their email to check for new messages; messages are automatically routed to the handheld. BT is initially offering the BlackBerry 7230(TM) and BlackBerry 7730(TM) handhelds.

For corporate customers, BlackBerry Enterprise Server(TM) software tightly integrates with Microsoft(R) Exchange or IBM Lotus(R) Domino(TM) (Novell GroupWise expected to be available later this year) and works with existing enterprise systems to enable secure, push-based, wireless access to email and other corporate data.

Steven Evans, CEO of BT Mobile, said: "This partnership with RIM is another strong example of BT's commitment to offer leading edge mobile solutions to corporate customers. The fact that this is the first European deal that RIM has done with a mobile virtual network operator is a strong reflection of BT's strength in the corporate mobile market. The flexibility that wireless solutions and services can give companies is particularly appealing and BlackBerry has already become indispensable to thousands of organizations across the world."

Larry Conlee, Chief Operating Officer, Research In Motion, said: "BT has a large corporate customer base with a strong support infrastructure and we are very pleased it has chosen to offer BlackBerry to its customers. Together, we can help mobile professionals achieve significant business and personal benefits through advanced connectivity solutions."

External Links

BT Group
Blackberry

Azure Solutions, the revenue assurance company, today announced the acquisition of Anite Calculus Limited, the UK-based telecommunications software company that specialises in interconnect, wholesale and partner event billing, rating and settlement applications. Upon completion of the acquisition, the companies will trade under the Azure Solutions name and will continue to provide tier-one communications service providers with access to the world’s best* and broadest revenue assurance portfolio.

Azure Solutions employs over 200 people around the world.  It is headquartered in London, has its R&D centre in Ipswich, UK and has people based in Colorado, Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid, Hong Kong, Jakarta, and Sydney. It was spun out of British Telecommunications plc (BT) in April 2003 and is backed by New Venture Partners, the technology venturing partnership.  Anite Calculus was formerly part of Anite Group plc, a UK listed international IT software and services company.  Anite Calculus’ carrier customers include TeliaSonera, Telenor, NTL, Global Crossing and Finnet. This latest deal builds on Azure’s recent acquisition of US-based Connexn Technologies, and
further expands Azure’s tier-one customer base which already includes carriers such as BT, Telenor, Cable & Wireless, France Telecom, BSNL, Optus, KPN, Vodafone, Orange, O2, Qwest and AT&T.

Azure Solutions extends its unrivalled domain expertise in telecoms and revenue assurance by combining Azure and Anite Calculus’ product offerings and teams. Azure’s award-winning portfolio contains the broadest range of
revenue assurance products and services including Interconnect Accounting, Security and Fraud Management, Route Optimisation and the Connexn revenue assurance solution. Anite Calculus provides Azure with international partner settlement solutions, real time rating and billing and an interconnect product suitable for Tier 1 subsidiaries.

Under the terms of the acquisition all existing customer and partner agreements will be fully supported.

John Cronin, president and CEO of Azure, said: “The Anite Calculus deal is yet another part of our commitment to remain the number one company in revenue assurance. Anite Calculus’ employee expertise and technology made the acquisition very attractive and provides Azure with greater resources to meet the growth in the revenue assurance market. This acquisition is great news for current and future customers worldwide, as our combined technology and expertise will ensure that they continue to have the best revenue assurance products and services available.”

Saul Nurtman, managing director of Anite Calculus and who will take a senior management position at Azure said, "I am excited at the prospect of merging the Calculus business into Azure.  I am confident that our current customers and staff will benefit from the global brand and distribution capabilities,
technical expertise and financial strength of Azure."

External Links

Azure Solutions

Gemplus’ solutions and Meridea’s financial software brings an added layer of security to Java-based mobile banking

Gemplus International, a leading provider of smart card based solutions, has announced a partnership with Meridea Financial Software, a provider of banking and investment applications and software delivery environment, in order to address the stringent requirements of the European banking industry.

In order to provide attractive yet secure banking services from the latest mobile devices, this application uses Java technology to communicate between the handset and the SIM. In this way, it is possible to split the Java application and store confidential information securely in the SIM and the bulk of the application in the handset. 

Based on J2ME, the application also ensures a comfortable and attractive “look and feel” for the end-user experience. Banks and their customers will therefore have differentiating services and peace of mind when using the mobile channel to distribute their services.

“Gemplus has been investing in the possibilities of the Java Card SIM for financial applications for some time, with notable success in Belgium & South Korea, and with the emergence of Java enabled handsets we are now able to take this experience to the latest mobile phones. By working with Meridea, one of the key references for financial software, we now have the requisite experience to commercialize our offer”, said Philippe Vallee, Executive Vice President, Telecom Business Unit, Gemplus.

In addition, the SIM’s inherent features enable it to provide secure authentication and generate digital signatures.  As it interacts directly with the handset, the end-user is able to view the financial data stored in their mobile device or prepare transactions off-line when there is no network coverage.

“With the strict requirements from the banking industry, we needed to find a way to deploy our software with strong authentication and user credentials stored in tamper proof memory in mobile phones.  The SIM is present in every GSM handset and well known for its tamper resistance.  We are impressed of the developments that Gemplus has introduced with Java SIM technology, and therefore, welcome the opportunity to work with Gemplus in integrating our software into the Java Card SIM”, said Jukka Riivari, CEO, Meridea.

Version 2.0 now available

The Open Base Station Architecture Initiative is today announcing the availability of V2.0 of the RF Module to Baseband Module interface specification (referred to as RP3 V2.0). This specification is in addition to the OBSAI suite of interface and module specifications covering: control, transport and base band; currently available; and was made available to OBSAI members on 11th October this year.

The OBSAI RP3V2.0 adds detailed specifications for incorporating remote RF heads (RRH) within the OBSAI specification framework. It has provision for networking in remote RF head (RRH) applications using any type of media e.g. fibre optic.  The original RP3 data rates have been extended to accommodate more complex RRH topologies, such as daisy chain, star and tree topologies, encompassing any air interface standard, currently supported by OBSAI.

Comments Peter Kenington, OBSAI Technical Work Group Chair, "Originally OBSAI specified internal interfaces related to key areas within the BTS sub system, to accommodate a range of air interfaces.  Now OBSAI has extended this multi air interface capability to remote RF head topologies.  RP3 v2.0 offers comprehensive support for a wide range of RRH and BTS hotelling architectures. The very same OBSAI RP3 v 2.0 protocol now accommodates all major forms of remote head either singly - or in multi-hop configurations - across GSM, GSM EDGE, WCDMA, CDMA etc.  Ultimately a diverse network of RF heads can be put together to help build coverage for indoor or outdoor applications"

OBSAI previously announced the availability of module specifications in August 2004 and internal interface specifications and the System Reference Document, for the Transport, Control, Baseband, and Radio modules in October 2003.

External Links

OBSAI

Six new models for Christmas

3, the UK’s first video mobile network, today announces the launch of six new handset models ahead of the Christmas trading period.  The additional models bring 3’s handset portfolio to twelve, effectively doubling 3’s range of video mobiles and enhancing the customers’ choice of features and functionality across a range of prices.

The six new models are supplied by some of the world’s leading 3G handset manufacturers - Motorola, NEC and LG - and will also be on offer in the other worldwide markets where 3 operates.. All the new models support the full range of 3’s video mobile services and will be on sale across UK from November.

The new range will complement 3’s existing portfolio of leading handsets, namely the LG U8110 and the LG U8120, 3’s flagship contract handsets, and the NEC e616V and the NEC e228, 3’s best selling handsets on ThreePay. 

Motorola is delivering three models. The Motorola A1000 is the most advanced 3G video mobile on the market, with Symbian operating system and an integrated 1.2 Mega-pixel camera. The Motorola E1000 is a fully featured high-end video mobile with 1.2 megapixel camera, built-in MP3 player and Bluetooth. The third is the Motorola C975 which will be available on ThreePay, 3’s great value pay-as-you-go offer.

NEC introduces the smallest and lightest 3G video mobile to go on sale in Europe - the new slimline NEC e338 -which is exclusive to 3. This follows on from the launch in October of the NEC e616V the most advanced handset available on ThreePay and brings the total number of NEC models available on 3’s great value price plans to four.

LG boosts its range with the addition of two new models, the LG U8130 and LG U8138. These handsets are enhanced versions of the two top selling LG handsets this summer.

Bob Fuller, 3 UK CEO said, “3 is the fastest growing mobile network in the UK. With these six new models, we’re doubling our portfolio and offering customers an enhanced choice of video mobiles in the run up to Christmas. Our portfolio of twelve leading handsets combined with our great value and top quality services, makes 3 an unbeatable proposition for the Christmas market. We believe this is going to be a 3G Christmas.”

External Links

3 UK

Lines up Blackberry rival for Series 80 devices

Nokia, the world leader in mobile communications, today announced plans to bring a Symbian OS-based Smartner email solution to market on its Nokia Series 80-based mobile devices like the Nokia 9500 Communicator and the Nokia 9300  smartphone.
 
 

The Nokia devices will support all the key components of Smartner's Duality Always-On Mail. Smartner's device independent push solution enables users to manage email, including attachments and calendar in real-time, receiving data on the Nokia Series 80 device and desktop simultaneously.
 
Smartner has licensed its solutions to a number of service providers including Elisa, O2, Fujitsu, E-Plus, Swisscom Mobile, Vodafone, Starhub, Manx Telecom, and DNA Finland.
 
"For businesses that have invested in and need support for a wide range of mobile devices, Nokia offers a variety of mobile email solutions," said Niklas Savander, senior vice president, mobile devices at Nokia Enterprise Solutions.  "We acknowledge the market demand for push email and by including the Smartner solution in our offering, we are strengthening our position towards becoming the mobile device of choice for e-mail."
 
Jussi Räisänen, Co-Founder and Vice President at Smartner says, "We are pleased to extend our co-operation with Nokia to deliver push-email enabled mobile office solution to their series 80 devices. Our previous solution developed for the Series 60-based devices has proven a success and I have all the confidence that we can bring effective, easy-to-use wireless email experience also to all Nokia 9500 Communicator and Nokia 9300 users."
 
For individual mobile professionals, the Duality Always-On Mail enables push-based access to multiple existing business and/or personal email accounts from a single device. For corporations, Duality Always-On Mail tightly integrates with Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes email applications to enable secure, push-based, wireless access to email, calendar and contacts.
 
Nokia believes that 'a one-size email' does not fit all and therefore multi-vendor application support is important to meet the needs of the market today and in the future. Nokia already offers several different email solutions to its customers varying from personal and business email applications to Enterprise grade business collaboration solutions.

External Links

Nokia
Smartner