Over twice as many as same time last year

May 2004 has seen another increase in its highest recorded number of WAP pages viewed in one month since counting began in September 2002. 1.46 billion WAP pages impressions were viewed in the UK during May 2004, according to figures announced today by the Mobile Data Association (MDA).

The total, from GSM Network operators O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone, shows an emerging trend with a daily average figure of 47 million for a second month, more than doubling the daily average of 22.5 million for the same period last year. The MDA, allowing for seasonal differences, forecasts continued growth with WAP page impressions expected to reach a total of 13 billion for 2004. Every month the MDA will post the monthly WAP figures on its website www.text.it.

Mobile Office Card — first 3G product launched across UK in July; FreeMove alliance — roaming in Spain, Italy and Germany at launch; SonyEricsson and LG named as first 3G handset vendors in UK & FR

Orange, the mobile arm of the France Telecom Group, today
announced  the  launch of its first next generation high-speed network, products and  tariffs,  designed  to  take  its  UK customers toward a mobile broadband experience across the largest integrated network in the country.

At  launch  on  19  July,  Orange will have the most extensive integrated 2.5/3G network in the UK, with 66% of the population covered by its high-speed network, ensuring  that  even  if  customers  move out of 3G coverage, they will not lose their  connection  to  the  network.  Orange  has  3G  coverage  in major cities including  London,  Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol, Belfast, Glasgow, Sheffield, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Leeds. Orange will also be taking advantage  of  its  position  within  the  FreeMove alliance, giving UK business customers  the  ability  to  access  3G  services in Spain, Italy and Germany at launch,  as  well as the 3G network of Orange in France. Orange and its FreeMove partners have licences in 14 markets across Europe.

Orange  is  developing  a  range of business services, leveraging the high-speed network, to give companies a faster and more productive way to work on the move. The  first  of  these  to  market  will  be the 3G Mobile Office Card in the UK.
Targeted  at corporate and small business customers, it will be available to buy in  the  UK  from  19  July,  complete  with  a transparent tariff structure and offering speeds of up to 384 kbps. Already tried and tested by over 60 corporate and  medium-sized  businesses  (over  500  individual users) in the UK, it comes complete  with  an easy-to-use ?dashboard? interface and will be compatible with the  majority  of  laptop PC?s offering faster access to email, the Internet and intranet  services as well as specific sales-force and business critical company information.

Orange  will  be  launching  its  next generation services in France this Autumn (2004)  with coverage available in over 20 cities. Almost 5,000 Orange customers in   France   are  already  trialling  video  calling,  video  messaging,  video
answerphone,  fixed-to-mobile  video  calls,  web  conferencing  and  live video services  in  many cities across France, including Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux and Cannes.

Sanjiv  Ahuja,  CEO  of  the  Orange  Group, said: "With the launch of our first high-speed  network,  we've  begun  to  light  up  our map of Europe.  This is a milestone event for our customers, for Orange, and for the entire France Telecom Group.  We  are  now mobilising the broadband experience, delivering world class products   and  services  across  our  high-speed  networks  throughout  Europe, leveraging  the  experience  we  have  gained  through  trials with thousands of
 ustomers  in the wireless environment, as well as the five years experience theroup has gained providing fixed broadband services."

He  added:  "Today  brings  us  a vital step closer to realising our vision of a truly  integrated  communication  offering,  giving  our  customers  simple  and convenient ways to access the people, places and content they want."

The  Orange  3G  Mobile  Office  Card  solution  utilises  the Merlin U530 data Wireless  PC Modem Card from Lucent Technologies and Novatel Wireless. It offers an  intuitive  software interface which is used to access high-speed, wide area, wireless  connectivity on the UMTS network. A range of competitive tariffs will be  available  from  Orange in the UK, including a flat rate tariff for just £75 per  month. The 3G Mobile Office Card is available from £85 (excluding VAT). See
appendix for full tariff details.

Business  customers  will  benefit  from the support of a ?3G data card start-up team,  who  are tasked with ensuring that the 3G Mobile Office Card is correctly activated  and  configured  to  work  smoothly  with a company's own network and security  systems. Once up and running, ongoing 24-hour customer support will be available  from  a new specialist data support team. The Orange 3G Mobile Office Card  is  the  first solution of an extensive range of products and services for
corporate  customers  which  will be launched this year across Europe as part of France Telecom's integrated Business Everywhere offering.

John  Allwood,  Executive Vice-President of Orange UK, said: "The Orange network in  the  UK now provides our customers with the most comprehensive integrated 3G coverage  in  the  country,  as  well  as  the  best value tariffs available and services that can be used in more places than with any other network."

"We  began  testing  our next generation network in Bristol five years ago. Back then,  Orange  became  the  first  mobile  company  to  make  a  call  across  a next-generation  network.  Now,  with  half  a  decade  of  rigorous testing and
 experience  behind  us,  we are launching our new services to customers offering them the most effective, compelling and integrated solution available.

"By  focusing  on  every  aspect  of  the customer's interaction with us, we are setting  the  industry  bench-mark,  delivering  the  best network coverage, the smoothest  network  handover,  transparent  pricing,  fast  access to compelling
services and the most comprehensive after-sales care."

The Orange 3G Mobile Office Card will be compatible with the majority of laptops PC's,  providing  the  flexibility and choice Orange business customers require.  Nick  Eades,  Marketing  Director  for Fujitsu Siemens Computers Ltd, said: "The
growth  of  mobile  data solutions based on new 3G services is certain to enable competitive  advantage  for  many businesses. Early experiences of our LIFEBOOK range of notebook computers confirms the levels of performance and simplicity of operation from the Orange 3G package which users have been waiting for."

Orange  will  be  launching  next generation handsets and services in the UK and France  later  in  the  year, with SonyEricsson and LG announced as its first 3G handset vendors.

External Links

Orange

O2 Music announces music downloads direct to mobile phone with the launch of the Limited Edition Siemens SX1 with an integrated O2 Music Player on 1 August 2004. Music fans now have the choice of using either the SX1 with fully integrated digital music player or a mobile with a separate device to search, preview, download and play full music tracks over the O2 mobile network.

O2 Music launched Europe’s first ‘over the air’ music download service in November 2003 with the stand alone O2 Digital Music Player, and is currently the only network operator to offer 100,000 full length tracks thanks to established partnerships with Sony Music, Warners, Universal, BMG, AIM Independents and MTV.

Like those with the existing O2 Digital Music Player, O2 music fans opting for the Siemens SX1 are able to search, preview, download and store the latest chart hits and popular music all with their mobile phone, with no need for separate devices, wires, the internet or to give out credit card details online.

The Siemens SX1 comes with a 128MB memory card allowing storage of up to 128 full length tracks. The SX1 also features an integrated VGA camera, Video and Audio Player, FM radio, MultiMediaCard-Slot and tri-band functionality.

O2 Music offers you the very latest tracks from a huge range of music genres such as dance, pop, indie, rock, chill-out, r’n’b, jazz and more, as well as offering exclusive remixes, live and radio versions of tracks, plus pre-releases before they hit the record stores. You can browse through 100,000 tracks by genre or artist or select from any of the top charts including the UK top 10, European top 20, MTV Hits top 10, MTV Dance top 10, MTV Base top 10 (Hip Hop, R&B, Urban Chart), MTV2 top 10 (Rock), Chill out top 10 and NME charts.

The Limited Edition Siemens SX1, boasting an integrated O2 Music Player, is exclusive to O2 in the UK and also has an integrated O2 Active menu that gives customers direct access to O2’s colour multi-media entertainment and information WAP service.  O2 Active offers further content for the music enthusiast including music wallpaper, video and TrueTone downloads, charts, gossip and a gigs service allowing customers to enter a postcode or town and get all the latest music events and gigs information with links to buy tickets straight away. 

O2 has also recently launched an ‘Artists & Bands’ service featuring mobile sites for ‘hero’ artists. The sites offer ringtones, TrueTones, images, biogs, lyrics, prizes and video links are coming soon. Currently through its relationship with BMG, O2 has official sites for Outkast, Faithless and Dido. This will be rapidly followed up with sites for other acts from other label partners.

Megan Forster, Music Marketing Manager, O2, comments “O2 is stepping out as the clear leader in mobile music with more music content and services on offer than any other network. This is a combination of the launch of Europe’s first mobile music downloads service and the great range of music information and downloads services offered through our O2 Active WAP service.”.

For people that prefer to store their music on a separate device, the O2 Digital Music Player (DMP) is a specially designed player that allows customers to download music onto their mobile phone and start listening in 30 seconds.  The removable SD 64MB memory card can store up to 64 tracks, and music files can be transferred to PC. The

O2 DMP can play music in aacPlus and MP3 formats. The O2 Digital Music Player works with many infrared-enabled handsets including the Nokia 7210, 7250i, 8310, 6310i, 6610, 5100 and 3650; Samsung V200 and P400; SonyEricsson T610; and Siemens SL55 and S55. 

The O2 Siemens SX1 will be available from 1 August 2004 and will cost £79.99 or will be free on selected pay monthly tariffs from O2 stores across the UK. The O2 Digital Music Player costs £99.99 or free with selected O2 pay monthly tariffs. Downloading music starts from £1 for older tracks and from £1.50 for new music.  Searching and previewing (30 seconds) tracks is completely free and standard GPRS browsing rates do not apply when using the O2 Music service.

External Links

O2

ADC announced today that Austrian communications company, ONE, has selected Metrica to monitor their network performance and quality of services delivered over its multi-vendor Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS) network.

Metrica will provide ONE with a consolidated view of key performance indicators, giving the service provider comprehensive visibility of network quality and utilization.  With this information, ONE will be able to run its networks at maximum efficiency, maintaining its highly competitive service
quality while dynamically deploying capacity to match growth in demand. It will also provide the tools needed to help detect both long-term and immediate problems and distinguish between service-affecting and non-service-affecting network-quality issues.

"ONE was established several years ago as Austria's only GSM 1800 mobile operator, and, during that time, it has created a reputation for providing innovative services to over 1.5 million mobile subscribers," said David Heaps, senior vice president and general manager of the Metrica group of the Software Systems Business Unit for ADC. "We now look forward to working with ONE to achieve similar success in their UMTS business, using our Metrica solution to set new levels of quality." 

External Links

ADC

Dilithium Networks, a leading provider of wireless multimedia solutions, today announced a major new release of its industry-leading 3G protocol analysis and test tool. The Dilithium Networks Analyzer (DNA) diagnoses, analyses and monitors all aspects of 3G video telephony calls and enables 3G operators and network equipment vendors to identify and address service issues which are critical to providing a high quality user experience and successful uptake of video telephony. The new release adds the ability to gather key performance indicators of network statistics related to video telephony.

DNA was the first 3G-324M/H.324M protocol analysis tool on the market and has established itself as the industry reference platform for compliance and interoperability testing of network equipment and terminals. It is already in use by a majority of the 3G operators including H3G, Orange, NTT DoCoMo, KTF, and SK Telecom as well as a majority of network and terminal vendors including Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, NEC, Motorola, Alcatel, Lucent, and Nortel. Operators and OEMs can use the device to test new terminals and minimise the risk of field software upgrades to ensure interoperability, reducing time to market for 3G services and equipment

Lee Ellison, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Dilithium Networks, said, “The DNA has proven itself to be an extremely valuable tool to operators and equipment vendors looking to test advanced 3G services such as video telephony, video conferencing and video mail/ video call answering. We are extending the value chain of DNA to enable operators and network suppliers to use DNA as a tool for testing video telephony network performance”

The latest release of DNA provides powerful network and protocol statistics and analysis tools for 3G video applications using the 324M protocol and covers call control, connection setup and tear down, and voice and video codec quality. DNA’s new key performance indicators can be defined for measuring the Quality of Service (QoS) and Service Level Agreement (SLA) delivery in 3 key areas: service availability & accessibility; service viability; and service quality. In addition, the latest release of the DNA includes a number of enhancements including support for H.263 Profile 3 (Annex I, J, K, T), MPEG4 error resiliency, improved logging and analysis capabilities, as well as extended support for H.245 compliance testing.

DNA conforms to 3G-324M/H.324M protocol as defined by 3GPP, 3GPP2 and FOMA, and based on the ITU-T H.324M protocol that enables conversational multimedia services over wireless networks. DNA provides terminal and network monitoring functions. In terminal mode, DNA can emulate 3G-324M terminals and be used for troubleshooting, protocol analysis, IOT, as well as end-to-end service tuning. In network monitoring mode DNA can be used to sniff the traffic between two 3G-324M terminals, analyze traffic and decode-play the media.

External Links

Dilithium Networks

Teleca has acquired Finnish software services company GeraCap Oy, which employs 150 people. The acquisition further strengthens Teleca's position as the leading integrator of Symbian OS and Nokia Series 60. The acquisition will provide a platform for further growth in mobile devices, and Teleca expects profit per share to improve immediately as a result.

GeraCap

GeraCap has been growing steadily with good margins ever since it was formed in 1999. The company has established a strong position in mobile devices in Finland largely thanks to close collaboration with its customers. GeraCap has leading expertise in Symbian, Series 60, Linux, systems integration and application development for mobile phones, such as picture display, streaming and video applications.

"The acquisition will strengthen Teleca's relations with leading mobile devices manufacturers and its position in the Finnish market. It also means that we are now receiving highly specialised mobile phone development expertise from a company that is very cost-effectively run by being established outside the Helsinki area," says Thomas Pantzar, executive vice president of Teleca AB.

"During 5 years GeraCap has grown into one of the leading software services companies in its own segment in Finland. Teleca will provide us with a very good platform for developing our business. Teleca's global reach means we can look forward to continued profitable expansion and new opportunities that are exciting for everyone in the company," says Asko Kamppinen, chairman of the board of GeraCap.

During the last 3 years GeraCap has experienced an average growth in turnover of 44 per cent. During 2004 the company expects to have a turnover of approx. EUR 7.2 million and a profit before tax of approx. EUR 0.6 million. GeraCap is expected to continue to grow steadily and show good margins.


Effects of the acquisition

Teleca is paying a basic purchase price of EUR 6 million made up of 1.297.961 newly issued Teleca series B shares with a subscription price of 40.50 Swedish kronor a share and EUR 0.2 million in cash. If annual profits exceed EUR 0.7 million additional purchase costs will be paid in 2006 and 2008, which Teleca can choose to pay as either cash or Teleca shares.
GeraCap will be consolidated in Teleca's interim results from 30 June 2004. The acquisition is expected to have an  immediate positive effect on the earnings per share before and after the reversal of goodwill amortisation. Initially goodwill will be written off over 20 years, but the introduction of the new IFRS accounting standards may mean that nogoodwill will be written off after the end of 2004.

External Links

Teleca

THQ Wireless, a leading publisher of mobile games, announces that the latest title in the world-renowned 'Worms' series - Worms Golf - is now available from the major networks for all Java-enabled handsets. Under the terms of a worldwide exclusive licensing agreement with Team 17 (creators of Worms), the first Worms mobile game from THQ Wireless was launched in 2002.  Last year, Worms was the fastest selling new game on the Vodafone Live! Service.

Worms Golf takes the notorious Worms away from their normal combat zone and sets them down in the soon to be destroyed tranquillity of a golf course. The Worms are armed with grenades to replace the traditional golf ball. Enemy Worms are tied to the flag at each hole, and players must aim to get their 'grenade ball' into the hole in the smallest number of shots to annihilate their quaking opponents. 

James Scalpello, marketing manager at THQ Wireless:  "Worms must be one of the best-known brands in the world of gaming. Over eight million copies of Worms have been sold worldwide, and we had a great response to the launch of our first Worms-based game. Worms Golf brings together the fun of crazy golf with the blast-em up traditions of the Worms to deliver a unique arcade style sports action game."

External Links

THQ Wireless

SMIA specification targets multiple sourcing and lower camera-phone costs

Nokia and STMicroelectronics today announced that they are releasing a comprehensive specification for camera modules, aimed at standardizing this increasingly important component in mobile devices.
 

The specification, dubbed Standard Mobile Imaging Architecture, or SMIA, will cover all aspects of the modules, including their electrical, mechanical, and functional interfaces, and also address other key areas such as characterization, optical performance, and reliability. The SMIA specification is offered for free to the mobile imaging industry and is available at www.smia-forum.org.
 
The mobile-phone camera-module industry has developed rapidly in terms of technology, with dramatic increases in image quality and higher resolution. SMIA is a standardization effort to fulfill the emerging new requirements and enable mobile handset vendors to work with multiple suppliers. SMIA's target is to address the task of specifying functional and optical behavior of camera modules and therefore truly enable cost-efficient multiple sourcing of the module at the phone level.
 
"The camera phone market will increase rapidly with cameras entering into key product segments of mobile devices. Nokia recently estimated that the camera phone market would exceed 200 million units this year. SMIA's target is to streamline and accelerate the camera module development, ultimately contributing to creation of the state-of art imaging mobile devices, independent of vendors," said Janne Haavisto, Director, Camera Entity, Nokia Technology Platforms.
 
"ST and Nokia have worked on this specification for more than two years and both companies are contributing significant intellectual property into SMIA," said Marc Vasseur, General Manager of ST's Imaging Division. "ST has been immensely successful in this market due to best-in-class pixel performance, sensor and module development capabilities, and full ownership of the manufacturing flow. Now, the standardization of interfaces and system partitioning, via SMIA, will enable us to address significantly more opportunities in the mobile phone industry."
 
The demand for higher image resolution to mega pixel and beyond has prompted the need for increasing bandwidth on the interface, while keeping the pin count low and EMI consistent with mobile phone design constraints. In addition, significant cost reductions are made possible by optimizing the architecture of the camera phone as a whole, as opposed to viewing the camera as a peripheral subsystem. SMIA proposes a framework for defining the related metrics.
 
SMIA specifies imaging sub-element partitioning that will enable independent technology evolution and optimal design development. Based on a partitioned architecture approach, the optics and sensor will be implemented on the SMIA camera module and imaging processing will be executed, for example, by the mobile phone's main application processor engine.

External Links

SMIA
STM

Magic4, the world’s leading supplier of seamless mobile messaging software solutions, and Colibria, a leading supplier of Presence, Instant Messaging and Community Messaging solutions today announced an interoperable IMPS client – server infrastructure that includes all features defined in OMA’s IMPS 1.2 enabler. 
 

External Links

Magic4
Colibria

Chaoticom announced today that Orange has selected Chaoticom as the exclusive provider of mobile music downloading services on the Orange UK network. Orange will launch the service, branded "Music Player", on July 1, 2004.

Chaoticom's award winning Mobile Music Platform enables music downloads to more handset models than any mobile music solution in the world. A growing range of handsets are supported, including the Orange SPV E200 smartphone.

"We selected Chaoticom because they have the best technology and best total solution," said Mark Ashford, Head of Entertainment at Orange UK. "The user experience is excellent and we are excited to be offering it to such a wide audience."
  
Using Music Player, customers can browse, preview, and download tracks directly to their mobile handsets.

"We're very excited to be launching a service at Orange UK," said Bathsheba J. Malsheen, President and CEO of Chaoticom. "Orange has shown great leadership in multimedia handsets making them the best partner for us in the biggest music market in Europe."
  
Chaoticom's Mobile Music Solution enables mobile operators to
offer full-track music downloading services on more than 19 handset models on today's mobile data networks. Chaoticom's revolutionary KOZ encoding format makes real-time high-quality over-the-air mobile music downloads possible. KOZ technology consumes significantly less battery power and requires less processing power than other solutions available today. The solution was awarded "Best Contribution to Mobile
Music 2004" by the leading industry group, The Mobile  ntertainment Forum.

External Links

Chaoticom

Goes for EDGE where UMTS doesn't reach

TeliaSonera´s wholly owned subsidiary NetCom in Norway is stepping up the pace of its mobile network roll-out

"By the end of 2005 NetCom will be able to offer 3G services over a high-speed mobile network to almost the total of the population of Norway. It is important for us to offer third generation mobile services to as many people as possible, as quickly and as cheaply as possible", says Barbara Thoralfsson, administrative director of NetCom. "We will achieve this by deploying EDGE technology - a more advanced version of today´s GSM network. This means a speed two to three times faster than ISDN."

Concurrently, NetCom will continue expanding the UMTS network. In November 2000 NetCom won a concession to build UMTS with a population coverage of 76.5 percent. This expansion is in full swing, but in order to give a larger percentage of the public access to higher-quality 3G services at an even earlier date, NetCom is to deploy EDGE as well.

"The customer is not concerned with technology but with what it can be used for and how it can be used. The areal coverage of EDGE will be considerably greater than that of UMTS by itself, and this is what is important to the user. This 3G offering will give the Norwegian public an offer that is in the forefront of development," says Thoralfsson.

"Many places in Norway will not be covered by UMTS initially. That is why we also want to use a technology that we can build into our existing mobile network," says Thoralfsson.

"EDGE is a fully-fledged 3G technology, and among other features it will give far better indoor coverage than UMTS will provide initially. This will be an important step towards the goal of a wireless Norway with good, inexpensive telecom services for the public," Barbara Thoralfsson concludes.

External Links

TeliaSonera

Tektronix and Inet Technologies today announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for Tektronix to acquire Inet, a leading global provider of communications software solutions
that enable network operators to more strategically and profitably operate their businesses. Inet's products address next-generation networks, including 2.5G and 3G mobile data and  voice-over-packet (also referred to as VoIP) technologies, and traditional networks.

Inet, founded in 1989 and profitable every year since 1990, has approximately 500 employees worldwide and had 2003 sales of $104 million. When combined with Tektronix' mobile protocol test business, sales from products addressing the network monitoring and protocol test markets are expected to exceed $200 million, making Tektronix one of the largest global providers of these solutions.

Tektronix anticipates that the acquisition will accelerate the delivery of products and solutions for network operators and equipment manufacturers seeking to implement next-generation technologies such as General Packet
Radio Service (GPRS), Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems (UMTS) and VoIP. Inet will become part of Tektronix' Communications and Video business.

Tektronix will acquire all of Inet's outstanding stock for approximately $12.50 per share consisting of $6.25 per share in cash and approximately $6.25 per share in Tektronix' stock. After adjusting for Inet's $172 million cash balance as of March 31, 2004, the net purchase price is $325 million. The net purchase price will be satisfied with net consideration
of approximately $250 million in Tektronix stock and approximately $75 million in cash. The stock portion of the consideration is subject to a 10 percent collar. The transaction, which has been approved by both companies' Boards of Directors, is subject to customary closing conditions, including
Inet stockholder approval and certain regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close on approximately September 30, 2004.


"Tektronix' strategy is to develop leadership positions in selected test, measurement and monitoring product categories that are large and growing. We believe that combining Inet with our mobile protocol business enables us to grow and enhance our leadership position in this market," said Rick Wills, Tektronix Chairman and CEO. "Our protocol business has seen very strong performance over the last few years. This combination represents a unique opportunity to build on that success by adding Inet's leadership in its target markets -- especially mobile data -- to Tektronix' capabilities and
relationships with mobile equipment manufacturers."

Wills continued, "We intend to leverage product and technology synergies to enable us to accelerate product development and bring new products to customers faster. In addition, network operators and equipment manufacturers will be able to access, from one supplier, all of their network monitoring and protocol test needs across the technology 'food chain'."

"We are very excited about this opportunity," said Elie Akilian,
President and Chief Executive Officer of Inet. "The synergies between our two companies -- in terms of products, sales channels, customer care and strategic focus -- are substantial. This transaction provides Inet the scale needed to successfully capitalize on the significant growth opportunities in today's mobile data and VoIP markets. Our stockholders should be pleased with the resulting combination -- a global market leader offering a broad portfolio of products that address the entire technology life cycle to the world's leading network operators and equipment manufacturers. This also provides a great growth opportunity for our employees to become part of a $1 billion company with significant worldwide resources and footprint."

External Links

Tektronix

Joins iPass Global Broadband Roaming network; provides secure, easy-to-use, high-speed Internet access for business travellers

UK Explorer and iPass Inc today announced that more than 50 of UK Explorer’s wired and wireless access points have been certified as Enterprise Ready by iPass and become part of the iPass Global Broadband Roaming network. The Enterprise Ready certification from iPass means that business travellers using UK Explorer’s access points can be confident that they now have the most simple and secure connectivity via the Internet to their corporate network-based data and applications.

UK Explorer access points include wireless hotspots and laptop docking terminals at some of the UK and Ireland’s primary locations for business travellers including London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Manchester, Birmingham, Shannon and Edinburgh Airports. They also include Express by Holiday Inn hotels in regional business centres like Belfast, Birmingham (NEC), Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Southampton and London. UK Explorer expects to increase the number of hotspots in the iPass network to more than 100 within the next three months, and continue adding to that number moving forward.

"We’re very excited in the growth curve of wireless adopters that we’re seeing at the moment," said Richard Stubbs, managing director, UK Explorer.  "By joining the iPass Global Broadband Roaming Network, we are making both our wired and wireless access points visible to millions of potential customers from around the world. Because of this, it’s a very important relationship for us as it means that we can compete for customers with the major telecommunications and service providers."

UK Explorer’s network of access points features both wireless hotspots, which cover large public areas such as airport lounges, hotel foyers or conference rooms, and laptop docking stations that provide wired broadband Internet access. By joining the iPass Global Network, UK Explorer is making these access points accessible to the more than half-million individual enterprise employees who use the iPass service every month. 

The iPass Enterprise Ready certification means that IT managers can confidently, easily and securely provision access to corporate networks from nearly 10,000 access points around the world.  This ensures not only Internet service availability, but also interoperability with policy-based security systems such as virtual private networks, personal firewalls and anti-virus protection systems, ensuring users remain compliant with all corporate security and Internet usage policies.

"UK Explorer has a very powerful footprint in both the wired and wireless access point market in the UK and Ireland. Their focus on delivering access to users in ‘business’ venues is an extremely close fit with our vision of making access available to our business customers, regardless of where they are," said Doug Loewe, managing director for EMEA at iPass. "UK Explorer’s access points, coupled with our service, mean that businesses have complete peace of mind that their remote workers can maximise productivity, without compromising security. That we also provide them with the best available service, at the most cost effective rate and a single point for billing is an even more compelling benefit."

Tata Infotech and Integri named in deals to support m-commerce rollout across Europe

Simpay, the mobile payment scheme founded by Orange, Telefónica Móviles, T-Mobile and Vodafone, has announced further providers in the creation of its mobile payment scheme. Following the 5th April 2004 announcement that Encorus, majority owned by First Data Corp., had been selected as the Scheme Central Service Provider, Simpay has now revealed that Tata Infotech and Integri will form the cornerstones of its testing strategy for the payment scheme due to launch commercially in early 2005.

Tata Infotech, a global systems integrator, is part of the Tata Group, India’s best-known industrial conglomerate. Tata Infotech will support Simpay in testing the central processing systems and the readiness of Simpay’s members for scheme launch. Tata Infotech was chosen for its ability to meet Simpay’s requirement to cost effectively conduct extensive and intensive testing using a combination of experienced onshore and offshore resources. Tata Infotech has successfully undertaken similar projects and provided innovative solutions to its customers worldwide in the areas of Software Development, IT Enabled Services and IT Infrastructure Management, amongst others.

Integri has been selected to build a suite of simulators of Simpay’s systems, to enable stand-alone testing by mobile operators of their own components of the scheme prior to full integration and to support the acceptance testing of the central platform. The Simpay Scheme Simulator will be built around Integri’s versatile and open test and simulation platform, INQ Test Tool. Integri’s INQ Test Tool architecture is conceived to meet  the most demanding standards of electronic transactions. Integri’s worldwide customers-base includes financial institutions, telecom operators and system integrators in both e- and m-commerce.

Simpay’s offering is ideally matched to the current m-payments market allowing customers to make low price point purchases using their mobile phone. The cost of the goods or services, which include buying an MP3 music file, downloading a game or obtaining sports results, is debited from the mobile user’s account by his or her mobile operator. Simpay is ideally suited to next generation mobile services such as real time video.

Tim Jones, CEO, Simpay comments, "These announcements provide further evidence that Simpay is intent on making Mobile Payments happen. They represent another major milestone towards Simpay’s commercial launch in Europe during early 2005.  We are confident that we and our providers will meet these timescales; Encorus will construct and operate our processing infrastructure, Tata Infotech will provide independent testing support and Integri will build our simulators."

Charles Antony, COO, Tata Infotech said: "Tata Infotech is proud to partner with Simpay which is the appropriate vehicle to take m-commerce to the masses.  This partnership is in line with our competence in providing high-end value-added application and systems integration solution to our telecom customers worldwide.

Jan De Meester, CEO, Integri commented: "This further demonstrates the versatility of the INQ Test Tool, which can easily be customised for different industries. One of the key features of the INQ Test Tool is that the learning curve for a test team can be kept low. We are confident that the Integri test technology in combination with Tata Infotech's testing services will contribute to the quality and the success of the Simpay initiative."