Stripping out GPRS roaming costs

Features

Imhotek, a messaging software company, has developed a product that it says will keep control of "extortionate" GPRS roaming charges for mobile data.

The software works by compressing the data that is sent over the air to a phone, PDA or laptop, reducing the number of bytes sent. As GPRS is charged on a per byte basis, this can significantly cut corporate mobile data costs, Jason Salmon, director of Imhotek, told Mobile Europe.
"Our IXP software rationalises what actually needs to be sent down to a bare minimum.  For instance for a phone like the [SonyEricsson] P800, if you have 150bytes of information for sending, we would do that same transaction in 10bytes using IXP."
The product comes into its own when users are roaming internationally, Salmon said, when charges are often at their highest.
"When you are being charged a lot of money for roaming we can deliver 80-85% cost savings at peak and at least 50% [minimum saving]. The amount varies depending on what you're sending.
"Plain text is around a 50% reduction, but if you are sending a .bmp file format then IXP can do 85% compression and data reduction because BMP is not a very efficient protocol."
IXP sits between the email client and the email server, compressing or reconstituting inbound and outbound data. There is also a version called IXP Lite which can act as a POP3 email client for WAP phones as a Java application, allowing the user to receive email headers.
The IXP software will work with Symbian phones, PocketPC or PalmOS but does not support any other OS. Salmon said the technology is being evaulated by one teleflorist, which is using the technology directly from Imhotek.
He also claimed to have excellent relationships with mobile operators, despite the fact the software could be seen as cutting their revenues, and is running the technology in trials with Orange, O2, Vodafone UK and Vodafone Germany. There is also an option available including encryption ---which Salmon identified as being important for corporates because they want an easy encryption option on all the platforms they use.