Chinese handset manufacturer TCL Mobile Communication has shipped 10 million GSM/GPRS cellular phones based on Analog Devices SoftFoneR platform and TTPCom's  protocol stack and applications software.

"Analog Devices' platform and TTPCom's software have enabled us to quickly develop a complete range of handsets to serve many segments of the market," said Wang Kailong, chief engineer, TCL Mobile. "The ability to add new features in software allows us to react quickly to changes in customer requirements, while meeting our cost and performance objectives."
TCL and Alcatel recently agreed to establish a joint venture company engaging in the research and development, subcontracting of manufacturing, sales and distribution of handsets and peripheral devices. 
Tony Milbourn, managing director of TTPCom said, "The strategic partnership between our three companies has enabled TCL, not only to lead the Chinese market in terms of innovative products, but also to reach the point where they are the handset brand to watch.
"If TCL continue as they are going today, I have absolutely no doubt that they will be one of the top five manufacturers in the world."

Operators set to benefit from fixed-mobile convergence infrastructure

The enterprise platform which BT is using for its fixed-mobile convergence solution, codenamed Bluephone, will be distributed to mobile operators worldwide following a deal struck between the platform's creator Norwood Systems and France-based telecoms giant Alcatel.

The distribution deal will enable mobile operators to create services like Bluephone, which enables end users to roam between their office telephone system and the GSM network on the same handset.

The EnterpriseMobility platform promises convenience to users and cheaper call costs to enterprise telecoms managers.

"Vast amounts are spent by enterprises on calls to mobiles, even when people are in the same office," said Norwood Systems' managing director John Parselle. "With our Enterprise Mobility Server, enterprises can offer their employees full mobility at the least call cost," he added.

Alcatel's head of fixed solutions Alan Mottram said, "With the Norwood Systems platform integrated into our solution, we offer operators that differentiating package they need for their enterprise customers to realise a one number, one phone, low cost experience."

Vodafone initially indicated its interest in developing BT's Bluephone proposition.

But the operator has not joined the international working group set up by BT -- the Fixed-Mobile Convergence Alliance -- which aims to develop such mobility solutions.

The other members of the alliance are Swisscom, Rogers Wireless, NTT, Korea Telecom and Brasil Telecom.

Openwave has completed its acquisition of messaging software company Magic4.

The US$82.6million purchase will give Openwave an increased sales presence in Europe and the Americas.

The company will integrate the Magic4 solution into its client software operation.

It claims the combined entity will be the largest provider of open standards-based client software for mass-market phones.

"The acquisition provides our manufacturer and operator customers the benefit of the two companies' practices, ensuring timely delivery of data handsets with increasingly innovative services," said Openwave's president and ceo Don Listwin.

If you have a Nokia device running on the Symbian operating system, you are the stereotypical mobile professional, according to research into the devices enterprises are using for their mobile applications.

Nokia devices are found in the hands of over half of all mobile professionals across Europe, whilst no other vendor can claim more than 10%, according to the research, which was conducted by Reading-based mobility analysts Canalys.

And the number of handhelds being bought is increasingly rapidly; up 52% on one year ago.

Of the other device vendors, HP is winning particular favour with 9.9% of overall mobile device sales, and it tops the popularity table for data-centric devices in which Nokia does not play.

But whilst sales of Nokia and HP handhelds are shooting up, Palm and SonyEricsson are very much out of favour.

Both saw their sales of mobile devices fall in absolute terms over the last year, causing a crash in market share.

One smaller company in which mobile professionals are showing interest is Medion, which manufactures data-led devices, and which has doubled its sales in the last twelve months.

RIM is still winning huge favour with its Blackberry device and client, with sales up 230% in the same period.

Trouble for manufacturers

Canalys' director Chris Jones said, "There is still significant potential in the handheld market in EMEA, despite the negative news coming from other regions.

"But clearly not everyone is benefiting in the same way," he said, adding that IT vendors such as Dell and Toshiba were having little success as well.

"IT vendors have tried before [to enter the wireless handheld market] but with little success.

"They should not underestimate the challenge of building relationships with enough operators in enough countries to make the venture worthwhile.

"Having a good product that appeals to EMEA customers is the first step. But it is really only the operators themselves and RIM, which has adopted a very operator-centric channel approach, who have had any kind of success in this segment."

Symbian dominance

Even though Nokia has been stopped from taking control of the Symbian consortium, the Symbian operating system, on which many Nokia devices are based, remains the choice of the vast majority of mobile professionals.

Microsoft's Windows Mobile has become less popular, falling back to around 4% of devices bought, whilst Symbian is the choice for 94% of handheld sales.

PalmSource represents the other 2%.

The Cloud, which provides white-label public wireless LANs for network operators and ISPs to offer to their customers, has revealed that it has received funding from two leading venture capital companies.

The funding will give it the ability to deploy more hotspots, and to improve interoperability between customers' networks.

The company has not declared the size of the funding, but said the input from 3i and Accel Partners was "significant".

The Cloud owns 4300 hotspots in the UK, and claims it is currently installing 100 more each week.

Its biggest customer at present is BT, which provides internet access to corporates through its Openzone brand.

The Cloud will also form a division specifically to focus on expanding its efforts with service provider customers.

The Carrier Services division will include consulting services, a toolkit to handle systems integration, and the ability to provide ASP (application service provider) services.

The division will be overseen by Peter Elliott, who was previously responsible for IT at mobile operator Orange.

As part of the new funding, parent company Inspired Broadcast Networks' control will be limited to two seats on the board.

The Cloud intends to develop its presence in the rest of Europe by developing its business with service providers in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and Sweden.

External Links

The Cloud

First off, the background. Research in Motion (RIM) has of course had a fair bit of success selling its terminals, and its mail server backend technology to corporates, often through the mobile operator channel.

It has also developed a personal edition so that you, me or anyone else can enjoy the benefits of push email. But even thought it is clear leader in its field, it has still only just broken the million mark in terms of units shifted, which, whichever way you cut it, is not a mass market.

So, the solution, it seemed, was to licence the Blackberry client to other device manufacturers, ie, the Nokias, Motorolas, Samsungs to put it on their phones. Granted, these wouldn't have the full QWERTY keyboard that made the Blackberry so popular for those either tired of thumb or tired of Graffiti. But it would put push email onto your phone and sync it with your own email account.

So far so good, but the word Mobile Europe has heard from at least two of Blackberry's would-be competitors in mobile email is first, there has been precious little implementation of Blackberry Connect, second, what there has been hasnt worked very well and third, from one particular opponent, the reason it doesn't work very well might be deliberate.

The clear implication is that Blackberry isn't too concerned about giving people a great user experience on their mobile phone, because they are not averse to people deciding that a two device solution is best if you really want your emails to go with you.

Now, has been little indication of what these problems with Blackberry Connect have been, and of course it is a little hard to simultaneously claim that a, nobody is really developing Blackberry Connect and b, it doesn't work anway.

Making the conclusion that it is in some way deliberate, to protect sales of Blackberry's own device? Well, perhaps we would be wisest to refrain from comment, but instead let Blackberry take over. This is its official response.

"Through the BlackBerry Connect licensing programme, handset manufacturers can integrate BlackBerry services into their wireless devices (including the ability to connect to BlackBerry Enterprise Server or BlackBerry Web Client services). This enables handset manufacturers to offer the BlackBerry service that best meets the needs of their customers, while maintaining the existing functionality and user interface of their device. The BlackBerry Connect programme has already licensed BlackBerry software and services to a number of handset manufacturers, including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Siemens, Samsung, Motorola and HTC, and carriers are beginning to offer these handsets with BlackBerry connectivity. In addition, RIM has partnered with leading operating system providers (i.e. Symbian OS, PalmOS, Microsoft Mobile Platform) to tightly integrate BlackBerry connectivity with these OSs."

Although whether you are any the wiser after that is highly doubtful.

External Links

Blackberry

Want a deadline extension and lower signal strengths

TeliaSonera, Tele2, 3, and Vodafone have asked Sweden's National Post and Telecom Agency to alter their 3G licence terms.

The operators are after two, related, concessions from the ministry - that they be allowed to build sites with lower signal strengths and to slow down the pace of population coverage.

The operators say that reducing the strength of the pilot signal  would enable them to build out fewer sites. They have cited environmental and cultural concerns, rather than financial contraints, as the principle rationale for this.

They have also proposed that the timetable for population coverage be stretched so 3G coverage is available to 7,000,000 people by 31 December 2004, 8,000,000 people by 31 December 2005, 8,500,000 people by the 31 December 2006 and 8,860,000 people by the 31 December 2007.

The current terms from PTS stipulate that construction should have been completed by 31 December 2003. All the operators have already stated that these requirements cannot, and indeed have not, been met. Despite that, they jointly claim in their statement that there no other country  has implemented such a comprehensive expansion of 3G as Sweden.

Says it will be much more comprehensive than rival offerings

Complementary busses ferrying hacks from the local tube station, and a free party tonight, betrayed T-Mobile’s concern that it made a big enough splash with the launch of its Ear Phones mobile music service.

Ear Phones is the umbrella name T-Mobile has given to all its music related services, from ringtones and ringback tones to music track downloads. The launch today was of the brand but more importantly of T-Mobile’s Jukebox service, a new music download service that allows users to listen to tracks of their choice on their mobile phone.

At the moment, the service is limited to five handsets in the market, and 500 tracks. By the end of the year there could be as many as 15 enabled handsets and half a million tracks available, Nikesh Arora, chief marketing officer of T-Mobile, told the bussed-in hacks.

The service is built around DRM technology founded on the Open Mobile Alliance 1.0 specification. This means any user that wants to access the handset will have to have a  handset with the correct software load. At the moment this means the Nokia 7600 and 6230, the Motorola E398 and the SonyEricsson P900 and K700. (The P900 actually comes in two versions, one with the OMA DRM software in it and one without, so P900 users will have to check which version they have). T-Mobile is leaning on the manufacturers to produce more versions with the OMA DRM by Christmas.

How does it work?

Content, specially mixed and formatted, will sit on servers at T-Mobile’s download centre, which is based in Manchester. A user will click on the "Jukebox" button on his mobile, and then enter the site, browsing tracks either by latest release, artist name or song name.

Once a request for a download is made T-Mobile’s platform will discover what kind of device is making the request, which media player (Real,  is embedded in the device and if the device supports OMA DRM. The MP3 file is then transcoded into the relevant codec — whether ASC, AAC+ or MP3 — and sent to the phone. 

This means the user doesn’t need to download any application onto the phone, something which T-Mobile thinks is vital if the service is to hit the mass market.

At the beginning of the service, only edited formats of full tracks will be available. T-Mobile is calling these Mobile Mixes – 90-120 versions of the full track. By Christmas the service will support full  track download. Listeners will be allowed to listen to a track twice before deciding if they want to buy. Tracks will cost £1.50 in the UK and €1.50 in T-Mobile’s other European markets (Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, The Netherlands.)

T-Mobile is insistent that the delivery of these edited versions is to meet the behaviour patterns of people listening to and sharing music when on the move. It also serves to keep down download times which they say will be 30 seconds in 3G and two minutes over GPRS for its Mobile Mix format. Full tracks will take twice as long.

Another reason for the shorter format could be to protect the full version of the song at launch. T-Mobile is envisaging giving listeners the chance to download a song two weeks before the CD single release, meaning that potentially a customer could download the Mobile Mix version before perhaps buying the full track version on its main release.

Music Industry Support

T-Mobile has launched the service with content from four of the big five music publishers. Boyd Muir from Universal Music International and Jim McDermott from Sony were both insistent it was the operator’s willingness to listen to their concerns over DRM and marketing that has given them a lead. The music companies are bound to want to work with other operators, and in fact are already doing so, but T-Mobile has taken a lead, both men said.

Matthias Immel, Head of Consumer Propositions Media and Music at T-Mobile told Mobile Europe that T-Mobile is attractive to music companies because it has taken an open standards approach to addressing the whole market.

"It is not a client based service," he said, "like some of our competitors for example where a service only address Series 60 high end phones. You need a broad device portfolio and you will only get these figures if you have an open platform and not just three to four high end phones."

"Nokia, SonyEricsson, and Siemens have all bought into the OMA DRM, and so we can rely on the functionality of the device itself, and not on the client solution."

In a swipe at competitors Immel pointed out that meant the service was a one-device solution (ie no Music Player like O2’s required) and also required no application download (ie everyone else).

Of course, what is open about this from an industry point of view is the OMA DRM side of the equation. The transcoding platform is all T-Mobile’s own work, and this is where other operators will need to decide their strategy. Immel’s guess is that the music labels will be reasonably flexible, given their urgent need to replace falling CD sales revenues, but the question has to be asked how many different partners a music company will want to work with, how many different ways of doing things they will be willing to support.

There are beginning to be a number of companies addressing the space between the operator and the music companies, perhaps editing content to appropriate formats and also handling the DRM side. One example is Musiwave (link below).

T-Mobile’s launch will also inevitably attract comparison with fixed on-line services, such as i-tunes and other portable device solutions such as the i-pod. But T-Mobile CMO Nikesh Arora  pointed out that against one billion mobile phones in the market, there are only 250 million walkmans and just six million i-pods. Music download services also tie users to a PC and a second device. You mobile is already in your pocket, and it will give you access to music at any time, Arora claimed.

Arora was at pains to point out that with five phones and 500 tracks this is only the start of things for music download services. But T-Mobile thinks with its OMA DRM, support for a variety of players and formats and buy-in from 80% of the music industry majors it has a fair chance of cracking the mass market.

External Links

T-Mobile
Musiwave

Mobile Europe reports from onboard the first GSM-equipped ship in Europe

by Richard Thurston
Onboard the SeaFrance Rodin

Whilst many mobile operators have obtained 99% population coverage of most West European countries, there still remains a large hole in the coverage map for customers on the move.

Calls made while stationary have largely been catered for, but calls made in transportation are creating a whole new challenge for operators, whether that be by air, rail or road.

Orange has been one of the leading providers in providing coverage for travelling customers.

It has already equipped an underground rail system in Newcastle (north-east England) with GSM coverage and is trialling a system of using directional antennae to provide end-to-end coverage through the UK's railway tunnels.

Its latest project is somewhat different, in that it aims to provide blanket coverage across the Channel sea between England and France.

Much of the Channel is currently a blackspot, due to the distance between the two countries, and the legal necessity for the English and French networks not to overlap.

But Orange has significant advantage in owning a network in both countries.

To aid coverage across the Channel, it has optimised one basestation on each coastline so the signal propogates further into the Channel.

It has also installed two repeaters on board its first trial ship, the SeaFrance Rodin.

Each repeater -- one for the English network and one for the French network -- amplifies the signal received from the respective coastline.

Both repeaters are connected via coax cable to mini-antennae located throughout the ship, which provides the coverage to travellers in most locations on the ship.

The antennae are necessary because of the quantity of metal in the ship's structure, which would otherwise hinder coverage.

Because each country's regulations state that there must be no crossover of the networks, the system is set up so that users should automatically link to Orange UK in the English
half of the Channel, while when they cross the frontier into French waters, they should switch to Orange France.

Our results

Our reporter took a phone containing an Orange UK SIM and a phone with a T-Mobile UK SIM on the ship from Dover, England, to Calais, France.

The Orange UK network was extended far out into the Channel, whilst the T-Mobile UK network dropped out significantly earlier.

In fact, so strong was the amplified Orange UK signal that our reporter's handset did not roam onto the French network virtually until his arrival into the port of Calais.

It was further possible to manually select the Orange UK network once docked in Calais, and upon the return, to connect to Orange France in Dover.

This poses some fascinating questions for the regulators of each country, Ofcom in the UK and France's Agence Nationale des Frequences (ANFR).
 
Our reporter's SIM also chose to switch to SFR for part of the return journey.

However, the project was overall highly successful, and the T-Mobile SIM enjoyed Orange France coverage for much of the remainder of the journey after it lost its UK network.

Results summary

Dover-Calais (42km)

0mins -- Near perfect network coverage for both networks

25mins (England/France boundary) -- Orange UK signal is strong boosted by the onboard repeater; T-Mobile UK network present but slipping

35mins (French waters) -- Orange UK network still strong; T-Mobile network still present

39mins -- Incoming call to T-Mobile SIM. Call completed but most of conversation indiscernible.

40mins -- Incoming SMS received to T-Mobile SIM.

43mins -- both networks weaken considerably

51mins (1km from French shoreline, ship turns and heads parallel to shoreline) -- Call made successfully over OrangeUK network

55mins -- Call impossible over T-Mobile UK network. T-Mobile network dropped, and does not roam.

63mins -- Call impossible over Orange UK network, does not roam. T-Mobile UK SIM has roamed onto Orange France.

68mins -- Orange UK SIM roams onto Orange France.

69mins -- Arrival in port of Calais. Orange UK SIM returns to Orange UK network.

Calais-Dover

9mins -- Orange UK SIM roams back onto Orange France.

10mins -- Orange UK SIM chooses SFR (France) network.

14mins -- Orange UK SIM switches back to home network.

69mins -- Arrival in Dover. Orange France network still available.

Mobile email not necessarily good for all devices

Wireless email vendor Smartner says it has added four operator customers in the past month, within Europe, bringing to 15 the total number of operators who are customers.

Ari Backholm, executive vice-president products and marketing at the company said that the company now had a clear number two position in Europe, just behind Blackberry, at 50,000 users. The company has also added three more European offices in Munich, madrdid and to support coming growth, he added.

But he was honest about the overall size of the market. "If we are at 50,000 and a market leader then the market doesn’t exist," he said, placing those numbers into context in terms of the overall mobile market.

In many cases, operators are supporting both Blackberry, as a Blackberry and Smartner, Backholm said. The Blackberries are being sold under their own brand, but the operators are using Smartner to power the own-label XDA type devices also on offer. As Smartner is brand-invisible at the UI this can suit operators and handset manufacturer.

This is the approach Vodafone Italy, recent win Telefonica Moviles and long-standing customer O2 have taken. One operator that doesn’t support Blackberry is Germany’s E-Plus, but it is the only operator in its market that doesn’t, so was keen to have a competitive solution, Backholm said.

Backholm said that there had been a shift within operators away from supporting email on every client, to providing a really good service on just a few terminals. This would then increase as more and more phones at lower levels of the market begin to be Windows Mobile and Symbian/ Series 60 based. Smartner also has agreement with SonyEricsson to support the client on its P900 feature phone, and is looking for more following a March agreement to support the Symbian OS.

If the mass market is to be cracked, then having the kind of push email and active sync functions on Java phones will probably be crucial. Backholm said Smartner is experimenting with Java phones but so far had found that users would lose the always functionality, because the phones can’t support the client running in the background as it executes other applications. It could work if the client was embedded in the phone, pre-sale, but for the OTA download, which is really where mobile email vendors see themselves, that full functionality would not be possible, he admitted.

External Links

Smartner

We're ahead of the competition

3 UK’s network has seen a 250% increase in voice traffic in the past five months, and data traffic up from between 180-300%, depending traffic spikes. MMS traffic has risen 300% in the same period, David Cooper, chief technical officer for the network told journalists at  a briefing yesterday.

Although data traffic overall, including SMS, only accounts for 15% of the traffic on 3’s network, Cooper said that data traffic has at times surged ahead, as the operator has launched new content.

Cooper also defended the 15% number, relatively low for a mobile operator, especially a 3G operator, saying that 3 were ahead of other operators in terms of the amount of content-driven usage they are generating.

"The increase [in data traffic] depends entirely on content," he said. "The amount of pages we serve is dramatically higher than anything you will see from other operators."

He also said it paid to bear in mind 3’s high ARPU’s (up around £44 per month as opposed to the industry average of £24) meant that any increase in data take-up meant a proportionate rise in margin to the operator.

Nokia’s Esa Harju, director of marketing for Nokia Networks, an infrastructure supplier to 3, said that by 2008 he expects to see about 10-20% of operators’ revenues coming from content related services. Around 10% would be accounted for by person to person messaging, Harju said, giving an overall data percentage of around 30%

Harju claimed that the radio network side of 3G had now been largely solved. The real issues were going to be around terminals ("Any new technology needs a good portfolio of attractive devices to drive uptake") and "creating new value systems."

"We have learnt how to truly commercialise WCDMA networks," he said. "It’s been a learning exercise for both of us, and we have had to be realistic and pragmatic about our service update. But we remain convinced this market will be as good as we thought it would be." Harju said.

Cooper said that 3 is now over its initial problems at both network and terminal level. The operator now has all the back end systems in place to introduce new services, running across either its packet switched or circuit switched core, relatively smoothly, he said.

"We have enhancements in our messaging platform [provided by Logica CMG, Mobile Europe learnt] which will drive increased revenues. For streaming services we have all the encoding sorted out depending on which terminal we are serving," he said. "It’s all about getting the download time down."

Cooper said that from tenders in the market, he thinks Vodafone, Orange and O2 are having the same network optimisation problems that 3 has had. The difference is that 3 has in place its IT architecture to take advantage of the radio and core network infrastructure, he said. It made service creation "fairly easy", he added.

HSDPA

In terms of future development, both Harju (as you’d expect) and Cooper (as you’d expect with his main supplier in the room) doubted that the upgrade to HSDPA (a technology that raises the downlink speed of a 3G network) would present an opportunity for rival vendors to win back contracts from operators with an incumbent supplier.

"HSPDA is a software upgrade, and we may have to load the odd extra card," Cooper said, "so the cost is relatively minimal. The base infrastructure stays the same — so you can work it out for yourself," he hinted.

Harju added that as the upgrade was really a radio interface issue, it was "a bit strong" to say that introducing the technology was an entry point for rival vendors. 

External Links

3 UK
Nokia

Another day, another operator-led partnership formed with the intention of imposing some harmony on the fractured world of the mobile vendor community.

This time it is the device manufacturers who will be the target of attempts by operators to create standard application interface requirements for mobile device platforms. Several operators, the founding members being mmO2, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, SMART Communications, Telefónica Móviles, Telecom Italia Mobile, T-Mobile and Vodafone, have formed the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP).

The OMTP's launch release, put it like this:
"The OMTP group aims to define those platform requirements necessary for mobile devices to deliver openly available standardised application interfaces that will provide customers with a more consistent and improved user experience across different devices, whilst also enabling individual operators and manufacturers to customise and differentiate their offering."

What that means is that operators are looking for more commonality of user experience across all devices for a given application. In other words, if the operator is offering an application they dont want to have to necessarily spend a lot of time configuring it, encoding it, delivering it in dozens of different ways to all the different devices on the network.

But this isnt about standardising the devices or the applications themselves. The aim instead is to provide operators with a way to deliver their own unique services, but in a standardised way across different devices.

At first sight, of course, it looks as if one of the handset vendors' own differentiators, useability, might be taken away from them if these standards are formulated and operators insist on them. But operators Mobile Europe has spoken to have said they don't want to take things to that level, but rather get some grip on the application interfaces themselves, which is a different kettle of fish.

The number of services and applications currently on offer is far less than operators expect to have in the next three years, when IP subsystems will be supporting the growth of hundreds of application a year. If operators want to deliver a consistent brand experience to their users then they will need to know how an application is going to behave on a given device, without having to re-code and configure the application depending on which device is hitting the application server.

3 UK's CTO David Cooper said that 3 is considering joining the alliance. "A lot of this is about messaging," he said. "In terms of interoperability there must be a minimum spec. Every terminal is different and we have to do a whole load of transformation in the network, so it is in our interests to get some common standards."

The OMTP says it will publish first draft requirements in October this year. They will be technology agnostic, the operators insist, meaning that they will not favour one mobile OS over the other. Time will tell.

External Links

Open Mobile Terminal Platform

Greek 0operator has met its deadline of providing both 3G and i-mode services by the time the Olympic Games kick off in late summer.

The operator launched i-mode services on 7 June, using phones and service platform from NEC. The service uses the NEC N 331i, N 400i,  N 410i and the Panasonic P 341i phones, and NEC's Mobile Internet Platform to provide services.
The platform consists of portal and mail gateways as well as subsytems to manage service introduction and billing.
Cosmote customers do not pay for activating or subscribing to i-mode but only pay for using the service and not for accessing it. Usage of i-mode (including cost of navigation of the portal, and of all official and independent sites and e-mail) is charged with 1 eurocent/KB, while Cosmote customers only pay for the quantity of data received or sent and not for the time spent connected. The browsing of every official i-mode site consists of both free and paid content with a monthly subscription ranging from Euro0 up to Euro3.
Independent sites have no monthly subscription and charging only includes browsing based on the data sent or received.
Cosmote will be offering i-mode to all its customers completely free of charge (without monthly subscriptions to all official sites and no charge for any data sent or received) until July 15th 2004.
Cosmote begins commercial launch with over 100 official Greek and international i-mode sites. Content partners among others include CNN News, the Cartoon Network and in the near future Disney, as well as  interactive game developers (including Gameloft, Namco and I-Fone) known for games such as Pacman and Tetris.
 Apart from the official i-mode sites, Cosmote customers can access a number of independent i-mode sites.
Cosmote customers can access the i-mode sites by entering the portal through the i-menu, the main service menu, with just the touch of the yellow-coloured key on their Cosmote i-mode handset.
The handset i-menu includes 14 thematic content categories, from news, weather, sport, through to games, travel and on-line shopping.
The i-mode launch follows an earlier limited launch of 3G service.

Handset user interface design company Trigenix has signed a deal with Qualcomm to support BREW, the American chipset giant's phone platform.

Bob Last, director of sales and marketing at Trigenix told Mobile Europe that the deal would open up non-European CDMA markets to his company, as well as providing Trigenix's T4 technology with a route to future BREW-based WCDMA phones designed for Europe.
Trigenix's T4 is software that allows  handset vendors, operators and users to create themed designs for the user interface, including the push of information and messaging to the handset in a non-SMS environment.
The software is behind T-Mobile's ScreenStyle's product, and already supports Series 60 phones. Last said that the BREW agreement, and future support for JAVA, (by the end of 2004, Last said) will move the personalisation software away from the high end phones where it has previously resided, more into the mass market.
The advantage of the technology over manufacturer's own customisation options is that it is dynamic, rather than static, Last said. It also allows operators to support personalisation of all the phones in their catalogue from one platform, rather than providing individual support for every manufacturer's own software.
Last also claimed that operators have witnessed a five fold increase in mobile data usage since bringing Trigenix on board, as applications become easier for the user to handle.