If the mobile industry is to make the most of mobile ring back tones and other musical content, it needs to win back the trust of the music industry, a music industry veteran has told Mobile Europe.

Nick Price, director of music content at Muzicall, said, "It has been a long haul to get the relationship re-established because there has been utter hatred between the phone companies and the music companies, who have seen a complete pillaging of their copyright."

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Siemens

Top line messages

After a market "collapse" the market will stabilise this year and even grow a little. 3G is happening now and we've got the contracts to prove it. Convergence is key in infrastructure and handsets. Simplicity is all. Open standards will bring both.

Meat on the bones

Nine of the 15 live 3G networks are Siemens/NEC networks. We've got contracts for all or part of 29 3G networks globally. We're introducing 30 handsets this year, and we've got to get more full MMS phones into the market to drive uptake. We're also introducing our new Next Generation Telecom Architecture --- a modular carrier grade Linux-based network hardware layer, Siemens middleware with open interfaces and a top "transport and control" layer where we can make our money. Our IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) is available for use. IMS can be used for push to talk, and other IP services.

Small print

Network hardware will increasingly be commoditised on "PC" platforms. We're increasingly a systems integrator --- vis-a-vis our partnership with Cisco   ---and can soak that up. But nothing on the lifetime of the relationship with NEC. HSPDA by 2005 with software upgrade was the message off-line. So many handsets, but nothing on moving towards operator-dominant UI and branding. Indeed,  "Handset branding is a non-issue."

Alcatel

Top line message

Come to Doitall. We've moved from being a carrier equipment supplier to a customer solutions provider. We're up and running on UMTS. We've got a new content partner, media platforms, convergent billing solutions, the lot.

Meat on the bones

Operators are now generating significant free cashflow and we believe the significant challenge is to grow the top line by optimising networks and decreasing churn. We've got into Orange for its UMTS rollout in France and the UK. Tele.ring in Austria is on our Evolium platform and 3 Austria is using us for video streaming services.  We won 40 new customers in 2003 for our convergent billing system and multimedia applications. We too are working with Intel and on Linux, especially for our very fast new MMS platform. We have a partnership with Universal Music for putting their content onto mobiles. Universal has 25% of the music market worldwide.

Small print

We have a European showroom for NTT DoCoMo's FOMA. Still canny as to why. We need another 3G reference network in Europe, and we admit that. Vague on the Universal Music relationship. Do operators want vendors bringing content providers to the table? Can you maintain focus right across the value chain?

Nokia

Top Line Message

2004 will be the year of the smartphone and imaging will be king. We are guts out for the enterprise market. We are right in there on 3G infrastructure and are shipping handsets too. We're delighted we're to be supporting Vodafone Live! on our handsets. We're ahead on other IP based services as well.

Meat on the bones

The 6600, after its introduction in October 2003, has become the best selling smartphone at two million sold.  2004 will be the year when content providers and application developers shift from PDAs to smartphones. See us go on enterprise integration with IBM software embedded on Nokia devices running Symbian OS, especially the new Communicator 9500. We have a Java environment for applications development.  Enterprise mobility is at the beginning of the business cycle. Three operators are going commercial with Nokia push to talk. This year will see the launch of PTT globally. The 5140 GSM PTT phone will be shipping in Q2. Samsung is licensing Nokia's P2T for its handsets too. We are going to develop handsets for Vodafone! for its 3G consumer launch. We've got eight out of the 14 3G commercial networks.

Small print

That handset deal represents a real change of position in the market. Our 3G infrastructure position is being challenged. We're not as far ahead of the rest on PTT as we say we are. Haven't we been here before on mobilising enterprise applications? Have we got all the pieces right this time? We're not a systems integrator like Siemens but IBM's not a bad partner to have. We're still in great shape on the handsets and brand leadership, but its not as pervasive as we perhaps assume.

Nortel

Top Line Message

We've got a UMTS network up and running here in Cannes. We'll get more when operators look more closely at moving to R5 IMS.

Meat on the bones

We've got a 33% market share in core packet switched networks globally, which is getting us into a lot of conversations. It's misleading to talk about 3G market share at the moment because there is still so much up for grabs. Contracts are really only frame agreements. Key performance indicators will make it much easier to compare vendors. We've got a 60 node B network running here in Cannes and the quality and reliability in our demo centre has been great. Orange is very happy. IP changes the game. All about quality of service for voice and multimedia over IP and Nortel has put VoIP into 40 networks already.

Small print

Phew, it worked. We only had five months to get the Cannes 3G network up from scratch but here we are. It's been hard for us but we're making some small headway. We've got to leverage our fixed line IP and core network experience over the next two to three years or we'll miss out on 3G like we did 2G.

Qualcomm has integrated DRM technology into its SecureMSM chipset solution. The DRM technology will be part of Qualcomm's security suite,  and will initially be available on its 6350 WCDMA chipset.

SecureMSM supports the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) DRm version one, and will be available by mid-2004, Qualcomm has said. Luis Pineda, vice president of marketing and product management for Qualcomm CDMA technologies said, "Enhanced DRM for wireless opens up revenue generating opportunities for operators and content developers alike."
SecureMSM is built on Qualcomm's own BREW application development platform, but the vendor says it will also be compatible with Java-based applications.
DRM is one of the issues that the industry is chewing on as it comes to terms with providing multi-media services. Qualcomm hopes handset manufacturers will be attracted by the in-built DRM solution.

RealNetworks, which a year ago at Cannes could point to one handset deal with Nokia and an infrastructure agreement with Ericsson, returned this year with 26 European operators on its partner list, as well as a range of new handset partners.

Real, whose Helix mobile platform and RealPlayer mobile client software competes with Windows Media and PacketVideo in the content delivery space, credits its June 2003 win with Vodafone for the range of customers coming on board over the past six months.
Operators including 02, Telefónica Móviles España, Telecom Italia Mobile, TMN, WIND and TeliaSonera have installed the Helix platform, Real's product family which includes server, mobile gateway, content producer and delivery suite --- as well as the RealPlayer --- for the streaming of content over mobile networks.
On the handset side Real has announced a partnership with SonyEricsson, formerly a PacketVideo partner, to incorporate its player in SonyEricsson's media phones, alongside its 3GPP version.
Real also has agreements with Motorola for its Linux phones, Nokia for its Series60 handsets, on the Siemens SX1 and Sendo X. The player is also on Palm OS based devices from Treo and Palm, and is the standard player on the Openwave Phone Tool v7 platform.
General manager of mobile products and services at RealNetworks, Lee Joseph, said that the Vodafone deal had helped in two main ways.
 First was that in producing a platform to Vodafone's specification, other operators could be confident that the product had been rigorously tested and proven.
The second was that Vodafone could bring its muscle to bear to lean on handset manufacturers to incorporate RealPlayer Mobile.

Mobile Cohesion has received a further $6million backing from US venture capital group Accel as it develops its service provider access gateway.

Mobile Cohesion markets a product called Hydra, a service provider access gateway which an operator can use to manage the introduction and delivery of multimedia services.
Operators are faced with increasing complexity in getting services to market, Mobile Cohesion's business development manager, Patrick Hearty, told Mobile Europe. Hydra works as a gateway to the operator network for content providers, service providers and MVNOS.
"Our cascading privilege management tool is our differentiator. It allows content providers to subcontract to others, and reduces to time to market for providers."
Hearty said that he had encountered one UK operator which had spent four months trying to bring six content providers together. In a situation like that Hydra would manage that relationship, "reducing the bottleneck for accepting new or unknown content providers into the network," Hearty said.
"Operators have spent a lot of money on the MMSC and peer to peer content but they are not generating a lot of revenue. So that may mean more emphasis on content to person applications, and the only way to do that is by relationships with content providers."
What the solution is not is a digital rights management solution. It is a gateway solution that lets an operator manage the physical links between its own and partner networks. The products is included in Ericsson and IBM's service delivery platforms. A v2 will be out later this year, and will be OMA and Parlay X Web Services compatible, Hearty said.

Racal Instruments Wireless Solutions has launched  its 6401 Release 5 Layer1Test System, claiming an industry first.

The launch of the 6401 Release 5 Layer 1 Test System will enable handset designers and manufacturers to accelerate their development process for products incorporating Release 5 features, the test house claimed.
Aimed primarily at DSP and baseband developers, the system also provides RF test capability and can be used to test initial software simulations through to completed hardware.
Beyond Layer 1 the test system can be used for UE testing throughout the product development lifecycle including Layer 2 and 3 protocol development and conformance testing, dual standard (GSM-UMTS) intersystem handover development and conformance testing, RRM pre- and full conformance testing, and RF pre- and full conformance testing.

Mobile operators are no longer merely just that. One of the big themes to come out of 3GSM is that operators are now keen to position themselves as broadband providers, whether that be mobile, WLAN or even fixed line.

First among these was Orange, whose chairman Thierry Breton outlined a vision to provide broadband access to users wherever they are. T-Mobile followed a day or so later with its "Broadband Mobile" launch, which was about integrating 2G and 3G networks with wireless LAN.
For Orange, Breton highlighted the synergies that the France Telecom group could bring between its fixed and mobile providers. This meant that the carrier would be looking to introduce a  converged fixed and mobile broadband service platform. This converged platform would provide services which could then be accessed by either DSL, WLAN or mobile.

A fixed line presence?

n areas where France Telecom has a fixed line network the vision, and it is still only that, makes some sense. Breton went as far as suggesting that Orange would become a broadband brand across fixed and mobile. In France, where Orange could piggy-back on the incumbent's fixed network and WLAN rollout, that might make some sense. In other Orange territories the converged broadband solutions provider approach would mean the mobile operator hooking up with a fixed line provider, or re-selling the incumbent's DSL solution.
T-Mobile announced a similar approach, although of course it would rather one didn't accentuate the similarities. Anyway, ceo  Rene Obermann said that, instead of being just a mobile provider, the operator wants to create an integrated 2G, 3G and WLAN network.
"All our experience and research tells us that 3G is vital; but it's not enough. Customers want what's best for their needs.  If you want data, you'll want 3G rather than 2G; but if you can access pure broadband via WiFi, you'll want that. So, we are creating one multi-speed, multi-media network; integrating 2G, 3G and WiFi; and moving towards total seamlessness," explained Obermann.

Campus WLAN trial

To get to grips with providing this broadband mobile network T-Mobile has pieced together a partnership with IBM, Intel and Cisco Systems to provide wireless access networks to 100 universities across Europe. Frankfurt University has a live pilot up and running, with T-Mobile supplying connectivity, Cisco the WLAN infrastructure, IBM the laptops using Intel based thinkpads. Students are issues with vouchers for access, which is via WLAN when on campus and UMTS and GPRS when off-campus. The vouchers will also cover T-Mobile hot-spots off-campus.

Mobile substitution

The desire among mobile operators to become all-round broadband providers plays well into another mantra of 3GSM, that of mobile becoming a substitution technology. Operators are keen to point out that the future for the industry lies as much in persuading subscribers to do things wirelessly  that they are used to doing in another medium as creating new activities.
To do this, there is an awareness that the pricing needs to come down to a level so that the mobility premium is not too steep. In fixed/ mobile voice substitution that could be by offering voice over IP services, in data services it means providing connectivity at speeds approaching what subscribers expect from a fixed line connection

HSDPA upgrade path

To achieve this, the vendors are insistent that operators need to be thinking now about how they will upgrade their UMTS infrastructure to the R5, IP version. This means thinking now about the upgrade path to HSDPA. The vendors from whom one hears most about HSDPA at the moment are those who have not done so well in the early rounds of UMTS contract awards.
Motorola's Laith Sadiq, EMEA strategy director of its GTSS division, said that if operators are serious about mobile broadband, HSDPA will be crucial.
"Where HSDPA comes through is being able to offer operators a real differentiation from 2.5G, and also enable them to go into mobile broadband. It will give them capabilities similar to ADSL, and enable them to offer the kind of things like flat rate charging that may start to open up this market.
"It will also enable you to  improve the end user experience. If you want  to encourage your users to use MP3 download, for example, on your mobile network you have to have a very good end user experience --- and if you can download within 45 seconds to a minute then users will be willing to do that and pay for the mobility. But if it is going to take two hours then they would prefer to go home to do it.
"The second thing is how much you are going to be able to charge for this kind of download. If you want to  download an album for 1MB or even 2MB it enables you to compete with other providers of entertainment or music. For example, if you take a CD for £11 --- if you can sell that same amount of data on your MP3 for £5 then you've got a service substitution capability to enable you to grow the business. Consumers will spend so much and they will not go above it. What we are saying is you can grow through substitution of service."

What's your backhaul?

Sadiq also points out that HSDPA doesn't have to be used as the access technology. Operators could use the capacity to provide backhaul to their WLAN hotspots.
"Take Orange. In France it's easier for them because they've got FT as a backhaul provider --- but if they come to the UK what could they do? One thing is to use HSDPA, rather than  having to hire multiple E1 links from BT.
"The R99 node B will be upgraded to R5, which has an IP capability. But it could be they want IP backhaul or IP interfaces. It may be you want to be very flexible on your backhaul, and offer MetroLAN type capabilities. We are looking at the holistic broadband capability. Rather than what does it take to introduce HSDPA it's, 'What does it take to deliver broadband and give the operator flexibility to choose the technology they need to offer broadband?'"

Who pays and how?

or Sadiq, a further question is on pricing. Broadband is not a high margin business, and the pricing relationship per megabit is not linear. This will present operators with a choice "between remaining in the high margin business or moving to broadband."
"Operators have very good margins on their SMS and MMS systems, so the important thing for them is to lower the cost of delivering broadband services to a level where we can the offer these services at reasonable margins. But many of them will have to move to broadband because they cannot keep SMS at the level they have at the moment. There's too much competition coming through from MVNO providers. Look at what's happening in Denmark, where the level of competition means all the premium has been almost wiped out."
If that serves as a warning, so does the alternative.
"If operators don't succeed in this then there will be other technologies coming in to offer these services. It's important for operators to be successful in these technologies to attract broadband, because there are thing like 802.16 which, if the delays in 3G continue, will flourish."

Avalanche Mobile is one of those companies which might best be described as disruptive. It combines a measure of disdain for its competitors with enthusiasm for its own reflection in the mirror. But it is difficult to argue with the logic. Which is as follows.

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Wouldn't it be good, Avalanche says, if you could do more with the SMS?
It wouldn't hurt to be able to look at SMS coming into and going across your network and give certain messages priority --- making sure that business critical SMS, for example, always got through quicker --- and then charge the user for that.
It would also be half useful when television programmes are generating surges in message flows, to be able to manage those message flows, load balance them across the messaging infrastructure, re-writing the SMSC destination rather than merely forwarding on the the nearest one. Perhaps an operator would like to be able to attach adverts to a message on the fly, after a user has bought into a package of sponsored messages or likewise. Might it even be useful to be able to send a parent all the messages intended for their child, before the child gets it? And then charge the user for that, creating two billable events where previously there was only one.
Avalanche says it can help operators do this with the introduction of a new network element that sits between and edge SMSC and the core SMSC. This element employs what Avalanche calls a transparent SS7 stack, which means that it is able to inspect the sender, route, recipient etc of each message using SS7, providing real time analytics.
Offering service like this make the IntelligentText engine different from SMS routers such as those being profitably sold by Telsis. These edge routers, "offload boxes" as Avalanche terms them, are attracting attention because they let an operator re-route messages across an IP backbone without having them queue at a possible SMSC bottleneck. Avalanche says it is different because rather than merely "offloading" the messages it adds value to the messages coming through the switch.
It claims that in the case of priority for business users, a premium of EUR0.06 per message could results in incremental ARPU of EUR11.20 per month.
Managing director Jan Olsen, a veteran of several European mobile operators, said, "Most big operators throw a truckload of equipment at the problem of over-whelmed SMSCs and invest in more and more SMScs. We think that doesn't enhance the data stream with any intelligence.
"IntelligentText is an element sitting in the mobile operator environment built on a transparent SS7 stack, which means we are able to see and process all different kind of messages and do interesting things with them."
Marc Hanson, cto said, "The engine sits in the SS7 network and the key is it is transparent. There is no point code and it is invisible in the network and can be put in without changing existing configurations."
Avalanche claims to have the product simultaneously testing with four operators in one European market. It has just made its formal launch, having received $4 million series A venture capital funding in the summer of 2003.

What are the implications of Nokia buying Psion’s stake in Symbian, taking its ownership to 63.3%?

If you assume Nokia takes up the 31% share that Psion is putting up for grabs, then it gives Nokia a share far greater than any of the other partners. The next biggest shareholder is Ericsson with 17.5%, then Panasonic at 7.9%. But even though Nokia would be by far the largest stakeholder it would still be shy of the 70% that would give it outright control of the venture.

It was one thing to see Motorola make its graceful exit from Symbian. (Although it has continued to release the odd Symbian phone, most recently the A1000 smartphone, it has also been working with Windows Mobile and Linux.) But Psion, which holds 31.1% of Symbian, exiting from the partnership is more symbolic, because it was on Psion’s EPOC that Symbian was based. But it is still symbolic. For a while now the rest of the mobile world, and operators in particular, has suspected that Symbian would become a Nokia shop in all but name.

Not that those involved in Symbian would agree. A spokesperson for Symbian pointed out that the sale to Nokia is not nearly confirmed, and even if it received full board approval would take until July 2004 to clear.

A spokesperson for SonyEricsson echoed the point that nothing is certain yet, and that the sale has yet to go through. He added that SonyEricsson  remained fully committed to Symbian, and that he expected Nokia to remain committed to the board structure of the alliance.

The SonyEricsson spokesperson also denied that there was wide industry concern about Nokia effectively taking over Symbian.

"I wouldn’t say there is especially widespread concern. People are aware of the situation and are watching it closely but they are not pressing the panic button as yet. The Symbian management board is in place and although Nokia at present has a much larger share than other partners they remain committed to the management board staying in place."

The perception that Symbian equals Nokia wasn’t one SonyEricsson recognised, either.
"With the market share for the [SonyEricsson] P800 and P900, which are both based on the Symbian OS, you could regard Symbian as SonyEricsson, as we have the market share. Some may regard Symbian as Nokia, but it’s all about how you use the OS and who makes best use of the Symbian platform."

Nokia itself has been at pains to point out that it is not interested in sole ownership of the direction of Symbian. But there is a problem for all collaborative ventures in keeping up with the single-minded direction of a Microsoft, say. In that regard, if Nokia regards Symbian as critical to its future innovation and growth, it may wish to have more direct control over the venture.
That, says Symbian, is exactly why Symbian is a common platform that handset manufacturers can license, but on which they can then innovate — for instance by adding their own user interface.

As a byword, the much-publicised opposition to Psion’s sale by shareholders holding a total 31% stake in the company was driven by a desire to make more money from a proposed future IPO than a sale now. It was not about preserving British technology for the benefit of Britain, or the status of Symbian as an open mobile operating system for the wider good of the industry. It was about the return on investment for institutional and small investors who felt they stood to gain more by Psion staying in Symbian until a possible future pay off. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but attempts to portray objections to the sale in a moral light are wide of the mark. 

External Links

Symbian
Psion

Radio station owner and music publisher Chrysalis is the latest music company to have launched a mobile arm designed to supply music content to mobile phones.

The conviction that there is real money to be made in getting music in all forms onto phones has led to a variety of different approaches to skinning that particular musical cat. The essential element has been the introduction of rights control to a market that, in the realm of ring tones, was previously a free-for-all.

Chrysalis Mobile’s take on the market is twofold. One is to use its radio stations to provide momentum for delivering content to mobile phones. A listener might hear a song and then text a number to receive a ringtone, other related content such as wallpaper, or in time a full download of the song. The other role Chrysalis wants to take is that of aggregator for independent records labels.

Nick Gregg, strategy and business development director at Chrysalis Mobile, said that radio is a great marketing model for driving a record sale. He added that the company was taking the route of being an aggregator for independent labels because the big five labels generally had direct relationships with mobile operators.

"Mobile operators are creating portals as retail front ends for ring tones and real tones and we aim to be a service provider to those," Gregg said. "The five majors provide feeds direct to operators and we wouldn’t participate in that content. But we would aggregate as many independent labels as possible and provide a feed into an operator’s portal as a sixth major partner for them."

Gregg said the aggregator would provide ring tones and real tunes, as well as artwork and imagery and — "in the next year to 18 months" — the provision of full song download. "We would provide a bunch of files to the operator, in any edit and format they would like."

"People have missed that ring tones have been generating massive revenues, and whatever you say about them they are a form of music that people will pay for. Now with the advent of rights control things are moving back to the music industry," Gregg said.

Gregg said Chrysalis is working with "a number" of technology partners to manage the service, including a "very large" CRM element. The service is going live this week and the first client will be Galaxy, one of Chrysalis’ radio network, inn April 2004.

It’s not only pure-play content aggregators trying to get in on the music action. Alcatel has recently announced an alliance with Universal Music, to bring Universal’s content to operator customers of Alcatel. The vendor hopes to combine that relationship with one or all of its DRM, content management, streaming and billing platforms – creating a whole content package for operators. Boyd Muir, executive vice president of Universal Music, said that with a thousand times more mobiles than music players in the world, and with ringtones already composing 10% of the global music market, "mobiles and music are a perfect combination."

External Links

Chrysalis Mobile
Alcatel

Another week, another 3G network goes live. Oh to be in England in springtime and be able to say those words, or something…

Well, rather, oh to be in Sweden in the last grips of a winter hanging on with the grim determination of your uncle exploiting the free bar at your wedding. But you get the gist.

Here’s how TeliaSonera launched its 3G network this week:

Customers will pay the same for a service no matter which network they connect to. In varying degrees, 3G will be present in 280 out of Sweden’s 290 municipalities. Certain 3G mobile phones wil feature video calling. The price for video calling (for consumers) is SEK 5 per minute, Monday - Friday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, and half price at other times. The call initiation fee is SEK 0.50.

Services will remain under its TeliaGO banner. Rates for GPRS will be cut by 40-55%. MMS prices were but by 25%, with free MMS at weekends, and from 2 May 2004, on Fridays as well. TeliaSonera’s own research predicts that almost one out of every three managers believes their companies will use 3G services on a daily basis within one year.

Now, you can argue the toss on some of those. If services will cost the same, no matter what network users connect to, is that a clever marketing play, or is it because the operator isn’t confident of being able to offer differing class of service agreements from one network to the other? I mean, especially at a corporate level, if you weren’t able to say "3G will be this much better than 2G and here is the premium you must pay, then why not make it a flat fee and try to extract some goodwill from that. But it’s also a sign that here is another operator keen to give the message that it is selling services, not bit rates.

MMS and sending emails will be cheaper – which could be seen as a result of stiff competition. Or of a desire to stimulate usage on the new network.

But even so, there it is — a 3G launch in a major country, with 280 localities with some level of 3G coverage, with incentives to use the network including flat pricing and price cuts for MMS and other data service usage. 

Now, when Dave McGlade told us of the benefits of not being a global group operator last week he was making the case for O2. But this is the kind of thing he was thinking of. This is a national launch, aimed squarely at the needs of the country. And, in the spirit of that uncle at the wedding, go on yersel', wee man.

External Links

TeliaSonera

Er..five new  phones… Bluetooth media viewer… EDGE PC card, … stuffed toy, er…hands free car kit … trio of headset accessories … crystal decanter…

Absent at Cannes (now we understand why), SonyEricsson went mad today, launching a range of phones,for the European and American markets. Allied to this were a variety of accessories, designed to make your mobile life easier. 

First off the block in terms of prestige were the K700 camera phone, the S700 swivel-opening phone, and the Z500 EDGE phone (for the US market).
For more details on all of these follow the links at the bottom of this page.

Also off the conveyor belt from the Swedo-Japanese alliance was a rather nifty Bluetooth media viewer, and a bunch of headsets and accessories.

Check them out by looking in our Newswire section. Go for the "See more NewsWire" bit below on SonyEricsson.

External Links

SonyEricsson

O2 ceo says large groups can have diseconomies of scale

O2 ceo Dave McGlade is adamant that there is a role for an independent operator in a major European market, and that the operator actually benefits from its smaller size.

Speaking to Mobile Europe shortly after the rejected bid from KPN  triggered another round of “02 for sale stories”, this time with NTT DoCoMo as the main proposed buyer, McGlade put up a spirited defence of the “small is beautiful” philosophy.

“Our view is that we will not compete on size and scale because that’s not the play we have. We’re not trying to be Vodafone where they do more of a cookie cutter approach across regions in the world. Arun Sarin said if they had won the (AT&T Wireless) bid they would have introduced all the brand and approach that they do at Vodadone. Our approach is exactly the  opposite. Everything is about getting closer to the customer, closer to the local market, being more British in the UK, more German in Germany and using that as our advantage.”

McGlade said being smaller actually helped get products to market quicker.

“I actually think at times there’s a diseconomy of scale and that diseconomy kicks in where you get more beaurocracy. It’s slower to move, you’re waiting for a standardised product set that maybe the Germans are developing and it might take six months longer to go to the rest of the world. We can be more fleet of foot and be a bit more customer-centric by being a smaller player with just three countries throughout the group.”

McGlade said that the O2 digital music player, a mobile music player recently launched in the UK, was an example of being able to target an area and deliver the end product.

“We determined that music is a key area we were going to address. There was not a product in the market that we needed. DRM (digital rights management) hadn’t been dealt with as well as it should have been, and we also brought in the compression technology that really works well in terms of spectral efficiency over GPRS. So we went after it and we did it.”

As regards the KPN offer, McGlade had this to say,"We had discussions, we got a proposal, we’re no longer talking, and honestly the hype around this issue has gotten out of hand.
I mean, all I know is we’re staying focussed on delivery and that’s what’s important to us and let these things happen as they do."

External Links

www.02.co.uk

3 unable to resist letting the anniversary of its launch go without making a splash.

The Hutchison 3G outfit has launched a video news and entertainment clips service, called Today on 3, which will let users download or stream content from 25p a clip. User will be able to access content by pressing the triangle key on their phone. Content partners include Sky Sports, MTV, ITN and the Barclaycard Premiership.

Oh, and also Pete Tong, a DJ whose name has become rhyming slang for things not going to plan. For example, you might say, "This 3G’s not what I expected it to be, the handsets keep over-heating and the video quality’s all gone a bit Pete Tong."

On average, the operator says, there will be a total of around 72 minutes of content  available each day, updated throughout the day. Clips will be packaged up to a hefty maximum of eight minutes and can be streamed to handsets using 3’s "Quickplay" option, or downloaded to be stored and played back.

Graeme Oxby, 3's Marketing Director, said, "Today on 3 is going to bring you what you really need to know, when you need to know it - whether it's breaking news or Thierry Henry's latest goal in the Champion's League.  A video mobile is the perfect way to deliver it - it's always to hand and the story is only seconds away." 

3 has been the subject of much criticism for its hasty launch last year, and for reducing the promised 3G wonderland to not much more than large voice bundles. With this service it will hope to put some of that to rest. The service has the look of a walled garden about it, and 72 minutes a day in total across news, sport and music doesn’t seem to be a lot.

The streaming option is based on 3’s Quickplay video streaming platform, which the operator launched in December 2003. Quickplay is based on technology from Vidiator. Vidiator’s product adapts video streams from source formats such as MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 into the different formats required by diverse client devices - such as MPEG-4, H.263+, GIF, JPEG, and Windows Media.

The Vidiator streaming solution also converts audio formats including MP3, AAC, PCM, Windows Media Audio and GSM-AMR, so music, can be tailored to match the capabilities of mobile phones and PDAs.

External Links

3 UK
Vidiator