Personalised ring tones for the called party are old hat, but European Computer Telecoms has launched a service which will let operators offer subscribers the chance to substitute the normal ring tone a caller hears with a personal tone.

For a monthly fee the service will allow a user to change the normal national ringing tone heard by callers to his phone with a personal announcement, music or ringing sequence.
The applications is already being used by an ECT customer in Asia, and has now been made available to European operators.
ECT said that besides the surprise and fun effect for private subscribers, the ringback tone service also fulfils a business requirement for privacy. If, for instance, a German businessman is in England and receives a call via GSM roaming, the caller hears the UK ringing tone and thus knows where the businessman is, even before he answers the call. With the ringback tone service, the businessman could have all callers always receive the German ringing tone, regardless of the country in which he is currently using his mobile, ensuring privacy on his whereabouts. In Asia, the ringback tone service is already being offered successfully to business subscribers as a profitable premium service with a high monthly fee, ECT said on the launch of the service.
"Our application for ringback tone service offers mobile carriers a completely new feature to differentiate their service and supplement their income per subscriber. We are proud to be the first technology provider to enable this service and are looking forward to it becoming an important trend and moneymaker for our mobile customers," Dr. Christian Kühl, chief sales officer of EC, said.
The ringback tone service is based on ECT's AutoCarrier softswitch and includes a Web-based interface that allows the subscriber to upload his own messages, music or tones as Wav files and then activate his own personalised ringback tone. The subscriber can also change the ringback tone using interactive voice response.
SK Telecom in South Korea was the first in the world to launch personalised ring-back tones, and consumers are estimated to have spent EUR80 million in 2002 on the service, with the figure expected to increase sharply in 2003. SK Telecom now has 16 million subscribers signed up to personalised ring-back tones paying roughly EUR1.75 per month.
l Sicap, a wholly owned subsidiary of Swisscom mobile, has also launched a ring back tone service for the European market, called Tones4U.

Concern over the misuse of camera phones has led one company to introduce technology that disables the imaging functionality of a phone or wireless device when it is within a certain building or area.

Iceberg Systems' Safe Haven is designed to allow businesses, schools or any other establishment to prevent the use of the camera part of a phone when it is within their boundaries.
Safe Haven works by sending a wireless node sending a signal to the phone delivering the message that this is a privacy zone. Software on the phone then disables the imaging functionality, leaving other uses active.
Once a user leaves the zone the imaging function is automatically reactivated.
For the system to work it relies on phones either having been built with the Safe Haven application integrated into the handset, or alternatively have had the application installed as a Java download.
The system is currently in beta tests with handsets and will be marketed by audio IP licensing company Sensaura, which said it is in talks with handset manufacturers about implementing the technology.
Neil Mawston, senior analyst, Global Wireless Practice, for Strategy Analytics says; "Privacy and security issues surrounding camera phones are a growing concern for consumer and corporate users. Using technology to diminish localised privacy and security risks is a proactive option."
"Camera-embedded devices like camera phones represent a considerable step forward in technology. However, at times, they are prone to misuse," Patrick Snow, managing director of Iceberg Systems, said.
"Safe Haven solves the serious threat to security and privacy presented by such misuse in a simple, controllable manner."
The technology can also prevent the use of other types of wireless imaging devices including digital cameras, camera equipped PDAs or laptops, in a wireless privacy zone.

Israeli start up Mobixell, which specialises in adapting real time mobile multimedia content to the specifications of the device for which it is intended, has attracted a $5million investment from a group of investors.

The investors, who number Siemens ICN subsidiary Siemens Mobile Acceleration, private equity company Apax Partners, Comverse and Optibase, have backed the company's Mobixtar RMSC (rich media message centre). This is a tool which transcodes images, animation, audio and video and adapts it for the different devices, whether it be for screen sizes, colours, memory, processing power or camera quality.
"Mobixell Networks has potential to become the leading product for adapting and delivering mobile multimedia content in cellular networks, since it is the most attractive solution in this segment. The company's product line creates a superior user experience, enabling mobile operators to create new revenue streams," said Dr. Dietrich Ulmer, ceo of Siemens Mobile Acceleration.
"Securing funding from these leading partners is a major vote of confidence," Amir Aharoni, president and ceo of Mobixell, said. "The investor-group represents an ideal partnership to assist us in penetrating and realising the growing markets of mobile multimedia adaptation, optimisation and delivery."

Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia and Siemens mobile have completed their jointly developed Push to talk over Cellular (PoC) specification.

Based on the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) as defined by 3GPP, the specification is intended to reduce marketplace fragmentation and provide end users with an easy-to-use push to talk experience wherever they may travel in the world.
The PoC specification leverages existing 3GPP, OMA, and IETF specifications and is, in fact, a bundle of six specifications including: requirements, architecture, signaling flows, group/list management, and two user-plane specifications (transport and GPRS).
The companies have submitted this specification to the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) standards body for review as a baseline to provide an access-independent and globally interoperable standard for PoC.

Foundry Networks, the company well known for its enterprise switch products, is to launch a wireless portfolio.

The company will unveil standalone access points and will wireless-enable its Fast Iron Edge Switch and chassis-based solutions.
It intends to produce a high-end solution which will help its existing users to roll out wireless LANs.
"Wireless capability is the necessary add-on to the overall enterprise network infrastructure. Our wireless solution will seamlessly integrate with our line of enterprise switching and network management products," said Foundry vp Ken Cheng.
The wireless portfolio will be rolled out in three stages.
Foundry will first release its access points, which will be dubbed IronPoint. The access points, which are due to be released during October, can be used as a standalone network, or can be used with the vendor's IronView network management system.
The IronPoints will support all three wireless LAN standards --- 802.11a, b, and g --- which give up to 54Mbps theoretical throughput together with the newly-announced WPA security standard.
Foundry is then expected to wireless-enable its Fast Iron Edge Switch and Chassis solutions around the turn of the year. This will mean the products will be able to serve both the fixed and wireless networks.
The IronPoint will cost $945 and the software upgrade to wireless enable the switch will be priced at $1195.

O2 has announced the availability of the new BlackBerry 7230 for enterprise customers in the UK and Germany, with availability in Ireland scheduled a little later.

A number of major corporations have ordered "substantial" quantities of the new device, the operator claimed.  O2 also announced that its BlackBerry solution for SME and professional consumer customers will be available from November.
The triband BlackBerry 7230 is the first colour BlackBerry device, and includes access to corporate email, company intranet, Internet browsing and phone capability.
O2 said it has sold around 32,000 BlackBerry devices to more than 1200 organisation to date.
Kent Thexton, chief marketing and data officer, mmO2 commented, "We are the leading provider of BlackBerry in Europe and are very happy to extend our BlackBerry portfolio further. We believe that we hold a strong position in this market, and have learnt a great deal from selling the original BlackBerry handhelds."
l Blackberry developer, Research In Motion (RIM), has said that adding nearly 100,000 new Blackberry subscribers will enable it to beat revenue forecasts for the second quarter 2003.
RIM said that it expects revenue for the second quarter to be in the range of $123-$126 million, exceeding the previously forecasted revenue range of $105-$115 million. Net income for the second quarter is also expected to exceed initial forecasts.
RIM also said the provision for its ongoing patent litigation in the US courts is expected to be lower than the prior quarter, resulting from adjustments to previous estimates for professional fees and interest.
RIM expects the number of net new BlackBerry subscribers in the quarter to be between 94,000-97,000, which exceeds the previously forecasted range of 80,000-90,000 for the quarter. The BlackBerry subscriber base will now exceed 700,000 subscribers.
Dennis Kavelman, chief financial officer at RIM, said, "Global demand for BlackBerry accelerated in both enterprise and prosumer market segments as RIM fulfilled orders to its carrier partners to satisfy new subscriber growth, hardware upgrade sales and retail channel expansion requirements."

O2 has launched "Corporate Txt", a  tool that businesses can use to make savings on sending and receiving text messages from their employees and/or customers.

Corporate Txt is a web interface that can be used by any user within an organisation. A company's address book, or customer or contact database can be uploaded so that internal and external communications can be sent either individually or en masse. Responses can be routed directly onto the sender's desktop inbox.
Companies can also adapt the service for different brands or departments using a variety of templates.

The mobile phone segment of Siemens' mobile communications group has a new boss after acting head Rudi Lamprecht handed over duties to former head of sales Ian Moyes.

Moyes, who has also been managing director of Siemens mobile UK, has global responsibility for the division, which is one of five divisions within Siemens Mobile, of which Lamprecht is overall head.
Moyes takes the reigns at a division which has seen flat sales over the past  year, but which is claiming better growth in the current quarter.
"With Ian at the helm of our mobile phone segment, we want to continue our growth path. The high demand for our current product range shows that we're on the right track," says Rudi Lamprecht. Siemens is currently number four globally by market share for mobile phones, and number two in Europe.

Moves to dampen speculation over who was winning the battle to secure the lion's share of Orange's reported EUR1billion 3G contracts may have resulted in a public outbreak of peace, but did little to suggest who the real winners within the winners will be.

Following reports trumpeting that Nortel and Alcatel had secured lucrative contracts, all sides in the negotiations, including Nokia, were moved to produce statements regarding the current situation.
But, like a loud piece of music, it was the silences that spoke the most.
The operator itself was forced to confirm that it had indeed entered into agreements with the three equipment vendors for providing 3G radio access network equipment across its proposed 3G network. But it also made clear that these agreements were "framework" agreements only, and were "non-binding."
Indeed, the operator made clear that the agreements "contain no commitment at this stage, have to be finalised, with terms, amounts and conditions to be negotiated in the coming months".
The operator also felt moved to restate its 3G roll out plans at the same time, saying it would begin full commercial trials in the UK later this year, with commercial launch expected around mid-2004. This would see Orange UK offer 3G population coverage of over 40% in ten major cities, the major rail routes and airports. By the end of 2004, Orange said it would have 3G coverage in the ten major cities across France.
On the suppliers side, a terse statement from Nokia was perhaps most non-committal.  "Nokia continues as global 3G supplier to Orange," the statement said. "The two companies sign renewed contracts for the rollout of Orange 3G networks in France and the UK. The agreement reaffirms the two companies' ten-year relationship.  Orange chose Nokia after a thorough re-evaluation of its previous supply agreements in 3G. As part of this agreement extension, Nokia has signed renewed contracts with Orange affiliates in France and the UK for the supply of its 3G radio network."
Nortel at least acknowledged the presence of the two other players in the process, albeit without going so far as to name them, and also made clear the "framework" nature of the agreement, with deployment schedules, market allocations and volume levels "still to be determined by Orange."
For its part Alcatel too confirmed its selection. It said it expected to carry out "significant" 3G/UMTS deployments in France and said it will also become a supplier of Orange in the UK.
l France Telecom has announced its intention to raise EUR6-7 billion to buy out the remaining 14% share in Orange it does not own. France Telecom said the move would give it access to the mobile operator's cash-flow.

More than twice the number of camera phones will be sold in 2003 compared to 2002, according to a report released today by ARC Group has claimed.

The wireless analyst claimed that by the end of 2003 more than 55 million consumers worldwide will own camera-phone handsets, more than double the 25 million mobile units sold in 2002. 
"This year we have seen a massive growth in camera-enabled phones, with 15% of handsets worldwide featuring built-in cameras or designated camera accessories," David McQueen, ARC Group's Senior Consultant and author of the Future Mobile Handsets 2003-2008 report, said.
For mature markets, the growth has come from existing mobile phone users as they are encouraged by handset manufacturers and network operators to replace their handsets with more feature-rich models, a turnaround from a few years ago when the emphasis was on the first-time buyer, McQueen found.
"Tempted by innovative design features such as rotational cameras and swivel screens, along with the advent of multimedia messaging, colour displays and polyphonic ring tones, we'll see many consumers upgrading their mobile phones this Christmas," he said.
The study also predicts that by 2005 130 million handsets with camera capability will be shipped globally, and with the additional boost of 3G roll out, this figure is expected to increase to 210 million by 2008. 
"Globally, the Asia Pacific region will continue to lead the way, but Europe is expected to improve its market share through the continued take-up of mobile messaging services and with operators promoting attractive services such as Vodafone's Live! service," McQueen explained.
ARC Group predicts the entire mobile handset market to grow by 10.3% with consumers buying 444 million mobiles by the end of 2003, up from 402 million in 2002. This trend is set to continue for the next five years, with handset sales forecast to reach 689 million by 2008.
The report saw a noticeable change in the market shares of the major handset vendors in 2002, although the top two, Nokia and Motorola, remain the same.
The most notable rises are Samsung, which has increased its worldwide share to around 12%, and LG, which is doing well in the CDMA market. Siemens also saw its share grow in 2002, although market share for SonyEricsson and Alcatel has slipped. For the first half of 2003, the top four remained unchanged, although LG was hampered by the SARs virus, and SonyEricsson staged a comeback to push up its market share.
Overall, Europe lost sales last year owing to market being over-reliant on the replacement market, and growth is expected to be slow up to 2008.

The ARC Group's view that Samsung is a coming threat were vindicated by a report from VisionGain, which produced a report aggresively titled "The Samsung Report --- a threat to Nokia domination?"
The survey carried out for the report amongst industry executives found that 35% of respondents expect Samsung to gain the most market share in handset market in 2003.
VisionGain said that Samsung Electronics is currently the third largest global handset manufacturer with a 9.8% share of the overall market in 2002 and an ambition to reach a target market share of 11.6% by the end of 2003. Visiongain believes that Samsung will eclipse Motorola by 2006 --- posing a stronger threat to Nokia.
The report finds that one of the major factors in Samsung's favour are its openness to a variety of operating systems and extensive interest in both CDMA and GSM.

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.

Operators and manufacturers of GSM gateways have reacted angrily to a government decision to outlaw the use of the technology by third parties.

GSM gateways are devices which take a fixed-to-mobile call and present it directly to the  network as a mobile call, rather than through BT's interconnect.
They are used mostly by business customers who have large numbers of calls going out to mobile numbers.
The Department for Trade and Industry has upheld the restriction on the "third party" use of the technology, although private users will still be able to exploit the 20% cost savings it can offer.
This effectively means corporates using the technology connected to their own PBX will be unaffected as they often own their own equipment so qualify as private users. But smaller companies who use third party provided services will not be allowed to continue doing so.
The Mobile Gateway Operators Association (MGOA) said the decision was "extraordinary" and would lead to the loss of a £300million industry and 800 jobs. It said its proposals to the DTI on how operators' concerns about security and service functionality could be met had been ignored.
Mobile operators have claimed that the gateways compromise security, emergency calls and because they hide CLI, mean users cannot user any CLI-related services, such as callback, or reject a call.
But one provider of GSM gateway equipment, Quescom, told Mobile Europe that operators' concerns had more to do with profit.
Teddy Theanne, UK country manager said, "GSM gateway suppliers are being penalised for providing a solution in response to an end-user demand whilst still complying with GSM standards.
"GSM gateways result in huge cost savings to end-users, with phone bills reduced by up to 50% and an average six month return on investment. It will take networks up to three years to be in a position to compete with this ROI.
"You can now appreciate why the network providers  are finding GSM gateway suppliers a threat. All the hype that surrounds the GSM gateway is only a myth and it is clear it has little to do with legality and a lot to do with economics."
The MGOA has said it will take its concerns to Oftel, the European Commission and to the network operators themselves.

Project Telecom founder and ceo Tim Radford says he thinks the future of independent service providers in the mobile market looks bleak, following the sale of his business to operator Vodafone for £155million.

Radford told Mobile Europe that it was becoming "very obvious" that the mobile operators were trying to get rid of the service provider market.
"We've had 10 fantastic years but this year has been incredibly challenging. All our opportunities had very much been in the business market but it was becoming increasingly obvious the operators had determined to focus on the business market --- and do it with direct communication.
"Increasingly it was alienating the idea of the service provider as a concept. We were doing business against the networks themselves and that was getting increasingly difficult."
Radford contrasted the fixed  wholesale market with mobile, where just four operators dominate.
About a third of Project's customer base are O2 network subscribers, Radford said. He pointed out that Vodafone has in effect acted as an O2 service provider before, after taking on customers through other acquisitions.
Radford also said that he expected Vodafone would keep the Project business in place in Newark, treating it as a centre of excellence for serving business clients and trying to attain an air of independence about the business.
If Vodafone succeeded it would be good for Project customers, Radford said, because it would combine Vodafone's financial muscle with Project's customer service platform.
He also said that the vision of providing mobile and fixed broadband services to businesses from one provider was a good one, and said Project's fixed business was doing well for the company up until its sale.
Vodafone bought Project Telecom for £155million in early August, netting Radford himself an estimated £37m.
Radford said that although he will be leaving the company after the handover, he will not be taking his millions from the sale of the company off to the countryside to build up his herd of Belgian Blue cattle. "I'm only 42," he replied. He said he was sure he would be back in the IT and communications market in some capacity, and there were other ideas in the pipeline.
Project Telecom got its name when  Radford sold his last company, and kept  a drawer full of files of business ideas.   One was labelled Project Telecom, and the name stuck.
l Vodafone followed up the Project Telecom purchase with the acquisition of the Cauldwell Group's service provider Singlepoint GBP405 million. Singlepoint has 1.9 million contract customers, 27% of the operator's total contract customer base.

Sonera has agreed a GPRS roaming agreement with Japanese operator J-Phone that gives its users access to GPRS services when they are in Japan.

The roaming agreement lets subscribers keep their own SIM and phone number whilst in Japan, although users will have to buy or rent a WCDMA handset to work on the host operators' 3G network.
Janne Pesu, director of TeliaSonera Finland, said, "Japan is a roaming country that has been long desired and waited for. Our data services can now also be used in the Japanese third-generation mobile network. This is an important step towards global mobile services."
Once they have acquired themselves a second phone, subscribers will be able to access normal voice services, including call barring and forwarding, as