A study on pan-European mobile termination rates conducted by Cerna, the Warwick Business School and WIK-Consult and sponsored by COLT Telecom and Cable & Wireless, has found that mobile network operators have benefited from high mobile termination charges on fixed to mobile calls in France, Germany and the UK to the tune of €19 billion over the five year period from 1998 to 2002.

The study, which set out to address 'How termination charges shape the dynamics of the telecom sector' found that this sum has been transferred to the detriment of fixed mobile operators.
It is the first study of its kind to investigate termination rates and their effect on the scale and prosperity of both the mobile and fixed markets and key amongst its findings were that fixed network operators are usually required to set call termination rates at a reasonable and regulated level whereas mobile networks have not generally been subject to price control. They can therefore set termination rates which greatly exceed estimates of actual termination costs.
The result of this, the survey claimed ,is that fixed network customers and operators have been adversely affected.

Furthermore, competition within the fixed market has been damaged and competition between mobile and fixed operators, distorted.

Martin Cave, Professor and director of the Centre for Management under Regulation at Warwick Business School, and one of the four authors commented, "Most calls to mobile phones have been very expensive because mobile operators have been allowed to charge too much for mobile termination. Most European regulators have failed to respond to this. This report shows that the time is right for regulators to put in place arrangements that are equitable for both mobile and fixed operators and their customers."
Cave concluded, "Taking these steps will help to rekindle investment and competition in fixed networks, where it has faltered in the past few years."
This is just the latest attack on the share taken by mobile operators from interconnect charges. There is little question that it has been a lucrative source of revenue but legislation to control costs could backfire. Indeed, following legislative intervention in the UK, O2 cited anticipated revenue reductions as a reason for delaying its 3G implementation. All four UK networks have also moved to reduce handset subsidies, particularly on pre-pay, as a result. 

The third annual survey of mobile phone running costs carried out by Finland's Ministry of Transport and Communications shows that charges in Finland continue to be among the lowest in Europe.

The countries included in the survey were all the EU Member States,  plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, and private subscription services from a total of 61 operators were surveyed.
Comparisons were based on a 'price basket' comprising: 150 minutes of weekday and weekend calls to subscribers using the same and different operators; calls to fixed-line subscribers; 25 text messages; a monthly subscription charge and value added tax.
The results of the survey show that people in Finland pay just €31.09 compared to €50.47 in the UK. In Switzerland, the most expensive location covered by the survey, people pay an average price of €63.33.
According to Finland's Ministry of Transport and Communications, mobile phone running costs in Finland have fallen steadily and are now 6% lower than in 2001.
Sirkka Aura, chief executive of Invest in Finland, a government funded agency that assists and supports direct investment into Finland, commented, "Finland is one of the global leaders in the development of wireless and web convergence and is well known for its industry leaders like Nokia. The mobile industry has experienced a period of exceptional growth during the past ten years with the next wave of growth expected to come from mobile services.
"Being able to offer a competitive price for the use of new technologies is a huge advantage for companies locating operations here where an early adopter marketplace provides a great test bed for new services.
"The wireless entertainment industry, for example, which creates, publishes and distributes entertainment services and games for mobile devices is a new and growing sector that can benefit from the many advantages the Finnish business environment offers."

The introduction of multimedia functionality demands a similar leap in processing capabilities and, according to Mark Singer, the company's vice president corporate marketing, NeoMagic's MiMagic 6 application processor represents just that.

Singer suggested that the type of applications that are part of the next generation vision --- picture and video messaging, gaming, video conferencing and continuous speech recognition --- "require serious amounts of processing power on a low power budget."
He further explained, "Functions such as taking high quality MPEG4 pictures with more advanced light handling capabilities require in the region of 650 mips and that is far beyond the capabilities of traditional processors. For continuous speech recognition, 1000 mips are needed. MiMagic 6 has the potential to deliver 1200 mips"
The jump in functionality comes via MiMagic 6's multimedia engine, based on a proprietary technology called Associative Processing Array (APA). This enables it to execute more than one billion operations per second at a processor clock rate of only 100MHz. This equates to an order of magnitude more processing than competitive solutions at the same clock rate, meaning that more advanced multimedia functions can be run and existing functions can be supported with less power.
The APA core employs programmable parallel programming which is particular well suited to multimedia tasks as they tend to include high amounts of data with a high level of concurrency. Singer explained, "For example, with image processing tasks information on brightness etc can be taken from other dots. Most processors handle images one dot at a time, MiMagic 6 handles 100 dots in the processor at the same time, thereby delivering greater efficiency...It has the ability to run at half speed and still save power and increase the processing capability."
Singer claimed that, "The multimedia functions can advance more quickly if the multimedia processor develops separately from the baseband." However, that does not mean that NeoMagic underestimates the need for integrating the processor into a more complete solution. "We have assumed that integration is a big factor and have worked with partners to do this." These include the likes of Analog Devices and Infineon, while NeoMagic's own middleware was  used to integrate MiMagic5 with Microsoft and Symbian OSs, and the same will happen for MiMagic6.
As for the cost, Singer was adamant stating, "APA technology is more efficient in its use of the silicon area, therefore there is no need for MiMagic6 to be any more expensive than applications processors from competitors. It will absolutely not be more expensive."

Mobilkom Austria, has chosen Redknee and Kapsch CarrierCom to deliver a location system based on 3GPP standards to support GSM and UMTS networks in Austria.

Redknee's Location System for GSM and UMTS networks will be distributed through Kapsch CarrierCom, and enables subscriber services to be linked with location-based services. Using Redknee's Location System these 'location-aware' subscriber services will be delivered across both 2G and 3G networks.
"We believe Redknee's Location System will bring enhanced value to our 3G mobile multimedia services," stated Dr Alexander Kuchar, head of Mobile Service Network, mobilkom austria. "We selected Redknee and Kapsch CarrierCom because together they have proven experience in deploying 2G and 3G mobile solutions."
Redknee's Location System supporting GSM and UMTS networks complies with industry-standard specifications of the Location Interoperability Forum. With a standards-compliant design, the Redknee solution significantly speeds up location application development and promotes application portability across networks, the company claims.

Pop fans who attended the 'Box Live' concerts in the UK were able to send text messages effectively controlling the performances on stage thanks to an interactive SMS service. This demon-strates just how fast the interactive entertainment industry is growing.

The system was developed by telecoms solutions company Intelliplus, which provided access and reverse billing for the SMS system. Using this, members of the crowd were able to vote for their preferred format and post messages on a giant concert screen.
Songs, performers and even stage costumes could be manipulated by the crowds, during the ten-day tour from Blackpool to Wembley featuring Liberty X, Atomic Kitten and Danni Minogue.
Mohammed Khan, Intelliplus's solutions development manager, commented, "This level of live audience interactivity has never been seen before in this country."

Openwave Systems has released the second version of its MMSC.

Designed to improve the multimedia messaging experience and increase MMS usage, Version 2 boasts enhanced email capability, support for legacy handsets and a wide range of MMS terminals through improved transcoding. It also includes a set of pre-built applications including a gallery of images and photo albums, a branding opportunity for operators and a method by which subscribers can further personalise their MMS experience.
Openwave has run its own handset interoperability programme, and therefore MMSC Version 2 includes an intelligent rules engine which enables MMSC to optimise the transcoding to offer a better multimedia experience on more clients.
As you might expect, Openwave MMSC is fully interoperable with Openwave Mobile Messaging Client, one of the most widely available MMS clients in 2003. In addition, MMSC Version 2 has proven interoperability with a wide range of MMS clients including embedded software on handsets as well as clients based on Palm OS, Pocket PC and BREW.
Other functionality includes anti-spam software and the ability to view MMS messages from a PC or WAP browser 'as they were intended to be seen on an MMS capable handset,' according to Openwave,
"Many major operators are now entering the second stage of MMS," said Mark Lowenstein, managing director of Mobile Ecosystem.
"Many operators offer an MMS service, but they are unable to optimise or differentiate their service due to limited available content and handsets," said David Hose, vice president and general manager, infrastructure group for Openwave.
"Openwave MMSC Version 2 helps operators solve this problem by providing a solution that offers a better end user experience across both MMS and legacy devices. In addition, MMSC Version 2 aims to stimulate and increase MMS usage by providing easy access to ready content as well as providing a simple way to save and send personal content," Hose concluded.

TTPCom has demonstrated an EDGE module capable of achieving the maximum on air data rate of 236.8kbit/s for a four-slot capable mobile.

The module uses the highest EDGE coding scheme, MSC-9, more than tripling data rates previously achievable with GPRS and elevating the standard for rates over GSM networks. It is suitable for the development of EDGE PC cards, PDAs, embedded modules and handsets and also enables field testing on live networks.
The module is based on TTPCom's EDGE Protocol Stack and Physical Layer, running on Analog Devices's Blackfin SoftFone EDGE platform and features link adaptation, incremental redundancy and EDGE coding schemes including 8PSK, all verified under interoperability testing. Modular design enables different radios to be supported and offers flexibility for developers. According to Greg Matthews, TTPCom EDGE product manager, it "fulfils the promise...in both transmit and receive," of enhanced data rates for GSM evolution.
The system validation process has also included full integration and verification using TTPCom's GPRS protocol stack, in order to ensure a seamless transition for existing customers.
The module is targeted at the increasing global adoption of EDGE, which is now being looked at as a serious option by some European, as well as US operators.

Vodafone has signed a Partner Network Agreement with Bite GSM ("Bite") in Lithuania, taking the number of countries in which Vodafone's global services portfolio can be accessed to nine.

This means that Bite will offer Vodafone's and its Partners' customers seamless access to Vodafone's international mobile services while travelling in Lithuania. Bite's domestic customers will also be able to access Vodafone's roaming services across its global footprint.
Bite is a wholly-owned subsidiary of TDC Mobile International and is the company's second subsidiary to join the Vodafone Mobile Community following the agreement signed with TDC Mobil A/S ("TDC Mobil"), Denmark's leading mobile operator, in December 2001.
Bite, the second largest full scale mobile, data and internet service provider in Lithuania, will market Vodafone's international mobile services using the existing Vodafone service names. 
Under the terms of the agreement Vodafone and Bite will co-operate in developing products and services to international travellers and domestic customers. The principal benefits to Vodafone are further expansion of Vodafone's global products and services to its customers, as well as further leverage of the Vodafone brand.
Peter Bamford, chief marketing officer, Vodafone said, "Our tie-up with Bite is another step towards bringing our customers the key benefits of the Vodafone brand and services throughout Europe. The signing of this Partner Network agreement opens new sources of revenue for both Vodafone and Bite, and demonstrates Vodafone's attraction as a global mobile leader and innovator."

Greek operator COSMOTE has signed a Letter of Intent with Ericsson covering the initial phase of its  W-CDMA roll out in Greece.

The agreement, which runs until the end of 2004, will see Ericsson deliver the network infrastructure including core and radio equipment and support the 3G rollout with a full range of services. Most prominent amongst these is a commitment from Ericsson to work closely with COSMOTE in developing attractive end-user services in advance of the upcoming 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
"The start of the deployment of our 3G network in Greece is yet another milestone for COSMOTE and confirms once again the company's proven commitment to deliver the highest quality, most user-friendly services to the Greek people," said Evangelos Martigopoulos, CEO of COSMOTE.
"We are very honoured that COSMOTE has selected Ericsson as the main partner for its initial 3G network rollout," said Bill Zikou, president of Market Unit South East Europe at Ericsson. "This Letter of Intent is yet another confirmation of Ericsson's global leadership in providing end-to-end WCDMA solutions and a clear recognition of our competitive local position."

Trams in Warzburg, Switzerland will use TETRA radio for passenger information and voice services. It will serve as the mainstay of a computer-controlled traffic management system, which will keep passengers at central stops up to date with information like departure times and allow tram-operating personnel to have voice communications.

An onboard computer will provide location information to the manage-ment system and tram drivers and other staff will use duplex radio devices. R&S Bick Mobilfunk, working on behalf of Siemens TTS, which was responsible for the traffic manage-ment system, set up the system.
The network will comprise an exchange with an integrated TETRA base station and four other base stations.  It is due to begin operation in March 2004 and be completely synthesized with the traffic management system by the summer of 2004.

Team Simoco, the company born out of the ashes of Simoco Digital Systems' TETRA and Simoco's traditional analogue PMR businesses, has put itself back on a solid business footing, according Team Simoco's general manager, Kevin Paul.

"The aim has been to drive the business back to sanity...It's not about technology, it's about business," said Paul. "We have achieved 12 months of solid trading and have double the budget on the order books for 2003 and have demonstrated to Telecom that this has been a good acquisition for them.
This has been achieved by concentrating on the needs of customers and creating a business that is heading more towards systems integration than a pure systems provider.
Having built the initial success from the analogue PMR business which Paul had been involved in running prior to SDS' collapse, Team Simoco is now looking at ways to add the digital capabilities of TETRA to the company's customer offering. However, Paul was keen to point out that Team Simoco would not move back to the technology-based business of SDS. "We will look to add the digital element but without the risk." The risk has been reduced because Team Simoco is not blazing the TETRA technology trail.
Instead, Paul stated, "This is nowhere near the cutting edge. The plan is to move towards being a systems integrator that doesn't focus on any single technology.
"SDS in its later years was a fantastic free consultant. There was huge commercial benefit to what was being given away free. We are now using that to add value to our offering in the form of the skills and applications that we can offer customers to make their businesses more effective."

Motorola has officially launched the MTH650, its new TETRA two-way radio for the emergency services market, following extensive research with public safety users.

The radio offers greater ease of use and includes features such as a screensaver, programmable keys and a multi-functional rotary knob. The radio, which was unveiled privately to customers two months ago, has already been sold to eight public safety forces.
The product is available globally to all markets that use TETRA and has been designed as "an addition to, not a replacement for any existing product in Motorola's TETRA portfolio," according to Joanne Moore, director of TETRA terminals.
Extensive research was conducted over the last nine months with more than 100 users and research teams.  This identified flexibility, safety, ruggedness, comfort and ease of use as the most important features in a two-way radio.
The ability to personalise the radio is a key feature for the future of radio communications in the emergency sector as the increased functionality means that personnel use the same radio in different way.
To meet this need, the MTH650 includes a top-mounted multi-purpose rotary knob that changes functionality. Officers can use this to switch between functions such as talk groups or use it to scroll up and down the menu. In addition, the radio boasts: programmable keys for one touch access to popular functions; multiple antennae options including a small helical antenna and whipical antenna for increased coverage in fringe areas and dual mic, top and bottom, to ensure optimal audio quality whether the user is speaking directly into the radio or speaking into the top of a radio fixed to a lapel.
It is the only radio to have a screensaver, which provides increased security by preventing private information from being on display, especially when the radio is mounted on the lapel of a police officer.
The screensaver can also be customised to show the organisation's logo or the user's identification number, or even used to promote services such as 'crimestoppers.'
 A "hot mic" function gives handsfree operation in an emergency and this, combined with increased microphone sensitivity, means that a user can stay in contact even if the  radio is dropped.
A Personal Identification Number (PIN) option and Lithium ION batteries add to the package, while the whole screen, including the navigation keys, can be flipped up-side-down so if the radio is lapel mounted it can be read with ease. A vibrate alert and flat bottom which enables the radio to stand upright on a flat surface, complete the package. There is also range of accessories available which include all the usual items associated with the public safety market.
Moore concluded, "We have already had positive feedback regarding the size and weight, and the screen saver option has proved highly popular."

All the hype in the mobile enterprise market today surrounds data but, according to Lars Svensson, this is only half right as the biggest market with the best potential remains voice. Indeed, he suggested that mobile operators could "double the rate of mobile penetration into enterprises overnight" by installing Ericsson's voice software.

Svensson was talking about voice services with a difference --- integrated voice communications for the enterprise market in which all the services available on the fixed PBX are extended to mobile terminals. This is provided via Ericsson's server-based software which can be added to any existing digital PBX, irrespective of vendor. Not only will this provide standard PBX functions such as call forwarding, group pick-up etc, but also allow the mobile device to be integrated with more advanced functions such as calendar, contacts and the enterprise's internal directory. In the future, there is also the possibility to add such capabilities as listening to email, text-to-voice and voice-to-text.
For the enterprise, the benefit comes in the form of greater control over mobile costs for the IT manager, as well as operational efficiencies that can be achieved by established truly unified communications and messaging systems.
Svensson believes that the growth potential for voice in the enterprise market is compelling for mobile operators. He illustrated this by citing Telia's experiences in Sweden where traffic has increased dramatically and, most significantly, the length of enterprise calls is noted to be six or seven times longer than average. He explained the scale of the opportunity stating, "If Telia can mobilise 10% of PBXs it would create as much traffic as currently exists on the network." This, he suggested, was typical of the northern European market and claimed that the market was "exploding in Germany and Sweden" and Ericsson's next target would be the UK, starting now.
In terms of the investment required by the enterprise to make this work, it depends whether the solution is provided as a managed service by the operator or direct to the customer. When brought as a service the cost can vary from UKP10--100. However, Svensson claimed, "Enterprises shouldn't pay more over all." He pointed to Ericsson's own experience as proof stating, "Our experience was that overall costs fell by 22%." This resulted for a reduction in fixed call backs etc and a better deal on mobile traffic rates.
The only requirement from the enterprise is for all handsets to be configured properly. This is something that can be aided by such products as IBM's device management software. On the operator side, the major consideration is capacity. "It is possible that the increase in mobile traffic this delivers is too much and causes capacity issues. To avoid such problems, both Telia and Vodafone have taken deployment steadily in Sweden," Svensson concluded.

Verilocation, an automatic mobile phone location service, which uses information from the UK's mobile networks to locate users, has gone live and already has over a thousand users.

Accurate to within 100 metres Verilocation allows businesses to have a 'GPS type' location capability without the need for specialist equipment, contracts or software. Provided as a simple pay-as-you-go Web service, companies pay an initial registration fee and thereafter UKP0.20 per search, purchased by buying credits online.
Verilocation is primarily aimed at companies with staff or assets travelling out and about but for whom GPS is not viable.
According to Verilocation, the service offers a 'much more cost-effective solution than GPS.' It links the mobile phone user to the underlying road network and displays the information in an easy-to-understand visual format using the on-screen map. The service is accessed via the web.
The basic service plots the position of the mobile phone, whilst more advanced applications involving resource allocation, automatic despatch, routing and activity analysis, are also under development.