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

Vodafone's Greek subsidiary Panafon will be providing UMTS services in Athens by the end of 2003, following a deal for the provision of equipment and services from Siemens.

Siemens' Information and Communication Mobile Group will  supply Panafon with equipment for the first time, winning the operator as a new customer for its third generation infrastructure.
Siemens mobile is supplying and installing all the infrastructure components for setting up the UMTS radio network and the accompanying network management system. In the first phase, Vodafone Greece wants to cover the Athens conurbation, which the vendor said should be ready by the end of 2003.
 Vodafone Greece is majority owned by Vodafone Group with the Greek telecommunications group Intracom  holding just under 10%.  It is the second largest mobile provider in Greece with around 3.6 million customers and a market share of 34.7%.
Latest figures show that approximately 71% of the total customer base is pre-pay.

Nokia has made a move for vertical integration in the gaming market by buying, SEGA's online gaming subsidiary. This agreement will mean Sega's multi-player technology will be integrated with Nokia's N-Gage game deck (pictured right).

The SEGA Network Application Package (SNAP), that enables  networked multi-player games, will form the core part of Nokia Mobile Phones' Entertainment and Media Business Unit's online games activity.
"This acquisition is a logical step in bringing online elements to mobile games," said Ilkka Raiskinen, Senior Vice President, Entertainment and Media Business Unit. " has developed a technology platform which, combined with the Nokia N-Gage game deck, opens up totally new dimensions for gamers."
Raiskinen said that SNAP is scheduled to be integrated into the game deck and be available to consumers worldwide by October 7, 2003, when N-Gage is launched.
Nokia stressed that the acquisition could also be good news for operators, generating additional revenues by integrating games industry technology with mobile networks.
l Two games platform suppliers, TTPCom and Synergenix Interactive have announced that they will converge their wireless gaming activities to develop a single platform.
TTPCom licenses technology to  handset manufacturers including Siemens, Sharp, LG and Toshiba and has developed a wireless graphics engine (WGE) which features in the Innostream I-1000 phone which is distributed in China and other Asian markets.
Synergenix has developed mophun, a wireless gaming platform, which is used in handsets including the Sony Ericsson T300, T310 andT610. mophun features a download facility, and has been adopted by more than a dozen network operators in Europe and North America. 
The companies say joining forces will create a "a single standard for state-of-the-art wireless gaming in mass market mobile phones." This "standard" will be complementary to Java, which the companies claim is increasingly used in high-end mobile phones.
Gordon Aspin, Operations Director at TTPCom said, "The wireless gaming market is extremely competitive and we believe that there is room for only one high performance gaming standard.  TTPCom and Synergenix, by working together, have the skills and connections to establish this standard". 
Per Österberg, CEO of Synergenix said, "TTPCom works with over 40 handset manufacturers worldwide and have a particularly strong position in Asia. Our tie-up will make a superior gaming experience available to this wide range of manufacturers."
As part of the agreement TTPCom will take a minority stake in Synergenix.

Omnitel has introduced a roaming service called "Eurozona", which will  reduce call rates for Omnitel subscribers roaming within Europe. Starting from October 1st, Omnitel subscribers travelling to European countries will pay almost half the previous tariff for incoming calls --- with rates from 1.60Lt.

Giedrius Makauskas, head of Omnitel's Business Customers Division, said, "Increasing call traffic with European countries shows that an increasing number of our subscribers are travelling to different places in Europe. Furthermore, with Lithuania's accession to the European Union and development of tourism, business and other kinds of relations, contacts will undoubtedly expand, and our subscribers will have to travel abroad more and more.
"Thus with regard to changes on the market and our customer needs we will offer a new service providing an opportunity for Omnitel subscribers to talk at much lower rates while abroad."
The Eurozona service will not just be available in the EU, but also in other European countries.  Incoming calls on LMT and EMT networks for Omnitel subscribers while in Latvia and Estonia are already free of charge.

Aircom has expanded its Enterprise suite of network measurement tools to include the tool RANOPT, which has been specifically designed for the optimisation of 3G networks.

Aircom says RANOPT has been developed taking into account the specific requirements of UMTS operators. New data formats and parameters can be loaded without changing programme code. Any new data to be loaded into the common database is done so "virtually automatically". Once data has been "automatically" loaded into an Oracle database a powerful reporting mechanism allows the operator to customise and generate a variety of different reports.
The tool is shipped with a bundle of standard reports such as overlapped area, scrambling detection, services coverage, pilot pollution and soft handover

Telekom Austria's wireless division grew revenues to EUR 498.5 million during the second quarter of 2002, a rise of 9.6% on the previous year's equivalent quarter.

The good second quarter performance meant that half year revenues were up 7.3% overall at EUR 973.2 million. These revenue figures were achieved against a background of the regulator cutting termination rates  from April 2003 by 1.24%. From September that rate cut will be imposed at 3.47%. Overall operating income rose by 2.5% to EUR 83.6 million.
Of the carrier's mobile businesses, Mobilkom Austria managed to increase its subscriber base by 6% in the quarter, taking its overall number to 3.1million. Those figures give it a market share of 43.5%, a slight rise on a year ago.
However, there was a 19% rise in both subscriber acquisition and retention costs, which the operator attributed chiefly to the effects of higher handset subsidies.
There was a small rise in the proportion of revenue by data, increased SMS use attributing to data reaching 10.8% of revenues from 9.3%.
Telekom Austria's Croatian subsidiary VIPnet added a further 400,000 subscribers during the quarter to take its total to 1.15 million. As ARPU fell by 5.0% to EUR 19.2, overall operating profit remained static at EUR 15.6 million, the operator reported.
Slovenian operator Si.mobil lost subscribers during the quarter, falling from 351,500 at the end of March 2003 to 350,100. The slight drop was attributed to churn and increased competition. The operator complained that the Slovenian market continued to be plagued by "a great degree of regulatory inconsistencies" and pinned its future hopes on EU membership.

The Slovenian Ministry of the Interior (MoI) has deployed Westica's MRR800 microwave radio system to provide the infrastructure for the Ministry of Interiors TETRA network, currently being supplied by Marconi.

Westica's involvement, brought about as the result of a distributor agreement with the Slovenian company, 3Tech, is for point to point microwave links operating in the 1.4GHz international frequency band.
The solution was selected on the basis of being compliant to the MoI's stringent technical requirements. In addition to this, the radio system is  compatible with the MoI's choice of Marconi TETRA basestation equipment.
"The choice of Westica radios was clear as it provides the lowest risk solution for the Ministry and enables rapid deployment in line with the overall project time schedule,"  Zarko Lenardic, Managing Director with 3Tech, said.
The tender was issued in early 2003, with 3Tech securing the contract to provide the radio solution for the TETRA network along with the provision of antennas and training.

Gibraltar operator Gibtelecom will be offering residents and vistitors on the Rock GPRS coverage and services by the end of the year, following a deal to upgrade its network with current supplier Ericsson.

Deployment of the packet service will begin immediately under the EUR 2 million deal with the vendor.
Ericsson has been Gibtel's supplier since 1995, when Gibtel first provided mobile services using an Ericsson AXE-10 switch for its GSM 900 network.
Ernest Britto, chairman of Gibtelecom said, "This contract will maintain Gibtelecom's leading position at the forefront of technology and demonstrates the company's continuing commitment to investing in Gibraltar. 
"GPRS will provide Internet connectivity to local GSM customers as well as to roamers in Gibraltar."

As a result of an agreement to cooperate in the development of data systems, 54 employees of TeliaSonera Finland's development function will transfer to the employ of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young (CGE&Y) from September, 2003.

TeliaSonera's said that the transfer makes it possible to concentrate its own development resources more heavily on the focus areas of product development.
The agreement relates to portal applications and platforms, directories, Internet service production platforms, mobile marketing applications, and tasks related to software testing, support and maintenance. The personnel to be transferred to CGE&Y have been working in TeliaSonera Finland's application development unit  in Helsinki and Lappeenranta.

Verizon Wireless and Vodafone will develop a dual-branded 'Verizon Vodafone' lap top data card service for business customers working and travelling between the US and Europe.

The data card will be based on Vodafone's existing data card service, Vodafone Mobile Connect Card, which Verizon Wireless will develop and market under licence from Vodafone. The service will enable Verizon Wireless and Vodafone business customers to access their e-mail, the Internet and corporate applications on their lap tops within Vodafone's territories and Verizon Wireless' network in the US, with customers experiencing their same service environment when travelling abroad.
To support the service, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone intend to co-operate on data card hardware, service inter-connectivity, roaming and inter-operator tariffing.
"As Verizon Wireless and Vodafone work toward a seamless wireless data experience for business people on both sides of the Atlantic, our customers will look forward to the high-quality services and products that we've become known for in the wireless marketplace," said Denny Strigl, President and CEO of Verizon Wireless.
"By combining Verizon Wireless' excellent quality CDMA 1xRTT data Express Network and Vodafone's GPRS networks, our partnership will allow Verizon Wireless and Vodafone customers to work effectively whilst travelling in the US and Europe," said Julian Horn Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Vodafone.

Mobile Middleware company Extended Systems has appointed Charles Jepson as CEO and President of the company, effective immediately. Former CEO and President Steven D Simpson is leaving the company to "pursuoe other interests", a company statement said.

"I am thrilled to have this opportunity with Extended Systems because I strongly believe in the growth potential in the mobile middleware market," said Jepson.
Jepson has served as the company's vice president of worldwide sales and marketing since February 2003 and as a member of Extended Systems' board from September 2001 to July 2003
Simpson, who has been with Extended Systems since December 1994, fired this parting shot on his departure, "Despite the economic challenges the company has faced, I am proud to have transitioned Extended Systems to a successful mobile solutions company and to have returned it to profitability."

Service management company SmartTrust has appointed Brian Carr as Vice President, Product Development. Carr previously held the position of IT Development Director at Hutchison 3G, supporting the creation and implementation of Europe's first 3G mobile operation, 3.

Carr has helped implement the IT systems of several mobile telecom start-up operations across Europe, including Orange SA (Switzerland) and One (Connect Austria).
Paul Cuss, CEO of SmartTrust, said,  "Brian Carr's experience, knowledge and leadership will be crucial in the development of SmartTrust as a global player in the mobile sector. We have much to achieve going forward and I am confident that this appointment will be a success."

Cosmote, the leading Greek mobile operator, has credited increased traffic for a reported rise in revenues of 13.8% for the first half of 2003.

Half year revenues were up to EUR 574.6 million and net income up 16.7% to EUR 235.6 million. EBITDA margin stood at 41%, a slight rise on the equivalent 2002 period.
Although the operator cut tariffs by an average 25% Cosmote carried 2.1 billion minutes on its network during the first half of the year, an increase in traffic volumes of 32% year on year.  This translated to an increase in airtime revenues of 17.9%.
ARPU for the period was stable compared to 2002, at around EUR 28. This included absorbing the effects of the increased number of pre pay customers and the decrease in tariffs. ARPU from contracted subscribers on the other hand was up 8.4% to EUR 46.4 which the operator attributed to increased usage resulting from its tariff cuts.
Data contributed 17% by revenue and roaming revenues 2% of total revenues.
AMC, the group's Albanian company reported revenues that were largely stable, although EBITDA for the half year was down 17.1% at EUR 28.1 million.