Nortel was chosen by Orange as one of its listed suppliers for UMTS only after the Canadian company threatened the French Government with the closure of its manufacturing facility in the country if it was not awarded 3G contracts, the head of Alcatel's mobile business group has alleged.

Etienne Fouques, president of Alcatel's Mobile Communications Group, told Mobile Europe during a wide ranging briefing, that Nortel had threatened the French government with the closure of its plant, and the loss of five thousand jobs, if Orange did not include it in its list of suppliers.
Orange was forced to issue a statement in September confirming that Alcatel, Nokia and Nortel would all be suppliers of UMTS equipment to the operator. The announcement embarrassed Orange, as its existing 2G supplier Ericsson was not on the contract list at all, and Nokia, which had expected to reap the lion's share was now sharing the limelight with two other vendors.
"Nortel have been saved in Orange for political reasons  because they pressurised the French government. They threatened to  close the plant, which employs 5,000 people," Fouques said. He added that where technical considerations had been to the fore, Nortel had lost out on UMTS, listing Taiwanese operator CST and French operator Bouygues as examples. Alcatel and Siemens are the two shortlisted companies for Bouygues' UMTS development, Fouques claimed.
But Fouques' suggestion that

Nortel had thrown its weight around to get on the list was summarily rejected by the rival vendor in a curt statement. ""Our contract negotiations are based on the viability of our technology and the value our wireless solutions provide to the operator business model," the operator responded in an official statement to Mobile Europe.
Other sources pointed out to Mobile Europe that such a threat would be almost impossible to make in a country such as France, which has  very tough employment protection laws.
The two vendors also clashed over Fouques' interpretation of Nortel's EDGE strategy. Nortel's head of wireless Dave Murasighe told Mobile Europe that the vendor was having success selling EDGE to operators to complement their UMTS networks, rather than to augment GPRS coverage, as was originally envisioned in the 3G upgrade roadmap. But Fouques rejected such an interpretation of Nortel's strategy.
"The reason Nortel is pushing EDGE is because it lost the contract to supply UMTS to Bouygues. Nortel supplies 90% of Bouygues' 2G infrastructure and lost the contract for UMTS for technical reasons. It pushes EDGE where it is not selected for 3G."
The Alcatel man conceded that operators may be interested because it "can appear" a good strategy, but he claimed it was doing Nortel damage within Orange.
"Orange is not at all happy with Nortel because Nortel is pushing 2.5G in France. You have to choose your camp. They have taken a very big risk."
Nortel's official response to that allegation was that it was certainly not making up its EDGE strategy on the hoof. The vendor has EDGE implementations in the USA with AT&T Wireless, Singular and T-Mobile,
"Nortel Networks is a global infrastructure provider, and one of our primary business strategies is and has been to be industry's only end-to-end provider of all 3G technologies," the company stated.
Fouques did have the grace to admit that Alcatel's own UMTS history has been far from smooth. Its original joint agreement with Motorola had been annulled, leading to the loss of T-Mobile and SFR, he admitted. But the company's current relationship with Fujitsu had been far more profitable, he said, and there were a lot of battles still open. In particular there was room as the number two player with Telefonica in Spain. But being an Orange supplier means it is not likely the vendor will do business with other major international operators. "We are on the Orange ride and that's life," Fouques said.
Fouques added that he expected the division of revenues from Orange to be around 80% for Nokia in the UK, with Alcatel at 20%, supplying Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eastern England. In France he expects Alcatel to get about 505 of the pie, including the greater Paris area. Nortel and Nokia were looking at around 25% each, he said. "Nokia has lost a lot, compared to the first attribution."
But this would not be uncommon.  "A lot of operators are going to be changing their minds and reviewing their lists of suppliers," he predicted.

Mobile Europe is very happy to announce that it is the official media partner of the fourth annual Telecom Valley Association's Gallery at the 3GSM World Congress 2004.

The Gallery is situated directly opposite the Palais des Festivals at the La Potiniere du Palais restaurant, and provides a meeting place for 3GSM delegates to find out more about the technical expertise of the Cote D'Azur's thriving telecoms community.
Many of the mobile industry's leaders from the region use the gallery to demonstrate and exhibit their technology, but the relaxed surroundings of the gallery are just as popular for delegates to hold formal and informal meetings over a drink.
For more see

External Links

Telecom Valley

Altobridge, the company which provides GSM connectivity on aeroplanes via satellite, has launched a maritime version of the system.

The gateway connects a GSM picocell on board a ship to a satellite network. Altobridge says the system overcomes t he two main barriers to take-up of GSM on-ship solutions, namely capital cost and the overheards of signalling, by keeping signalling down to a minimum.
It sees an opportunities for maritime use in tracking as well as crew and passenger calling.  At present, many tracking systems can operate only when in range of terrestrial wireless systems. With this system, a individual container could be tracked right throughout a journey with an SMS alert sent if, for instance, it was opened mid-journey.
Altobridge says that the cell sites avoid interfering with on-shore sites as  a GIS database embedded within the Altobridge system ensures that it will not operate within coastal waters where terrestrial coverage exists.

The continuing battle for contracts to supply 3G infrastructure to Europe's mobile operators has brought some relief to Motorola, which was able to announce its first UMTS contract.

Motorola managed to oust Nortel from its position as "first round" UMTS supplier to Portuguese operator Optimus to become the sole supplier  in the north of the country.
Optimus' existing 2G supplier in northern Portugal is Motorola, although it chose Nortel in 2001 to provide preliminary UMTS infrastructure in the region, which has Porto as its main city. Ericsson is Optimus' 2G supplier in the rest of the country and currently looks favourite to be 3G supplier as well.
Neither Motorola nor Optimus was willing to release details about the size of the contract, or scope of the rollout, beyond saying that services would be available by the middle of 2004.
Margaret Rice-Jones, corporate vice president of Motorola and general manager, GTSS EMEA, said that although the contract was Motorola's first, Motorola's blank score in the 3G contracts market had not been a millstone.
"We are obviously very excited to win our first contract, but we have been saying we would be ready to deploy at the right time when our customers were ready. This proves what we have been saying for the last two years. They are now ready and we are ready to deploy with them," she said.
Conceding that the market had already made many first and second round contract awards she added, "And you may question why there was the need for second round contract awards."
Rice-Jones also intimated that Motorola has far from given up on future 3G deals. "We are currently bidding on other contracts. The technology will continue to develop. This is an evolutionary technology and that will continue over time as GSM has. It's a long term market."
For its part, Optimus said that ease of integration with existing 2G equipment had been a contributory factor to the decision to go with the vendor. Rice-Jones added that Motorola 3G equipment can stack on top of a 2G base station in the same footprint. This had been especially important in Porto where space is at a premium.
A source at Nortel, who did not want to be named, confirmed that the Optimus contract had got away from the vendor, and said the main issue had been cost.
Elsewhere on the Iberian peninsula Siemens and Ericsson jointly notched up a goal many were hoping to score, with the announcement that they will work together on the second phase of Telefonica's 3G rollout.
The happier partner will be Siemens. The company is new to the operator   and was not part either of the 2G network or of the 1,100 base station rollout made in 2003.
Telefonica has progressed through the roll call of equipment vendors in the search for suppliers. Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola were all initially retained in 2000, whilst Ericsson and Nortel were tasked with the initial rollout in 2001, with Nortel supplying the radio infrastructure and Ericsson everything else. Now, for the push to the finish, as up to 8,000 base stations are installed in a â‚-1 billion programme up to 2006, Siemens has joined the roster.
A Siemens spokesperson was unwilling to comment on project details, but said the company was delighted to win the deal.
Siemens is also taking UMTS into central and Eastern Europe, having been named as supplier to two T-Mobile subsidiaries --- T-Mobile Czech Republic and Poland's Polska Telefonica Cyfrowa.
The deals are Siemens' first and second in Eastern Europe. In the Czech Republic Siemens will deliver radio and switching equipment and in Poland will be turnkey network supplier.
l Greek operator Telestet has launched the country's first commercial W-CDMA network, offering services in four areas, including Athens. The network is built on RAN and core network equipment provided by Nokia after an agreement between the two parties announced in April 2003.

Telia is discontinuing the entrance fee and flat monthly rate its GPRS enterprise customers in Sweden.

Business customers will instead pay for the amount of data they send or receive, with prices starting at 3.2 ore per kB. The rate decreases as usage increases.
Telia is discontinuing the earlier price variants of an entrance fee and flat monthly rate as it found it was proving to be a threshold for users when they started using mobile Internet services.
"The previous pricing system made it difficult for our enterprise customers to choose the type of subscription. With the new model, it will be easier for them to get an overview of their costs and we believe more companies will now start to use the mobile Internet," says Erik Heilborn, head of the Business Segment at TeliaSonera Sweden.
With the new pricing model for Telia Mobile Online Work, a normal sized e-mail message, without attachments, will cost about SEK0.10 to send.  This would result in a monthly charge of about SEK32 for 1Mb of data, after which the traffic fee would decrease so that users would pay SEK24/Mb for up to 5Mb of data and SEK16/Mb for up to 25 Mb. Users sending more than 25Mb of data per month would pay SEK 12.80/Mb.

There were several winners and perhaps only one clear loser in the mobile device market over the final quarter of 2003, according to figures from market research firm Canalys.

HP will be best pleased with the result, seeing sales of its iPaq giving it clear leadership of the data centric handheld market. Sales for the quarter were up 167% on the previous year, with 406,420 sold across EMEA.
Palm will be most disappointed with the results, witnessing a 19% drop in year on year sales, and dropping to under 25% market share, against HP's 32.9% share,
There was good news for Nokia, too, as it continued to dominate the smartphone and feature phone market, as defined by Canalys. But Canalys also credited "latecomer" Motorola with "reasonable" first quarter shipments of its MPx200, and Siemens for "finally" getting its SX1 to market. SonyEricsson's P900 is an improvement on the P800, but it is Nokia which is "unrivalled" in this market, analyst Rachel Lashford said.
Corporate spending was also responsible for a boost in volume for both HP and Nokia, Lashford added.
"As enterprise spending on mobile device solutions grows, smart phone vendors will also want a piece of the action," said analyst Rachel Lashford. "Nokia continues to add to its range, and enjoyed a large initial ship out of the Nokia 6600 this quarter --- its most 'corporate' smart phone handset to date."
Senior analyst Chris Jones said that the availability of GPS navigation bundles was making a big difference, and was hurting Palm and Sony, two  vendors without such bundles.
"In some countries, Germany being a prime example, major retailers are now insisting on navigation solutions in preference to standalone handhelds, and the leading vendors are taking advantage of this. Vendors without navigation bundles will find it harder to get shelf space --- Palm and Sony have some catching up to do in this area. It will become more and more difficult to sell such devices purely on the basis of personal information management. Low end handhelds are competing with smart phones offering a similar level of functionality; high end models must offer other benefits to justify their higher price points," Jones said.
Microsoft was quick to hail the results as a success for Windows Mobile, claiming that the figures represented a "shift by the customer towards the Windows Mobile software".
 But the report's authors had good words for Symbian too, as Nokia is set to take the OS further into the enterprise market.
"We expect Nokia to target the corporate mobility solutions segment very hard this year, and the Symbian OS is now reaching the shipment levels needed to make it a contender in the enterprise," Lashford said.
l IDC released its own figures for sales of handheld devices globally, which again showed HP to have done well in a market that decreased overall in the face of strong competition from feature rich mobile phones.
"With a growing number of vendors and products that combine both personal information management (PIM) capability and telephony, consumers are moving away from devices that offer only PIM capability. HP and palmOne enjoyed particular success during the holiday buying season by offering handheld devices with features beyond PIM that cannot be found in a mobile phone," said David Linsalata, analyst in IDC's Mobile Devices programme. "Vendors must continue to differentiate and expand into hot product categories."

Visitors to 3GSM will be made very aware that someone somewhere in the world will very soon become the one billionth GSM subscriber.

By the end of 2003, there were 970 million GSM users, according to the GSM Association, and with on average 15 million joining a month, the billionth user is not far away. The GSM Association would love the number to be breached during or shortly before the 3GSM Congress, which starts on 23 February, as it is planning several events to mark the milestone.
180 million new GSM customers signed up in 2003, with 42 million of those coming from Europe.
Russian operators alone added a combined 16 million users between them.
The largest number of additions came, not surprisingly, in China, where GSM operators signed up 42.8 million customers.

Racal Instruments Wireless Solutions (RIWS) has launched the 6401 AIME/CT ISHO, a system that tests the intersystem handover (ISHO) capability of mobile handsets. 

The system combines the 2/2.5G test capabilities of  RIWS' 6103 GPRS AIME with its 3G protocol test system, the 6401 AIME/CT. RIWS describes the capability to test intersystem handover as a major milestone for the industry in building confidence in the performance of 3G networks and handsets.
 Phil Medd, RIWS product manager for the 3G UE Protocol Test System said, "Intersystem handover has emerged as an issue since there is only a limited number of certified (119 out of 390) 3G test cases, most of which relate to basic operational features of network and system.
Medd said that the testing of calls in the 2G to 3G direction had so far been given low priority.
"The sheer volume is a problem. As such there has been very little work undertaken on areas such as intersystem handover, resulting in poor performance, such as dropped calls. The launch of our intersystem handover test platform gives manufacturers the confidence to deploy handsets," he added.

A new company is being launched at 3GSM, offering a different way to integrate, validate and deploy software for mobile handsets. Open-Plug is launching FlexibleWare Suite for software developers, chipset and handset makers and operators. 

The suite applies to both standard code and JAVA, and consists of the FlexibleWaretools and the FlexibleWare framework (a small embedded engine running on the phone). The SDK supports proprietary API's as well as Open APIs (Linux/Java).  The Suite turns any type of software at  code level into isolated executable components, which then run on the phone framework.

French content licensing and management company Wonderphone says it is currently talking to 50 operators about providing mobile video packages.

Spokesperson Marta Thongsavarn said that T-Mobile had stolen a march on the market by launching its TV for mobile service on GPRS, and that Wonderphone had been approached by a multitude of operator looking to implement similar services.
"Everything is going very fast," Thongsavarn said, "There is huge demand because video is right in the middle of operators' strategy right now."
Former French television executive Philip Plaisance, founder of the company, has secured the rights to a million short video clips, as well as exclusive rights to Vivendi Universal Games' licences
Wonderphone says it has signed up SFR for its services, but cannot name other operators as yet. The package includes an architecture to help deliver video clips and games to mobiles, including a multi-format, bandwidth and handset transcoding capability.
"The content provider delivers all data, MPEGs and so on to us and we transcode everything and carry out post production to manage the technical requirements," Thongsavarn said. "For example in Sweden an operator wanted eight minute clips but in France the requirement was for two minute clips. Then we also provide all content animation and deal with all the marketing to refresh and improve content. It's like a TV channel on your mobile," she added.
Operators can fit the platform within their existing brands, such as Vodafone Live!, Thongsavarn claimed. In the case of SFR, the operator has outsourced all sourcing, licensing and billing for video content to Wonderphone in an exclusive deal. Thongsavarn predicted there would be a rash of announcements in March as operators played catch up on T-Mobile and its GPRS TV for mobile announcement.

Who is Kodiak Networks? Mobile Europe was asked by a representative of one of the mobile industry's biggest vendors of push-to-talk equipment after Orange launched its TalkNow service, surprising many in the industry with its choice of technology provider. Keith Dyer set out to get some answers.

In launching the first "international" push-to-talk service, and the first cellular push-to-talk service in Europe, Orange has not chosen any of the major vendors currently getting excited about the technology. Not Motorola, with its experience in the USA, nor Nokia, with its efforts to push forward under the Push to Talk over Cellular (PoC) standard. Instead Orange has chosen a system from new player Kodiak Networks.
A few facts about Kodiak. First, the company is not part of the prevailing orthodoxy of PoC providers, who are grouping around the nascent PoC standard. PoC players include Motorola, Nokia, Siemens and Ericsson. Kodiak's biggest difference is that it uses the voice channel to provide PTT, rather than running over GPRS data channels. For establishing presence, the system uses SMS, rather than SIP, with phones automatically sending and receiving low payload SMSs. Calls are managed through Kodiak's Real-Time Exchange (RTX), a switch which sits above the transport layer of a network, interconnecting with multiple MSCs. Kodiak says this gives it big benefits to do with latency, quality of service and speed of call set up.
So who, or what, is Kodiak? Well the best explanation comes from ceo and founder himself, Craig Farrill.
Farrill is well-known to the mobile industry. He has stints as a former cto of Vodafone under his belt, designed D2's network in Germany and also knows CDMA inside out after senior development roles with AirTouch and PacTel. Farrill himself says, "Those that know me think of me as 'the CDMA guy.'"
Also on the management team is Kris Patel, who lead the development of Motorola's iDEN network technology in the 1990s. This, of course, gives Kodiak a rather large insight into the inner workings of the technology behind their main rival in the push-to-talk market.
Kodiak has been around as an entity since 2001, operating in what Farrill terms "stealth mode". Currently Farrill claims to have NDAs signed with 20 operators, including some European players, who are testing or trialling the technology. The company has CMDA and GSM compliant push-to-talk systems and is backed by venture capitalists behind some of the biggest names in networking.
"Financially we're in good shape --- despite what Nokia says about us," says Farrill, displaying some touchiness about being regarded as a start-up.
Farrill is bullish in the extreme on the need for more advanced voice services, and the ability of his company to meet that need.
"It's time for a renaissance in voice. And the most important thing to be added is PTT, allowing the ability for conferencing, messaging and talk," he says.
To illustrate the value to operators of a push-to-talk system, Farrill cites Nextel's experience in the US. Nextel, of course, offers customers a direct connect service on top of its cellular services, and, Farrill claims, the lifetime value of a customer to the network is twice the industry average. Churn is also at about half the industry average. Push-to-talk generates 50% more voice minutes than cellular telephony, and with more than two people on a call, more call legs mean more revenue.
So the value of PTT is established, Farrill says, but Kodiak can help customers do it even better.
The reason for this is using the voice channel rather than a voice over IP (VoIP) session. The Kodiak pitch is that VoIP sessions have three second latencies, and a two second "chirp wait"  as packets are segmented, re-assembled and multiplexed. Kodiak offers "real time voice volleys at 150 milliseconds "wait". The effect of the latency means a VoIP call is 2.7 times longer than the Kodiak version
Farrill also claims that the Kodiak system offers a host of functionality that will not be offered by GPRS VoIP services. These include providing quality of service on a shared channel, as well as the ability to upgrade the call to a full duplex call (ie a normal cellular call) and bill for it. Kodiak's system also allows operators to bill on a per leg, per call basis. Kodiak even allows for PTT roaming, both on an operator's group assets, as Orange is offering, and onto other networks.
It's quite a list, but Kodiak faces two main problems. The first is that it is virtually a lone player versus the prevailing orthodoxy of the PoC standard. Ericsson, Motorola, Siemens and Nokia are all pushing the PoC specification through the Open Mobile Alliance, and have specified PoC services on the 3GPP's IP Multimedia Subsystem requirements.
The second is about handsets. Getting the Kodiak client onto handsets manufactured by providers of competing infrastructure technology is  not going to be easy.
For Farrill they are two related points.
"The three essentials for operators  are handsets, billing and reliability. For handsets we have a partnership agreement with Handspring for its Treo600 [GSM] and a CDMA phone with Kyocera. Our software can go into existing phones as a software download, at point of sale or be embedded into the phones themselves.
"The other guys are developing a standard but their intention is to lock people into their handsets. Motorola, Nokia and Siemens are developing a "standard", leaving the rest of us on the outside. It's just another way of controlling the market."
Indeed Farrill claims that the standard will not ensure interoperability between equipment and that the only way of "betting on reliability" today is to use the voice channel.
In any case, Farrill can now point to the Orange contract. He claims that Orange will have Kodiak-enabled 12 handsets by the end of the year. After that he says Orange is going to "put Kodiak in every phone" which may come as a surprise to the handset vendors.
Despite a reluctance among vendors to see their phones equipped with client technology allowing users to take advantage of rival infrastructure, Farrill claims that he wants to "sell through all these guys...I'd rather OEM through them than fight them in the market."

T-Mobile added a total of 7.1million customers globally during 2003, the operator said, with almost half of that number being accounted for by T-Mobile USA. There was also a strong contribution to customer numbers from UK MVNO Virgin Mobile with whom the operator has finally settled outstanding legal action.

The operator added roughly the same number of customers as in 2002, giving it an overall total of 61 million customers,
In Europe, the operator's home market proved as important as ever, with 705,000 additions (441,000 contract) in the fourth quarter taking total numbers up to 26.3 million, an increase of 1.7 million customers over the year. 
In the UK it was slightly different story. Although the operator reported an overall increase of 1.2 million customers in 2003, an increase of 9.7% on the 2002 figure, much of this was accounted for by MVNO Virgin Mobile, which balanced the effect of T-Mobile's "extensive streamlining" of its direct UK customer base in 2003.
Virgin added 1.26 million customers itself during 2003, with 506,448 of them joining in the final, Christmas, quarter. Virgin Mobile had 3,644,795 customers at the end of 2003. T-Mobile UK had 13.6 million in total, including the Virgin numbers.
In the Netherlands there was a 13.2% increase in subscribers to just over two million customers, whilst in the Czech republic 400,000 people joined the operator, taking the total to just under four million. T-Mobile Austria showed flat numbers at around two million.
It was in the USA where most headway was made. Despite the high level of churn, T-Mobile USA increased  customers by 51.5% compared with the previous quarter to 1.02 million customers. Throughout all of 2003, the number of customers increased by over 3.2 million to over 13.1 million.

T-Mobile, Virgin Group and Virgin Mobile have settled all outstanding litigation, and established new agreements, including an enhanced telecoms supply agreement running for a minimum 10 years.

Virgin is also acquiring T-Mobile's stake in Virgin Mobile, although T-Mobile will have the right to receive 25% of any value over £550 million, up to a maximum payment of £100 million, in the event of any future sale or float of Virgin Mobile, within the next two and half years.
The settlement also includes the end of the monthly marketing support contribution paid by T-Mobile. Virgin Mobile will also be able to receive inbound, as well as outbound, call revenues
Brian McBride, managing director of T-Mobile UK, said, "This is a great deal for T-Mobile, for Virgin and for Virgin Mobile. It provides substantial benefits for all parties. It's also been a pleasure dealing with the Virgin team.
"Any disagreements of the past are well and truly behind us, and we all look forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship."
Tom Alexander, chief executive of Virgin Mobile, said, "This is a new era for Virgin Mobile, one in which it will continue to thrive and prosper through its re-energised network partner and simpler corporate structure. We are delighted to have found a way forward which suits all parties, consigning the distractions of the past to history."

mPower, Mobilitec's leading software product selected by the largest operating group in Europe; Mobilitec's mPower already successfully deployed in seven Vodafone live! countries

Mobilitec Inc, a global provider of integrated software products that enable mobile service delivery, today announced that Vodafone(TM) has selected Mobilitec to enable the flexible and secure wireless download of Java applications.  Mobilitec's mPower product has already been successfully deployed in a number of Vodafone live! countries including Australia, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy and New Zealand. 

Mobilitec's mPower provides the necessary functionality to enable the download of Java games as part the highly successful Vodafone live! service. The relationship between Mobilitec and Vodafone(TM) ensures proven, carrier-grade software, easy implementation and support for any device, network and protocol.  The solution offers flexibility and agility to adapt to emerging standards and functionality.  Through its leading mPower product, Mobilitec is enabling Vodafone(TM) to implement key components for generating revenue and driving data usage through its Vodafone live! offering.

Lee Fenton, Director Global Platforms, at Vodafone Global Products and Services said, "This agreement with Mobilitec enables our customers to seamlessly download Java applications as part of our Vodafone live! offering. We have already successfully deployed the solution in a number of Vodafone live! countries.."

"Our relationship with Vodafone(tm) is testament to Mobilitec's leading position in the market as the provider of the most compelling best-of-breed suite of software enabling mobile service delivery," said Margaret Norton, CEO and President of Mobilitec.  "Vodafone(TM) has been able to quickly and cost-effectively launch a secure, reliable and scalable standards-based suite of integrated products that provide the key component in generating revenue and increasing data usage."