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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.

In an attempt to increase their credibility in the business market both T-Mobile and Orange have launched new business services but have chosen to do so by targeting very different market segments. T-Mobile launched a mobile email and web browser service supported by a range of terminals aimed at the SoHo market, while Orange took a combined voice and data offering to the corporate market for the first time.

T-Mobile is now offering a service which enables users to access existing Internet-based POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) or IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) email accounts such as hotmail, via a Blackberry, Ericsson P800 or Nokia 3650 or 7650 device. T-Mobile is attempting to drive business take-up and, according to T-Mobile's Rob Price, "As T-Mobile's strength has traditionally been in the consumer market, the SoHo segment is a natural fit. It has a good alignment."
However, to address this market segment properly, T-Mobile has had to ensure that it the service is not priced out of the market and that it is easy to set up. Price explained that to create the market, the service would be priced at UKP10 per month for unlimited use until the end of October and thereafter at the same monthly fee for 6Mbytes which roughly equates to 1500 emails. Furthermore, the compression techniques integrated into the new Blackberry which has been supplied on an exclusive basis to T-Mobile until October, mean that the same number can be sent using only 3MB.
On the configuration side, all devices should be set up with the user's email address in store but new addresses (up to a total of 10) can be added easily by following the on-screen instructions. There is no requirement for the user to know complicated POP3 or SMTP setting as all this is taken care of over-the-air.
At the other end of the business user scale, Orange is claiming an industry first by combining voice and data in a single offering. The new offering called Orange Link Voice and Data, and created in conjunction with Cisco, automatically allocates the required bandwidth to each of the services used --- voice, data and SMS over a dedicated link into the corporate and therefore, is the first to offer true flexibility to the corporate market, according to Orange.
Typically, the traffic splits down to around 50% for voice, 30% for data and 20% for SMS, but, according to Jason Ellis product manager, Orange Business Solutions, other services "Don't react to users' behaviour. Customers are given a list of services and the bandwidth given is fixed and stays fixed." 
Orange Link Voice and Data creates flexibility and automatically allocates bandwidth according to the require-ments and as a result is both more efficient and provides future proofing as the system will automatically respond to changes in the traffic balance --- such as the expected growth in data usage.
This functionality is provided by Cisco IP router equipment located in both the corporate's and Orange's core networks.  The installation costs UKP3000 while the voice connection costs UKP7500 and each data connection UKP1500. However,  according to Ellis "It is worth putting traffic onto a single bearer even if it's just on a financial basis...and if you use more than once service from Orange then users will benefit substantially." He further claimed, "We have moved the perceived cost of entry for data down."
A vote of confidence for Orange's capability in the enterprise space came from Paul Di Leo, worldwide director, Mobility Technology & Solutions, Cisco Systems who stated that he, "No longer sees Orange as a cellular operator but rather as a mobility operator. Orange is deepening its relationship with the enterprise." For Orange, Alastair Macleod, customer development director, Orange Business Solutions  put great value in the relationship with Cisco claiming that, 'it says a lot about where Orange has reached in the business market that Orange can work with a market leader in data such as Cisco."

The long awaited E112 legislation which dictates that all mobile operators have to provide location information to the emergency services across the European Union, has now been ratified.

After much wrangling, the document demands that the location is derived using methods that are considered 'technically feasible.' In other words, Cell ID. It draws back from defining a specific accuracy as has happened in the US but it does at least get Europe started on the route to deploying emergency location information systems. 
Johan Othelius, area vice president, Location Based Services EMEA, Openwave welcomed the development and remarked that, "Worries about the technology and its capabilities have created confusion and forced timings and implementation to be put back...Getting some information is better than nothing and to add specific accuracy requirements on top would have been too much at this time."
According to research results presented by the UK regulator Oftel to the Coordination Group on Access to Location Information for Emergency Services at the end of 2001, 60% of all mobile phone callers to the emergency services are unable to give their exact location.
The European Union further states that over 50% of the 80 million bone fide emergency calls made in Europe are from mobile phones. Given that mobile penetration rates have continued to rise, particularly amongst children, the need for some form of independent location indentification mechanism can only be more pressing.
Indeed, the EU's own research indicates that making the location of a mobile caller available to the emergency services could lead to an additional 5000 lives being saved which correlates to financial savings of over â‚-5billion a year in medical and social costs.
Operators will need to install a location gateway (if they haven't already) to support this vital but non-money-making service. However, according to Othelius there are revenue opportun-ities attached.
"Operators are looking at wholesale type opportunities for location information. To do this you have to build a layer between the gateway and the applications, such as Openwave's Location Studio, which protects the user who has to give permission for their location to be sold on." Another possible opportunity Othelius identifies is as a marketing tool. Emergency use is often cited as the primary reason for buying a mobile phone and, Othelius stated, "By improving support for the emergency services in Europe, a 5-7% increase in penetration is possible and this goes straight to the bottom line."

3G Lab has launched two Trigenix Stores. Based on the company's customisable user interface solution, Trigenix, the Stores provide ready-to-go solutions for mobile operators. For example, the Service Store refers to an area of the mobile phone's user interface that draws together the existing data services and gives customers a one click access to them.

According to 3G Lab's ceo Steve Ives, "The Trigenix Stores make it simple for operators to rapidly roll out exciting new branded services, helping them to drive service adoption and revenue growth."
The  concept may be most familiar as Vodafone Live! but that is not Trigenix based and Ives believes that Trigenix has the edge over the technology used by Vodafone. "Vodafone Live is static and relies on specific terminals" he said. "With Trigenix, the operator can change the look and feel over-the-air on any Series 60 terminal. We're attempting to leap frog Vodafone Live and offer operators a choice of hundreds of UIs, not just one.  We don't want to imitate Vodafone Live, we want to go one better."
The advantage 3G Lab can bring to the market, Ives believes, is one of speed.  He explains, "Vodafone had a very long lead time. It took a year to get Live into the handsets and six months for customer feedback, the Trigenix integration cycle is more like three months."
Ives refers to Trigenix as a 'surface user interface.' It is actually a UI software layer which is managed over-the-air by a Trigenix server located in the operator's network. The client  can be loaded at the point of sale or downloaded over-the-air, meaning that operators can control the look and feel of a terminal after it has been sold. Ives explained the impact this could have, "Getting control of the UI is a key area with a lot of pressure building."
He is referring to the growing conflict between operators and terminal manufacturers over the UI. Operators obviously want control to ensure their services work effectively but the UI has been a traditional point of differentiation amongst terminal manufacturers.  What the Trigenix solution does is allow an operator to add its piece without having to fight the terminal manufacturer head on for control.
To date, T-Mobile is the largest mobile operator to be announced as a Trigenix customer,  and the company is also in negotiations with 'one of the top four' handset manufacturers  to have the client embedded in the device. Trigenix is only available for Series 60 terminals at the moment but versions for other OS variants are in the pipeline.

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."