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 www.telecom-valley.fr.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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