Coding Technologies, a provider of audio compression technologies for mobile music, together with Telenor and Groove Mobile, has integrated its aacPlus audio codec into Telenor's full track mobile music download service.

After being selected by 3GPP for  audio content delivery, aacPlus has recently been integrated into Groove Mobile's latest mobile music player software, which builds the platform for Telenor's service offerings.

Mobile music services are regarded as a main driver for data revenues. Coding Technologies says that aacPlus further caters to this by  minimising network traffic and maximising audio quality.

 "Adopting aacPlus enables us to make a deeper music catalogue available to our customers," said Adam Sexton, vp marketing and product management, Groove Mobile. "Together, we are broadening and expanding the mobile music market by allowing consumers to discover new music on their mobile handsets.

"Mobile Music download services are highly innovative, and we are extremely pleased to have Telenor and Groove Mobile in the boat," said Oliver Kunz, vice president strategic marketing Coding Technologies. "People want one device to carry with them, playing any song, at any time, at any place, in high audio quality. This is exactly what our partners provide to their customers."

In-Fusio  has launched a mobile Media Access Portal --- 'mMAP' --- aimed at existing and new entrants to the mobile content and entertainment market.

Downloadable over the air or pre-loaded) mMAP allows the presentation and management of a wide variety of mobile entertainment content onto mobile phones.

mMAP, will be marketed as a 'white label' managed service provider solution to organisations (IP licensors, consumer brands, mobile operators, handset manufacturers and media companies) that wish to manage their own branded mobile entertainment portal.

Key features of the service include:  custom skins to ignite the end-user experience; content demos; contests, surveys and polls; the ability to automatically push updates and news;  the management of 'client-side' content remotely and OTA updates; assignation of access rights; the possibility to adapt to any new MIDP2.0 (Java) handset;  mobile coupons and banners.

Commenting on the launch, Marc Lefour EVP Player Services, In-Fusio, said, "mMAP has been conceived as a complete end-to-end solution, created to promote and sell wireless content and services through a downloadable user-friendly interface. Combined with our expertise in outsourced managed services, it overcomes one of the main hurdles in our industry: easy access for anyone to the most varied content."

The growing threat of wireless broadband technologies to "traditional" cellular and fixed operators has been highlighted in Europe by developments in Finland and  the Czech Republic.

In Finland, the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications granted an operating license to Digita Oy to build out a mobile broadband communications networks based on FLASH-OFDM in the 450MHz spectrum.

In the Czech Republic T-Mobile said it would launch a wireless broadband network based on UMTS TDD technology from IPWireless in Prague by the year-end, with nationwide coverage to be built during consequent months.

Flarion Technologies and Siemens Communications which will jointly supply and install the flash OFDM network in Finland, commended Finnish government's decision. In total, five of the seven operators who applied for the new 450MHz license proposed FLASH-OFDM as their preferred technology. Digita, who will be a network operator only and will lease capacity on equal terms to all operators, have announced that they will initially focus on providing coverage to those sparsely populated areas that need broadband the most urgently.

"Facing the big cell size in 450 MHz bands especially, FLASH-OFDM offers an outstanding spectral efficiency and scalability in rural areas. With latency of only 50 milliseconds and an air interface for enterprise-class IP services the system is very well suited for enterprise or interactive mobile broadband applications", said Christoph Caselitz, President of Mobile Networks at Siemens Communications.

The Digita network will offer a  broadband solution bridging the "digital divide" between urban and rural areas and providing high-speed data access for a multitude of IP-based services such as Internet access, video-streaming, teleconferencing, remote learning/ education an telemedicine, supporting the government's policy of equitable access to information and communication services.

"Finland has been a principal advocate in mobile communications for over 25 years," says Michael Gallagher, president of Flarion Technologies. "With the selection of FLASH-OFDM for mobile broadband, Finland has again demonstrated its vision and leadership in Europe."

Julien Grivolas, Analyst at Ovum, said, "This is a significant milestone for Flarion as it is the first commercial win for its Flash-OFDM technology. Even though Flarion's solution was intensively tested world-wide, by Nextel in the USA, T-Mobile in the Netherlands and Vodafone KK in Japan, there was no commercial agreements until yesterday. The proprietary nature of the technology seems to be too large an issue for the established mobile operators.

"In contrast, the 450 MHz band appears to be a good opportunity for Flarion. Many European countries intend to reallocate their 450 MHz bands, which had been occupied by analogue mobile telephony. In October 2004, Flarion announced a significant OEM partnership with Siemens to address the 450MHz market. However, Flarion's Flash-OFDM faces competition from the CDMA450 EV-DO technology, heavily pushed by Qualcomm and already deployed in Czech Republic (Eurotel Praha) and in Romania (Zapp Mobile) for instance.

omania (Zapp Mobile) for instance.
"This makes Flarion's success in Finland all the more encouraging, as it tries to grab contracts in newly-realocated 450MHz bands. Germany presents an opportunity, as it has already awarded two licenses, but has yet to decide on the technology."

Czechs to get TDD

Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic , T-Mobile announced that it would launch a wireless broadband network, based on UMTS TDD technology from IPWireless in Prague, by the year-end,  with nationwide coverage to be built during consequent months.

The Czech market has one of the lowest broadband penetration rates in Central Europe but increasing computer penetration has  only whetted the appetite for true broadband services, which currently reaches only 2%of the Czech population while the EU average is around 10 per cent.

"Today we announce a major step in our strategy based on customers´ wishes --- we commit ourselves to broadband data as the second business focus area," said Roland Mahler, Managing Director of T-Mobile CZ, at the launch.

"We firmly believe the wireless broadband technology will provide all fixed network services and the strategy will clearly give T-Mobile a further boost on its way to being the number one operator in the Czech Republic."

T-Mobile aims to maximise the value of its acquired UMTS license by using UMTS TDD technology operating in its "unpaired" 1.9 GHz UMTS spectrum. It will be, at launch, the world's fastest commercial UMTS network, capable of delivering peak sector speeds of up to 4.5 Mbps (average user experience runs to 512 Kbps), according to IP Wireless.

T-Mobile also plans to extend its wireless broadband footprint in the  first phase lasting until summer 2006 to cover nearly half of the Czech population by leveraging the same UMTS TDD technology in the 872 MHz spectrum that it recently acquired.  .

T-Mobile Czech Republic will also continue to upgrade its existing 2.5G GPRS network to EDGE, as well as the next generation of UMTS FDD technology (HSDPA/HSUPA) "as soon as it has proven to be a stable and viable commercial offering".

3, the UK’s first video mobile network, today announces a partnership with EMI Music UK, the major record label, to supply full-length audio tracks directly to over 3 million customers on the 3 network.

3’s customers will be able to access all the artists that EMI Music UK has mobile rights for, which includes tracks from Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue, Coldplay, Jamelia, Joss Stone and Norah Jones. 

The agreement will enable customers to enjoy new releases on EMI Music UK’s labels which include EMI Records, Parlophone, Relentless, Virgin as well as back catalogue material.  The hottest and freshest 100 EMI Music UK’s tracks will be available to customers to download in either WMA or AAC format depending on their handset. 

This announcement builds on 3’s music offering which includes full-length videos from Sony BMG and music videos from independent label artists through VidZone.  3 was the first mobile network to launch full-length music videos over mobile in August 2004 and has since recorded a number of firsts including a world first with Robbie Williams launch of his single “Misunderstood”on the 3 network ahead of TV and radio.  Natasha Bedingfield and Rooster have also had concerts streamed live to 3’s customers

Bob Fuller, Chief Executive of 3 UK, comments: “3 is leading the way in developing the exciting opportunities of 3G mobile technology. Music is one of our most popular services and through this deal our customers will be able to enjoy the very latest audio tracks from top artists like Kylie, Robbie and Coldplay.”

Dave Gould, Commercial Manager, Digital Media for EMI Music UK, comments: “We’re delighted to bring EMI Music UK’s labels to 3.  3 is a leading network in bringing mobile music to their customers and we’re really excited about the possibilities of putting more great music into the hands of millions of mobile users.”

Ollila to step down as ceo end of May 2006

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo appointed President and COO of Nokia Corporation as of October 1, 2005, and President and CEO effective June 1, 2006
Jorma Ollila continues as Chairman and CEO until June 1, 2006, and it is proposed he continue as Non-Executive Chairman from that date
Current president Pekka Ala-Pietilä resigns from Nokia on February 1, 2006

Nokia, which recently produced mixed second quarter results, has announced that long-serving ceo Jorma Ollila will step upstairs to a non-executive chairmanship in June 2006. Pekka Ala-Pietilä will be replaced as president in October 2005 by Ollo-Pekka Kallasvuo, who will also assume the role of coo on that date. Kallasvuo will add Ollila's ceo responsibilities to his portfolio in June 2006.

Kallasvuo is a previous chief financial officer at Nokia, and has been heading up the mobile phones division recently. Ollila, 54, has been ceo for 13 years, and has recently been expected to announce a succession. Many in Finland have tipped a political career for the man who has lead its most important company for so long. Al-Pietila has left to pursue "personal interests" according to a statement fro Nokia.

Paul Collins, Vice Chairman of the Nokia Board, said, "The Nokia Board has had in place a succession process in anticipation of Jorma Ollila's retirement with the objective of maintaining vitality, adapting to a rapidly evolving industry, and ensuring continuity. The Board is convinced that Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, with his strong industry credentials and over 20 years of experience at Nokia, will provide the required leadership for the Company in the future."
"The Board also expresses its sincere thanks to Pekka Ala-Pietilä for his years of commitment, contribution, and leadership, as he has decided to leave Nokia and take on new challenges."

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said,  "It is a privilege to be offered this position. Nokia is a dynamic company in a fast-changing and fluid environment. I look forward to working together with our team to help Nokia shape the future of mobile communications at a pivotal time for the industry. Together we will continue to create great products and solutions that will delight our customers." 

Kallasvuo is known as a fluent communicator, and had been given the crucial mobile phone division to run as it faced price pressures and increased competition from newer market entrants and operators intent on wresting brand control.

Nokia will hope this phased succession will create an ordered environment, although there are often reservations from the markets when a ceo is seen to stay on during a handover period.

Opera Telecom, the international mobile services company, has launched its 3G video platform enabling media brands, broadcasters and content providers, to deliver video-based services to 3G subscribers. The platform is available as an off-the-shelf solution, providing pre-defined video channels, content, branding and billing. Additionally, customers can develop own-brand channels incorporating their own live streaming or pre-recorded content.

Opera Telecom’s 3G video platform enables live video streaming,  downloadable streamed content, interactive dating, video chat rooms, video call centres and video mail and messaging. Video services are available to all video-enabled 3G handsets.

Gary Corbett, Managing Director of Opera Telecom, comments, “With the mobile phone playing an increasingly important role in the way mobile users enjoy entertainment, the 3G video platform is a great way to create user interactivity. Every channel will have various video applications including live webcams, video chat, live chat and archives of old material for users to download. Products will also be available for viewers to purchase and collect.”

3G Video billing is facilitated by Video Shortcodes that, similar to Premium Rate IVR, bill customers either on a per minute or a one-off “drop charge” basis. Video shortcode tariffs range from zero-rated to £5. UK Networks that currently support Video Shortcodes include Three, Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile.

Opera Telecom will be integrating its 3G Video platform as part of its core Dragon platform. The Dragon platform is an advanced, self-service mobile platform that provides Opera customers the ability to create and launch complex IVR, SMS and MMS marketing campaigns.

Opera Telecom has developed a number of pre-defined video channels aimed at a wide range of audiences. Portable Hollywood, produced by Cinema Electric, airs exclusively on mobile phones with new shows daily. The channel highlights the hottest celebrities, latest movies, parties, music, DVDs and bizarre happenings in Hollywood, including exclusive interviews, behind the scenes features and red carpet footage.

Teen Spirit channel includes extreme sport and indie music videos from US cable channel havoc TV.  havoc also features regular releases from larger acts such as Chemical Brothers, Scissor Sisters, Fat Boy Slim, Basement Jaxx, and Erasure.

Corbett concludes, “With our announcement of the 3G video platform we can now offer a powerful 3G service that can help deliver a stronger availability of entertainment services to 3G mobile users.”

Vodafone today announces that it has joined the Java Verified Program, a program to provide a unified process for the testing and certification of Java(tm) technology-based applications for mobile handsets. In joining the program Vodafone becomes the first mobile operator to become a Platinum member in the initiative.

The Java Verified Program is fast becoming the standard for mobile Java application testing since its launch in February 2004 by Motorola, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Siemens and Sun Microsystems. The program provides developers with the most effective way to test, promote and distribute mobile content to global end-users and subscribers. Developers whose applications successfully pass Java Verified testing can choose to participate in the marketing and distribution program offered by Vodafone.

Guy Laurence, Global Terminals and Consumer Marketing Director, Vodafone Group, said, "Vodafone has already stated its commitment to reducing fragmentation in the mobile content value chain. Our advocacy of the Java Verified Program further demonstrates t at commitment by helping
lead the industry towards a standard approach to testing. A single testing process ensures that developers can now more easily reach out to the millions of Vodafone live! customers worldwide, with significantly reduced time-to-market.

"Vodafone will also bring to the Java Verified Program a considerable experience in certification as an operator, and will work closely with Sun Microsystems and the other members of the program to ensure evolution of testing standards in line with the growth and needs of the industry going forward."

"We have entered a new era of participation on the network.  2005 marks the year that worldwide mobile phone deployments officially surpass the total worldwide installation of both PCs and fixed-line phones - and it will only expand from here," said Jonathan Schwartz, President and COO
at Sun Microsystems. "Vodafone brings a wealth of experience to the Java Verified Program, and their active participation with Sun and its partners in this initiative helps the entire mobile communications ecosystem monetize the enormous growth in the wireless market."

Vodafone is confident that the market is mature enough to migrate from previous certification methods and beginning 25th July 2005, will require all new mobile Java applications distributed over Vodafone live! to be successfully tested under the Java Verified Program. By defining common criteria for content testing, the Java Verified Program provides
developers with the most effective way to test, promote, and distribute mobile content to global end-users and subscribers.

External Links

Java Verified Program

HSL launches ‘MobileInput’

HSL (Hay Systems Ltd), a provider of SMS gateway services, today announced the first of a new suite of SS7 mobile messaging products. This first product, named MobileInput, provides “virtual mobile” functionality for the receiving of inbound SMS messages from mobile telephones by applications for a range of different services.

MobileInput will be extremely attractive to many providers of mobile messaging services, including wireless service providers and mobile network operators, as a solution for enhancing inbound messaging performance.  Mark Hay, Managing and Technical Director at HSL is quoted as saying: “Each MobileInput node provides the means to receive high volumes of inbound mobile-to-application messages for uses such as voting, asset tracking, consumer response, information retrieval and competitions. A single MobileInput node can handle up to 300 SMS per second, and the product is scalable, with the option to add further MobileInput nodes to handle higher volumes of inbound SMS traffic.  Inbound MT SMS and MO SMS, with shortcodes and regular mobile numbers, are both supported using the MobileInput product.”

Built using high quality SS7 signalling hardware and SMSC software developed by HSL’s telecommunications software engineering team, MobileInput is a true carrier-class product. 

External Links

Hay Systems Ltd

Evolving Systems, a provider of software solutions and services to the wireless, wireline and IP carrier market, today announced that Swisscom Mobile, the leading mobile communications provider in Switzerland, has deployed Evolving Systems' Tertio service activation solution to support its mobile services.

Swisscom Mobile selected the Tertio solution to replace its legacy activation system and support the rollout of new services to more than 4 million subscribers.

The Tertio solution is a service activation application that addresses and anticipates the varying needs of today's carriers. The scaleable, high performance activation system provisions voice, data and multimedia services across different network technologies. The Tertio solution improves time-to-market, minimizes operational costs and enhances overall quality of service (QoS). Swisscom Mobile is also using Tertio Activation Designer, a configuration tool that simplifies the development of complex provisioning rules.

"We want to offer our customers even more services, more quality and overall a more enriching experience with their mobile devices. That means we need the flexibility to be able to launch new bundles of services quickly, accurately and efficiently," said Malek Ait, project manager at Swisscom Mobile. "We chose the Tertio solution based on its advanced capabilities and Evolving Systems' experience with wireless operators."

Stephen Gartside, president and CEO of Evolving Systems, commented, "The variety of new services available to mobile subscribers today puts additional pressure on operators' back office systems. Evolving Systems' expertise and experience in service activation has helped us anticipate the challenges of delivering voice, data and multimedia services and develop the Tertio solution to meet those needs."

Swisscom Mobile is part owned by Vodafone Group, and is one of a number of operators within the Vodafone group using Evolving Systems' solutions for activating new services.

Leading position reinforced for 3rd generation mobile networks; MultiMedia Research Institute confirms over 30 percent market share for Siemens/NEC; Five years of successful 3G partnership

In their latest study, the market researchers at the MultiMedia Research Institute affirm Siemens/NEC's No. 1 market position in the field of 3G/WCDMA: over 30 percent of 3G base stations (Node Bs) used commercially worldwide by mobile providers are from Siemens and NEC (source: Worldwide W-CDMA Cellular Base Station Market Report, Tokyo 2005). On top of this success, Siemens and NEC will continue their 3G success story and partnership in the years to come.

"The top position in the 3G market is the best evidence of the success of our partner-ship with NEC. The joint team is doing an excellent work", said Christoph Caselitz, President of Mobile Networks at Siemens Communications. 90 percent of all 3G mobile customers worldwide are already using W-CDMA-based technology from Siemens and NEC.

The partnership between Siemens and NEC began over five years ago. In November 1999, both companies founded a joint venture to jointly develop and produce infrastruc-ture technology for third generation mobile communication. Siemens and NEC have collaboratively and successfully established global supply chain management and struc-ture. The companies started supplying their first 3G Node Bs outside Japan in Decem-ber 2001 and supplied the first commercial service of Hutchison 3G group in the UK and Italy.

Both companies have also greatly contributed to Node B standardization activity in the Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI), and introduced the worlds first CPRI-compliant Node B NB-88x series in November 2004.

"By combining our experience and expertise in the field of 3G five years ago, we were able to develop, produce and market the new technology much more efficiently right from the start, including a HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) end-to-end solution, one of the first to be available on the market. This gives us clear advantages as far as market entry and maturity are concerned", said Takakuni Kuki, Executive General Manager of Mobile Network Operations Unit at NEC.

Against this background, Siemens and NEC are now embarking on the next major steps: the extension of their 3G/WCDMA/HSDPA solution towards HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access). Furthermore, the partners are joining forces to push the long-term evolution of 3G in the respective international bodies.