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.

The consolidated financial summary for Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB (Sony Ericsson) for the second quarter ended June 30, 2005 has been announced.

Units shipped in the quarter reached 11.8 million, a 14% increase compared to the same period last year and a 26% increase sequentially. Sales for the quarter were Euro 1,614 million, representing a year-on-year increase of 7%. Income before taxes was Euro 87 million and net income was Euro 75 million, which represents a year-on-year decrease of Euro 26 million and Euro 14 million respectively, reflecting continued investment in R&D.

Sony Ericsson gained momentum and market share during the quarter as new products started shipping.  The higher unit shipments reflected the broadening of the product portfolio to appeal to a wider range of price segments in the market.  Average Selling Price (ASP) remained stable in line with expectation. The global handset market grew faster than expected during the quarter, primarily because of increased demand in the lower price segments in both mature and emerging markets.  Sony Ericsson has upgraded its global market outlook for 2005 to over 720 million units.

"Sony Ericsson is pleased to report a solid second quarter which saw the company gaining momentum as new products began to ship, and the increased investment in product portfolio expansion over the past year started to bear fruit.  New phones announced in Q1, such as the 2 megapixel, auto-focus K750 camera phone, the K600 mid-tier UMTS 3G phone, and the K300, an affordable camera phone, were well received by consumers and started to make a good contribution during the quarter.  We are also excited to be the first to bring a complete music proposition to market with the new Walkman phone, that will start shipping shortly", said Miles Flint, President of Sony Ericsson.

During the second quarter, Sony Ericsson announced a number of new phones including its second Walkman phone (W600), a mid-tier stylish compact clam-shell (Z520) and an affordably priced stick phone aimed at Asia and Eastern Europe (J210).  In Japan, the W31S, a CDMA 1X EV-DO music phone for KDDI, started shipping and has been selling very well.

FT.com secured as first customer 

Volantis, the leading supplier of Intelligent Content Adaptation solutions for the mobile Internet, has announced the launch of i-mode Express for O2, a service to help content providers deploy mobile services on O2’s upcoming i-mode platform, scheduled to launch in the UK and Ireland later this year and in Germany next spring.

i-mode Express builds on Volantis’ extensive experience of deploying i-mode services for major brands in France, Spain and Benelux. The service is available immediately for brands wanting to deliver mobile services on O2’s i-mode platform. FT.com is the first customer to sign up for the new package.

i-mode is the world’s most popular mobile Internet platform with 45 million users worldwide. Unlike any other service in the UK, i-mode will deliver the nearest thing to true Internet access through mobile devices – enabling users to access independent web-based resources owned and managed by content providers, not the network operator. This combination of power and flexibility for users and new business model for content providers will make i-mode an important and vibrant new mobile technology for the UK.

Grahame Riddell, Head of i-mode Marketing for O2 UK, said: “We are pleased to be working with Volantis to offer its i-mode Express service to our content providers. The company is world class at delivering powerful and compelling
i-mode solutions across Europe for some of the biggest brands. This service will help our content providers to deploy better and faster services for i-mode when we launch later this year.”

Deploying i-mode services presents significant opportunities for content providers. However, in order to realise these benefits content providers need to understand some of the fundamental differences in developing for i-mode rather than traditional WAP sites.

Some of these differences include:

i-mode has a much richer user interface with stringent style guidelines. For example, i-mode pages typically are composed of multiple colours, font styles and emojiis (special characters pre-built into the handsets) and must adhere to a defined page layout structure and page size to ensure sites are fast and intuitive. These guidelines ensure that customers can enjoy the same quality of service whatever i-mode handset they are using, something not currently offered by WAP.

An enhanced Java implementation gives provider’s more control over applications, and more space to work in. In Japan, i-mode applications can now use 500k from Java memory, allowing content providers to publish applications equivalent to Playstation1 games.

Billing is subscription-based rather than ‘pay per event’ and requires every content provider to maintain a sophisticated user database which automatically reconciles with the operator.

i-mode provides for the first time the same security encryption as the fixed Internet for creating secure transactional sites, ideal for things like banking.
The i-mode browser provides automatic go-back functions, full application access to standby screens and live two-way communications with servers to keep users engaged.

i-mode does not use the usual mark up languages but is based on c-html and therefore is a language accessible to any developer with web experience.

Steven Trew, Head of Mobile Services for the FT, said: “Volantis has delivered FT.com’s successful mobile service for quite some time. With their experience of building and deploying large i-mode sites for big brands in other countries, it was an easy decision to ask Volantis to extend our mobile service to i-mode on O2.”

Ian Meakin, VP Marketing, Volantis, concluded: “With our proven experience and deployments, we understand the significant nuances that i-mode presents and have the proven technology, services and templates that make i-mode deployments relatively simple for organisations that are new to it. O2 i-mode is an exciting proposition for consumers and we can help content providers quickly establish a presence on this platform.”

Link and Morse announce mobileATM

LINK, the operators of the UK cash machine network, and Morse Plc, today announced that mobileATM(tm), their jointly developed mobile banking service, is currently being integrated into a number of UK banks and building societies. The service will be available to consumers before the end of 2005.

mobileATM will provide consumers with real-time, on-demand access to their personal financial information on their mobile handset. It delivers a convenient money management tool on the move, allowing banking transactions, such as balance enquiries and mobile top-ups, to be performed.  The service
has also been designed to replicate the simple interface of an ATM on the mobile handset ensuring a very familiar consumer experience.

To use the service, consumers need only download an application onto their phone. This can be done quickly and easily by sending a text message to a short code or by calling into their local Carphone Warehouse store. As with online banking, once registered and authenticated, consumers will have access to their accounts - wherever they are.

Alastair Lukies, mobileATM(tm) commented: "The launch of the mobileATM service is an important step in the evolution of electronic banking and is designed with consumer convenience in mind.  The ATM is the most common interface used to  access banking services worldwide.  In order to make sure
that many people benefit from this service we have simply replicated this user experience on the mobile handset."

Richard Kimber, chief executive, First Direct said: "First Direct customers were the first to enjoy text message services back in 1999, following our earlier innovations in telephone and internet banking. We see mobileATM as a further way of extending choice and convenience for our customers".

Tim Yates, chief marketing officer, Vodafone UK said: "Mobile phones are becoming more and more central to our customers' lives - not just for calls and texts, but also for music, games, information and news. Our customers want to top up in a way that's convenient for them. With the increasing
popularity of ATM top ups, it's natural for us to extend this service to the customer's mobile phone."

Kevin Gillan, group director of business development, Carphone Warehouse added: "This launch is an excellent example of how consumers are shaping the future of service provision.  The mobile phone is increasingly the way that
consumers are choosing to receive and manage information, whether that be the latest cricket score or their work e-mail.   The launch of mobileATM is the natural progression of this trend."

Karl Shields, LINK, commented: "This launch gives consumers far greater control of their money, delivering a personal finance tool that literally slips into your pocket. As the operator of the world's busiest ATM network, LINK's unrivalled  experience of providing 'always on' secure mass market
electronic banking services for the consumer will be key in the acceptance of mobileATM. The 'plug and play' functionality will provide all LINK Members regardless of size with the opportunity to participate in the mobileATM initiative, in turn driving mass market take up and positioning the UK at the forefront of this emerging industry."
 
mobileATM also offers an additional level of security to online banking services.  Using its banking grade encryption technology, customers at the point of access to their bank's online service will be able to generate a one-off authentication code via mobileATM.  This removes the threat of ssword theft occurring through 'phishing' or trojan attacks since codes are changed on a use-by-use basis.

Professor Fred Piper, director of information security group, Royal HollowayUniversity of London, pointed out: 'Security in all banking channels is of paramount importance and mobileATM have demonstrated that they take security
very seriously. We have just completed an in-depth security risk assessment of their current service and are impressed with their security specification.  mobileATM has excellent potential for helping to secure internet banking with their two-factor authentication system."

Duncan McIntyre, chief executive of Morse, commented on the launch: "mobileATM is the conclusion of two and a half years of intensive development, leveraging the very high level of technology expertise we have at Morse.

"It is an example of our successful intellectual property development, broadening the range of services we offer and helping us ensure we are well aced to take advantage of opportunities in the emerging mobile commerce market.

"Bringing this solution to market is an important first step for our joint venture with LINK and we look forward to its continued success as we roll out this solution in the UK and, over time, into other geographic markets."

Music phone has TTPCom protocol stack and Intel processor

TTPCom, the leading independent supplier of digital wireless technology, today announces the first volume shipment of handsets to result from its collaboration with Intel. The first phones, launched this month in O2 shops in the UK are based on TTPCom's industry leading protocol stack and Intel’s advanced 2.5 G cellular platform. The handset, called the O2 XM, is a GSM/ GPRS dedicated music device, which includes MP3, 1.3mega pixel camera, progressive download and Java capability.

Ian Clarke, Head of Devices at O2 comments: "We are delighted to launch the O2 XM – our high quality music phone – which takes full advantage of the powerful combination of TTPCom’s industry-leading protocol stack and Intel’s high performance processor technology. We have previously launched many O2 products that use the TTPCom protocol stack – this latest implementation in the O2 XM is the proof that TTPCom’s multi-platform strategy is now a reality.”

Richard Walker, director of TTPCom's software business unit adds: "We strongly believe in delivering choice and efficiency to the industry. This latest handset shipment demonstrates that our warranted software is now also proven on Intel chipsets. Our philosophy, to offer the same proven protocol software across multiple platforms, enables operators to reduce the burden of interoperability testing whilst maintaining diversity of supply.”

Point-of-interface bi-directional amplifiers for 800 and 900MHz

Wireless technology group, Radio Frequency Systems (RFS) has launched two new band-selective bi-directional amplifiers designed for the 800 MHz and 900 MHz frequency bands. The compact I-BSA800-1 and I-BSA900-1 amplifiers feature finely adjustable frequency bandwidth selectivity via a unique PC-based configuration software tool. The uplink/downlink frequency ranges supported are 824-849 MHz/869-894 MHz and 890-915 MHz/935-960 MHz respectively for the I-BSA800-1 and I-BSA900-1.

“As the new I-BSAs are sub-band selective they are the ideal complements to RFS’s broadband I-BDA bi-directional amplifier family,” said Stefan Lehmann, RFS Area Product Manager Wireless Distributed Communication Systems. Separate gain adjustment for uplink and downlink is achievable while maintaining the same power output in both directions. As a result, the I-BSA is the ideal point-of-interface (POI) for in-building systems founded on external antennas.
 
According to Lehmann, the I-BSAs have been designed to receive and re-transmit signals derived from antennas outside a building, and amplify only the selected bands for in-building distribution. With the RFS I-BSA series providing the building’s primary POI amplification and band selection, localized signal amplification can be provided throughout the building using RFS’s broadband I-BDA units. “Whether you have a strong or weak link from outside the building, regardless of what’s behind the amplifier, the RFS I-BSAs provide a great deal of flexibility in planning and system set-up,” said Lehmann.
 
For the European and Asian markets, the I-BSA900-1 has been specifically designed for global system for mobile communications (GSM) in the 900 MHz band. Similarly, for the American and Asian networks, the I-BSA800-1 is tailored to suit services in the cellular 800 MHz band (code division multiple access (CDMA), time division multiple access (TDMA) and the analogue advanced mobile phone standard (AMPS)).
 
Allowing precision adjustments, the I-BSA800-1 and I-BSA900-1 feature variable frequency bandwidth selection from 0.03 MHz to 25 MHz, and 0.2 MHz to 25 MHz, respectively. “Such fine-tuning is possible just by connecting a laptop to the device,” said Lehmann. The user-friendly programming software--which allows authorized access only, for reasons of security and asset management--provides the ability to configure the I-BSA’s frequency bandwidth, amplification and gain. Uplink and downlink gain is adjustable in 2 dB steps between 20 and 60 dB, while output power is 22 dBm (in both uplink and downlink) at maximum gain.

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