Siemens has signed an exclusive contract with Airbus to jointly develop a solution for the use of in-flight communication via GSM. Siemens will provide the technology, while Airbus will take charge of its integration in the existing electronics systems. In addition, Airbus will be responsible for marketing the new solution to the airlines and for maintenance. The commercial launch of this new
customer service is planned for mid 2006. This means Airbus will now be able to offer the customers of the airlines full-time availability while in the air.

A decisive factor in Airbus's choice of Siemens as its partner in implementing this interesting service was the expertise of the company in realizing complex projects and innovative,
customer-oriented technologies. With the integration of GSM, airline passengers will in future be able to use their own mobile devices for in-flight phone calls or Internet surfing. During business flights in particular, but on private journeys too, continuous availability is a decisive quality factor for many passengers.

The GSM solution is implemented via a Siemens nano-GSM/GPRS base station on the airplane attached behind the ceiling panel, which allows reception for a mobile phone,
PC or organizer from any seat on the plane. The Siemens nano-GSM base station is the smallest and lightest base station in the world. The product is based on IP and is linked to the terrestrial GSM mobile network with the aid of satellite technology.

An important prerequisite for implementing the solution is the integration of channel selector technology. This technology prevents the end devices from establishing contact with terrestrial networks and hence interfering with the avionics. It therefore ensures that radio communication from the airplane is conducted solely via satellite. The new solution will be modular in structure so that it can be expanded to accommodate more GSM capacity and other technologies such as WLAN.

"Being able to use their mobile phones onboard aircraft has long been the wish of many passengers who often travel on business flights and depend on mobile communication
solutions", explained Christoph Caselitz, President of the business segment Mobile Networks at Siemens Communications. "We at Siemens are working hard on mobile
enterprise solutions that carriers and service providers can make available to their customers through wireless  technology. The partnership between Siemens and Airbus will
ensure that this modern service is up and running soon and will open up new sources of revenue for the airlines."

Siemens Communications and Proximus (Belgacom Mobile), Belgium’s largest mobile operator, have just extended their cooperation for the development of Proximus’ network in the long term: Siemens will handle the modernisation and evolution of the operator’s core network towards a release 4 systems  rchitecture,
the latest network architecture standard, allowing optimal  organization of network traffic.

In a first step, Proximus will introduce the Siemens High-performance PowerMSC (Mobile Switching Center). This will enable Proximus to reduce the current number of network
elements. This consolidation will result in substantial operational cost savings for Proximus. In a next step, Proximus will migrate its existing Home Location Register (HLR) base towards Siemens’ next generation HLR innovation platform. The HLR base is the database that contains all the subscriber details, such as phone numbers, accompanying services and the current location. Currently, this base is switch-based. The new platform is server-based: updates or product innovations can be carried out in as short as one night. Similarly, queries e.g. about the usage of foreign mobile networks, will only take a few seconds to be answered. The new system will provide Proximus with superior capabilities for service provisioning and improved customer care support.

In the final implementation phase, Proximus will introduce Siemens’ next generation, ATCA-based media gateway to complete the step-change to a full release 4 architecture.
In this architecture, the existing PowerMSC will evolve to full fletched MSC Servers, centrally handling call control, whereas the actual traffic is handled decentralized by the state-of-the-art ATCA mobile media gateways. In this way, Proximus is taking the first giant step towards benefiting from voice and data network convergence synergies, which are currently creating exciting, new opportunities for hybrid multimedia services.

Besides its innovative products, Siemens will also deliver added value services for installation and commissioning, integration and migration as well as for project management
and support. Laurent Claus, CTO of Proximus said: "Our aim is to maintain leadership in network quality and services in Belgium. And that is precisely why a trusted partner like Siemens - which thinks along with us and which wants to continue innovating - is so crucial for us."

Christoph Caselitz, President of the Mobile Networks division at Siemens Communications, said: “We have been a major supplier of Proximus since the very first day of their operations, back in 1994. We are very pleased that Proximus has acknowledged that we share the same vision on how the core network is set to evolve over the next few years.”

Crescendo Ventures led the round with Atlas Venture, TLcom Capital Partners and TTP Ventures all participating

Cognima, the effortless mobile imaging company, today announced it has closed a $12m funding round. The round was led by Crescendo Ventures. All of Cognima's current investors, Atlas Venture, TLcom Capital Partners and TTP Ventures, also participated.

280 million camera-phones are forecast* to be sold in 2005 (source: Future Image 2004 Mobile Imaging Report) with newer camera-phones having multi-megapixel resolution. These devices will account for the vast majority of digital images captured, but most of these photos remain stuck on the phone. Cognima enables camera-phone users to upload their photos and video clips effortlessly into online albums from where they can be shared and printed. This unlocks the phenomenal potential of camera-phones and enables Mobile Imaging industry players to create significant revenues from this market.

"Crescendo is delighted to lead this investment round in Cognima," said Ian Jenks, General Partner of Crescendo Ventures. "Cognima's technology is uniquely able to transfer photos and videos on and off mobile phones in a completely non-intrusive and totally reliable way, with just a single key press. The technology was designed to deal with the adverse real-world conditions of moving data over mobile networks whilst making the consumer experience effortless."

 "This funding round will enable Cognima to build on its current commercial traction and seize a global leadership position within the mobile imaging industry," said Mark Bole, CEO of Cognima.

Cognima licenses its technology to service providers in the Mobile Imaging industry: primarily mobile network operators and online photo portals. Cognima's core value proposition is revolutionising the consumer experience for moving images between camera-phones and online photo albums. For mobile network operators, this drives a substantial increase in data traffic, and therefore ARPU, as consumers transfer their photos and video clips over the mobile network. Online photo portals benefit from capturing a much greater share of the images taken on camera phones, driving revenues from photo prints and advertising.

Anite Telecoms today announced the commercial launch of its first HSDPA test case package. The product, now being shipped to customers, is the result of Anite's continuous collaboration with the world's leading wireless operators and developers, and demonstrates its commitment to offering the best service possible to its customers.

Anite already offers over two years' HSDPA testing experience, and has provided customers with the necessary expertise to assist them in their development of HSDPA-enabled handsets. The 10 test cases now available include tests for RRC (Radio Resource Control) and conformance testing of the MAC (Medium Access Control) protocol layer. Testing of this functionality is of critical importance to handset manufacturers.

Furthermore, customers' test system investment is protected as these HSDPA test cases can be executed on Anite's revolutionary SAT(A)UE multiple-technology testing platform. With no upgrade required, customers are provided with an integrated, flexible testing solution. The SAT(A)UE hardware also supports intersystem handover tests for HSDPA.

Richard Bellairs, Product Marketing Manager at Anite Telecoms commented: "By working closely with operators and developers on HSDPA over the years, we are now in a strong position to provide our customers with the best service as early in the development cycle as possible. Anite continues to support customers through HSDPA design validation and now conformance testing. The launch of HSDPA test cases will essentially ensure customers are provided with the appropriate equipment in preparation for the consumer launch of HSDPA-enabled handsets in early 2006."

By Keith Dyer, Edtor, Mobile Europe

Nokia has reacted to a ruling from the International Chamber of Commerce’s Court of Arbitration by saying it may not pay up royalties that the Panel said are due to InterDigital Communications.

InterDigital and Nokia have been in dispute since 2003 over the royalties due to Interdigital for technology in Nokias 2G and 3G handsets and infrastructure.

On Friday 1 July the ICC's Court of Arbritration ruled, in a two to one majority decision of the arbiters, that Nokia owes Interdigital $112 million for the period from January 2002 through to December 2003. Interdigital says that by the terms of this award, Nokia will also owe up to $140 million for the period from January 2004 to December 2006, dependent on Nokia's sales volumes.

But now Nokia has said it is not convinced that the award is enforceable, and has told Mobile Europe that InterDigital's decision to pursue enforcement of the decision in the US District Court for the Southern district of new York is "premature".

The dispute also affects Samsung, which is in negotiation over license payments with InterDigital. InterDigital is likely to set its sights on a similar deal with Samsung, which is due to have its case heard in arbitration in October 2005.

Meanwhile, Nokia's view is that the dissent of the third arbitrator, who "raised significant issues regarding the enforceability of the decision" gives it a case to either modify the decision or even strike it out altogether.

Riita Marb, a Nokia spokesperson, said that her company was "evaluating all the options", one of which would be for the company simply to refuse to pay the royalties.

"The process is a set process, she said, in which through negotiations and discussions held in good faith there is the possibility to modify or vacate the award. It's premature, and a precipitous move, to talk about enforcing payment before that process."

Marb also said that InterDigital's estimates of future payments likely to fall due were also "premature until this decision has been enforced and discussed".

InterDigital is having none of that, however, and Janet Point, senior director of investor relations, told Mobile Europe , "We think there is a fairly straightforward way to interpret the agreement, and so have filed an action to enforce the decision."

"We couldn't speak for their [Nokia's] interpretation," she said, but we have gone through it and believe it is straightforward and will take action to enforce the binding decision of the Arbitrators."

The dispute relates to a patent licensing agreement originally made in 1999, which has fallen into two basic periods. The first, up until the end of 2001, saw Nokia pay $31.5 million to InterDigital. But in March 2003 InterDigital made a deal to license to technology to Ericsson and to SonyEricsson. Under the terms of its deal with Nokia, any agreement InterDigital made with other companies would also affect the terms of the Nokia agreement, going forward from that point. Nokia was unhappy with InterDigital's evaluation of Nokias payments and in July 2003 started proceedings which ended up in the Arbitration's award last Friday, 1 July.

In fact, the Panel's award was less than half that which InterDigital had set, which pleased Nokia. The difference in estimates, Janet Point said, came about because of the difference in Nokia's market position between the time of the Ericsson and SonyEricsson deals and now.

To place awards of $112 million and up to $140 million in context - InterDigital Communications Corporation turned over $103.7 million in 2004, reporting a net income of $100,000.  It will have an evidentiary hearing about a license dispute with Samsung, in which the Korean company is also asserting its favoured licensee status, in October 2005. Samsung's case is likely to be bound up with the Nokia decision, as InterDigital itself acknowledges.

40 staff join Ericsson Global Services business

Ericsson has announced the acquisition of the Swedish company Teleca OSS, with around 40 employees, specialized in systems
integration in the area of telecom management.

Ericsson's systems integration offering supports network operators in creating, managing and evolving new consumer service offerings. It is a strategic area in the Ericsson Global Services portfolio and the acquisition of the Swedish company Teleca OSS reinforces Ericsson's focus on growing its services business.

Teleca OSS, a subsidiary to the Swedish company Teleca, has a strong track record of supplying service assurance, network management and operator charging solutions. They provide operators with the necessary tools to improve the quality of their services toward consumers. Teleca OSS customers are mainly large network operators in the Nordic and Baltic region. Around 40 employees will be transferred from Teleca OSS to Ericsson's market unit for the Nordic and Baltic region.

Johan Wibergh, Head of Market Unit Nordic & Baltic, Ericsson, said: "Systems integration is a strategic area for Ericsson. I am pleased to announce this acquisition that will further strengthen our ability to support our customers in offering attractive consumer services in a fast and efficient way. Teleca OSS's skills and experience fits perfectly with our competence and our leading systems integration offering."

First digital mobile TV trial in partnership with Nokia and Abertis Telecom

Abertis Telecom, Nokia and Telefónica Móviles España are starting a mobile TV pilot using Digital Video Boadcasting-Handheld (DVB-H) technology. The project, which is backed by major regional and local channels, is first of its kind to take place in Spain. The pilot is a result of the convergence of mobile communications and TV broadcasting technologies. The pilot will take place in Madrid and Barcelona between September 2005 and February 2006, coinciding with the closing ceremony of the GSM World Congress 2006 in Barcelona.

500 users from Madrid and Barcelona will be able to watch high quality broadcast TV content from Antena 3, Sogecable, Telecinco, Telemadrid, TVE and TV3 on Nokia 7710 smartphones equipped with a special accessory to receive mobile TV broadcasts. With a wide color touch-screen (640 x 320 píxels) and stereo music player, users will also have the opportunity to take part in program related interactive services while watching TV.
 
The first technical pilots prior to the actual consumer pilot will start in June 2005. The consumer pilot will allow the three companies to test the feasibility of DVB-H technology and new mobile TV services. It will also be a chance to assess new business opportunities as well as refine the user experience. The pilot will assist in possible market research that would enable Abertis Telecom, Nokia and Telefónica Móviles to measure public interest in mobile TV services. Another important objective is to test the quality of the signal and broadcast in- and outdoors, in order to determine the best technical parameters for the viability of DVB-H based services.
 
Under the terms of the agreement, Telefónica Móviles is responsible for customer support, invoicing and interactive services. Abertis Telecom will broadcast the programs in Madrid and Barcelona and are also handling any technical issues with DVB-H signal. Nokia will provide the Mobile TV solution and smartphones that will be used for the pilot.

Martin Dawes Systems says Q1 profits up 100%

Martin Dawes Systems, provider of CRM and billing solutions to telecom operators and resellers, has announced strong growth for Q1 2005, with revenues increasing by over 50 per cent compared with the comparable period last year coupled with a significant increase in profitability. 

The growth in demand for its CRM, billing solutions and  services has spurred Martin Dawes Systems to recruit 40 new employees in the Warrington and Limerick areas, with further expansion already planned.  Managing Director Dewi Thomas says that the new appointments will be focused on continuing
Martin Dawes Systems' momentum in the market through further enouncements to its billing analysis tool, Analyser, and a continuing roll-out of its Virtual Network Enabler (VNE) service powered by dise3G.

"Analyser is proving to be successful with the market as the need for billing and cost analysis becomes more important to corporates," commented Dewi Thomas, managing director. "

The emergence of MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) is also a key factor in Martin Dawes Systems' increasing success.  The company's enabler (VNE) service offers the system infrastructure and back office expertise to help companies, typically with strong brands but limited telecoms
experience, to enter new communications markets without having to invest in costly IT systems and support staff. 

Thomas explains, "As a fomer MVNO ourselves, the company has huge technical and operational expertise in bringing communications services to market. The VNE service portfolio takes away many of the day-to-day demands of managing the back office and allows MVNOs to concentrate on their core
business of promoting and selling their branded services.  The dise3G solution is already used by a number of the major operators in the UK, including O2, Vodafone and Opal Telecom (a subsidiary of Carphone Warehouse), and the market as a whole is increasingly recognising the operational benefits that our end-to-end solution delivers."

In a joint letter to European political leaders, the CEOs of Alcatel, Ericsson, Nokia, Philips and Siemens, together with EICTA, the European industry body, have called on politicians to promote innovation, employment and investment ahead of the European Parliament's vote this week on the proposed Directive on the Patentability of Computer Implemented Inventions.

They have warned heads of state that amendments to the Directive proposed by the European Parliament risk negatively impacting on Europe's digital technology industry, employment in Europe and investment in research and development (R&D) for the technologies of the future.

In the letter, they call for a balanced legal framework to ensure that Europe remains a competitive region for high value R&D. They also highlight the importance they attach to the ability to patent computer implemented inventions.

Read the full text of the letter below.

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