Give it to us, say European customers

Results of the first European survey to gauge consumer demand for personalised ringback tones reveal they may be the next‘must have’ application for phone users.  Predicted to be a major revenue earner for both network operators and the music  industry, personalised ringback tones allow phone users to  replace the standard ringing sound heard before the call connects with music, comedy or movie clips.

The survey published today by Alatto Technologies shows 37%
of all consumers aged 15-49 would subscribe to the new service. Interest was highest among the 15-24 age bracket with 68% of those willing to pay, prepared to part with between 50 cent and 2 Euro to personalise their handsets.  Content type was also examined in detail. ‘TV and movie themes’ was the most popular overall choice (60%) however pop music (88%) and rock (83%) were most in favour with the youth market. The service was slightly more popular with males (53%) than with females (47%).

“The data suggests ringback tones will be as popular in Europe as they have been in Asia,” said John Whelan, Head of Research at Alatto Technologies. ‘Certainly interest in our solution, vConnect™ has been very strong.  We expect to see network operators in Europe continue to launch throughout the Summer and anticipate the service will be available in Ireland before Christmas.’

SK Telecom who launched ringback tones in Korea in April 2002 has 8 Million subscribers generating more than €9 Million in new revenue each month. In Europe, T Mobil was the first operator to launch in December 2003.  It claims to have more than half a million customers using their “CallerTunes” service www.callertunes.t-mobile.co.uk/ in Germany, the UK and the Czech Republic. And just last week Swedish operator COMVIQ / TELE2 launched their ring back service "ringuppsignaler". www.comviq.se/comviqgolive/

Adam Zawel, Director of Wireless/Mobile Enterprise & Commerce at The Yankee Group welcomed the findings and said "This data confirms the Yankee Group’s opinions on the broad potential of ring back tones. Appetite for the service is not limited to Asia. If European and American carriers can
introduce the services like Alatto's correctly, a significant portion of the population will pay for the service.”

Alatto Technologies are providers of a complete RingBack Tone solution known as vConnect to network operators in Europe. The unique solution from Alatto leverages existing network assets to generate a rapid ROI of typically less
than six months. vConnect includes content management, multiple subscribers, and self-service channels together with innovative service configuration options.

‘If you do the numbers this is set to become a billion euro industry in Europe,’ Alatto’s John Whelan continued.  ‘In the same way we were all taken by surprise by the rapid adoption and commercial success of SMS, the network operators, music content owners and software vendors have an opportunity to
capitalise on the ring back tone phenomenon within the next six months.”

External Links

Alatto Technologies

Opens office in Madrid

THQ Wireless, a leading publisher of Java mobile games and a subsidiary of video game publisher, THQ  Inc, announces the opening of the company's first office in Southern Europe and the appointment of a new territory manager. 

Lionel Maestri has been appointed Territory Manager for THQ Wireless in Southern Europe.  He will head up the new Madrid office, which will provide THQ Wireless with a centre from which to direct and manage activities throughout Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Greece. 

Mr. Maestri has nine years experience in the mobile industry, four of these having been spent specialising in mobile entertainment.  Prior to joining THQ Wireless, Lionel Maestri held a business development role for In-Fusio.  He has also worked for RealTime, a Danish company offering messaging, gaming and multimedia services, and was in charge of Gemplus' mobile business unit for Spain and Portugal.

Commenting on THQ Wireless' move into Southern Europe, Adam Comiskey, General Manager (EMEA) said:  "Lionel has outstanding experience in the mobile sector which will prove important to us as we seek to expand our presence in this region.  He will be responsible for building the business throughout existing THQ Wireless distributors as well as developing new relationships with telecommunications companies, media organisations and handset manufacturers."

External Links

THQ Wireless

Spectrum trading and liberalisation will facilitate introduction of new services and promote innovation; without measures  innovation may move outside Europe

The European Commission (EC) should promote the introduction of both spectrum trading and liberalisation through the use of appropriate binding measures on Member States, according to a major study carried out for the EC between September 2003 and May 2004 by Analysys Consulting Ltd, DotEcon Ltd and Hogan &
Hartson LLP.

"Services derived from radio spectrum are of great economic and social value to Europe, and there are substantial benefits to European citizens from ensuring that spectrum is used efficiently to deploy services of thegreatest benefit to them," says Amit Nagpal, senior consultant at Analysys Consulting. "The combination of trading and liberalisation will facilitate
the introduction of new services and promote innovation. It will also remove the barriers to market entry created by blocks of frequencies being reserved for particular uses, and promote competition in the supply of
spectrum-derived services."

The final report of the 'Study on conditions and options for introducing secondary trading of radio spectrum in the European Community', published by the EC on 25 May 2004, also recommends that many of the details of how spectrum trading is actually implemented should be managed by individual Member States, providing that national spectrum management frameworks have certain generic features.

The report states that, in general, benefits from spectrum trading would greatly outweigh the costs associated with trading and liberalisation, although there are certain uses of spectrum (e.g. certain global 'safety of life' services) where trading or liberalisation would not be appropriate.


According to the study, many of the benefits would accrue locally to the country introducing the policy, but there would also be spill-over benefits for other states. In particular, the co-ordinated introduction of trading and liberalisation across Europe is likely to encourage innovation by giving ready access to radio spectrum for new applications on a pan-European scale.

"Without measures to promote trading and liberalisation, innovative activity may move outside Europe to other trading blocks where the spectrum needed to gain access to large markets can be obtained more quickly," warns Amit Nagpal. " This might cause delays in the introduction of new services in
Europe, causing substantial losses in economic welfare for European citizens."

The study team also identified certain aspects of the frameworks for spectrum trading that would benefit from a co-ordinated approach across Europe, in order to promote efficiency (especially innovation), and minimise the cost of implementation and trading. These aspects include, for example, elements of the specification of spectrum usage rights and obligations, the minimum set of information that parties to a spectrum trade must disclose, and approaches to the protection of competition.

Co-ordination of these aspects of trading and liberalisation across Europe would not reduce the ability of Member States to take account of local circumstances. Even if European countries had similar frameworks for spectrum trading, this does not necessarily entail similar outcomes in terms of the assignment and use of spectrum, if there are local variations in demand.

The objectives of the study were to identify the options available to Member States for implementing spectrum trading and consider whether there would be benefits from co-ordinating the approaches taken by countries across Europe. The study also included an extensive awareness-raising and consultation process with spectrum management authorities, spectrum users and other stakeholders. Trading refers to the transfer of spectrum usage rights between parties in a secondary market and liberalisation refers to the relaxation of restrictions on the services and technologies associated with spectrum usage rights.

The full report, and a short summary of its findings, can be downloaded from the Commission's website at the link below. It is also possible to register for an EC workshop on 15 July, where the study team will present their conclusions.

External Links

Full Report

Antenova signs a research partnership with Maruwa to create a
consolidated RF module with a fully integrated antenna

The innovative antenna company Antenova moves in to the realms of RF modules with a new co-operative research agreement with Maruwa, based in Japan. The partnership will speed up the design and creation of a consolidated RF module, which will have an antenna fully integrated. The module will be developed to offer multiple antennas, an increased performance with a greater efficiency, and enable the receiving device to have a longer battery life.

Under the terms of this agreement Maruwa, a market leader in ceramic technology will share their knowledge of Low Temperature Co-Fired Ceramic (LTCC) production processes and Antenova will design the antenna utilising its High Dielectric Antenna (HDA) technology to specified chipsets for manufacture as a complete module.

The market is driving towards greater levels of integration as devices are getting smaller and PCB real-estate is in greater demand as more and more components are added to devices.  The antenna is a logical component to integrate as OEMs are looking to speed up the design cycles, make savings on Bills of Materials (BoM) as well as space while achieving increased performance.  All of these will help to ensure that the product gets to market quicker, ahead of strong competition.

LTCC is a mechanism by which layers of silver or other metals are printed onto ceramic substrates to form passive  components and the layers are then stacked and fired to form a very durable end product. The key advantage of this technology is that by being able to use multiple layers, lots of different components can be fitted into a very small area and then compounded to form a single device. Coupling this
technology with Antenova's HDA antennas, which have good resistance to detuning, means that other components can be placed close to the antenna and will have minimal interference.  Other benefits of HDA technology include high efficiency, small size and good isolation.

"We are very pleased about the new developments we have made in our technology enabling us to advance the company into this new exciting direction. We are extremely happy to be announcing this partnership with Maruwa, a market leader in ceramic technology. There is a great synergy between the technologies and I believe this is the start of a very profitable relationship", says Greg McCray, CEO of Antenova.

"We have been very impressed with Antenova's technology and continual innovation; their drive and determination to succeed. We are very delighted to be part of this, by combining our efforts to bring to market a truly leading-edge product. This product will cement our expansion into new markets and really increase our presence in the celluar and WLAN market", says Kazunari Kawabata, Senior Managing
Director of Maruwa.

External Links

Antenova

The Global UMTS TDD Alliance announced today at the WCA Conference that a set of new operators and vendors, including LG Electronics, have joined the organization, increasing its roster to more than 40 operators and vendors in less than four months since the group’s inception. 

“In addition to bringing together our members to learn and share knowledge, one of the main goals of the Global UMTS TDD Alliance is to educate media, analysts, and the public about the benefits of UMTS TDD.  A standards-based technology that is available now, UMTS TDD offers the fastest and highest capacity mobile platform in the world today, and has been commercially deployed on five continents to great subscriber response,” said Derek Kerton, Director, Global UMTS TDD Alliance.  “With our membership expanded to 40 leading operators and vendors, it is clear that interest in next generation wireless broadband in general and UMTS TDD in particular has never been higher.”

New Members
Launched at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes in February 2004, the Global UMTS TDD Alliance has grown to include 25 operators and 15 equipment manufacturers and vendors.

New operators Caribbean Hub (Grenada), Cats-net (Tanzania), Cedarcom (Lebanon), Douala1 (Cameroon), EmilNet (Mozambique), Excelcomm (Indonesia), Showers (Nigeria), NGTel (Nigeria), Telecentra (Latvia) and Vimplecom (Russia) join founding members including Airdata (Germany), AtlasOne (Malaysia), IPMobile (Japan), IQ Networks (Australia), Kite Networks (US), Mobicom (Mongolia), Net2Cell (Ireland), NextWave Telecom (US), Sentech (South Africa), Softbank BB (Japan), SonaeCom/Clix (Portugal), Aksoran (Kazakhstan), and Woosh Wireless (New Zealand).

Vendors entering the Alliance include Dovado (Sweden and United Arab Emirates), Ericsson (South Africa), Kathrein Werke (Germany), LG Electronics (Korea), Landasan (Malaysia) and Wireless System Integration (Sweden).  They join founding members Andrew Corporation, Axcera, Fastcomm, InCode Telecom, IPWireless, MRiC, Possio, Samsung, and UTStarcom.

Global UMTS TDD Alliance Activities
Two weeks ago more than 60 telecommunications executives from 21 countries convened in Johannesburg, South Africa for the Alliance’s highly successful first-ever UMTS TDD Summit.   The Summit agenda provided an opportunity for Alliance members to see Sentech’s network and marketing programs and to examine the best practices of Sentech, whose MyWireless services represents one of the most advanced and successful UMTS TDD mobile broadband networks in the world today. Operators from around the world shared case studies and attended sessions on UMTS TDD marketing and deployment strategies and learn about the latest plans for future UMTS TDD network infrastructure and devices.

“Learning from each other’s best practices allows the growing UMTS TDD community to continuously improve our businesses, networks, and equipment,” said Christian Irmler, founder and chief technology officer, Airdata. “The dynamics among incumbent GSM operators and entrepreneurial new entrants deploying the technology created very positive, powerful synergies. The excitement, about the technology and its market-changing potential, was palpable.”

At the summit, the UMTS TDD Alliance launched a members-only online forum with materials and discussion boards covering all aspects of UMTS TDD.  Upcoming events for the Alliance include participation and presentation by numerous members at the WCA show this week at the WCA show and a breakfast seminar at CommunicAsia in Singapore June 16, 2004.  For more information on the latter, please visit www.umtstdd.org/commASIAinvite.html.

External Links

Global UMTS TSS Alliance

Megapixel GSM phone

Nokia today announced that the Nokia 7610, its most advanced imaging device, has started shipping in Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific. Nokia is the first company to introduce camera phones that have the essential ingredients for a complete imaging experience, including the ability to capture, as well as print, edit, store and send images and videos. These elements, combined with the slim and stylish design and a wide range of smartphone features, make the Nokia 7610 the most comprehensive camera phone available today.

With full e-mail, Internet browser and thousands of downloadable utility and software packages available, from map and navigation to golf training, the Nokia 7610 offers pocket computer functionality in a stylish package. Consumers can use the integrated megapixel camera in the Nokia 7610 to capture photo-quality images with the click of a button. Photos can be easily printed in just a few seconds via a Bluetooth connection to a compatible printer or by using a printer kiosk available in Nokia branded retail locations or other photo shops.
 
Using the phone's Kodak Pictures application, pictures can be uploaded to a virtual photo album on the web and shared online with others or ordered as prints via an online service. Users can also enjoy the possibility of sharing images with friends, family and colleagues alike via Multimedia Messaging (MMS) or e-mail.
 
"The slim and stylish Nokia 7610 brings the most complete imaging experience to consumers, whether you want to capture high-quality images, share them with friends, print them for family members or store them to relive the experience at a later date," says Juha Putkiranta, Senior Vice President, Imaging Business Unit, Nokia. "Full e-mail, Internet browser, video and music player, and thousands of downloadable software packages make the Nokia 7610 also a powerful pocket computer.  From now on, you only need to take one device with you when you leave the house - the Nokia 7610!"
 
Creative individuals will also appreciate the possibility to record short films or even music videos of up to 10 minutes by shooting and editing the footage captured with their imaging device. The Movie Director application lets users turn video clips into personal movies by adding special effects such as music, text, new colors or moving objects. The application automatically combines multiple video clips into a single video vignette or optimizes the edited videos for MMS sending.
 
The Nokia Lifeblog application, which adds an automatic digital diary to your life, allows users of the Nokia 7610 to record and organize digital content - such as images, videos or messages - creating a personal logbook or multimedia memo directly on the phone. When transferred to Nokia Lifeblog on the PC, people can browse and search their multimedia diary with an easy-to-use timeline or share diary items with friends or family via e-mail. Additionally, the Adobe Photoshop Album software included in the sales package allows Nokia 7610 phone users to organize and edit digital pictures on their PCs.
 
It is expected to retail, without subsidies or taxes, for less than €500.

External Links

Nokia

Glowing grips and Light Messaging highlight camera phone

With a burst of rhythmic, flashing lights, the Nokia 3220 camera phone, signaled its arrival - and an innovative way to communicate with friends in a crowd. Unveiled today at Nokia Totally Board in Thessaloniki, Greece, the Nokia 3220 is highlighted by transparent Nokia Xpress-On(TM) grips, which pulsate with light effects to indicate calls, messages, and in sync with the beat of ringtones. Self-styled cut-out covers and mobile themes, including ringtones, wallpapers, color schemes and light sequences, make personalization simple and fun.  Best of all, the Nokia 3220 comes with a "lite" sales tag with an unsubsidized retail price estimated to start around 250 EUR.

From the company that pioneered text messaging, picture messaging and multimedia messaging, comes new innovation - Light Messaging. By waving the Nokia 3220 from side to side, the LED lights of the Nokia Xpress-on(TM) Fun Shell light up to "write" a message that appears to float in mid-air. Exchanging messages aross a crowded room or at open-air concerts will never be the same.

How's your tribe? Someone need voting off? The Nokia 3220 puts your "survivor" skills to the test with the first mobile game of the popular television series Survivor. Control characters. Create alliances. Vote off rivals. Compete against others to be the last one standing! Compelling mobile games, applications and services, including Survivor, can be purchased at www.nokia.com/shop.

For a different twist, use your Nokia 3220 as a joystick in the
motion games that complement the Nokia Xpress-on(TM)Fun Shell. Literally jump into the action by tilting the phone to move characters through a series of challenges and tests. Two motion games are included: SwampRacer, a high-octane airboat racing game, and AirExpress, where you fly freely around an exotic archipelago world.

What's the point in experiencing real-life adventures when you can't share them? With a built-in VGA camera you can send pics and videos using multimedia messaging service (MMS)**.  Photos and short videos are easily stored on the Nokia 3220 phone so you can carry those summer memories with you all year.

The Nokia 3220 is a tri-band camera phone that will be available in two versions: a GSM 900/1800/1900 primarily for the European and Asian markets, and a GSM 850/1800/1900 primarily for the Americas.Shipments are expected to start in summer 2004.

External Links

Nokia

Understand your true business needs, Ovum urges businesses

A leading analyst has warned enterprise IT managers to examine carefully the motives behind their mobile enterprise projects.

Jessica Figueras, senior analyst for wireless technologies at Ovum, told delegates at this week's Mobile Enterprise Summit in London that, "Projects that are invented by the IT department will fail if you don't get it right.

"Have a vision, by all means, but make it practical. Know your organisation and how your employees work," she said.

"The technology is really, really complicated [in that there are] so many components -- networks, devices and infrastructure ... The most reliable guide to the choice is the end user. Think about their information needs."

The key to a successful mobile project is to tread carefully with users who may be unfamiliar with mobile devices, and to establish exactly the reason why the rollout is to take place, Figueras said.

"The business goal is not to be a mobilised enterprise," she added. "Try to map mobile technology onto the business processes that are really needed."

External Links

Ovum

T-Mobile UK & T-Mobile Deutschland see progress with Europe's first cross-border interoperable M-payment system

Encorus Technologies, a leading mobile payments software and services company, and T-Mobile, one of the world's leading mobile network operators, today announced significant developments in Europe's first cross-border interoperable m-payments system.  Initially serving Germany and the UK, the system is based on a complete end-to-end solution provided by Encorus, which is majority owned by First Data Corp.

T-Mobile's "Mobile Wallet" is available to T-Mobile customers on t-zones (T-Mobile's mobile multi media services) - enabling them to make simple and secure payments for goods and services from their mobile devices using existing credit or debit cards. The t-zones portfolio of infotainment offers already include a wide range of news, games, sport, music, finance and chat services.

"Today, m-payment services represent a major opportunity for innovative mobile operators," said Dr. Klaus Tebbe, Executive Vice President, Consumer Marketing and Wholesale, T-Mobile International. "Encorus delivered a comprehensive m-payments service, enabling us to focus on our core network and services while Encorus handled processing and merchant recruitment, which drastically reduced our time to market."

Uniquely, Encorus has provided T-Mobile with wallet software, transaction processing and merchant acquiring services.  Merchants participating in the t-zones service include Allsports, Aral, ebookers, Germanwings, getgo, OTTO, Orion, TELTIX, and WHSmith to name just a few. 

"T-Mobile is a leading global mobile operator and it is only fitting that it should be the first to successfully implement a cross-border payment system in Europe," said Caroline Watteeuw, COO, Encorus Technologies. "With this complete solution, Encorus confirms its leadership position in the m-payments space as the only company offering mobile operators merchant acquiring services, processing and mobile payment software."

External Links

Encorus
T-mobile

15 customers and counting

SurfKitchen has secured its 15th customer, the latest in a
string of recent customer launches that includes O2 UK, O2 Germany, TIM in Greece and SONOFON (Denmark).

SurfKitchen's software, SurfKit Mobile, is the only mobile desktop solution operational anywhere in the world that provides client-server functionality across all major mobile operating platforms and allows the operator to control and update the application over the air. SurfKit Mobile is available
in three editions, Operator, Enterprise and Media, and it helps to deliver a PC-like experience on a mobile phone, giving users simpler and quicker access to premium services. The company will soon be announcing customers for its Enterprise and Mobile editions.

SurfKit Mobile's value to operators is demonstrated by SONOFON, which has reported a rise in mobile data usage and revenues since deploying SurfKit Mobile to power its e-go mobile portal, with the number of MMS messages sent by its customers rising by 225 per cent.

Stefanos Melissopoulos, Senior Director of Value Added  Services & Roaming Services of TIM in Greece, said: "We see data services as the key revenue generator in the future - if they are of a high quality and easily accessed. It was therefore crucial that we implemented the best possible data services
solution to power our TIM Imagine mobile portal. Extensive testing has shown us that SurfKit Mobile is that solution."

Philip Letts, CEO of SurfKitchen, said: "SurfKit Mobile revolutionises the mobile data experience for users and it is this that has driven our rapid growth. We are now the world commercial leader in mobile desktop software, both in terms of revenues and number of customers. Over the next six months SurfKitchen is looking to push on from this strong position and expand outside of Europe and our traditional customer base by opening offices in Asia and the USA."

To date SurfKitchen has won every formal request for proposal (RFP) that it has been involved in and has successfully delivered all implementations of SurfKit Mobile on time. Critically for operators, SurfKit Mobile can be deployed in just a couple of months, enabling them to provide their data
services quickly and easily. SurfKit Mobile is the only mobile desktop software that combines the functionality to enable users to view online web pages offline, allow the graphical user interface (GUI) to be customised and that can be updated remotely over the air.

SurfKitchen has also signed a number of strategic partnerships to extend the range of services offered by SurfKit Mobile. Recent announcements include partnerships with Celltick, the leading provider of mobile interactive broadcast solutions, and Netsize, the leader in mobile business and entertainment solutions.

External Links

SurfKitchen

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