Says more to come

By Keith Dyer at the 3GSM Congress in Cannes

Thankfully the corporate image presented by Orange at its headline press conference, five middle aged men in dark suits and Orange ties, and one woman, is not yet imprinted on the personalities and thought processes of all its staff.

For those bred on the antics of the volcanic dust-munching Dutch founder and ceo Hans Snook, current Orange press conferences are stultifying. But between the France Telecom-speak there were a few announcements that should give suppliers and competitors pause for thought.

On the network side Orange is pushing ahead with the idea that it can be a converged broadband provider, offering users seamless access to content and services whether they are at home or out on the move. Of course, in France its home fixed network and 6,500 WiFi hotspots help in that instance. But they have also been pushing on in the UK, exploiting the Wanadoo ISP property, to integrate services between the Orange World portal abd the ISP.

It also announced that, following EDGE rollouts in Slovakia and Romania, it will be introducing EDGE in France this year, with perhaps five to ten dual mode EDGE, WCDMA handsets available by the end of the year. EDGE will give the operator “better than GPRS” coverage of 80-85% of the population by the end of the year.

Then there is HSPDA, and the operator could give no timelines but it was prepared to say it was currently trialling with Nortel an HSDPA network.

There was also emphasis on the amount of fantastic content available on the Orange World portal. This includes the Live TV service in France, which has been upgraded to include 21 channels. The success of Live TV has rather taken the operator by surprise, as it accounts for 55% of all 3G data sessions, and has proved very popular. The operator is also currently working on a DVBH version of mobile TV. Other finding of the first few tens of thousands of 3G customers in Orange also proved a very high take up of MMS and Orange World content.

So there is still much that is innovative at the operator, but the question remains how operators that provide seamless broadband connectivity will be able to control the behaviour of their users when it comes to content. The fear for operators is that they become dumb pipes, mere access providers. Having exclusive on-site content gives them a way out of this. Sanuv Ahuja reacted aggressively to the hint that Orange has a closed garden policy. “Unlike other operators’ portals, Orange World is an open ended site,” he said, “Orange absolutely does not have a walled garden philosophy. Any content can be openly accessed from our portal.” And he also pointed to Orange’s commitment to Simpay, a payment mechanism to allow users to purchase off-portal content, as evidence of their commitment to open content access.

Travel the World With a Single WCDMA Device

3GSM World Congress

QUALCOMM has today announced a tri-band WCDMA (UMTS)/HSDPA and quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (EGPRS) radioOne solution to enable true global roaming between WCDMA markets in Europe, North America and Asia. The introduction of the RFR6220(TM) receiver for 850 MHz markets adds to QUALCOMM's commercially available RTR6250 transceiver and RFR6250 receiver.

The complete solution will provide global support for WCDMA 850/1900/2100 MHz and EGPRS 850/900/1800/1900 MHz. This integrated solution also includes support for QUALCOMM's gpsOne position location technology. QUALCOMM's Mobile Station Modem (MSM) MSM6255 chipset for WCDMA/EGPRS and MSM6275 chipset for WCDMA/HSDPA/EGPRS are optimized for the RTR6250, RFR6250 and RFR6220 solutions. Handset manufacturers can implement one of two RF configurations for market-specific devices: RTR6250/RFR6250 for quad-band EGPRS, dual-band WCDMA 1900/2100 MHz and gpsOne support or: RTR6250/RFR6250/RFR6220 for quad-band EGPRS, tri-band WCDMA 850/1900/2100 MHz and gpsOne support.

Engineering samples of the RFR6220 device are expected to ship in the second quarter of calendar 2005.  The RFR6250 and RTR6250 devices are commercially available today.

"We've added a tri-band WCDMA RF chipset to our extensive WCDMA portfolio to enable global roaming across Europe, North America and Asia," said Dr. Sanjay K. Jha, president of QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies. "This is an industry first that further strengthens our WCDMA/HSDPA product portfolio."

QUALCOMM's latest radioOne configurations offer flexible design solutions to handset manufacturers developing devices for multi-tiered global markets. Handset designs that support tri-band WCDMA with the RTR6250/RFR6250/RFR6220 configuration can be reused to support single- or dual-band WCDMA by excluding the RFR6220 device -- reducing parts count while maximizing development efforts to ensure cost-effective 3G solutions.

The MSM6255 chipset is a highly integrated solution for WCDMA and EGPRS networks worldwide and is optimized to deliver in-demand mainstream multimedia applications, including streaming audio and video, high-quality snapshots and location-based services.

QUALCOMM's MSM6275 chipset solution for WCDMA/HSDPA and EGPRS provides increased processing power and graphics performance at low power consumption to enable the highest quality audiovisual and gaming graphics on cost-effective, multiband, multimode handsets with smaller form factors.

Chinese vendor launches Euro tour and four WCDMA devices

By Keith Dyer at 3GSM in Cannes

Chinese manufacturer ZTE has said it will win deals with European operators in 2005 for handset supply and for 3G WCDMA and CDMA equipment

Although the vendor was unable to announce any contracts yet with European operators, aside from a trial in Spain with Telefonica, ZTE said it would be taking its 3G technology on the road, highlighting its three new W-CDMA handsets and v.3 WCDMA network infrastructure.

The vendor announced four new WCDMA products – three handsets and a PC data card. One of the these, the F808 was billed as the world’s smallest WCDMA handset. Not as trivial a differentiator as it might sound in a market which has seen consumers turned off by some clunky models.

Handset size apart it is still price upon which ZTE, like fellow country vendor Huawei, is competing in the market. Although the company played coy on the price of its handsets, it confirmed to Mobile Europe that it would be significantly cheaper than European and US rivals in terms of network equipment.

“We are very competitive,” spokesman Cheng Lin said, “It’s a native advantage of being a Chinese company that we are used to price competition.” There’s also the small matter of vastly lower labour costs, of course. But although Lin was happy to confirm that the company would make its first pitch on price, he said that cost alone would not be enough to win contracts. ZTE is well aware it needs to provide evidence of its ability to provide after sales service and support, and continuing product innovation, Lin said. But his conclusion that “Our main advantage is cost,” left it in no doubt as to what the message will be on that roadshow.

ZTE also confirmed the identity of its OEM partner for its CDMA radio technology. To no-one’s surprise the widely leaked news that Alcatel is to include ZTE CDMA technology within its CDMA solutions was confirmed by Sylvie Richir, vp of Alcatel’s broadband access product division. Richir also said that one of the first targets for Alcatel would be the 450MHz operators in the “emerging” markets in Europe. The old analogue 450Mhz band is providing a gateway for CDMA into central and eastern Europe, and Alcatel now has a play at the radio access level.

Nokia to provide easy wireless access to Exchange Server 2003 data, including wireless email, calendar and contacts in future mobile devices 

3GSM World Congress

Nokia's Enterprise Solutions business group today announced that it has licensed Microsoft Corp's Exchange Server ActiveSync protocol to enable wireless and direct synchronization between Microsoft Exchange Server, part of the Windows Server System and future Nokia enterprise mobile devices. The terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.

The collaboration between the two companies will allow Nokia to build a direct over-the-air synchronization link between Nokia enterprise mobile devices running on Nokia's Series 60 and Series 80 software platforms and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 for email and other personal information management (PIM) data, such as calendar information and contacts. By integrating the Exchange Server ActiveSync protocol into Nokia devices, enterprise customers are provided with an easy-to-use, secure, wireless email solution that is cost-effective and can be deployed quickly and easily. Nokia will continue to support the OMA Data Synchronization protocol and its own Nokia PC Suite, a local connectivity solution that utilizes OMA Data Synchronization for PCs and Nokia mobile devices.
"Nokia is committed to answering the broader needs of enterprises across the world by giving them access to the widest possible choice of email and PIM solutions on the market today and tomorrow," said Mary McDowell, senior vice president and general manager, Nokia's Enterprise Solutions business group. "Licensing this protocol provides our customers with a seamless solution for integrating our mobile devices into their back-end."
"Microsoft's goal is to deliver flexible, integrated solutions that fuel innovation for our partners and provide our customers with a variety of options to enable secure, wireless and direct synchronization to their mobile device." said Pieter Knook, senior Vice President, Mobile and Embedded Devices Division at Microsoft Corp. "The licensing of Exchange Server ActiveSync is an example of Microsoft's drive towards interoperable technologies that will help to lower IT costs for our customers."
According to leading IT market research firm IDC, 84 percent of businesses that either already have or are planning in the next year to integrate wireless devices with corporate systems will look to deploy email first, and then follow with personal information management, calendar applications and customer relationship management or sales force automation applications at the same time or soon after. To drive broader adoption of mobile email, Nokia will provide a combination of robust email and synchronization solutions giving enterprises the ability to deploy mobile email to a wider range of users within their company. Collaboration between emerging and established email solutions players will help to speed and facilitate the adoption of enterprise application mobility.

Emblaze Mobile Launches New Branding and Business Focus

3GSM World Congress

Emblaze Mobile Ltd., the handset design and manufacturing house and a member of the Emblaze Group, is unveiling its strategy and vision to lead a new era in customised handset manufacture on its stand at the 3GSM World Congress, Cannes.

"Emblaze Mobile is all about a bold, fresh and provocative approach to a market where monoliths have caused stagnation," said Laurence Alexander, newly appointed CEO to Emblaze Mobile. "Similar to television, the biggest killer app in the new mobile generation is - the phone itself. Our philosophy is to move swiftly with devices that have been developed to appeal to a defined market with applications, content and customised user experience that will actually make people use the phone for more than just calls and SMS. We segment the customers of our phones  not by demographic, but by attitude, desires as well as functional needs."

Emblaze Mobile's new focus is to deliver stylish, individual lifestyle handsets to consumers in a sophisticated market place where handsets are no longer merely a functional piece of necessary technology, but rather a desired piece of lifestyle, coupled with applications and content enablement. Emblaze Mobile aims to reshape the market with its innovation for design and usability, and to provide cool, stylish mobile devices with leading user experience in all applications beyond mere voice calls. This confident new focus was reiterated in the strong and bold branding unveiled at the show.

Alexander continued: "In the coming months Emblaze Mobile will be investing greatly to build the Emblaze brand. We will be challenging the industry to take a fresh look at the way it operates. We want to lead the industry in evolving and becoming customer focused for next generation services."

Following months of research and focus groups, Emblaze Mobile knows what its target market wants and has developed an ongoing strategy to attack the market in a targeted way; concentrating on developing lifestyle products and software for specific people and customer types.  In building the brand, Emblaze Mobile will be single minded and aims to fit a targeted 'image-aware' audience, without alienating those less brand aware. Emblaze has seen that the style conscious are brand champions who drive needs, so the primary focus for the Emblaze brand is to win this audience's heart and mind.

Emblaze Mobile has expanded its international position with headquarters in London incorporating marketing, sales and management. The recently purchased handset design and manufacturing house in Korea provides volume manufacturing capabilities, top tier mechanical and hardware design while Israel remains the technology focus for software R&D, applications and content development.

New secure partner management gateway enables operators to manage relationships with third party content and service providers

3GSM World Congress 2005, Cannes, France

elata, a global leader in mobile content delivery and device management software solutions, today announced the launch of the elata connect partner management gateway solution.  Designed for mobile operators to manage their relationships with third party content and service providers, elata connect provides a secure network gateway for third parties to deliver mobile content directly through the mobile operator’s network and portal infrastructure within a controlled and quality assured environment.

As mobile operators look to grow their content offering with exciting new content and services, the issue of managing high volumes of mobile content from a variety of third party providers becomes a critical requirement.  And, with global content brands establishing their own service portals, mobile operators will need to offer an alternative to the "walled garden" service approach and provide easier access to their networks.  elata connect" has been designed to help mobile operators configure and manage the content ingestion process and remove the bottlenecks preventing mobile content reaching the market.

With elata connect, mobile operators have the best of both worlds: a walled garden catalogue of services, where mobile content is ingested into the operators content catalogue, and a gateway approach, through one unified service delivery infrastructure.  This removes the bottleneck of managing high volumes of content and speeds the time to market for the latest mobile content and services.  Subscribers benefit from an increased choice of content and services available to browse and buy leading to higher uptake of services and increased revenues.

Based on an open Parlay-X model, elata connect provides service providers and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) with a fast and reliable interface to deliver mobile content directly through the network to subscriber devices.  The gateway provides a secure framework to integrate with third party systems and the flexibility to manage commercial service level agreements (SLAs) and quality of service (QoS) guarantees for the delivery of multiple content and service types such as games, ringtones, messaging and streaming media.

"Walled garden content catalogues have helped the early mobile content market," said Matt Hooper, Vice President, Marketing and Strategic Alliances at elata. "However, in order to make high volumes of content available to subscribers, networks need to be opened up at the abstraction layer and management control needs to be placed firmly at the doorstep of content and service providers.  elata connect enables this while maintaining quality of service."

Operators encouraged to sell solutions rather than technology

Half of British businesses have no need for 3G data, according to a survey of leading IT and telecoms professionals, carried out by the Communications Management Association (CMA).

In the annual survey of its members the CMA found that 49% of respondents had no use for 3G in their businesses.

The result is particularly important because the CMA's members tend to be those people with purchasing power for data services in British businesses.

The CMA's survey did not ask why 3G had no place in those businesses, but commentators have suggested that many businesses either do not have a mobile data strategy, or their applications run sufficiently well over GPRS networks.

"The cry is, 'Tell us what 3G does for our business'", said Alan Hindley, a director of the CMA. "We don't just want handdowns from the consumer market."

But despite the apparent lack of business interest in 3G, Mike Short, the chairman of the Mobile Data Association, was positive about the future of high speed data.

Short said, "I'm not too worried about the lack of recognition of 3G. I would expect customers to be sold solutions rather than technology."

The need to avoid technical speak when selling to businesses may become more important as 3G deployments gather speed, and the number of acronyms increases.

Within the UK, one variation of 3G called HSDPA is currently attracting a lot of interest, as it is being trialled on the Isle of Man.

HSDPA should allow download speeds three to four times faster than current versions of 3G.

External Links

The Communications Management Association

Global IT and Telematics industry to benefit from Netsize’s international GPRS service eliminating international roaming costs

Netsize has today announced the launch of Smart Access, its machine-to-machine messaging service based on its international GPRS network. The service enables machines with embedded SIM cards to communicate with other machines and IT systems globally.

'Smart Access' is the world's first machine-to-machine messaging service which switches between predefined international GPRS networks based on least cost routing of data. This service is also a world first solution which switches between different networking technologies (GSM, GPRS and Wii-Fi) optimising transfer of data according to the best network coverage and price available.

The enabling of machines to communicate with companies' information systems, other machines, with mobile handsets, etc. and the provision of real-time data is what is commonly referred to as Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. A wireless link is used for monitoring and control, with data transfer occurring either by request or at predetermined intervals.

Smart Access enormously benefits the global Telematics, Telemetry, logistics and IT industry providing them a multi network solution at a low cost avoiding huge roaming charges for machines and vehicles crossing borders. It is common for SIM cards to be embedded in Cars, trucks, Surveillance Cameras, Bank ATMs, Household Appliances, IT Hardware, etc.

"Thanks to our close cooperation with some major European Mobile Operators, Netsize has set up a unique value proposition for the European Machine-to-Machine industry. Offering a competitive price structure combined with a one stop shop solution relying on comprehensive integration into our customer's back office systems have been the driving force behind the product design of 'Smart Access.'

Smart access is an end-to-end solution including provision and configuration of international SIM Cards, access to different mobile operator/wireless networks and offers a single bill for a global service with least cost routing where possible.

Netsize currently has wholesale GPRS agreements with mobile operators in France, Belgium and Netherlands. The UK, Spain and Germany are the next three countries where this solution will be available by Q2 2005. Netsize also has access to 15,000 Wi-fi hot spots in Europe and US. 'Smart Access' can also be used across 135 countries using Netsize's international SMS connectivity agreements.

Also Launches Multi-Currency Solution

Signifo Expenses, a leading provider of web-based expense claim solutions, has announced that over 30 customers are now using its SMS expense claim solution, launched in November 2004.

The SMS solution allows any user with a mobile phone to enter their expenses via text message. Mobile users simply send each expense item as and when it is incurred as an SMS message to a number provided by Signifo. The expense items sent by SMS are instantly posted to an employee’s claim within the Signifo Expenses online system, from where claims are submitted to a line manager for approval. No special software is required for the phone.

"It is exciting to see how quickly users are adopting the new SMS functionality. This confirms our belief that there is a need to record expense items at the point of pain; namely at the time when the expense is incurred," said James Brewis, Managing Director, Signifo Expenses.

In addition to new customers for its SMS solution, Signifo has announced drinks giant Pernod Ricard and fashion retailer Fat Face as new customers for its core automated expense claim solution.

The company is also today launching a multi-currency solution as a new module to its already widely-used core automated expense claim solution.

The new multi-currency solution allows international companies to configure the program using different base reporting currencies, approval hierarchies, expense categories and other data for each subsidiary or business unit, under a single company-wide configuration that facilitates consolidated reporting for all countries and business units.

This allows reports to be generated in a number of different currencies with both local and company-wide expense claim information easily and quickly available, and helps companies comply with the various international legal and accounting regulations.

A taxi fare incurred in US dollars, for example, might be stated in British Pounds for local subsidiary reporting, but in Euros for base currency reporting if the parent company accounts are Euro-denominated.

The system can also handle individual country rules such as different mileage rates.

"Many organisations have separate business units that each require a unique expenses configuration. Often this is due to the international nature of a business, while in other cases it may be as simple as wanting to treat a sales team differently to non-sales staff. Our new functionality allows us to address all such customer requirements," said James Brewis, Managing Director, Signifo Expenses.

The multi-currency and SMS functionality are only the latest developments for Signifo Expenses. The company’s web-based expense claim solutions include an offline version and a credit card interface and allow expense claims to be submitted rapidly, approved electronically and posted on a consolidated basis to a company’s accounts. The benefits in terms of process cost savings, greater accuracy of data and management control are considerable.

Cognito, the managed mobile data provider that two years ago migrated its  entire customer base to an advanced GPRS based solution, has announced that it has rolled out its 10,000th active subscriber. This figure represents a doubling of the Cognito subscriber base since January 2003, reflecting the growing market trend in uptake of mobile data services.   Gartner predicts that by 2010, 80 per cent of key business processes will involve the exchange of real-time information involving mobile workers.

The 10,000 subscriber mark was exceeded during the recent roll out of 1000 mobile units for courier company, CitySprint.  This contract is representative of a number of recent large orders to be secured by Cognito, and is one of its first major contracts in the courier sector, with mobile units deployed across CitySprint's couriers, including van drivers and motorcyclists.

Founded in 1992 Cognito was the first company in the UK to be awarded a licence to run a radio network for data transmission.  Today, the company carries over 500,000 individual messages per day across all four of the major GPRS networks. Delivering all messages through a controlled real-time environment, Cognito's network processes close to 50,000 messages per hour during peak periods.

Commenting on the achievement, Managing Director, Steve Alderson said: "Our belief is that implementing effective mobile workflow solutions offers enormous potential for organisations, not just to maintain their position, but to accelerate growth and take their business to another level."

This view is supported by Gartner research which indicates that enterprises already basing key processes on a rich IT infrastructure can reap the highest ROI though mobile extensions of these applications. 

Alderson continues: "Furthermore, traditional markets for mobile data services, such as facilities and service management, are now being joined by other market sectors which recognise the real business opportunities that effectively deployed and managed solutions can deliver. As the provider of choice for mobile solutions we are also enabling a growing partner base to enhance the benefits delivered through their business management applications."

In the past 6 months Cognito has secured contracts within many new sectors including Highways contractor Siemens Traffic Controls, Blick, the Stanley Security Solutions company, local government organisations such as Peterborough City Council as well as courier companies such as CitySprint.