EDGE's quiet march to market acceptance

Orange has switched on EDGE capability at 300 sites in the UK, and says it will have 1500 sites enabled by the end of the year, which corresponds to about an eigth of the network geographically. The service is the first EDGE service in the UK, and will offer enhanced speeds to users in areas which will not have 3G coverage for some time.

An Orange spokesperson said the service would not be marketed as EDGE to end-users. Instead it would be used to offer a superior experience to GPRS services in areas where 3G coverage is not considered viable or likely in the near future.

The operator currently has 5 devices which are WCDMA and EDGE capable, as well as 30 phones which are GSM/GPRS/EDGE capable.

There will be no services available on EDGE that are not available on GPRS, and no indication a user is in an area of EDGE coverage (an E symbol for instance), nor will the operator market the service as 3G-lite.

Orange has been testing EDGE throughout 2005, and is installing the network as earlier generation GSM/GPRS nodes wear out. New EDGE capable nodes, all from Nokia, are installed, and when the decision is made that it is commercially viable to do so, EDGE is switched on and integrated into the core network, and Nokia picks up its EDGE licence fee.

The spokesperson said that Orange had always considered EDGE, but that the technology had lost out a bit as its availability was so close to 3G's which has been the priority.

It now looks as if the operator has made the decision that it will be some time before some areas get 3G coverage, and it needs to offer more than GPRS in those areas.

Orange already has EDGE networks in France, Slovakia, Romania, Poland and Belgium. Europe, despite some operator resistance to EDGE, which was seen by some as an unnecessary intermediate step to 3G, now has some 70 EDGE networks, according to the Global mobile Suppliers Associations (GSA).

The GSA also said there has been a 231% growth in the number of GSM/EDGE devices on the market, reflecting operator demand for EDGE support.

There are 34 devices launched in the market which support both EDGE and WCDMA. This is a key factor supporting the global rollout of combined WCDMA-EDGE networks.

The GSA survey also identifies 10 devices, comprising 9 PC datacards and one phone, which support GSM/EDGE and WCDMA-HSDPA. This is an important point, as the majority of WCDMA operators are evolving their networks to incorporate HSDPA capabilities for delivering mobile broadband services,
which for many includes a complementary GSM/EDGE network for service continuity for the user, and the widest coverage.

Sonera Mobile Networks, a subsidiary of TeliaSonera Finland Oyj, has filed a licence application to build a nationwide mobile television network. If it is granted the licence, the company is targeting the first limited commercial operation in 2006.

"A mobile TV network will significantly boost activities in the telecommunications and media sectors in Finland by introducing for the mobile phone customers both traditional TV programming and that developed specifically for mobile use. As a network operator, we provide a business opportunity for the media industry, radio and TV companies, as well as mobile communication and other service operators developing services and content," Esa Rautalinko, Senior Vice President of the Consumer Mobile Services and Entertainment division of TeliaSonera Finland, said

According to the plan set forth in the application, Sonera would begin building the mobile TV network fin hte larger towns. A test network could be built  this year for the Greater Helsinki Area, the company said

The plans state that during 2007, the network would be further extended, with Tampere, Turku, and Oulu starting in 2007 when commercial mobile TV operation would begin. Sonera would implement the network so that the programme and service content can be tailored region-specifically.

"To ensure the future of mobile TV, it is important to include also the possibility for interactive services in Mobile TV by utilizing the present GSM and 3G networks. The service offering sahll be versatile from the beginning as well as well-designed for different terminal devices. As a mobile network operator, these issues are self-evident to us also when the mobile TV network and its service systems are built," says Mr Rautalinko.

The licence holder will be responsible for the mobile TV transmitter network and managing the transmission capacity. The Finnish mobile TV network will be built to comply with the DVB-H standard.

Attendees of 3GSM World Congress will experience the power of 3G and seamless mobility in the palm of their hands from Freescale Semiconductor, which will be showcasing its full range of wireless solutions for device manufacturers.

Freescale, one of the world's largest semiconductor companies and member of the GSM Association, powers some of the hottest 2G and 3G wireless devices on the market including Motorola's RAZR and SLVR mobile phones. Additionally, Freescale's technology is at the heart of Sony's digital music player and Toshiba's new gigabeat® portable media player (PMP).

"Freescale technology continues to gain solid traction in the global wireless market," said Franz Fink senior vice president and general manager of Freescale's Wireless and Mobile Systems Group. "Today, mobile connectivity has moved far beyond traditional voice communication to a broad array of converged multimedia devices. We're providing manufacturers the flexibility and design freedom to create feature-rich products, while keeping size, power and cost requirements low."

Seamless mobility: Here and now at the Freescale booth
3GSM attendees will experience the following Freescale technologies for next-generation mobile devices at the show:

3G Mobile Platforms: Freescale will demonstrate voice calls on its Mobile eXtreme Convergence 3G platform (MXC300), the industry's first and only single core modem-based platform, as well as voice and data calls on its MXC275 platform.

Beyond 3G with HSDPA: Freescale is making HSDPA a reality — demonstrating 3.6Mbps of true data throughput in a multi-call environment on its i.300-30 Innovative Convergence™ platform.

eXtreme Energy Conservation: Freescale will feature its innovative power-saving XEC software which optimizes on-chip low power features for even longer battery life.

Multimedia Applications Processor: Freescale will showcase the industry's highest performing, lowest power applications processor — the i.MX31 — for cellular handsets and portable media players.

Mobile Television: Freescale will display its DVB-H tuner integrated on its single core modem processor. The Freescale DVB-H tuner is one of the most popular on the market and designed into many DVB-H terminals currently in the field.

Ultra-Wideband: Freescale will demonstrate its Cable-Free technology that enables wireless audio, video and data streaming using Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology.

WiMAX: Freescale will feature its PowerQUICC™-enabled CPE 3G WiMAX base station, demonstrating scalable solutions for network infrastructure across multiple air interfaces and protocols.

Video IP Phones: Freescale will demonstrate a Wi-Fi video handset that delivers an amazing videoconferencing experience in a stylish cordless telephone handset. With the TV-out capability, users can connect to their television for a big screen videoconference event.

3Way Networks, a leader in innovative 3G indoor infrastructure, is launching its multi-purpose UMTS Indoor Coverage and Capacity solution, the DBX-ic2, at the upcoming 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona.

The low-cost, capacity-efficient 3Way DBX-ic2 has been designed to solve the complex issue of deploying UMTS networks in-building. From multi-tenanted offices to campus deployments, the 3Way DBX-ic2 is ideal for mobile network operators needing to extend their networks to offer public coverage or private wireless office solutions.

The DBX-ic2 utilises 3Way's unique Integrated Network on a card (IN-c) technology that combines an entire radio network, switching sub-system and packet elements onto a single PCB card. The product's integrated MSC functionality has a number of significant advantages for wireless office over conventional network solutions as it eliminates the need to backhaul signaling or traffic for local calls and its SIP VOIP interface allows connection into customers existing PBX systems.

Simon Albury of 3 Way Networks commented "We have secured a number of trials with major Operators in '06 that will provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of the 3Way DBX-ic2 and our other products. We are confident that the 3 Way DBX-ic2 will prove an invaluable addition for in-building UMTS deployments. With subscribers increasingly migrating to a single phone, and our introduction later this year of a sub £100 home basestation, mobile network operators will be able to offer an extremely attractive replacement for the existing fixed line services".

Eddie Murphy, Independent Convergence Analyst, said "UMTS is in a very good position to win the fight for the indoor business and home market in an increasingly competitive telecoms market, however, the need for PBX integration/replacement and low-cost home equipment will be paramount. With VoWiFi fighting for a foothold, the 3Way DBX-ic2 could give UMTS operators the edge in the convergence battle".

3Way Networks will be at 3GSM Barcelona, 13th-16th February, AV106 and will be demonstrating the simplicity and versatility of the 3Way DBX-ic2 to network operators.

Crosses Good Technology off buddy list

Visto, which filed patent infringement claims against Microsoft earlier this year, has added  mobile enterprise applications company Good Technology to its "wanted" poster.

The accusations are similar to the Microsoft case, with Visto alleging Good has infringed on several of its patents relating to its wireless push email software and other patents dealing with other wireless applications.

Brian Bogosian, Visto CEO, said, "Good Technology, like other late entrants to this market, has no patents directed to wireless e-mail and very clearly infringes on our long-held intellectual property.”

Visto alleges that various Good Technology products, including GoodLink, their push email service, infringe on the patents that Visto has held for the past nine years. The suit seeks a permanent injunction against GoodLink and Good's other infringing technology, which can power several mobile devices including the Palm Treo, HP's iPAQ hw6500, and the Motorola MPx220, among others. The suit also seeks monetary damages.

The patents in question are:
 U.S. Patent No. 5,961,590 titled, “System And Method For Synchronizing Electronic Mail Between A Client Site And A Central Site”
U.S. Patent No. 6,085,192 titled, “System And Method For Securely Synchronizing Multiple Copies Of A Workspace Element In A Network”
U.S. Patent No. 6,708,221 titled, “System And Method For Globally And Securely Accessing Unified Information In A Computer Network”
U.S. Patent No. 6,151,606 titled, “System And Method For Using A Workspace Data Manager To Access, Manipulate And Synchronize Network Data”

Everywhere up except Western Europe

Ericsson has posted full year profits of SEK33.3 billion, up 24% on 2004's figures. Sales were up 15% on 2004, at SEK151.8 billion. The company attributed th growth to strong peformance in WCDMA/HSDPA and its services business. Despite these numbers market reaction was mixed as some commentators had projected maginally higher numbers.

"So far the company has installed 21 networks "with HSDPA capabilities", Carl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO, said.

"Convergence and next generation IP networks continue to be key development areas for the industry. The upgrade to fixed and mobile broadband is accelerating traffic in the world's networks. The acquisition of Marconi is a strategic move to strengthen our position, both in terms of our offering for the growing transmission segment and in the development of next generation networks," he added.

European performance

Western Europe sales were up 5% for the full year but declined by 4% compared to same quarter last year.

"Operator consolidation is ongoing," Ericsson's financial statement said, "which affects operator investments in the near term".  But at the same time, the company said this accelerates focus on total cost of ownership and drives growing demand for its managed services, an increasing focus for Ericsson.

"Tariff competition is intense and should generate traffic growth and a need for continued capacity investments. Increasing consumer demand for richer services drives accelerating 3G subscriber uptake and operator upgrades to HSDPA (High Speed Data Packet Access)" Ericsson's market report concluded.

Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa sales grew by 19% for the full year and by 22% compared to the same quarter last year. WCDMA/HSDPA deployments have started in certain parts of the region. "Operator consolidation is ongoing, led by regional as well as international players," Ericsson said

Networks division to redeploy 290 people, concentrate on emerging markets

Nokia has decided its R&D focus needs to be nearer emerging markets, and has said it wll redeploy 200 people from its Networks division R&D staff. 90 staff within its Enterprise Solutions division. Staff will either be found other jobs within the comany or be offered voluntary severance packages.

There will also be some additional changes to other areas, including its financial service function.

Nokia said that in 2005 it recruited approximately 1,500 new employees in Finland, with over 8,000 people rotating into new positions across the group. At end-2005, Nokia employed 58,874 people globally, of which 23,485 worked in Finland. There were 13,237 research and development personnel in Finland at the end of last year.

Nokia said it was responding to "increased technological complexity, rapid subscriber growth in emerging markets, convergence, and the consequent need by network operators for greater levels of solution customization and local support.
"Recognizing the opportunities these developments bring, and given Nokia's longstanding commitment to constant organizational renewal, Nokia is taking proactive steps to hone its business activities and bring them closer to key markets and customers."

Avanquest Software, formerly BVRP Software, a leading developer and publisher of business and consumer software for the global PC market with operations in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, has announced that it will join the world’s mobile industry at 3GSM World Congress 2006 in Barcelona, Spain.

Visitors to the Congress will experience an exclusive preview of the Avanquest OEM Division’s new mobile software titles including Mobile Media Manager, Mobile Sync, and Mobile Backup as well as the latest enhancements to its award-winning Mobile PhoneTools, Pocket PhoneTools and Connection Manager products.

“We’re excited to introduce our advanced mobile software solutions at 3GSM,” said David Wright, President of Avanquest Software’s OEM Division. “These new products extend Avanquest’s leadership in developing innovative and customised solutions that fully recognise and fulfil the needs of telephone and mobile accessory manufacturers and operators in the ultra-competitive mobile marketplace. Our new product range is specifically designed to attract operators who are looking to increase both their ARPU value and the satisfaction of their customers.”

Europe's top notebook vendor embeds Option module

Acer, which has an 18.6% market share of the European notebook market, has signed an agreement to embed the GTM351E wireless module in its products.

The GTME351E incorporates HSDPA, WCDMA and EDGE/GPRS in all the GSM/WCDMA bands, bringing wide area wireless cnnectivity built in to the notebook market.

70 operators now have EDGE up and running

A survey from the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has found that there are now 70 operators in Europe with EDGE networks either operational or in deployment, putting the continent at the top of the list of deployments.

EDGE, which is increasingly being used to infill areas of non-WCDMA coverage, is now deployed in 61 combined WCDMA-EDGE networks globally, compared to 23 a year ago. 31 of the 61 networks are now actually in service.

EDGE offers typical user data speeds of around 120-160kbps, lifting it above GPRS. Operators initially baulked at being asked to re-upgrade their GPRS networks, viewing EDGE as a solution for an operator who didn't intend going all the way to 3G. But the survey clearly shows, with 70 European operators in deployment, that the decision to make the upgrade was made for them by the user experience degradation between 3G and GPRS.

The survey also confirms that 185 operators in 96 countries are deploying GSM/EDGE, compared with 128 networks at end 2004 (44% growth). For the first time Europe has more EDGE networks operational or in deployment than any other region, the breakdown being Europe (70 operators), Americas and Caribbean (69), Asia (26) and Middle East/Africa (20). EDGE is being rolled out, or in service in 36 countries in Europe, followed by the Americas/Caribbean (34), Asia (14), and Middle East/Africa (12).

135 GSM/EDGE networks globally have now entered commercial service, i.e. growth of 90% (71 commercial networks end 2004).