Tom von Weymarn was appointed new chairman of TeliaSonera AB at the board meeting today.

Tom von Weymarn was elected to the Board of TeliaSonera AB in 2002. He was previously President and CEO of Oy Rettig Ab and Karl Fazer Ltd. Tom von Weymarn is also Chairman of the Board of Lännen Tehtaat Plc and a member of the boards of Oy Rettig Ab, Oy Telko Ab, CPS Color Group Oy and Hydrios Biotechnology Oy (Ltd.). He is also a member of the advisory boards of Industri Kapital.

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Mobile Connect now dual mode

Mobile Europe will watch with interest the market response to Vodafone’s launch of its 3G/ GPRS data card service in the UK. Although Vodafone went for a relatively low-key launch, such is the desperation for renewed signs of consumer interest in 3G there will undoubtedly be a lot riding on how the service is received. We have a reporter at a press briefing being held today so will let you know if anything significantly different from the information below comes out of that.

Vodafone is offering the service to larger business through its own business unit and reseller channel and, but is also offering the cards to individual or SMEs through 64 selected retail outlets. Presumably if there is great demand for the cards this will be extended to more shops.

At the moment there are four pricing bundles, from £10 per month for a 5MB worth of  data up to £85 per month for a "power user", who will get 500MB worth of mobile data. Intermediate prices at set at £20 for 25MB and £45 for 150MB. Business users will get twice the data bundle for their money of they sign up before October 2004. Vodafone says its user profiles are based on "extensive research" carried out with its trial customers. Not that you’d expect them to say, "These prices are a shot in the dark, frankly we haven’t got a clue how much data people are going to use when they start using 3G."

Vodafone’s wording about coverage is slightly obtuse. It says it has, "30% network coverage (equating to 41% geographic areas of the Vodafone UK network where data traffic is currently carried)."

Despite the fact that, theoretically, all of Vodafone’s GSM network can carry data, we take this to mean 40% of its GPRS network is now UMTS enabled. At any rate, these are the areas Vodafone gives as currently having 3G coverage: London, M25, along the M4 corridor (London to Newbury) and in Bristol, Cardiff, Portsmouth, Southampton, Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Belfast. 

Vodafone also says that roaming is available in Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Spain and Portugal. This will be on GPRS until Vodafone has 3G services up and running in each of those markets.
Vodafone is also publicising a downlink speed will be a theoretical maximum of 384 kbps, dependent, as Mobile Europe readers will know, on cell conditions and signal strength.

Current GPRS Mobile Connect customers will have to wait until their 12 month subscription runs out before they can upgrade to the dual mode card. So if you want 3G and you’ve signed up for a GPRS Mobile Connect card, bad luck.

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One of the world’s top three mobile phone manufacturers has chosen austriamicrosystems' AS3521 mobile entertainment IC as the basis for the audio section of a new cell phone model with sophisticated music and audio features

The AS3521 is a totally self-contained digital audio system-on-a-chip, fitting easily into the baseband architecture of different GSM/EDGE and CDMA chipsets. By using a serial communication interface the phone's baseband processor issues commands to the mobile music chip, where all digital and analog music processing is handled locally. Thus the baseband processor is free to execute the communication software stack and the user interface, while the AS3521 plays MP3 and AAC-encoded songs out of the mobile phone's music memory.

"Both of the color displays of the clamshell-style phone can be used to navigate the playlist, control music playback and establish the user's preferred sound settings," said Alexander Harrer, senior vice president of austriamicrosystems' communications business. "The music player can be operated even with the phone closed, because the AS3521 supports buttons on the outer shell of the phone, duplicating the music-related keys of the inner keypad."

When the cell phone is connected to a PC via its USB 2.0 full-speed interface, the phone identifies itself as an external storage device in true plug-and-play fashion.

No dedicated drivers or cumbersome installation procedures on the PC are required. The AS3521 controls the phone's USB link and the music Flash memory. It can handle fast music downloads as well as uploads of recorded voice notes, radio programs or photographs.

austriamicrosystems' mobile entertainment chip drives a stereo headset as well as stereo speakers in the phone. It increases the user's listening pleasure by providing 3D enhanced stereo sound. A freely configurable equaliser allows the user to adjust the music to his or her personal taste. MIDI ringtones from a polyphonic source, as well as stereo FM radio programs, can be merged into the audio stream. The AS3521 controls the FM radio via a dedicated serial interface.

austriamicrosystems' mobile music chip has its own internal programmable power management unit making it independent of the phone's main PMU. It also supplies regulated battery power to the FM module.

The AS3521's clean subsystem concept together with a powerful firmware library and software design tool suite enabled the developers to get the entertainment phone to the market within just a few months.

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Fourth largest Russian operator places €30 million order

ZAO SMARTS, the fourth largest mobile provider in Russia, has commissioned Siemens Information and Communication Mobile (Siemens mobile) to deliver telecommunications equipment worth 30 million Euro. The order encompasses delivery, installation, and startup of GSM technology (transmission, reception, and switching systems), microwave systems, and GPRS network elements for the SMARTS subsidiary in central and southwestern Russia.

More than 500,000 mobile telephone subscribers in the urban centers of Yaroslavl, Czeboksary, Ivanovo, and Saransk in the central and east-European part of the country are to profit from the new network technology as of the end of 2004. "The dynamic development of SMARTS proves that regional providers are indeed growing into a weighty force in the Russian mobile telephony market and can definitely hold their own against established players", said Christoph Caselitz, head of the Networks Division at Siemens Information and Communication Mobile in Munich. "We are pleased to be able to contribute to the growth of this company with our mobile technology." The Russian market is one of the most important growth markets for Siemens. "We are the leading provider of mobile infrastructure in the country and want to further reinforce this position in the future", said Caselitz.

"To provide our total of 1.5 million users with mobile networks, we have been relying on Siemens' technical know-how for years”, explains Gennady Kiryushin, director general of SMARTS. "In the coming years, we want to further expand this strategic partnership, in order to strengthen our market position in Russia in the long term."

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Siemens Mobile
Zao Smarts

ActiveMedia and Flytxt power m-vouchering for "Orange Wednesdays" launch

Flytxt, the leading mobile technology provider, today announced that it has chosen ActiveMedia Technology, designers of real time m-voucher authentication technology, as its preferred supplier for the roll out of the first nationwide m-voucher promotion. Flytxt is working with ActiveMedia within the overall ‘Orange Wednesdays’ project– a groundbreaking ‘two-for-one’ ticket promotion delivered to Orange customers’ mobile phones. 

ActiveMedia is supplying real-time m-voucher authentication technology, which will be installed in over 450 cinemas nationwide – almost the entire cinema industry. The m-voucher terminals are part of a broader mobile vouchering application managed by Flytxt. ActiveMedia was chosen as Flytxt’s preferred supplier due to the existing relationship between the two companies, flexibility in delivering redemption solutions and because ActiveMedia’s RAPOS terminals were the most suitable for the ‘Orange Wednesdays’ project. 

Flytxt is providing the overall technical solution for the ‘Orange Wednesdays’ project and has integrated the RAPOS application within the overall backend technology operations.  Flytxt worked with Orange’s marketing and sponsorship team to develop the concept and business case behind ‘Orange Wednesdays’ and has project managed the entire promotion as lead consultant and technology provider.  Orange customers can text to the short code 241 to receive a mobile voucher entitling them to two cinema tickets for the price of one, which can then be redeemed at terminals in cinemas nationwide.

Ramesh Kumar, Managing Director, ActiveMedia Technology added: “This is a really exciting project for us.  We’ve conducted many similar campaigns since our launch in 2001, but an initiative of this magnitude represents a powerful endorsement of the potential for m-voucher technology.  Working with Flytxt, our RAPOS offering makes operations flexible and seamless, ensuring Orange can target its customers with a totally unique offering.  We look forward to developing our relationship with Flytxt for the benefit of Orange and other customers in the future.”

“ActiveMedia’s experience in the deployment of mobile coupons, tickets and m-CRM solutions led us to choose them for the ‘Orange Wednesdays’ project.” said Flytxt Chairman, Lars Becker. “Our solution will deliver m-vouchering capability to Orange and its customers across the UK for the next three years, and this length of contract is testament to the flexibility and scalability of our offering.”

‘Orange Wednesdays’ is part of a broader campaign for the mobile operator to strengthen its links with the UK film industry and to deliver exclusive products or services that will benefit its customers. Orange has sponsored the British Academy Film Awards since 1998 and became the title owner in 2000.  Orange has also sponsored the highest profile strand of the BFI London Film Festival for the last two years.

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Mobile Europe has received the following email from ConVisual. It seems serious enough, but we are wondering about the name of the "parson from Albstadt".

conVISUAL Launches the First Mobile Content Service with Christian Content

conVISUAL launches the first mobile content service in Germany with Christian content. Users can now for the first time give their mobile phones a Christian look and feel with Christian-oriented graphics. conVISUAL and its distribution partner WEB.DE offer this Christian content on WEB.DE’s mobile portal.

conVISUAL launches the first mobile content service with Christian content. Users can now for the first time give their cell phones a Christian look and feel with Christian content. conVISUAL and its distribution partner WEB.DE offer this  Christian content on WEB.DE’s mobile portal allowing mobile users to express their religious beliefs by personalising their handsets with Christian content.

As a specialist for Christian content, Mr. Christian Tsalos, parson from Albstadt in Germany, created the content for the conVISUAL service. Christian Tsalos publishes Christian graphics using new media, in order to approach people in a new way. He says: ”We must find a better way to communicate religion in our daily lives, and what could be more effective than taking advantage of the popularity of mobile phones.” “Mobile phones are a perfect vehicle for people to express their religious feelings” says Torsten Jüngling, Sales Director at conVISUAL. Ingo Horak, manager for paid services at WEB.DE, adds: “Christian content is a perfect additional category to our wide selection of mobile content.”

As conVISUAL’s first distribution provider for this type of content, WEB.DE offers the new Chrstian content at their mobile portal at in the area “coloured logos”.

Swedish network a landmark

Tetra proponents in other countries will have looked with mixed feelings at the announcement from Nokia today that it has won the contract to provide a dedicated radio network for the shared use of all public safety organisations in Sweden.

The network (known as RAKEL) will cost the Swedish government somewhere in the region of €250 million and will be, geographically, the largest shared Tetra network in the world. Nokia has won the entire contract for the supply of all network equipment, including base stations, exchanges and dispatcher workstations. The network will be integrated and installed bv Saab and operated by Swedia.

From another standpoint, a win for Tetra is always good news for other Tetra vendors, whoever chalks up the sale. The Swedish government only recently plumped for Tetra over Tetrapol, its (bitter) rival digital radio technology. The shared use of Tetra by police, fire, ambulance and other public safety organisations is always proposed as one of the main benefits of the digital radio technology. But although the theory of allowing the emergency services to communicate directly with one another, wherever they are in a country, has its advantages, it has not always won out.

In the UK, although the regional police services are in the process of replacing their existing radio systems with Tetra networks, they are all doing so individually, and the concept of a national network is still just that. The UK fire service has taken a different view and is still deciding which technology it will choose.

Across the continent the picture is similarly fragmented, with virtually no governments having made the decision to move to a unified, shared network. In many countries the actual technical decision between Tetra and Tetrapol itself is not uniform, let alone hosting the communications of all the services on one network. So Sweden will be hailed by the TETRA community as a flagship project.

One noticeable things about the Swedish network is that the government has gone for an all-Nokia network, but there has been no simultaneous announcement on handsets. In the UK, Airwave’s network is built on Motorola equipment but is not restricted to Motorola. A quarter billion pound Tetra network in Sweden at least provides an opportunity for Sepura and Motorola to shift their handsets.

One issue that will have to address is that of consumer worries at Tetra base stations being erected. A source at Airwave confirmed to Mobile Europe that protests against masts have in some areas stopped network rollout in its racks. And where Airwave has used its powers to install base stations in the face of opposition, it has resulted in unwelcome publicity for its O2 parent. But that is a battle that all radio network operators are going to have to fight from now on, irrespective of technology.

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Nokia Tetra

The network, covering Europe's third largest country, will be the
world's largest shared TETRA public safety network.

A consortium, led by Saab and including Nokia and Swedia, has won a contract from the Swedish government to build a professional mobile radio network for the shared use of all Swedish public safety organizations. The consortium will provide and operate a single nationwide TETRA-based network that will replace the large number of separate systems currently in use by the Swedish authorities.

The Swedish government has allocated some 250 million euros for the for the "Radio communication for effective public safety" project (known by its Swedish acronym RAKEL).  Nokia will provide its complete TETRA system, while Saab AB will carry out system integration and Swedia Networks will provide operation and system maintenance.

Nokia TETRA System will provide uniform and seamless network-wide services as well as uncompromised security.  The network will have nationwide coverage, and it will be implemented in phases during 2004-2009 starting in southern Sweden, followed by the Stockholm and Gothenburg regions.

"The Swedish authority network will be the largest shared TETRA network in the world in terms of geography, and winning this deal has decidedly been a major achievement for the consortium," says Matti Peltola, Vice President, Professional Mobile Radio, Networks, Nokia.
"We are confident that our Nordic consortium is also the best choice for the citizens of Sweden.  The Nokia TETRA system will enable seamless communication between the Swedish authorities, and help them in their great responsibility to the Swedish people."

Deliveries of the Nokia TETRA system, including digital TETRA
exchanges, TETRA base stations, network management system, and dispatcher workstations will begin during 2004.

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Nokia Tetra

Device flaws and poor customer service highlight testing and support needs

Intuwave, the mobile software specialist, has conducted focus groups of business Smartphone users that highlighted concern with Smartphone quality and customer service. These findings follow quantitative research published by Intuwave in February, 2004 that showed that only 40% of IT managers had confidence in Smartphones as a business tool. Results point to core ‘hygiene’ factors not being addressed by device manufacturers and mobile network operators which are hitting the industry’s bottom line through increased product returns, lower service adoption and increased support costs.

Andrew Wyatt, vice president of strategic marketing at Intuwave, said, “These are not just ‘nice to haves’: inadequately tested devices lead to product returns or - worst case scenario - product recalls that are costly and embarrassing while poorly set up phones are a key reason why operator support costs are set to escalate. Smartphones are growing in complexity and taking on many of the functions traditionally associated with the PC, so the industry needs a way of applying mature, automated testing procedures and the remote ‘diagnose and fix’ tools associated with the PC world to mobile devices. If this isn’t achieved, then the entire industry will simply haemorrhage money as Smartphones are adopted in greater numbers."

Key problems encountered by members of the focus group included core data services - such as MMS - not working properly, the complexity of setting up services and poor quality of support. One HR manager commented, “Feedback has been mixed; as a tool Smartphones are very useful but the set up has caused more than a few headaches." This is not the response that the industry needs if its plans to increase business usage of the advanced data service functionality offered by Smartphones are to be realised.

Wyatt continued, “Business users are a mobile operators’ most profitable and least price-sensitive market segment and a logical consumer of the advanced data services that are now available. However, if services don’t work out of the box as they should then people simply won’t use them. Addressing testing and customer and service issues will therefore not only cut costs but increase revenues.”

Profile one: Suzy, 25, PR manager in the IT industry; Smartphone - Nokia 6600: "When I got my new Smartphone I wanted to use MMS immediately, but it required four calls to my operator to set up GPRS properly. Even then, whilst I could send MMS messages, my handset couldn't receive them. After several calls to my operator, and a visit to the local retail store, I gave up and exchanged my device for a new one only to find the MMS functionality still wasn't working properly! In the end, someone from my operator's customer support centre had to contact the device manufacturer and track my messages through the network. Then one day, with no explanation, I got 17 MMS messages in one go - all the pictures my friends and colleagues had been trying to send me over the past few weeks. MMS works fine now, but at one point I nearly threw my phone out of the window in frustration - I don’t even want to begin to get email working on my phone if I have to go through all that again!"

Profile two: Andrew, 45, marketing director in the IT industry; Smartphone - Orange SPV200: “Following the ban on using a mobile when driving, I actually bought a Smartphone as a consequence of upgrading to a Bluetooth phone that would let me use a Bluetooth headset. Overall my expectations have been exceeded primarily because it's great to be able to connect to the Internet whenever I want through the browser on my phone. I make frequent use of online train time tables when travelling as well as showing my friends in the pub where I'd been on holiday by going to a webcam of the area! However, it has not been so straightforward - it took the customer services nearly a month to diagnose a problem I had with my original phone's contact function, and in the end I just got another handset and £10 refund. My feeling is that it is first and foremost still a telephone, and needs to be as reliable as a phone. While I can imagine living without a PDA, I certainly can't live without a phone!"

Profile three: Liz, 42, HR manager in the IT industry: "With the increasing need for employees to work from home and whilst on the move providing my staff with mobile devices is a must. We have already deployed devices throughout the company but Smartphones are definitely beginning to creep in - having text, voice, email and internet access all on one device is much easier to handle for all parties involved. A few employees are using the Nokia 6600 as a test and there have been a few problems. Quite rightly, the operators won't give them the right to deploy MMS etc without the company's consent but I have wasted time as a go-between. Feedback has been mixed; as a tool Smartphones are very useful but the set up has caused more than a few headaches."

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Emerging broadband wireless access technologies such as WiMAX and 802.20 will blur divisions between fixed and mobile broadband services. Future BWA providers will be able to offer a single subscription including broadband access in the home and high speed mobile data services on the move, according to a new report from wireless experts Senza-Fili Consulting and BWCS.

WiFi, WiMAX and 802.20: The Disruptive Potential of Wireless Broadband  concludes that new 802-based BWA technologies have the potential to create new broadband services that transcend existing business models for DSL, cable and 3G. While this vision is at least five years away, report author Monica Paolini warns that service providers need to start positioning themselves today to take advantage of it.

She said: “While there is still some work to do on standards and interoperability, there is growing vendor momentum behind BWA technologies and WiMAX in particular. Service providers need to start making decisions now about technologies and market strategies so they are ready to ride the BWA wave when products become available.”

Technologies such as 802.16 and 802.20 offer the potential to deliver both fully mobile broadband internet access (at speeds of up to 250kph) and fixed broadband services. These could be offered over the same infrastructure as separate services or as a combined broadband subscription. Paolini said: “Wireless broadband services that combine fixed and mobile access will be tied to the subscriber, rather than a location (home or office), with the subscriber free to use service anywhere within the coverage area.”

While the mobile variants of 802-based BWA have the most disruptive potential, the first WiMAX products to appear will be designed for portability only. Based on the soon-to-be-ratified 802.16RevD standard, these will be designed for delivering broadband access to homes, offices and public WiFi hotspots. Service providers in the US, UK and South Korea are already carrying out trials of pre-WiMAX and pre-802.20 technologies for delivering broadband services in rural and metropolitan areas. 

Paolini said: “BWA has had a few false dawns already but this time round we have more robust, cheaper technologies and standards-based contenders like WiMAX which have broad industry support. This threatens to have a huge impact on the economics and market potential of BWA services.”

The new study forecasts that there will be 10 million BWA subscribers in the US alone by 2008. Of these the majority (49%) will be mobile business users.

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