More than twice the number of camera phones will be sold in 2003 compared to 2002, according to a report released today by ARC Group has claimed.

The wireless analyst claimed that by the end of 2003 more than 55 million consumers worldwide will own camera-phone handsets, more than double the 25 million mobile units sold in 2002. 
"This year we have seen a massive growth in camera-enabled phones, with 15% of handsets worldwide featuring built-in cameras or designated camera accessories," David McQueen, ARC Group's Senior Consultant and author of the Future Mobile Handsets 2003-2008 report, said.
For mature markets, the growth has come from existing mobile phone users as they are encouraged by handset manufacturers and network operators to replace their handsets with more feature-rich models, a turnaround from a few years ago when the emphasis was on the first-time buyer, McQueen found.
"Tempted by innovative design features such as rotational cameras and swivel screens, along with the advent of multimedia messaging, colour displays and polyphonic ring tones, we'll see many consumers upgrading their mobile phones this Christmas," he said.
The study also predicts that by 2005 130 million handsets with camera capability will be shipped globally, and with the additional boost of 3G roll out, this figure is expected to increase to 210 million by 2008. 
"Globally, the Asia Pacific region will continue to lead the way, but Europe is expected to improve its market share through the continued take-up of mobile messaging services and with operators promoting attractive services such as Vodafone's Live! service," McQueen explained.
ARC Group predicts the entire mobile handset market to grow by 10.3% with consumers buying 444 million mobiles by the end of 2003, up from 402 million in 2002. This trend is set to continue for the next five years, with handset sales forecast to reach 689 million by 2008.
The report saw a noticeable change in the market shares of the major handset vendors in 2002, although the top two, Nokia and Motorola, remain the same.
The most notable rises are Samsung, which has increased its worldwide share to around 12%, and LG, which is doing well in the CDMA market. Siemens also saw its share grow in 2002, although market share for SonyEricsson and Alcatel has slipped. For the first half of 2003, the top four remained unchanged, although LG was hampered by the SARs virus, and SonyEricsson staged a comeback to push up its market share.
Overall, Europe lost sales last year owing to market being over-reliant on the replacement market, and growth is expected to be slow up to 2008.

The ARC Group's view that Samsung is a coming threat were vindicated by a report from VisionGain, which produced a report aggresively titled "The Samsung Report --- a threat to Nokia domination?"
The survey carried out for the report amongst industry executives found that 35% of respondents expect Samsung to gain the most market share in handset market in 2003.
VisionGain said that Samsung Electronics is currently the third largest global handset manufacturer with a 9.8% share of the overall market in 2002 and an ambition to reach a target market share of 11.6% by the end of 2003. Visiongain believes that Samsung will eclipse Motorola by 2006 --- posing a stronger threat to Nokia.
The report finds that one of the major factors in Samsung's favour are its openness to a variety of operating systems and extensive interest in both CDMA and GSM.

Imhotek, a messaging software company, has developed a product that it says will keep control of "extortionate" GPRS roaming charges for mobile data.

The software works by compressing the data that is sent over the air to a phone, PDA or laptop, reducing the number of bytes sent. As GPRS is charged on a per byte basis, this can significantly cut corporate mobile data costs, Jason Salmon, director of Imhotek, told Mobile Europe.
"Our IXP software rationalises what actually needs to be sent down to a bare minimum.  For instance for a phone like the [SonyEricsson] P800, if you have 150bytes of information for sending, we would do that same transaction in 10bytes using IXP."
The product comes into its own when users are roaming internationally, Salmon said, when charges are often at their highest.
"When you are being charged a lot of money for roaming we can deliver 80-85% cost savings at peak and at least 50% [minimum saving]. The amount varies depending on what you're sending.
"Plain text is around a 50% reduction, but if you are sending a .bmp file format then IXP can do 85% compression and data reduction because BMP is not a very efficient protocol."
IXP sits between the email client and the email server, compressing or reconstituting inbound and outbound data. There is also a version called IXP Lite which can act as a POP3 email client for WAP phones as a Java application, allowing the user to receive email headers.
The IXP software will work with Symbian phones, PocketPC or PalmOS but does not support any other OS. Salmon said the technology is being evaulated by one teleflorist, which is using the technology directly from Imhotek.
He also claimed to have excellent relationships with mobile operators, despite the fact the software could be seen as cutting their revenues, and is running the technology in trials with Orange, O2, Vodafone UK and Vodafone Germany. There is also an option available including encryption ---which Salmon identified as being important for corporates because they want an easy encryption option on all the platforms they use.

Operators and manufacturers of GSM gateways have reacted angrily to a government decision to outlaw the use of the technology by third parties.

GSM gateways are devices which take a fixed-to-mobile call and present it directly to the  network as a mobile call, rather than through BT's interconnect.
They are used mostly by business customers who have large numbers of calls going out to mobile numbers.
The Department for Trade and Industry has upheld the restriction on the "third party" use of the technology, although private users will still be able to exploit the 20% cost savings it can offer.
This effectively means corporates using the technology connected to their own PBX will be unaffected as they often own their own equipment so qualify as private users. But smaller companies who use third party provided services will not be allowed to continue doing so.
The Mobile Gateway Operators Association (MGOA) said the decision was "extraordinary" and would lead to the loss of a £300million industry and 800 jobs. It said its proposals to the DTI on how operators' concerns about security and service functionality could be met had been ignored.
Mobile operators have claimed that the gateways compromise security, emergency calls and because they hide CLI, mean users cannot user any CLI-related services, such as callback, or reject a call.
But one provider of GSM gateway equipment, Quescom, told Mobile Europe that operators' concerns had more to do with profit.
Teddy Theanne, UK country manager said, "GSM gateway suppliers are being penalised for providing a solution in response to an end-user demand whilst still complying with GSM standards.
"GSM gateways result in huge cost savings to end-users, with phone bills reduced by up to 50% and an average six month return on investment. It will take networks up to three years to be in a position to compete with this ROI.
"You can now appreciate why the network providers  are finding GSM gateway suppliers a threat. All the hype that surrounds the GSM gateway is only a myth and it is clear it has little to do with legality and a lot to do with economics."
The MGOA has said it will take its concerns to Oftel, the European Commission and to the network operators themselves.

Project Telecom founder and ceo Tim Radford says he thinks the future of independent service providers in the mobile market looks bleak, following the sale of his business to operator Vodafone for £155million.

Radford told Mobile Europe that it was becoming "very obvious" that the mobile operators were trying to get rid of the service provider market.
"We've had 10 fantastic years but this year has been incredibly challenging. All our opportunities had very much been in the business market but it was becoming increasingly obvious the operators had determined to focus on the business market --- and do it with direct communication.
"Increasingly it was alienating the idea of the service provider as a concept. We were doing business against the networks themselves and that was getting increasingly difficult."
Radford contrasted the fixed  wholesale market with mobile, where just four operators dominate.
About a third of Project's customer base are O2 network subscribers, Radford said. He pointed out that Vodafone has in effect acted as an O2 service provider before, after taking on customers through other acquisitions.
Radford also said that he expected Vodafone would keep the Project business in place in Newark, treating it as a centre of excellence for serving business clients and trying to attain an air of independence about the business.
If Vodafone succeeded it would be good for Project customers, Radford said, because it would combine Vodafone's financial muscle with Project's customer service platform.
He also said that the vision of providing mobile and fixed broadband services to businesses from one provider was a good one, and said Project's fixed business was doing well for the company up until its sale.
Vodafone bought Project Telecom for £155million in early August, netting Radford himself an estimated £37m.
Radford said that although he will be leaving the company after the handover, he will not be taking his millions from the sale of the company off to the countryside to build up his herd of Belgian Blue cattle. "I'm only 42," he replied. He said he was sure he would be back in the IT and communications market in some capacity, and there were other ideas in the pipeline.
Project Telecom got its name when  Radford sold his last company, and kept  a drawer full of files of business ideas.   One was labelled Project Telecom, and the name stuck.
l Vodafone followed up the Project Telecom purchase with the acquisition of the Cauldwell Group's service provider Singlepoint GBP405 million. Singlepoint has 1.9 million contract customers, 27% of the operator's total contract customer base.

Sonera has agreed a GPRS roaming agreement with Japanese operator J-Phone that gives its users access to GPRS services when they are in Japan.

The roaming agreement lets subscribers keep their own SIM and phone number whilst in Japan, although users will have to buy or rent a WCDMA handset to work on the host operators' 3G network.
Janne Pesu, director of TeliaSonera Finland, said, "Japan is a roaming country that has been long desired and waited for. Our data services can now also be used in the Japanese third-generation mobile network. This is an important step towards global mobile services."
Once they have acquired themselves a second phone, subscribers will be able to access normal voice services, including call barring and forwarding, as

Vodafone's Greek subsidiary Panafon will be providing UMTS services in Athens by the end of 2003, following a deal for the provision of equipment and services from Siemens.

Siemens' Information and Communication Mobile Group will  supply Panafon with equipment for the first time, winning the operator as a new customer for its third generation infrastructure.
Siemens mobile is supplying and installing all the infrastructure components for setting up the UMTS radio network and the accompanying network management system. In the first phase, Vodafone Greece wants to cover the Athens conurbation, which the vendor said should be ready by the end of 2003.
 Vodafone Greece is majority owned by Vodafone Group with the Greek telecommunications group Intracom  holding just under 10%.  It is the second largest mobile provider in Greece with around 3.6 million customers and a market share of 34.7%.
Latest figures show that approximately 71% of the total customer base is pre-pay.

Nokia has made a move for vertical integration in the gaming market by buying Sega.com, SEGA's online gaming subsidiary. This agreement will mean Sega's multi-player technology will be integrated with Nokia's N-Gage game deck (pictured right).

The SEGA Network Application Package (SNAP), that enables  networked multi-player games, will form the core part of Nokia Mobile Phones' Entertainment and Media Business Unit's online games activity.
"This acquisition is a logical step in bringing online elements to mobile games," said Ilkka Raiskinen, Senior Vice President, Entertainment and Media Business Unit. "Sega.com has developed a technology platform which, combined with the Nokia N-Gage game deck, opens up totally new dimensions for gamers."
Raiskinen said that SNAP is scheduled to be integrated into the game deck and be available to consumers worldwide by October 7, 2003, when N-Gage is launched.
Nokia stressed that the acquisition could also be good news for operators, generating additional revenues by integrating games industry technology with mobile networks.
l Two games platform suppliers, TTPCom and Synergenix Interactive have announced that they will converge their wireless gaming activities to develop a single platform.
TTPCom licenses technology to  handset manufacturers including Siemens, Sharp, LG and Toshiba and has developed a wireless graphics engine (WGE) which features in the Innostream I-1000 phone which is distributed in China and other Asian markets.
Synergenix has developed mophun, a wireless gaming platform, which is used in handsets including the Sony Ericsson T300, T310 andT610. mophun features a download facility, and has been adopted by more than a dozen network operators in Europe and North America. 
The companies say joining forces will create a "a single standard for state-of-the-art wireless gaming in mass market mobile phones." This "standard" will be complementary to Java, which the companies claim is increasingly used in high-end mobile phones.
Gordon Aspin, Operations Director at TTPCom said, "The wireless gaming market is extremely competitive and we believe that there is room for only one high performance gaming standard.  TTPCom and Synergenix, by working together, have the skills and connections to establish this standard". 
Per Österberg, CEO of Synergenix said, "TTPCom works with over 40 handset manufacturers worldwide and have a particularly strong position in Asia. Our tie-up will make a superior gaming experience available to this wide range of manufacturers."
As part of the agreement TTPCom will take a minority stake in Synergenix.

Omnitel has introduced a roaming service called "Eurozona", which will  reduce call rates for Omnitel subscribers roaming within Europe. Starting from October 1st, Omnitel subscribers travelling to European countries will pay almost half the previous tariff for incoming calls --- with rates from 1.60Lt.

Giedrius Makauskas, head of Omnitel's Business Customers Division, said, "Increasing call traffic with European countries shows that an increasing number of our subscribers are travelling to different places in Europe. Furthermore, with Lithuania's accession to the European Union and development of tourism, business and other kinds of relations, contacts will undoubtedly expand, and our subscribers will have to travel abroad more and more.
"Thus with regard to changes on the market and our customer needs we will offer a new service providing an opportunity for Omnitel subscribers to talk at much lower rates while abroad."
The Eurozona service will not just be available in the EU, but also in other European countries.  Incoming calls on LMT and EMT networks for Omnitel subscribers while in Latvia and Estonia are already free of charge.

Aircom has expanded its Enterprise suite of network measurement tools to include the tool RANOPT, which has been specifically designed for the optimisation of 3G networks.

Aircom says RANOPT has been developed taking into account the specific requirements of UMTS operators. New data formats and parameters can be loaded without changing programme code. Any new data to be loaded into the common database is done so "virtually automatically". Once data has been "automatically" loaded into an Oracle database a powerful reporting mechanism allows the operator to customise and generate a variety of different reports.
The tool is shipped with a bundle of standard reports such as overlapped area, scrambling detection, services coverage, pilot pollution and soft handover

Telekom Austria's wireless division grew revenues to EUR 498.5 million during the second quarter of 2002, a rise of 9.6% on the previous year's equivalent quarter.

The good second quarter performance meant that half year revenues were up 7.3% overall at EUR 973.2 million. These revenue figures were achieved against a background of the regulator cutting termination rates  from April 2003 by 1.24%. From September that rate cut will be imposed at 3.47%. Overall operating income rose by 2.5% to EUR 83.6 million.
Of the carrier's mobile businesses, Mobilkom Austria managed to increase its subscriber base by 6% in the quarter, taking its overall number to 3.1million. Those figures give it a market share of 43.5%, a slight rise on a year ago.
However, there was a 19% rise in both subscriber acquisition and retention costs, which the operator attributed chiefly to the effects of higher handset subsidies.
There was a small rise in the proportion of revenue by data, increased SMS use attributing to data reaching 10.8% of revenues from 9.3%.
Telekom Austria's Croatian subsidiary VIPnet added a further 400,000 subscribers during the quarter to take its total to 1.15 million. As ARPU fell by 5.0% to EUR 19.2, overall operating profit remained static at EUR 15.6 million, the operator reported.
Slovenian operator Si.mobil lost subscribers during the quarter, falling from 351,500 at the end of March 2003 to 350,100. The slight drop was attributed to churn and increased competition. The operator complained that the Slovenian market continued to be plagued by "a great degree of regulatory inconsistencies" and pinned its future hopes on EU membership.

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