Demos HSPDA to interested customers

Motorola today announced the opening of the EMEA Motorola Innovation Centre in its facility in Swindon, in the UK.  This new centre is the latest in a series of Motorola initiatives designed to demonstrate mobile communications technologies to the end user and to assist customers when choosing technologies appropriate to their subscriber needs.

The newest technology to be showcased at the innovation centre is Motorola’s High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) solution which marks improved performances to UMTS bringing mobile broadband to the consumer with a simple, cost-effective upgrade to the network. HSDPA enables, for example, a five-fold increase in downlink data speeds and lower power consumption. This means that consumers can enjoy more robust applications, while network operators benefit from a more efficient network and lower hardware investment.

Other technologies that Motorola will be showcasing in the Swindon Innovation Centre include:
•  Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC) with demonstrations, for example, of one-touch communications between individuals or ‘buddy’ groups
•  3G including videos calls, video downloads and streaming as well as simultaneous voice and data calls
•  Public WLAN; private WLAN and Voice over WLAN demonstrations
•  Other technologies on show include the Motorola SoftSwitch (MSS) and Enhanced Data rate through GSM Evolution (EDGE) solutions.

“For a mobile operator planning its business strategy, the ability to test and compare real system performance is critical and to be able to experience it first hand in a live working environment is crucial,” said Margaret Rice-Jones, corporate vice president, Motorola Inc. and general manager, Motorola’s Global Telecom Solutions Sector, EMEA. 

“This new facility signifies our commitment to working closely with our customers and partners to bring new communication solutions to the market to enhance consumer experience.”

Commenting on the announcement, Chris Clark, CEO BT Wireless Broadband said, “Working with Motorola for the past few years on BT Openzone, we have been firsthand witnesses to Motorola's innovative approach - something we also value highly. By opening its first Innovation Centre in Europe today, Motorola continues to be at the forefront of innovation and we look forward to working together in years to come.”

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Second injection from Cross Atlantic

Tao Group, maker of the intent multimedia platform for mobile and other digital devices, today announced further investment into the company.  Cross Atlantic Capital Partners (www.xacp.com), investing into Tao for the second time, led the transaction of more than USD 7million. Tao, a privately held company, has now raised USD 37million since August 2001 and approximately USD 45million since its inception. The additional funding coincides with a raft of recent license wins, which include global OEMs, ODMs [Original Design  Manufacturers] and MNOs [Mobile Network Operators].

intent is an open and scalable platform that allows rich multimedia content to run on mobile phones and consumer electronics devices, such as PVRs and digital cameras.  Independent of operating system, chipset and programming
language intent, delivers consistent application behaviour on any intent-enabled device.  This allows MNOs to have a single content strategy across entire device portfolios.  For ODM handset manufacturers and OEMs it offers greater scope for component choice and product differentiation. Deployable either as an entire embedded stack or as a spot solution, intent is gaining very strong traction in the market.

Further to the investment, Rajeev Surati joins Tao's Group board as a non-executive director. With a Ph.D from MIT, Rajeev has considerable industry experience working wit innovative software solutions. Having co-founded Flash Communication, later sold to Microsoft, Rajeev is now Chairman of photo.net and involved with several technology investment organisations.

Francis Charig, Tao's Chairman, commented: "intent is now a matured technology allowing the company to focus more strongly on securing globally-significant design wins.  With the additional funding led by Cross Atlantic we will be able to pursue a much more aggressive go-to-market programme in Europe, Asia and North America."

"It is Cross Atlantic's strategy only to lead investment into companies with a significant differential and the quality of management that could genuinely make them world leaders. We found this rare combination in Tao," said Hazel Cameron, Director of Cross Atlantic. "The intent platform is technologically ahead of the curve and recent license wins have been testament to the strength of the company and the tangible business benefits that intent delivers."

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Cross Atlantic Capital Partners

Record number of WAP pages viewed

March 2004 saw the highest recorded number of WAP pages viewed in one month since counting began in September 2002. 1.4 billion WAP pages impressions were viewed in the UK during March 2004, according to figures announced today by the Mobile Data Association (MDA). This shows an increase of over 130 million on February and provides the highest monthly figure yet recorded.

The total, from GSM Network operators O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone, takes the daily average to 45 million, more than doubling the daily average of 18 million for the same period last year.  In 2003, 9.2 billion WAP pages were recorded - for the year ahead the MDA forecasts continued growth with WAP page impressions expected to reach a total of 13 billion for 2004.  The MDA will monitor the situation with a monthly statistics review  - every month the MDA will post the numbers along with a reconsidered forecast for the 2003 figures on its website www.text.it. 

MDA Chairman, Mike Short, commented: ‘These figures illustrate a growing interest in accessing the web via mobile and downloading a variety of content via WAP technology.’

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Mobile Data Association

Will use digital radio spectrum from GWR Group

BT today announced it is to develop a new digital multi-media broadcast platform to deliver real-time content to mobile phones and other hand-held devices.

GWR Group plc, the UK commercial radio group, has assigned to BT its rights to its data-casting project.  GWR will make spectrum available on the Digital One DAB digital radio multiplex and make a contribution of £2.75 million to BT’s costs. In return, in due course, BT will share with GWR a proportion of the revenues derived from the content distribution platform.

The new service, to provide applications such as video clips, travel and news and sport updates, will be developed within BT Wholesale’s operation. It aims to launch during 2005, initially serving the M25 area of the south-east of England. BT Wholesale is in active discussion with handset developers, content providers and with service providers about the proposal.

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Vodafone has today announced the introduction of 'Vodafone live! with 3G'  for consumers in Europe.

Vodafone live!, the industry-leading, multi-media consumer service, will be enhanced by 3G technology in a series of phases.  This will bring consumers improved quality, sound, pictures and videos, as well as increased speed when downloading games and ringtones.  They will also be able to access a select range of new services such as video calling, video downloads (sport, news, music and general entertainment) and the streaming of live events to their handset, as well as existing services such as video messaging.

Vodafone is the first mobile operator to bring 3G technology to both business and consumer markets across a number of European countries.  For the consumer market, initially this will be on two new handsets - the Samsung Z105 shortly followed by the Sony Ericsson Z1010.

From today, Vodafone live! with 3G is available on the Samsung Z105 handset in selected retail outlets in Germany and Portugal.  Other countries will follow in the coming months.

Vodafone live! with 3G will be enhanced later this year, when there will be a wider selection of handsets available, together with an even more extensive range of content.

Peter Bamford, Chief Marketing Officer, said: "Today's announcement is another important stage in Vodafone's 3G journey and follows the successful European launch of our 3G Vodafone Mobile Connect Card for business customers.

"Extensive consumer trials of Vodafone live! with 3G indicate that early adopters are keen to try this technology and so we are giving them a taste of it prior to the full launch of enhanced services later in the year. Over the next year, Vodafone live! with 3G will open up a whole new world of communication and entertainment via the mobile phone. As well as texting and speaking to friends and family, consumers will be able to use their mobile phones in different ways, helping them enjoy richer communication, anywhere, any time." 

Lithuania's acting president H. E. Arturas Paulauskas made the country's first 3G call over Omnitel's trial network on May 1st.  The call was made using a 3G core network supplied by Nokia as part of a six-month trial undertaken by Omnitel in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.  Nokia has also delivered a 3G radio-access network for Omnitel to pilot during the trial period.

The historic first 3G call was made by Mr. Paulauskas to his country's newly appointed European Union commissioner Mrs. Dalia Grybauskaite in Brussels on the day that Lithuania joined the EU.

With the 3G trial, Omnitel has clearly demonstrated that Lithuania is in the vanguard of mobile services in eastern Europe.  UMTS licenses will be issued in Lithuania by the end of 2004.

Nokia has been a long-term supplier to Omnitel of core networks for GSM.  Nokia also provided Nokia 7600 terminals for the 3G service demonstration.

"We are excited to be marking our integration with Europe with an important milestone in Lithuanian communications," says Antanas Zabulis, CEO and President, Omnitel.  "Nokia has played a large role in making this call a reality, and we are more than happy to be continuing our cooperation with Nokia."

"This 3G call has great significance for both Omnitel and Lithuania," says Jan Lindgren, Vice President, Networks, Nokia.  "It demonstrates how advances in mobile services are matching other historic changes in this country.  We are extremely pleased to be working with Omnitel to introduce the people of Vilnius to the promise of 3G."

Motorola, Inc. has announced the launch of a Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) trial in conjunction with Omnitel, the largest wireless network operator in the Baltic States.  The trial launched on 1 May, the day Lithuania joined the European Union.

The Acting President of the Republic of Lithuania, H.E. Arturas Paulauskas, made the first live public UMTS video call to the country's newly appointed European Union commissioner Mrs. Dalia Grybauskaite, who is based in Brussels on the launch day.  The trial, which will make 3G services available to residents of the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, is scheduled to be completed by November 2004.
  
Lithuania needed to meet strict telecommunications criteria in order to gain entry to the EU and has exceeded the requirements with the UMTS trial. Improved economic conditions and increased competition between operators in the region have seen the mobile telecoms market in Lithuania steadily expand. Omnitel currently has over one million wireless subscribers and estimates an annual subscriber growth rate of 24 percent by 2004.
  
As part of this trial, Motorola will supply and deploy Omnitel's full UMTS Radio Access Network (UTRAN), including UMTS multi-standard base stations (Horizon 3G Base Stations), common GPRS/UMTS packet data core equipment and application server to support packet video streaming, Internet browsing, e-mail access and other applications over a UMTS network.
 
"We continue to see progress in the rollout of UMTS across Europe, and this trial with Omnitel is another step in our continued strategy to make 3G a reality," said Margaret Rice-Jones, corporate vice president of Motorola and general manager, Motorola's Global Telecom Solutions Sector, EMEA.  "Our experience and technical strength gives us an advantage in helping customers such as Omnitel to launch their UMTS networks quickly and efficiently."

"The first call on 1st May marks a historical occasion for Lithuania and we are proud to be part of it," said Antanas Zabulis, president and CEO of Omnitel.  "We are pleased to team with Motorola to bring Lithuania closer to a new era of mobile services.  Motorola's experience and track record make them the best choice to help us bring a variety of services which will open new horizons to our customers."

Bitfone's mProve used by three of top six handset vendors in the world

Bitfone Corporation, the company that pioneered over-the-air (OTA) firmware update technology for mobile phones, has announced that LG Electronics has licensed Bitfone's mProve solution, which will enable LG to update the entire firmware image on mobile handsets over the air, with complete security and fault-tolerance.   

According to LG Electronics, OTA software update is an important new feature in their phones which will enable convenient service for their customers.  LG will use mProve to deliver the latest software to their mobile phones without the need for special cables or in-store service assistance.

"Bitfone's mProve offers excellent performance and is easy to integrate. Bitfone has a clear understanding of operator requirements for OTA device management, which makes Bitfone a good partner for commercial deployment," said a LG representative.
   
"We are honored to be selected by LG, one of the leading mobile phone makers in the world, as the solution provider for their OTA firmware update initiative," said Gene Wang, chairman and CEO, Bitfone. "By making software updates for mobile phones fast, safe and easy, mProve supports LG's commitment to enhancing the mobile experience for their customers and will reinforce their world-class premium brand."
   
The commercial launch of mProve on LG handsets is scheduled for the second half of 2004.  mProve has already been commercially deployed in the NTT DoCoMo network in Japan and in the SK Telecom network in Korea.  With this announcement, mProve becomes the only OTA firmware update solution to be selected by three of the top six handset manufacturers in the world, reinforcing Bitfone's leadership position in the market.

Sales about stable year over year; Gross margin up at 36.6%; Income from operations at Euro 80 million at 2.9% of sales, up 8 points year over year; EPS (pre goodwill) positive at Euro 0.18, and Euro 0.10 after goodwill

Alcatel's Board of Directors (Paris: CGEP.PA and NYSE: ALA) reviewed and approved first quarter 2004 results. Sales were registered at Euro 2,740 million compared with Euro 2,828 million in the first quarter 2003, down 3% at actual exchange rate and up 2% at a constant rate. The gross margin improved to 36.6% compared to 30.3% in the first quarter last year. Income from operations amounted to Euro 80 million, with all business segments positive, compared with a loss of Euro (150) million in the same period last year. Net income (pre-goodwill) for the quarter was registered at Euro 234 million or diluted Euro 0.18 per share (USD 0.22 per ADS) and net income after goodwill at Euro 134 million or diluted Euro 0.10 per share (USD 0.12 per ADS).

Serge Tchuruk, Chairman and CEO summarized the Board's observations:
"Our performance in Q1 2004 is a clear confirmation that Alcatel is on the right track. With the sales decline stopping, our margins can now benefit from the intense restructuring which has been carried out. We are pleased to see, in this traditionally weak quarter, positive operating income generated in all segments and our earnings per share getting back in the black (even without the capital gain of the SAFT divestment, the pre goodwill EPS is at breakeven).

"Our key strategic choices have been validated by recent accomplishments. Partnerships are being set up in areas where consolidation can generate future value while suppressing the burden on our operating income from formerly stand-alone operations. We are confident that our cooperation with Draka, creating the number 2 world player in fiber optics, and with TCL, creating a major force in cellular handsets, will change the world landscape in these markets. In parallel, our order intake reflects the pay off of our focus on next generation technologies which can differentiate Alcatel: their growing traction is largely driving our positive revenue outlook for the rest of the year, in a market which otherwise remains uncertain. Private Communications will continue to benefit from advances in IP telephony, interaction management and our world leading technology in rail control and communication networks. The Evolium range of solutions for mobile equipment and applications will be further enhanced with unique features supporting a projected growth in sales for the full year. Finally, breakthroughs in IP service routing, next generation optical systems, multimedia wireline solutions for VoIP and triple play applications are set to sustain Fixed Communications revenues."

"At this point, we are upgrading our expectations of year over year revenue growth going forward, both for the coming quarters and for the full year 2004. For the second quarter, as well as for full year, we expect high single digit year over year sales growth at a constant Euro/Dollar rate, which translates into significant growth at the current rate. EPS (pre-goodwill) should be positive for the second quarter and should become substantial for the full year."

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Alcatel

Mobile networks division does well in Western Europe

Alcatel’s mobile division made a good contribution to first quarter figures that show a decrease in sales, but income up overall.

The mobile division’s first quarter revenue decreased by 5.1% to Eur757 million from Eur798 million in Q1 2003, Alcatel said. But income on tat amounted to Eur70 million compared to Eur15 million in Q1 2003.

There was good growth in mobile networks in Western Europe and Africa as well as China, while the other regions in the world were "less robust" the vendor said.

The mobile networks business was a good player for the vendor, recording double-digit growth in its mobile core business with "continued momentum" in areas such as next generation applications (video and convergent payment) as well as in messaging, with more than 135 mobile customers in this domain.

However, the wireless transmission business, which registered a revenue decrease, did affect overall revenue. The handset business saw increased volumes to 1.9 million compared to 1.7 million in the first quarter last year, but that volume growth was offset by price declines.

"The handset business continued to weigh on the profitability of the segment," Alcatel said. The vendor recently announced plans to "do an Ericsson" and offload the manufacturing burden to TCL.

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