Nokia’s claim to the have the first pre-commercial launch of a 3G network up and running for Orange France may not be welcomed by Nortel, which had a site, of sorts, up and running in Cannes in February for the 3GSM World Congress.

Nokia announced today that it has "lit" its 3G network in Toulouse. "This is the first pre-commercial launch of 3G in France," a statement from the company said. Nokia is one of three manufacturers being considered by Orange in a three way split of its 3G infrastructure and services contract. The third is Alcatel. Nokia and Alcatel are also carving up Orange UK’s 3G network between them.

Clearly it’s all a matter of how you define "pre-commercial". In any case, Nokia said its Toulouse network is now up and running. The third pilot city in France is Alcatel’s in Lille. No doubt that will be hailed as a first, too.

To see Nokia’s press release in full see News Wire section.

Playing to win, not to lose, etc

Orange France has launched its first pre-commercial 3G network in Toulouse using a complete Nokia radio-access network solution.  Supplying the network for Toulouse, the first "Pilot City" to open 3G services, reinforces Nokia's position as the leading partner to Orange Group for 3G radio-access equipment.  This is the first pre-commercial launch of 3G in France. 

In addition to Toulouse, Nokia is also supplying its WCDMA 3G network to the north, east and southwest regions of France.  In coming weeks, launches of Nokia-supplied networks will take place in these regions and in the UK. 
 
In addition to network equipment, Nokia has also supplied a full set of professional services, including high value added operations and maintenance services.  Nokia has supplied the equipment and services as part of a deal announced on September 16, 2003. 
 
"The shared industry vision of global mobility has never been more true than now as we see the widespread commercial take-up of 3G WCDMA services," says Damien Santé, Account Director, Networks, Nokia.  "Our strategic partnership with Orange goes beyond the simple delivery of leading WCDMA infrastructure.  We are tightly cooperating in optimizing Orange's WCDMA radio networks and enhancing the end-to-end performance of WCDMA-based applications.  The unique Nokia solution is providing Orange subscribers with a springboard for innovative mobile services in the UK and France.  I'm excited to see the results of our partnership manifested yet again in the the launch today in Toulouse and with further launches foreseen in key French and UK cities." 
 
"With Orange's Pilot Cities, consumers can enjoy the most advanced mobile multimedia services - connecting people in new and exciting ways not only through voice but with fast and cost-effective services such TV and video streaming and business-to-business applications," he adds.  "Nokia firmly believes that WCDMA 3G will be the main radio access platform when operators globally continue to invest in their multimedia networks." 

External Links

Nokia
Orange France

Users can send multi-media and text messages with their Zire 72 handheld and a compatible Bluetooth phone

Electric Pocket Limited announces it has worked with palmOne, Inc. to develop a standards compliant multi-media messaging service solution for palmOne's new Zire 72 handheld announced yesterday. The new palmOne Messages 1.0 application, which is based upon Electric Pocket's popular Pixer MMS foundation, enables Zire 72 handheld users to create and send vibrant MMS messages via the device's built-in Bluetooth wireless capabilities. It also enables users to send and receive short message service (SMS) messages.

The MMS solution, which will be shipped with all Zire 72 handhelds, will make picture messaging easier for users as they can take advantage of the handheld's screen and stylus when composing messages. It will also enable users to leverage the 1.2-megapixel digital camera built into the Zire 72 handheld, allowing them to quickly snap and send pictures to others.

"Picture messaging has become incredibly popular as MMS is spreading around the world," said Iain Barclay, Electric Pocket's chief product officer. "We are excited that Pixer MMS brings picture messaging to the new Zire 72 platform and to palmOne customers."

About the Zire 72 Handheld from palmOne, Inc.
With the Zire 72 handheld, you can shoot photos, capture and watch video clips, or create and edit Word- and Excel-compatible files. The $299 Zire 72 handheld has a 1.2-megapixel built-in camera with digital zooming capabilities, MP3 player (requires expansion card, sold separately), and includes what users need for work and play. You can take and view photos and, with an expansion card (sold separately), record and watch video clips on the bright color screen and listen to your MP3 tunes wherever you go.

External Links

Electric Pocket
PalmOne

Abidia announced the release of Abidia Wireless version 2.5 for RIM BlackBerry today, the latest version of the world’s first cellular phone application bringing eBay to wireless devices.

Abidia Wireless offers an auction experience that includes easy, on-the-go access to real-time information and visual images available from BlackBerry Wireless Handhelds, developed by Research In Motion. Abidia Wireless is compatible with any Java based BlackBerry Wireless handheld, as well as mobile phones and PDA’s based upon Java, Windows Mobile, Symbian OS, and Palm OS.

Abidia Wireless 2.5 incorporates new features to support both buyers and sellers. View real-time information about items won, lost, bought, and sold. See or add items in their watch list, the item’s current bid price, an image, or compare prices in other auctions. Sellers can now view the status of auctions away from their PCs and get a list of the similar items to compare prices and see pictures of competing items. Abidia Wireless is a truly global solution, providing direct support for International eBay users, including support for eBay UK, eBay Germany, eBay France, eBay Italy, eBay Spain, eBay Canada, eBay Australia and many more.

“Abidia Wireless has been developed specifically for devices with small displays and slower processors,”, said Mike Burch, CTO at Abidia. “We are excited to bring it to the BlackBerry, a platform where it can really shine. It is a very comfortable fit with the larger screen, thumb pad, and advanced networking capabilities.”

Abidia Wireless is currently available at Handango for as low as $2.49 a month, customers can access their eBay account anywhere, anytime.

“BlackBerry devices are highly regarded in the industry, we are very optimistic of our integration of the eBay experience with the BlackBerry,” said Keith Horn, CEO at Abidia. “We look forward to increasing BlackBerry integration with our products in the future. BlackBerry users can now stay competitive and informed while on the move.”

External Links

Abidia

Visto Corporation (www.visto.com), the leading provider of personal and corporate mobile messaging solutions to wireless operators for the broadest set of mobile device platforms, today announced that it has been issued a patent for a system and method for globally and securely accessing unified information in a computer network. This patent marks the ninth US patent in Visto's portfolio.

The new patent, US Patent No. 6,708,221, describes a mechanism for secure remote access to a corporation's data. Additional information on the patent is available at the US Patent and Trademark Office at www.uspto.gov.

"Visto continues to lead the wireless market with innovative technology that makes mobile and offline access to data reliable and easy," said Daniel Mendez, vice president and CTO of Visto. "This new patent illustrates our capabilities in managing the synchronisation of data of various types in a secure fashion over the wireless networks used by mobile workers. We anticipate this patent will be another valuable asset in Visto's already substantial portfolio of intellectual property."

Visto holds a total of nine US patents relating to the storage, access, translation and synchronisation of data, all technologies necessary for easy, secure mobile data access. Internationally, Visto holds issued patents in China, Israel and Singapore and has other patents pending in Europe, Japan and numerous other countries worldwide.

Enterprise data warehouse provides platform for 1 million euro revenue assurance savings

Teradata, a division of NCR, has announced that Vodafone Ireland has chosen Teradata as its platform for enterprise data warehousing. The new 1.5 terabyte data warehouse went live in September 2003 and has already returned significant benefits to Vodafone Ireland in the areas of revenue assurance, revenue stimulation and customer retention. Significantly, by aiming to consolidate its customer data marts onto a single enterprise data warehouse, Vodafone Ireland will also avoid future implementation costs associated with multiple database implementations.

"With the Teradata data warehouse we have not only been able to reduce costs but also harness our information assets to better drive business advantage. The ability to better analyse business processes has already led to revenue assurance savings of 1 million euros while the availability of a single, consistent view of the customer has enabled us to better serve and advise our customers," explained Paul Tully, head of management information systems at Vodafone Ireland. "Enterprise analytics are critical to Vodafone Ireland going forward, and we developed an exhaustive benchmark to evaluate potential platforms. Teradata was the leader in every category."

Key to Vodafone Ireland's strategy is delivering a superior customer experience.  By consolidating all customer data relating to billing, data services, marketing, sales and call centre support onto one database, it has not only reduced costs but also improved the consistency and availability of customer information.  For example, call centre staff can now access customer call data on a single screen fed directly from the data warehouse. Previously this information was presented on five separate screens.

Vodafone Ireland now has access to more detailed data on customer behaviour, which can be used by marketing and call centre staff for cross-sell, up-sell and customer service activities.  For example, having ported its tariff optimisation package onto the data warehouse, Vodafone Ireland is now able to offer customers up-to-the-minute advice on the most suitable package for their usage profile.

With data now ready for analysis within four hours, rather than the previous significantly longer durations, Vodafone Ireland's analytical capabilities have improved dramatically. It has also been able to move data analysis in-house and reduced the reporting cycle from two weeks to a maximum of one day. For instance, a recent initiative relating to premium short message services (SMS) delivered by third-party content allowed Vodafone Ireland to improve support to third-party content providers by accelerating reporting of activity levels.

"As demonstrated by Vodafone Ireland, analytical breakthroughs and data-mart consolidation offers organisations a very desirable combination of cost savings and operational improvements," commented Hermann Wimmer, Teradata vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Telekom Austria today announced the launch of its EDGE network through its Croatian mobile subsidiary VIPnet. The Croatian mobile provider is integrating EDGE technology into its network accelerating the transition from GSM to the third mobile generation. Thus, it is the first operator in Croatia to launch a high speed 3G mobile data transmission technology. VIPnet plans to reach 90 percent EDGE-coverage of the Croatian population by July 1, 2004.  It will then be among the first mobile operators in Europe to achieve national 3G blanket coverage.

EDGE enables data rates up to 384 kbps. The speed depends on the quality of signal, number of customers and mobile phones that are being used. There are still no phones on the market that support over four time slots in download so maximum rates in the first phase will be up to 220 kbps. Network upgrade to EDGE does not require building of new base stations.

Company expects GAAP profit for Q4

Extended Systems Inc., a leading provider of mobile application solutions for the enterprise, today reported net revenue of $8.3 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2004 ended March 31, 2004, an increase of 13% over net revenue of $7.4 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2003 and a 2% decrease over net revenue of $8.5 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2004.

The Company reported a net loss of $2.1 million, or ($.14) per share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2004 compared to a net loss of $648,000 or ($.05) per share, in the third quarter last year, and a net income of $459,000, or $.03 per share in the second quarter of fiscal 2004. 

Pro-forma net income was $419,000, or $.03 per share for the third quarter of fiscal 2004 compared to a pro-forma net income of $327,000, or $.02 per share in the third quarter a year ago and $761,000, or $0.05 per share in the preceding quarter. The adjustments to arrive at pro-forma income for the third quarter of fiscal 2004 include restructuring charges of $117,000 related primarily to severance, $169,000 of non-cash stock compensation, $138,000 of amortization related to purchased intangibles and $2.1 million of expenses related to legal fees and settlement costs for the litigation with Intellisync Corporation (formerly Pumatech, Inc.). Loss from operations on a GAAP basis was $1.9 million. On a pro-forma basis, income from operations was $563,000 and the Company achieved an operating margin of 6.8% on a pro-forma basis. Full details of the Company's financial results are set forth in the attached financial exhibits including tables with detailed reconciliations of pro-forma and GAAP amounts.

Cash and cash equivalents were $7.8 million as of March 31, 2004, compared to $8.8 million as of December 31, 2003 and $3.5 million at June 30, 2003. The decrease in cash during the third quarter was primarily the result of the $2.0 million payment to settle the Intellisync Corporation lawsuit.
 
"Our third quarter results continued the trend of both growth over the previous year's revenue and profitability on a pro-forma basis," said Charles Jepson, president and CEO. "In the quarter we experienced an increasing trend where our customers moved from a pilot or small trial to deploying our solutions at multiple locations." Jepson added. "We view this as an indicator that our large customers have confidence in Extended Systems to provide mission critical applications to mobile workers."

"We believe that the enabling infrastructure is now in place where enterprises can deploy mobile applications effectively," continued Jepson. "Large organizations are rapidly becoming aware of the benefits and competitive advantages of mobilizing corporate information. Although we expect some fluctuation in market adoption rates, we believe our OneBridge platform is well positioned to take advantage of the growing opportunity for mobile middleware."

• 3G subscribers in Western Europe to rise from 600,000 at the end of 2003 to 27 million at the end of 2005

• By 2009, around 70% (240 million) of all Western European mobile subscribers will have a 3G-enabled device

• 2004 has seen launches of 3G data services by high-profile operators such as Telefónica Móviles and Vodafone and several operators expect mass-market launches before the end of the year

• Analysys Research report covers Western Europe, with forecasts for France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK

Over 5 million Western Europeans will be using a 3G mobile device by the end of 2004, but subscriber numbers will remain low until at least 2005, according to a new report, Western European Mobile Forecasts and Analysis 2004-2009, released this week by Analysys Research, the global advisers on telecoms, IT and media (www.analysys.com).

Although there has been a spate of 3G service launches in 2004, including those from high-profile operators such as Telefónica Móviles and Vodafone, the report forecasts that by the end of 2004 there will be just 5.3 million 3G subscribers in Western Europe, up from 600,000 at the end of 2003.
However, with many more mass-market launches expected to happen towards the end of 2004 and in the course of 2005, significant growth in 3G subscriber numbers will begin from 2005 onwards. Demand for 3G services is then expected to rise quickly, with around 70% (240 million) of all Western European mobile subscribers using a 3G-enabled device by the end of 2009.

"Several Western European operators have launched 3G data services in 2004, increasing the likelihood that others like Orange, T-Mobile and TIM will be successful in entering the 3G mass market during the year," said Ariel Dajes, author of the report. "Recent market developments also make it more likely that handset manufacturers like Nokia will be able to deliver sufficient numbers of 3G handsets of the right quality in the second half of 2004."

According to the report, the relatively slow initial growth of 3G subscribers can be attributed to three key factors - operators have experienced problems in sourcing 3G handsets, 3G networks are restricted to major built-up areas, and major operators are focusing on getting a return from their GPRS investments.

"3G handset design has been widely criticised by operators with complaints that their size, appearance, and battery life will not be acceptable to customers who, over the last few years, have seen huge innovation in GSM handsets," added Dajes. "At the same time, equipment manufacturers have complained that issues surrounding handset availability are to do with networks not being ready to enable proper testing."

The report notes that network coverage issues are being addressed in some cases through the use of alternative technologies like EDGE. A number of operators such as Orange and TIM are deploying EDGE to enhance their GPRS networks and to complement their 3G W-CDMA coverage in rural and low traffic areas.

With 3G subscriber numbers remaining low until at least 2005, the role to be played by GPRS has increased. The report forecasts that revenue from GPRS subscribers will grow from EUR28 billion in 2004 and peak at EUR63 billion in 2007, before declining as customers move from GPRS to 3G.

Western European Mobile Forecasts and Analysis 2004-2009 analyses the key factors that are driving the mobile market in Western Europe, and provides detailed forecasts of subscribers, ARPU, revenue, retail spend and average spend per user (ASPU) for Western Europe as a whole, as well as for France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK. It covers four market segments (residential prepaid, residential contract, SMEs and large corporates) and eight service categories (voice, P2P messaging, data networking, browsing, paid information, e-tainment, m-commerce, and videotelephony).

The report is available to purchase online at http://research.analysys.com/store.

Location Based Services (LBS) – a pre-bubble technology once touted as the next "killer app" – is poised to make a comeback – albeit without the flash and hype. So-called E112 or E911 legislation – named for the emergency phone numbers – requires the ability to pinpoint the location of a cell phone placing an emergency call in Europe and North America.

According to technology market research firm ABI Research, this legislation, plus commercial success in Asia, is slowly bringing new life to LBS. Stalling adoption of LBS are technical challenges in identifying cell phone callers. Many methods exist, none perfect. Common approaches include using the cellular infrastructure to triangulate a callers’ location, sometimes in conjunction with Global Position System (GPS) satellites but a key limitation of GPS is that the signals do not penetrate buildings and relying solely on the wireless network to triangulate a signal can be costly.
Solutions from companies like SnapTrack and Global Locate provide equipment to combine GPS data with cellular infrastructure data to pinpoint a location.
"While carrier deployments are escalating globally, the real money is in the services," comments Edward Rerisi of ABI Research. "LBS enables a carrier to raise their ARPU [average revenue per user] by offering valueadded location services that will also fuel demand for higher-priced data services. If deployed successfully, it can give a significant boost to the top line."
Total revenue garnered from these services may exceed $3.6 billion by the end of the decade. The largest segment of this will be enterprise services, used to track employees and assets in the field. Navigation, weather and friend/child tracking are among other location based services likely to be adopted by consumers. According to ABI Research, revenue for telematics services, linking a car, truck or trailer to a cellular network, will outpace those for handset-based services. Global telematics revenue will exceed $5 billion by 2009 despite far fewer users than handsetbased LBS.

More information on the LBS market is available from ABI Research in a new report titled "Location Based Service: Analysis of Carrier Spending, Subscribers, Devices and Applications for Handset-based and Telematics Services". The report analyzes the markets for handset-based LBS and telematics, forecasts equipment shipments, A-GPS handset shipments, services revenues, subscribers and deployment spending.

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