Delivers dynamic offer management solution for wireless premium services

Valista  has today announced Valista OffersPlus Wireless. Valista OffersPlus Wireless allows mobile operators to rapidly build and deploy sophisticated promotions from third-party suppliers and then sell bundled services to subscribers. 

Valista OffersPlus Wireless provides mobile operators with the ability to add new revenue streams, attract new subscribers and strengthen existing customer relationships by offering innovative premium services and loyalty programmes, which can be introduced quickly to the market.

"Consumers are using their phones more and more as a gateway to purchase goods," said Paul Hughes, director of billing and payment application strategies at Yankee Group.  "Moving forward it will be critical that mobile operators have the technical ability to quickly deploy new premium services and reward high-value customers.  Valista OffersPlus Wireless provides mobile operators with a strong foundation for the introduction of a broad range of bundled offerings which can become additional revenue sources."
 
Valista OffersPlus Wireless allows mobile operators to create packaged bundles of services or promotional offerings with discounted or free introductory subscription periods.  First-time or low-use customers can pay for services individually, while higher-use customers save by purchasing bundles (packages of content) and subscriptions.  Valista OffersPlus Wireless enables mobile operators reduce their time-to-market for third-party offers, while broadening the operators' customer base through support of various access channels (mobile / web), payment methods (credit / debit card, stored value accounts, operator bill or loyalty) and ways to buy services such as pay-per-use or subscription models.

Valista OffersPlus allows operators to reward loyal customers, either long term or frequent shoppers, by offering incentives, discounts and free services.  Customers can accumulate loyalty points through multiple downloads of content and services while using the points as a form of payment for their next purchase.  Through OffersPlus Wireless, operators can determine customers buying patterns to promote and sell packaged offerings of services and content tailored to the individual customer.  Furthermore, mobile operators can create appealing packaged bundles of services or promotional offerings with discounted or free introductory subscription periods with or without commitments, in order to capture new customers or entice existing customers to upgrade.

"Our OffersPlus Wireless promotional and loyalty features were designed to help mobile operators to introduce a wider range of innovative and appealing packages of premium services to generate additional revenue and reduce customer churn," said Raomal Perera, chief executive officer of Valista. "Valista OffersPlus has enabled America Online to bring premium services to market in record time and now OffersPlus Wireless gives mobile operators the same ability."

Valista OffersPlus Wireless is designed to accelerate commerce in premium services (music, games, movie clips, information services) by enabling providers to easily package their products and services in a variety of targeted consumer 'offers.'  Valista OffersPlus Wireless includes configurable time-limited and time-and-event-limited, individual or bundled product offers.  OffersPlus manages the end-to-end business process for all participants in the value chain: the merchants, service provider and the consumer. It controls user access and consumption, and manages the automatic charging according to the charge period and recurrence rules and settles with each of the merchants and the service provider involved.  Examples of time-limited offers include a user monthly subscription of £2.50 for downloading games, or an mp3 bundle consisting of up to 10 mp3s for £5 a month.  An example of a time-and event-limited offer might involve monthly access to a gaming site plus ten game tokens or monthly access to a pop star's members' site plus the right to download any five MP3s.

External Links

Valista

Full track download with no software required on the phone

ONE, Austria's third largest mobile operator, is adding QPass' content download functionality to its LADEZONE music download service, meaning customers can now download and play entire tracks on their mobile phones without requiring any software to be downloaded to the handset.

QPass, perhaps best known for its M-Payments business line, offers a full track music download module which supports multi-formats (mp3, 3gp, AAC and Real Audio), includes OMA 1.0 compliant DRM and a download library with entire tracks. ONE is the first mobile operator in Austria and one of the first European operators to enable its customers to download entire music tracks to 3G and 2.5G phones.

"Qpass is an excellent partner in enabling the further success of our new UMTS mobile music services," says Christian Riener, Marketing Director of ONE. "I'm looking forward to continuing to work with Qpass to ensure that the 'LADEZONE' download service broadens its mobile music fan base as steadily in the future as it did in the past."
 
"There's a strong trend in the mobile operator community to maximize content delivery revenues by leveraging a single platform to manage all types of digital media," said Steve Shivers, SVP, Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Qpass. "Qpass' Content Delivery Platform is designed for this objective and enables ONE to offer its customers a superior full track music service will increase their data ARPU."

AContent Delivery Platform provides services such as content upload and management, front-end rendering, transcoding, delivery, DRM and CRM functionality, and alerting capabilities.

External Links

QPass

Nokia signs deal with Civil Protection and Transmission Dept

Nokia has won the contract to supply the radio communication network for the Civil Protection and Transmission Department of the Turin Municipality. The system will be the first significant implementation of its kind in Italy, and it will provide the staff of Turin Municipality with seamless, highly reliable Nokia TETRA voice and data services. 

The network will vastly improve the communications of the municipal staff in Turin, providing not only better coverage and functionality, but also enabling better cooperation.  Its first users will be the Municipality of Turin and other local organisations who will enjoy improved secure coverage by winter 2005.   Later, the coverage of the network will be extended to the whole of Turin metropolitan area, and further to the whole province of Torino, which totals about 3 million inhabitants.
 
The system will be put into operation at the beginning of 2005, and will initially serve around 6,000 users, with the number of users increasing up to 15,000 once it has been implemented in full.
 
"We are proud to be the first in Italy to deploy Nokia TETRA technology and provide the Turin Municipality with a radio communication network that represents a completely new generation, compared to the outdated analogue radio systems currently in use," says Dr. Sergio Zaccaria, Director of the Civil Protection and Transmission Department of the Turin Municipality.
 
"People who are responsible for the safety of others demand extreme reliability and security from radio communications. For them, Nokia TETRA system provides free mobility without compromising security. Nokia's synergies between mainstream and mission critical technologies can be harnessed to address the e-Government requirements in an ideal way.  What's more, Nokia is unique in its capability to implement and bring into operation TETRA networks of all sizes, always ensuring highest-quality of performance," says Massimo Gotti, Managing Director, Nokia Italia.
 
"We are happy to say that the TETRA standard and the Nokia TETRA system are widely acknowledged in Italy today," says Marco Santonocito, TETRA Business Manager, Nokia Networks, Italy. "Nokia can implement TETRA systems of all sizes, always ensuring top-quality performance. The project is unique, in that it is the first significant TETRA network implementation in our country".
 
Under the terms of the contract, Nokia will provide Turin Municipality with digital TETRA professional mobile radio solutions, including Nokia DXTip exchanges, Nokia TETRA base stations, Nokia DWS dispatcher workstations, and Nokia NetActTM centralised network management system for the new operating centre of the Municipal Police. Nokia will also provide integration training, and care services, setting up of the terminals, and turn-key delivery of the system. The Alpitel company - a member of a temporary association of companies together with Nokia - will provide the implementation services for the project.

External Links

Nokia TETRA

Users offered Zi Corp's Qix service discovery engine

Virgin Mobile UK and Zi Corporation today announced the first consumer trial of Zi’s newly launched Qix technology. Qix (pronounced “quicks”) is an innovative mobile service discovery engine that combines predictive text and content indexing to enable rapid discovery of contacts, features and services on a mobile smart phone.

Qix provides for the first time an intuitive, fast search index for a mobile user, in the same way that an internet search engine like Google or Yahoo helps web surfers find what they are looking for. Qix will be bundled with Virgin Mobile’s Nokia 6630 handsets during spring 2005.  The trial will compare service usage and ARPU between subscribers with and without Qix-powered smart phones. 

Qix significantly reduces the number of key presses needed to use a phone, thereby enhancing the user experience for the subscriber and simultaneously driving service usage and adoption resulting in greater Average Revenue per User (ARPU).  Over time, Qix’s interactive memory remembers new user data, including new URL bookmarks and called numbers for future presentation. It also tracks frequently used personal selections over time and then presents them with priority over other information, providing easy access to favourite items of the user.

Graeme Hutchinson, Sales & Marketing Director at Virgin Mobile, said: “One of the biggest challenges we face is to entice customers to start using the plethora of features and service on their phones, and to use them frequently. We believe that the Qix technology will make all mobile services easier to find and use.”

“As the first completely intuitive service discovery engine, this carrier trial with Virgin Mobile is an important milestone for Qix and a key opportunity to gather first-hand consumer feedback on our product,” said Glen Morgan, senior vice president of global sales and marketing for Zi.  “In order to create the ideal customer experience, Zi invested in significant focus group testing when we developed Qix.  We are confident that this trial will reinforce our findings and belief that Qix will drive service adoption and subscriber ARPU.” 

The trial will utilize the Symbian OS version of Qix.

External Links

Qix product info

All ne service from All New Video

Mobile video specialist, All New Video, has today announced it will be providing the technology and services for a new video reporting service, for the British Broadcasting Corporation.

As easy as making a telephone call, the new service will allow Reporters in the field equipped with 3G mobile telephones to make video calls into Television Centre.  Emerging and breaking news events can therefore be transmitted in real time to television networks.

All New Video will provide this functionality as part of a managed service from one of their European hosted facilities.  The packaged service will utilise All New Video’s unique carrier class network to provide a two-way video call between 3G mobile, ISDN and IP networks. This service, based on Radvision technology, is designed with the scalability and durability to meet the BBC’s demanding needs for innovative media and technology solutions.

Commenting on the deal, All New Video Operations Director David Hogben said: “We are delighted to be working with the BBC to deliver even greater value to the general public.  Video is lined up to be the next big application in mobile telephony and we believe that the extra functionality we can now offer will increase flexibility and lower costs of live broadcasts in the future.

External Links

All New Video

We hope you'll bear with us this month as we thought we'd try out something a little different. It seems time to stop and take stock of what happened in Cannes this year at the 3GSM show, as evidenced by our team of reporters (ie Keith Dyer).

No one big theme

So, to the question we most feared being asked at the show itself, "What are the big themes and stories of the show so far?"
Eschewing the true answer, "Well, to be honest as it's 5pm on the second day and I have had nothing substantial to eat since dinner on Sunday (note to certain manufacturer -- when inviting a boat full of journos out for dinner, it might be an idea to actually feed them dinner) and attempting to address the issue seriously, the answers have to be, HSDPA, IMS, and convergence  -- both fixed/ mobile and digital media/ mobile.
If you have responded to this list with a weary shrug of the shoulders or a feeling we have bought the hype then do read on, there's a lot more than where that list where that came from.

One answer to the "what's hot" story is to look at last year's common themes. Last year's big flyers at 3GSM were push-to-talk and HSDPA. Well, there seems to have been some progress on HSDPA, which was still largely at the concept stage last year, but the silent button seems to have been pressed on push-to-talk, at least as far as the operators concerned.
None of the major operators presenting nor any we spoke to more informally had much to say about PTT at all, with the very occasional exception.
Orange is the most notable case, seeing as it has supposedly launched a PTT solution based circuit switched, rather than data channel, technology, from Kodiak Networks.
Of the major vendors, last year Siemens, Nokia and Motorola were all hailing PTT over Cellular (PoC) --- the standard being finalised for the technology over GPRS. Ideally, this year, you would have thought, there would be handsets galore and service deployments.
But instead, the service has been bundled in with those that will benefit from IMS, which is itself still some way off. It may be that the reasons are more cultural than anything else. Motorola has plenty of PTT contracts, but very few it can talk about in Europe.
So, the following few pages attempt to draw a few themes out of the news at the congress, and catch up on a couple of less-publicised approaches that caught our eye.
Three major vendors
Of the big equipment vendors, perhaps Alcatel and Nokia had most to say, and Siemens was very honest about quite how much trouble its handset business is in

Nokia:
Major Releases made:
1. Collaboration to put Windows MediaPlayer on Nokia phones and OMA DRM and AAC codec support as a plug in for Windows Media (Also launched a  mobile music platform for operators with LoudEye); 2. Customisable 6101 clamshell camera phone (emphasising new strategy), and 6680 and 6681 imaging smartphones. 3 Third Edition of Series 60 with focus on enhanced multimedia and enterprise functionality 4. Licenses Microsoft's Exchange Server ActiveSync.

Nokia came to the show to deliver certain key messages, clearly understandable by the emphasis key speakers placed on key words.
First among these was, "opportunity". Here, the network equipment, handset and mobile services giant has decided that opportunity lies in emerging markets, which is fair enough, but also in mobile music, multimedia convergence and peer to peer video "sharing."
One indicator of how hard Nokia has been thinking about stitching this together is the announcement of a partnership with Microsoft to integrate its Windows Media Player PC technology with Nokia's OMA DRM and mobile compression  technologies. It was just as well that by this stage the picture of the handsome gent with what looked suspiciously like iPod headphones, used to illustrate the wonders of mobile music, had been erased from the big backscreen. Because, of course, the success of the iPod and, more importantly iTunes, has shown that mobile music download services are chiefly accessed and managed from PCs (and Macs). So now the (still, just) leading handset vendor and the PC giant have buried several hatchets over mobile OS to attack the problem of differing formats and systems between the online and mobile world.
This opportunity, the chance to crack mobile music, is proven, Nokia says, by the success of 3UK's video jukebox service, which saw 10 million full track downloads in the six months since its launch. 3, of course, is a Nokia customer.
Another "opportunity" that has been giving Nokia plenty of pause for thought is customisation. Scoring well over a dozen mentions in a speech from the head of the handsets division, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, customisation means Nokia giving operators the chance to brand phones, and the software and applications on them. Of course, this "opportunity" for Nokia has also been a huge bloody problem, as ODMs fully geared only for customisation have been the provider of choice for many 3G operators, including within the hallowed smartphone market. So Nokia is addressing this "opportunity" by providing one-off customisable versions of new generic phone releases. Example, the 6101, a new release from Nokia has been provided to China Mobile as the 6102, with the words China Mobile written on the plastic cover of the phone, as well as offering a branded user interface to China Mobile's own specification.
It kicks against the grain a bit to see Nokia as an ODM, and that is because of course it isn't, but it is making the move towards the customisation "opportunity" that it sees only after years of resisting precisely that move. The process was set in chain last year when Nokia announced it would be producing Vodafone live! themed handsets, the lack of which had kept them off that operator's roster for 3G handsets. This trickle seems to have become a flood, and now the message of the moment is that if you are an operator and you want your own bespoke handset then why, the boys in the backroom will be only too happy to knock one up for you.
Final buzzword, and one intended to convey the new infrastructure which the new Multimedia services from the new customised handsets will exploit, is convergence. We had to stop counting the number of 'convergence" mentions during Anssi Vanjoki, Multimedia general manager's speech. But believe it, convergence is the key to the mobile future, and Nokia, from the handsets to the service platforms, is behind it.
For Vanjoki, the idea of convergence is an "opportunity", but it is still a problem for the mobile world, because there is an underlying assumption that the operators and their suppliers will be able to keep the Internet genie corked. But why should they, and how could they? Nokia and Microsoft can announce all the joint ventures they like to allow users to get exactly the same customer experience on a mobile as on their home PC, but the experience of internet service providers is that they then become access providers, providing and extracting little of added value. So converged, customised, devices and services may well offer a  series of opportunities for Nokia, but more than a few headaches along the way as well, not least for their customers.

Siemens
(Major releases: 1. Trials of an HSDPA data card; 2. WiMax base stations and modems 3.France Telecom testing IMS based service 4. Siemens push email solution

Last year Siemens said it was launching 30 handsets during 2004, as it sought to hit an ever-more segmented market with point products for gaming, messaging, corporate, and so on. This year, it said its handset division is losing around a million Euros a day, and it is looking at the sale of the division! If the division is not sold then the other three options are to carry on as they are, which seems unlikely to say the least, to find a partner, which may have some value, or to close the division entirely. In terms of handset releases, Pauly said there would be must two UMTS phones released this year.
"We admit publicly we are too late in the launch of 3G phones," he said " We are late but the phones will come out in 2005.
Rumours that LG and ZTE were both scoping the division quickly emerged, as did talk of a swap with Motorola, in return for the American company's mobile network equipment business. Clearly, this little titbit dominated much of the discussion, but Lothar Pauly, ceo of Siemens was also keen to emphasise the positive, which for Siemens is always on the infrastructure side of things.
On W-CDMA Pauly claimed that Siemens/NEC won 25% of the W-CDMA network deployment contracts made in 2004. He also said the vendor had the bases covered when it came to competitive radio access methods, through its OFDM partner Flarion and its newly announced WiMax base station and modem product line.
Siemens was keener to emphasise its HSDPA data card, built on a Qualcomm chipset, which it had on show at the event. All Siemens Node B's delivered by Siemens/ NEC since 2002 have been HSDPA-ready, Pauly said.
Finally, the company made a fair amount of noise around IMS. Pauly mentioned a few operators that were planning to build services on an IMS platform from Siemens. These included O2, which he said would use Siemens to build an all IP multimedia subsystem by 2007, and KPN, which "has chosen Siemens as its strategic convergence partner for its fixed and mobile activities in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
Another IMS customer was France Telecom, which will be pushing out services on IMS in its Orange UK and Wanadoo (ISO) subsidiaries.
IMS was the one area where PTT got a specific mention, but this year only in passing, rather than the headline item it had been last year.

Alcatel
1. SFR selects Alcatel's mobile Next Generation Network solution; 2 Alcatel and Intel join to expedite the delivery of 802.16e nomadic and mobile WiMAX solutions 3. Alcatel signs USD 685 million contract with Nigeria's Globacom for fixed and mobile multimedia services 4. Alcatel launches network infrastructure platform program based on AdvancedTCA 5.Orange extends successful mobile media partnership with Alcatel's PacketVideo Network Solutions 6ZTE and Alcatel sign OEM agreement for CDMA radio access solutions

Alcatel's chief contract announcement was for a EUR680 million deal in Nigeria. There was also much trumpeting of a core network deal with T-Mobile. Very big deals no doubt but of more relevance to Mobile Europe was a little line in the power point presentation "targets for 2005" that said, "Sign European UMTS reference customer." Hang on, we thought, haven't we seen that line before? Why yes, we have, at the same presentation this time last year.
So we asked Roland Thies, deputy vice president of products and services, if he thought we would be seeing the same target for 2006. Slightly side-stepping the question, Thies said that Alcatel had in fact made 3G announcements in Europe, and would be making more, especially in emerging markets. Perhaps it had just snuck in there by mistake, then.
Alcatel's chief message is that it is positioned across a very wide spectrum of activities, from billing to media platforms and content management, through core networks and radio access networks.
One thing it is proud of is that through PacketVideo and also its own convergent billing system it is behind Orange France's success with its Live TV service, which has proved so popular among its 3G customers. Indeed, its applications business is now up 50% year on year by revenues, and applications and software integration was named by president and coo Philippe Germond as one area of strategic focus. Of these convergent billing and video services were prime movers. There are over 20 customers using Alcatel video products, Germond said.
All such good news meant, "We're back to growth and back to profitability," Germond said. Indeed, if he were to show any appreciation of a certain rock group he might have told us he was "Back in Black"

Cheers... to Nokia for having something interesting to say at their press conference that they hadn't widely leaked beforehand to friendly media outlets.

Jeers... to Orange for their increasingly corporate and bland public image. Mr Ahuja, talking ever louder does not make YOU APPEAR ASSERTIVE. Merely defensive, which you have no particular need to be. And your senior staff look almost as ridiculous in their co-ordinated black suits and Orange ties as your whole organisation does for attempting to sue an MVNO for using a colour it has been using in many other markets for years, and which isn't even the same as your in any case. 

Cheers... for Pascal Debon, giving a bravura performance in the graveyard slot at 6:30 pm, as Nortel's European head attempted to pull his company back out from under the slough of accounting stories and non-appearing major 3G contracts. Never mind the bad news, feel the vision. Nice try, M Debon, although we think the "This is the way..." messaging is beginning to verge on the biblical. Perhaps next year will have the message "This is the Resurrection"

Jeers.. to the continued "see no evil" attitude of other suppliers, the GSMA itself and the press to the competitive position of some of China's equipment manufacturers. Hey, we too could tender at nearly half the price of our nearest   competitor if we paid our staff peanuts and had tens of thousands of people developing code that sometimes has looked suspiciously  like that of the major established manufacturers (near enough to have had at least one be brave enough to slap a cease and desist order on the UK distributor of said equipment). That's not mere competitive advantage, and the continued silence of their OEM competitors, operator customers, the GSMA and the press does not reflect well on an industry that pats itself on the back for producing a $50 handset, giving money to Unicef and bringing to wonder of communications to the world's hungry and poor.

Cheers... for all the operator  executives who were willing to turn up to a round table discussion to explain exactly how far they had and hadn't got with the Simpay initiative. Anyone who wants to see how hard it is to get anything done on a cross-operator basis need only have been in the room, as the operators present, which included Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone and Telefonica Moviles traced out the history of how they had got to where they are. Nice to see so many operators in one room together talking (relatively) openly about an important subject

Jeers... to the obligatory "bag searches" at every entrance to every hall. For what it's worth, a fleeting, cursory look inside every single bag makes me feel less, not more, safe, unless all the inspectors had X-Ray vision and sniffer-dog smell that I didn't know of.

Cheers... to the Alcatel senior exec who could only get the adult section of Orange's Pay per View Live TV service to work, as he sought to demonstrate the smooth working of his company's convergent billing product. Never mind, sir, we're sure you'll get the other services working too, just as soon as they are installed in your favourites list, and we salute your dedication to supporting your company's customers.

Cheers... to the demonstrator who managed not to laugh at our risible attempts to get her handwriting recognition technology to work. We'd like to say, as we have been told we have the handwriting of a six year old it was probably us, not your software, that rendered our scribblings to complete gibberish. I'm sure the application has a bright future in mobile.

Jeers... to the Motorola clone that walked out of its "Sunset Lounge", took one look at a cold and thirsty party of people all with tickets who had been specifically invited, said "No" and then stalked off, presumably to find a mirror in which to practice further her air of superiority.

Cheers... to the ladies and gents staffing the press centre who seem to have realised that the world's journalists are not merely a bloody nuisance (although we can of course be just that).

Chinese predictive test company Zi Corporation has launched a user interface application that takes users direct to the applications on their phone. Using Zi's expertise in predictive text technology, the Qix UI software prompts a user with either a contact or application after just one, two or three key strokes.

For instance, typing in just the number 5 would initially bring up any contacts beginning with the letters j,k,l as well as any phone numbers beginning with the number 5 or applications on the phone beginning with the letters jkl. Type in another number and the selection is defined only to the contacts, numbers and applications that begin with the text equivalents of those two numbers.
Mobile Europe has trialled this technology and has found one of the chief advantages is that the system tends to lead to a contacts-first mode of working. So rather than opening up messaging, selecting text, getting a blank text template up and then entering recipient and details, instead a couple of clicks means a contact is brought straight up on the phone display. Click options and you are asked if you would like to call, text, MMS this contact. Choose what you want to do and away you go.
Of course, the advantages of this to operators would be that as more applications are added to phones, this would be a good way of making them visible to end users, rather than expecting the user himself to go and search out the application from the menu.
One slight drawback to that is that although the "What would you like to do with this contact" approach works well, and inputting the letters required to take you direct to an application also works, the software is less fully integrated with the phone when it comes to changing the settings and profiles of the phone itself.
For instance, when you get a new phone one of the things you might like to do is find which ringtone you'd like. It would be nice if typing in 7,4,6 would bring up RIN, for ringtone, which it does. But then when you click on this you are presented with a "Help" file telling you about Ringtones and how to set them up etc, rather than taken directly into the available options themselves. Linda Wu, Zi Corp's marketing director said this was something the company was working on.
Zi's Qix was tested on a Nokia 7610, meaning of course it is built for Series 60 on a Symbian OS. Support for Windows Mobile and Palm OS based phones is in the pipeline, Linda Wu, ??, said. Qix is a C++ application that takes up about 400k of memory. The company's predictive text application is about 500k.

Chinese manufacturer ZTE has said it will win deals with European operators in 2005 for handset supply and for 3G WCDMA and CDMA equipment.

Although the vendor was unable to announce any contracts yet with European operators, aside from a trial in Spain with Telefonica, ZTE said it would be taking its 3G technology on the road, highlighting its three new W-CDMA handsets and v.3 WCDMA network infrastructure.
The vendor announced four new WCDMA products -- three handsets and a PC data card. One of the these, the F808 was billed as the world's smallest WCDMA handset. Not as trivial a differentiator as it might sound in a market which has seen consumers turned off by some clunky models.
Handset size apart it is still price upon which ZTE, like fellow country vendor Huawei, is competing in the market. Although the company played coy on the price of its handsets, it confirmed to Mobile Europe that it would be significantly cheaper than European and US rivals in terms of network equipment.
"We are very competitive," spokesman Cheng Lin said, "It's a native advantage of being a Chinese company that we are used to price competition." There's also the small matter of vastly lower labour costs, of course. But although Lin was happy to confirm that the company would make its first pitch on price, he said that cost alone would not be enough to win contracts. ZTE is well aware it needs to provide evidence of its ability to provide after sales service and support, and continuing product innovation, Lin said.
But his conclusion that "Our main advantage is cost," left it in no doubt as to what the message will be on that roadshow.
ZTE also confirmed the identity of its OEM partner for its CDMA radio technology. To no-one's surprise the widely leaked news that Alcatel is to include ZTE CDMA technology within its CDMA solutions was confirmed by Sylvie Richir, vp of Alcatel's broadband access product division. Richir also said that one of the first targets for Alcatel would be the 450MHz operators in the "emerging" markets in Europe. The old analogue 450Mhz band is providing a gateway for CDMA into central and eastern Europe, and Alcatel now has a play at the radio access level.

Being part of the FreeMove alliance has resulted in a 30% increase in the number of bids for multinational companies' (MNC) business, and a 40% increase in bids won, Cynthia Gordon, Orange Business Solutions' marketing director, said.

Gordon said that FreeMove's multi-territory offering meant that customers that would not previously have considered a mobile strategy have started to come to do business with the operator, and she credits the alliance strategy for pulling in recent contracts worth tens of thousands of connections.
FreeMove is an alliance between Orange, T-Mobile, Telefonica and Telecom Italia Mobile, and it provides a single point of customer access to a corporate customer, while providing a service that looks and feels the same to customers, wherever they are in the FreeMove footprint. It means the operators have had to do a lot of work on how they will manage bids and resolve roaming issues. In short, who gets the money!
So are all the operators playing nicely? Well Gordon admits that there are "always challenges", hinting that a lot of work has been done on bid management issues, but says that on the whole things have worked out OK.
Another plus for Orange, and an area it continues to be considerably more excited about that other operators, is M2M. Orange has just done a deal with Siemens to enable it to provide service to Siemens' M2M modules. Siemens has about a 305 market share of the M2M module market, and a large utility and professional services capability, so this is a big deal for Orange. Gordon says it means the operator no has 90% of the addressable M2M market in its sights.
Of course, at first glance, telemetry doesn't look very profitable or exciting for network operators. It gives them a slight uptick in data traffic, small bursts perhaps at times when the network is otherwise under-utilised. But Gordon says its M2M service is important because it is just that, a service. When Orange consults with companies on the benefits of M2M -- for example allowing remote diagnostics, ordering, pay as you go usage models for office machinery or car use -- it "moves it up the value chain" according to Gordon. This is important for an operator because, as Gordon admits, a mobile operator is not always the most obvious IT partner. But Gordon has said that in at least one major instance (Norwich Union) the operator has won valuable voice business on the back of impressing the client with its M2M strategy.

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