Go faster card gives more options

PC data card manufacturer will use CeBit to show off an HSDPA card, which it will demonstrate on network equipment provided by Nortel and Siemens. The demo is another example of the progress vendors are making towards making HSDPA a commercial reality.

The Option HSDPA data card is demonstrated with streaming video and office applications at speeds up to 1.5 Mbps.
 HSDPA boosts network capacity to carry up to three times as much data traffic and up to twice as many wireless users per cell site compared to today’s UMTS networks. By making more efficient use of the existing network and boosting throughput, HSDPA significantly reduces operating costs while delivering a better end user experience. As such HSDPA will enable faster mobile services like high-resolution interactive gaming, multimedia music tracks, DVD-quality film and video etc.

The network vendors all claim that migration to HSDPA requires only a software upgrade at the radio access level, although there may well be additional proecessing and power requirements. But if there primary claim is true, then HSDPA will stand or fall on the ability of handset manufacturers to effectively implement another access technology into devices. Data cards, like in R99 UMTS, are seen as the early starter of the technology, giving corporate users in particular MB connection rates to the Internet and Intranets.

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M2M data to be stored on Oracle app servers

Siemens is announcing a new partnership with Oracle Deutschland GmbH for the joint development of corporate solutions in the field of machine-to-machine communications. This cooperative effort relates especially to the new line of business offered by Siemens: M2M One. With M2M One Siemens provides companies with tailored M2M solutions from a single source and uses, amongst others, ORACLE's application server.

Siemens uses the Oracle Application Server as the basis for developing a framework for M2M server solutions. These solutions ensure that data sent to the company from external machines and devices via GSM/GPRS communication is stored in an Oracle database and processed from there. With the aid of the Oracle JDeveloper as development tool and prefabricated modules, the framework for this can be adapted very quickly to individual M2M needs. "We are delighted to be able to support Siemens with our expertise in the development of the M2M framework", declared Werner Keller, Vice President of Sales at Oracle Deutschland GmbH. "The M2M market is highly attractive and we are hoping for further interesting developments in this field in cooperation with Siemens."

The two companies also intend to work together on the marketing of the new M2M One service offering. They are planning, among other things, a joint roadshow in Germany in the first half of the year in which companies are to be shown on-site the opportunities for boosting efficiency and reducing costs by using machine-to-machine communication.

"The M2M market has been highly fragmented up to now and there are many individual solutions. Together we are now striving to achieve greater standardization of M2M solutions on the server side", said José Costa e Silva, President of Wireless Modules at Siemens Communications. "Due to the presence of Siemens and Oracle worldwide we can offer our customers not only regional but also international implementation of their M2M solution along with global support which will include the server application."

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Siemens Communications

European entry for Toshiba

Vodafone will bring Toshiba mobile phones into Europe in the second quarter of 2005 when it adds two Toshiba models to its 3G range. Toshiba is already a supplier of 2G handsets to Vodafone KK in Japan.

The first handset to be made available under the new relationship is the Vodafone TS 921, a tri-band device with a 1.9 Megapixel camera with auto focus. The branding of the device emphasises Vodafone's need for brandable, customisable devices. It may also help Vodafone's relationship with its supplier in Japan to be opening a few doors for it in Europe and other territories.

Peter Bamford, Chief Marketing Officer of Vodafone said, “Toshiba is one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world and a significant player in the Japanese mobile market. By building on our existing relationship and experience with Toshiba in Japan, as well as our existing partnerships with some of the world’s leading handset manufacturers, we can offer our customers an even greater range of exclusive Vodafone live! with 3G enabled handsets.”

Chikahiro Yokota, Corporate Vice President, President and CEO for Toshiba Corporation’s Mobile Communications Company, one of Toshiba’s in-house companies said: “Vodafone’s commitment to making 3G a reality across the world makes them an ideal partner for Toshiba as we enter the 3G handset market.”

The Vodafone TS 921 will be on show on the Toshiba and Vodafone stands at CeBIT in Hannover, starting 10 March 2005.

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3GSM World Congress
In its keynote presentation at the 3GSM Congress in Cannes today, T- Mobile called for a new approach to the challenges and opportunities facing mobile; pressed for changes to the subsidy model and approach to tariffs; called for a reduction of roaming rates; gave further details of its broadband mobile strategy and its strengthened lead in Wi-Fi; announced new mobile data devices and tariffs; and called for the industry to align on the growing needs for interoperability and standardisation.

The myth of mobile maturity : T- Mobile denounced the notion of maturity, even in voice services. Global mobile users are forecast to double from 1 billion at Cannes last year to 2 billion by end 2005. US customer growth was around 14% last year. (T- Mobile US customers increased 32%). In European countries, penetration is moving beyond 100%. More important, uses and usage of mobile are immature everywhere, and mobile is just now entering the broadband revolution.
"We need to ban the word maturity from the mobile dictionary; but we also need to adopt a new approach to mobile growth." said René Obermann, Chief Executive of T-Mobile.
Change the subsidy model. Change tariff structures. The need for fairness and simplicity: The focus of mobile has to shift firmly to encouraging new uses and new usage, and to building customer loyalty and customer lifetime value. To do this, mobile should become simpler. Tariffs should be fairer. Pre-pay subsidy should go. Roaming rates should be simpler and more attractive.
"Subsidy drove penetration. Now pre-pay subsidy is subsidising low cost competitors. And it's making tariffs too high.
"We are at the crossroads between device cost and usage cost. Drop subsidy and we can cut tariffs. Customers want lower tariffs. They drive usage and loyalty. Pre-pay subsidy needs to be cut, then removed.
"Roaming rates today are still perceived by customers as a usage barrier. Last year, T-Mobile cut the cost of holiday roaming by up to half. We will extend our leading position with simple, fair transparent and attractive offers. The whole industry should support this path into the future and should act now." said René Obermann.
"Internet in your Pocket." "Office in your Pocket." : T- Mobile gave further details of its broadband mobile strategy to deliver the internet to customers, estimating 1 in 5 Western European workers are already mobile, and citing Analysys' forecast of total Western European mobile business data being worth some ?1 billion a year by 2009.
Hamid Akhavan, Chief Technology Officer of T- Mobile said: "Now there is no reason why our access to the office information and company IT infrastructure should be less while on the road. Plus, the convenience of having the Internet in our pockets will have a bigger positive impact on our lives than the internet itself has had to date.
"We as an industry pack more and more features into our phones and launch more and more services. The problem is most customers don't know how to use the features and in many cases are not even aware of the services.
"Our approach is simple. Open internet access. Worry free tariffs. Devices that customers can instantly use, because they're already familiar with the operating system - they already use it on their PCs.
"While mobile voice will remain the "killer application," our customers will adopt our mobile data offer for its "killer experience" - it will offer our customers the same experience as a good DSL connection they enjoy at home or office, for all their favorite data needs - e-mail, messaging, real-time multimedia, browsing and downloading."
21/2G, 3G, Wi-Fi. Integrated network strategy : "3G will become the work-horse technology of mobile, just as GSM is today. The customers will migrate to 3G over time, as they did with analogue to digital voice. We will enhance its speed significantly with HSDPA," said Hamid.
"The pace of adoption will grow rapidly. We are planning to double our sales of data-centric devices and cards in Europe this year, compared to 210,000 last year."
"Usage is growing rapidly - 10 terabytes of Wi-Fi data in T-Mobile US this January alone. This is the equivalent to half of the 24 million volumes of books, photographs, recordings and other information available at the United States' Library of Congress, the largest library in the world.
And we are extending beyond airports, hotels, destination spots to trains - with the introduction of Wi-Fi on trains in the UK."
The need for a new approach : "Mobile is changing and T-Mobile is changing," said René Obermann. "Through our Save for Growth programme, we are simplifying our structure and processes; sharpening our focus; improving our quality and speed to market; and aiming to increase our operating investment in growth by ?500 million a year by the end of 2006. We will gain competitive advantage.
"We're committed to a new approach to mobile both in the voice and the broadband worlds."
World's first 21/2G, 3G and Wi-Fi mobile device : T- Mobile presented a range of data devices and tariffs, including the world's first pocket-size MDA combining 21/2G, 3G and Wi-Fi; large, high resolution screen; integrated Qwerty keyboard; video telephony and conferencing; Pocket Word, Excel, Outlook, Internet Explorer; Bluetooth and infrared; send and receive faxes; voice activated phone dialling.

Solution Enables Faster Time to Market for Feature-Rich Devices

3GSM World Congress
QUALCOMM Incorporated, pioneer and world leader of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless technology, and Openwave Systems Inc, the leading provider of open software products and services for the communications industry, today announced that QUALCOMM and Openwave have entered into a licensing agreement that will further promote the rapid advancement of 3G WCDMA (UMTS) handsets.

Under the agreement, QUALCOMM and Openwave will work together to port Openwave mobile browser and messaging software to select QUALCOMM Mobile Station Modem (MSM) chipsets, enabling a phone solution that builds on the capabilities of QUALCOMM's Launchpad suite. Openwave's software will be integrated directly on top of QUALCOMM's BREW solution to shorten design timelines and costs while providing an enhanced end-user experience across key applications. This solution will be available starting with QUALCOMM's MSM6250 chipset solution to initially target WCDMA markets.

"With the industry-leading feature set of Openwave's client software, handset manufacturers will be able to provide operators with flexible applications," said Simon Wilkinson, senior vice president and general manager of the client software group at Openwave. "Openwave and QUALCOMM have a shared commitment to deliver the best possible solutions and leverage our combined expertise to enable consistent and high-quality user experiences for next generation devices."

"We are pleased to work with Openwave to provide an integrated client solution that addresses the rapid adoption of new 3G services and takes full advantage of the Launchpad features of our chipsets," said Luis Pineda, senior vice president marketing and product management for QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies. "This phone solution streamlines development efforts and accelerates time to market to significantly reduce the costs of 3G device development."

QUALCOMM will offer select components of Openwave Phone Suite Version 7 (V7), including Openwave Mobile Browser, with operator specific service extensions, along with Openwave SMS, EMS, MMS, PoC and IM clients. QUALCOMM has also commissioned Openwave to develop BREW extensions, providing ease of development and design re-use across multiple handsets. Openwave clients will build on the Launchpad engines to deliver applications that provide operators with the flexibility to design customized user experience specifications -- providing end users with an easy-to-use format that encourages increased usage of wireless multimedia.

The MSM6250 chipset supports QUALCOMM's Launchpad suite of advanced multimedia, connectivity, position location, user interface and removable storage functionality, including QUALCOMM's gpsOne solution, the world's most broadly deployed assisted-GPS handset technology.

QUALCOMM's chipsets also support QUALCOMM's BREW ecosystem, which enables the development and monetization of advanced applications and content, allowing operators and OEMs to differentiate their products and services and increase revenues. QUALCOMM's chipsets are also compatible with the Java runtime environment; J2ME can be built entirely on the chipset as an extension to the BREW solution.

Qpass Strengthens Commitment to the European Digital Marketplace and Simpay

Qpass, whose software powers the marketplace for digital media and services, today announced the acquisition of the Encorus mobile payments software business, which includes the PaymentWorks product line. The acquisition furthers the company's global expansion and strengthens its position as the vendor of choice for digital payment software in the European mobile market. The acquisition further demonstrates Qpass' support of Simpay, the consumer m-payment scheme formed by Orange, Telefonica Moviles, T-Mobile and Vodafone.

"Encorus has engineered world-class Simpay technology, and we are pleased to be in a position to deepen our Service Management Platform and Payment Server product line with this strategic asset," said Chase Franklin, CEO, Qpass. "This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to providing mobile operators with the most advanced and proven Simpay solution."

"We are constantly reviewing the needs of our business and make adjustments as needed to successfully execute our long-term growth strategies," said Nandita Bakhshi, president, Encorus Technologies. "Qpass was an obvious strategic fit for our mobile software business."

Qpass has acquired the Encorus PaymentWorks intellectual property as well as the Encorus name and other assets. Qpass will assume the customer relationships of the Encorus' PaymentWorks software business including its relationship with T-Mobile International. The Encorus software team of employees in Stuttgart and Budapest will become part of the Qpass Europe team and continue to provide continuity and enhance the PaymentsWorks technology. Encorus is part of eONE Global, a majority-owned subsidiary of First Data Corporation. As part of the transaction Qpass and FDC have agreed to co-market and coordinate with one another as preferred providers of each company's respective solutions. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With this acquisition, Qpass grows to approximately 250 full-time employees, serving more than 27 customers, including 16 mobile operators in North America and Europe, which together have more than 140 million mobile subscribers.

3GSM World Congress
Alcatel has today announced that it is initiating interoperability tests between its Alcatel Evolium multi-standard mobile network infrastructure solution and QUALCOMM's HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access)-enabled MSM6275 chipset.

QUALCOMM's  Mobile  Station  Modem  (MSM) MSM6275 chipset for WCDMA with support for HSDPA, part of QUALCOMM's Enhanced Platform, delivers peak data rates  of up to 1.8 Mbps, allowing faster transmission of larger data files and  improved  file  transfer  capabilities  to  drive  commercial wireless multimedia,  enabling  advanced gaming, music distribution services and the faster streaming of multimedia files.

Alcatel's  Evolium-based  HSDPA  solution will provide mobile operators and mobile  users  alike with the maximum benefits of HSDPA, as Alcatel's HSDPA solution, on top of the QPSK modulation (up to 3.6 Mb/s) which is mandatory according  to  3GPP  specifications,  will  also deliver the optional 16QAM modulation  (up  to  14.4 Mb/s). When in commercial use, the actual average data  throughput  of  Alcatel's  HSDPA solution will reach from 2 to 3Mb/s, i.e.  from  five  to  eight  times  more  than the current 3G/UMTS 384 kb/s maximum throughput.

Based  on Evolium's natively multi-standard architecture, the deployment of Alcatel's  HSDPA  solution will require a simple software-only upgrade, all Alcatel's Node Bs already being fully HSDPA-ready. An additional benefit of Alcatel's  Node  Bs  is  that  they  are  perfectly suited to manage indoor traffic  and  solutions,  which  will  match the growing needs of corporate users  working  from  their  office for easier and faster access to e-mails with bulky attachments, corporate networks and intranets.

"Positioned  correctly,  HSDPA  will  further  improve  the  success of 3G, delivering  increased capability necessary to accommodate the market uptake of  high-speed  mobile  applications such as content downloads," said Jason Chapman, Principal Analyst, Mobile Infrastructure at Gartner.

"HSDPA  is  at  the  center  of Alcatel's user-centric broadband strategy," declared   Marc  Rouanne,  chief  operating  officer  of  Alcatel's  mobile activities.  "This  IOT  program  with  QUALCOMM  for  HSDPA reinforces the technological  leadership  of  Evolium multi-standard solutions that permit the cost-effective introduction of HSDPA thanks to a software-only upgrade. Our  collaboration with an innovative chipset manufacturer such as QUALCOMM will  definitely  allow  us  to  stand  at the forefront of the forthcoming 3G/HSDPA evolution."

Since  September  2004,  Alcatel  has been successfully showcasing an HSDPA solution  in  its  3G  Reality  Centre  (3GRC)  located in Vélizy (France), together with Fujitsu, its partner in the Evolium SAS joint venture.

By Keith Dyer at the 3GSM Congress in Cannes

The old motivational handbook had it that there were no problems, only opportunities. But when does an opportunity become a problem?

The answer may have been evident at Nokia’s headline press conference at 3GSM in Cannes, where several speakers from the Finnish mobile totem reinforced several buzzwords with the ruthless efficiency of an on-message New Labour MP with a direct feed to Alistair Campbell’s thought processes.

First among these was, yes, “opportunity”, where Nokia have decided their future lies. 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.” All of which may well represent several opportunities, but incredibly hard ones. Hard enough, almost, to be regarded as problems. 

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 customization. Scoring well over a dozen mentions in a speech from the head of the handsets division, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, customization 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 for them, as ODMs fully geared only for customization 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 customizable 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 customization “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 of 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 customized 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, customized, devices and services may well offer a series of opportunities for Nokia, but more than a few headaches along the way as well.

Says more to come

By Keith Dyer at the 3GSM Congress in Cannes

Thankfully the corporate image presented by Orange at its headline press conference, five middle aged men in dark suits and Orange ties, and one woman, is not yet imprinted on the personalities and thought processes of all its staff.

For those bred on the antics of the volcanic dust-munching Dutch founder and ceo Hans Snook, current Orange press conferences are stultifying. But between the France Telecom-speak there were a few announcements that should give suppliers and competitors pause for thought.

On the network side Orange is pushing ahead with the idea that it can be a converged broadband provider, offering users seamless access to content and services whether they are at home or out on the move. Of course, in France its home fixed network and 6,500 WiFi hotspots help in that instance. But they have also been pushing on in the UK, exploiting the Wanadoo ISP property, to integrate services between the Orange World portal abd the ISP.

It also announced that, following EDGE rollouts in Slovakia and Romania, it will be introducing EDGE in France this year, with perhaps five to ten dual mode EDGE, WCDMA handsets available by the end of the year. EDGE will give the operator “better than GPRS” coverage of 80-85% of the population by the end of the year.

Then there is HSPDA, and the operator could give no timelines but it was prepared to say it was currently trialling with Nortel an HSDPA network.

There was also emphasis on the amount of fantastic content available on the Orange World portal. This includes the Live TV service in France, which has been upgraded to include 21 channels. The success of Live TV has rather taken the operator by surprise, as it accounts for 55% of all 3G data sessions, and has proved very popular. The operator is also currently working on a DVBH version of mobile TV. Other finding of the first few tens of thousands of 3G customers in Orange also proved a very high take up of MMS and Orange World content.

So there is still much that is innovative at the operator, but the question remains how operators that provide seamless broadband connectivity will be able to control the behaviour of their users when it comes to content. The fear for operators is that they become dumb pipes, mere access providers. Having exclusive on-site content gives them a way out of this. Sanuv Ahuja reacted aggressively to the hint that Orange has a closed garden policy. “Unlike other operators’ portals, Orange World is an open ended site,” he said, “Orange absolutely does not have a walled garden philosophy. Any content can be openly accessed from our portal.” And he also pointed to Orange’s commitment to Simpay, a payment mechanism to allow users to purchase off-portal content, as evidence of their commitment to open content access.

Travel the World With a Single WCDMA Device

3GSM World Congress

QUALCOMM has today announced a tri-band WCDMA (UMTS)/HSDPA and quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (EGPRS) radioOne solution to enable true global roaming between WCDMA markets in Europe, North America and Asia. The introduction of the RFR6220(TM) receiver for 850 MHz markets adds to QUALCOMM's commercially available RTR6250 transceiver and RFR6250 receiver.

The complete solution will provide global support for WCDMA 850/1900/2100 MHz and EGPRS 850/900/1800/1900 MHz. This integrated solution also includes support for QUALCOMM's gpsOne position location technology. QUALCOMM's Mobile Station Modem (MSM) MSM6255 chipset for WCDMA/EGPRS and MSM6275 chipset for WCDMA/HSDPA/EGPRS are optimized for the RTR6250, RFR6250 and RFR6220 solutions. Handset manufacturers can implement one of two RF configurations for market-specific devices: RTR6250/RFR6250 for quad-band EGPRS, dual-band WCDMA 1900/2100 MHz and gpsOne support or: RTR6250/RFR6250/RFR6220 for quad-band EGPRS, tri-band WCDMA 850/1900/2100 MHz and gpsOne support.

Engineering samples of the RFR6220 device are expected to ship in the second quarter of calendar 2005.  The RFR6250 and RTR6250 devices are commercially available today.

"We've added a tri-band WCDMA RF chipset to our extensive WCDMA portfolio to enable global roaming across Europe, North America and Asia," said Dr. Sanjay K. Jha, president of QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies. "This is an industry first that further strengthens our WCDMA/HSDPA product portfolio."

QUALCOMM's latest radioOne configurations offer flexible design solutions to handset manufacturers developing devices for multi-tiered global markets. Handset designs that support tri-band WCDMA with the RTR6250/RFR6250/RFR6220 configuration can be reused to support single- or dual-band WCDMA by excluding the RFR6220 device -- reducing parts count while maximizing development efforts to ensure cost-effective 3G solutions.

The MSM6255 chipset is a highly integrated solution for WCDMA and EGPRS networks worldwide and is optimized to deliver in-demand mainstream multimedia applications, including streaming audio and video, high-quality snapshots and location-based services.

QUALCOMM's MSM6275 chipset solution for WCDMA/HSDPA and EGPRS provides increased processing power and graphics performance at low power consumption to enable the highest quality audiovisual and gaming graphics on cost-effective, multiband, multimode handsets with smaller form factors.