Third announcement from new product portfolio focuses on content issues

Am-Beo, a global leader in rating, charging and revenue settlement software, today announced the availability of a new addition to their product portfolio, nSettlement.

nSettlement is a product designed to address the complexities of partner management and revenue allocation in the digital content industry which includes wireless service providers, portals, cable operators, ADSL/DSL providers and on-line advertisers. The industry faces several challenges in managing the revenue sharing agreements required to deliver content-related products to consumers. nSettlement is designed specifically to solve these revenue settlement challenges.

Content services, such as ring tones, games and news sources, are increasingly popular, providing a rapidly growing revenue source but also requiring the distribution of this revenue between all parties involved in the delivery process. A key feature of nSettlement is its ability to support customized agreements because each revenue share contract can be quite different.

In addition, the variety and number of partners involved is large and escalating. This expanding group of partners is multi-tiered and multi-faceted including wholesale, retail, service providers, communications operators, content aggregators, content developers and copyrights management. The agreements become even more complicated as they frequently cross international boundaries. nSettlement calculates and appropriates the revenue generated, and the costs incurred, from every transaction, to each member of this value chain.

nSettlement also provides the ability to review the status of revenue allocations for each partner agreement, any time during the settlement cycle. The timely nature of nSettlement assures an accurate status of revenue flow and aids in threshold, performance and financial analysis.

“These revenue sharing agreements can be subject to volume commitments and thresholds as well as advertising and royalty models,” stated Jason Briggs, program manager with The Yankee Group. “As service providers introduce more premium content partners to their network, the need for solutions such as nSettlement will only become more acute as these providers manage increasingly complex partner pricing scenarios as well as service level profitability.”

“From our work with existing customers, we understand the unique requirements of the industry. Consequently, we designed nSettlement to support capabilities like a variable delivery chain, where, for example, one partner could be involved at several points,” said Am-Beo CEO Mike Murphy. “In addition, nSettlement is designed to easily interface with an existing OSS infrastructure, not replace it. This minimizes expense and risk while adding the required support for revenue sharing agreements.”

External Links

Am-Beo

Now an even bigger content provider

THQ today announced that its wireless games division, THQ Wireless has purchased the controlling interest in European-based mobile applications and billing expert Minick. Minick is an acknowledged leader in creating high quality wireless services, such as SMS, EMS and MMS messaging, information, multimedia and voting applications.  Now, combined with THQ Wireless' strong licensed properties and ground-breaking games, THQ Wireless is positioned as one of the largest mobile entertainment content providers in the world. 

Minick's superior technology has helped them flourish in Europe with applications such as mobile voting and information services," said Tim Walsh, president of THQ Wireless.  "This venture gives THQ Wireless one of the largest direct-to-consumer billing and distribution network solutions in the world, building on our strength as a turnkey solution for consumers, carriers and device manufacturers alike." 

THQ Wireless' access to Minick's proprietary software, application platform and premium billing infrastructure is anticipated to enable the division to expand its current product lineup with additional mobile offerings such as SMS voting, information and alert services, and wireless marketing campaigns that should bring in a new revenue stream. In addition to these applications, Minick brings key partnerships and top properties in Europe to THQ Wireless, including 50 direct billing relationships with carriers worldwide and key mobile entertainment property partners like MTV Europe and Universal Music that will broaden THQ Wireless' competitive abilities.

"THQ Wireless' leadership position in the market and its strengths as a publisher complement our 10 years of experience in developing unique mobile applications and infrastructure solutions," said Tero Turunen, CEO of Minick. "I am excited to further develop our relationship with THQ Wireless; we will be able to bring revolutionary entertainment experiences worldwide." 

THQ and Minick have been partners for two years, with THQ holding a 25% stake in MinickK. Minick recently reported a highly successful fiscal year for 2003, with strong revenue growth and positive net earnings. It will continue with plans for expansion into the U.S. and Asia. Minick will retain its current management. 

External Links

THQ Wireless
Minick

Inventory management software release

Cramer today announced the release of Cramer5, the latest version of its award winning product suite for telecom back office automation through inventory management.

The result of a two-year R&D program by one of the world's largest dedicated telecom inventory management software development teams, Cramer5 provides an enterprise class software platform that integrates and automates telecom back office processes around an active inventory management core. With Cramer5, service providers can consistently manage network and service provisioning, network build-out programs and planning, while maintaining a totally accurate and consistent inventory.

Cramer5 also completes Cramer's adoption of a full web architecture across its product set.

Cramer CTO Don Gibson said: "As inventory management becomes more strategic, so top tier telcos are increasing their expectations of any solution. They are looking not just for rich out-of-the-box functionality, but a web-based architecture, extensive configurability, low cost of ownership, and commitments to ongoing R&D. Cramer5 addresses all of these issues and more."

Cramer5 extends the evolution of Cramer's award-winning inventory management product, which is used by more than 50 global service providers in 20 countries on five continents, including leading Tier 1 operators. Cramer5 follows and develops the single, unified code line from its predecessor,
Cramer4, ensuring a consistent product evolution while expanding the functionality of a proven solution.

Cramer CEO Jerry Crook said, "Cramer continues to win because we 'think big.'  That means investing the most in development, teaming with the best partners, and focusing our solution on the largest operators. Tier 1 telcos including BT, Bell Canada, KPN and Japan Telecom trust us with their
business because Cramer is the best option for meeting their need for inventory powered back office automation."

Cramer CTO Don Gibson added, "Cramer5 represents the most significant commitment to an OSS vision in more than 30 years.  It's the next step in OSS evolution that operators have been waiting for."

Specific advancements in the Cramer5 evolution created in response tooperator requirements, include:
* Web Architecture. Cramer5 provides the same Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE(tm))-based, n-tier architecture across all products in the Cramer
family, enabling simpler integration and scalability.
* User-Driven Configurability. Operators demand a flexible solution that can be quickly, easily modified internally. Cramer5 expands operators' control, offering more options for tailoring the application without the need for code.  Cramer5 also provides JSP, XML and tag library environment for user
interface configuration.
* Low Cost of Ownership. Cramer5 provides off-the-shelf integration products for rapid connection to other widely-deployed back office components.
* Usability. By anyone, anywhere. Cramer5 is easy to use.  A contemporary user interface look & feel, full mouse and keyboard support, and seamless access to and from other applications means users can quickly become
productive.
* Localization. Cramer5 includes extensive support for multiple languages and time zones, selectable by the user at the point of login, including Japanese/Kanji.

Cramer5 provides all the components required at the heart of an automated back office:
* ResourceManager The Active Inventory at the core of the back office, accurately and completely representing the structure and behavior of a telecoms network and underpinning other applications. Supporting all network
technologies and service types, ResourceManager actively validates additions or network change requests, and ensures such changes can be implemented in the real network.
* TaskEngine Providing Network Process Automation to scale the skills and experience of back office specialists through policy-based process templates, resulting in a unique application capable of managing high levels of process and design complexity.
* DeliveryEngine For Implementation Control to optimize and drive electronicand field engineering and processes that actually change the network. The inventory changes generated by design activity are grouped together into real world jobs, or work orders. The work orders are then automatically
sequenced and managed for the most efficient execution.
* SyncEngine Providing Data Integrity Management that automatically discovers, synchronizes and reconciles other network-held or system-held data sources to the reference inventory, ensuring that alignment between designed and actual configuration is maintained.

External Links

Cramer

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.”

External Links

Motorola

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."

External Links

Tao Group
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.’

External Links

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.

External Links

BT

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."

External Links

Alcatel

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