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

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

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

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

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

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

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

External Links

Abidia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Company expects GAAP profit for Q4

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

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

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

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

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

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