On-Train Internet provider Icomera has registered its millionth Wi-Fi user on one of its customers' trains. And the popularity of the service is growing with more than 23,000 users per week in the UK and Sweden.

From a modest start in 2003 on the Linx trains in Scandinavia, Icomera has now passed the one-millionth user and, says the company, every week more than 23,000 passengers connect to Icomera's internet service on trains in Sweden and the UK.

"These numbers speak for themselves in terms of value that rail passengers place on high quality internet services", says Frederik Gustafsson, Icomera's CEO, "With more than 130 trains installed in Sweden and the UK, we continue to see a steady increase in the number of users and also the average session time, which tells us that many prefer the comfort of the train and the possibility to stay online for work or recreation, rather than lost time spent in planes and cars".

According to Jonathan Metcalfe, GNER CEO "The Wi-Fi service has shifted from being a novelty back in 2004, to being a commodity for travellers on our trains. GNER pioneered the introduction of Wi-Fi on Britain's railways and all our trains are now equipped with Wi-Fi. In fact we have more Wi-Fi enabled train carriages than any other train operator worldwide."

Icomera delivers turnkey client-server based solutions for Wi-Fi on trains that give not only passenger access, but also a platform for staff communication and fleet management applications. As train companies start realizing the many benefits of a central internet-based communications system, the demand for Icomera's products and services is expected to increase sharply in the next few years.

Icomera recently won its fifth rail industry award in four years for innovation and IT excellence. Earlier this month Icomera and GNER were awarded the "Innovation of the Year" award at the National Rail Awards 2007 for the development of real-time remote monitoring and business applications using the Icomera onboard system.

DoubleClick, a provider of digital marketing technology and services, has today announced the launch of DoubleClick Mobile, a new solution for media companies to extend their digital advertising business to mobile. The solution integrates the operational processes for scheduling, targeting, selecting and delivering ads on mobile web pages with that of existing digital channels. As a result, media companies can now use DoubleClick's publisher solutions to sell and manage inventory across online display, rich media, video and mobile.

 

The integration of DoubleClick Mobile with DoubleClick's DART for Publishers (DFP) platform means everyone involved in managing digital advertising campaigns -- ad sales staff, ad operations staff, account managers, traffickers, metrics analysts, campaign specialists and others -- can easily support mobile advertising responsibilities within their current role. Across roles and responsibilities in a publishing organisation, the familiar DART interface makes managing mobile campaigns as simple as managing any other type of campaign. For example traffickers upload mobile creatives, set the duration of mobile campaigns and designate targeting criteria much as they would for a rich media or display campaign.

DoubleClick says it enters the market with a solution that meets mobile-specific needs including:

  • Automatic ad selection matches mobile ads to the screen size and capabilities of each device, ensuring that the ad with the best fit is delivered
  • New mobile ad formats bring combination ads, road blocked ads and jump pages to mobile devices
  • Third party impression tracking provides agencies access to performance data within their own analytics systems
  • Device preview enables viewing ads on virtual handsets before the ad goes live
  • Powerful handset capability targeting to serve ads to devices with specific capabilities

 

"Publishers are starting to see mobile as an exciting revenue growth area as budgets move from experimental to mainstream. Our clients want to take on this opportunity and sell mobile display advertising directly," said Ari Paparo, DoubleClick's vice president of rich media and emerging technologies. "As media companies begin to offer integrated digital ad packages to advertisers that include online display, rich media, video and mobile, everyone wins. The launch of DoubleClick Mobile marks an important step in bringing mobile into the mainstream digital advertising ecosystem."

"Being the first organisation to implement DoubleClick Mobile, we believe that 2008 is going to be the year that monetising mobile channels through an ad-supported models becomes a strategic priority for our customers," said Heleen van Oord, Managing Partner of DQ&A. "We're excited by DoubleClick's ability to couple their understanding of digital marketing with the unique needs of mobile."

Texas Instruments has introduced a new monolithic, high-linearity quadrature demodulator for direct down conversion applications.  The new device is said to reduce the component count of the receive signal chain in 3G base stations by at least 75 percent, compared to superheterodyne architectures. The TRF3710 demodulator improves the RF receive signal chain by integrating all the devices required to go directly from RF to baseband onto one chip. With the addition of this device, TI now offers a more complete analog signal chain for wireless infrastructure.

The TRF3710 is optimized for use in direct down-conversion architectures where space and cost savings are key requirements.  It is the first RF device in the industry to integrate a baseband filter that is software-programmable with 1-dB corner frequency, which can continuously cover signal bandwidths of 615 kHz (single carrier CDMA2000) to 1.92 MHz (single WCDMA carrier).

The device also includes a programmable gain amplifier with 24-dB of gain range in 1-dB increments, and an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) driver that allows for direct connection to the ADC. When compared to two-stage superheterodyne architectures, the TRF3710 significantly reduces overall complexity in the system by eliminating many of the receive signal chain components, including filters, mixers, a phase-locked loop (PLL) or voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO), RF and baseband amplifiers,.

The TRF3710 directly converts the RF signal to complex baseband, which ultimately reduces system cost by eliminating the need for premium, high-IF and high sample-rate ADCs. Additionally, the device provides a high linearity receiver and superior RF performance with IIP2 of 60 dB, IIP3 of 21 dB, and a noise figure of 13.5 dB.

Orange has launched a home landline service and announced new best value broadband packages. The new Orange Home Max package will come with the landline service from Orange and is designed to provide better value while removing the need for a customer to pay another provider for their line rental. A new customer support centre has been established in Belfast to support the new landline service.

Orange Home Max includes a landline connection offering free weekend and evening calls as well as an Orange Livebox - the wireless modem that offers broadband coverage throughout the home. A second new package, Orange Home Starter, has launched for customers who want to keep their existing fixed line supplier but still want to move over to Orange Broadband.

The launch of the new Orange Home Starter and Orange Home Max packages enables customers to get all their communications needs from one company. Orange Home Max customers will have their landline connection, home phone and broadband services all rolled into one package with one bill and a single number for all customer service support. Customers can also make free international calls with an inclusive VoIP line. They will also be able to benefit from the launch of Orange's digital TV service later this year.

Eric Abensur, VP of Orange Home UK said: "With the launch of our home phone service and new broadband packages, Orange is now able to serve all of a household's communication needs. What's more, home phone and broadband can all be taken care of with a single bill and one port of call for customer service. There's also no need to pay separate line rental charges."

O2 has appointed mobile media company Player X as the official aggregator for its mobile games catalogue.

Under the terms of the deal, Player X will work with more than 20 established mobile games publishers to take their games through QA, deployment and porting to publication on O2's mobile games portal.

"We searched high and low for a company that could mix commercial savvy with operational delivery of QA, porting and deployment. Thanks to a long-standing relationship with Player X, we had such a company on our doorstep and we‚re confident this relationship will mean our mobile games partners‚ content will reach our customers in the fastest possible time," said Antony Douglas, Head of Games at O2 UK.

The announcement follows Player X‚s recent moves in ramping up its presence in the mobile games market by partnering with companies such as Sky TV and EMI Music and extending its relationship with FremantleMedia by adding a PrizePlay element to evergreen titles such as Family Fortunes and The Price Is Right.

"We've worked with O2 for a number of years and are delighted with this development. Our knowledge of the market and our new porting and QA facility in India means that we offer an end-to-end solution for all global mobile games publishers," said Tony Pearce, Player X CEO. 

As European deals for Apple's iPhone are announced, the chosen operators will be well advised to learn from the experiences of AT&T Wireless in the US when it comes to billing users, according to Analysys, the advisor on telecoms, IT and media.

According to Analysys, the kick to mobile data usage given by the iPhone in the US market resulted in some subscribers receiving bills that were very large physically - in extreme cases running to hundreds of pages - detailing every mobile data event. AT&T quickly changed the way bills were provided - issuing summaries rather than full details by default - but the issue highlights the mismatch that often exists between users' requirements of bills and operators' perceptions of what users want.

According to research carried out for the Analysys Research report 's 'The Next-Generation Bill: Commercial and Technical Strategies', customers are often baffled by unclear bills and - as a result - telecoms companies risk lower revenues and increased churn. The report argues that service providers put huge amounts of effort into developing new services and competing with each other on price, but much less into ensuring that bills are clear.

"What we are hearing repeatedly is that residential and business customers are increasingly frustrated by bills that make no sense," says the report's author Teresa Cottam.

"Marketing strategies are falling at the first hurdle: people are so worried about the cost of new services that they don't even try them. They dread receiving their bills because they are unpredictable, and become frustrated because they don't know how to change matters."

The report argues that the bill is a unique opportunity for telecoms companies to communicate with customers and offers several commercial opportunities. "To deliver the optimal next-generation bill, service providers need to shake off outdated assumptions about their customers and gain a clearer understanding of their needs. If they do not change, powerful competitors from outside the telecoms industry are waiting in the wings to show them how," says Cottam.

Key findings from the report include:

- Not enough effort has been put into bill presentment (the way that bills actually look). Making bills more useful to customers will increase customer loyalty and cut the cost of queries

- Business customers often fear the cost of new services, yet providing bill analysis to demonstrate benefits of service plan changes can be good for both customers and suppliers

- In the wholesale market, bill cycles must shorten to improve revenue management for all parties.

Vyke, the mobile Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider, has today released a new version of its Vyke Pro software. The upgrade to the software now allows mobile phone users with limited-access mobile internet service to send and receive free text messages. The upgrade is offered for free to all Vyke users and, to maintain continuing service, users are asked to upgrade prior to October 1st, 2007.

Vyke Pro is a downloadable programme that is compatible with all recent Java enabled handsets.  It offers UK mobile users the opportunity to drastically reduce the exorbitant charges they are currently paying for conventional text messaging by using its smart message routing technology.  This allows Vyke Pro users to send free text messages to other Vyke Pro users around the world, or to send normal text messages to non Vyke Pro users for as little as 1p per message.

Vyke recognizes that a key part of text messaging's appeal is due to its always-on-time delivery of messages to the recipient. Vyke has therefore incorporated its "wake up" technology into Vyke Pro, which allows Vyke to remotely start a user's Vyke Pro software, and deliver an incoming message to it, when receiving a message from another Vyke Pro user. This important feature allows Vyke Pro to provide the same always-on-time delivery of messages, but at dramatically reduced cost.

Most UK consumers think of text messaging as the cheapest and easiest way to communicate, with a typical cost for a standard 160 character text message of approximately 12p.  When that cost is broken down and related to the actual amount of data being sent, the true cost of texting is revealed.  Every character sent in a text message equates to 1 byte of data. When translating this into a per Megabyte cost, it becomes clear just how expensive it is in the UK to send text messages, with consumers paying approximately £750 per MB.

Aaron Powers, VP of Business Development said, "Vyke is very pleased to be able to offer Vyke Pro and its free text messaging service to consumers currently hampered by limited access mobile internet service. The Vyke team feels that the 12p a typical UK consumer is paying for a text message is simply exorbitant. With the new release of Vyke Pro, we are able to offer significantly expanded access to our service and provide consumers with a viable alternative to the price gouging that occurs with conventional text messaging."

This upgrade to Vyke Pro is the first of two accessibility-oriented software upgrades to be introduced by Vyke. Vyke Pro, with its primary service as free text messaging, can now be used by Vyke customers that suffer from limited mobile internet access offered by their mobile service provider. The second software upgrade, due to be launched in the coming month for Microsoft-based mobile phones and soon thereafter for Symbian-based handsets, provides full mobile VoIP functionality to WiFi enabled mobile handsets that either do not have inherent VoIP capabilities or have had their VoIP functionality intentionally removed by incumbent mobile operators. With this upgrade to the Vyke Mobile IP software, Vyke will be providing access to low cost or free mobile voice services to a large number of UK consumers that currently have compatible mobile phones, but are unable to access mobile VoIP due to software restrictions.

Huawei Technologies, provider of next generation telecommunications network solutions for operators, has announced that it has been awarded a UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System)/HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) contract by PTK Centertel, Orange Poland. The contract is said to reaffirm Huawei's position as a significant 3G supplier to PTK Centertel, with a 50 percent share of the operator's UTRAN (UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network).

Over the next three years, Huawei will deploy its new generation Node B solution across Poland's major cities. Huawei's new generation Node Bs support full-performance HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access), HSUPA (High-Speed Uplink Packet Access), and IP RAN (IP-based Radio Access Network). As a result, customers are expected to get better access to the latest 3G services and mobile Internet.

"We believe that Huawei can enable us to implement the most modern telecommunications technologies and provide high quality networks and services, whilst significantly reducing the total cost of ownership," said Grazyna Piotrowska Oliwa, chairman & CEO, PTK Centertel. "This contract recognises Huawei's commitment to helping PTK Centertel to achieve its strategic objectives."

"Huawei already works with Orange around the world, providing both mobile and core networks," said William Xu, president of Huawei Europe. "Having already started UMTS/HSPA projects on behalf of Mobistar (FT Group) and Orange Romania, we are delighted to further strengthen our relationship, by commencing with this contract in Poland."

"Huawei is committed to fast delivery and excellent service - and it is these qualities, I believe, that are leading us to becoming Orange's provider of choice," continued Xu.

Vodafone Czech Republic and Amobee Media Systems have announced the commercial launch of a new mobile advertising service. Using Amobee's Media System, Vodafone CZ will display advertising in its Vodafone live! portal, as well as its messaging services and games downloads.

Amobee was selected by Vodafone CZ based on its ability to provide a holistic mobile advertising solution and the robustness of its system. Amobee is inserting targeted, interactive advertisements into several Vodafone CZ communication and entertainment services using a single, advertising server. Amobee's media system is composed of an off-line campaign management system and an on-line ad-server enabling the delivery of relevant advertising impressions in all mobile services (Games, on and off portal browsing, video, music, SMS, MMS, IM, search, user generated applications etc).

Amobee's Media System enables Vodafone CZ to deliver a potentially powerful new media channel to advertisers and brands. In particular Vodafone CZ is using the Amobee Media System to launch a messaging service to students allowing them to send free SMS messages throughout the entire school year in exchange for receiving advertising.

"We are pioneers of Mobile Advertising on the Czech market and leading the rest of the Vodafone globally with our solution," said Grahame Maher, CEO at Vodafone CZ. "The Amobee platform launch is a first for Vodafone in the Czech Republic. This has given us a tool to accelerate the deployment of ad-funded services and provides us with a new revenue stream and media channel by engaging brands and advertisers. We are confident both our subscribers and advertisers will be satisfied with the value this new service will provide."

"The industry is united in recognising the potential of mobile as a media channel in its own right - allowing advertisers to deliver their messages in a more personal, relevant and contextual way than has ever been possible in the past," said Zohar Levkovitz, CEO of Amobee. "Vodafone's launch in the Czech Republic signals a new role for mobile operators in the advertising world, creating an entirely new channel for advertisers and a new way for consumers to enjoy more mobile services."

Apple and O2 announced today that O2, the leading wireless carrier in the UK, will be the exclusive UK carrier for Apple's iPhone when it makes its debut in the UK on November 9.

iPhone combines three devices into one: a mobile phone, a widescreen iPod, and the best mobile Internet device ever, all based on Apple's revolutionary multi-touch interface and  software that allows users to control iPhone with a tap, flick or pinch of their fingers. Apple sold its one millionth iPhone 74 days after it went on sale in the US on June 29.

"We're thrilled to be partnering with O2 to offer our revolutionary iPhone to UK customers," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "US iPhone customer satisfaction is off the charts, and we can't wait to let UK customers get their hands on it and learn what they think of it."

"Our strategy at O2 is to bring our customers the best products and experiences," said Matthew Key, CEO, O2 UK. "The iPhone is a breakthrough that is changing the way people use their mobiles forever, and we're thrilled to have it exclusively for O2 customers in the UK."

Spin3, a leading provider of mobile gambling solutions powered by Microgaming, the online gaming software provider, has announced a deal with International Marketing Concepts and Innovation, a Netherlands-based company active in realizing and supporting successful projects and concepts to New Media, Telecom's and ICT-organizations. Under the deal, Spin3 will provide IMCI with the SpinLite suite of stand-alone, play-for-fun casino style mobile games later this year.

IMCI's main expertise is in providing lotteries with creative ideas for interactive SMS-games and TV programming. In addition, they specialize in supporting companies in the electronic distribution of prepaid payment processing solutions. SpinLite will now extend the product line for their customers who provide games, ring tones, wallpapers and music to leading mobile operators in Scandinavia and the Benelux-region. The deal with Spin3 marks the first time it has branched into the fast growing wireless casino market in order to enhance the varied product portfolio that now includes the following casino style games: Tomb Raider Video Slot, BlackJack, Roulette and Video Poker.

Michael Boevink, CEO of IMCI says: "The SpinLite suite of play-for-fun games is perfect for us as it provides a ready made games platform allowing us to expand the product offering to our customers and, most importantly, penetrate new markets and expand our revenues. The popularity of casino style games is rapidly increasing and Spin3 has provided an ideal opportunity for us and our lottery customers to introduce such games into the growing world of wireless content. We look forward to our partnership with them."

Matti Zinder, Head of Spin3 says: "Winning such an interesting client with marketing knowledge and experience in both the mobile and lottery business is further proof of Spin3's leading position in the mobile gambling market, which is continually growing.  Spin3 offers total mobile casino solutions and that includes high-quality play-for-fun games, which are highly sought after by mobile content aggregators. We are being approached by more and more content aggregators and marketing companies who see the future and value in mobile gambling. The mobile industry is fast developing into an entertainment hub for consumers, so the chance to play-for-fun or for real means that consumers really can be part of an exciting casino whilst on the move."

Nokia has added to its Eseries portfolio of business devices with the introduction of the new Nokia E51 device. 

An all-round device, the Nokia E51 is said to be ideal for business professionals who require reliable, real-time access to business and people, need to manage time effectively and value a single device that is easy to set up, maintain and use. Nokia E51 users with Nokia mobility solutions can experience mobile telephony, mobile email and messaging, office phone functionality, and cost savings - with the convenience of one phone number, one voice mailbox, one dial plan - in a single device.

"Business users increasingly need one device that they can count on to work productively and which offers them the level of efficiency that brings more freedom and balance to their personal lives," said Antti Vasara, senior vice president, Mobile Devices Unit, Enterprise Solutions, Nokia.  "With the new Nokia E51 device, we are responding to this need with a business smartphone that combines the latest advances in business mobility and a classic, stainless steel design, at a price that makes it perfect for company-wide deployments." 

Nokia has simplified the use of its business devices via the following:

- A home screen including user-selected icons to the most used applications
- One Touch keys with one-click access to key functionalities including email, contacts, calendar and the home screen
- Set-up wizards offering step-by-step guidance for setting up email accounts, configuring Internet calling and accessing wireless local area networks
- Integration with a wide range of business email solutions, including Nokia Intellisync Wireless Email and Mail for Exchange to communicate with Microsoft Exchange Server, and consumer email
- Streamlined email reading experience with easy access to attachments
- Dedicated Email key on the front cover, indicator light for new email, and a preview window to the latest email on the home screen to help keep up with email when on the move

Nokia E51 also extends business value to end users and businesses through its ability to integrate tightly with corporate telephony systems (PBX) through Nokia Mobile Unified Communications solutions such as Nokia Intellisync Call Connect for Cisco and Nokia Intellisync Call Connect for Alcatel. These solutions deliver desk phone calling features - such as extension dialing, hold, transfer and conferencing - to a single, mobile device. Companies can also reduce their international call charges by routing the call over the corporate IP networks.

"Nokia and BT share a vision that business mobility adoption will thrive when our collective customers and their respective end users, derive productivity improvements from mobile enabled applications," said Rakesh Mahajan, global director of mobility at BT Global Services. "For the BT Corporate Fusion solution, we chose the Nokia E51 for its classic Nokia business smartphone features and design, its ease of integration into our solution, and its affordability, making it more appealing for widespread use within companies of all sizes."

Nokia E51 is also ideal for any user wishing to leverage broadband connections to access mobile Internet telephony from homes and hotspots. For example, Gizmo, a Voice over IP (VoIP) application, is available for Nokia Eseries customers free of charge, enabling users to make and receive inexpensive calls from their mobile phones and chat or talk with friends who are online.  Gizmo application is available to Nokia Eseries customers through the Nokia Download! application on their mobile phone.

In addition to increased features and functionality for business use, Nokia E51 lends itself well to personal use and offers a polished look for both business and personal use. The thin, stainless steel device is equipped with personal applications, including:

- FM radio, music and multimedia players
- 2 megapixel camera
- Nokia browser, serving as the gateway to a variety of Internet services including interoperability with Windows Live, providing mobile access to most popular Windows Live services including Hotmail, Messenger and Spaces, available through the Nokia Download! application
- Via the Download! application access to Yahoo Go! WidSets, and a number of travel, personal productivity and entertainment applications

Nokia E51 is the latest offering in the Nokia Eseries portfolio of business optimized devices that support companies' business mobility strategies by protecting their investments in workforce mobility. Joining the ranks of Nokia E90 Communicator, Nokia E61i and Nokia E65, the Nokia E51 device enables business users to collaborate, communicate, and operate whether they are conducting business from their offices, working remotely or traveling - while also keeping in touch with their personal lives.

Nokia E51 will be globally available during the fourth quarter of 2007 for an unsubsidized retail price of approximately 350 EUR.

Ericsson has signed a turnkey contract with Vodafone Netherlands to deploy the Ericsson Automatic Data Retention Solution (ADRS), bringing the operator in line with a new EU directive, and marking a 'world-first' deployment of the Ericsson ADRS.

Under the contract, Ericsson will deliver a turnkey solution - from systems integration to business support systems - for Vodafone Netherlands' existing network.

Ericsson's solution enables operators to collect, store and deliver data in accordance with EU directive 2006/24/EC on data retention. Under the directive, operators must store traffic data for up to 24 months. The directive is set to be incorporated into national laws by September 15, 2007, and will eventually become mandatory for all European operators.

Fredrik Alatalo, Head of Ericsson's Core and IMS product line, says: "This deal extends Ericsson's long-standing relationship with Vodafone Netherlands, and the world-first deployment of Ericsson ADRS marks an industry milestone. Ericsson's end-to-end solution provides flexibility and scalability and is compliant with national regulations regarding data availability, integrity and protection."

Axiom Systems, a leader in service fulfillment and service assembly solutions, has announced that Pipex Wireless, owned by Pipex Group and Intel Capital and the only provider of WiMAX services in the UK, has chosen Axiom Systems to support the country's largest wholesale WiMAX Access network.  

Pipex Wireless will use the AXIOSS Suite to automate service provisioning thus speeding up and improving accuracy within the fulfillment process. They will also use the Suite to add new and alter existing services quickly, with reusable components.  Like other service providers that use the componentized AXIOSS Suite, Pipex Wireless' aim is to have a flexible and fast approach to service creation. The project will roll out to major cities in the UK starting with "Go Live" in Manchester later this year.  

"In selecting Axiom Systems, Pipex Wireless was most impressed by the speed and ease with which AXIOSS can provision new services," said Brendan O'Rourke, COO at Pipex Wireless. "This will be a groundbreaking telecommunications project, the first commercial deployment of WiMAX in the UK, which will launch a new generation of personal broadband services for our customers."   He continues, "We required an advanced solution with a record of successful installations and AXIOSS was the most effective at helping Pipex Wireless achieve this goal."  

"Communications providers such as Pipex Wireless are all now looking to automate the assembly of existing components in their architecture, so that time-to-market for new products can be measured in minutes rather than months," said Gareth Senior, CEO of Axiom Systems. "As a service creation platform that takes a modular approach in itself, AXIOSS is uniquely placed to help companies like Pipex Wireless achieve a rapid return on their investment and adopt a framework that enables them to take advantage of the product opportunities presented by the latest emerging technologies."