GCF approval obtained for 26 3GPP test cases

Spirent Communications announced Global Certification Forum (GCF) approval for a total of 26 test cases for the Spirent U-ATS UMTS Automatic Test System. This approval makes Spirent’s U-ATS system a leader in the number of GCF-approved test cases for RF conformance testing of 3G WCDMA terminals to the industry standard 3G Partnership Project (3GPP) TS 34.121. It also demonstrates Spirent’s dedication to helping achieve the much-anticipated certification process for 3G terminals and speed the commercial deployment of 3G-enabled applications and services. 

GCF certification is expected to boost industry confidence in the performance and reliability of new 3G mobile devices. Spirent’s U-ATS System was commercially launched in October of 2002. In 2003 Spirent gained GCF certification of nine 3GPP test cases. In the past year, this number has grown to a total of 26, resulting in a 280 per cent increase in approved test cases.

"Responding to industry requests, Spirent has implemented an aggressive plan to have a large number of test cases independently validated and to gain GCF approval in a relatively short timeframe," states Richard Catmur, European wireless business development director for Spirent Communications’ Wireless group. "U-ATS has evolved as an impressive platform on which to carry out lab testing of 3G terminal performance, both to the letter of the standards and against the widest range of real-world performance challenges."

Spirent’s U-ATS is a comprehensive, fully-automated test system that runs industry-standard 3GPP test cases for formal RF conformance testing. It includes Spirent’s market-leading physical layer performance analysis tools to ensure that UEs are tested under representative real-world conditions. The system is driven from Spirent’s TestDrive UMTS test executive software for seamless test configuration and execution without any requirement for scripting or programming. 

U-ATS forms a complete range of solutions suitable for all phases of W-CDMA terminal design, development and deployment, demonstrating Spirent’s commitment to sustain and enhance its leading role in accelerating the global roll-out of next-generation wireless services.

Spirent will expand the U-ATS system’s test coverage later this year to include Radio Resource Management (RRM) tests from 3GPP TS 34.121 on the same platform. Spirent has also recently announced new FLEX System configurations for the system. These flexible, scalable system configurations address a wide range of applications and budgets. FLEX Systems enable customisation of industry-standard test cases and the creation of user-defined tests for focused testing during development, integration and design verification of 3G W-CDMA terminals.   

Spirent’s wireless test solutions aid in all phases of mobile device development and deployment for the world’s leading chipset, mobile and infrastructure manufacturers and mobile network operators.  Spirent’s extensive CDMA experience has led to it being considered by the industry the ‘one-stop-shop’ for CDMA handset performance and certification testing. Among its accomplishments, Spirent has introduced the first and only integrated solution available to test location-capable CDMA phones, a critical element of assisting manufacturers in meeting the U.S. FCC E911 requirements. Spirent has now leveraged its success in mobile performance and certification testing to bring comprehensive performance analysis to the WCDMA market.

Buongiorno Vitaminic SpA one of the leading European companies in the design, production and/or aggregation and distribution of multimedia content via e-mail and telephony services, finalized an agreement for the purchase of a 95.1% stake in Gsmbox SpA, one of the leading mobile media companies in Italy and Spain, leader in interaction and TV participation segment. 

Gsmbox SpA holds the 55% of the share capital of Gsmbox España S.A., a company jointly held by Telecinco with a 45% stake, and holds a 50% stake in Endemol-Gsmbox SpA, a recently established joint venture with Endemol Finance BV.

"The acquisition of a controlling stake in Gsmbox fits in with our strategy of rapid growth in the industry of mobile value added services. Following this transaction, we consolidate our leadership position in Europe and we are strengthening our No.1 ranking in Italy and our position as co-leader in Spain. In addition, the know-how and partnerships gained over the years by Gsmbox in the area of interaction and TV participation will allow our Group to increase penetration in one of the highest potential segments of the mobile value added services. Gsmbox has a wide experience in this area, as demonstrated by its high-profile partnerships in the media industry with companies such as Endemol, Mediaset/RTI, and Telecinco. We are truly pleased that Federico Bolondi, Gianmauro Calafiore, and the top-rate Gsmbox team will join our group," said Andrea Casalini, CEO for Buongiorno Vitaminic SpA.

"The market in which we operate is growing rapidly, and has a lot to offer in the years to come in terms of growth for companies that are able to reach truly international dimensions. To compete at the highest level, you need to develop high-profile skills, sophisticated technology, and an extensive content portfolio. This is only possible through mergers and partnerships that make it possible to integrate complementary skills and know-how and to set ambitious goals. Our decision to join Buongiorno Vitaminic group, which is one of the best positioned in Europe to take advantage of the growth potential the market has to offer, will make it possible to play an even more significant role in the European market of value added services," said Federico Bolondi, CEO of Gsmbox SpA.

In 2003, Gsmbox posted total revenues of Euro 12.5 million, EBITDA of Euro 0.9 million, and generated cash for more than Euro 1 million. The group currently employs about 25 people.

Wireless application publishers and developers from around the world receive top honors at BREW 2004 Developers Conference

QUALCOMM Incorporated, pioneer and world leader of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless technology, has announced the winners of the BREW 2004 Developer Awards recognizing outstanding applications developed for the Company's BREW solution. QUALCOMM announced the winning applications today during an awards ceremony at the BREW 2004 Developers Conference being held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina in San Diego. The annual awards program showcases achievement and talent in BREW application development in six different categories. An anonymous panel of industry experts chose winners based on several criteria including: visual appeal, originality, ease-of-use, "cool factor" and features.
QUALCOMM congratulates the following BREW 2004 Developer Awards winners:

• Best Productivity/M-Commerce Application: Mobile Banking by China M-World Co., Ltd. (China)
• Best Entertainment Application: EZFM by NANO Media, inc. and ITOCHU Corp. (Japan)
• Best Game Application: JAMDAT® Bowling 2 by JAMDAT Mobile Inc. (United States)
• Best Location-Based Service Application: EZnaviwalk by NAVITIME JAPAN Co. LTD. (Japan)
• Best Communications Application: RocketMMS™ by Rocket Mobile Inc.(United States)
• Best Information Application: Weathernews by Weathernews Americas Inc. (United States)

"This year's applications raise the bar for the development of fun, entertaining and useful wireless content and certainly set the standard for the BREW 2005 Developer Awards," said Gina Lombardi, senior vice president of marketing and product management for QUALCOMM Internet Services. "We congratulate these exceptional publishers and developers who are advancing the wireless industry by creating innovative applications for both consumer and business users. The BREW developer community is helping to drive 3G devices and services through the creation of the most advanced wireless data content throughout the industry and around the world."

Twice as many application entries were submitted for the BREW 2004 Developer Awards than in 2003, demonstrating the growing popularity of the BREW solution which provides a simple and robust system for publishers and developers to create and sell their applications globally.

QUALCOMM's BREW solution provides products and services that connect the mobile marketplace value chain, which includes publishers, application developers, content providers, device manufacturers, operators and consumers.

Alcatel has launched the One Touch? 756 a mobile phone that matches dynamic design with an astonishing performance. Integrating a VGA camera, TFT screen, video function and MP3 melodies, the new One Touch? 756 brings users all the latest technology ensuring both intuitive and comfortable use.

The best for videos and images
Why  steal  a  single moment when you can capture an entire scene? With the One Touch? 756 you can do both. With the integrated high-quality VGA camera it is now possible to take photos, create animations and, more importantly, produce  video  clips lasting up to 30 seconds each. It is then possible to view  the  short  films on the whole screen, distribute your latest clip to correspondents via MMS (10 second formats) or infrared or set a video for a lively  main  screen.  The video can also be linked with a contact from the directory:  when a person from the directory calls, the corresponding video clip  will  run on the screen. The One Touch? 756 camera can operate in all light conditions: be it night-time, cloudy or indoors mode. It comes with a x8  zoom  and a self timer. The videos and images taken with the camera are crystal clear thanks to the TFT widescreen's (33 x 44mm) 262,000 colours.

The latest design and ergonomics
Everything about the design of the One Touch? 756 is dynamic: its "capiton" keyboard  with  its  compact  buttons;  its diagonal lines on the sides and around the "OK" button; and the circular metallic shapes on the back. There is  a  choice  of  four  bands around the keyboard and for part of the back casing:  "electric  blue," "mystic red", "green lime" and "aluminium". In a single click, the appearance of the One Touch? 756 changes completely: each of the six settings has its own stylised background for all the graphic and sound interface ("Beautiful" with purple and pink shades, "Techno" with its monochrome  oranges,  and  the  flashy  "PoppyDoggy"). The multimedia album enables the user to manage the content of images, videos and sounds.

A wealth of multimedia offer
In  keeping  with  past  phones,  Alcatel  has  paid close attention to the built-in  content of the One Touch? 756: it has 20 polyphonic ringtones (32 tones,  128 instruments), four fifteen-second MP3 sound files, photos, five videos and two Java? games. With its four-megabyte memory and class 10 GPRS modem,  the  One  Touch?  756  is  the  ideal  choice for those who like to download  additional  content.  It  can  be  connected  to  the Internet to retrieve e-mails and can quickly download new games and Java? applications.

Alcatel  has  linked  up  with  some of the major names in entertainment to offer  free  downloadable  content  to  users:  every month, the TV channel Eurosport supplies the My One Touch* WAP site with ten spectacular clips of extreme  sports.  These  include:  freestyle  kite  surfing,  snowboarding, roller-skating,  BMX, and motocross? In the same way, the supplier of music Musiwave offers famous pieces of music in MP3 format.

For  those  who want to go a step further in customization (synchronization of  the organizer, address books, creating videos, images and sounds) , the One  Touch? 756 comes with a very user-friendly PC Suite. It also has a Web box  service  to  send  files from a PC to a mobile phone effortlessly. The phone  is  triband  and  has a nine hour battery life whilst in use and 250 hours whilst on standby.

There are more questions than answers...

The last three years have been a bumpy ride for Location-Based Services (LBS) as WAP and mobile data have failed to raise much enthusiasm from cellular subscribers. "That has changed", said Jake Saunders, Director and co-author of Concise Insight's European Location-Based Services 2004 report. "As operators, such as Vodafone UK, has reported mobile content reaching 1.9% of total service revenue for March 2004, almost double the 1.0% a year before, so too are we seeing a greater range and reliance on location technology to under pin value-added data services."

Concise Insight estimates that 70% to 90% of location-enabled non-voice traffic is WAP-based but there are still a number of applications that use tried and tested SMS. In 2003, in Western Europe, US$ 285 million was generated and that figure could grow to US$ 2 billion by year-end 2007. "Much will depend on the consumer roll-outs of 3G services. European operators such as Telefonica, TIM and Vodafone are currently jostling to launch corporate data download PC card services but it may take a little longer for 3G consumer services similar to Hutchison 3's to materialise", said Jamie Moss, Senior Consultant.

It was originally argued the take-off of commercial LBS will deliver the necessary cash-flow to support the deployment of high accuracy, location positioning solutions, therefore the European Commission should, and could, take a firm, but flexible, stance for its Emergency 112 initiative.

By the end of 2004, the EC will carry out a review of cellular operator compliance with its E112 Directive and Recommendation. Sadly the EC may be a little disappointed. Commercial LBS have taken a little longer than expected to take-off and E112 compliance has been tardy. The EC has three options: a) Get tough: operators must be able to deliver high accuracy and smooth hand-off of relevant location data to the emergency services; b) Remain firm but flexible: operators must be able to deliver a smooth hand-off of relevant personal data to the emergency services but impose no high accuracy mandate; c) Go laissez-faire: and allow operators to meet compliance targets as negotiated with national regulators, on a case by case basis.

Some operators would argue that they have only just reach positive cash-flow after the 3G license splurge of 2000/1. On the other-hand, the emergency services might argue they are facing a mounting challenge. 60% of calls to the emergency services are now on mobiles, which translate into 64 million emergency calls in 2004 for the 21 markets researched. However, in many instances ambulances and fire brigades only have approximate locations. The quicker they get there, the more lives they save. For the time-being, if you are in a critical emergency, you may be better off using a fixed-line phone.

Concise Insight's report clearly demonstrates that commercial LBS is gaining traction in the market-place but given the increasing dependence by society on mobile phones, some hard decisions need to be made. Emergency location data needs to flow from the cellular operator to the emergency services. Who should pay for that? And how to deliver the accuracy? Network-based as well as handset-based solutions abound, but operators seem caught in a triangle of concern for capital expenditure, inter-operability and handset feature-set issues.

External Links

Concise Insight

The Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), the industry’s leading trade association, today stepped up a gear in its mission to promote the development of the mobile entertainment industry by announcing 18 prominent new members from across the mobile entertainment value chain. The organisation now represents over sixty leading companies and is driving the evolution of mobile entertainment through its European headquarters in London and Americas operation in L.A. 

The new members are: Alcatel, Amplefuture, Beepscience, Buongiorno Vitaminic, Chrysalis Mobile, Cinema Electric, Clicmobile, Craze Productions, Freever, Gameloft, Infomedia, Kayak Interactive, Newbay Software, Openwave, Orange, Tira Wireless, T-Mobile, WAAT Media.

At the same time, the MEF announced its newly elected board, representing leaders from mobile operators, content developers and technology providers. Patrick Parodi, General Manager Europe of PacketVideo Network Solutions, an Alcatel company, was elected the MEF Chair and Andrew Bud, Chairman of mBlox was elected Vice-Chair. The other board members are:

Ralph Simon, MEF Americas Chair; Gilles Babinet, CEO, Musiwave; Charlie Carrington, Head of Industry Development, Vodafone Global Product & Content Services; Ted Cohen, Senior Vice President, D3 - Digital Development & Distribution, EMI Music; Lorane Poersch, CEO, KidsWebTv; Claudia Pöpperl, Head of Business Development Europe, UCP Morgen; Rann Smorodinsky, Co-founder, Cash-U; Anders Unosson, Vice President Applications & Services, Siemens.

“I’m thrilled with the calibre and range of companies and individuals joining MEF including broadcasters, record labels, application developers, media companies and mobile operators.”  says Patrick Parodi, the MEF newly-elected Chair.

 “Mobile entertainment is now a recognised, revenue-generating industry.  Over the course of the next year, I look forward to working with the new Board and growing membership to ensure a healthy growth for the industry.  Through initiatives such as such as mobile music and games charts, mobile content regulation, mobile communities and rights management, the Forum is helping the industry to address its key commercial and content issues while creating membership value.”

External Links


GSMA man appointed chairman of ICRA Board & Executive

The GSM Association (GSMA), the global trade association representing more than 630 GSM mobile network operators across 200 countries today announced that it has joined the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA).

ICRA's Board of Directors has also appointed Tom Phillips, Chief Government & Regulatory Affairs Officer of the GSMA as Chair of its Board and Executive Committee.

ICRA is an independent, non-profit, organisation working with Internet content providers and other members of the industry to develop a filtering and labelling system that can be used by parents around the world to protect their children from potentially harmful material on the Internet. 

The GSM's commitment to ICRA reflects its growing focus on the challenges and issues surrounding inappropriate content that can be potentially accessed by, or delivered to mobile devices.

"The new generation of mobile devices mean that it is possible to do almost everything on an Internet-enabled phone that can be done from an Internet enabled computer," said Tom Phillips. "Therefore the sharing of experiences on the lessons learned from the fixed Internet will be invaluable to the GSM's global operator community as it strives to create a safer mobile Internet environment."

ICRA's aim is to make content labelling standard for all internet content, so that the public can reliably expect what kind of content web sites offer. In particular, parents are encouraged to use filtering devices, ultimately making the internet a safer place for children. ICRA makes no value
judgement on internet content - it is up to content providers to rate the type of content they display and help protect vulnerable members of society, like children. 

Stephen Balsam, CO, ICRA, said, "The GSM Association's support for ICRA is a key development and a boost our efforts to encourage responsible Internet content access and labelling, helping parents to protect their children from potentially harmful material in the evolving world of mobile

External Links

GSM Association

Telekom Austria has announced the launch of a WLAN pilot project where 26 telephone booths will be converted into wireless broadband internet hot spots providing wireless e-mail and internet access. This follows Telekom Austria's 2003  launch of the "MultimediaStation" - telephone booths with broadband Internet.

With some 23,000 telephone booths throughout Austria, Telekom Austria has the ideal infrastructure for the expansion of hot spot public access points. WLAN radio signals can be received within a radius of up to 100 meters surrounding the telephone booth or other installation locations such as schools. Anyone with a WLAN-capable appliance can easily have free use of broadband internet from the hot spots. A list of hot spot public access points is available at http://HotSpots.Aon.at.

Rudolf Fischer, COO Wireline at Telekom Austria, said: "There is a growing trend towards the need for increased mobile access to the internet in the residential area, in particular through laptops.  In response to this demand we are piloting wirelessly linked telephone booths - 'AonHotSpots'.  This will be the first time this has been done in Austria."

Telekom Austria's WLAN pilot project is in line with the eEurope action plan and demonstrates  the company's commitment in closing the  'digital divide' - the infrastructure gap between urban and rural populations - via sustainable investments in communication networks.

Telekom Austria's first 26 hot spots in Perg, Upper Austria, were opened with an official celebration on June 9, 2004. Telekom Austria has invested over 135 million Euros in the Upper Austrian telecommunications market in just the past four years. A large part of this went into the expansion of the broadband network with ADSL technology.

Provides operators with a simple, fast, cost-effective and handset-independent means to extend instant messaging services to all subscribers

Axalto has announced the launch of SIMapse – its SIM-based instant messaging application for mobile users. SIMapse from Axalto builds on the growing popularity of Instant Messaging (IM) among Internet users in order to open up a new SMS (short message service) revenue stream for mobile operators.

The SIMapse application combines the widely used SMS channel with a Java SIM-based solution. SIMapse enables mobile users to develop contact lists and receive online alerts about their contacts. At a glance, users know whether their contacts are online or not and can conveniently keep track of their messages as they are received, allowing them to reply instantly.
Online status and presence alerts encourage users to communicate, generating more SMS traffic. SIMapse brings the most popular instant messaging features to all mobile users - one touch log-in and log-out, contact lists with corresponding details, message history, and one-touch messaging to multiple users. Users can easily change handsets while retaining their preferred service as the solution is SIM-based. Comprehensive applet communication protocols allow for interoperability and compatibility across instant messaging service providers, extending the advantages of SIMapse to a wider range of subscribers.
Instant messaging on handsets is in strong demand and thanks to SIMapse, Axalto allows mobile operators to tap into this enormous potential and increase their revenue stream. Axalto has developed a solution that uses Java0 SIM cards and SIM Toolkit technology, which provides operators with a simple, fast and affordable means to extend IM services to all their subscribers. SIMapse offers operators a fully interoperable solution to leverage the instant messaging experience.
"SIMapse is an ideal way for operators to replicate the success of instant messaging in the wireless world," commented Philippe Vrignaud, director mobile communications at Axalto. "The business case is very straightforward for our mobile telecommunication operator clients, and, based on the strong appetite and familiarity young users currently demonstrate for this interactive approach, we anticipate rapid adoption of this technology."

Trigenix, the mobile interface company, today announced the company is working with QUALCOMM to develop an implementation of Trigenix T4 for QUALCOMM's BREW solution.

Trigenix is developing a variety of operator and consumer-branded user interfaces running under Trigenix on a number of BREW-based wireless handsets. The award-winning Trigenix technology is being created for BREW 3.0 and higher.

"QUALCOMM is a significant player in the mobile industry and we are naturally very pleased to work with them," said Steve Ives, CEO of Trigenix. "The flexibility of the BREW solution is a great fit for bringing the Trigenix T4 product to market. We look forward to offering our unique wireless offerings to BREW operators."

"Trigenix is an innovative wireless company and we look forward to the compelling content and the user interface-centric value they bring to market via the BREW solution," said Johan Lodenius, senior vice president of European Business Relations for QUALCOMM Internet Services. "The BREW system increases business opportunities by enabling the download of user interfaces and also enables operators and device manufacturers to easily differentiate their products and services. The Trigenix T4 extension will be another exciting option for BREW operators."

Nokia has today announced that Prague-based CENEGA PUBLISHING is planning to deliver selected titles for the N-Gage platform. In the latter half of 2004 and early 2005, CENEGA and Nokia expect to release two titles: Roots: Gates of Chaos, an RPG that features a storyline exclusive to the N-Gage platform, and Shade: Wrath of Angels, a 3D horror game with exclusive multiplayer features.

"This is a fantastic chance for CENEGA games to take advantage of the unique mobile connected features that the N-Gage platform provides. The Roots: Gate of Chaos and Shade: Wrath of Angels on the N-Gage platform will allow the players to join their allies and experience the real meaning of brotherhood in arms via multiplayer gaming over Bluetooth wireless technology. CENEGA fans will be able to enjoy some of their favorite games anytime, anywhere they wish." Slavomir Pavlicek, General Manager, Cenega Publishing.
"Working with CENEGA means that N-Gage gamers can play fantastic titles like Roots: Gates of Chaos and Shade: Wrath of Angels, which should have gamers on tenterhooks across the globe. With Roots, and its support for up to 4-player multiplayer gaming and Shade's 2-player deathmatch mode, we expect to have a long and happy relationship with CENEGA and keep gamers thumbs occupied worldwide." Pasi Pölönen, Director of Game Publishing, Games Business Unit, Nokia.
The prequel to the other versions of The Roots, Roots: Gates of Chaos on N-Gage takes place 1000 years before, a time where the gods' struggle for world domination has turned into an open war. Wild hordes of monsters are allowed to ravage the world as the gods fail to take care of the balance of the universe but instead concentrate on mobilizing their armies in preparation for the final battle. A player's mission, should they choose to accept, it is to become one of the gallant heroes fighting to help the Lady of Life defeat her nemesis the Demon Lord. Roots is playable in cooperation or competition modes up to 4 players via Bluetooth wireless technology.
Shade: Wrath of Angels is a 3D horror action-adventure game where intrigue grips the player from the outset, as they find themselves having to wrack their brains to solve puzzles and problems of logic that would even stump Einstein. Throughout its four chapters, gamers must be ever alert as unexpected predators follow them through different times and dimensions. Gamers can use a range of attacking styles from close combat, spell casting and gunfire to create a bizarre and unique game play experience that will leave them wanting more. Shade: Wrath of Angels is expected to have a 2-player deathmatch mode via Bluetooth wireless technology.

For the third year in a row TTG Netherlands dramatically improves its ratings in the telecommunications industry's most important satisfaction survey; TTG Netherlands top or in second place for most benchmarks

TTG Netherlands, part of TTG Europe plc, the AIM quoted provider of fixed and mobile, voice, data and internet telecommunications solutions to business customers in the Benelux countries and the UK, has been named as the Netherlands most customer-focused telecommunications provider in the annual BTG Quality Guide, just published. This is consistently in line with previous year's survey findings. For the past three years TTG Netherlands has consistently improved on its satisfaction rating across the board in this, the Dutch Telecom industry's biggest survey of quality.

BTG - The Dutch Association of Major Business Telecommunication Users - has just announced the results of its 2004 survey, Facts, Figures and Perception. In order to keep a finger on the pulse, BTG monitors the quality of services supplied and customer-focus in the ICT field. BTG sends out a questionnaire to its members and asks them to record their experiences with the services supplied by operators.

In order to make comparisons easier, the survey takes the same form as in previous years. The rating scale from 1 to 10 has once again been used. The figures have the usual meanings, from very poor (1) to outstanding (10).

The report said: "TTG…displays mainly improvements. This operator already performed well last year compared to other (years). TTG's rating for fault levels has improved sharply from two years ago, from 6.9 in 2002 to 7.8 in 2003 and 8.5 this year for national outgoing traffic. And we see a similar improvement in international traffic: from 6.4 in 2002 to 7.2 in 2003 and 7.9 in 2004. It follows logically that its score for price/performance ratio should increase too…"

TTG has moved to first place this year in national telephony in terms of network quality and invoicing, and remains in first place in account management, response to customer's needs, commitment, service by trouble ticket and speed of service delivery.

According to BTG, TTG displays only improvements, with all its scores this year being 7.0 or higher. In the arena of international telephony TTG Netherlands has moved to first place in invoicing, response to customer's needs, commitment, service delivery and quickness and remains in first place in service by trouble ticket and account management. In addition it has moved up to second place in network quality.

The BTG survey comes to the conclusion that TTG Netherlands performance has improved across the board at almost all levels. Last year TTG's rating for connection fault levels rose from 6.9 to 7.8. This year, that score has risen even further to 8.6, giving TTG the highest score of all the providers for fault levels for outgoing national traffic. Speed of delivery has improved sharply: from 6.9 to 7.8.

Graham Pollard, CEO of TTG Netherlands and Belgium said: "This is a marvellous result and rewards the effort which TTG management and staff have made to improving our services this year. We are particularly proud that while pioneering new technologies such as Voice over IP we score so highly in the core areas of the telecommunications industry - service and delivery. The across the board improvements show that no one issue is being addressed at the cost of others - we have a genuine commitment to quality and we are delivering on that commitment day-on-day and year-on-year. I congratulate the staff of TTG Netherlands and Belgium for their hard work and attention to the needs of the customer."

Uncontrolled roaming gifts revenue to rivals, says Roamware

Global roaming calls on mobile networks could now be worth in the region of $50 billion annually according to roaming specialists Roamware Inc.  But, the company says, operators who are not tuned into the potential of controlled roaming are gifting revenue to rival networks.

The last official industry valuation on the roaming market – calls made on networks other than subscribers’ ‘home’ networks –  based on GSM technology, was some four years ago when global GSM subscribers had reached 250million in 140 countries.  The roaming market was estimated to be worth around $12billion annually – a little under ten per cent of the annual market at the time.
Today, total global subscribers number more than one billion with global operator revenues from GSM alone forecast to hit $500billion by 2005. 
Roamware CEO John Hoffman, says the figures add up to big business for wireless operators.
"Whichever way you cut the cake the cake – roaming has become a huge global business for the operators. If we assume the growth rate for roaming has matched subscriber and revenue expansion then we are looking at a business opportunity worth in the region of $50billion annually.
"Mobile phone network operators that do not give roaming subscribers their full attention are potentially losing out," adds Hoffman. "And it’s not about getting subscribers to spend more, it’s about getting them to stick to the right partner networks, and to be able to use the same services when they roam that they use when at home. Roaming is no longer about the availability of service, it’s about the capability of the services you can access when you roam. 
"Properly served roaming subscribers make more use of their phone, and the savvy home network operators get the partner revenue – instead of gifting it to a rival network through random roaming."
With the implementation of enabling technologies for data, roaming services have entered a new era. Providing transparent access may prove to be the difference between success and failure in terms of revenue generation.
But Hoffman is also clear about the benefits to the subscriber.
"When I find a network that has implemented the ability for me to mirror my home environment, I willingly utilise the services.  I am pleased that my phone remains a powerhouse communications tool and I use it more frequently – I can also benefit from competitive prices because I have been roaming on a partner or associate network.
"And while I may spend more overall, I am also happier because I get more done – everybody wins."

Under a more than USD 350 million frame agreement with major Russian operator MegaFon, Nokia is supplying GSM/GPRS equipment for the expansion of MegaFon's GSM network, enabling advanced mobile data services. Deliveries have already begun and the expansion will enable MegaFon to cope with rapidly increasing subscriber growth.

"We are happy to continue to work closely with such a leading vendor as Nokia which time and again has proved its abilities to deliver and implement and care for state-of-the-art technologies, services and solutions, enabling us to offer our customers the best mobile services," says Sergey Soldatenkov, General Director, MegaFon. 
"The Russian market is extremely important for Nokia and we are pleased to extend our strategical cooperation with MegaFon, one of the leading players in this rapidly growing mobile arena," says Jonathan Sparrow, General Director, Networks, Nokia, Russia.
"A further demonstration of our commitment to the Russian market is the increased service support capabilities in the regions where we work with MegaFon," he adds.
Under the agreement Nokia is supplying GSM/GPRS core and radio equipment. The frame includes also Nokia NetActä Operating Support System (OSS), which provides operational efficiencies and OPEX savings while operating and maintaining MegaFon's GSM, GPRS and Cellular Transmission networks. The very same OSS platform also provides support for the future technologies and services like EDGE and WCDMA. Under the agreement Nokia is also supplying a range of services including Project Management, installation and relocation services for fast ramp up of the solution and Care Services, including Emergency Service, Software Maintenance and training services to keep the solution running at peak performance.
OAO MegaFon is the first Russian nationwide mobile communication operator of GSM 900/1800 standard. Founded in May 2002, as a result of renaming and changing of organizational and legal status of ZAO North-Western GSM and uniting of regional operators of ZAO Sonic Duo (Moscow), ZAO Mobicom-Kavkaz, ZAO Mobicom-Center, ZAO Mobicom-Novosibirsk, ZAO Mobicom-Khabarovsk, ZAO Mobicom-Kirov, OAO MSS-Povolzhye, ZAO Volzhsky GSM and ZAO Uralsky GSM. The Company's major shareholders are OAO Telecominvest, OOO CT-Mobile, Sonera (Finland) and Telia (Sweden). The license area of OAO MegFon covers 100% of the territory of Russia - 89 regions of the Russian Federation with the population of 147 million. Currently the total number of the Company's customers is exceeding 8.6 million.
Nokia is the world leader in mobile communications, driving the growth and sustainability of the broader mobility industry. Nokia is dedicated to enhancing people's lives and productivity by providing easy-to-use and secure products like mobile phones, and solutions for imaging, games, media, mobile network operators and businesses. Nokia is a broadly held company with listings on five major exchanges.