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(aq), one of the UK’s fastest growing mobile messaging
providers, today announced that it is one the first companies to offer automated online SMS messaging services to landline telephones, via its award winning portal, www.sms2email.com.  This new service will enable (aq) customers to send SMS to BT landlines, with messages received as either written text or
converted into speech. 

The move follows BT’s announcement of its service allowing conversion of SMS to speech for fixed-line handsets.  In the past, landlines required an SMS-enabled handset to allow them to receive written text messages, limiting take-up of the
service. The new speech conversion service makes SMS more socially inclusive and paves the way for market expansion.  However, only those SMS providers using high quality UK primary network connections are able to message to BT
lines directly, with many ‘low cost’ providers not yet offering this functionality. 

According to Dr Adam Beaumont, managing director of (aq):  “We are delighted to be amongst the first to offer fixed-line SMS and our customers will find their campaign reach is significantly extended through the ability to target landlines.  This new capability has the potential to impact internal and
external communications for the majority of UK businesses.”

He continued: “The ability to send fixed-line SMS has always been there, but now it has a user-friendly interface in the form of speech conversion which makes it a viable and economical alternative to fixed-line voice calls. People without mobile phones, the blind and the partially sighted will be able to
benefit from SMS in a way that simply wasn’t possible before.”

(aq) has enabled fixed-line SMS for all its existing premium UK accounts and is also offering free customer trials.  Messages are routed through (aq)’s bespoke gateway enabling users to send over 200 SMS per second, typically arriving at their destination in less than 10 seconds.  Prices start from less than 6 pence per message for bulk c oporate users, for messages to both UK fixed-line and mobile telephones. 

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(aq) portal

Apertio, a provider of mobile network infrastructure software, has secured $2.9 million from European technology venture capital firm Add Partners, extending a Series A financing round it announced last December.

Add Partners joins previous investors DVC Deutsche Venture Capital, Motorola, the Tokarz Investments LLC and Eden Ventures. Apertio has the only next-generation carrier-grade Home Location Register (HLR) and open subscriber profile database deployed today in a Tier 1 operator. With demand increasing for HLR end of life replacements (due within the next several years at practically all major mobile carrier networks) as well as by expanding 2G and 3G networks in Asia and the Americas, Apertio is on an aggressive global drive to secure market leadership.

“We’ve always sought partners for Apertio who understand the industry and who demonstrate solid commitment to our business and to our vision to create a globally competitive company,” says Paul Magelli, CEO and a founder of Apertio. “Our partnership with Add is as much about funding our faster-than-expected growth as it is about ensuring that we can maximise our potential to dominate the global market for mobile infrastructure software.”

“We have no doubt that with its market-proven technology Apertio is well ahead of any potential competitor in the multi-billion dollar market for HLR and other software-based mobile infrastructure solutions”, said Niko von Huetz, Investment Director at Add Partners.
Add Partners’ Investment Director Niko von Huetz will join the Board of Directors of Apertio.

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Wants to add to network performance and applications suite

Tekelec today announced it has entered into a definitive
agreement to acquire privately held telecommunications solution provider, Steleus Group, Inc. Tekelec, a leading global supplier of telecommunications products for next-generation fixed, mobile and packet networks, is purchasing the company to advance its network and service performance management capabilities, enhance its applications portfolio and extend the company's global reach.

Steleus is a real-time performance management company that
supplies network-related intelligence to telecom operators. Tekelec will purchase 100 percent of Steleus' outstanding stock for approximately $56 million, consisting of approximately $29 million of cash and $27 million of Tekelec's stock. The acquisition is expected to close in Tekelec's fiscal fourth quarter, pending regulatory and contractual requirements.
As strategic partners, Tekelec and Steleus have collaborated on commercial deployments with tier one, two and three operators. The company and its personnel and products will form the cornerstone of Tekelec's new Communications Software Solutions business unit, which also will include existing Tekelec applications, and will be led by Rick Mace, current president, CEO and Chairman of the Board of

According to Fred Lax, Tekelec president and CEO, "Steleus has proven that its software-centric approach reduces time to market for new services and speeds the migration to next-generation networks, while lowering the risk, because operators can monitor the quality of new services immediately. Consequently, operators are able to achieve higher average revenue per user, increase profitability and reduce customer churn. Tekelec has enjoyed a successful partnership with
Steleus, delivering value-added solutions to premier operators around the globe, and we have already begun aligning our product roadmaps as part of this relationship.
"As a leading developer of General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions, Steleus reinforces Tekelec's commitment to offering a wide range of applications to further enhance and differentiate the company's next-gen switching and signaling product offerings. Steleus supplies key business intelligence applications with which operators can ensure quality of service, detect fraud and analyze customer behavior and service usage.
"With robust real-time monitoring and management capabilities for legacy and next-generation networks, Steleus strengthens our ongoing commitment to supplying value-added applications, providing our customers with critical network, service and customer-related information to drive decision-making, application delivery and enhance the subscriber experience with proactive customer care. Ultimately,with these unparalleled capabilities, operators realize substantial cost savings.
"With a customer base of 100 operators in over 35 countries and operations in the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific, Steleus further enables our global expansion," Lax concluded.
After closing, on a GAAP basis, Tekelec expects the transaction to reduce its Q4 2004 EPS by approximately $0.01 - $0.02, excluding any potential in-process research and development charge. Tekelec expects the 2004 earnings reduction to include amortization of acquired intangibles and the amortization of deferred compensation totaling approximately $1.0 million, pretax. For 2005, on a GAAP basis, Tekelec expects the transaction to be approximately $0.01 - $0.02 accretive to
its EPS. Tekelec expects 2005 expenses to include amortization of acquired intangibles and the amortization of deferred compensation totaling approximately $2.0 million, pretax.

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Solution will mean more accurate and timely electricity measurement

The energy sector is adopting mobile technology as a means of reducing wastage within the industry. BGlobal Metering, the UK’s leading advanced metering provider, has selected Orange to enable it to automate its metered data collection for industrial and commercial energy customers through to small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). BGlobal Metering has developed a telemetry-based end-to-end metering offering, smartMETER that relies on mobile phone SIM card technology to collect and transmit data on electricity consumption.

Energy suppliers have traditionally relied on staff taking millions of manual meter readings. More importantly, the lack of timely and precise electricity readings has resulted in significant cash flow and financial planning issues within the industry. smartMETER will enable energy providers to produce more accurate electricity readings and bills, eliminating one of the biggest criticisms of the industry, that customers are charged for predicted electricity consumption, as opposed to actual usage.


The SIMs, provided by Orange, are programmed to collect and transmit data at any time and at any interval over the Orange GSM network. Tapping into a sector that runs an estimated 42 million meters across the UK, BGlobal Metering’s smartMETER service sends consumption data to its centralised data centre, leading to many benefits and cost savings.

Commenting on the selection of Orange as its network partner, Peter Kennedy, Managing Director, BGlobal Metering, said: “Technological and cost constraints have meant that advanced metering has simply not been feasible for SME Energy customers. Orange has a proven track record in providing telemetry solutions to business customers and has offered us a flexible, robust and simple solution that maps our projected development. We will be able to leverage their GSM network and this will ensure that we can roll out this telemetry solution across the UK.”

Telemetry or machine-to-machine (M2M), is a growth market; Frost and Sullivan suggests that as many as 13 billion devices across Europe have the potential to communicate. A wide range of vertical market sectors are driving uptake, including transport, vending, utilities, home security, and commercial equipment (such as photocopiers and franking machines). 

On the impact telemetry could make on the energy sector, Mike Newnham vice president, business solutions, Orange UK, added: “M2M does not need to be complicated or costly and it has massive potential in the energy sector. As in BGlobal Metering’s case, it’s a very simple solution used to improve business performance through more accurate and timely data collection, retrieval and aggregation. This has an add-on effect in helping businesses improve billing processes and manage energy costs. Ultimately, BGlobal Metering is showing how mobile technology can be used to help all businesses become much more effective and efficient.”

BGlobal Metering is at different stages of contractual negotiations with four UK electricity suppliers and is currently working with another three. As a result they have formally placed a forward order for over 60,000 meters with EDMI (the meter manufacturer) as announced to the Singapore Stock Exchange in July 2004. There are currently over 2 million meters in the SME and Industrial & Commercial segment of the UK electricity market.

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O2 survey reveals UK small businesses failing to mobilise

The UK’s small business sector (employing between 1 - 99 employees) are predicted to invest £7.3 billion in mobile technologies in 2004, but are failing to use this investment to harness the full benefits of mobile working according to a new survey launched today by O2.   

The survey, the most extensive undertaken in the UK into business mobility, reveals that UK small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) will commit 16% of their total IT spend to wireless projects this year, which is a significantly higher investment than that of corporates as a proportion of total IT spend. However, they are failing to use the investment to harness the benefit of true mobile working, with most using the technology at a superficial level to store data as they work rather than taking advantage of wireless connectivity.

An analysis of those SMBs with a live wireless project underway or complete, highlighted a lack of synchronisation between mobile technologies.  The core objectives driving mobile investment were not to harness connectivity but to provide access to more static functions such as an electronic calendar or power point presentation on the move.  Mobile functionality, such as improving access to email or remote working, was much lower on the list of priorities. For example, the primary driver for notebook deployment was to allow greater flexibility for working location, with email and remote working the fourth and fifth priorities.  Similarly with PDAs, email was the third priority but access to data like calendar and addresses was the top concern.

However, whilst small businesses are not using mobility to its full potential, most of the projects they are investing in are meeting or exceeding their expectations.  85% of SMBs who have invested in PDA deployment and 93% of those who invested in notebooks state that the projects met or exceeded their expectations. This suggests that if they did wire up for true mobility they would really see a positive impact.

Commenting on the research, Paul Tollet, Head of Business Markets, O2 UK said: “Due to the time pressures of running a small business or concerns over technology know how, many small businesses are failing to utilise their mobile investment to its full extent. They use mobile devices such as PDAs or notebooks to access static data (such as calendars and address books) on the move, but are not getting the benefits of connectivity. However, their uptake of wireless has been impressive and the good news is they are satisfied with their investment.  This reflects the potential for small organisations to capitalise immediately on the benefits offered if they started to synchronise technology together.”

One reason behind the apparent lack of active wireless network deployment is security, which is the number one concern with PDAs. The survey reveals that small businesses feel uncomfortable about rolling out and using local organisation wide wireless networks.  This suggests that they are going to be even more concerned about connectivity outside the office on the move.  This will prevent them from harnessing the last mile of their mobile investment.

Paul Tollet concludes: “We feel there is the need for the mobile industry to work more closely with businesses employing between 1 - 99 employees and take responsibility for addressing security concerns as well as providing more hands on supervision to help them get up and running so that they get the full benefits.”

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Masternaut has launched an intelligent auto-alert system to keep a watchful eye on a vehicle fleet 24 hours a day. The first-ever system using 'always on' internet and mobile phone services to give real-time alerts around the clock. Flash warnings about unauthorised vehicle use or entry into zones and barred locations can be sent to any PC or mobile device using the internet and SMS. The alerts are triggered by data received automatically from vehicle satellite tracking receivers and other electronic sensors.

Part of the web based Masternaut fleet information service, the M-Messenger alert system processes electronic vehicle data against stored location information. The fleet controller, owner or driver can be immediately alerted, anytime and wherever they are. M-Messenger can instantly alert any suspected theft, unauthorised use, arrival and departure from site, congestion zones, barred locations, excessive speed and traffic jams. If out of the office alerts can be re-directed to mobile phones or handled by Masterrnaut's 24 hour service centre.

Masternaut developed the service following demand from its subscribers who tend to be very busy commercial companies focussed on customer service.  "Live information on vehicles and resources via the web is a big step forward for industry.  However, the trick is to make information available only when it is needed.  Busy managers do not have time to keep an eye on their fleet all the time.  M-Messenger uses the live information in an intelligent way to simply alert managers, or drivers, when their attention is needed" says Martin Port, Managing Director of Masternaut.

The movements of over 12000 vehicles throughout Europe are managed in real time using the Masternaut service. The company has also seen rapid uptake of a new handheld technology that gives live information on service, delivery or sales calls and navigates the driver to their appointment or job.

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CX70: The first "Push and Talk" capable mobile phone from Siemens

With the introduction of the CX 70, Siemens mobile is the world’s first manufacturer to offer an end-to-end solution for "Push and Talk" (PaT) based on open specifications. The service features walkie-talkie functionality over mobile networks and makes group calling easier and faster than ever before. As the first Voice-over-IP application, Push and Talk is based on the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), the technology platform for many future multimedia services.

"We don’t want any proprietary solutions and also employ open standards for Push and Talk," Lothar Pauly, Member of the Board of Siemens’ mobile communication division, explains. "Only with complete interoperability will we be able to develop the promising potential of this new service to the full." To ensure that Push and Talk works as quickly as possible across all networks and with as many devices from other phone manufacturers as well, Siemens mobile is relying on IMS switching technology, which enables IP-based connections between mobile phones and is based on the specifications of the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). IMS will be the control layer for many innovative multimedia services, such as video transmission, instant messaging and virtual reality application like multiparty gaming.

For network operators, Push and Talk over IMS, which can already be implemented into GPRS networks, represents another step towards 3G. The IP Multimedia Subsystem is part of the third generation of mobile communication. Early integration of this technology facilitates the quick implementation of new IMS-based services. The Push and Talk server can be seamlessly integrated into the IMS network structure and linked to existing infrastructure components. Thanks to Siemens mobile’s modular design, small startup solutions can be easily expanded to 100 times their original size. Lothar Pauly: "IMS makes mobile networks ready for the future."

This is how Push and Talk works: First, the user selects the people he or she wants to talk to from a list. At the push of a button, all of these previously defined addressees receive an invitation which they can accept or decline. As soon as the calling partners have confirmed, the initial caller pushes the PaT button and starts the conversation, which everyone hears simultaneously. There is no time-consuming call setup, because the "Always On" feature of the GPRS network maintains the connection all along. Any group member can reply by pressing the PaT button. The communication can only go in one direction at a time, however: whoever presses the PaT button first, talks first. Push and Talk is therefore similar to traditional voice radio, although the new service can do much more. Since it runs over mobile networks, it can be used anywhere, even internationally. And PaT calls can be heard only by the registered members of a group call - a clear benefit in terms of security.

As a provider of a complete portfolio of products ranging from mobile phones to mobile infrastructure components, Siemens is the ideal company to introduce Push to Talk. Lothar Pauly: "We will steadily expand this new market segment and play a leading role in its development." In addition to its color display and built-in digital camera, the Siemens CX70 already features the full Push and Talk functionality - however, the operator is responsible for the set up of the PaT feature. The tri-band phone is the first model in a broad portfolio of devices for the PaT service, all of which will provide access to IMS core networks and be equipped with an open-standard PaT client. Siemens mobile can thus guarantee its phones’ interoperability with the infrastructure of other manufacturers. Pauly: "Starting next year, all mid-range Siemens mobile phones will be Push and Talk capable."

The potential of Push and Talk is huge. As operators roll out the service through all their networks, they are adding a new option which is characterized primarily by speed. According to industry analyst Northstream AB, "Push and Talk has the potential to increase the traffic over mobile networks. The mobile voice chat supplements SMS and eliminates the cumbersome setup of conference calls. This mobile service will soon be able to replace the traditional radio communications of freight forwarders, courier services, taxi companies or building contractors. For private users, Push and Talk has a chance of becoming the latest trend. It is conceivable, for example, that network operators will offer open PaT forums. Push and Talk is a new service for the mass market," according to Lothar Pauly. "This service is not only interesting for contractors and field staff, but is also an attractive offer for young people, clubs and associations, i.e. for anyone who wants to maintain contact
with lots of people, either privately or professionally."

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Siemens push and talk

TeliaSonera today announces that its wholly owned subsidiary Amber Mobile Teleholding AB has reached an agreement with the Kazickas family to acquire their 10 percent holding in UAB Omnitel of Lithuania. Having acquired the remaining outstanding shares, Omnitel is thereby fully owned by TeliaSonera. TeliaSonera agreed to pay USD 63,5 million including dividends until closing for the Kazickas family's shares. The share price is based on a valuation of Omnitel amounting to USD 603 million for 100 percent of the shares. The deal will be closed today.

"This agreement represents a major step in fulfilling TeliaSonera's Nordic-Baltic strategy to strengthen its position in the region in order to provide better services for customers," says Kenneth Karlberg, President of TeliaSonera Norway, Denmark and the Baltic countries.

In August 2003, TeliaSonera acquired Motorola's 35-percent shareholding in Omnitel, raising its shareholding to 90 percent. This deal was completed following approval by the Lithuanian Competition Council in December 2003.

Omnitel, which was the first private telecommunications company established in Eastern Europe, is the largest mobile operator in the Baltic countries with 1.14 million subscribers at the end of June 2004. The company presently has an overall market share of approximately 47 percent and is the leading choice of corporate customers. Omnitel continues to successfully attract new customers, adding 86,591 subscribers during the first six months 2004. During the same period net sales increased by almost 7 percent.

"We are very pleased by the fact that Omnitel becomes the first wholly owned Baltic company in the TeliaSonera group," says Kenneth Karlberg. "As a fully integrated operation in the leading Nordic-Baltic telecommunications group, Omnitel's customers will enjoy the full scope of our services and resources."

Omnitel was established as Litcom by Dr. Juozas P. Kazickas in 1991. "The early foresight and business initiative by the Kazickas family set the stage for this highly successful operation," Kenneth Karlberg said when the agreement had been reached. "It has been a pleasure to work together with them in developing Omnitel since our involvement in the company from 1998."

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MMS traffic in Telia's mobile network in Sweden increased sharply during the month of July. More than 1.6 million MMS messages were sent during the most popular vacation month for Swedes, twice the number sent in June.

Although it is not possible to say today if the increase in MMS traffic will be a lasting trend, the growing interest in camera-equipped mobile handsets still indicates that the service is attractive to customers. During the past few months, camera mobile phones capable of sending MMS messages have dominated the "top ten" list of best-selling handsets in Telia's retail stores, as shown by monthly surveys that Telia has conducted since February 2004. Approximately 60 percent of the mobile handsets sold by Telia today are camera phones, an increase of nearly 100 percent since last year.

"MMS messages can be sent fast and the service is easy to use. I believe this is the reason behind the successful trend for MMS," says Marie Ehrling, head of TeliaSonera Sweden. "Being able to share your experiences quickly is attractive and many people have surely chosen to send 'digital postcards' to relatives and friends instead of traditional printed cards."

During the first half of 2004, approximately 4.7 million MMS messages were sent through Telia's mobile network in Sweden.

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Hay Systems Limited (HSL), one of the leading providers of global mobile messaging services, today announce the introduction of their SMSC (Short Message Service Centre), which facilitates closer and more direct communication between software applications and mobile networks around the world. This is an extremely significant and exciting step for the organisation and their clients, and further establishes HSL as one of the leading service providers in the booming SMS industry. The investment in their SMSC technology boosts HSL’s already competitive status, capitalising on the infrastructure already in place and the company’s ambition to add new dimensions to their service provision. Clients of HSL will benefit from the improved technical performance, quality and enhanced services facilitated by the SMSC.

HSL are reputable within the industry for the high quality, reliable and cost-effective service they provide using the SMSCs of their supplier mobile networks, and this exciting development therefore demonstrates a significant enhancement in their services. With HSL’s investment in their own SMSC, they have increased technical capability to control messages being communicated between applications and mobile devices on a global scale. The SMSC is located directly on the SS7 network, and a client is therefore now more directly connected with the global mobile messaging infrastructure, resulting in a more reliable one-way and two-way SMS service, with faster message delivery. As a direct result, HSL’s competitive position has greatly increased within the industry, providing SMS customers with a technically advanced, first-class carrier-grade service.
In the industry as a whole, SMS-based services are continuing to experience dramatic growth. According to the Mobile Data Association (MDA), 2.1 billion SMS were sent in the UK during the month of June this year, portraying a clear enthusiasm for SMS as a communications tool. As awareness develops many more organisations from a wide range of business sectors including, for example, financial institutions, entertainment, logistics, aviation, leisure, government bodies and public services are now recognising the benefits that mobile messaging technology can provide. As the excitement and enthusiasm for SMS spreads, HSL will continue to offer advice and support for new and existing clients with the integration process, providing individual attention and tailored personal service. The investment in SMSC technology allows HSL to offer an improved and enhanced SMS messaging gateway, ensuring the implementation and integration of reliable mobile messaging is a simple and quick process for all.
Mark Hay, Managing & Technical Director, is quoted as saying “Mobile messaging services are continuing to experience a high level of growth, and we are delighted to be able to introduce our new SMSC into this competitive and technically maturing environment. This investment allows for further enhancement of our quality service provision, firmly positioning us at a highly competitive level within the SMS industry.”
Founded in 1999 in Edinburgh, Scotland, HSL have evolved into one of the leading providers of mobile messaging worldwide. Renowned for the reliability and the consistently high quality of the service they provide, HSL include BAA, DHL, Schlumberger and Cisco Systems on their impressive list of clients.

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Vedrsion 4.2 adds mobile web services and better sync performance

Extended Systems, a leading provider of mobile application solutions for the enterprise, unveiled today several enhancements to its OneBridge Mobile Solutions Platform. Notable new features include increased synchronisation performance to support enterprise-wide mobile application deployments, enhanced administrative monitoring and control, mobile Web Services capabilities, and expanded device support.

In the past, large customer deployments typically ranged from hundreds to several thousands of users. With organisations now undertaking enterprise-wide deployments of business applications out to over 10,000 mobile workers, or in some cases to hundreds of thousands of their mobile customers, boosting platform performance is a requirement. Enterprises using the OneBridge Mobile Platform now handle millions of mobile transactions for customers with zero downtime.

IT administrators will also benefit from OneBridge's strengthened monitoring and control functionality which enables them to gain greater centralised control over large-scale deployments through improved audit and management capabilities.

Explains Jeffrey Siegel, chief marketing officer at Extended Systems, "Gaining control over mobile devices should be a core consideration for any IT organisation entrusted with maintaining corporate security. Extended Systems' newest release of its mobile enterprise platform now provides corporate IT with unprecedented management and control features - including the recently announced OneBridge Mobile Secure module and the robust monitoring features found in 4.2-providing tremendous control over mobile environments."

Data delivery between an enterprise's existing application and data infrastructure with mobile devices has been enhanced by the addition of Mobile Web Services support. Mobile Web Services provides an industry-standard way to access any Web Services from any device in both connected and disconnected models, greatly simplifying the task and cost of application integration.

New mobile devices supported include laptop and tablet PC's and the latest smartphones including HP's iPAQ 6315 and 2210/2215, Orange's SPV M1000, the XDA II from O2, Audiovox's 5050, Samsung's i600 and Kyocera's 7135-bringing the number of supported devices to 70 across the Symbian, Palm, and Microsoft Windows Mobile platforms. All large enterprise organisations have a heterogeneous device environment which is growing in diversity as the number of innovative device form-factors continues to proliferate. With the latest OneBridge release, enterprises deploying mobile PC's and an ever-growing range of devices will have their evolving mobility needs addressed.

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Extended Systems

Adds automated diagnostic capabilities to resolve mobile phone problems over the air

Bitfone Corporation, the company that pioneered over-the-air (OTA) software upgrade technology for mobile phones, today announced the acquisition of Mobile Diagnostix (MDI), a Toronto-based software company providing customer care automation solutions for mobile devices. 

MDI's flagship product, SmartCare, detects device configuration errors and other software problems via an automated handset analysis system, and uses a sophisticated rules engine to automatically advise customer service representatives on corrective actions. SmartCare reduces average call-handling time, increases first-call resolution of support issues and minimizes support escalations resulting in dramatic cost savings for wireless operators.  SmartCare supports a wide variety of open platform devices, including Symbian, Microsoft Smartphone, and Java powered handsets.

The acquisition allows Bitfone to expand its value proposition to operators, who can now use SmartCare to diagnose mobile device problems, and use Bitfone's mProve solution to resolve them by upgrading device software over the air.  The combination of SmartCare and mProve will maximize savings associated with servicing customers wirelessly and will provide the most thorough solution available to operators.  Together, Bitfone and MDI deliver solutions for such global wireless leaders as LG, Motorola, PalmSource, Research In Motion, Sony Ericsson, SK Telecom, and Symbian.

"This acquisition combines Bitfone's expertise in handset architectures and software management with MDI's expertise in automated customer care and diagnostics, offering an unparalleled OTA solution for ensuring device quality and usability," said Gene Wang, chairman and CEO, Bitfone Corporation.  "SmartCare complements mProve perfectly, helping mobile service providers find and fix device software and configuration problems quickly and easily."

"As the leader in standards-based firmware update technology, Bitfone lays the foundation for deploying broader device management solutions that will reduce customer care costs and create an engaging mobile experience for subscribers," said Ian Collins, CEO of Mobile Diagnostix.  "Adding SmartCare to the Bitfone portfolio allows us to provide the first complete software management platform to operators, which will reduce churn, increase brand value, and maximize revenue from subscribers."

As a result of the acquisition, Ian Collins, former CEO of Mobile Diagnostix, will become senior vice president and general manager of Bitfone's customer care solutions; and Jeff Brunet, former CTO for Mobile Diagnostix, will become Bitfone's chief technology officer.  Bitfone will maintain the former MDI office in Toronto.

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Agilent Technologies and TietoEnator today announced that EMT, Estonia's leading mobile operator, has selected the GPRS management solution developed by Agilent Technologies and to be implemented by TietoEnator. The solution extends EMT's signaling monitoring system functionality from GSM to GPRS.

EMT will use Agilent's GPRS management solution to identify network outages in real time, understand subscribers' acceptance of new data services and monitor the availability and performance of those services, allowing an end-to-end view of network usage and improving network efficiency. TietoEnator will deliver and deploy the system. The solution will be in production by October 2004.

"With the introduction of GPRS services, we needed a proven and cost-effective solution to monitor the quality of those services," said Margus Malv, network manager at EMT. "Having successfully worked with TietoEnator, which has extensive experience in OSS [operations support system] integration, and Agilent, the leader in network and service assurance management, we believe that extending this partnership to include GPRS enables us to offer the highest level of performance while meeting our subscribers' critical SLAs."

"TietoEnator's strong OSS team and expertise in handling complex networks, combined with Agilent's superior wireless OSS offerings, will give EMT the tools to deliver the quality of service its customers' demand," said Goran Loov, TietoEnator's director of OSS solutions in Europe.

"As new data services add complexity to the network and the value chain, wireless service providers must implement more comprehensive OSSs to maintain network assurance and control service quality," said Tom Walls, vice president and general manager of Agilent's Telecom Systems Division. "Building on our expertise in GSM, we have extended our capabilities into GPRS and UMTS technologies, providing carriers with the tools needed to successfully manage the introduction and management of complex data services."

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Cognima's tests of MMS on the UK's four largest mobile networks show only low quality photos can be sent from the latest megapixel camera-phones

Cognima, the effortless mobile services company, today published a report following its research into the loss of image quality when photos are sent via the MMS picture messaging system. The report compares the quality of photos transferred from the latest megapixel camera-phones to online photo albums using MMS. Cognima used Nokia's new 7610 megapixel camera-phone to conduct tests on each of the UK's four largest mobile networks: Vodafone, Orange, 02, and T-Mobile.

For the tests, Cognima took several megapixel photos with the 7610 phone and sent them via MMS to an online photo album over the four UK mobile networks.  The results were consistent across all the networks.  When sending a photo using the default "small" MMS setting the photo resolution is reduced by a factor of 50 - from the 1152x864 pixel resolution of the original megapixel photo to a 160x120 pixel image. The result is an extremely low quality photo that some online photo albums will refuse to print.

The 'small' MMS photo setting is the default because many phones can only receive MMS messages of this size. However, all four of the UK operators can support larger 100k byte MMS messages, which megapixel camera-phones (including the Nokia 7610) can use if the user switches the phone to the 'large' MMS photo mode.

Cognima repeated the tests in 'large' MMS photo mode. Once again the results were consistent across all the networks: the photo resolution is reduced by a factor of four - from the original 1152x864 pixel resolution to a 576x432 pixel image. The result is a low quality photo that is barely printable and shows visible artifacts from the severe image compression.

"The quality of the photos sent from these phones by using MMS is below print quality even in 'large' mode," said Bloor Research mobile industry analyst, and semi-professional photographer, Rob Bamforth. "For users who have bought a megapixel camera-phone it will be extremely disappointing that they cannot easily get their high quality photos into an online photo album where they can keep them safe, share and print them."

"MMS was designed to solve the problem of getting photos from one phone to another.   Low quality photos are fine for that purpose, but it was never designed to get high quality megapixel photos from a camera-phone to an online photo album," said Simon East, CEO Cognima. "Cognima Snap solves this problem by allowing users to effortlessly transfer their megapixel images from their camera-phone to an online photo album".

Cognima recently announced the launch of its Cognima Snap(tm) service which allows megapixel quality images to be uploaded from supported camera-phones direct to online photo albums with a single key press on the phone. Results of a trial with a major UK network operator revealed that Cognima Snap increased the number of photos uploaded from camera-phones to online photo albums by 14 fold.

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Copy of full Cognima test report