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Supports the creation of profitable content delivery and settlement:First customer in place for InterconnecT CPM

Intec, a leading BSS/ OSS software vendor for fixed, mobile and next-generation networks, launched InterconnecT Content Partner Management (CPM), the latest addition to its market leading settlements product suite, at the 2005 3GSM World Congress in Cannes.

InterconnecT CPM offers a unified partner management and settlement solution for all mobile services including data and content services. This includes providers of content infotainment services, mobile gaming and gambling as well as m-commerce offerings. It enables service providers to offer incentives to innovative and successful partners in order to deliver attractive products and services to subscribers. By allowing configurable levels of partner self-care and partner self-registration, service providers are able to manage numerous relationships efficiently. Moreover, through a high degree of partner self-service, costs and overheads can be kept low whilst keeping partners informed and loyal.

CPM is configured to support the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) standard which defines a generic architecture for offering Voice over IP (VoIP) and multimedia services. It is an internationally recognised standard, first specified by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP/3GPP2) and now being embraced by other standards bodies including ETSI/TISPAN. The standard supports multiple access types – including GSM, WCDMA, CDMA2000, Wireline broadband access and WLAN.

Intec CEO, Kevin Adams, said: “InterconnecT CPM will enable operators to attract high value brands and services to offer their customers. With a proliferation of content providers and the need to add new service partners, CPM will help service providers efficiently create profitable partnerships. By linking with Intec DCP (Dynamic Charging Platform), a real-time, value-based charging solution for advanced data network services, customers can further benefit from real time content charging and settlement.”

InterconnecT CPM is already being implemented with a lead customer, a major North American operator that is offering advanced content services to its customer base.

InterconnecT CPM is a natural evolution of Intec’s best of breed InterconnecT v7 product, which currently supports over 200 customers around the world including mobile service providers such as Vodafone, Orange and Hutchison’s ‘3’ Mobile Group.

United Co-operatives, one of the largest retail co-operatives in Europe, is gearing up to trial a Voice over IP network from Evoxus to reduce connectivity costs across its many food, travel and funeral branches, and to allow for the smooth introduction of end user applications such as Chip and Pin.

With a turnover in excess of £1.7bn and over 15,000 staff employed from the Midlands to Cumbria and from Northern Ireland to the East Coast of Yorkshire, the Society offers a wide range of services, which include food stores, travel, motor dealerships, pharmacies, funeral homes, and a number of other subsidiaries.  Over the past year it has invested in a broadband ADSL network from Evoxus and is now benefitting from the increased bandwidth and fixed costs.  The likely savings figures will be in excess of £1million across all contracts associated with this development.

"With such a large estate we inevitably have to deal with the complexity of different networks and technologies," explains Ian Dyson, General Manager Information Services of United Co-operatives. "We've decided to trial an IP solution with 40 of our users initially, the aim being to make the workforce more flexible and to drive down costs.  More importantly, using the Evoxus solution, we can install VoIP at a network level and therefore protect our investment in legacy equipment."

"The latest research indicates that 44 per cent of the world's corporate telephone lines may well be IP-based by 2008," comments Mark Lower, CEO of Evoxus. "But a separate survey found that most IT managers have been reluctant to write off the substantial investments already made in analogue PBX systems by replacing them with VoIP. Unlike competitive VoIP offerings, the Evoxus solution is installed at a network level using SIP which means that our customers are not required to replace legacy equipment.In essence we're de-risking the move to VoIP!"

Crony Assists in Facilitating Deployment to European PTT

ADC KRONE has announced today that its distributor, Belgrade-based Crony, has assisted in selling ADC KRONE WorldDSL solutions to Telekom Srpska, a European incumbent telecommunications operator based in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"This is a milestone for ADC KRONE, marking the first major deployment of our 2-pair G.SHDSL solution into a PTT network," said Mark McDonald, vice president of product management and marketing for the company's Wireline Systems Business. "With Crony's assistance in securing G.SHDSL deployment with Telekom Srpska, ADC KRONE believes opportunities now exist to extend our deployments to the broader carrier market."

PTTs in Europe are migrating from HDSL technology to G.SHDSL technology in order to deliver E1 business services to their customers. The HDSL technology often caused interference with ADSL signals, while G.SHDSL does not interfere with ADSL. As the market moves to G.SHDSL technology, ADC KRONE has developed a solution that includes the delivery of E1 services as well as 10/100 BT services. Now carriers can offer native Local Area Network (LAN) interfaces to their business customers enabling more efficient LAN connections to the public network.

The selection process won by ADC KRONE was a competitive bid among several G.SHDSL providers.

Wherify Signals International Expansion Intent Through ModeLabs Relationship

Wherify Wireless, a leading developer of wireless location products andservices, and ModeLabs, a provider of vertical application devices and turn-key service solutions for operators and distributors, have today announced an agreement that would position the two firms as key players in the European Location-Based Services market.

Under the agreement, the two firms will partner to offer Wherify's location-based services solution and the award-winning Wherifone G550 GSM/GPS Locator Phone to wireless operators and subscribers in France. ModeLabs will have exclusive rights to distribute the Wherifone and Wherify-enabled location services in France via Blueway's - its wholly-owned subsidiary of ModeLabs -2000 points of distribution, with the potential to expand servicesinto other European countries.    "We're very pleased to work with ModeLabs and Blueway to bringWherify to the European marketplace. Europe is a natural fit forWherify's Location-Based Services," said Timothy Neher, Founder andCEO of Wherify. "Wherify's managed location-based services can addvalue to people's lives by letting them locate and stay in touch withloved ones and extended family, grandparents and children. Businesseswith delivery and dispatch requirements find they can improve theirefficiency and reduce communications costs."    "ModeLabs brings unique GSM service offerings to the market bycombining specialized mobile services with dedicated GSM handsets toprovide new services, and new value for mobile consumers. WithWherify's technology, ModeLabs will market a unique offering thatcombines GSM voice calling and accurate GPS location into a verysmall, easy to use phone that will substantially develop new addedvalue usages for several targeted market segments, such as elderly andprofessionals," said Stephane Bohbot, CEO of ModeLabs. "We think thatWherify's technology offers real value for both operators andconsumers alike - its managed services model adds that extra level ofconsumer friendliness that has been missing from the LBS market, andwill be an important component of a successful service."

NetTest, a global provider of operational support solutions for advanced and converged networks, and Psytechnics, the global leader in voice and video quality assessment software, have today announced the expansion of their partnership to include integration of Psytechnics' wireless voice quality assessment software in the MasterQuest monitoring solutions portfolio.

The partnership enables NetTest to offer improved service quality assurance solutions to wireless service providers, by offering new MasterQuest Key Quality Indicators (KQIs) based on customer voice quality experience.

"With its portfolio of ITU standards, Psytechnics is internationally recognised as the leader in voice and video quality assessment solutions. Expanding our partnership into the wireless space is a natural next step of the successful partnership we have with Psytechnics in the VoIP market," said Jørgen Weber, vice president and head of the Systems Business Unit at NetTest. "Our customers in the wireless market have a growing need for service quality monitoring solutions to help them evolve towards more customer-centric management."

"We are delighted to be working closely with NetTest to build new solutions to address the wireless market," said John Winchester, CEO of Psytechnics. "With service offering and the networks becoming increasingly complex, the ability of service providers to understand the impact on customer services is becoming more and more difficult and time consuming to manage. Our technology, built on extensive subjective testing, is able to accurately predict how a customer would rate each call and offers an effective measure of customer experience.

By integrating Psytechnics' NiQA software, a non-intrusive method for measuring the voice quality of live customer traffic in fixed-line and wireless networks, into the MasterQuest solution, NetTest is able to offer an expanded service assurance solution to wireless service providers. The MasterQuest UMTS solution enables continuous non-intrusive voice quality monitoring of all calls in the network. This not only enables monitoring of the end-user experienced voice quality in real-time, but it can also be used for rapid diagnosis of customer-affecting network problems, allowing efficient prioritisation of network maintenance.

Next-generation services will present new revenue assurance issues;operators can start addressing them strategically now

Azure Solutions, the revenue assurance company, has announcedthe launch of Azure Inter-Party Management as the first part of itsnext-generation revenue assurance portfolio roll-out. A number of Azure’scustomers have already signed up and delivery will take place over the nextfew months.

Azure Inter-Party Management will provide operators with real-time rating,billing and partner management for next-generation services. The ability tomanage voice and service providers will play an important part in operators’next-generation strategies. Partners will be able to view their data andbusiness online, and Azure Inter-Party Management will allow operators tomanage the billing process in order that they will be able to set upreal-time billing and online partner self-care to minimise their costs andmeet the emerging demands of the market.

Revenue assurance, the reduction of losses and safeguarding of profits frommalicious and unintentional revenue leakage, will become an even morecomplex issue for next-generation voice and IP-driven services. It willinvolve more extensive inter-party (including trading and margin), integrityand fraud and security management. Azure’s next-generation revenue-assuranceportfolio will provide operators with real-time financial and operationalcontrol of their business based on opportunities provided by next-generationnetworks enabling them to reduce potential leakage and maximiseprofitability.

As next-generation services evolve and value chains become more complex, theability to deal in real time with high volumes of traffic and multiplepartners independent of access (eg, fixed line, mobile, PDA or PC) will bekey. The provision of and charging for rapidly-expanding content alone willprovide significant management challenges. For example, wholesalers ormobile network operators will want to ensure that provision of content andvoice traffic cease when partners have surpassed their pre-paid threshold toreduce overall liability.

In this type of environment operators will need to be able to trade andinteract online and more effectively manage clients, suppliers and cashflow.For this to work it is important to have integrity management in place toensure all network data is correct, and fraud and security management tohelp minimise potential revenue leakage resulting from malicious activities.With this in mind Azure has reinforced its existing event-integritycapability through the acquisition of Connexn and its Certo platform.

John Cronin, president and CEO of Azure, said: “Effectively managing partnerrelationships will be one of the biggest revenue assurance challenges facingoperators from next-generation services. Azure Inter-Party Management willhelp ensure that operators are part of the content chain and be able tomanage partner relationships in order that all revenues due to them areactually collected.

“Revenue assurance for next-generation services is a fundamental part of thesuccess of our industry; if revenue is being lost then even compellingservices will fail. Azure recognises this and will be making moreannouncements over the coming months as to how it will enable all partiesensure the commercial viability of IP- and 3G-based services.”

Streamezzo, a leading software provider of Mobile Rich Media solutions, today announced the first Interactive Mobile TV offer for mobile operators, broadcasters, and content providers.

Streamezzo's new solution is different from existing TV-on-Mobile offers because it goes beyond simple video content delivery to provide true interactivity through broadcast and unicast networks as well as through messaging services.  It allows mobile users to discover, purchase and enjoy interactive content or mobile TV channels in a seamless navigation environment.

"Operators are making large bets on wireless entertainment and mobile video to ensure the commercial success of 3G," said Stéphane Roder, CEO of Streamezzo.  "But TV-on-Mobile is not a compelling enough offer for end-users. Video and TV channels must be integrated in a complete navigation environment enabling the development of the right business models.  Our Interactive Mobile TV offer provides solutions to the whole value chain: it allows content providers, mobile operators and handset manufacturers to increase ARPU, speed 3G's take up and accelerate mobile handsets' turnover.  Recent Asian or European markets studies indicate strong latent demand for Interactive Mobile TV with a potential of 12 euros ARPU short term growth".

Streamezzo's Interactive Mobile TV enables operators to easily create high value-added services.  Mobile TV is a key driver for 3G's take-off and a trigger to getting end-users to switch from 2.5G to 3G.  Streamezzo's functionality enables end-users to truly enjoy video-content services, thanks to added levels of interactivity and better ergonomics. Streamezzo can be easily integrated into operators' or broadcasters' existing infrastructure and can be seamlessly integrated into their video streaming or broadcast architectures like DVB-H and S-DMB.

"Streamezzo's solution build its strength and power of expression on the ISO/MPEG LASeR standard", said Olivier Avaro, MPEG Systems Chairman and Marketing Director of Streamezzo.  "Streamezzo's MPEG-based technology enables the creation of interactive Mobile TV programs that can synchronise and display simultaneously several flows of media such as video, animations, audio and text contents on the mobile screen while allowing the end-user to interact.  The LASeR standard is for Interactive Mobile TV what MPEG-2 was for Digital Television".

Certo Revenue Assurance provides ‘validation’ of Azure’s next-generation RAsolution and allows carriers to manage multiple projects from a singleplatform

Azure Solutions, the revenue assurance company, has today announcedthe integration of the Certo revenue assurance platform into its portfolio.Certo allows carriers to monitor and correct revenue leakage problems ontheir networks in real-time. The integration into the Azure portfolio meansthat operators can now manage a complete revenue assurance, fraud,interconnect, and route optimisation portfolio from a single vendor’stechnology platform. Certo also is being integrated with Azure’snext-generation revenue assurance portfolio which helps validate revenuestreams from next generation, 3G and IP-based networks.

“We acquired Certo in the Connexn deal in November 2004.  It provides theenterprise assurance capabilities our customers need to conduct a real-time,visual analysis of existing and next-generation networks,” said John Cronin,president and CEO of Azure. “Together with our next-generation revenueassurance suite, carriers now can monitor the integrity of both traditionaltelecomm activity and the exponential volume and complexity of transactionsgenerated through 3G networks and impending carrier-to-content providerrelationships.”

Azure's newly integrated Certo platform represents the future ofenterprise-wide revenue assurance. It offers carriers the ability to deploy,manage and grow multiple revenue assurance programs based on common,easy-to-use software architecture. Certo provides the performance,flexibility and breadth of functionality needed to restore data integrityand certainty to any operator – wireline, wireless, data and cable.

Certo uses advanced process automation to provide end-to-end visibility andcontrol of the entire revenue life cycle – faster, more cost-effectively andwith greater accuracy and fewer resources than any other solution on themarket. And because Certo can interface with existing revenue assuranceapplications and integrate results into a single monitoring and controlmechanism, operators can preserve, even increase, the value of theirexisting revenue assurance investments.

“The acquisition of Connexn and its Certo technology bodes well for carriersrolling out next-generation offerings and solidifies Azure’s position as arevenue assurance leader,” said Mark Basham, senior analyst at OSS Observer.“With this announcement, Azure addresses many of the future challengescarriers will face as they interface and conduct business with a growingnumber of partners, many of whom are not carriers, but providers of videoand data content.”

The Certo Revenue Assurance platform is now interoperable with Azure’sentire award-winning portfolio of revenue assurance products and services,including Interconnect Billing, International Settlements, Fraud Management,Mediation Management, Event Integrity, Route Optimisation and now,Inter-Party Revenue Assurance.

ITU to Host Workshop on Information and Communication Technologies in Vehicles

ITU and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are partnering with one of the world's largest automobile events — the Geneva International Motor Show — to host a workshop 2-4 March, focusing on the synergy between the information and communication technologies (ICT) and the automotive sector.

The Fully Networked Car: A Workshop on ICT in Vehicles, will be a unique meeting of key players from the automotive and ICT sectors, offering both an opportunity to exchange ideas on the future of ICT in motor vehicles. The event is free and open to the public.

ICT in cars is an area of significant interest and impact. All major car manufacturers are looking to incorporate some level of ICT functionality into their vehicles. The fully networked car is a goal of manufacturers seeking to offer improved safety and a better experience for the driver.

One topic discussed will be the introduction of systems that allow communication with nearby vehicles, for example to communicate that a car is hydroplanning and to advise nearby cars of the appropriate action. Another session will focus on a pan-European emergency call system. Experts will discuss how automatically generated ‘in-vehicle’ emergency calls (e-Calls) can speed-up emergency service response and potentially reduce the number of fatalities, severity of injuries and stress in post-crash situations.

Key to the focus of the event will be to show the value of establishing better communication between standards development organizations (SDOs), and how this type of collaboration advances the industry, and avoids counterproductive duplication of effort. A panel of global experts will frame the major issues and engage the audience in discussion on this important topic. Among speakers are high-level representatives from BMW, Bosch, Cisco, France Telecom, Magna Electronics, Motorola, Nissan, NTT DoCoMo, Swisscom and Volvo.

Several segments will specifically target decision-makers. These sessions will examine topics such as the need for consensus between the public and private sectors and business models for interlinking the car and telecom businesses. Additional technically-oriented sessions will examine topics such as telematics and diagnostics, safety, the integration of in-vehicle systems with existing telecommunications infrastructures, and communications and the mobile office.

The Fully Networked Car workshop will take place from 2 to 4 March 2005 during the Motor Show at the Congress Centre, Palexpo, Geneva. It is open to industry experts and interested public.

The Besen Group Announces Key Channel Partners for North America andEuropean Regions with Mobile Interactive Agency, IdealWave Solutions,HireStrategy, Communicreate and Acconia

From the 3GSM World Congress 2005 show, The Besen Group, LLC has announced today that it has signed five channel partnership agreementsto provide complementary services to The Besen Group's existingservice portfolio. The new channel partners are Mobile InteractiveAgency (MIA), a mobile data management firm; IdealWave Solutions andHireStrategy, two executive search firms; Communicreate, a publicrelations agency; and Acconia, a Swedish executive search andexecutive coaching agency. Other partners include technical trainingand e-services firms for the mobile data industry.    "With our channel partners, we offer a one-stop shop for themobile data industry and we stay ahead of the competition, recognizethe latest market demands, and exceed our client requirements," saidAlex Besen, the group's founder and managing consultant. "Our partnersrepresent our best ambassadors to develop the mobile data marketaround the globe and together we will meet all of our clients'requests in consulting, executive search, executive coaching,technical training, public relations, mobile data management, ande-services."    "We are extremely pleased about our partnership with The BesenGroup. Alex and his team have proven to us their remarkableunderstanding of the MVNO business and we strongly believe the channelpartner program we are a part of will enable any MVNO to reach theirgoals in a very effective way," said Christophe Garnier, CEO of MobileInteractive Agency.    "We are very excited about the long term partnership with Alex andhis team at The Besen Group. IdealWave's specialty in the wirelessmarkets and expertise with building MVNOs is a natural compliment tothe strategic competency within The Besen Group's mobile dataconsulting practice," said Matthew Corbett, Founder of IdealWave.    The Besen Group channel partners are carefully selected based ontheir mobile hands-on experience, market leadership, specialization,and global reach. Channel partners are entitled to the highest levelof partnership and commitment from The Besen Group.    The Besen Group works with mobile operators, vendors, contentproviders, content aggregators, ASPs, ISPs, MVNOs, MVNEs, VCs, andenterprises. The Besen Group offers the following services to mobiledata industry clients: 3G auction strategy & license application;business strategy & planning; business case modeling; market &customer segmentation; market research & competitive analysis;marketing & product launch; partnership & alliance development;project management; and RFP preparation.    In addition, The Besen Group released its latest White Paper and asample business case tool focusing on key questions executivemanagement address upon considering the launch of a successful MVNO.

Argent Networks Limited, a leader in customer care and billing for telecommunications carriers, has announced today the release of ArgentCRM. ArgentCRM is an end-to-end customer relationship management (CRM) based on Argent’s billing platform ArgentEclipse. ArgentCRM provides an enhanced single interface and set of integrated business processes for managing all customer service and billing inquiries across all channels, market segments, and service types.

Service providers deploying the ArgentCRM software solution can dramatically increase call center efficiency and flexibility and introduce new services at a fraction of the cost of traditional custom-developed billing applications.

With integrated knowledge base, work order management, trouble ticketing, sales, marketing and service modules, support center staff can respond to customer complaints with current, consistent information. Call dispute resolution is expedited because several months of call detail records are immediately accessible without taxing critical operational systems. Customers ordering new services are activated instantly, stated Peter Meredith – Argent’s VP Marketing and Business Development.

ArgentCRM’s integrated churn management and loyalty management provides operators with a tool to help manage churn and reward customers. The typical customer churn rate is 20 percent to 40 percent. With ArgentCRM in place, carriers can quickly identify behavior that leads to defections and immediately launch retention and win-back programs.

Based on Java/J2EE, ArgentCRM and ArgentEclipse can be delivered on any hardware or operating system environment and deployed with any of the leading Java Application servers including BEA Weblogic, IBM WebSphere, JBoss or Sun JSAS making it a very cost effective solution.

The Netsize Guide 2005, a new mobile industry report covering 103 global mobile operators being launched at the GSM World Congress on 14th February 2005, gives an in-depth analysis of the worldwide mobile market and the opportunities it presents

Netsize, the leader for mobile business and entertainment, has announced the publication and key findings of its latest report “The Netsize Guide 2005” being launched on 14 February 2005.

According to the report, an in depth analysis of 78 operators across 22 markets pointed out to stagnation and decline in overall ARPU (Average Revenue Per User). ARPU has been on of the most important benchmark to assess the financial growth of mobile operators and stagnation obviously rings alarm bells.  Overall decline may be blamed at commoditization of voice services and price wars to retain customers. However mobile data ARPU mainly driven by SMS, browsing, valued added services and business applications is experiencing exponential growth varying from 10 to 20% per year for operators worldwide. The report also highlights exponential performance by global operators such as Hutchison 3G in the UK who enjoy an ARPU of £43 (€63) which is double the UK average.

According to Mike Short, Chairman of the Mobile Data Association there were an estimated 750 Billion text messages sent worldwide in 2004 which included a figure of 26.1 Billion representing the messaging traffic in the UK alone. “The Netsize Guide 2005 is an excellent summary of the worldwide mobile market and a vindication for the global success experienced by mobile data services,”he added

According to Stanislas Chesnais, Chairman, Netsize Group. “The rise and rise of mobile data is the mantra of the day with voice revenues stagnating worldwide”. “Mobile entertainment services are now well accepted by consumers worldwide with music majors, media and TV companies launching mobile services and raking in millions over the last 3 years, however exponential growth in mobile business applications aided by high speed wireless access will deliver even higher revenue in the coming years,” he concluded.

Stanislas’s views are further supported by the report’s findings which conclude 2004 was the year of mobile entertainment; however it forecasts 2005 to be the year of mobile business applications with a rise on corporate data usage and acceptance. According to the report Initial mobile business applications started off with mobile marketing but the report explains the reasons for increase in business usage in many areas including  personal information management, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, logistics, telmatics, telemetery,  and field force engineering solutions.  The report also points out that high speed wireless access via GPRS, 3G, EDGE, UMTS, CDMA and Wlan will lead the growth in corporate usage.

The report also has a special article from World renowned author Mizuko Ito explaining the reasons for the success of mobile services in Japan and what we can learn from it on a global scale.

According the report Mobile penetration rate in some countries such as Italy, Sweden and the UK has crossed 100%. There are more phones than people and the reasons are many including dual handset ownership for work and personal use, multiple prepaid cards in use and SIM cards being used by corporate messaging applications.

The report identifies Mobile Browsing as the fastest growing data service after SMS, highlights global trends and gives examples of successful services such as Orange World, O2 Active, V live and I-mode.

According to the report, 67 Global 3G services were live in 2004 and it analyzes the initial successes and failures. According to the report MMS services didn’t take off in 2004 due to many reasons including lack of standardized handsets, business models, interoperability and not so user friendly interfaces. The report concludes that SMS services are still growing and delivering majority of data revenues.

The report analyses the over all handsets launched in 2004 by different vendors and splits market share by screen size, definition, operating systems, image and music formats. The availability of devices from multiple vendors promoted healthy competition but also proved to be a nightmare for content providers and operators due to lack of standardization.

The report also covers interesting mobile enterprise case studies from Peugeot Citroen (Spain), Base i-mode business case covering Eurocermex, Microsoft and Hostbasket (Belgium), E-plus (Germany), Clip Card, General Wireless and Makalos, etc.

The report also gives an comprehensive and up to date snapshot of the state of the Global mobile phone market covering 29 countries and 103 mobile operators with detailed analysis of mobile penetration, operator market shares, ARPU, turnover, data usage, average user prices, 3rd party services, etc.

    

@eurocomms