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Oplayo, the leading mobile video ASP backed by Nokia and Siemens, has today announced it passed the one million monthly paid video transactions via its Oplayo Managed Media Services (OMMS).

The service was launched with three operators in mid November 2004 and by mid-December, surpassed the one million paid video downloads and streams mark.

Philip Bourchier O'Ferrall, MD, Oplayo UK comments: "Oplayo has again demonstrated its competence in the mobile video market by generating the most monthly paid video transactions of any mobile video solutions provider in Europe. It's an exciting time for the mobile content market and Oplayo is able to offer mobile content providers and operators with a real opportunity to increase data revenue and profit."

O'Ferrall continues: "Oplayo expects the monthly paid transactions to far exceed the million mark now that we are able to complement the OMMS system with our Affiliate Scheme. The Affiliate Scheme empowers affiliate managers or Webmasters with a simple way to start offering mobile video - offering truly global sales promotion."

Oplayo OMMS, is a fully hosted solution that requires minimal upfront investment, is designed to minimise the commercial and technology risks associated with a new mobile service launch for operators.

The system supports 3GPP but, with such a limited market for 3GPP at present, the initial customers have opted for Oplayo's proprietary streaming products OplayerJV Java-based for the mass market and Oplayer for Symbian handsets, as well as Oplayo's popular player-less download product, Oplayo Vidlet, featuring true mass market, viral distribution and interactivity.

Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) and its subsidiary – Vietnam Power Telecom, in aiming to become one of the largest Telecommunication providers in Vietnam, has announced that it has accepted delivery from Siemens AG and Nexus Telecom AG (Switzerland) of a Carrier Grade NGN (Next Generation Network) Billing project.

The highly complex and flexible NGN billing from Nexus Telecom enables VP Telecom to provide a single end-user bill for any combination of its service offerings, for any fixed telephony, VoIP, leased line, internet access and internet exchange services, etc.,

The three parties strategic partnership allowed VP Telecom to quickly achieve its immediate business goals in ensuring delivery of a long-term flexible billing solution to meet their current and future needs.

Nexus Telecom AG, based in Zurich and Hombrechtikon, Switzerland, provides Operational Support System (OSS) and Business Support System (BSS) solutions for fixed and wireless operators, delivering billing, performance, testing, fraud detection and fault troubleshooting systems, with a long and strong Swiss tradition of delivering world class quality products.

With over 400 installations worldwide, including many of the world's leading telecom operators, Nexus Telecom is continuing its commitment in this important emerging Asian market for its product ranges.

Nexus Telecom’s Asia Pacific General Manager, Mr Kim Khim Chua stated, “This is a significant breakthrough for us in delivering on-time and on-budget, a NGN billing solution which met all of VP Telecom billing and customer care needs. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with them.”   

Intec, a global provider of Business and Operations Support Systems (BSS/OSS) for fixed, mobile and next-generation networks, has announced that it has won the prestigious "Project of the Year" award given by Russia's Billing Computer Telephony magazine. The honour was given to Intec for the successful delivery of its InterconnecT billing solution at Golden Telecom, a leading facilities-based provider of integrated telecommunications and Internet services in major population centres throughout Russia and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Billing Computer Telephony Magazine recognises the best vendors in the operations support system sector of the telecommunications industry at its annual awards run in conjunction with the Billing IT Telecom exhibition. A panel of industry experts, nominated by the magazine editors, selected the finalists in the Project of the Year category.

"It is a great privilege to be nominated for this award alongside many other leading companies," said Kevin Adams, CEO of Intec. "We attribute our company's progress and substantial achievements in Russia to the employees that have worked closely with our customer to achieve a swift and successful implementation."

The award's judges were impressed by the speed of the project's initial implementation phase, which took six months to complete and included the modelling of some of Golden Telecom's major interconnecting partners. Intec outlined a clear implementation strategy and thanks to InterconnecT's flexible GUI, Golden Telecom's staff was able to take full ownership of the system after initial training. InterconnecT easily managed the whole range of Golden Telecom's existing interconnect agreements from Tier 1 operators to start-up ISPs.  It also gave the operator the flexibility to capture unique billing scenarios so that the discounting and volume based rating features - that are an attractive component of Golden's wholesale offering - could be captured. 

In addition, InterconnecT also provided the data models in both Cyrillic and Russian, an important feature when partners are both international and Russian. InterconnecT's bulk loaders facilitated the rapid input and upload of this material in both English and Russian.

"In operating InterconnecT, Golden Telecom expects to gain significant business benefits by combining accurate charging with flexible and detailed reporting," said a representative from Golden Telecom. "The capability to drill down and define specific billing errors will also enable us to gain greater operational control resulting in reduced network expenditure and maximised interconnect revenue streams."

Hong Kong based Artificial Life, Inc. a leading provider of award winning mobile technology and applications today announced that it is now launching its expansion into the European markets.

The Company announced that it has hired Mr. Klaus Kater as its new COO Europe to handle all technical aspects of the European operations jointly with UK based director Michael Rowan, who is responsible for the European business development. Mr. Kater will manage the European product roll out and some major accounts in Europe and will be responsible to build up the technical support infrastructure for clients in Europe.

Mr. Klaus Kater used to be the CTO of Artificial Life, Inc. between 1999 and 2001. He is a recognized expert in artificial intelligence and one of the key designers and architects of Artificial Life's core Smart Engine technology. He rejoins the company after having run his own company in Germany during the last two years.

The Company also announced that is has assigned Swiss based RVB corp and Belgium based ThinkBusiness as first European resellers of its V-Girl product series and its mobile product lines.

"This is an important step for us. The interest in our V-Girl and other mobile products from the European operators is very strong. Hence our plans now to expand into Europe and to build up our customer support infrastructure in Europe after we have successfully launched our products in Asia. With the help of the teams of RVB and ThinkBusiness we are targeting especially Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, UK, Italy, Spain and France in this first phase of our European expansion," said Eberhard Schoeneburg, CEO of Artificial Life, Inc.

World’s leading mobile showcase to move from Cannes to Barcelona

Barcelona will be the new host city for the 3GSM World Congress from 2006, announced the GSM Association (GSMA) today.  The world’s largest annual mobile communications conference and exhibition will bid farewell to Cannes at the close of next year’s event (14-17 February 2005).

“With its unique ambiance, Cannes has been an outstanding host over the last decade: indeed, it has become synonymous with the Congress,” said Rob Conway, CEO and Board Member of the GSM Association.  “As our industry has grown to serve more than a billion people, the scale and scope of Congress has increased equally dramatically.”

Relocation comes in response to rising attendance and growing demand for exhibition and conferencing space when Cannes has reached full capacity.  In 2004, the 3GSM World Congress attracted more than 600 exhibitors, over 28,000 visitors, 4,600 conference delegates, and nearly 1,000 media.

Accessibility, hotel accommodation, the scale and quality of exhibition space and associated services, public transport infrastructure, overall cost of attending and the appeal to visitors of the host city were among the many criteria considered by the GSMA and its conference partner, Informa Telecoms & Media. 

The venue selected for 2006, the Fira de Barcelona, offers nearly 100% more space than Cannes and delivers the capacity required to accommodate the 40,000 visitors expected annually within the next few years. 

“The fact that the city will host a wireless communications event of the calibre of the 3GSM World Congress is very important in positioning Barcelona at the heart of the information society,” said Jordi Portabella, Second Deputy Mayor, Barcelona City Council.

As the global trade association representing mobile operators in more than 200 countries, the GSMA is uniquely placed to provide a forum where the mobile industry’s most influential players can come together to discuss the future of wireless communications.  Its annual Leadership Summit - the industry’s strategy-setting gathering of CEOs – takes place on the eve of the Congress, while its annual awards ceremony recognising the latest innovations is another highlight of Congress week. 

“Barcelona has superb conference, business and service facilities and the state-of-the-art communications and transport infrastructure expected of a dynamic, world-leading city with a rich cosmopolitan culture, heritage and lifestyle. With the fantastic support we have received from the Town Council, the Catalonian Government, Turisme de Barcelona, the city’s hotel and restaurant associations and the Fira itself, we can raise the 3GSM World Congress experience to a completely new level for all exhibitors and visitors,” said Conway.

Nexpress, one of Europe's leading suppliers of re-manufactured IT products, has launched a new IT Asset Disposal Service for businesses needing to clear surplus computer equipment. The service ensures companies maximise their return on any redundant IT assets that have commercial value.

Andy Sayers, sales manager at Nexpress explains: "With less than eight months to go before the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) legislation becomes law, Nexpress limited has launched a UK recycling programme for business customers."

"When organisations upgrade or replace their IT infrastructure they frequently store away 'old' equipment, not realising its potential value," he explains. "With our new service they can realise this value, through the resale of marketable assets. Additionally, we can also dispose of redundant equipment in a way which complies with The WEEE Directive, which applies from 13 August 2005."

"The Nexpress service will be a life-line for corporate IT users who are seeking to clear out equipment. For some companies it might take just one telephone conversation with us to provide a quotation to resolve their problem," adds Mr Sayers.

"With our long and detailed knowledge of the remanufactured computer market we are able to quickly identify which redundant items may have potential value and which items should be disposed of, to include the expected cost of disposal. If companies don't have a detailed list of their assets then we can either perform an on-site audit or remove all equipment to our technical centre for assessment."

"From our experience we know that the faster an organisation deals with its redundant equipment the greater is its resale value," says Mr Sayers. "In addition to end users our new service would also suit manufacturers or recyclers searching for an end-to-end solution for technology disposal."

Neural Technologies Limited (Nt3) and Cerebrus Solutions Limited (CSL) have announced that they have joined together, creating a market leader in the provision of neural network-based credit, risk and fraud management solutions to the telecommunication and financial sectors.

The new company, which will be called Neural Technologies Limited, will immediately be providing a broad range of solutions that includes the ability to identify potential fraudsters when they initially apply for service on the operator’s network, through to when they are actually committing fraud as a subscriber. The company has more than 30 patents approved or pending and plans to aggressively enforce specific patents that relate to finding fraud in telecom networks with the use of neural network technology. 

The new company will have over 40 customers, located in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, New Zealand/Australia, Asia Pacific and South America. They are some of the largest telecom operators in the world and many others that are primary operators in their respective geographical region. 

The new company will continue supporting the existing traditional fraud management systems known as Minotaur and CerebrusRE, from each company.  Existing customers will see no change in their technical support processes, or in the way that they request additional enhancements to each of the products. 

Customers will also benefit from a combined Board of Directors and a senior management team which will include technical and commercial managers from each company.

UnitedGlobalCom has announced that, through one of its affiliates, it has reached an agreement with EMP Europe, a leading private equity firm dedicated to Central and Eastern Europe, and several other Slovenian shareholders to acquire their interests in Telemach d.o.o. Telemach is the largest broadband communications provider in Slovenia with over 100,000 cable TV subscribers and 10,000 broadband Internet customers.

Since its foundation in 1999, Telemach has realized significant financial and operational growth. Revenue has grown over 25% per annum over the last three years and more than 85% of its network has been upgraded to 862 MHz. In addition, approximately two-thirds of Telemach's network supports broadband Internet and digital television services.

UGC will acquire a 100% interest in Telemach based on a total enterprise value of euro 74 million, which represents a multiple of approximately 8.2 times expected 2004 fourth quarter annualized normalized EBITDA. UGC will pay cash of approximately euro 71 million for its 100% interest.

The transaction is subject to review by the Slovenian competition authorities and expected to close in the first quarter of 2005.

Mike Fries, President and Chief Executive Officer of UGC, said, "This acquisition represents a unique opportunity to take a leadership position in a new Central and Eastern European market for UGC. Slovenia, which recently joined the EU, has the highest GDP per capita in the region and is adjacent to Austria and Hungary where we currently have large operations. Telemach has upgraded most of its network and, as the largest operator in the country, has achieved good scale and profitability."

Thierry Baudon, Chief Executive Officer of EMP Europe, said "Since EMP became the majority shareholder of Telemach in 2000, Telemach developed from a small cable operator with less than 20,000 subscribers, into Slovenia's undisputed market leader with more than 100,000 video subscribers and operating margins in excess of 45%. Over the last five years, Telemach upgraded its network, introduced new services such as high-speed Internet access and digital video services, thereby changing the public's perception of cable services from a utility-type operator to an innovative company providing a wide range of value-added products and services. We are delighted to have successfully developed the company and wish Telemach and its new owners well for the future."

The Dutch network operator KPN has chosen Siemens as the strategic IP partner for its fixed network and mobile activities in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The agreement entails Siemens Communications setting up a completely new IP environment for the whole of KPN, and will run for five years.

With this agreement, KPN and Siemens are laying the foundation for a new generation of communication services. These run on the basis of the Internet Protocol (IP), thus allowing the once separate worlds of ‘telephone’, ‘internet’ and ‘data traffic’ to converge. The new services include Voice over IP (VoIP), video conferencing and instant messaging, which in time should run both over the fixed and the mobile network. Siemens will supply network elements and application platforms (IMS, IP Multimedia Subsystem) mostly based on its IP convergence architecture Surpass.

"In the years ahead KPN and its customers will be entering an IP world in which communication is set to change fundamentally", said KPN managing board member Eelco Blok. "Siemens’ strength in fixed and mobile networks was obviously extremely important to us. After all, the added value for our customers rests primarily in what is known as converged service provision, allowing them to use the same services via their mobile phone, fixed line or PC."

"Through the use of IP convergence solution Surpass, KPN will in future be able to offer innovative and cost-effective services across different networks", according to Anton Schaaf, Member of the Group Board of Siemens Communications. "This will further improve the competitive situation of our key customer. For us, this order confirms that we are on the right path in developing IP solutions for fixed and mobile networks."

KPN is already a major supplier of IP-based services to businesses in the Netherlands and abroad, such as private telephone exchanges (IP-PBX) and closed data networks between business premises at different locations (IP-VPN). As of next year, the new IP solution from Siemens will enable KPN to introduce a new generation of services for both business and private customers.

sunrise is launching Europe’s most unique prepaid offering with an innovative bonus and incentive program. With sunrise prontomax, young people can collect bonus points when they receive and make calls or send an SMS. Clever users can collect points and trade them in – to send an SMS for an average of Euro 0.08, for example. The program was developed by ORGA Systems, which has also installed the real-time billing system for sunrise’s prepaid customers.           With the loyalty program from ORGA Systems, sunrise is able to offer its customers an innovative extra service. A particularly attractive feature of sunrise prontomax is the possibility of collecting double points: when the credit balance on the sunrise pronto card (SIM card) is reloaded and when it is used for telephone calls or other services. Waiting for these bonus points is ‘prontomax’ a voracious, but highly likeable hamster that is at home in the Internet and feeds on the points that are collected.

With the bonus program from ORGA Systems, customers of sunrise prontomax now obtain credit balances that are available immediately and can be acquired by anyone who registers for the first time and uses incoming and outgoing voice and data services, such as MMS or GPRS. In addition, prontomax awards each customer a personal birthday bonus.

Customers can redeem their bonus points via mobile phone or in the Internet in exchange for free SMS, MMS, call minutes or credit balances. The incentive program communicates with the prepaid billing platform from ORGA Systems (OPSC Billing System) that is installed at sunrise; it ensures that the right services can be provided free of charge. The bonus points are redeemed in real-time to make sure that sunrise customers can be served as quickly as possible and that their regular sunrise pronto credit balance is not debited. “With sunrise prontomax, we can offer our customers even more attractive value and extra services. The prepaid incentive and billing program from ORGA Systems provides an excellent and flexible platform for this,” says Christoph Ryser, project manager at sunrise.

Advanced Digital Communication Solutions for AIRBUS SAS Help toIncrease Efficiency of Business Processes and Enable forInformation at Employees' Fingertips Anywhere and Anyplace

MCI has announced that it has been selected to deliver Internetservices for Airbus. MCI will expand the existing relationship to Airbus SAS by providing a set of advanced Internet-based digital communication services in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, China and the United States.   The MCI solution increases the efficiency of Airbus'scommunications infrastructure by introducing a broad range of newall-digital Internet access services for the company's nomad employeesacross the globe, including traditional PSTN/ISDN technologies butalso mobile technologies such as GSM and GPRS, hot-spot services suchas WiFi, as well as broadband, including DSL and LAN-to-LANconnectivity. Those technologies enable Airbus to provide itsemployees access to business resources from anywhere in the worldmaking real time information access a reality. Initially, more than5,000 nomad users of Airbus France will get immediate and directaccess to the Airbus corporate network with security supported bytunneling technology and strong authentication. The service will thenbe extended to additional 3,000 employees of Airbus in othercountries.   "Our aim was to increase the competitiveness of our company," saysPierre Nelkin, head of IS Services & Subcontracting GeneralProcurement for Airbus. "This meant that we had to be able to provideall our staff with easy and quick access to information resources,wherever they are in the world. Our company has a global presence andwe will rely on the expanding MCI IP network to securely route all theinformation required for the applications and processes that makeAirbus a leader on its market."   Under the terms of the agreement, the offer may also be extendedto additional EADS subsidiaries to enable them to use the global MCIsolution.   "MCI has a long and successful relationship with Airbus providingthe company advanced communication services. The new contract willenable us to offer Airbus an integrated set of solutions combining theexisting voice services with new and innovative Internet capabilitiesdriving efficiency and productivity for Airbus," says Jean-FrancoisRallet, Vice President Sales and Service Southern Region for MCI inEurope, the Middle East and Africa. "Our coverage providingconnectivity in more than 150 countries gives us a real advantage forinternational companies like Airbus."   As the premier provider of converged data, IP and voice solutions,MCI empowers enterprises to enhance business relationships andcollaboration with customers, suppliers, employees, constituents andpartners. With its broad range of innovative services, MCI is enablingcompanies to better compete in today's global marketplace.

Leading European Alternative Telecom Carrier DeployingBest-in-Class Solution for Business and Residential Customers

edocs, a provider of customer self-service and e-billing software solutions, today announced that Tele2 an alternative telecom carrier based in Stockholm, Sweden, has selected edocs' Application Suite for Telecommunications to enable e-billing, analytics and online account management for its business and consumer customers across Europe.    "Tele2 understands the value of a comprehensive customerself-service offering and the significant benefits it offers itscustomers and its business," said Jeff Barnett, Managing Director ofInternational Operations for edocs. "With our solution, Tele2 willdeliver outstanding customer service while gaining dramatic operatingefficiencies and ROI."    edocs' Customer Self-Service Suite for Telecommunications is acomplete set of off-the-shelf applications designed especially fortelecommunication service providers. The software gives customersvaluable and convenient online access to their communications billsand account data and includes a highly flexible engine for onlinepayments. The system also provides Tele2 with comprehensivecapabilities for analytics and reporting and service and ordermanagement. The company expects the solution to improve customerservice levels and reduce operating expenses by deflecting most common inquiries from its contact center to its web site and reducing billing-related paper and postage charges.