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OpenCloud, a supplier of real-time application server software for next-generation convergent telecommunications services, has today announced that it has received an investment of £4 million from Nokia Siemens Networks, plus an additional £1m from its existing investors Advent Venture Partners and No 8 Ventures.

In addition to the investment by NSN, OpenCloud has secured an OEM agreement that will see OpenCloud's Rhino Telecom Application Server and Service Interaction Server becoming integrated into NSN's charge@once unified product suite - a modular, highly scalable and flexible convergent charging solution.

For the last two years, OpenCloud and NSN have worked in partnership securing 13 joint customers in that time.

The investment will be used by OpenCloud to further its expansion across globally.  It will also allow OpenCloud to extend its partner and application portfolios, as well as assist in the development of future products. The announcement is said to come at a time when the market demand for OpenCloud's Telecoms Application Server and Service Broker products is increasing.

In the last year, OpenCloud says its growth has exceeded projections.  Revenues have tripled year-on-year and the company has acquired 13 customer wins in the last year.  OpenCloud's client roster includes BT, Vodafone, and T Mobile amongst its customer base of over 30 mobile and fixed network telecom operators.

"We are continuing with our quest to open up the telecoms service layer, to provide compelling technology to the expanding community of telecoms software developers and deliver better value and increased innovation" says Jeff Gordon, CEO of OpenCloud.  "Naturally, we are clearly delighted to be making this announcement - in particular receiving an investment from NSN is a strong endorsement of OpenCloud's products and strategy, and it will help to support our continuing rapid growth. This move elevates our relationship with NSN to that of a truly strategic partner and will enable us to address the considerable Service Layer and Converged Charging opportunities in the market."

"This investment will allow NSN to address the considerable Converged Charging and Service Delivery Platform opportunities in the market", says Rick Centeno, head of Charging, Billing and Care, Nokia Siemens Networks. "We will be able to better provide our customers with an integrated offering to fit their end-to-end needs around service development, delivery, control and charging".

The number of mobile broadband subscribers is projected to surpass 1.5 billion by 2015, and mobile data modem vendors are already on 4G starting line, according to a new report from ABI Research.

"While the majority of subscribers connect to the mobile Internet via their smartphones, a number do so via their modem-enabled iPads, netbooks and laptops," says ABI Research principal analyst Jeff Orr. "Mobile operators are starting to see burgeoning revenue growth in mobile broadband services. The cellular modems used to connect Internet services to mobile devices are, therefore, gaining in popularity."

The latest products show improved speed and form-factors. Huawei's E583C, which also doubles as a portable hotspot, is one example. It can provide 7.2 Mbps downstream and 5.76 Mbps upstream. It weighs just 90 grams and up to five devices can be connected via Wi-Fi. Products supporting HSPA+ networks can provide download speeds up to 21.1 Mbps.

"At present, most modems on the market support GSM, GPRS, EDGE or HSDPA network technologies, according to ABI Research's cellular modem Market Data," says research associate Khin Sandi Lynn. "There is also a growing selection of wireless modems supporting 4G technologies."

Among the new wireless modems launched this year, Sierra Wireless's Aircard 250U and Franklin Wireless's U600 are USB modems that support 4G data access using mobile WiMAX. Green Packet, Intel and Motorola also provide WiMAX modems for PCs. While the competing LTE air interface protocol has yet to go commercial on any scale, vendors are already jockeying for position. Huawei has launched its E398 USB modem, which is compatible with LTE, UMTS and GSM protocols.

Huawei has announced that Mobyland, Poland's leading 2G mobile provider has, with the cooperation of CenterNet, successfully launched the world's first commercial 1800MHz LTE/EPC network using Huawei's end to end (E2E) LTE/EPC (Long Term Evolution/Evolved Packet Core) solution. Mobyland, in collaboration with CenterNet, is now able to provide a mobile broadband service to mobile broadband operators and their end users with peak downlink speeds of more than 146 Mb/s per user.

According to the contract, Huawei will deploy a mobile broadband network across Poland for Mobyland with its SingleRAN@Broad solution. The deployment includes the world's first commercial LTE/EPC network based on 1800MHz spectrum with 20MHz bandwidth on one radio unit.

"Mobyland is committed to providing a high-quality mobile broadband service for our customers in Poland, and we are excited to partner with Huawei to introduce Poland's first commercial LTE/EPC network," said Adam Kurianski, president of CenterNet and a board member of Mobyland. "Huawei is one of the few providers in the world that is capable of delivering such an end-to-end commercial LTE/EPC solution."

The first phase of the commercial LTE network was deployed by software upgrading Mobyland's existing 2G network, based on Huawei equipment, covering Poland's major cities such as Warsaw, Katowice, and Lodz. The high-quality and rapid network deployment is said to demonstrate that Huawei's mobile network solution ensures smooth evolution in the future as well as reduced TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).

Refarming Mobyland and CenterNet's extant 2G bands, such as 1800MHz, will allow for greater performance across bands. This, in turn, will enable the LTE network to improve spectrum efficiency, enhance coverage quality, reduce the quantity of sites, and decrease carbon emissions. It also results in a reduced TCO for mobile broadband operators, says Huawei.

"In addition to spurring the development of the LTE industry and ancillary technologies, Huawei closely cooperates with leading operators worldwide to explore new business models and to enlarge potential business opportunities," said Ying Weimin, president of LTE Product Line, Huawei. "Using a combination of existing, and new, wireless bands, Huawei is able to provide customised and competitive mobile broadband solutions to our customers. This approach results in a win-win solution for operators, end users and the LTE industry."

BT today announced a new free mobile application that will automatically connect customers to its network of 1.6 million Wi-Fi hotspots.  To celebrate the launch, BT says it is giving 50p to BBC Children in Need for each free BT FON application downloaded, until they reach a target of £10,000.

Users with an iPhone or Android device can download the free application today from the iTunes App Store and the Android Market. The application gives BT Total Broadband customers mobile access to free and unlimited Wi-Fi and includes a mapping service which is updated weekly so that customers can find their nearest hotspot.

Once BT customers have downloaded the app, they input their btinternet email username and password, and choose to be automatically logged in whenever they are in a BT Wi-Fi area. Because access is unlimited and free for BT Total Broadband customers there's no chance of them racking up extra costs on their mobile phone bill, says BT.
 
BT's Wi-Fi network is the biggest in the UK - made up of BT Openzone and BT FON hotspots - and all BT Total Broadband customers have free and unlimited access.  BT Openzone is a Wi-Fi service that can be accessed in places such as airports, hotels, coffee shops, motorway service stations and city centres.

John Petter, managing director, for BT Retail Consumer, said: "Millions of BT Total Broadband customers already get free access to the UK's biggest Wi-Fi network. This free app makes accessing Wi-Fi so simple you don't even have to think about it. This represents real value to our customers at a time when more and more people are using their mobile phone to access the internet. By downloading it now customers can also help BBC Children in Need." 

Reliance Globalcom, a global provider of managed network and communication services for multinational enterprises, and carriers, today announced a 5-year, multi-million euro, renewal of a global contract with Euromaster, an integrated tyre service and car maintenance service provider in Europe.  Under the agreement, Reliance Globalcom will provide a centrally managed, wide-area network (WAN) solution with fully integrated IP telephony, Local Area Network (LAN) and security services across more than 1600 sites in 14 European countries.

Reliance Globalcom was initially chosen for the implementation (in 2005), because of the unique Hybrid VNO network sourcing and design benefits that simplified and centralised the management of multiple carriers across Europe.  Reliance Globalcom's Hybrid VNO provided the flexibility to rapidly integrate new, best-cost technologies and services, country by country, to exactly match the evolving requirements of Euromaster's global business.  

The new contract extends the service provision to over 1600 sites across Europe, allowing a business critical Citrix-based platform to be consistently accessed by all locations, supporting new Intranet and supplier focused Extranet features. Reliance Globalcom continues to manage Euromaster's IP telephony and Local Area Network (LAN) connectivity in France, removing barriers to growth via the scalable expansion of these services to other countries when required by the business.  In addition, the integration of the most appropriate network security (firewalls management and Internet access), remote access authentication (connectivity and security encryption) and fixed telephony service providers in each country - significantly lowered the total cost of network ownership.

"Reliance Globalcom offers us more than a traditional managed network capability.  This extension represents a true centralisation of all network related governance while seamlessly integrating numerous providers of all infrastructure and services we require," explains Pierre Jouclard, CIO Europe for Euromaster. "We can replicate in each country the IT policy decided at the headquarters while supporting specific local business requirements where required. Reliance Globalcom integrates everything into a single solution, with a single point of contact while providing the flexibility for us to expand our network to serve whatever requirements the business identifies and support continued growth".  

Network implementation times for critical, customer service sites were also minimised through Reliance Globalcom's Rapid Deployment Services, which provide 3G wireless access for sites where waiting for fixed line connectivity would have delayed business operation. These wireless solutions could then be easily transferred to new sites as the roll-out progressed.  

Reliance Globalcom fully consolidates all telecoms expenditures across multiple operators as well as the tracking usage and faults.  A bespoke reporting portal enables Euromaster in France to more accurately track the volumes and response times of all incoming call-centre calls - identifying business efficiency improvements and maintaining customer service levels.  In addition, reinforced Service Level Agreements guarantee network availability and security, regardless of the underlying provider.

"As the diversity and number of site locations increase, large Enterprises face major challenges when optimising the cost and performance of their international networks.  The Hybrid VNO approach overcomes these issues by providing the technical expertise and the capacity to source and manage multiple local operators, offering the best coverage and price," explains Eric Havette, Managing Director, Southern Europe for Reliance Globalcom. "We are very pleased that companies such as Euromaster have been able to remove these barriers to their business growth through our established model."

The GSMA today announced several new developments for the 2011 GSMA Mobile World Congress, which will be held 14-17 February, 2011 in Barcelona.

Building on the success of the inaugural App Planet event held in 2010, the GSMA is expanding the developer-focused programme at the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2011 to include new elements such as Macworld Mobile and the Brand App Challenge. The GSMA also announced RIM and Palm as the first Application Developer Conference (ADC) partners for App Planet.  Finally, the GSMA announced that the CEOs of América Móvil, HTC, Vodafone and WPP have joined the list of industry leaders delivering keynote presentations at Mobile World Congress.

"App Planet proved to be a stunning success in its debut this year at Mobile World Congress, demonstrating the tremendous demand for in-depth content, networking and business development opportunities and information on the cutting-edge technologies and solutions in the mobile application space," said Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer, GSMA.  "The developments we are announcing today, particularly the launch of Macworld Mobile which will target the critical Apple developer community, will serve to make App Planet and Mobile World Congress the epicentre for the app world."

At Mobile World Congress 2011, the GSMA is partnering with IDG World Expo, organisers of Macworld, the world's premiere event focused exclusively on the Apple products platform, to produce Macworld Mobile, a mobile developer event for the Apple iPhone and iPad platforms.  The Macworld Mobile iOS Developer Conference will provide full-day, in-depth training on this critical platform, with technical sessions, targeting tools and applications specifically designed for mobile application developers and engineers.

"We're excited to bring Macworld Mobile to Mobile World Congress," said Mary Dolaher, chief executive officer of IDG World Expo, a leading producer of tradeshows and events.  "Macworld is known around the world for helping to drive and stimulate the Apple products community with educational programmes and business development activities. At Mobile World Congress, we will help international iOS developers to strengthen their skills, as well as facilitate connections with other developers and the worldwide audience of mobile decision makers who attend."

In addition to the key components of last year's event, including ADCs held by major mobile platform providers, an interactive exhibition and the App Lounge to facilitate networking and business development activities, App Planet will also feature new elements including the Brand App Challenge. The GSMA expects more than 10,000 developers to visit App Planet during the four days of Mobile World Congress.

Brand App Challenge
The GSMA is creating a competition focused on mobile application developers creating "brand apps" for a select number of global consumer brands. Developers will compete by creating customised mobile apps for the participating brand sponsors based on the objectives and guidance provided by the individual brands. The primary goals of the Brand App Challenge are to create networking and business opportunities which benefit the brands, application developers and the broader mobile ecosystem, as well as to tap the creativity and capabilities of the mobile application developer community to address brand and industry challenges.

The competition will begin in October with the finalists being named approximately one month before Mobile World Congress 2011. The Brand App Challenge winners will be announced as part of the Mobile World Congress conference programme and will receive cash awards for their winning efforts.

App Planet ADC Partners
The GSMA announced that Research in Motion (RIM) has again signed on as a key partner for App Planet, and will be focusing company's entire Mobile World Congress presence in App Planet, located in Hall 7 at the Fira de Barcelona.  In addition to a 1,200 square metre exhibition, RIM will be hosting an ADC for 500 BlackBerry developers on Tuesday, 15th February, 2011.

Palm will also be an App Planet ADC partner and will be holding a full-day ADC on Wednesday, 16th February, 2011.

New Keynote Speakers for Mobile World Congress 2011 The GSMA continues to expand the stellar line up of keynote speakers at Mobile World Congress and today announced that CEOs from leading companies including América Móvil, HTC, WPP, and Vodafone will be taking the stage in Barcelona. New Mobile World Congress keynote speakers include:

  • Daniel Hajj, CEO, América Móvil and Telcel

  • Peter Chou, CEO, HTC

  • Vittorio Colao, Chief Executive, Vodafone

  • Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive, WPP

Previously announced speakers include:

  • Randall Stephenson, Chairman, CEO and President, AT&T

  • Li Yue, President and CEO, China Mobile

  • Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO, Google

  • Paul Jacobs, Chairman and CEO, Qualcomm

  • Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square

  • Evan Williams, CEO, Twitter

GSMA Ministerial Programme
The GSMA also announced that Saudi Telecom is the Platinum Sponsor and that Qualcomm is the Gold Sponsor for the GSMA Ministerial Programme at Mobile World Congress.  Now in its sixth year, the GSMA's Ministerial Programme is a unique invitation-only event gathering ministers, regulators from over 90 countries  and CEOs from across the mobile industry for a series of in-depth strategic, policy and regulatory discussions, and bilateral meetings, over three days during Mobile World Congress.

Subex, a global provider of Operations and Business Support Systems, announced today that it has successfully helped Telekom Slovenije implement a solution to protect its customers from 'Bill Shock.'

The risk of Bill Shock has increased because individuals and businesses are using a growing range of telecoms services. In Slovenia, the government has directed all operators to alert their customers of potentially high telecoms bills in a timely way.

Subex's ROC Fraud Management was implemented at Telekom Slovenije in late 2009. This solution is said to have helped the service provider to assess usage patterns among subscribers quickly and, in turn, provide it with the intelligence and analysis to select the subscribers that need to be warned.

The CEMM (Credit Exposure Management Module) of Subex's ROC Fraud Management along with SAP's Credit Risk solution has helped Telekom Slovenije create a dynamic credit risk limit for subscribers based on average usage for three months. Through detailed reporting and analysis the solution provides a clear view of any significant increase in the subscriber's bill almost immediately, and thereby provides Telekom Slovenije enough time to warn their customer.

Mr. Tomaz Kraskovic, Director Finance Department at Telekom Slovenije said: "We take customer service very seriously and we want to avoid our customers receiving unexpectedly high bills. The Subex solution is flexible and allows us to quickly alert customers if we think they may be overspending on their phone bill."

Paul Skillen, President - Europe, Middle-East and Africa, Subex added: "With an increasing range of services available to customers in Europe, bill shock reduction is an extremely sensitive and volatile issue for Communication Service Providers (CSPs). Service providers such as Telekom Slovenije understand the importance of positive customer experience and our solutions help them provide pro-active customer experience seamlessly and efficiently."

Orga Systems,  a specialist in real-time charging and billing, announced today that the benchmarked results of its convergent policy management solution NGCP provide 'outstanding performance' and provide MNOs with the ability to successfully profit from increasing usage of data services.

According to Orga, performance benchmarks of NGCP prove that the system processes up to 12.000 diameter messages per second running on an entry level UNIX server (T5220) with one CPU. Showing an average latency of 8msec, benefiting from its multithreading parallel processing, NGCP supports most efficient hardware utilization resulting in a processor load of less than 60%. The CPU load scales almost linear with throughput and gives operators a reliable reserve for peak load periods, says Orga. With its highly efficient design, NGCP is said to cope easily with rising demands in policy control and advanced charging scenarios. Its modular architecture is compliant to the latest 3GPP specifications and gives MNOs a future-proof platform for market growth, says Orga.

Orga Systems unifies policy management, active mediation and charging control on one single platform, helping operators to manage complex subscriber profiles and charging rules for all services across all networks for pre and postpaid subscribers. Real-time charging and policy management allow for the control of bandwidth-hungry applications, while at the same time generating additional revenues with new individualized service offerings, says Orga.

A new report by Juniper Research has found that 3D functionality and other technology developments, such as the introduction of dual core processors, will drive the high-end smartphone market over the next five years.

Features associated with today's smartphones, meanwhile, such as app store connectivity and touchscreens, will be present in over 80% of handsets shipped in the US by 2015. Western Europe and Far East & China are also demonstrating significant take-up says Juniper.

"The handset market will become increasingly polarised," says Anthony Cox, Senior Analyst at Juniper. "Handsets with smartphone functionality will account for the lion's share of shipments in developed markets, while less developed economies will see a ready market for low cost handsets."

However, several less developed markets, such as parts of Latin America and Africa, will all but miss out on the smartphone revolution.  Meanwhile the global mid-tier market, characterised by feature phones and standard handsets, will continue to contract, it says.

Further findings from the Next Generation Smartphones report include:

·         The take up of video calling using the mobile device will be limited even with the launch of Facetime by Apple

·         Competition will drive smartphone pricing down, though this may be mitigated against by the launch of handsets with new functionality

·         The combination of the smartphone and the app store will result in substantial increases in data usage over the smartphone device

The report finds that Apple's operating system has revolutionised the market, leaving several well-known players in its wake. The challenge for the likes of Nokia, Research in Motion and Microsoft  is not only to bring new operating systems to the table as quickly as possible, but also to make sure that developers create apps for them when there are two successful stores out there already, says Juniper.

AT4 wireless has announced the commercial availability of the LTE Rel-8 MIMO 4x2 option in its E2010 Broadband Wireless Test Set. The introduction of this option in the E2010, together with the already existing VSA capabilities, embedded channel emulation and AWGN and the multi-cell, multi-RAT capabilities, makes it a unique solution in the wireless test equipment industry.

According to 3GPP specifications, MIMO 4x2 feature is mandatory to be supported by LTE Rel-8 compliant UEs. Early availability of this feature in AT4 wireless S3110B LTE Mobile Test Application enables LTE UEs manufacturers to validate their designs for compliance to this demanding feature. Additionally, the MIMO 4x2 feature also translates into immediate availability all 3GPP TS 36.521-1 chapter 8 MIMO 4x2 test cases, that will be required as part of the GCF and PTCRB certification schemes. This allows AT4 wireless customers to start pre-certification of their designs as of today, providing enough time to debug potential issues and avoiding roadblocks during actual device certification.

"This new feature, together with the early availability of December'09 compliant LTE protocol stack in our system simulator, allows AT4 wireless to provide its customers with the most advanced testing tools when it comes to LTE UE verification and certification", said Juan P Hidalgo, LTE Product Manager at AT4 wireless. "This annoucement also reinforces AT4 wireless commitment to provide the most compact test solution in the LTE testing arena, leveraging AT4 wireless customers' investments."

FancyFon, a specialist in mobile device management solutions for smartphones, today announced that Vodafone Hungary has selected FancyFon's technology, FAMOC, to provide mobile device lifecycle management, both as a hosted and behind-the-firewall solution, for its business customers.

Vodafone Hungary required a centrally managed and secure mobile device management solution to support the evolving demands of its business customers. Vodafone Hungary issued an international tender for such a solution, and FAMOC was selected over and above competing US and European-based independent software vendors.

As a result, Vodafone Hungary now offers mobile device management to its business customers; from SMBs to large enterprises and government organizations. In addition, FAMOC will enable Vodafone Hungary to differentiate itself from its regional competitors, by offering its business customers with device management functionality and capabilities, under aggressively competitive commercial terms.

Dr. Gabor Piller, Director of Vodafone Hungary's Enterprise Business Unit, commented; "As an early adopter of ground-breaking technology, Vodafone Hungary wanted to be the first to offer its customers mobile device management functionality, and after researching the various solutions on the market, we decided that FancyFon was by far the best."

Dietmar Fuchs, COO at FancyFon added; "As increasing numbers of businesses demand advanced levels of support for their fleet of smartphones, service providers must respond to the market by offering a centralized mobile device management solution. FancyFon is perfectly placed to provide carriers with a market-leading platform that enables them to cater to this demand, and allows service providers to offer device management to their customer base at an attractive price point."

FAMOC is said to have delivered a mobile device lifecycle management solution to Vodafone Hungary, enabling the carrier to offer each of its business customers a centrally managed platform from which to control its entire fleet of corporate smartphones, based on disparate mobile platforms, in real time, over the air. 

Two operator studies highlight that people are paying too much for their broadband, and that Facebook and Wikipedia are the most popular Web 2.0 platforms

 

Studies carried out on behalf of two operators this week reveal some interesting insights into how users in Europe both use and buy broadband, indicating that we are still being seduced by pure speed instead of what we actually need.

A benchmark study, "Information usage patterns, Web 2.0 and the Impact on Society", carried out by GfK in Austria, Slovenia and Croatia on behalf of Telekom Austria, indicates that Wikipedia and Facebook are among the most used Web 2.0 platforms, with Facebook proving very popular with younger people. The worrying aspect is that younger users tend to be very careless about their own privacy, according to the study.

Meanwhile in the UK, a study carried out by Populus on behalf of O2, using a ThinkBroadband.com speedchecker to check the speed and packages of over 2,000 consumers, found that broadband users in the UK are wasting over £700 million a year by buying broadband services based on speeds instead of needs.
 
The study said that the average UK consumer pays for up to 20 Mbps per month but the vast majority only needs 8 Mbps for the services they use. The study concludes that UK broadband users could be wasting over £700 million every year (£58 million per month or £2.1 million per day) on speeds they do not need.
 
Consumers were also questioned about their daily Internet usage and showed a clear level of confusion about what speeds they pay for, what they receive and what they actually require for daily usage, the report added.

In its study, Telekom Austria noted that Europe's younger generation is very much an "online generation": in the benchmark countries of Austria, Slovenia and Croatia, one third of the interviewed Internet users attach great importance to broadband access lines.

Without Internet access, 50% of Austrian users "feel cut off from the outside world" and consider their communications possibilities as restricted. 65%f users in Slovenia and 80% in Croatia feel disconnected without Internet, the report said. Web 2.0 applications are considered a very credible and dependable information source: This is also reflected in the credibility users attribute to these platforms, which amount to more than 50% of the surveyed users.
 
The younger generation also accounts for 85% of Facebook users in Austria, 90% in Slovenia and 100% in Croatia.
 
A more worrying aspect is that survey also showed that users of social media platforms like Facebook are often very careless about their privacy and tend to grant access to very confidential data as they consider these sites safe and secure.

 The survey also revealed that the Internet and the mobile phone are closely interwoven and rank among the most important communications channels. Roughly 30% of the Austrian and Slovenian users access social media via their mobile phone and while in Croatia it is 40%. While the Austrians prefer a direct conversation when talking business, both the Croatian and the Slovenian tend to use emails and mobile phones for business relations.
 
The O2 study also looked at usage, and found that the top three most frequent uses of broadband largely require low bandwidth. For example, 77% people responded that they use broadband for emailing; 74% for general webpage browsing; 51% for paying bills and banking; and 35% for social networking.
 
Services that require high bandwidth and more expensive packages are used much less frequently: only 18% of people use broadband for streaming multi-media content (e.g. watching BBC iPlayer, listening to online radio); 5% download music; 3% download films. 

    

@eurocomms