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This year will be decisive in the development of WiMAX, which experienced major setbacks in 2007, according to a report from Analysys, the global advisor in Telecom, IT and media, at Mobile World Congress.

WiMAX is a wireless broadband technology based on the IEEE 802.16 family of standards. It was originally designed as a last-mile fixed wireless broadband access technology, but has also became a mobile broadband specification. Theoretically, WiMAX offers longer ranges, increased throughput, QoS and interoperability at relatively low cost.

"WiMAX suffered a major setback when the partnership between US operator Sprint Nextel, one of the technology's strongest advocates, and Clearwire fell apart in November," says Andrew Parkin-White, Principal Analyst at Analysys, and co-author of Mobile Market Perspectives 2008 (A summary of recent research into the evolving mobile market).

"Several WiMAX networks were launched in developing markets in 2007, but most were small in scale and, given the low disposable income in these countries, operators will need to revise their business models if the cost of mobile WiMAX CPE continues to be high." 

Research also suggests other technologies may meet the needs of the MNO (Mobile Network Operator) and its customers better than WiMAX.

"LTE looks to be more suitable for developed mobile markets, but success depends on its ability to achieve its targets for network performance at an appropriate price and within the right timescale," says Parkin-White.

An alternative approach may well threaten conventional thinking on 3G network enhancements: the availability of low-cost fixed broadband, the advent of femtocells (indoor base stations) and the adoption of dedicated broadcasting networks could call into question the need for the envisaged network enhancement strategy.

"Our research, combined with demand and capacity modelling, has shown that an approach that combines these alternatives with HSPA+ may meet the capacity needs of a wide range of operators. If MNOs start to develop a fundamentally different view on their strategy for technology evolution, vendors will have to totally rethink their approach to the market in 2008. Either way, the future for WiMAX does not look healthy,"
explains Parkin-White.

i-mate, the specialist in Windows Mobile powered devices, has unveiled the latest devices in its Ultimate range, the Ultimate 9502 and the Ultimate 8502 at Mobile World Congress.

The Ultimate 9502 and 8502 are the latest devices from the Ultimate range, a collection of four devices in various forms to suit individual preferences, from classic PDA to a notebook replacement and were designed to provide the latest and best in phone and PDA technology. With a wide variety of features ranging from to HSDPA and HUSDPA connectivity to the 262k colour TFT screen , every component of the device is specified at a very high level. 

The Ultimate 9502 represents the flagship of the Ultimate range and delivers an all in one Windows Mobile device. Powered by 3.5G (HSDPA & HUSDPA), and WiFI and Bluetooth connectivity, the Ultimate 9502's VGA display is perfect for multimedia viewing, or checking through maps using the its integrated GPS functionality for navigation. There are dedicated shortcut keys all around the 9502, allowing easy and fast access to often used applications..  The 9502 includes integrated support for Direct Video Out capabilities, providing you with the option to connect it to monitors or projectors and watch videos off it or even use Windows Mobile on a larger screen. This feature was especially included in a business sense so users can perform video conferencing or project slideshows and presentations from the phone itself,  making it a viable alternative to a notebook.

The Ultimate 8502 delivers a customised out of the box experience in a slim line QWERTY keyboard form factor. With a 2.6 inch touchscreen with 65k colour TFT backlight, it is fully loaded with Microsoft Office Mobile giving users access to popular applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the go. This device also comes with built-in GPS navigation functionality offering users satellite navigation. The 8502 can play video clips directly and a variety of music file formats on the inbuilt Windows Media Player 10 Mobile media player.

"2008 sees i-mate continue to deliver on its iconic devices and sophisticated services," said Jim Morrison, CEO, i-mate. "The Ultimate range has already won plaudits on its design and strong specifications. The Ultimate 9502 and 8502 will continue to build on i-mate's, the best of breed combination of innovation, design and technology. Each of our devices is designed with different users in mind giving our customers real choice."

As part of i-mate(tm)'s service proposition, Mobile World Congress will also mark the launch of i-mate's I-Q Services, a portfolio of services that ensure the best wireless experience out of the box. With I-Q, i-mate can immediately customise user devices, fully support devices on a 24/7 basis and fully protect and if necessary, remotely wipe devices that are lost of stolen.  little as 48 hours. Mobile Operators can use i-Q to improve their services to the enterprise segment and to accelerate their time-to-market with new mobile devices to address the rapidly expanding mobile workforce. IDC estimates that the worldwide mobile worker population will grow to 878.2 million in 2009 to account for 21.3 percent of the global work force*.
 
Morrison concludes, "The mobile industry is starting to develop an approach where a customer can select a device based on what they want and need, not because they are restricted by available options. With the latest Ultimate devices powered by Windows Mobile and customised for the enterprise, we believe we are delivering what our customers are asking for."

Huawei Technologies, a leader in providing next generation telecommunications network solutions for operators around the world, has unveiled the industry's most comprehensive IP Transport Infrastructure for Mobile Evolution (IPTime) at Mobile World Congress.

Huawei's IPTime is an ALL IP based transport solution that creates enhanced broadband experiences and TCO reductions in 2G/3G mobile networks for carriers. Huawei also used the event to showcase key components of the IPTime Solution, including PTN series packet transport networks equipment as well as the SmartAX series multi-service access modules.

"Huawei understands the customer demand that need to transform to ALL IP broadband networks, and has launched this industry-leading comprehensive IPTime Solution to meet their needs," said Ding Yun, President of Huawei's Network Product Line. "Solution Providers helping operators undergo the IP transformation of mobile transport networks need to have advanced technologies and experience in both mobile and broadband networking. Huawei possesses these capabilities and has helped many customers achieve business success."

Huawei's IPTime provides GPS-grade packet clock synchronization, SDH-like OAM and protection capabilities, supporting world-leading end-to-end carrier-grade performance in packet transport network. The architecture also provides PWE3 (Pseudo-Wire Emulation Edge to Edge) capability and supports abundant of interfaces, such as TDM, Ethernet, microwave, xDSL and xPON, helping carriers achieve smooth evolution from 2G to 3G, HSPA or LTE.

Aeroflex has announced that, at the Mobile World Congress 2008, Redpine Signals will use the Aeroflex/AT4 wireless WiMAX Protocol Conformance Test System to facilitate live demonstrations of its subscriber station designs showcasing Mobile WiMAX and 802.11n WLAN connectivity using its Lite-NMAX convergence solution. Redpine Signals will be using the Aeroflex/ AT4 wireless PCT system to provide a simulated WiMAX network for the subscriber station to operate against.

"Aeroflex has been highly flexible in providing us with the means to create a simulated WiMAX network at the Mobile World Congress on which to demonstrate our subscriber station designs," said Richard Murphy, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Redpine Signals. "Not only have they accommodated our request to provide a demonstration system but also provided significant engineering support in advance of the show to ensure that our customer demonstrations will run smoothly."

Stephen Hire, Director of Marketing for Aeroflex Asia, added: "Aeroflex and AT4 wireless are considered the leaders in WiMAX test.  Our WiMAX PCT system has been developed under the auspices of the WiMAX Forum and it has been designated official test equipment for WiMAX Certification. We see our role as one of partnership with our customers and this collaboration with Redpine Signals continues our long tradition at the Mobile World Congress of supporting customers with leading edge mobile test solutions. Elsewhere in the exhibition, for example, several network vendors will be using the Aeroflex TM500 LTE test mobile as part of their technology demonstrations".

In its Development Test Mode, the Aeroflex/AT4 wireless WiMAX PCT ensures first-line WiMAX equipment manufacturers, chipset developers and protocol stack developers have an early opportunity to test both subscriber and basestation functionality and interoperability throughout the development phase of their products.  It facilitates the integrated testing of the PHY and MAC to check the correctness of the protocol messaging and its conformance to WiMAX specifications.  In Conformance Test Mode, the WiMAX PCT system enables the testing of both WiMAX infrastructure equipment and devices against validated test cases prior to their submission for certification. 

Mobile network operatos (MNOs) still dominate the mobile media and entertainment (MME) value chain, but content providers are likely to gain greater control of end-user pricing and the customer relationship as the market develops and consumers demand more innovation, says Analysys, the global advisor of telecoms, IT and Media, at the GSMA Mobile World Congress.

"MNOs are certain to resist this trend," says Andrew Parkin-White, Principal Analyst at Analysys and co-author of Mobile Market Perspectives 2008 (A summary of recent research into the evolving mobile market).

"Revenue-share arrangements for most services are highly complexand, once the MNO takes its share, the remaining revenue is often divided among many content providers, making it difficult for them to achieve viable revenue streams."

Parkin-White says pricing of MME services continues to be too complex, often confusing consumers and inhibiting service take-up.

"MNOs aiming to be more than bit pipes, and looking to achieve crtical mass in the MME market, should abandon usage-based data charges," he argues.

Parkin-White believes that bundled offerings with fixed prices are likely to become the norm for most MME services. Device manufacturers are also active in the MME value chain and are promoting the growth of off-portal services. "Two good examples of this are Nokia's establishment of an MME system around its Ovi platform and Apple iPhone's new model for revenue sharing between carrier and handset provider," he explains.

Parkin-White feels that a number of online service providers have the potential to be very disruptive in the MME value chain:

"Google is foremost among these - it has made numerous forays into mobile advertising and has acquired several mobile media platforms and networking sites. MNOs should concentrate on driving MME service take-up and on differentiating their service offerings by improving the user experience, rather than focusing on acquiring unique content," Parkin-White said.

Vodafone is to trial HSPA+, an evolution of today's radio access HSPA technology, to assess its potential to deliver even higher data rates through the upgrade of existing network equipment.

Vodafone will work alongside Ericsson, Huawei and Qualcomm to trial Release 7 HSPA+ (also known as HSPA Evolution) which has the potential to handle data even more efficiently than today's HSPA technology.

The initiative will help to establish whether HSPA+ is capable of delivering data throughput rates of up to 28.8 Mbps compared to the 14.4 Mbps maximum offered by today's HSPA networks. If successful, the technology has the potential to extend the life of today's HSPA infrastructure still further.

HSPA+ technology is designed to offer higher throughput than HSPA through its use of multiple antennae on both base stations and handsets (Multiple Input Multiple Output) as well as the deployment of a complex modulation technique called 64-QAM HSDPA. Both features will require new advanced devices compliant to 3GPP Release7 standard.

The project builds on early technical assessments that Vodafone has already carried out where the MIMO version of HSPA+ recorded high data throughput rates for users in a simulated urban macrocellular network.

Last year Vodafone launched a 3G broadband service based on High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) with downlink peak rates of up to 7.2Mbps in selected hotspots within some key markets. Vodafone plans to carry out software upgrades to more of these selected hotspots to deliver up to14.4Mbps from the end of the year as part of the existing HSPA roadmap subject to device availability.

"These trials will help us to ascertain whether HSPA+ voice and data capacity enhancements will be able to leverage existing UMTS assets, including radio spectrum, to prolong the lifespan of current UMTS networks still further," said Steve Pusey, Global CTO of Vodafone. "It will complement the exploratory work we are carrying out into more long-term next generation wireless technologies such as LTE."

Mobile TV use is set to surge due to strong consumer demand, with the service ranked as the number one application users want on their phone, according to a consumer behaviour study conducted by Ericsson and international news broadcaster, CNN. The results show more than a third (34%) of respondents ranking  TV as  the most in-demand application and almost half (44%) of the respondents poised to adopt mobile TV in the next two years. 

Key findings also revealed that photo and video messaging look to be set for wide-scale adoption as consumer pricing and functionality improves. 57% of respondents use photo technology to send and receive images on a monthly basis, making it the most popular activity. This trend is mirrored by popularity of CNN International's user-generated content service iReport, which launched in 2006. The service garnered 50,000 submissions, including mobile phone footage and images, from 189 countries worldwide in its first twelve months, driving the worldwide trend for 'citizen journalism' and giving audiences a deeper connection to network news.

According to the report, nearly one in four (24%) current mobile TV users watch daily with around half (52%) tuning in on a weekly basis. At 77%, news leads genre viewing patterns, followed by scheduled television at 48%.

"The results of this research underscores CNN's commitment to lead the rapidly changing trends that influence the way our audience consumes content", commented Didier Mormesse, SVP CNN International Ad Sales Research, Development & Audience Insight. "We've enjoyed considerable growth in our mobile business over the past few years and continue to invest in industry-leading initiatives and new services. Research like this enables us to really get under the skin of what our consumers want, so our digital strategy satisfies our audience's appetite for top quality news content when they're on the move."

Jan Wäreby, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Unit Multimedia Ericsson, says: "Although still in its infancy, mobile TV is clearly set to emerge as a popular service within the next few years. Driven by consumer appetite for the service, together with new usage patterns, mobile TV represents one of the biggest networked multimedia opportunities for cable and telecoms operators."

In 2007, CNN International unveiled its new ad supported mobile service. CNN Mobile allows users to stay informed wherever they are and even access CNN's 'In The Field' blogs from the network's international correspondents. CNN International's investment in meeting the needs of changing audience consumption habits included the implementation of a digital research group in 2007 to measure how audiences are consuming CNN across non-linear devices such as the internet, mobile and IPTV.  CNN International's recent digital initiatives include content sharing partnerships with top tier web-TV programming portals and a re-branding of CNN.com. At a time when advertisers are looking for innovative multi-platform brand solutions, CNN International can provide insight into its global users, media and market trends, as well as providing accurate data to clients internationally. 

Telenity, a leading provider of next generation converged services platforms and applications for communications networks, announced today that K'cell, the leading GSM mobile service provider in Kazakhstan with six million subscribers and an affiliate of Fintur Holding B.V., deployed Telenity's next generation IP-based Short Message Service Center, Canvas SMSC and Multimedia Messaging Service Center, Canvas MMSC in its GSM network.

Since its initial operation, K'cell has lead a key role in giving tone and direction to the rapid development and growth of the cellular market in Kazakhstan where mobile penetration is anticipated to grow 60% in the next three years. Through its visionary actions, K'cell was the first to launch GPRS/EDGE technologies, and millions of subscribers in Kazakhstan enjoyed such services as Mobile Internet, WAP, and MMS throughout the country. Currently K'cell is actively preparing for its 3G network implementation offering its subscribers revolutionary services such as Video-calls and Mobile Television. Within this project, K'cell carried out legacy and end-of-life replacements and installation of new equipment including higher capacity messaging servers, Canvas SMSC and Canvas MMSC, ready to support next generation services.

The success of SMS service is due to its very fast means of peer-to-peer communication and addition of new subscribers. Industry analysts estimate that by 2012, global SMS revenues will reach US$67 billion driven by 3.7 trillion messages. The ongoing growth of SMS requires wireless operators to continue to replace their legacy messaging network infrastructure and build out and upgrade to a more modular network environment.

"We were looking for a messaging solution that would resolve our traffic peak, maintenance cost, flexible routing and revenue assurance issues," stated Veysel Aral, CEO at K'cell. "Telenity's Canvas SMSC and Canvas MMSC met both our technical and business requirements and they are allowing us to get ready for our 3G network implementation with a sound IP-based architecture."

"K'cell is a great example of a leading operator with the right vision and successful execution for the next generation mobile world," says Dilip Singh, CEO at Telenity. "K'cell has rapidly grown to over six million subscribers and by aggressively expanding and replacing multiple legacy messaging platforms with the next generation converged integrated messaging platform, it's ensuring that its customers experience the highest quality always-on messaging and innovative value added services".

"With K'cell as our customer where nearly 100% of its SMS traffic goes through our Canvas SMSC, Telenity is now providing all affiliate companies of Fintur Holdings with it's Canvas portfolio of next generation solutions, such as converged messaging, ringback tones, and value added services including video services," said Serif Beykoz, General Manager, Telenity EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). "We are proud to have Fintur affiliates' trust in and endorsement of our products."

Canvas SMSC and Canvas MMSC are an integral part of Telenity's converged messaging solutions that are all built on a common operating environment that avoids the silo nature of point solutions, while providing a common architecture and administrative environment for all value added services for current (2G/3G) and future IMS networks. Canvas SMSC and Canvas MMSC are high performance systems with a fault tolerant real time charging capability. They enhance revenues from person-to-person (P2P) and application-to-person (A2P) messaging with a modular, scalable next generation IP based architecture designed to save operators both CAPEX and OPEX.

Canvas SMSC and Canvas MMSC help operators to:

  • Gracefully handle traffic peaks to assure additional/no lost revenues
  • Increase ARPU by enabling more applications without system overload or service outage
  • Reduce their maintenance costs with open standards based system infrastructure
  • Ensure future network agnostic solution supporting both legacy and nextgen networks
  • Add on to their current infrastructure yet grow thus preserving their investment
  • Maximize their revenue assurance and minimize fraud with real time charging

 

Orga Systems, the provider for convergent real-time billing, announces the launch of the Orga Systems Convergence Program. This long-term one-stopshop initiative optimizes telecom operator's entire billing and CRM processes. It encompasses a convergent product portfolio by Orga Systems and selected partners. Through the pre-integration of individual benchmark products, telecommunication providers benefit from an end-to-end solution.

Professional services for consulting, solution design and software integration top off the package.

"With our one-stop-shop solution we offer telecommunication providers the possibility of covering all areas of the billing chain with us as a central partner. With the flexibility of the Orga Systems Convergence Program, we are able to provide end-to-end solutions, or offer modular solution packages that allow a step-by-step system integration. With this program, we are taking an innovative approach that is ready to meet the needs and requirements of the network operators," said Rainer Neumann, CEO, Orga Systems GmbH.

The Orga Systems Convergence Program provides network operators a complete IT and billing solution with a unique modular approach. Heart of the program is the fully convergent billing system OPSC Gold that is currently inter alia in successful operation for the Ukrainian provider "life:)".

This end-to-end solution includes Orga Systems' billing system and pre-integrated products from worldwide leaders in software for the IT/billing field. Pre-integrated for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is Selligents solution. All requirements of bill handling are covered by Group 1 Software. Business Objects takes care of the reporting requirements. WeDo technologies complements the concept in regards to TAP roaming, and Basset Labs completes the solution package with interconnect billing. Additional partners will follow soon.

Through the program, Orga Systems manages the whole project and thus becomes the one-stop-shop for telecommunications providers that are searching for efficient integration strategies and trying to minimize the efforts of vendor coordination. The core element of the Orga Systems Convergence

Program is an initial requirements analysis, in which all the requirements for the solution are determined and defined. This ensures that future requirements are taken into account, but also that the intended architecture is not over-designed.

With the modular pre-integration of third party products, Orga Systems supplies solutions that transcend the "one size fits all" approach other providers offer. Instead, a customized, flexible package is guaranteed for each individual project.

 

Starhome, the provider of roaming and service mobility solutions is showcasing its new IP-Mobile Gateway platform at Mobile World Congress.  The new platform bridges the gap between the GSM and IP worlds and provides a seamless experience between different networks and devices.  The latest applications running on the Gateway include both consumer and enterprise solutions, which have been conceived to enable mobile operators to embrace the IP world whilst maintaining customer loyalty and extending usage of mobile data. 

The new IP-Mobile Gateway integrates with the mobile network as a standard MSC/VLR and uses existing mobile network components including HLR, with a leg in the IP world. An important component of this new technology is the Service Broker which enables multiple triggers for IN networks and also converts protocols between CAMEL/IN legacy systems and IMS. The Gateway is based on Starhome's field-proven IntelliGate Service Mobility Platform, deployed at over 130 mobile operator networks worldwide.

The consumer solution running on the platform, Mobile2IP, offers users a seamless experience between mobile phones and PCs/dual mode handsets, according to their current presence and devices (IP or Mobile). Users can enjoy the advantage of a single mobile identity with the same number, address book, call log and billing, along with a virtual mobile phone in the form of a branded soft client which offers voice, presence, SMS/MMS, IMS, video and various internet and sharing applications.

The enterprise solution, PBX Anywhere, extends PBX switching capabilities from fixed or IP devices, to any mobile device. These features include call hunting, VPN tunnelling, call screening, intelligent call routing and cost cutting plus the option for split billing between private and business usage. 

For existing Starhome customers already equipped with the field-proven IntelliGate platform for their roaming needs, the new IP features will be offered as a modular upgrade.  Moreover, the solutions are also available as a managed or hosted service.  According to Starhome COO Shlomo Wolfman, "Unlike the rest of the industry which seems intent on shoe-horning the Internet into the mobile phone, the approach laid out by Starhome allows mobile operators to fight back with a strategy which empowers operators to maintain customer loyalty by extending the mobile phone environment onto other IP devices and solutions. Operators can also gain new, off-net customers by providing non-mobile applications."  He continued, "Mobile operators cannot wait for IMS to come of age while IP service providers take control of their customers.  We believe that the approach we have depicted allows operators to offer their customers valuable converged services today which are IMS-ready. 

Tjat, specialist in seamless mobile messaging solutions, is showcasing its new messaging services on the new ‘Ultra Low Cost Smart Phone' at MWC.

The phone retails under $25 and is set to provide affordable services such as ‘MIM, and picture downloads' to third world countries. One of the key benefits includes the unique ability to set up a service in the users' native language. TJAT are part of the mobile ULC2 Alliance with Jurong Technologies, leading ODM handset manufacturer, Infineon Technologies AG, leading platform and chipset manufacturer, and Brightstar, the leading global distributors of handsets.

Market research firm Gartner estimates, that mobile instant messaging will gain huge momentum. In the year 2008, 2.8 trillion messages will be sent via that channel. This is a growth of 19.6 per cent compared to 2007. Revenues are expected to grow by 15.7 per cent to 60.2 billion US dollars in 2008. Tjat's browser-based service bridges the gap between the mobile and PC based Internet world by offering access to online Instant Messaging accounts like Yahoo, ICQ and MSN - with communities in excess of 300 million users.

According to Dr. Oleg Golobrodsky, EVP and Chief Product Officer of TJAT, "The New Smart Entry phone will be affordable by all segments of society giving all the ability to communicate. We are sure that this is a truly life changing development for people living in third world countries, allowing them access to communication services that many take for granted." 

Telefónica O2 Europe today announced live femtocell experience trials in the UK in partnership with NEC Corporation and Ubiquisys, targeting a commercial launch of the technology by early 2009.

The UK's first full trial of femtocell technology - which is a new way of improving in-building 3G coverage - has begun an initial period of live testing in February.  If successful, the trial will be rolled out in greater numbers across the UK in the summer.

NEC - a leading provider of 3G infrastructure and handsets, internet and broadband network solutions - is O2's trial partner and has supplied an integrated solution centred around Ubiquisys ZoneGate femtocells.

Vivek Dev, Chief Operating Officer of Telefónica O2 Europe, said: "This technology has the potential to support increased growth in the usage and consumption of services and data and could play a crucial role in underpinning the explosive growth of mobile broadband usage."
Dev added: "Our Apple iPhone is already driving unheard-of levels of mobile internet usage, and the introduction of flat rate data tariffs is expected to increase this further. Both of these place huge capacity demands on our networks, and because so much of that usage is at home, femtocells coupled with DSL could provide an alternative capacity resource."

He said: "We see femtocells as complimentary to our outdoors coverage and, using our current service set as a base, we aim to build applications that our customers need and value.  The trial will help us define what is required to make femtocell services a success for our customers by understanding how customers will use the service."

Richard Hanscott, VP Network Solutions Europe, NEC, said "O2, NEC and Ubiquisys have collective reputations for practical innovation, and with femtocells we believe we know what is important.  Together with our partner Ubiquisys, we have a proven radio, network and management solution which allows customers to deploy femtocells quickly and easily, and allows operators to manage these in a customer centric way."

He added: "O2 has always been an innovator and marrying this with their experience of harnessing true customer requirements, it allows NEC to leverage this experience to create a robust solution. We fully expect the commercialisation of Femtocells to begin in 2009 and look forward to seeing the results of the landmark trial."

Chris Gilbert, CEO of Ubiquisys, said: "We are very happy to be working with Telefonica O2 Europe in this ground breaking trial which will take femtocell technology to the mass market.  Our ZoneGate femtocell is so simple to use that anyone can plug it in, it will automatically configure itself and work, so they can forget it's there."

Femtocells are designed to improve indoor 3G mobile-broadband coverage by re-routing data from cellular networks and onto wired DSL connections, building cellular coverage from the inside out.  O2 also launched trials in the Czech Republic this month, on the back of successful tests that have been carried out in Madrid by Telefónica since last year.

    

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