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ON Telecoms, a triple play (VOIP, IPTV and Internet) provider in Greece, has deployed Neptuny's Caplan-IPTV Edition for its IPTV Services. Neptuny's Caplan-IPTV Edition is a decision support, service reporting and capacity-planning platform that allows IPTV managers to make proactive strategic decisions based on objective data, collected from different layers in the IPTV infrastructure. ON Telecoms are using Caplan-IPTV Edition to ensure efficiency of their existing systems and optimize the allocation of their IT resources as well as provide a strategic view enabling them to predict trends in demand for services.

The IPTV market is continually evolving, driven by consumer demand for exciting new forms of entertainment. ON Telecoms, a leader in this sector, differentiates itself by providing its customers with new content and services as fast and as effectively as possible anticipating viewers needs. Currently, most operators calculate their future resource requirements by using spreadsheets containing complex formulas to determine what extra resources they would need if a new service was offered. This can take a lot of time and effort to ensure accurate decisions are made. ON Telecoms, well-known for using leading-edge technology and staying ahead of the game, were looking for a system that would enable the execution of these strategic tasks to guarantee customer satisfaction and generate more revenue.

Ruggero Gramatica, ON Telecoms Managing Director, comments "At ON Telecoms our mission is to help our customers to make their lives better and their businesses more efficient with communication products and services that are tailored to their needs, fast and easy to use. We needed a system that would help us achieve this. The integration of Neptuny's Caplan IPTV Edition into our IPTV ‘ecosystem' allows us to gather key technical and business data from our core IPTV subsystems, OSS/BSS systems and hence we can make strategic decisions based on real-time, accurate data. "

Fabio Violante, Neptuny CEO, comments "I admire ON Telecoms vision to consider at an early stage all the aspects of managing their IPTV services. Caplan-IPTV Edition enables them to keep their infrastructure and quality of service under control so that they can focus on growing their business. They can see in real-time how their infrastructure is supporting their current services and also carry out ‘what-if' scenarios to see the operational and commercial affects of offering a new service. Other companies often overlook this need, ending up with costly oversized infrastructures and frequent Quality of Service issues."

Subex, a leading global provider of Operations Support Systems (OSS) solutions for communications service providers, has today announced it has been chosen for three separate deployments -- Revenue Assurance, Business Intelligence and Data Quality -- across the BT Group.

BT currently processes over 200 million CDRs (call detail records) per day across six countries - Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Ireland and Germany. Each country has its own switching and mediation systems, making it difficult to detect Revenue Assurance cases efficiently.

BT wanted to implement an integrated system that feeds directly into its Revenue Assurance Centre of Excellence enabling it to co-ordinate its Revenue Assurance activities across Europe much more effectively. Subex has won a multi-million dollar contract to deploy its Moneta Revenue Assurance Bureau for BT Global Services. Subex was selected due to its extensive international Revenue Maximization experience and ability to provide its Revenue Assurance system as a managed service.

In addition, Subex is providing further support to BT Wholesale and BT Global Services' Interconnect Billing operations, by implementing a single long-term storage and retrieval facility for itemised CDRs. The BASALT (BT Analytical Storage and Leveraging Tool) implementation provides BT with improved Business Intelligence to support billing disputes, reconciliation, financial and network analysis by giving a single consistent view of product and customer behaviour.

Mark Amoss, Business Manager - Regulatory Sales, BT Wholesale said, "The time saving and revenue recovery performance of Basalt has delivered substantial benefits for us so far.   The savings identified to date through BASALT queries have achieved a return on investment in just months, rather than years."

For BT's 21st Century Network (21CN) transformation project, Subex's Data Integrity Management solution (TrueSource) has been implemented for discovery and reconciliation across its IP-based network.   TrueSource provides a range of tools to accurately track BT's services and network assets, recover resources and enhance processes, including auto-discovery, live discrepancy management and reconciliation functions.   This enables BT to assure data consistency across its 21CN network meaning it is able to reduce costs, recover revenues and enhance its provisioning capability.

Graham Thomas, Head of BT Revenue Management Centre of Excellence, added, "The team at Subex has a deep understanding of the BT business and as a result I see them as an extremely important part in the ongoing roll-out of a successful Revenue Management programme. The investment Subex has made in its products and services means I am able to deliver real improvement and value within BT, including saving resources and recovering considerable revenues."

Paul Skillen, President - BT Business Unit, Subex Ltd, said, "We know from our global customer base that BT's solutions really are world-class. We are delighted to have this long standing relationship with BT whereby we are able to deliver significant benefits across the entire BT group.   Since the roll-out of the three projects, we have already seen dramatic results, and look forward to working further to maximize the group's revenues and Service Fulfillment."

Mobile subscriptions which offer unlimited music downloads on a rental basis are expected to surge in popularity and will provide the majority of mobile revenues derived from original recordings, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

According to the report, the market for subscription-based music rental services will reach $3.3 billion by 2012, eclipsing the market for paid-for original recordings.

Report author Dr. Windsor Holden, said: "Music rental services such as those offered by Omnifone are incredibly ´sticky,´ in that once consumers have taken the time and effort to build up an extensive playlist, they will be increasingly reluctant to unsubscribe from that service and from the operator, thereby providing a significant boost to ARPU levels."

However, the report also states that as 3G services are rolled out in emerging markets, then full-track download sales will mushroom, with the volume of downloads in the Indian sub-continent alone rising from less than 2 million in 2007 to nearly 480 million in 2012.

"India and China represent a tremendous opportunity for the mobile music industry," said Holden. "Both have experienced quite remarkable levels of ringtone and ring-back tone adoption, and as more full-track services are deployed, then it is likely that the mobile handset will become the most popular personal music player in these and other emerging markets."

 Other findings from the Juniper report include:

--  The global market for end-user generated mobile music revenues will rise from $8.9 billion in 2007 to nearly $17.6 billion in 2012
--  Total revenues from original recordings delivered to the handset (on both a paid-for and rental basis) will increase from  $960 million in 2007 to $6.1 billion in 2012
--  Revenues from ringtones/realtones will peak in 2010, subsequently declining as a result of competitive pricing allied to a steady migration to ad-funded and/or self-created ringtones
--  The report praises the iPhone´s user interface, but argues that the company´s decision to eschew 3G in favour of a greater battery life was incorrect

Juniper Research says it assesses the current and future status of mobile music services based on interviews, case studies and analysis from representatives of some of the leading organisations in the growing mobile music services industry.

Ericsson has signed a contract with leading Israeli mobile operator Cellcom Israel to provide an end-to-end mobile TV and video solution to enable Cellcom Israel's subscribers to access live TV channels and video-on-demand (VoD) content.

Under the agreement, Ericsson will be the sole supplier of a mobile TV platform supporting rich media clients, a content management system and support systems for operation and customer care units. Rollout has started in December 2007, with commercial launch due during 2008.

Ericsson's cutting edge mobile TV solution will provide users with a customized TV experience offering access to fast channel switching, an easy-to-use navigation menu and more advanced features.

Ericsson's Mobile TV and Video solution leverages the existing cellular network to allow operators to capitalize on existing network infrastructure investments. The flexible and scalable solution can also accommodate broadcast technologies such as Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service, as they become available.

Nahum Hai, Director of Advanced Services Department at Cellcom Israel,  says: "This move reaffirms Cellcom Israel's leading position in the Israeli market.  By partnering with Ericsson, Cellcom Israel can offer easy access to a personalized, world-class mobile TV experience."

Mats Bosrup, President and CEO of Ericsson Israel, says: "Mobile TV is going from strength to strength as operators expand and leverage their networks. Ericsson's mobile TV solution will enable Cellcom Israel to offer sophisticated new services while tapping into new revenue opportunities."

Huawei Technologies has today announced that it has been selected by TransTelecom, a telecom operator in Bulgaria, to deploy a commercial WiMAX network, covering central business districts and hot spots in the country's major cities, including its capital, Sofia, and Varna, Bulgaria's largest harbor city.

According to the contract, Huawei will supply an end-to-end WiMAX solution working on 3.5GHz frequency band, including terminals, as well as a major upgrade of the TransTelecom central exchange equipment for the operation of a fully mobile WiMAX network in 2008.

In 2006, TransTelecom deployed a 16d-based WiMAX network to meet the country's increasing broadband needs, and the operator has chosen Huawei to deliver an upgraded  16e-based network. Huawei's 16e-based WiMAX solution integrates the most advanced technologies such as multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) and orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA), which features high bandwidth, wide area coverage, large capacity, as well as providing better mobility. Huawei's new base stations, enable TransTelecom to quickly roll out innovative new services to its customers, while reducing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

"We are delighted to choose Huawei as our WiMAX equipment supplier," said Mr. John Munnery, Chairman of TransTelecom. "Extensive tests of this new technology have surpassed all our expectations. In particular, we witnessed Huawei demonstrate one of the first handovers of traffic from one base station to another in Europe. Huawei has exhibited total commitment to the project throughout our selection process, and has proven itself to be one of the leaders in this fast-developing technology. What's more, we are also impressed with Huawei's localized engineering and delivery capability."

"Huawei has deep capabilities in network migration paths for WiMAX commercial deployments," stated Jim Xu, President of Huawei Eastern Europe Region. "With our rich delivery experience and professional localized engineering team, we are confident that we can help TransTelecom to provide an excellent wireless broadband service. "

Benoit Reillier asks if Viviane Reding's thinking on European regulation is the right approach

Much has happened since Government owned monopoly telecommunications operators rolled out their networks to provide telephony for all. Markets have now been liberalised and national regulatory authorities are working hard to foster a new competitive market structure.

It was initially expected that, over time and as competition matured, the regulatory burden that was imposed upon the former incumbent operators would be lessened and that sector specific regulation would disappear altogether.

Some enduring so-called "market failures" (i.e. areas where competition is not emerging) have, however, proved more difficult to deal with than initially anticipated.
Regulators have argued that integrated operators controlling the whole value chain have been able to cross subsidise specific services in order to prevent market entry by competitors. Of course incumbents were forced to offer wholesale access to their services by the regulators but this left the door open to predatory pricing practices and delaying tactics.
Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner in charge of the Information Society, thinks she has the solution. Her new package of proposals, which still need to be approved by the European Parliament and EU Council of Ministers to become law, includes the launch of a European regulator as well as the introduction of mandated functional separation of telecommunications firms.

She has been heavily influenced by the recent British separation experience where Openreach was set up following an in-depth review of the sector launched by Ofcom after years of frustrating battles with BT regarding fair access to its local loop network.
Openreach, a fully owned subsidiary of BT, now owns the access network and is responsible for reselling access to this infrastructure, on an equivalent basis, to all communications providers requesting it. The incentives of this new entity were carefully designed so that Openreach would not discriminate in price, timing or quality of service. BT's competitors now have the "level playing field" that they had been fighting for.
In return for accepting Ofcom's separation proposal, BT was promised a progressive roll back of regulation at the retail level.  The rationale being that as competitors get access to the very same network inputs (from Openreach) as BT itself, then competition (market forces), rather than arbitrary regulated prices, would keep retail prices down.
While the jury is still out on the long term impact of such a drastic regulatory move, it is undeniable that, shortly after the creation of Openreach competition at the retail level increased quite dramatically as did the number of broadband subscribers. Also, and this is an important part of the story, the financial community did not seem to receive the news too negatively, as indicated by the rather healthy share price of BT group post-separation.
This new model is now being contemplated by many regulators and policy makers in Europe and elsewhere (including New Zealand). When Viviane Reding talks about functional separation, this is in essence the model she is proposing.

Some operators have even started to give some serious thought to this trend and are considering the possibility of splitting up as an opportunity rather than a threat. Eircom in Ireland, now owned by private equity firm Babcock & Brown, is one such operator that believes that voluntary separation could provide the regulatory visibility required to successfully operate two different businesses.

But while the Openreach precedent and relative eagerness of Eircom suggest that a concerted and negotiated settlement with clear undertakings can be workable, mandating such a drastic remedy too hastily throughout Europe is unlikely to have the consequences intended.

France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom (as well as their national regulators) are believed to be more sceptical about the merits of such a move. Given the legitimate economic advantages associated with vertically integrated firms (such as easier co-ordination of internal operations and investments) this is an understandable stance for them to take. Indeed many other less intrusive remedies are already available.

Benoit Reillier is a Director and European head of the telecommunications and media practice of global economics advisory firm LECG. He can be contacted via:
The views expressed in this column are his own.

Huawei Technologies, the provider of next generation telecommunications network solutions for operators, has today announced that it has been selected by T-Mobile International to provide Packet Switched Core Networks (PS-CN) across five key European countries: Germany, the UK, Austria, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

The contract will require Huawei to replace existing networks with its next-generation PS-CN equipment.

In July 2006, Huawei was selected to provide IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) network infrastructure and applications for Magyar Telekom, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, for its wire line and mobile business lines in Hungary. This latest contract win of PS-CN stands as a proof of the success of Huawei's work with T-Mobile, and is a milestone of the companies' continuous partnership.

"We believe Huawei to be a reliable and trustworthy partner for us,  and a company that, we hope, can be a long-term partner," said Joachim Horn, CTO, T-Mobile International. "By deploying Huawei's advanced solutions, T-Mobile is looking forward to providing excellent and more reliable services to its customers and to achieve its strategic business objectives."

"We are delighted to continue working with T-Mobile and we look forward to commencing work on this latest project," said William Xu, the President of Huawei Europe Region and Executive Vice President of Huawei. "At Huawei, besides providing advanced solutions with large capacity, high performance, intelligent billing and full 2G/3G integration, we are committed to providing fast delivery and excellent service, ensuring a win-win outcome for T-Mobile."

A product portfolio including T&M equipment for standards such as 3GPP LTE, HSPA+ or WiMAX, including MIMO functionality; compact, high-throughput solutions for production; and, mobile TV transmitters of all power classes, will be showcased by Rohde & Schwarz at the Mobile World Congress 2008 in Barcelona.

Multiple input multiple output (MIMO) technology uses multiple antennas on the transmit and receive side to increase data rates and transmission security. MIMO is intrinsic to many mobile radio standards such as 3GPP LTE, WiMAX, HSPA+ or WLAN 802.11n.

The R&S SMU200A high-end vector signal generator generates RF and baseband signals; the R&S AMU200A provides only baseband signals. Two signal sources and internal fading simulators can be integrated into both signal generators. Using a single box, engineers can perform measurements on 2x2 MIMO receivers including real-time fading on all four propagation paths.Both instruments support MIMO for the 3GPP LTE, WiMAX, WLAN 802.11n and HSPA+ standards.

For analyzing MIMO and LTE signals, Rohde & Schwarz's R&S FSQ and R&S FSG models enable detailed testing of the physical layer. Equipped with options for LTE and MIMO, the signal analyzers simultaneously process signals transmitted by the multiple antennas. They can also be used to determine whether pre-coding works for LTE signals across the different stages. Users in research and development can observe the performance of both the baseband and RF bands. In addition, the highly flexible analysis software ensures that engineers, developers and technicians can respond quickly to new developments of the standard.

In 2008, the development activities of mobile radio manufacturers will also begin to focus on the MIMO-based HSPA+ standard. Rohde & Schwarz will showcase its first solutions for RF tests at the Mobile World Congress and over the year will also launch protocol-test solutions for 3GPP HSPA+.

3GPP LTE moves ahead: protocol testing with Rohde & Schwarz In 2008, mobile radio manufacturers will conduct trials with 3GPP LTE-capable wireless devices and infrastructure. Protocol tests for wireless devices will be in great demand by research and development departments even earlier so that users can later transmit and receive data seamlessly. In addition to its existing RF portfolio, Rohde & Schwarz will therefore present initial solutions for protocol tests at the Mobile World Congress 2008. As 3GPP LTE test cases will be defined in the course of the year; the Munich-based electronics company will provide the required conformance-test solutions for these test cases.

WiMAX in production: maximum throughput and high measurement accuracy The measurement speed of the new R&S CMW270 WiMAX tester from Rohde & Schwarz is up to ten times faster than existing test solutions. This ensures maximum production throughput of WiMAX chipsets and mobile stations. Measurement accuracy has also been optimized with regard for stability and linearity to provide the best possible repeatability. The R&S CMW270 combines signal generation and signal analysis in a single box. Three interconnectable RF connectors in the RF frontend reduce test setup complexity, and this delivers significant cost, time and space savings in production and service applications. In addition, the R&S CMW270 is the first WiMAX production tester that is suitable for the integration of base station emulation (signaling mode).

cVidya Networks, a provider of telecom data integrity revenue assurance systems will be previewing its new Dealer Management Systems, Dealer Map at its stand at Barcelona in February 2008.  The DealerMap solution will help service providers manage the increasing complex sales life cycle between the manufacturer and the point of sale to eliminate potentially fraudulent activity resulting in revenue loss. 

As relationships between device manufacturers, service providers, dealers and end customers become more complicated telecom service providers must cope with challenges posed by the complexity of the value chain and the variety of different contractual arrangements between different parties.  DealerMap allows service providers to better manage and control the complex interflow of business processes and money and eliminate leakage from fraud.

Comprised of three components: Commission Management, Commission Verification and Fraud Management, DealerMap provides a user friendly dashboard of management information to create and manage commission plans including all business transactions such as payments, financial balance, rejects, disputes, and handset inventory.  DealerMap/Fraud collects data from all data sources (i.e. purchase records, subscribers' retention information, and usage information) to build KPIs (i.e. number of purchased handsets per dealer, number of resigned subscribers per dealer) and utilises robust acquisition and reconciliation engines to identify abnormal changes in dealer behaviour to pinpoint fraudulent activities.

Ericsson has today announced it has acquired HyC Group, a Spanish company in TV consultancy and systems integration with around 110 employees. The acquisition is said to further strengthen Ericsson's position in the services and multimedia domains as a systems integrator of IPTV solutions.

IPTV offers interactive and personalized broadband TV services to fixed and mobile users and, with the acquisition of HyC, Ericsson says it further strengthens its ability to support operators and service providers in the solution design, installation, integration and operation of IPTV services.

The HyC acquisition follows Ericsson's acquisition of Tandberg Television, the provider in advanced video compression technologies, at the beginning of the year.

Hans Vestberg, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Head of Global Services at Ericsson, says: "Multimedia and services, including IPTV and systems integration, are two strategic areas for Ericsson. I am pleased to announce this acquisition as it will strengthen our ability to support our customers in offering attractive consumer services in a fast and efficient way. HyC's skills and experience fit perfectly with our service offerings in the TV domain and our leading systems integration offering."

Hector Prieto, HyC General Manager, says: "We are proud to be part of the Ericsson Group. Customers will benefit from the combination of Ericsson's global presence and our niche expertise in a blooming technology."

Nokia has announced that Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa, operator of the Era network in Poland, will offer Nokia Intellisync Wireless Email to its business and individual customers. The Nokia Intellisync Mobile Suite software platform is said to offer PTC the opportunity to address the widest market opportunity possible by resetting the cost and ease of use of mobile email and personal information management (PIM) functionality. PTC intends to offer the Era Mail branded service in Q1 2008. Already this month, PTC will offer selected small and medium sized enterprise customers the opportunity, to test the solution.

"We have evaluated several different email vendors in this space and are convinced that Nokia Intellisync Mobile Suite is the best platform to help us bring mobile email to the mass market:  Nokia offers the ease of use and they support a variety of mobile phones in addition to their Nokia Eseries devices", says Mr Klaus Tebbe, Strategy, Marketing and Sales Director, PTC Management Board Member. "Our relationship with Nokia enables us to broaden our current mobile email offering and market a PTC-branded email solution.  We lead in the deployment of innovative business solutions in Poland, and are proud of launching the service as one of the first operators in Central Europe."

For enterprises, the new Era Mail service based on Nokia Intellisync Mobile Suite means that business people can use their resources more efficiently, in real-time, wherever they happen to be.  Moreover, the offering is targeted at companies and consumers who do not have their own mail servers and use widely available Internet email services. Only the login and password to the email account are required to activate the service, which brings email usability extremely easy also to the mass market.

"Nokia Intellisync Wireless Email is just the first step of making work go mobile," says Scott Cooper, senior vice president, mobility solutions, Enterprise Solutions Nokia.  The solution offers a good price-performance ratio, high functionality and in particular is easy to use.  As a result, it will not only bring greater value and flexibility to mobile business users and consumers, but also help to expand PTC's own business opportunity".

Nokia Intellisync Wireless Email is said to work on any environment - ISP, Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes or Groupwise and can run on any kind of device platform - Java, Symbian, Windows, Palm or Pocket PC.

Comstar, a leading combined telecommunications operator in Russia and the CIS, has announced that its broadband subscriber base has exceeded 40,000 users in the Russian regions, reflecting a 70% growth year on year.

Digital Telephone Networks South, the largest alternative telecommunications operator in the Southern Federal District of Russia, accounts for over 30,000 of Comstar's broadband subscribers in the regions. Acquired in the second half of 2007 and 100% owned by Comstar, DTN offers telecommunication services, Internet access and Pay-TV in Rostov-on-Don, Rostov region and Krasnodar. Comstar also provides broadband services in St Petersburg, the Samara, Saratov, Tyumen and Orenburg regions, as well as in the Yamalo-Nenets and Khanti-Mansi Autonomous Areas.

Comstar Group companies started offering broadband services in the second half of 2007 based on their own NGN infrastructure in the regions.

Comstar's Tyumen branch created on the basis of Tyumenneftegassvyaz more than tripled its subscriber base due to the active development of ADSL-based services during the second half of 2007. Tyumen branch is planning to increase its broadband access points by 10,000 ports in 2008. In September, Saratov branch launched an IP MPLS-based NGN network which consists of 22 access points and covers the whole city. The branch also launched the telematic access points network based on ADSL2+ technology which comprises 37 access points and 5,000 ports. It signed up 2,500 subscribers in the three month period and continues to maintain high sales volumes. The management expects that this rollout will allow the Company to increase its market share in Saratov to around 10% by the end of 2007, compared to 1% at the beginning of 2007.

Viktor Koresh, Vice President for the Development of the Group's Operations, commented: "The level of broadband subscriber growth in the regions in the second half of 2007 indicates a strong demand for these services. We view high-speed internet access as the main growth driver of the Russian telecommunications market today. We plan to develop broadband services, based on our own infrastructure, through both organic growth and scale acquisitions of leading regional operators. We aim to increase our share in the alternative fixed-line communications market up to 25%."


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