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Espial , a leading provider of IPTV middleware and applications, today announced that RealPage, a leading provider of on-demand software and services to the multifamily industry, has licensed Espial's Evo IPTV Service Platform. RealPage provides products and services to more than 20,000 apartment communities across the United States, representing over four million dwelling units. Its on-demand product lines include property management systems, sales and marketing systems, revenue management systems, and billing and payment services that help real estate professionals automate and enhance key business processes.

Espial's flagship Evo IPTV Service Platform, which includes the carrier-grade Evo Server, Evo Client middleware, the open Evo Future-Proof Framework, and various applications including Evo EPG and Evo VOD, was designed as a more open, modular, scalable and faster alternative to other more monolithic solutions on the market.

"We were very impressed with the Evo IPTV Service Platform and selected Espial after evaluating several other middleware choices," said Steve Winn, RealPage CEO. "While we are not ready to announce any specific plans in the IPTV arena, we expect Espial to be a strategic partner moving forward."

Selection criteria for RealPage included ease of use for creating new applications and customizing Evo user interface SkinTones, the ability to manage multiple domains and channel line-ups separately from one service node, and overall system performance, scalability, and reliability.

"Being selected by the leader in the real estate software industry is strong validation of our full client-server Evo IPTV Service Platform," said Jaison Dolvane, CEO of Espial Group. "And we will be working hard during the integration and development phase to make the RealPage project a success."

With its advanced data-driven architecture and non-proprietary applications platform, Evo Client combines service creation flexibility with a fast and compelling subscriber experience to attract and keep subscribers. Espial's Evo Server is a carrier-grade IPTV service node developed from the ground up to optimize scalability, performance, ecosystem integration flexibility, and total cost of ownership.

 

Under a long-term contract, Nokia Siemens Networks will deliver maintenance services for Juniper Networks E-, M- and T-series routers in the IP backbone and broadband access network of Deutsche Telekom in Germany

With a service package optimally targeted to the demands of Deutsche Telekom, Nokia Siemens Networks ensures that network incidents are avoided or quickly resolved. The network is monitored around the clock by dedicated service specialists at the Nokia Siemens Network Care Center. Among the services included are ticket handling, incident processing and troubleshooting, software maintenance and service and the exchange and repair of defective network components. Maintenance of Deutsche Telekom's test-lab equipment is also included in the service contract.

Nokia Siemens Networks' maintenance services offer T-Com important advantages. In addition to a significant reduction in operating costs (OPEX), operational advantages are realized through processes and arrangements designed specifically for T-Com. The current and planned network expansions are considerably bolstered through service level agreements and create new ways to further improve network quality. Nokia Siemens Networks is a Juniper Networks Global Support Partner, the highest accreditation level possible for offering maintenance services on Juniper equipment.

"We are pleased with the confidence Deutsche Telekom has in us - after supplying the system technology - to now also entrust us with the maintenance of the Juniper network components," said Christoph Caselitz, Chief Market Operations Officer at Nokia Siemens Networks Services. "Our references and our portfolio speak for themselves, laying the groundwork for securing a world-leading customer such as Deutsche Telekom."

"Based on the long-standing relationship and good quality of services, it was a logical step for us to now outsource maintenance to Nokia Siemens Networks as well, said Ulrich Schwaer, head of the technical centre network management from T-Com. "This is a business-critical area for Deutsche Telekom so it was essential for us to go with a trusted partner who would deliver the quality of service we need."

Orga Systems, the specialist in convergent real-time billing, has expanded its regional representation in Italy with new offices in Rome.

The expanded Italian subsidiary will continue to provide a valuable resource for the growth of Orga Systems and will build upon the company's existing presence within the region. The rising demand for Orga Systems' expert billing products and services among regional mobile operators has driven the need for improved on-site support and development in Italy. The new offices in Rome will enable Orga Systems Italy to provide enhanced customer care and build upon its existing relationships with key industry players.

"The need for expansion of our Italian offices is testimony to Orga Systems' continued success and expanding presence in Europe," says Giovanni Pierozzi, Managing Director, Orga Systems Italy. "We see this move as a strategic step in extending partnerships and deepening relationships with our customers in the region."

Long-time business partners and new customers of Orga Systems were invited to a small opening ceremony on Friday 21 September at the new offices located at via Benedetto Croce, 36, 00142 Rome.

On-Train Internet provider Icomera has registered its millionth Wi-Fi user on one of its customers' trains. And the popularity of the service is growing with more than 23,000 users per week in the UK and Sweden.

From a modest start in 2003 on the Linx trains in Scandinavia, Icomera has now passed the one-millionth user and, says the company, every week more than 23,000 passengers connect to Icomera's internet service on trains in Sweden and the UK.

"These numbers speak for themselves in terms of value that rail passengers place on high quality internet services", says Frederik Gustafsson, Icomera's CEO, "With more than 130 trains installed in Sweden and the UK, we continue to see a steady increase in the number of users and also the average session time, which tells us that many prefer the comfort of the train and the possibility to stay online for work or recreation, rather than lost time spent in planes and cars".

According to Jonathan Metcalfe, GNER CEO "The Wi-Fi service has shifted from being a novelty back in 2004, to being a commodity for travellers on our trains. GNER pioneered the introduction of Wi-Fi on Britain's railways and all our trains are now equipped with Wi-Fi. In fact we have more Wi-Fi enabled train carriages than any other train operator worldwide."

Icomera delivers turnkey client-server based solutions for Wi-Fi on trains that give not only passenger access, but also a platform for staff communication and fleet management applications. As train companies start realizing the many benefits of a central internet-based communications system, the demand for Icomera's products and services is expected to increase sharply in the next few years.

Icomera recently won its fifth rail industry award in four years for innovation and IT excellence. Earlier this month Icomera and GNER were awarded the "Innovation of the Year" award at the National Rail Awards 2007 for the development of real-time remote monitoring and business applications using the Icomera onboard system.

As European deals for Apple's iPhone are announced, the chosen operators will be well advised to learn from the experiences of AT&T Wireless in the US when it comes to billing users,according to Analysys, adviser on telecoms, IT and media.

According to Analysys, the kick to mobile data usage given by the iPhone in the US market resulted in some subscribers receiving bills that were very large physically - in extreme cases running to hundreds of pages - detailing every mobile data event. AT&T quickly changed the way bills were provided - issuing summaries rather than full details by default - but the issue highlights the mismatch that often exists between users' requirements of bills and operators' perceptions of what users want.

According to research carried out for the Analysys Research report 's 'The Next-Generation Bill: Commercial and Technical Strategies', customers are often baffled by unclear bills and - as a result - telecoms companies risk lower revenues and increased churn. The report argues that service providers put huge amounts of effort into developing new services and competing with each other on price, but much less into ensuring that bills are clear.

"What we are hearing repeatedly is that residential and business customers are increasingly frustrated by bills that make no sense," says the report's author Teresa Cottam.

"Marketing strategies are falling at the first hurdle: people are so worried about the cost of new services that they don't even try them. They dread receiving their bills because they are unpredictable, and become frustrated because they don't know how to change matters."

The report argues that the bill is a unique opportunity for telecoms companies to communicate with customers and offers several commercial opportunities. "To deliver the optimal next-generation bill, service providers need to shake off outdated assumptions about their customers and gain a clearer understanding of their needs. If they do not change, powerful competitors from outside the telecoms industry are waiting in the wings to show them how," says Cottam.

Key findings from the report include:

- Not enough effort has been put into bill presentment (the way that bills actually look). Making bills more useful to customers will increase customer loyalty and cut the cost of queries

- Business customers often fear the cost of new services, yet providing bill analysis to demonstrate benefits of service plan changes can be good for both customers and suppliers

- In the wholesale market, bill cycles must shorten to improve revenue management for all parties.

Intec, a global provider of business and operations support systems (BSS/OSS), today announced it has signed a deal with partner Indra, the leading multinational IT group in Spain, to supply its Intec Convergent Billing solution to R, the telecom cable operator in Galicia (Spain).  R will deploy Intec's solution to bill all TV, voice and data services for its corporate and residential customers in North West Spain. The company will also use Intec Convergent Billing to support convergent billing for its new mobile post-paid services, which will be launched before the year's end.

Used by many of the world's biggest telecoms operators, Intec Convergent Billing is a fully convergent billing system designed to meet the present and future needs of wireless, wireline, MVNO and IP-based carriers. Intec Convergent Billing's comprehensive technology can bill for any kind of service or payment method including next-generation services such as VoIP or IPTV, and sophisticated multi-product bundles.

"Convergent billing has become an important aspect of R's business as it develops its portfolio of mobile and data services and expands its presence throughout Spain," explains Raquel Torres, IT Director at Indra. "Intec was singled out as one of the best OSS/Billing providers in the market, and their global experience and success was proof that they understand the mobile business and are capable of enabling operators to maximise their billable revenues. Intec's product in particular was selected for a number of reasons, including its flexibility and scalability. Another advantage the solution had over the competition was its ability to offer billing and invoicing capabilities for any customer type, from the most basic residential customer to large and complex corporate hierarchies, as well as for a broad and extensible range of services."

R offers television subscription services as well as voice and data services to residential and corporate customers. With Intec Convergent Billing, the operator can support billing, invoicing and accounts receivable processing for any of these services and to any customer type.
Through the use of a customer account model Intec Convergent Billing offers billing and invoicing capabilities and its expression-based charging engine supports a variety of charging scenarios, such as usage-based charging, service bundle charging, and multiple discounting. These flexible options are attractive to R, which manages a range of complex product packages for its customers, including many combining voice, data and TV and Internet services.

The solution can be customised and extended, allowing the customer to adapt the system as its business changes. By maintaining backward-compatibility of the core modules, R can also choose to benefit from new features through timely upgrades.

"R will offer mobile telephone services before the end of this year. This will allow the company to extend its existing voice services in a bid to attract more customers in Spain's competitive wireless market," added Raquel Torres. "We will continue to work closely with Intec's team to ensure that this and all other future mobile services are launched successfully with Intec Convergent Billing and that R is maximising all possible revenue opportunities with this solution."

Huawei Technologies, a leader in providing next generation telecommunications network solutions for operators, has announced that it has been awarded a UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System)/HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) contract by PTK Centertel, Orange Poland. The contract is said to reaffirm Huawei's position as a significant 3G supplier to PTK Centertel, with a 50 percent share of the operator's UTRAN (UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network).

Over the next three years, Huawei will deploy its new generation Node B solution across Poland's major cities. Huawei's new generation Node Bs support full-performance HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access), HSUPA (High-Speed Uplink Packet Access), and IP RAN (IP-based Radio Access Network). As a result, customers are expected to get better access to the latest 3G services and mobile Internet.

"We believe that Huawei can enable us to implement the most modern telecommunications technologies and provide high quality networks and services, whilst significantly reducing the total cost of ownership," said Grazyna Piotrowska Oliwa, chairman & CEO, PTK Centertel. "This contract recognises Huawei's commitment to helping PTK Centertel to achieve its strategic objectives."

"Huawei already works with Orange around the world, providing both mobile and core networks," said William Xu, president of Huawei Europe. "Having already started UMTS/HSPA projects on behalf of Mobistar (FT Group) and Orange Romania, we are delighted to further strengthen our relationship, by commencing with this contract in Poland."

"Huawei is committed to fast delivery and excellent service - and it is these qualities, I believe, that are leading us to becoming Orange's provider of choice," continued Xu.

Vodafone Czech Republic and Amobee Media Systems have announced the commercial launch of a new mobile advertising service. Using Amobee's Media System, Vodafone CZ will display advertising in its Vodafone live! portal, as well as its messaging services and games downloads.

Amobee was selected by Vodafone CZ based on its ability to provide a holistic mobile advertising solution and the robustness of its system. Amobee is inserting targeted, interactive advertisements into several Vodafone CZ communication and entertainment services using a single, advertising server. Amobee's media system is composed of an off-line campaign management system and an on-line ad-server enabling the delivery of relevant advertising impressions in all mobile services (Games, on and off portal browsing, video, music, SMS, MMS, IM, search, user generated applications etc).

Amobee's Media System enables Vodafone CZ to deliver a potentially powerful new media channel to advertisers and brands. In particular Vodafone CZ is using the Amobee Media System to launch a messaging service to students allowing them to send free SMS messages throughout the entire school year in exchange for receiving advertising.

"We are pioneers of Mobile Advertising on the Czech market and leading the rest of the Vodafone globally with our solution," said Grahame Maher, CEO at Vodafone CZ. "The Amobee platform launch is a first for Vodafone in the Czech Republic. This has given us a tool to accelerate the deployment of ad-funded services and provides us with a new revenue stream and media channel by engaging brands and advertisers. We are confident both our subscribers and advertisers will be satisfied with the value this new service will provide."

"The industry is united in recognising the potential of mobile as a media channel in its own right - allowing advertisers to deliver their messages in a more personal, relevant and contextual way than has ever been possible in the past," said Zohar Levkovitz, CEO of Amobee. "Vodafone's launch in the Czech Republic signals a new role for mobile operators in the advertising world, creating an entirely new channel for advertisers and a new way for consumers to enjoy more mobile services."

Ericsson has signed a turnkey contract with Vodafone Netherlands to deploy the Ericsson Automatic Data Retention Solution (ADRS), bringing the operator in line with a new EU directive, and marking a 'world-first' deployment of the Ericsson ADRS.

Under the contract, Ericsson will deliver a turnkey solution - from systems integration to business support systems - for Vodafone Netherlands' existing network.

Ericsson's solution enables operators to collect, store and deliver data in accordance with EU directive 2006/24/EC on data retention. Under the directive, operators must store traffic data for up to 24 months. The directive is set to be incorporated into national laws by September 15, 2007, and will eventually become mandatory for all European operators.

Fredrik Alatalo, Head of Ericsson's Core and IMS product line, says: "This deal extends Ericsson's long-standing relationship with Vodafone Netherlands, and the world-first deployment of Ericsson ADRS marks an industry milestone. Ericsson's end-to-end solution provides flexibility and scalability and is compliant with national regulations regarding data availability, integrity and protection."

Axiom Systems, a leader in service fulfillment and service assembly solutions, has announced that Pipex Wireless, owned by Pipex Group and Intel Capital and the only provider of WiMAX services in the UK, has chosen Axiom Systems to support the country's largest wholesale WiMAX Access network.  

Pipex Wireless will use the AXIOSS Suite to automate service provisioning thus speeding up and improving accuracy within the fulfillment process. They will also use the Suite to add new and alter existing services quickly, with reusable components.  Like other service providers that use the componentized AXIOSS Suite, Pipex Wireless' aim is to have a flexible and fast approach to service creation. The project will roll out to major cities in the UK starting with "Go Live" in Manchester later this year.  

"In selecting Axiom Systems, Pipex Wireless was most impressed by the speed and ease with which AXIOSS can provision new services," said Brendan O'Rourke, COO at Pipex Wireless. "This will be a groundbreaking telecommunications project, the first commercial deployment of WiMAX in the UK, which will launch a new generation of personal broadband services for our customers."   He continues, "We required an advanced solution with a record of successful installations and AXIOSS was the most effective at helping Pipex Wireless achieve this goal."  

"Communications providers such as Pipex Wireless are all now looking to automate the assembly of existing components in their architecture, so that time-to-market for new products can be measured in minutes rather than months," said Gareth Senior, CEO of Axiom Systems. "As a service creation platform that takes a modular approach in itself, AXIOSS is uniquely placed to help companies like Pipex Wireless achieve a rapid return on their investment and adopt a framework that enables them to take advantage of the product opportunities presented by the latest emerging technologies."  

Pipex Wireless will be speaking with Axiom Systems on the 6th November 2007 at the TM Forum Management World Americas conference in Dallas.

Elisa, a leading Finnish communications service company, has announced the launch of its Windows Live Messenger mobile service provided by Colibria. The service enables over 2.2m subscribers to chat instantly with friends and colleagues whether via mobile handset or PC.
 
The new Windows Live Messenger service fuses the feature-rich experience of internet IM with the intimate, engaging nature of mobile. Colibria's end-to-end Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) solution supports an intuitive, personal experience built on its award-winning server and client technology. The immediate and expressive nature of MIM with dialogue history and emoticons allows for a richer, more community focused messaging experience.
 
Mikko Mattinen, Head of Content Services at Elisa commented, "Mobilising IM users and encouraging a new community of messenger users is key to our position as a leading innovator in this market. We are happy to start co-operation with Colibria and trust their technology."
 
Keith Gibson, CEO at Colibria commented, "Providing a dynamic and intuitive platform for Elisa to bring together PC IM users and mobile subscribers will create a superior community messaging experience for customers. In addition to enabling the best possible user experience, the new MIM service provides the opportunity to drive ARPU with increased data usage and additional services."
 
The Windows Live Messenger solution from Colibria will be enhanced with its Subscription Server and Download Server. The Subscription Server supports the operator's marketing campaigns and multiple subscription charging models while the Download Manager enables the creation of push and pull models for downloads and upgrades of each device's client software.

Nokia and Enpocket have announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Nokia to acquire Enpocket. Enpocket is a specialist in mobile advertising, providing technology and services that allow brands to plan, create, execute, measure and optimize mobile advertising campaigns around the world.

By acquiring Enpocket, Nokia says it will accelerate the scaling of its mobile advertising business, leveraging Enpocket's platform and strong partnerships with advertisers, publishers and operators. In addition to key assets, through this transaction Nokia is gaining a team with strong expertise in global mobile advertising across disciplines.

"Nokia has already announced its intention to be a leading company in consumer Internet services and we believe that mobile advertising will be an important element in monetizing those services for our customers and partners. Enpocket's mature leading edge platform and people expertise are a strong fit with Nokia existing capabilities in the mobile advertising market," said Tero Ojanpera, Chief Technology Officer, Nokia. "This acquisition is a game changing move to bring the reach and depth of Nokia to organize the market across the world, and make it easier for an ecosystem to develop."

Enpocket is a privately-owned company, established in 2001 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, US. The technology that drives the Enpocket platform is a mobile advertising campaign management and delivery system distinguished by advanced consumer insight, targeting, and measurement. The platform can deliver mobile advertising across multiple formats including SMS, MMS, mobile Internet advertising, and video.

"Effective interactive advertising on the mobile device can create tremendous value for the mobile industry while bringing new Internet services to people around the world," said Enpocket President and Chief Executive Officer, Mike Baker. "Enpocket and Nokia are combining to provide the leadership needed to define, build and standardize globally the business of mobile advertising so that brands can easily and efficiently engage consumers on their personal devices."

The agreement is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2007.