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HD Platform Kft., Hungary's first provider of high definition services, launched its next generation HD platform roll-out, Hello HD, on May 1st using a conditional access system (CAS) from Conax. The Hello HD offering provides consumers throughout the entire country the option to choose value-added services via cable and satellite for the highest quality picture available in Hungary. Conax CAS7's state-of-the-art encryption technology provides Hello HD with the necessary security to protect its pay-for-content revenues.

Conditional access is strategic in securing pay-for-content models and the overall success of a revenue-generating digital broadcast operation. Together with partners such as ADB, Eutelsat, Osmosys, Harmonic and Samsung, Conax was selected by HD Platform Kft. to create a complete and secure high-end platform capable of delivering top quality services to a premium target group, using MPEG-2 and MPEG-4, cable and satellite broadcasting technology.

"The cooperation with our partners for this project has been highly successful," says Schmideg András, CEO, Hello Platform Kft. Finding the right partner to supply the proven, robust security technology, strong anti-piracy record and optimal flexibility necessary for Hello HD were our primary reasons for selecting a Conax conditional access solution to secure our core business."

Conax CAS7 core features include unlimited scalability and seamless integration with complimentary technologies to support a wider range of services and enhance a broadcasting platform's potential business benefits. Conax CAS7 is a key business enabler for operators seeking to maximize revenues, supporting a multitude of value-added services such as video-on-demand (VOD), Push VOD, IP television, mobile ordering, PVR and delivery to multiple channels or operators via satellite, cable and DTT.

"We are planning to add additional value-added services to increase our joint business potential, such as video-on-demand (VOD) and PushVOD, later this year. I believe that teaming up with Conax to provide smart card security for Hello HD was a perfect match for both parties." says Károly Vaczkó, Technical Director, Hello HD.

"Conax CAS7 complements Hello HD's ability to provide a unique offering including broadcasting of HD channels and subscription VOD services not earlier available in Hungary," says Geir Bjørndal, Sales & Marketing Director, Conax. "The cooperation with HD Platform Kft. strengthens our position in both Hungary and Eastern Europe, and the opportunity to further participate in the development of the satellite and cable markets in the region."

Telekom Austria has chosen Tribold to provide its centralized product catalog and management capability, a move that will centralize the disparate product catalogs currently in place at the communications services provider.  The new platform will allow for the creation of new products and services across product lines and feature configurable products and add-ons to allow Telekom Austria's marketing team to create customised service offerings.  The centralized product catalog will ensure operational savings and efficiencies and reduce the time to market for new services, says Tribold.

Tribold's Product Portfolio Manager suite will integrate fully into Telekom Austria's BSS/OSS applications, providing a single, comprehensive view of product information across Telekom Austria's service offerings and automating the process of product management end-to-end.

Helmut Leopold, managing director, Platform and Technology Management, Telekom Austria, commented: "A centralized catalog is essential in effective product management in the increasingly competitive world of communications.  Frequent and rapid new product introduction is central to retaining a competitive advantage, acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones.  The disparate nature of our existing product related information in different BSS/OSS systems was clearly having an impact on our ability to deliver new services quickly and cost-effectively.  Centralized product catalog plays one of the cornerstone roles in the transformation of our comprehensive BSS/OSS landscape." 

Mario Huterer, director, Marketing Wholesale and Platform Management, Telekom Austria, said:  "We undertook a thorough evaluation of the product management solutions and Tribold was better than other competing options in almost all of our evaluation criteria. This centralized product catalog gives us the possibility to structure our marketed products out of a very much reduced number of streamlined 'basic' products and to drastically optimise our production efficiency.  I'm happy that we've got a mature product life cycle management solution that will meet our immediate needs and support us in creating and capturing quickly new market opportunities."

Simon Muderack, COO of Tribold, added: "Communication service providers across the globe are recognizing that an integrated centralized product catalog is the foundation upon which to build effective and efficient product management.  Without a single view of product data across the business, a CSP is going to find that its competitors are bringing new, valuable services to market more quickly and, through that, offering improved products to existing subscribers and winning new customers.  We look forward to continuing to work with Telekom Austria to deliver substantial and quantifiable benefits in the areas of time to market and cost to market."

MERA Systems, industry-leading developer of tandem softswitches and session border controllers for VoIP, has announced it is sponsoring an upcoming live webinar at TMCnet titled "IPv6 in the World of VoIP: Crucial Upgrade or Major Technical Challenge".

TMC's webinar events feature live, interactive presentations covering relevant topics, and presented by top industry executives. Attendees watch and listen to the presentation as it happens over their computer, and have the opportunity to submit questions to the speaker in a real-time Q&A session. TMC has over 40 webinars scheduled for 2008, in addition to the Mera Systems presentation on May 20.

The MERA webinar will be presented by Oleg Goryunov Chief Marketing Officer, MERA Systems; Vitaly Potapov, Senior Sales Manager, MERA Systems;  and Erik Linask, Associate Editor at TMC.

Speakers will discuss the most burning issues of Internet Protocol version 6 transition and particularly how IPv6 affects VoIP networks.

"The recent US Federal mandate requiring all vendors to switch to an IPv6 platform has generated many questions, not only in the USA but in other countries" said Rich Tehrani, TMC's president "While IPv6 offers many advantages in the long term, there are some legitimate discussions needed about the many impacts this change will have on carriers' VoIP networks. That is why we are excited to be working with Mera Systems on their upcoming webinar," Tehrani continued. "The webinar will answer some of the many questions surrounding IPv6 while providing you with information to help find out how your own network will benefit from IPv6."

"Today's networks are not ready to leap to the new version right away, and IPv6 transition is seen as a serious technical issue that needs immediate attention," said Konstantin Nikashov, CEO of MERA Systems. "The two protocols will coexist for many years but the sooner VoIP service providers learn about IPv6 advantages the more efficient their networks will become in future. We are pleased to join forces with TMC to discuss this hot topic. "

The second European 2.6GHz spectrum auction concluded this week in Sweden and, with auctions coming up in other European countries, including the UK, Austria and the Netherlands, the outcome of the Swedish auction provides information on the price that operators will pay for 2.6GHz spectrum throughout Europe, says research specialist Analysys Mason.

The Swedish auction concluded at a price of EUR0.13/MHz/pop, with unpaired spectrum going for just below EUR0.04/MHz/pop and paired spectrum for EUR0.16/MHz/pop.

"Clearly prices fetched at the 2000/2001 European UMTS auctions, especially in the UK and Germany, are unlikely to be repeated. On the other hand, operators are reporting a rapid uptake of mobile broadband dongles, and new WiMAX players may be eager to enter the arena, suggesting that prices may still be substantial," says Bart-Jan Sweers, Strategy Consultant at Analysys Mason.

Despite being significantly below the UK and German UMTS auctions in 2000, the prices achived in the Swedish auction were considerably higher than the recent Norwegian 2.6GHz auction (EUR0.03/MHz/pop).

"Interestingly, the Swedish auction may be a more reliable indicator of prices in other upcoming European auctions than the Norwegian auction. The reason for this is that the competitive situation in Sweden, with four mobile players, is more representative of the situation in most European countries than the Norwegian two-player market," says Sweers. "Still, there are plenty of specifics in the Swedish situation that should lead to caution when using this auction result as a benchmark."

For example, taking the viewpoint of a bidder for paired spectrum in a country that adopts the CEPT band plan (2 ´ 70MHz of paired spectrum plus 50MHz of unpaired spectrum), two factors need to be taken into account when considering the Swedish outcome.

Firstly, just as in the Norwegian case, Sweden has a very low population density compared to most European countries. Consequently, it has a relatively low traffic density, leading to lower spectrum demand and hence lower prices. Secondly, later auctions may be affected by rising expectations in the industry regarding the uptake of mobile data and the anticipation of LTE approaching commercial availability.

Bidders for unpaired spectrum also need to factor out the effect of the PTS's decision to auction the unpaired spectrum in one block. This decreased the liquidity of the spectrum, and potentially decreased its value.

"Some European countries (e.g. the UK and the Netherlands) plan to deviate from the CEPT band plan by using a flexible band plan, in which the split between paired and unpaired spectrum is not fixed but varies according to demand at auction. In theory, this will enable a more efficient allocation of spectrum among FDD and TDD operators, and therefore could lower prices overall but at the same time could lead to higher prices for paired spectrum. The Swedish result suggests that competition between bidders for paired and unpaired spectrum will be minimal, given that the price fetched for unpaired spectrum was four times lower than for paired spectrum," says Sweers.

Having suggested that the Swedish auction may ultimately prove to be at the lower end of 2.6GHz auction prices, it is important to stress that operators should remain conservative in their assessments of spectrum value.

The upcoming 2.6GHz auctions are not the only way for operators to prepare for future demand, says Analysys Mason. Refarming of 2G spectrum, the digital dividend and general easing of spectrum restrictions improve the supply side of spectrum, while femtocells may well relieve any capacity issues. Operators should therefore carefully consider such alternative options when valuing 2.6GHz spectrum, it says.

The pay-TV market in Western Europe is generally considered to be mature, but the increasing deployment of IPTV services will see the market enjoy a modest rate of growth in the number of households subscribing to pay-TV services, according to the latest research published by Analysys Mason.

According to the Analysys Mason report, Pay TV in Western Europe: market sizings and forecasts 2005-2013, the number of households subscribing to pay-TV services will increase at a CAGR of 3.2% from 90.6 million in
2007 to 109.2 million by the end of 2013.

"The adoption of IPTV services will be driven by a combination of factors, including the proliferation of multi-play strategies; latent broadband growth; improving brand recognition,  broadening content offerings, and the general move towards digital TV services as the analogue TV signal is switched off in Western Europe," explains the report's author Richard Hadley.  "However, the growing popularity of IPTV among households will contribute to a slow down in pay-TV spend as these predominantly lower-value TV packages are increasingly bundled with telecoms services."

Key findings from the new report include:
- spend on pay-TV subscriptions, including expenditure on PPV/VoD
services, will grow at a CAGR of 4.5% from EUR21.5 billion in 2007 to EUR28.0 billion by 2013
- CATV will continue to be the most popular pay-TV platform,
accounting for 48% of Western European pay-TV households at 2013.
However, this figure represents a notable decline in market share, down from 58% at the end of 2007
- DTH will make up 29% of Western European pay-TV subscriptions in
2013, but will account for 54% of pay-TV spend, compared with 28% and 52%, respectively, in 2007
- IPTV will increase its share of the Western European pay-TV
households from 6% to 15% between 2007 and 2013. However, it will account for only 8% of pay-TV spend in Western Europe in 2013.

The report provides a detailed breakdown of pay-TV households and spend by service platform and subscription type in Western Europe as a whole, and for France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Nordic region, Spain and the UK, individually.

TM Forum's Management World 2008 is the global event for the management of Information, Communications and Entertainment services for an on-line World. With over 3000 attendees from 74 countries, an 30% representing CEO, CIO, CTO, VP and Director level status, Management World is the place to be!

Ascom invites you to visit it at our booth No. 58 at this important event from 18th May to 22th May (no Expo on 18th and 19th) in the Acropolis Centre in Nice, France.

During the exhibition Ascom will mainly present the following products and solutions:

a.. ARS over OSS/J a BMC Remedy ARS integration suite (Part of the first official Prosspero Solution Package, and nominee for the first TM Forum Excellence Award 2007 and 2008)
b.. Service Management (Workflow, Change Management, OSS/J)
c.. Mobile (Workforce Management) Solutions
d.. International Routing Management & Inter Carrier Billing
e.. Billing Verification & Validation
f.. Fraud Management
g.. Carrier Business Solutions
Ascom also invites you to attend the presentation by Gerd Höckelmann, our Head of Research and Development. Jointly with Carsten Hess (Vodafone Group) and Marian Kuffner (Sun Microsystems) he will present a case study under implementation at Vodafone showing the benefits in applying the OSS/J standard, SOA principles, mainstream IT standards and middleware (BPMN/BPEL, SOA ESB, etc.) along with Ascom's and Sun's field expertise.

TeliaSonera was one of the winners in the auction for 4G, the new generation mobile network in Sweden, which was concluded today. With the frequencies that TeliaSonera in Sweden has been awarded, the company says it will be able to build a next generation super-fast mobile broadband network, offering access speeds of more than 100 Mbps.

"We are naturally very pleased to receive this nationwide 4G license", says Håkan Dahlström, President of Mobility Services, TeliaSonera Sweden. "Above all, the 4G license is important for our customers, who will have access to even faster mobile broadband in the future."

The frequencies now received will enable TeliaSonera to build a mobile network that is more than 10 times faster than today's networks. The license received is not subject to any conditions regarding the timetable of the network build-out or population coverage in Sweden.

The license is valid for 15 years and the cost for 4 frequency blocks totaling 2 x 20 MHz in the 2.6 GHz band are SEK 563 million. The payment will be made to the Swedish Post and Telecom Agency in the second quarter of 2008.

Messaging specialist, Acision, has forecast mobile messaging revenues of US$165 billion globally by 2011, 200 per cent higher than previous industry predictions. Releasing the projection to coincide with the annual Global Messaging gathering in Cannes this week, the company has explained its optimism with a five-step action plan that operators are already embarking upon in pursuit of messaging revenues.

Since its inception fifteen years ago, mobile messaging has delivered a 6,000 per cent return on investment but the growth phase is not yet over, with markets such as India, North America and China seeing phenomenal traffic increases. Even within the more mature markets of Western Europe and South East Asia, messaging still has huge growth potential.

Acision believes that the following five steps have the capability to double messaging revenues for operators in the next four years:

    - Personalising the messaging experience with added
      functionality relevant to specific consumer and enterprise segments
    - Using partnerships and multi-play strategies to extend mobile
      messaging to the fixed environment using converged messaging
    - Subsidising mobile internet revenues through messaging
      integration with interactive web applications such as Facebook and eBay
    - Mobilising enterprise applications
    - Leveraging the mobile marketing opportunities offered by the
      reach of messaging platforms

Acision CEO Rory Buckley explains Acision's optimism; "SMS has achieved more than anyone imagined it would fifteen years ago, but speculation that messaging has reached its peak ignores much of today's market dynamic.
Peer-to-peer communication is showing no sign of stalling or declining, and already in South East Asia operators' efforts to differentiate their services by adding features such as out-of-office and blacklisting are proving popular with subscribers. However, it is with application-to-peer and peer-to-application messaging that the wider opportunities lie. We believe that capitalising on the opportunities afforded by web applications as Facebook (essentially an enormous web-based multimedia messaging environment) and effectively harnessing mobile marketing will enable operators to double mobile messaging revenues by 2011."

Mobile and Wireless Group has today announced its entrance into the European market and unveiled their latest Windows Mobile handsets.

MWg is a Singapore-based company, recently established by the former management of O2 Asia, which develops and markets converged devices for the global market. Since its birth in November 2007, the company says it has consolidated its presence in Asia and the Middle East as well as expanded into Europe and the Americas.

"We see ourselves in a unique position of having inherited the premium heritage of a global brand and the agility and flexibility of a start-up." said Mark Billington, CEO of MWg. "As a start-up, we naturally work with like-minded and innovative partners to offer an engaging experience for our customers. Our devices are designed to complement the consumers' lifestyle needs."

"Windows Mobile is about creating mobile connections, helping people do more with work play or anything in between no matter where they are", said Alfredo Patron, EMEA Regional Director, Microsoft Mobile Communications Business. "We are excited to see MWg expand their innovative Windows Mobile phone offerings to Europe and look forward to compelling new hardware designs and device specs that will expand the possibilities of what people can do while on the go."

Trustive, a provider of WiFi hotspots in Europe, has today announced that it has signed a partnership with Azur Helicoptere, the leading French helicopter airline on the Riviera.  The partnership will allow Azur Helicoptere to provide its customers with WiFi access at premium locations across the French Riviera.

Visitors to the upcoming Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Formula One Grand Prix will be the first to be able to take advantage of Azur Helicoptere's ‘Riviera WiFi Pass', allowing them to easily roam across more than 130 Trustive hotspots from Monaco to St Tropez.  The hotspots are located at premium locations including airports, the Film Festival centre, cafes, restaurants and hotels in the region.

Trustive currently covers more than 30,000 WiFi hotspots worldwide across 70 different networks, including most European airports and many other prime locations. Trustive offers both monthly subscription and pre-paid services and is meeting user demand to provide seamless access to a global network of hotspots.

Christian VanGhelder, managing director of Trustive, said: "With the upcoming Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix, there is going to be a huge influx of visitors requiring mobile internet access.  Our ‘Riviera WiFi Pass' will alleviate the hassle of getting online and provide customers with seamless access to a number of premium hotspots during their stay."  

Michel de Rohozinski, president of Azur Helicoptere, said: "Offering WiFi access enables us to provide an added value service to our customers.  Many of our customers require internet access during their visits, so by partnering with Trustive we can now offer them both a great flying and WiFi experience."

Huawei Technologies has installed a 2,700km long optical NG-WDM (Next Generation-Wavelength Division Multiplexing) backbone network for Magyar Telekom in Hungary in three months.

The backbone, which covers all of the country including the capital city Budapest, is based on Huawei's OTN/ASON-based WDM platform and enables Magyar Telekom to migrate from providing traditional voice-oriented services through its previous DWDM system to providing next generation data-oriented services to its customers.

The network is claimed to provide high-reliability, efficient bandwidth provisioning and long-distance optical transmission capabilities, reducing the CAPEX and OPEX for the operator, while increasing transmission bandwidth to 10Gb/s per channel, which can be quadrupled to 40Gb/s per channel. This means that Magyar Telekom will be able to provide fast, next-generation services, such as 3G mobile, IPTV and HDTV to its customers in the future, claims Huawei.

"I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Huawei," said Thomas Bertram, CTO of Magyar Telekom, fixed network. "I am confident that the application of this new technology will enable us to offer our customers the next-generation services that they desire."

"I am delighted to say that we have managed to deploy a NG-WDM network for Magyar Telekom," added Wan Zhi, managing director of Huawei Hungary. "As a company, we remain committed to helping Magyar Telekom provide its customers with the best services both now and in the future."

According to new a research report from the analyst firm Berg Insight, the number of cellular network connections used for machine-to-machine communication will grow from 37.5 million connections in 2007 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37.9 percent to 186 million connections in 2012. GSM and legacy technologies currently dominate the market and accounted for about 71 percent of the total number of active connections at the end of 2007. CDMA was the second largest technology with a strong foothold in North America and parts of Asia-Pacific. WCDMA has so far primarily been adopted for machine-to-machine applications in Japan. Elsewhere the adoption is held back by high component costs and limited network coverage, says Berg.
It also says it has found that machine-to-machine applications today in general correspond to between 1-3 percent of the reported number of mobile subscribers in developed markets. In Sweden and Finland the share is closer to 10 percent due to extensive use of GPRS for meter reading applications. However, Berg Insight forecasts that vehicle telematics applications will dominate the machine-to-machine cellular market in most parts of the world and account for more than half of all network connections in 2012.

"Safety and security concerns - manifested either in public regulations or customer preferences - is tipping the balance in favour of massive rollouts of telematics applications by the global automotive industry", says Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst, Berg Insight. "In North America, OnStar already gives peace of mind to millions of drivers. Europe is well on the way to introducing the eCall automatic emergency call system and several Latin American countries are considering mandatory tracking devices on all new cars to combat epidemic vehicle crime."


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