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QIComm, a B2B service provider, has extended a range of prepaid services using the DIGITALK Multiservice Platform. QIComm has been offering prepaid services to its customers using the DIGITALK solution since 2004, and has today announced a new prepaid mobile service for low cost international calls to one of its customers, SIM2Dial.

The DIGITALK Prepaid Mobile solution offers consumers the ability to make cheap international calls easily from their mobile phone without the need to dial access numbers and PINs. The service may also include the option to access additional service features from their mobile phone e.g. to request and top up the balance. At the same time, the service may provide users with the option to use an available fixed line service with a standard two-stage call.

Saj Nabhan of QIComm commented "We have had a very strong B2B prepaid calling card customer base for many years and aimed to replicate the convenience to mobile users, which we have succeeded in."

Mark Ashdown, Sales and Marketing Director at DIGITALK went on to add "Prepaid Mobile services are our most recent addition to portfolio of service-ready applications and we have already seen several innovative deployments on of the service. What QIComm have seized, is the ability to rapidly respond to changing trends and customer needs without restrictive hardware and operational costs."

Dumfries and Galloway Scottish local authority have contracted THUS, a Cable & Wireless business, to deploy a mobile solution for more than 2000 staff across the council. The solution, which includes BlackBerrys, mobile voice and data and 3G connectivity, will enable more effective communication and improve customer responsiveness.

The range of mobile voice, broadband data devices and connectivity will improve efficiency of workers in remote locations, allowing two-way communication between mobile devices and core corporate networks and applications resulting in reductions in travel time and costs, meaning more time is spent on core activities. Not only will this provide cost savings, tangibly in terms of lower bills, but it will also allow the council to deploy resources more effectively in the delivery of the full range of services to the public.

Dumfries & Galloway in the South West of Scotland is one of the country's most rural council areas with both the terrain, and the disparate and remote location of towns and villages, presenting a challenge operationally to the council staff and to any telecoms provider supporting them. This is reflected in the communication infrastructure required by the Council and THUS's mobile solution addresses these needs. 

Derek Shaw, Head of IT at Dumfries & Galloway Council said, "The relationship we have with THUS has evolved and grown due to effective and responsive account management throughout the deployment of the Pathfinder South network. Over and above the highly competitive pricing and the quality of the connectivity and devices deployed, this mobile solution from THUS delivers a robust platform to meet the needs of an effective flexible and remote workforce. THUS listened to what we wanted and is providing a 21st century communication solution which will benefit our workforce and, most importantly, one that will improve the quality of services we deliver to the people of Dumfries & Galloway".

Jesper Lauridsen, Managing Director at THUS, a Cable&Wireless business, said: "Increasingly, workers and employers are seeing the benefits of remote working. For a council covering rural locations, remote working technology enables a level of service that is equivalent to that expected in less remote locations while at the same time improving efficiency and productivity of staff. THUS continues to demonstrate that it offers clients a quality of service and a commitment to genuinely working with them on a personal level that delivers added value. We look forward to further developing our relationship with Dumfries & Galloway Council."  

Workforce mobilisation solutions from THUS offer customers a one-stop shop for their fixed and mobile networks, applications, hardware, support and installation. The combined product portfolio allows customers to take an integrated approach to mobile job dispatch and service, mobile messaging and vehicle tracking. The flexibility offered through anywhere, anytime connectivity to the corporate network and systems, is something that is on the wish list of an increasing number of employees. The mobile workforce solution from THUS will deliver what staff want, but also what employers need in terms of cost savings, improved productivity and organisational efficiencies.

On Demand Group, a subsidiary of on-demand television leader SeaChange International, has extended its content aggregation and management services to the growing European, Middle East and Africa mobile video market with the acquisition of Mobix Interactive. 

Mobix is a provider of mobile video and TV services to some of the region's largest carriers, including O2 and 3 in the U.K. and Vodacom in South Africa.  Using its proprietary mobile video and TV platform, Adrenalin, and core media services, Mobix enables the deployment of premium and ad-enabled mobile video and TV services.

ODG delivers end-to-end on-demand service creation, content aggregation and management for television companies including Virgin Media, Telekom Austria, OTE and TTNET, while Mobix's managed service approach brings al business model within the mobile media industry. The acquisition agreement, completed last week, is said to make ODG the only full-service partner to enable managed network owners to tap into both markets.  Further, ODG intends to bring to mobile carriers its content rights management, distribution and retail marketing capabilities, which are reflected by the company's large stable of relationships with top-tier studios such as Paramount, NBC Universal and Warner Bros., as well as major record labels, television networks and regional content producers.

ODG's London-based, full service television centre and European headquarters will integrate Mobix's nearby operations and workforce.  ODG managing director and SeaChange senior vice president Tony Kelly is heading the strategic expansion.   

"SeaChange, ODG and Mobix customers are setting their paths to supply high-quality video experiences ubiquitously and we've responded with the perfect dovetailing of complementary solutions and expertise from a single partner to capture the new markets," said Kelly.  "We're particularly excited about the proven and unique advantage that Mobix technologies provide in integrated advertising, and the seamless support of hundreds of handset models and disparate mobile media formats, thereby ensuring a deep and rich selection of on-demand content for any subscriber."

Kelly added, "The overall positive synergies of the companies' products and services are extensive, putting ODG in a uniquely advantageous competitive position to support its customers across video platforms."

Damian Mulcock, CEO of Mobix Interactive, said, "I am very excited by the future and the prospect of working within SeaChange and ODG, as I firmly believe that three-screen convergence is now upon us and is a key requirement for all of our customers. It's a compelling solution for consumers to interact seamlessly across a number of environments which is why we believe so strongly in the combination."

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan estimates that the mobile social and content advertising market revenues should reach 2.18 billion euro in 2012 in Europe. Mobile content advertising, ad-based music, video, TV and games will represent the major source of revenues.

"To achieve high revenues, the mobile advertising industry will need to successfully confront three main challenges. What should be concentrated on is: continuously enhance the mobile user experience through high-speed connectivity and high-quality user interfaces; use ads as a transparent value to consumers' mobile experience without being intrusive; and educate the advertising industry on how to exploit the advertising power of mobile devices," notes Saverio Romeo, Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst. "If these challenges are not adequately faced, the advertising market will not grow strongly as the mobile industry expects."

From the mobile industry point of view, advertising is a potential revenue stream that can counterbalance the continuous decrease of revenues from voice and SMS services. However, advertisers and agencies, the sources of the advertising revenue stream, are, only now, gradually learning the use of the mobile device as an advertising medium.

"Agencies' budgets rarely include a specific allocation for mobile communications," states Romeo. "An intense synergy between the mobile and the advertising industries is crucial to transform today's enthusiasm into strong revenues in the future."

The report - Ad-based Content and Communications: A Lucrative Avenue for the Mobile Industry - is part of the Mobile & Wireless Growth Partnership Services Programme, which also includes research in the following markets:European Mobile Premium Content Markets, Mobile Messaging Markets in Europe and Exploring the European Market for Mobile Smart Devices.

MERA Systems, a leading developer of VoIP softswitches and session border controllers for IP communication management, announces the grant of exclusive rights to support and distribution of MERA Calling Card Application to FVN Alliance Inc., an international systems integrator.

MERA Calling Card application is an IP telephony software system that allows carriers and service providers to deliver both prepaid and postpaid calling card services and implement complex IVR scenarios. The MCCA features a range of technology benefits, which include transcoding, flexible IVR and support for both SIP and H.323 protocols. The system modular architecture allows a geographically dispersed deployment of servers to provide for a balanced payload distribution.

MERA Systems launched the MCCA project in 2004 and FVN Alliance joined it at an early development stage, using the new product as an integral part of its solutions offered to calling card and broadband telephony service providers.

FVN Alliance Inc. focuses on development and implementation of telecom projects and offers unique knowledge and expertise in systems integration and VoIP network operation.

MERA's high-performance application with a distributed architecture that readily scales up to cope up with 5,000 concurrent calls, meets every requirement of FVN Alliance for a calling card system.

"With the high scalability and reliability of the deployed system, MCCA is an optimal product for our customers", says Valery Donchenko, President of FVN Alliance Inc. "Delivering a full-fledged calling card service, MCCA is one of the core elements in an operator's network."

Mobile messaging operator TynTec has been selected by new mobile newspaper distribution platform, GoMobi!, to provide international SMS sending capabilities.  Under the deal, GoMobi! will use TynTec's SMS to send ‘WAP push' links to its new subscribers.

GoMobi! is a new international mobile newspaper platform based in Poland.  The company has a handset application that enables its newspaper publisher partners to distribute a mobile version of their title to consumers. 

In order to receive the GoMobi! newspaper reader application users simply submit their mobile phone number to receive an link to download the product.  These SMS WAP push links will be sent via TynTec's SMS infrastructure.

GoMobi! selected TynTec for its SMS infrastructure.  Through its own SMS-C and deep level (SS7) connectivity partnerships with operators worldwide, TynTec says it can provide a 'unique level of quality' in SMS, with guaranteed, high speed delivery.  In addition, TynTec says it can offer connectivity into more than 160 countries, enabling GoMobi! to offer its product to mobile users around the world.

Tomasz Gruszka, CEO of GoMobi!, said: "SMS is central to our distribution mechanism - we need to be sure that when a customer gives us their mobile number they receive their download link quickly and reliably, wherever they are in the world. 

"In a business like ours you only have one chance with a customer - if you let them down somewhere in the distribution process then you've probably lost them for ever.  This means that reliable international SMS is a hugely important part of our business and its something only TynTec can provide."

Michael Kowalzik, CEO, TynTec, said: "GoMobi! is a fantastic mobile Internet proposition and this project shows how SMS can be a central part of this type of business.  Whilst content and services can be consumed through a web browser, SMS is still a vital part of the value chain for most mobile web propositions. 

"Whether its for alerting, marketing or, as in this case, for product distribution, SMS can be a hugely powerful tool for facilitating interaction between businesses and consumers."

A new study from Juniper Research has found that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) will need to fundamentally change their mobile content business models by emphasizing ‘shared value creation' in order to avoid becoming ‘dumb pipes' in the future. Only if they can transform their businesses into ‘smart pipe' service providers, can they significantly increase their income from mobile content - estimated at $23bn in 2008, rising to $52bn by 2013 according to Juniper.

The global mobile content market will be worth $167bn by 2013, shared among players such as MNOs, Content Providers and third parties such as content aggregators and billing companies.

Currently MNOs take a significant percentage of the revenues generated by Content Providers when they use their networks. This has resulted in high prices for end-users and consumers being deterred from accessing mobile content on a wider scale. This unattractive situation has become a disincentive for MNOs and Content Providers alike, with some Content Providers attempting to bypass the MNOs or exit the sector altogether. Clearly, the situation needs to change. But it will be down to the MNOs to make the first moves, says the report.

The new report examines the three main scenarios facing the operators and the sector as a whole - the ‘Dumb Pipe', ‘Smart Pipe', and ‘On-Portal' routes. Modelling the market in such a way is said to have enabled Juniper to create a detailed forecasting and modeling tool to examine how a future market may develop under different conditions.

According to report author Andrew Kitson, "One single scenario will not win out since different business and revenue models have to co-exist in the mobile content market. Players will adopt multiple approaches that best fit their markets. Crucially, if MNOs are to benefit financially, they need to move away from their Dumb Pipe roots to the Smart Pipe model, though they will clash with the content providers which already dominate the Smart Pipe. A compromise needs to be found."

If MNOs can change their ARPU-driven mindsets to focus on value creation and support for their partners, they can swiftly make the change.

Other findings include

  • Under the Smart Pipe model, MNOs will not see their share of the overall mobile content market rise appreciably, but revenue will rise in value by 125% over the 2008-2013 period.
  • Under the On-Portal scenario, content providers will see their share of the market rise from 54% in 2008 to 68% by 2013, providing they can secure more attractive terms from MNOs.
  • Third parties - especially aggregators and billing service providers - will come under pressure from larger players (such as MNOs) seeking to achieve horizontal integration and economies of scale.

The report provides coverage and forecasts from a global perspective as well as from a regional viewpoint by looking at how the market will grow or wane under the On-Portal, Dumb Pipe, and Smart Pipe scenarios around the world.

Nielsen Online, a service of The Nielsen Company, has revealed the first insights from the launch of its Mobile Media View - how mobile Internet is growing, the age of consumers using it as well as how the most popular mobile websites perform on the PC-based Internet.
 
According to Nielsenrom Q2 to Q3 2008, the number of Britons using mobile Internet increased by 25% (from 5.8 to 7.3 million) compared to 3% for PC-based Internet (34.3 to 35.3 million Britons). The mobile Internet audience has a higher concentration of younger users than PC-based Internet; 25% of mobile Internet consumers are aged 15-24 compared to 16% for PC-based consumers. Whilst, 23% of the PC-based Internet population is 55+, only 12% of the mobile Internet audience is.

Kent Ferguson, Nielsen Senior Analyst: "The first insights from the launch of Mobile Media View confirm two things - that when it comes to the Internet, the huge growth is now happening through the mobile platform and that the mobile online audience is younger than its PC-based counterpart.
 
"The fact that almost seven and a half million Britons now access the web through their phone shows that mobile Internet is fast becoming a viable way for advertisers and publishers to reach important demographic groups."

Whilst Google Search is the most popular PC-based Internet site, on mobile Internet BBC News is the most popular, being visited by 24% of British mobile Internet consumers (1.7 million people).
 
Of the most popular mobile sites, BBC Weather (21% mobile, 17% PC-based) Sky Sports (11% mobile, 8% PC-based) and Gmail (9% mobile, 7% PC-based) have greater reach on mobile Internet than they do on the PC-based Internet.


Of the most popular mobile sites, Google Search (23% mobile, 79% PC-based) and eBay (13% mobile, 43% PC-based) have the greatest reach differential between mobile and PC-based Internet.

Ferguson concludes, "It's interesting to see that BBC Weather, Sky Sports and Gmail are amongst the few sites that have a greater reach on the mobile Internet than the PC-based Internet. This highlights the advantage of mobile when it comes to immediacy; people often need fast, instant access to weather or sports news and mobile can obviously satisfy this, wherever they are.
 
"The fact that the most weather, sports, news and email sites make up the majority of leading mobile sites show that mobile Internet is mainly about functionality and need at the moment as opposed to the more entertainment and ecommerce-focused makeup of the leading PC-based sites."

Intec, a global provider of business and operations support systems, has today announced that it has deployed three significant billing installations with VimpelCom subsidiaries operating in Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Armenia; Ukrainian Radio Systems (CJSC), Unitel in Uzbekistan and ArmenTel in Armenia.

Last year, Intec signed a strategic group license agreement with VimpelCom, Russia's leading GSM communications provider. The agreement increased Intec's position as the number one supplier of intercarrier billing solutions in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).  The VimpelCom Group serves 240 million subscribers, making it one of the most important wireless providers in the world. Geographically, it covers 78 regions of Russia with 136.5 million people, representing 94% of Russia's population. Aside from Russia, VimpelCom offers mobile services in Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Georgia.

Gary Bunney, Intec COO commented, "No other technology offers the same level of capability and scalability in interconnect billing as ours, giving these key VimpelCom subsidiaries the ability they require to optimise every opportunity to expand their business. Best of all, Intec Interconnect is a future-proof system with the flexibility to handle any type of traffic, from simple voice calls to advanced next generation services. This ensures that Unitel, ArmenTel and Ukrainian Radio Systems, all three their respective market leaders, will be prepared to manage any type of new innovation that comes to market. These successful installations provide further proof of the effectiveness of our solutions, and enable us to create a stronger presence in one of the biggest mobile markets in Eastern Europe. "

"Intec has established a reputation for delivering solutions that are in a class of their own. They offer superior flexibility and scalability to adjust to the billing demands of today's mobile providers" concluded Evgeny Saburov, Head of Intercarrier Traffic and Billing for VimpelCom. "It was easy to implement Intec Interconnect across our network, the cost was minimal and the solution has already proven its reliability and performance.  Thanks to Intec's software, we now have close to 100 % accuracy in our intercarrier billing operations, which is already delivering us incremental revenue."

Revenues from Mobile TV services will generate USD1.5 billion in 2008, rising to over USD100 billion in 2012, according to research by Informa Telecoms & Media. At present the revenues are said to be predominantly from subscription fees but this is expected to change over time as the advertising business model starts to gain prominence. Informa believes that by 2013 nearly half of the revenues will come from advertising.

According to Informa, in the next two years, growth is anticipated to be strongest in the pioneering markets of South Korea and Japan before the rest of the world starts to catch up around 2010/2011. Despite isolated success stories in places like Italy and Austria, Europe is not expected to see rapid growth in Mobile TV until 2009. The USA is expected to take even longer as confusion over standards prevents growth. Eventually, concerted momentum behind ATSC-MH is expected to boost the market for mobile TV in North America.

"As the owner of the marketing and billing relationship with subscribers, operators are in the best position to offer mobile TV services", comments Shailendra Pandey, Senior Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. "It seems that a good approach for mobile operators will be to start with a free-to-air business model which also involves minimum capital investment. Once user uptake of services starts to grow, operators can then think of developing new revenue models that can be established on top of the free-to-air content platform", adds Pandey.

Most in the industry believed that Mobile TV was going to reach the mass market a lot earlier than has been the case. A number of market and technology barriers have conspired to delay the widespread adoption of mobile TV by consumers and growth in many regions is still fragile.

Research from Informa Telecoms & Media shows that the future of Mobile TV will not be just broadcast or 3G but will be a mix of technologies matched to a mix of audience experiences.

Global broadband subscribers have now reached the significant milestone of 400 million, according to a report prepared for the Broadband Forum by industry analysts, Point Topic.  This major industry achievement also coincides with a landmark for the Broadband Forum, which is now entering its 15th year.

This latest statistic is representative of the technological developments and increasing geographical spread of broadband over the last few years.  Since its inception, broadband has morphed from simple internet access into triple play service delivery - and broadband is now an integral part of our lives, both at home and at work.

In 1998, there were just 57,200 broadband subscribers globally.  Only a year later, this number had increased by nearly six times over to 280,890 subscribers worldwide.  DSL quickly became the most popular choice of delivery.  The past ten years has seen a 600,000 percent increase in the number of subscribers - 300 percent in the last 5 years alone - which now tops the 400 million mark. 

Over the same period, access technology evolved to include fiber, which began in 2002 with 18,000 subscribers.  Since then, fiber now delivers broadband services to over 45 million people across the globe.

Oliver Johnson, Senior Analyst with Point Topic, explains, "When Point Topic started researching broadband in 1998 it was still mostly in the technical trial stage.  Getting to 400 million subscribers in the ten years since then, has been one of the fastest rollouts of a major new technology the world has ever seen.  Now we're in the early days of a new era, which is going to be much more about quality than quantity.

"The emphasis is now going to shift to providing high bandwidth, high quality broadband, that can deliver multiple, steady, pin-sharp images for applications.  To do this, we've got to have advanced global standards for end-to-end delivery of broadband data streams.  This is exactly what the Broadband Forum, working with other standards organizations, is doing, and we believe its role is going to be even more important in the next decade than it has been in the last ten years," adds Oliver.

The Forum journey has mirrored these industry developments over the past 15 years, evolving from the ADSL Forum, to the DSL Forum, and finally to the Broadband Forum, each time expanding its scope and remit to fit the needs of the industry.  During this time its 200 plus member companies have worked together to issue 100 Technical Reports (TRs), with the aim of helping the industry develop the full potential of broadband in the areas of network management and control, access development, network architectures,  interoperability, and digital home management. 

Planning for the future, focusing on IPTV, fiber access, Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) and Energy Efficiency (EE) are all high on the agenda at the Forum's last quarterly meeting of 2008, which is being held this week in Hawaii.  The technical working groups - Architecture and Transport; Operations and Network Management; Testing and Interoperability; and BroadbandHome - are meeting to celebrate the Forum's entry into its 15th year - and to plan for the next 15.  James D. LaClair, VP of Network Operations at Hawaiian Telcom, opened the meeting with a keynote address.

George Dobrowski, President and Chairman of the Broadband Forum, explains, "The last 14 years have seen immense changes in the broadband industry, from the initial development stages, to the explosion of different access technologies and sophisticated applications we see today.  For an industry consortium to be entering its 15th year in such an ever changing and diverse industry, and to recognize the role we have played along the way to this historic milestone of 400 million global broadband subscribers, is a great achievement."

George continues, "The Forum's longevity is testament to its continued relevance to the industry and its response to industry needs, together with the continued commitment of its members whom I would like to thank for their support.  We are excited about the next 15 years and we commit to continue to drive the global standards and specifications that are imperative to the successful development and deployment of broadband."

Momail has launched its mobile email in three more countries - Spain, Switzerland and Ireland. Momail has also incorporated Spanish language support, continuing its strategy of local language support in countries where launched.

After completing the simple set-up process, users in these new countries can get all of their emails, including Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and other ISP mail, to their mobiles. The Momail user only has to select which email accounts that automatically will be transferred to the mobile. Before the email reaches the mobile, an immediate and automatic optimization plus a spam and virus control is performed.     

With Momail's "Dynamic Sender" feature all replies on received emails are automatically sent from the email address to which the original email was sent. All the emails collected from the different accounts will arrive into one Momail "Superinbox" on the mobile. With Momail there is no limit of the number of email accounts that can be aggregated into the mobile.

"The Momail service continues to grow and we are happy to welcome three new country family members. Consumers in these countries can now enjoy mobile email the way it should be. We are also proud to announce that the Momail service now is available on more than 1200 different mobiles, making it possible for almost anyone to get access to their emails, where ever they are", says Kenneth Lundin, CEO of Momail.

    

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