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According to a new report from Juniper Research, consumer demand for mobile money transfer services will see users exceed 500 million globally by 2014, principally in developing countries.

Juniper's new report - ‘Mobile Money Transfer & Remittances: Markets, Forecasts & Strategies 2009-2014' -  also suggests, however, that the many new mobile money services being announced will face political, regulatory or commercial challenges as they bring their services to market. 

Howard Wilcox, Senior Analyst at Juniper Research and lead author, explained: "Every country has different regulatory structures, and its own set of local market conditions that service operators need to plan around. Nonetheless, we see this as a growth market because of the ubiquity and convenience of mobiles which offer realistic prospects of financial service access for those without traditional banking services."

According to Juniper, in developing world economies often only a small percentage of the population has a bank account or a credit card. A larger percentage, however, have a mobile phone or access to one. The reality is that far more people in countries that are underbanked will have used a mobile phone than will have used an ATM or visited a bank branch.

Further findings from the Juniper Research Mobile Money Transfer report include:

  • Sophisticated mobile financial services such as loans and savings accounts can add to the attractiveness of mobile money services, and help to reduce mobile operator churn
  • Africa & Middle East, Far East & China and the Indian Sub Continent will be the leading regions for national mobile money transfer services in 2014

In the framework of their long-standing strategic co-operation Cyta and STE have agreed, during an official high-level bilateral meeting, to upgrade UGARIT submarine cable system between Cyprus and Syria, providing the capability for multiple 10 Gbps connections. This upgrade is to be performed in conjunction with similar upgrades on CADMOS and BERYTAR submarine cable systems, together forming a high-capacity resilient ring between Syria, Cyprus and Lebanon.

The two sides have also confirmed their willingness to proceed with the planning and construction of a new high-capacity submarine cable system between Cyprus and Syria, ALASIYA. The new system will be in a position to restore the existing UGARIT system between Cyprus-Syria and to provide a high-quality alternative route between the two countries. In addition, it will form a bridge between cable systems accessing and transiting Syria from the East and ALEXANDROS cable subsystem landing in Cyprus. Cyta is the sole owner of ALEXANDROS subsystem implemented via Telecom Egypt's TEN submarine cable system between Egypt and France, and is expected to be put in operation early next year.

The Cyta team was headed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors Mr Stathis Kittis and CEO Mr Photis Savvides. The STE team was headed by Eng. Nazem Bahsas, Director General. Cyta and STE teams were received by HE the Minister of Telecommunications & Technology Dr. Imad Sabouni in the presence of the Deputy Minister and Chairman of STE Board Dr Ahmad Basesl Alkheshi, who have expressed their support for the outcome of the meeting, thereby demonstrating the willingness of STE to enhance its co-operation with Cyta.

The Cyta-STE high-level bilateral meeting has fostered a new partnership between the two countries and Cyta and STE in particular, that will enhance the strategic role of Cyprus through Cyta, as a major cable hub in the Eastern Mediterranean, and facilitate STE's strategic goal to strengthen its position in the international telecommunications landscape.  

TTK today disclosed a consolidated income for the group of 11.8 billion Russian roubles (US$400m) for its second quarter in 2009, representing a three percent increase on the same period for 2008 (11.5bn roubles).  Of this, income from the provision of telecommunications services accounted for 9.983bn roubles, up 23 percent from Q208 (8.13bn roubles).

This change in the revenue structure is attributed to a decreased amount of construction and engineering services related to additional network rollout to meet specific customer requirements.

In the second quarter, TTK says it applied considerable focus to the continued development of its long distance telephony services; by the end of quarter, TTK says it had more than 7,000 corporate clients, which it currently provides with long distance call (LDC) services at an Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of 9,000 roubles (US$300).  TTK's LDC customer base increased by more than 15 percent each month of the quarter, with voice traffic reaching 150m minutes per month by the end of the period.

The end of the second quarter also sees TTK continuing to deliver on its strategic retail services development plan, with the company providing broadband internet access to more than 6,000 multi-apartment buildings in 43 cities across the Russian Federation, and accounting for 32,000 households.  Average ARPU amongst these users is 630 roubles or US$21.4.

The TTK group of companies consists of the head company in Moscow and 18 regional branches across the Russian Federation.  The income of the head company in Q209 was 10.5bn roubles, 13 percent higher than in Q208, of which 9.1bn roubles was earned through the provision of telecommunications services, surpassing the Q208 result by 21 percent.

Comarch, a global provider of comprehensive solutions for the telecommunications industry, will be showcasing its portfolio for broadband providers at the Supercomm show, 21st - 23rd October, 2009, McCormick Place, Chicago.

In today's marketplace, broadband providers are encountering increasing competition from mobile operators, while facing a scattered IT landscape. In order to assist providers with winning new customers and solidifying current relationships, as well as providing innovative products and services with a minimized production time, Comarch will exhibit its assortment of compact and low-cost pre-configured solutions, including Comarch Convergent Billing, Comarch Next-Generation Service Management, Comarch Next-Generation Service Assurance, Comarch Process-Driven Inventory and Comarch 3arts - a compact BSS/OSS/CRM solution. Priding itself on its exceptional flexibility, which is highly valued by its customers, Comarch's mission is to become a true business partner for its clients, one who not only simplifies but also maintains clients' tools and applications.

Comarch's team of consultants will be present at the show to speak with attendees regarding their current business needs and to assist them in finding a corresponding Comarch solution. In addition, Krzysztof Kwiatkowski, one of Comarch's product managers, responsible for developing the road map definition, will be present at the show to showcase Comarch's offerings and capabilities. Mr. Kwiatkowski, along with other company representatives will discuss and demonstrate exactly how Comarch is striving to anticipate and meet the future needs of broadband providers, including the vision for altering the company's portfolio to meet shifting demands.

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) today published its latest GSM/3G Market Update. Amongst the many facts and key milestones reported this month, GSA has confirmed that 300 WCDMA networks have been commercially launched in 126 countries. WCDMA has achieved approaching 75% market share of commercial 3G networks with an estimated 410+ million subscriptions.

GSA says that 95% of WCDMA networks have enabled HSPA, with HSPA mobile broadband services now commercially available on 283 networks in 119 countries. There are an estimated 150+ million HSPA subscribers worldwide says GSA, with more than half of commercial HSPA networks are capable of peak downlink data speeds of 7.2 Mbps or higher.

190 suppliers have launched 1,739 HSPA devices in the market. 54 operators have committed to HSPA Evolution (HSPA+) including 26 HSPA+ networks commercially launched in 19 countries (25 networks support peak downlink data speed of 21 Mbps, and one network supports 28 Mbps).

HSUPA is commercially available on 92 networks, says GSA.

At least 39 operators have committed to LTE deployments in 19 countries, with up to 14 LTE networks are expected to be commercially launched by the end of 2010. LTE is rapidly establishing itself as the single global standard, securing and driving even higher economies of scale and importantly, simplifying roaming, says GSA.

The number of GSM and WCDMA-HSPA subscriptions is estimated to have passed 4 billion worldwide during September 2009, achieving another milestone for the mobile industry. It means that the GSM/WCDMA-HSPA family of systems has gained almost 90% market share of all mobile technologies globally, and continues to gain. The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) together total over 1.31 billion subscriptions.

The survey also found that spectrum re-farming in the 900 MHz band has established a strong momentum. Eleven UMTS900 HSPA networks are commercially launched worldwide, supported by 190 user devices launched in the market.

GSA also says that political debate on the Digital Dividend has entered the mainstream in most regions of the world. An increasing number of governments have committed to using Digital Dividend spectrum for mobile broadband services, or have initiated consultations on future spectrum use.

Sabio, the specialist contact centre systems integrator, has produced a new White Paper that helps outline a forward roadmap for organisations moving towards a next generation, SIP-enabled multi-vendor contact centre environment.

The White Paper, titled "Evolving towards a next generation customer service approach with Avaya Aura", details how Unified Communications platforms, such as Avaya Aura, are now ideally placed to help businesses optimise their investment in existing PBX systems. Sabio believes it is particularly relevant for the significant number of UK Nortel Meridian and Symposium users who need to understand how their current PBX platforms could operate within a broader, enterprise-wide environment using Avaya Aura.

"Now that Nortel - subject to all the relevant court approvals - has selected Avaya as the successful bidder for the Nortel Enterprise Solutions business, there's obviously going to be a period of uncertainty among customers as they establish where this acquisition will leave them," commented Sabio Director, Adam Faulkner. "We think now is an excellent time for Nortel users to start to research the broader Avaya landscape. That's why we asked our Principal Solutions Consultant, Stuart Dorman, to write a paper that looks particularly at the likely impact of the new Avaya Aura business communications platform, and details specifically how organisations can use the Avaya Aura SIP architecture to optimise their existing contact centre hardware investments.

"As the leading Avaya Platinum BusinessPartner focused on the contact centre, Sabio is ideally positioned to brief Nortel customers on the wider Avaya environment. Over the coming months we'll be introducing a series of transitioning and consulting services to help Nortel users leverage their current investment, and also make the best use of any Avaya migration offers as they become available," added Adam.

Sabio has a proven track record in designing and delivering complex contact centre solutions and applications for Avaya customers. Avaya Aura offers the ability to provide flexible SIP routing across a range of platforms - including Nortel and other PBX systems - ensuring that organisations can support their existing investment in legacy systems using cost-effective SIP gateways. Sabio believes that the new architecture has the potential to help businesses lower their telephony costs significantly by integrating and simplifying existing infrastructure, combining existing PBXs and other communications systems - regardless of vendor - into a cohesive, centrally-managed communications network.

Organisations wanting to download a copy of Sabio's White Paper should visit: http://www.sabio.co.uk/white-paper-avaya-aura.html

In the framework of their long-standing strategic co-operation Cyta and OGERO have agreed, during an official high-level bilateral meeting, to upgrade CADMOS submarine cable system between Cyprus and Lebanon, providing the capability for multiple 10 Gbps connections. This upgrade is to be performed in conjunction with similar upgrades on UGARIT and BERYTAR submarine cable systems, together forming a high-capacity resilient ring between Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus.

The two sides have also confirmed their willingness to proceed with the planning and construction of a new high-capacity submarine cable system between Cyprus and Lebanon. The new system will be in a position to restore the existing CADMOS system between Cyprus - Lebanon, providing a high-quality alternative route between the two countries, and forming a bridge between IMEWE cable system landing in Lebanon and ALEXANDROS cable subsystem landing in Cyprus. OGERO is a co-owner of the IMEWE system and Cyta is the sole owner of ALEXANDROS subsystem implemented via Telecom Egypt's TEN submarine cable system between Egypt and France, both systems expected to be put in operation early next year.

The Cyta team was headed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors Mr Stathis Kittis and CEO Mr Photis Savvides. The OGERO team was headed by Dr Abdul Youssef CEO and Chairman, and Mr Alain Bassil, Member of the Board of Directors. On the conclusion of the high-level bilateral meeting, Cyta and OGERO teams were received by the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Mr. Fouad Siniora, who has expressed his support for the outcome of the meeting, thereby demonstrating Lebanon's willingness to enhance its co-operation in the field of international telecommunications with Cyprus, and Cyta in particular. 

The Cyta - OGERO high-level bilateral meeting has strengthened the traditional relations between Cyta and OGERO and established a new basis for their strategic co-operation in jointly offering a protected high capacity route in the Mediterranean, thus assuring their role as major regional telecommunications hubs.

Students and teachers at 44 primary and secondary schools across Kirklees, a metropolitan borough of West Yorkshire, are getting faster, more reliable access to the internet and e-learning tools thanks to a major network upgrade from ntl:Telewest Business, part of the Virgin Media Group.

As a result of the upgrade, the next generation network will provide primary and secondary school pupils with faster connections to online resources for lessons and homework via the Kirklees Grid for Learning (KGfL) and the Kirklees Collegiate for Learning (KC4L), regional virtual learning environments. The network will also provide more resilient links to access JANET, the UK's education and research network.

With technology playing a central role in today's education system and an increasing  number of online resources now available, Kirklees Council recognised the need for a more robust and reliable network. The ntl:Telewest Business network  is enabling bandwidth increases for primary schools from between 2 and 4 Megabits-per-second (Mbps) to 10 Mbps.

"For schools to get the most out of these services, we knew that the right supporting infrastructure had to be in place. ntl:Telewest Business collaborated closely with us to help design an innovative and flexible solution that met our requirements," said Debbie Hall,  Connect IT Programme Manager at Kirklees Council. "Since the Wide Area Network (WAN) went live, we've received less support calls from schools and the service has proved extremely reliable."

"Technology is no longer a nice to have for schools, it lies at the heart of the way that the digital generation learns and the way teachers teach," said Dave Alderson, public sector specialist at ntl:Telewest Business. "It also provides the foundations for the way schools operate as administration, human resources and finance tools are now electronic. Schools and service providers need to work closely together to ensure teachers and children have a vibrant and innovative education environment that encourages creativity and promotes learning. Our work with Kirklees Council has achieved this."

ntl:Telewest Business' Metro Ethernet Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides secure, high-speed, any-to-any connectivity across a town, city or region, making it the ideal solution for Kirklees, which at 157 square miles is the third largest metropolitan district in the UK. In the future, the network may be rolled out to more schools in the region.

Ipercast, a European specialist in multimedia content management and delivery for the Web and mobile devices, today announced the acquisition of the technology and production assets of 3G Factory, a company specialised in deploying and operating mobile multimedia services applied to 3G video telephony.

A specialist in its technological field since its creation in 2005 in Lyon, France, 3G Factory is said to be a leading provider of video calling services in France and one of the key European players in the market. With an 'extensive' catalogue of applications, 3G Factory anticipated the rise in demand for mobile video services from operators and, looking beyond, from Internet businesses at large with the advent of multimedia convergence.
 
With the integration of 3G Factory, Ipercast says it strengthens its capability in the mobile content delivery market. The whole 3G Factory team, including its two founders Dante Tota and Thierry Barnier, will now work under the Ipercast umbrella. In the short-term, their main task will be to integrate Ipercast's mobile streaming offer and 3G Factory's 3G video telephony offer into a single multimedia platform that will cater for the full mobile multimedia spectrum - 3G mobile streaming, 3G video telephony and Web 2.0 services.
 
With the new platform, Ipercast says it has a strong strategic position in the mobile video market, positioning itself as the "facilitating agent" to accompany media operations, publishers, mobile marketing agencies and mobile Internet/messaging companies as they deploy their 3G video applications in Europe.
 
In a separate announcement, Ipercast announced that it has enhanced its UK presence with the opening of a new office and the appointment of Marina Sirotkin as UK Country Manager. The move follows installation of a network Point of Presence (PoP) in England during 2007 which has been connected to Ipercast's global fibre optic network to provide its customers with a more efficient delivery service for the past two years.

Established in 2001 and headquartered in Paris, Ipercast has developed a comprehensive service offering covering all areas of multi-media content streaming and web caching services designed to help businesses improve the delivery of their content on the Web. Ipercast delivers its services through its own CDN (Content Delivery Network). The Ipercast network's core fibre optic backbone alone spans over 6,000 miles and the network includes many thousands of servers located all over Europe, the United States, Canada and Asia.
 
Marina Sirotkin, Country Manager, Ipercast commented: "Ipercast has developed a unique solution for management of the complete digital media eco-system including back end content distribution and front end content management - right the way through to content monitisation and security. Our technology enables customers to a save significant amount of money through Meta-Caching, as well as offering the ability to optimise and manage content delivery to web and mobile devices. Our latest investment in the UK means stronger relationships with our current UK-based customers including Orange and Universal Music whilst presenting significant opportunities to forge new partnerships with ISPs, telecommunications firms, content owners and the digital media industry."
 
Jean Michel Laveissière, CEO and Founder, Ipercast added: "Ipercast has a long history of innovation and has successfully doubled its revenue between 2006 and 2008 thanks to excellent service provision to our major customers including; Darty, Real Networks and the TF1 Group. We are committed to strengthening our footprint and capability in the UK."   

Ipercast services include the full range of secure streaming and caching solutions such as Video-on-Demand (VOD), intelligent CDN services, mobile streaming, front-end content management tools, Digital Rights Management (DRM), a User Generated Content (UGC) platform, advertising and legitimate Peer 2 Peer (P2P) solutions.  

Why did Fujitsu choose to move to an automated test bed for its NGN products?

It's a thankless task delivering broadband - like good plumbing, people only notice it when it goes wrong. The trouble with 99.9% reliable delivery is that people only remember the point one percent non-delivery - and it drives them mad.

Fujitsu Telecommunications' (FTEL) GeoStream Access Gateway Copper MultiService Access Node (CMSAN) does a lot better than that. It delivers comprehensive NGN services across prime-line POTS, Voice over IP, high speed broadband, ISDN Primary and Basic Rate, and IPTV  with far higher 'five nines' reliability, and a performance equivalent to legacy PSTN services.

But FTEL, as part of the worldwide Fujitsu Group, cannot rest on its laurels. If any unanticipated interference condition, or new equipment at the customer premises, should result in a drop in service reliability or performance, then Fujitsu's reputation could be at stake. To defend FTEL's name as a leading supplier of next generation telecommunications technology and services, their team must keep testing, testing testing...

To enable that, they needed a dedicated automatic DSL test bed. This would allow lengthy test cycles to run unattended, so that more tests could be run with less risk of human error. So they chose the services of a leading communications testing company - Spirent Communications - to provide a solution.

Spirent Communications, based in Sunnyvale, California, is a global provider of integrated performance analysis and service assurance systems that enable the development and deployment of next-generation networking technology such as Internet telephony, broadband services, 3G wireless, global navigation satellite systems, and network security equipment. The company's solutions are used by more than 1,700 customers in 30 countries, including manufacturers, service providers, enterprises and governments.

FTEL's CMSAN system
CMSAN is designed to serve thousands of xDSL and ISDN customers and is able to concentrate all the traffic into a single backhaul network. As the only multi-service platform field-proven to deliver all required NGN applications, it is a key part of BT's 21CN programme.

CSMAN consists of two main elements: a switch hub and racks of line cards.  The Switch Hub performs cell/packet traffic cross-connection, concentration and policing, as well as shaping to/from the line cards up to the backhaul interfaces, while each line card can provide 64 xDSL channels as well as ATM termination, a PPP intermediate agent and a range of traffic management features. All card options are interchangeable and can be hot-swapped, and the tests must address each of these options as well as pre-testing the performance of updated CPE and CO chipsets before they are launched. Variables to be addressed in the tests include: 
- Different customer premises equipment - to ensure the service is compatible with a range of equipment at the customer end, and to keep ahead of new products coming to market.
- The different noise and interference conditions that can arise on the DSL line and must be allowed for - notably the defined test standards TR-67 (for ADSL) and TR-100 (for ADSL 2 and ADSL2+).

The Spirent Test Bed
Flexibility was a key factor in the design of the test bed - being able not only run standard test conditions but also to define new test scripts embracing a wide range of variables and conditions. Fully automated testing was another factor - so that lengthy tests could be run in background mode or unattended, and the results be consolidated into user-friendly reports. 
Spirent created a test bed that connects any selected line card via a switch matrix to either a .4mm andor a .5mm wire DSL line simulator,  defining variable loop lengths to within 50 metres. Specified noise profiles can then be generated and injected into the line while the switch matrix also links to any of 16 different DSL modems currently being evaluated.

The test script is programmed via a simple graphical interface and allows the user to specify the channel, the modem, line type and noise conditions, and a series of standard power up and data forwarding tests - that are then run automatically. Finally, the test results are consolidated into a user-defined spreadsheet report.

The benefits
The FTEL team used to spend a lot of time running lengthy manual tests that now can run automatically and unattended out of hours or in background mode while they get on with other tasks.

The test bed is kept busy as it is used in different ways and at different stages - including regression testing existing configurations as well as for development tests. In addition it is used to provide a rapid response to issues raised by customers - replicating their usage environment to see if the issue can be repeated and analyzed under test conditions. Tests are  automatically out of hours, so the team can return from a weekend with a wealth of data already generated.

According to Paul Norris, Hardware Platforms Engineer at FTEL, "The advantage now is that we can get through a lot more testing quickly and identify potential problems much sooner. The test bed is working very well".

MACH, a provider of solutions for the creation and operation of the mobile communications supply chain, today unveiled a new strategy which, it says, will see the company extend its reach throughout the wireless roaming and messaging markets, and paves the way for further expansion into the mobile content and applications market.

At the GSMA BARG#74 event, which MACH is hosting in Copenhagen, the company announced its intention to play a key role in the execution and analysis of every transaction in the new "connected" world, allowing Communications Service Providers (CSP's) to build, deliver and optimise customer-centric services and applications.

"To be in every transaction in a connected world, MACH will be the leading global provider in all three areas of the mobile value chain - interconnectivity, interoperability and settlement," said Lodewijk Cornelis, MACH CMO. "We are already well-positioned within each of these areas. Our SMS services already interconnect operators. Our Link2One hub, Inter-Standard Roaming services and Data Clearing business enable interoperability, and our market-leading Financial Clearing services provide settlement solutions for operators all over the world."

MACH says its new strategy is founded on the 'industry's first' hub-based mobile communications exchange, called HUB-XC.  HUB-XC is a suite of integrated hubbing applications and managed services that connect any provider of any mobile application over any technology to build, deliver and monetise customer-centric mobile business models. It automates high volume transactions flows to accelerate time to market, to increase service reliability and to reduce operational costs. According to MACH, its hubbing applications are at the heart of the mobile value chain, providing many-to-many hub-based interconnectivity, interoperability and settlement services through a single connection, they can capture and analyse transactions data to provide real-time insight that drives business optimisation.

"The hub-based infrastructure announced by MACH today will play a key role in supporting existing business models and in advancing the pace of innovation in the mobile market," said Angela Stainthorpe, Senior Analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media. "By pulling together managed service solutions that allow diverse providers to connect, do business together and settle inter-operator liabilities, MACH is building on its core expertise to enhance both the efficiency of the market and the experience of the mobile consumer."

HUB-XC offers hubbing applications for business processes including roaming, SMS traffic, business intelligence, partner management, testing, clearing and settlement, revenue assurance, and network interconnect.

"MACH's long and deep experience enabling mobile operator businesses forms the foundation for the strategy we have announced today," said Guy Dubois, President and CEO, MACH. "For the very first time, our hub-based exchange offers providers of all kinds a conduit through which to execute innovative, customer-focused business ideas - eliminating complexity so that they can get on with delighting their customers."

"It is a conduit which unites providers so that they can build new services and bring them quickly to market," Mr Dubois went on to say. "It connects providers so that they can deliver those services to optimise the customer experience. And it empowers providers to seek out new business opportunities, to realise those opportunities, and to protect revenue and maximise profitability. Today marks the beginning of a very exciting future for MACH and for the mobile market."

Vodafone Roaming Services and United Hubbing, providers of roaming solutions for the global telecommunications industry, announced today they have entered into a Roaming Hub peering agreement to extend global roaming services.

Under the plans, network operators connected to both Roaming Hubs will be able to roam on all other network operators on the two Hubs.  The agreement is said to enable connected operators to accelerate the provision of world wide roaming services to both their pre-paid and post-paid customers.

Dave Smithwhite, Director of Vodafone Roaming Services said: "Vodafone Roaming Services aims to empower our business customers by helping them to deliver easy and worry free communications anywhere in the world. This peering relationship is a significant step forward in achieving this ambition and demonstrates that the Roaming Hubbing concept, as defined by the GSMA, can accelerate the expansion of global roaming footprints benefiting customers and leading to an increase in roaming minutes".

Sergey Rykov, CEO of United Hubbing, welcomed the agreement by saying: "This great combination will allow network operators to quickly and cost effectively gain substantial additional coverage for their subscribers by joining the Hub and is an exciting opportunity for networks to expand their global footprint. Commercially, this is a great opportunity for networks to tap into new sources of revenue, in a cost effective way".

    

@eurocomms