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3 Group announces new pricing policy, cutting the cost of international roaming on the 3 networks

Move said to be in line with European Commission campaign

3 Group has today announced the introduction of “3 Like Home”, a pricing policy that will permit 3 customers to travel abroad and use other 3 Group networks for a price similar to that on their home 3 network.

When 3 customers travel to another country in which 3 also operates, customers will be able to make and receive calls using the visited 3 network and be charged as if they were still using their home network.  The same principle will apply to SMS, MMS, video calling and data services.  The visited 3 network can be considered a virtual extension of their home network and can therefore be used as if the customer were not roaming at all. 
 
“3 Like Home” is said to reflect the 3 Group’s strategy of giving customers fair and transparent treatment and attractive pricing, and will help to increase its base of customers that travel abroad.  It will also allow many customers to make wider use of the recently launched X-Series product suite which offers mobile broadband for a flat rate fee.
 
“3 Like Home” is consistent with the European Commission’s campaign to reduce the cost of mobile calls when roaming in Europe.
 
Christian Salbaing, Managing Director of European Telecommunications at 3 Group said: “The launch of the ‘3 Like Home’ scheme will significantly benefit our customers as they travel between the 3 Group’s  networks. It underlines our commitment to fair treatment and reasonable pricing for all our customers.
 
“While 3 customers will continue to face higher charges if they roam onto a non-3 network, this is because of the high wholesale charges required by many of 3’s roaming partners.  We hope the European Commission will be successful in significantly reducing these wholesale charges, which will allow price reductions for customers roaming between different operators within Europe.”
 
“3 Like Home” is being introduced progressively for customers of 3 in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden and the UK. The rollout will be tailored to specific market conditions in each 3 country and exact pricing details will become available as implemented.

Telef

Opera Software has announced that Telefónica Móviles de España has selected Opera Mini and Opera Mobile to power the full Internet for its new Web service "Navega". With Opera, Telefónica's Navega subscribers can access to the full Internet from their mobile phones, and the Navega-branded Opera Mini and Opera Mobile Web browsers will launch on Nokia N70, Sony Ericsson K610i, Sony Ericsson Z610i and Sony Ericsson K800, with several more to come.

Opera Mini provides Telefónica's Navega subscribers with all their favorite Web sites while on the move. This means that more customers will now have access to the data they want, such as local Spanish search, community sites, news, webmail or even movie schedules, right out of their pockets.
 
"The Internet continues to play a larger role in people's lives, and operators, such as Telefónica Móviles de España, are recognizing the demand for the full Internet on mobile phones," says Kai Leppänen, VP Mobile, Opera Software. "It's been proven time and again that browser-based Internet services significantly drive higher non-voice ARPU as well as increases operator end user satisfaction. Opera Mini represents a convenient, easy-to-use and cost effective data service that drives data traffic with lower OPEX and CAPEX costs."
 
"This major partnership with Telefónica Móviles de España is an outstanding testament to the quality of Opera's market leading mobile browsing technologies. More significantly, this announcement demonstrates our ongoing commitment to meet and exceed the expectations of our tier one operator customers globally," said Mr. Leppänen.

Ruckus Wireless extends European operations with three new appointments


Ruckus Wireless, a specialist in next-generation smart Wi-Fi technology, today announced the appointment of John McGann, formerly BT account manager at Juniper Networks, to sales director for Northern Europe.  Robert Ranson also joins the company as senior technical support engineer, bringing with him over twenty years experience at a range of companies, including Alteon WebSystems, Phoenix IT Services and Alcatel Data Networks.  In addition, Edward Felmer has been appointed director of systems engineering, Northern Europe and joins Ruckus Wireless from Array Networks, where he was technical director for Northern Europe. 

With the appointments, Ruckus Wireless has extended its European sales and technical operations, enabling the company to effectively support the increasing number of major service providers rolling out its MediaFlex system, as well as continue to grow business and strike new deals throughout the region.  McGann, Ranson and Felmer will be based in the UK.

McGann will be responsible for developing and maintaining new service provider customers in Northern Europe.  With over 20 years of sales experience, gained at companies including Juniper Networks, Unisphere Networks and Cicso Systems, he brings with him extensive knowledge of opening up and growing new customers.  He will report to Mark Mitchell, VP sales, EMEA.  Ranson's role will be to offer technical support to Ruckus' EMEA customers and resellers.  He will report to Kyung Yi, vice president of customer advocacy for Ruckus Wireless.  Felmer will look after systems engineering, working alongside McGann and reporting to Scott Reeves, technical director, EMEA.

"These three appointments represent an important stage of the development of our EMEA operations," said Selina Lo, CEO and president of Ruckus Wireless.  "IPTV is already well established in this region, but we expect uptake to explode over the next year as more and more telecoms providers prepare to launch commercial services.  With a stronger EMEA team, we'll be able to meet new customer demand, support existing customers, and ultimately bring location free TV to consumers across Europe."

Ruckus Wireless is currently engaged in trials with over 30 broadband providers throughout Europe and its technology is currently in deployment with major providers in Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland and Slovenia, all of which are using the Ruckus system to reliably deliver broadcast quality IPTV over a Wi-Fi network throughout the home. 

"It's an exciting time to be joining a company that is so far ahead of the curve in terms of IPTV delivery in the home," explained McGann.  "There's massive growth potential in this market and it's great to have the opportunity to be involved and really change the way consumers experience TV and digital entertainment."

"Ruckus' technology is one of a kind - no other company can offer consumers the option of reliably streaming broadcast quality IPTV over Wi-Fi in the home," added Ranson.  "I'm looking forward to being at the forefront of Wi-Fi development and having the opportunity to work in such an innovative environment."

"Most service providers don't recognise that the last 100 feet is going to be a stumbling block in terms of IPTV success," said Felmer.  "I'm confident however, that with my knowledge of the Northern European market, I'll be in a good position to enable Ruckus' customers to put new controls in the home so that they can reliably enable and improve service quality into the home over standard Wi-Fi."

BITE Group selects Prime Carrier software

Major carrier in Baltics uses ‘On-Demand’ software solution to support its business

Prime Carrier, a leader in the provision of ‘On Demand’ solutions for the global telecommunications and media industries, has today announced that BITE Group, a fast growing telecommunications group in Lithuania and Latvia, has selected Prime Carrier’s MOST products to support its business processes, in the areas of Dial Code and Rate Management, Routing, Switch and Sales Management.

This solution will be delivered through Prime Carrier’s ‘On Demand’ hosted environment, thus minimizing the operational & IT impact and accelerating the delivery of the solution’s benefits.

“Prime Carrier’s solution delivers to us a unique value-added solution to our business allowing us to continue our commitment to provide our customers with more options for international communications, at the same time protecting against the incorrect mapping of rates to destinations and loss making routes.” commented Jolita Kurtinaitiene˙, Interconnect & Roaming Manager, BITE Group. “The advantage of having the advanced capabilities of the Prime Carrier product delivered as a ‘On Demand’ hosted service means that there is no additional cost of installation, commission, hardware or on-going maintenance – we only see the benefits that the Prime Carrier software is delivering to our bottom line in the form of net margin improvement and resource efficiency. The speed of implementation was impressive with go-live about 2 weeks from placing the order.”

“Prime Carrier is delighted to add BITE Group to its rapidly growing list of customers. We are pleased that they have seen the significance and the benefit our software solution can deliver to carriers, from Dial Code and Rate Management, Routing, integration with their switch and support for the entire Sales process.” stated Roy Shelton, VP Global Sales, Prime Carrier. “We believe that benefits of our market leading products are magnified when delivered as an ‘On Demand’ hosted service that significantly reduces implementation timescales and risks and delivers organizations accelerated margin benefits and saving significant manpower. Real-Time traffic processing functionality provided in the MOST product suite, where UDRs are collected from the network and processed to provide timely quality, cost, quality and margin metrics, gives organizations literally up-to-minute business information.”

GoIP International accelerates global expansion supported by Via Venture Partners

Nordic venture fund, Via Venture Partners, has invested EUR 2 million (DKK 15 million) in GoIP International ApS and joined its board of directors. Denmark-based GoIP International offers a turnkey Voice over IP (VoIP) system enabling Internet Service Providers, ITSPs and Mobile Virtual Network Operators very quickly to launch a palette of Voice over IP services to their customers.

After years of development, GoIP International was founded in 2004 by Ivan Solvason and Stig Skaugvoll, who has held a number of executive positions in the international telecom industry. Ivan Solvason is furthermore the man behind the world's first "phone in" Interactive Television Game Show "Hugo", known to more than 400 million people in 43 countries. In 2002, Mr. Solvason sold his interactive game company to a Danish VC after having reached accumulated worldwide revenues of over EUR 100 million, preparing his next venture into the world of IP telephony.

After the investment, GoIP International is owned by its founders, employees and Via Venture Partners. The venture investment will mainly be spent on strengthening the international sales force and further software development of the VoIP system. GoIP already has implemented and supports VoIP systems in Denmark and the U.S. and with a strong pipeline across Europe, GoIP International expects to see significant revenue growth over the coming years.

"GoIP's flexible VoIP system matches the market's need for fast implementation, competitive pricing and limited upfront investments. GoIP operates in a growing market and is managed by a very experienced and skilled team, and we therefore expect a lot from this company. GoIP's solution has great international potential which we would like to exploit," says Via Venture Partners Principal Jakob Rybak-Andersen, who will join the board of GoIP. "GoIP fits very well into our strategy with focus on investments in software and communication, and we are ready to provide additional growth funds if GoIP and the industry develop as expected," adds Rybak-Andersen.

Ivan Solvason, CEO, GoIP International says: "We are very glad that Via Venture Partners has joined the company. With a strong financial partner like VIA and the expertise it provides, we are convinced that we will meet our aggressive targets over the coming years."

T-Mobile Germany signs deal with Tekelec to upgrade its signaling network

EAGLE 5 Sigtran solution reduces costs and increases efficiencies

Tekelec, a leading developer of high-performance network applications for next-generation fixed, mobile and packet networks, has announced a project to upgrade the signaling network of T-Mobile Germany.

The upgrade introduces Sigtran—Internet protocol (IP)-based signaling system 7 (SS7) signaling, enabling T-Mobile to make a smooth transition to IP-based platforms and services.  The deployment, which began in October 2006, will be completed by the middle of 2007.

Tekelec's EAGLE 5 Integrated Signaling System (ISS) supports a variety of applications in addition to SS7 signaling, including gateway functionality, number portability and integrated data acquisition.

“We selected Tekelec because of its proven track record in delivering reliable, high-quality signaling solutions,” said Uwe Janßen, vice president of Core Network Engineering at T-Mobile.  “Call control and security are essential elements in ensuring that the service we offer our customers is of the highest quality. The EAGLE 5 platform will enable us to do this in the most cost-effective and efficient way.”

Introducing Sigtran (SS7oIP) into the signaling network is the “stepping stone” for migrating to session initiation protocol (SIP) signaling in an IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) architecture. The introduction of standards-based Sigtran, which is fully compatible with the existing SS7 signaling network, increases signaling capacity at a lower cost. The underlying IP infrastructure can be leveraged for the parallel evolution from SS7 to SIP—as SIP signaling is able to traverse over the same quality of service-enabled IP network.

“We are delighted to announce this project with T-Mobile Germany,” said Hans-Hermann Gessler, Tekelec vice president of sales in Central and Eastern Europe. “This implementation demonstrates our increased traction with tier one operators, and we are confident that this will be the first of a number of new contracts we win with T-Mobile.”

Wolrad Claudy, Tekelec's managing director in the Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia region, added, “By addressing the challenges not only for tomorrow but also for today, T-Mobile will remain at the forefront of the communications industry in a period of major technological change.”

COLT selects Comverse

Comverse, a  leading supplier of software and systems enabling network-based multimedia enhanced communication and billing services, has announced that COLT, a leading European provider of business communications, has selected Comverse Kenan FX to support its postpaid billing for data, voice and managed services for its European customers. COLT services are based on its advanced European infrastructure, which includes 32 city networks across 13 countries with last-mile fiber to over 10,000 buildings and 15 COLT owned data centres.

“The new Comverse billing system is a key part of our strategy to standardize our business processes and operate more efficiently,” said Tony Bates, Chief Administrative and Financial Officer at COLT. “It will enable us to bring new products and services to market more quickly and ultimately, enhance the COLT customer experience.”
“With this major step in our overall systems strategy, we will save significant operating expenses by streamlining and consolidating our back-office systems,” added Rob Wharton, COLT’s Chief Information Officer. Kenan FX combines world-class billing with order fulfillment and customer management applications for efficient customer lifecycle management. New advanced technology, such as advanced rating and collection applications, improves the efficiency of billing operations while decreasing the development and integration costs of new services. Kenan FX is part of Comverse’s billing portfolio, which enables service providers and e-businesses worldwide to increase market agility and improve operational efficiency. Comverse's converged, real-time and postpaid billing solutions support multiple services, networks and payment types, allowing businesses to build revenues and loyalty by providing customers with choice, convenience and control.
“We are excited to help COLT enhance its customer experience,” said Gadi Bahat, President, Comverse EMEA. “Comverse’s Kenan FX is well-suited for the enterprise market, particularly multinationals, with its advanced features for multi-currencies, multi-languages and multi-taxation issues. Together with the Comverse professional services team, COLT will be able to rapidly launch bundled offerings and optimize its services, billing and customer management capabilities quickly and effectively throughout its numerous networks across Europe.”

Aircom selected by mobilkom austria group for OPTIMA network performance solution

Aircom International has announced that the mobilkom austria group has selected its software solution OPTIMA. The deployment consists of the GERAN and UTRAN performance management solution for Austria as well as the performance data-warehouse solution for the companies of the mobilkom austria group – mobilkom austria (Austria), Mobiltel (Bulgaria), Vipnet (Croatia) and Si.mobil (Slovenia).

OPTIMA is part of Aircom’s ENTERPRISE suite, a single platform software solution for Network OSS, Planning & Optimisation. Consisting of 12 integrated software modules covering Radio Planning & Design Optimisation, Transmission & Core Planning, Configuration & Performance Management and Service Assurance, it is the most complete solution available to the telecoms industry.

mobilkom austria uses OPTIMA as an advanced network performance management and monitoring tool, providing a fully integrated application with the ability to provide network performance data for multi vendor and multi technology networks. The performance data-warehouse solution allows the mobilkom austria group to do group-wide network reporting and facilitates technical benchmarking of the networks. OPTIMA presents raw and aggregated date with an intuitive GUI, tracks element performance at every level near real-time, automatically alerts engineers to network anomalies or network degradations and offers a reporting engine for rapid distribution of key data to key players.

 “One of the key challenges for today's mobile network engineers is ensuring performance on networks that are constantly evolving as they expand and as new technologies are deployed”, Georg Löffelmann, Project Manager of mobilkom austria group services, explains. “OPTIMA was chosen for reasons of flexibility and interoperability with our existing heterogeneous Mobile Network Equipment and Operations Support Systems. With OPTIMA we are convinced that we can maintain the network’s integrity and performance to ensure constant end-user satisfaction.”

GTS Datanet is third GTS Central Europe subsidiary to select Thomson

Thomson’s Cirpack Softswitches used by Hungary’s leading alternative operator for new double play and IP Centrex services

Thomson today announced that GTS Datanet has chosen its Cirpack VoIP switching platforms for the launch of new double play and IP Centrex services. GTS Datanet is the largest alternative operator in Hungary and a subsidiary of GTS Central Europe, the biggest alternative operator in the region. GTS Datanet is the third member of the GTS Central Europe group to select Thomson’s Cirpack solutions, following announcements by GTS Telecom in Romania and GTS Nextra in Slovakia in 2004 and 2005.

GTS Central Europe is a provider of integrated telecommunications solutions with its own fibre based network in Central Europe. Its Hungarian subsidiary is preparing to launch a range of double play and IP Centrex packages for its operator and business clients with the intention of attracting 20,000 new customers within 12 months of launch. To fulfil these requirements, GTS Datanet needed a carrier grade platform capable of offering full class 5 voice features.
 
Geza Szathmari, CEO of GTS Datanet explained “Our strategy is to increase market share with all customers - residential, business and carrier clients, by offering attractively priced advanced telephony solutions. We needed a softswitch able to provide all traditional TDM functions as well as new IP based services. Thomson’s Cirpack softswitches and gateways offer all the necessary services at a competitive price level. In addition, the Cirpack solution is a trusted reference for us due to its experience with GTS Telecom in Romania and GTS Nextra in Slovakia, supporting deployment of VoIP services with IP Centrex.”
 
Jean-Pierre Dumolard, General Manager of Thomson’s Network Intelligence Solutions commented “Broadband subscription in Hungary is rising rapidly, with a 60% increase registered by the Hungarian telecoms regulator the National Communications Authority (NHH) in 2005 alone.  This combined with the recent introduction of telephony unbundling legislation in 2004 means there is a high potential for Voice over Broadband services in Hungary. With GTS Datanet we are entering Hungary with the country’s largest alternative operator and are confident we can replicate the success enjoyed with GTS CE’s Slovakian and Romanian subsidiaries”.

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