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Ericsson sole supplier of Pannon's WCDMA/HSPA network in Hungary

Ericsson  has announced a new contract in Hungary. Telenor-affiliated operator Pannon has signed an agreement for the expansion of its mobile network, including deployment, integration and support services.

Pannon, which has more than 3 million subscribers, is Hungary's second-largest mobile operator. It recently reached an agreement with Ericsson to expand its WCDMA radio network, and deploy and integrate mobile broadband services using HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) technology.

With this contract, Ericsson maintains its position as sole supplier of Pannon's 3G radio access network and will support the operator in its continuing evolution towards advanced HSPA-based services.

Ove Fredheim, CEO of Pannon, says: "We have chosen to establish a long-term partnership with Ericsson to deliver advanced mobile broadband services to our customers. Ericsson's leadership in WCDMA and HSPA is a strategic advantage for Pannon."

As part of this new, two-year agreement, Ericsson will provide turnkey rollout of the new network, including supporting services.

Gábor Éry, President of Ericsson Hungary, says: "This is a strategic contract for Ericsson, further strengthening our cooperation with Telenor. The extended agreement with Pannon takes our partnership to the next level."

Orga Systems billing platform powers Kazakhstan's first mobile entertainment community

Kazakhstan's largest mobile operator GSM Kazakhstan (Kcell) has launched a new youth-orientated mobile service initiative using Orga Systems' real-time billing solution suite.

The new service - called VClub - is set-up, charged and managed by a powerful suite of real-time billing products provided by Orga Systems. The new community charging functionality was especially developed to meet Kcell's advanced requirements. It enables the operator to divide its prepaid subscriber base into dedicated groups. Group members receive special rates and discounts when communicating with each other.  

For its mobile entertainment club Kcell uses Orga Systems' OPSC Prepaid Billing System, complemented by the Orga Bonus Management System (OBMS), a flexible marketing tool for special promotion and customer loyalty campaigns, and the Orga Service Manager, enabling the administration and real-time charging of value-added services based on subscriptions.

The VClub is Kazakhstan's first mobile entertainment community and free to join for all subscribers to ActiV, Kcell's prepaid mobile brand. Members of the VClub will benefit from free and discounted mobile entertainment services and will be able to participate in exclusive campaigns, contests and lotteries offered by Kcell's promotional partners. Services will focus on music, film, technology and mobile entertainment.

The launch of the VClub community, enabled by Orga Systems‘ suite of billing soultions, is a landmark event in Kazakhstan mobile communications that will allow Kcell to attract new subscribers, reduce customer churn and lift ARPU.

Users fed up with receiving marketing spam from mobile service providers, claims new survey

Results of a GfK NOP survey commissioned by Pontis, a provider of Marketing Delivery Platforms, amongst 752 mobile phone users in the UK reveals a deep dissatisfaction amongst the public with the way that mobile service providers are currently marketing their voice and data services.  70% of mobile phone users consider the marketing offers they receive not to be relevant to them and 64% of these confess to being annoyed by them.  Just 11% of those surveyed had ever purchased an item, or signed up for a special promotion or bundle as a result of an online promotion or offer from their mobile service provider.

The survey highlights how mobile operators are failing to capture the imagination of the baby boomer generation, with 75% of 45-54 year olds and 78% of 55-64 year olds viewing the marketing offers they receive as irrelevant to them.  Surprisingly though, even teenagers and young adult are less than enamoured with the ability of the operators to promote services which might interest them: 57% of them feel that the services they are offered today are irrelevant.  Of all the respondents, this age group also declared itself to be the most irritated by receiving marketing spam, with a whopping 72% of 25-34 year olds who do not find offers relevant claiming to be annoyed by this practice.  However, within this same age group 47% of all mobile users are also willing to change operators to one that can provide them with marketing offers and services more tailored to their lifestyles.

Guy Talmi, senior marketing director at Pontis said, "These results are proof of the fact that the mass marketing approach most operators still take today is not working.  The findings represent both good and bad news for the service provider community: on one hand it shows that their inability to tailor services and content to the individual user's interests and situation is not only failing to attract new revenue streams but - even worse - it's alienating their customer base.  On the other hand, it clearly points to a major opportunity for those operators who can harness vital information about a user's interests and behaviour and offer them relevant services at the right time,, as a large number of users would be willing to change suppliers for just such a service."

Emma Mohr-McClune principal analyst for wireless services at industry analyst Current Analysis comments,, ""We can't keep burying our head in the sands on this issue. Today's spam-weary consumer is heartily sick of poorly-aimed and irrelevant campaigning. The 'one size fits all' promotion model is outdated. This report flags up a growing need for better tailored and personalised campaign techniques, and a higher level of commitment to customer micro-segmentation going forward."

Alcatel-Lucent deploys HSUPA solution for mobilkom austria in Austria

Alcatel-Lucent has today announced that mobilkom austria has deployed Alcatel-Lucent's HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access) solution in all Alcatel-Lucent NodeB's of its Austrian network.  This enables mobilkom austria to offer its customers mobile broadband service with an uplink of up to 1.4 Mbps, which is five to ten times faster than previously available and helps solidify Alcatel-Lucent's position as a major supplier of advanced mobile broadband technology.

mobilkom austria, a part of Telekom Austria Group in Vienna, Austria, is the leading mobile operator in Austria and follows the principle of always being on the leading edge of wireless technology.

HSUPA is designed to improve uplink transmission rates to reach peak speeds of 5.7 Mbps.  Alcatel-Lucent's HSUPA solution gives users continuous coverage on the move and allows them to upload large files such as presentations and videos easier and faster.  It  provides end-users with excellent quality for peer-to-peer interactive multi-media applications, such as voice and video over IP, file sharing, interactive gaming,  push-to see, video sharing.

Alcatel-Lucent implemented the rollout for mobilkom austria with its local partner Kapsch Carrier Com.

"Alcatel-Lucent has been chosen as supplier of HSUPA equipment for mobilkom austria because Alcatel-Lucent's technology is one of the most advanced on the market and has proven its reliability in a test phase in Graz," stated Ulrich Rokita, Head of Network Planning, mobilkom austria. "mobilkom austria is strongly relying on Alcatel-Lucent's capability to deliver and support leading edge wireless technology in order to help mobilkom austria to maintain and even extend its position as one of the most advanced mobile operators in Central and Eastern Europe."

"Alcatel-Lucent's dedicated goal is to assist our customers in their effort to provide top quality services by delivering the latest technology, and Alcatel-Lucent's HSUPA solution fully meets this demand," added Philippe Keryer, President of Alcatel-Lucent's GSM/W-CDMA/WiMAX activities. "mobilkom austria's decision is another positive result of our acquisition of Nortel's 3G UMTS access business, and it provides further proof that this acquisition will help us gain momentum in the telecoms market."

Nokia renews its chipset development strategy

Nokia has announced that it is introducing a licensing and multisourcing model for its chipset strategy, allowing the company to focus on its core competencies in chipset development, leverage external innovation, and foster competition in the chipset industry. Under this renewed strategy Nokia will discontinue parts of its own chipset development and expand its use of commercially available chipsets.

Nokia will however continue to develop its modem technology, which includes protocol software and related digital design for WCDMA/GSM and its evolution. Nokia will then license this modem technology to its chipset manufacturers, who will use it in the chipsets they develop and produce for Nokia and - if they so decide - in the chipsets they produce for the open market.

This licensing and multisourcing strategy will allow Nokia to broaden its pool of chipset suppliers and leverage external innovation to support its wide range of products. It will also allow Nokia to focus on its core competence in modem technology and invest in R&D areas besides radio technology, such as in software to power internet services.

"This is a pragmatic move in the face of an increasingly complex technology environment," said Niklas Savander, Executive Vice President, Nokia Technology Platforms. "Companies in this industry need to focus on areas where they can add value and partner with others where it makes sense. We believe that our renewed strategy will allow us to concentrate on developing core chipset technologies, while increasing our R&D efficiencies and improving our agility in a fast-moving marketplace."

Based on this renewed strategy, Nokia is now working with four chipset suppliers. Texas Instruments continues to be a broad scope supplier across all protocols, Broadcom has been chosen as a supplier in EDGE, Infineon Technologies as a supplier in GSM, and STMicroelectronics as a supplier in 3G.

New Telephone Company selects new convergent solution from CBOSS

Russia's New Telephone Company (NTC) has upgraded the CBOSS solution to full convergence, implementing the real-time service billing and control system CBOSSrtb (rtBilling).

New Telephone Company has been a CBOSS customer since 1999. Using a comprehensive IT solution based on the postpaid billing and customer care system CBOSSbcc, the company achieved the highest quality of services and became the leader on the telecommunications market of Primorsky Krai. In 2006 NTC increased its customer base by 59%. High rates of subscriber acquisition, sustained business growth, and higher reliability expectations of the customers required a much greater degree of convergence.

NTC has opted for the end-to-end convergent solution from CBOSS, providing real-time control over provisioning of any service in any network and enabling convergence of data and payments for both prepaid and postpaid subscribers. The solution's response time is less than 100ms, which guarantees high revenues and elimination of subscriber debt.

One of the key benefits of the CBOSS' solution is its unique reliability delivered by the HP NonStop platform in the Mated Pair configuration that guarantees zero down-time and uninterruptible service provisioning.

CBOSS also enables NTC to address another challenging issue of telecommunications: OpEx reduction. The solution has the lowest TCO in the class, due to the following reasons:

-All the solution components are pre-integrated, therefore no additional integration costs are required.

-The solution features unique scalability and settings flexibility minimizing system expansion costs.

-CBOSS Corporation provides a general warranty and comprehensive technical support for both software and hardware of the solution, dramatically reducing operating expenditures.

In addition to the supply, configuration and debugging of the solution, CBOSS experts performed the migration of data of 540,000 subscribers to the real-time billing system, which further reduced OPEX per user. The data migration was implemented without service interruption and in short time.

"Telecommunications technologies are developing very fast and customers' expectations become increasingly higher. Any service failure causes irreversible damage to the company's image, which is absolutely unacceptable in the tough competitive environment," said Timur Gilyazetdinov, head of the billing department at NTC. "The CBOSS solution delivers uninterruptible operation, allowing us to provide high quality innovative services meeting the most stringent requirements of our subscribers and the telecommunications market."

Subex Azure launches Concilia V9.2

Subex Azure, a leading global provider of OSS solutions for telecom operators, has today announced the launch of Concilia V9.2, the latest version of its Interconnect Billing System.

Part of the Rocware suite of revenue maximization solutions, Concilia enables operators to quickly and accurately settle interconnect agreements with their network partners, allowing them to manage costs and revenues much more effectively.  Concilia V9.2 has several new features, which
include:

  • Improved control and security in the settlement process by enabling
    authorization within the operator's organization. This further helps operators in tracking the settlement process by identifying any bottlenecks related to acceptance and disputes.
    Enhanced flexibility for billing managers through the inclusion of
    negative rates settlement.
    Ability to configure the bill profile type in the reference tables,
    which allows operators to include or exclude specific types of profiles from the settlement.

"With the onset of IP and content-based services, service providers and content resellers are looking for higher degrees of flexibility and automation in their wholesale settlement processes," said Mark Nicholson, Chief Technology Officer, Subex Azure Ltd. "We are helping providers reduce the number of iterations necessary to settle bills with partners through this latest version of Concilia."

Operators' non-voice revenues threatened by SIM-only tariffs, says Analysys

The decision to reduce handset subsidies should be approached with caution by operators, as there is a trade-off between the clear benefit of reduced subsidies and the associated risk of losing control over how customers purchase handsets and use data services, according to new research from Analysys.

Analysys Senior Consultant, Marco Cordoni, says operators should consider carefully the extent to which they want to push towards a model characterised by the lack of handset subsidies to avoid becoming ‘dis-intermediated' from the mobile content and advertising value chains, potentially losing lucrative new revenue streams.

"Indeed, the key advantage for operators that have control over handsets is the ability to offer a differentiated end-to-end customer experience and to secure their position within the non-voice value chains," Cordoni says. "The risk associated with SIM-only tariffs is that operators are reduced to big pipes that add no value."

While many Western European markets are characterised by high levels of handset subsidies, Cordoni says there have been signs that operators are trying to move away from this model by introducing SIM-only tariffs in an attempt to reduce the high cost of acquiring and retaining subscribers.

"However, the move towards a reduction in handset subsidisation comes at a cost: an increased risk of higher churn due to the shorter lock-in period" Cordoni says. "More significantly the loss of control over handset distribution causes operators to lose the opportunity to determine the customer experience."

"In markets with high levels of handset subsidy, the selection of both handset and operator happens simultaneously, and the purchasing experience is driven by the operator rather than by a handset re-seller as it happens in markets with lower levels of handset subsidy. With SIM-only tariffs, operators also lose control over the possibility to shape the subscriber's experience with non-voice services. In handset-subsidised markets, by contrast, operators are able to ensure that new handsets are pre-configured to certain settings and applications, including network settings, Internet preferences, home-page and portal-caching options. In this way, operators can direct customers to their portals and benefit from sales of mobile content and mobile advertising, either by providing advertising partners with a place directly on the home page, or by delivering advertising to subscribers on a portion of the screen controlled by the operator."

"Therefore, the decision to reduce handset subsidies is not as clear cut as it may seem at first and operators need to be aware of the potential risks of this approach."

Minerva Networks opens development center and sales and support office in Europe

Minerva Networks, a leading provider of open and scalable IPTV delivery platforms, today announced that it has strengthened its development capability and international market presence with the opening of a development center in Bulgaria and a sales and support office in Italy.
   
The new European Development Center (Minerva EDC), located in Sofia, Bulgaria, will focus on product development and testing. The European Sales & Support Office, located in Milan, Italy, will provide sales and field support for customers located in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
   
"Minerva is experiencing significant interest from international operators due to the success we have enjoyed in the North American market," stated Mauro Bonomi, CEO of Minerva Networks. "To capitalize on international opportunities, we are building a strong local sales and support presence."

"Hiring talented professionals is a major challenge for fast-growing companies like Minerva. Bulgaria has a large pool of highly qualified engineers that are knowledgeable about video and multimedia technology," stated Jean-Georges Fritsch, COO of Minerva Networks. "The European Development Center will enable us to speed up our product development and better address local market requirements. We expect to scale our engineering team by over 30% by year-end."

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