European Communications

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News

Keep up with all the latest news affecting European telcos from regulation and financial results to developments in network sharing, billing and innovative new content.

Axiom Systems signs strategic agreement with BI Telecom to target communication service providers in Russia and CIS

Axiom Systems, a leader in service fulfillment software for communications service providers, has today announced BI Telecom, a leading OSS/BSS consulting company and systems integrator providing advanced technology services, as a Value Added Reseller in Russia and CIS. The combined proposition will enable service providers to launch revenue generating next-generation services such as Triple-Play, IPTV and VoIP to a new media hungry region.
 
Together, the two companies will offer the AXIOSS service fulfilment suite which incorporates Order Management, Service Inventory and Service Activation. BI Telecom will also be able to provide their customers with Axiom Systems' new Active Catalog product. The Active Catalog is a service design and process orchestration platform which enables products and services to be built from robust, reusable components. BI Telecom will add additional value to any project with its expertise and market leadership in systems integration.  

Roman Tkachev, Deputy CEO, Director of ICT Department at BI Telecom said, "It has become crucial for service providers' OSS platforms to be highly flexible, yet robust to be able to succeed in today's highly competitive Telco marketplace. Axiom Systems' service fulfillment products have a history of success with some of the most profitable Telcos in the world. Utilising this advanced software system whilst drawing on BI Telecoms integration expertise, will ensure service providers in the Russia and CIS region share in the success and achieve a cost effective and timely approach to the design, creation, and launch of new products and services."  

Peter Middleton, VP of Alliances, Axiom Systems commented, "As the complexity of service creation continues in the industry due to increased variation and differentiation, service providers have to cope with supporting a number of different technologies, services and vast customer bases. Our real-life experience in real-time service creation and delivery with industry leaders demonstrate that Axiom Systems and its partners provide the system agility and scalability needed to ensure customer loyalty while delivering a cost-effective solution with superior convergent capabilities."  

BSG launches Near Real Time Roaming Data Exchange solution

BSG Clearing Solutions, a subsidiary of Billing Services Group, the telecoms clearing and settlement provider, has today announced the launch of its Near Real Time Roaming Data Exchange (NRTRDE) service. BSG's NRTRDE solution exceeds industry standards by offering processing speeds that greatly minimize GSM mobile operators' exposure to roaming-related fraud. Additionally, BSG announced that avea (Turkey), Cellcom (Israel) and Geocell (Georgia) have all selected BSG's new NRTRDE solution.
 
The GSM Association (GSMA) recommends that all GSM mobile operators switch to the NRTRDE system by October 1, 2008 in order to combat roaming fraud, which causes significant revenue loss for mobile operators.  NRTRDE provides GSM operators with continuous data on roaming calls and enables them to improve their management of international roaming fraud by closing the "time window" in which losses can occur.

Current NRTRDE industry reporting standards can expose operators to roaming fraud for up to 36 hours.  In contrast, BSG's NRTRDE reporting capability can reduce this window to less than four hours.  BSG's NRTRDE service will also transfer and validate 90% of call data within 10 minutes of its receipt from a client and all data within 40 minutes.

"With operators aiming to meet new GSMA standards, we developed our NRTRDE solution to go above and beyond data transfer speeds required by the market," said Atul Devani, CEO of BSG's wireless division.  "The quicker an operator can transfer call data for roamers on their network to the relevant partner operator, the shorter the fraud exposure for both operators.  We have a number of clients that have already contracted for this service and are continuing to develop new tools that allow them to make full use of the incoming NRTRDE data stream for wider fraud detection and billing applications."

BSG has been a key player in the development of the GSMA standards for NRTRDE and recognizes the dual challenge that mobile operators face in both fulfilling their obligations as a visited operator according to GSMA standards and in analyzing incoming NRTRDE data for fraud management purposes.

Additional services such as the creation of TD.35 records (the GSMA standard format) from raw operator data will not add to this processing in a way that threatens the client's meeting of GSMA standards. The basic NRTRDE service provides an optional service for the creation of TD.35 call records.  For the operator receiving the data (the HPMN), BSG also offers the facility for rating TD.35 records allowing a real time picture of potential financial loss, as well as the option for conversion into the record format of the HPMN's existing fraud management system.

Orga Systems upgrades billing processes at leading Argentine mobile operator

Orga Systems, the specialist in convergent real-time billing, has delivered its Performance Package to PERSONAL, the mobile unit of telecoms operator Telecom Argentina.

The Performance Package consists of a new version of the Orga Systems' InCore In-Memory database, a new processing method and improvements to PERSONAL's overall rating and charging performance and billing processes. The package will mean PERSONAL is able to significantly cut costs and provide a scalable "future-proof" billing framework for future subscriber growth.

The InCore database is able to achieve memory improvement of 50% due to its highly optimised handling of database administration tables allowing for higher subscriber capacity on the same hardware, and better performance and scalability.

The new processing method is able to dramatically reduce processing time by using system resources more efficiently. The solution means that throughput performance at the operator is more than 20 times faster than it was previously.  The Performance Package has also led to improvements in the overall rating and charging performance at PERSONAL, including optimising all rating and charging processes.

PERSONAL uses Orga Systems' billing Systems OPSC Prepaid since 2003. Today it has over 10 million mobile subscribers in Argentina and has also recently launched 3G services using UMTS/HSDPA technology, becoming the first operator in the country to launch a 3G network. The new network - called 3G Zone and initially available in Buenos Aires - will offer video to voice communication and mobile internet connectivity with speeds of up to 1.2 Mbps.

"The launch of our 3G network this year is a major landmark for our company and we needed first-class billing processes in order to support both subscriber and services growth," said Daniel Margolis,  IT BSS Manager, PERSONAL. "The Performance Package from Orga Systems has dramatically improved our processes across the entire billing chain, which means lower costs and better performance. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Orga Systems in this exciting phase of our history."

TELES provides QSC with complete business VoIP trunking solution

TELES, the Berlin-based NGN solutions provider, has announced that it has provided German DSL network operator QSC with a VoIP business trunking solution.

According to QSC, its TELES Business VoIP Trunking solution is a complete "ISDN replacement" business solution which allows network operators to replace their existing ISDN infrastructure with TELES VoIP technology for value-added VoIP service provision. The solution allows QSC customers to continue using existing equipment with the benefits of enhanced voice and data services over IP (maintaining access to traditional ISDN services).

TELES' "zero touch configuration" solution helps carriers dramatically reduce their network operating costs thanks to out-of-the-box installation and a single TELES management interface for seamless workflow integration.

Subscribers to QSC's IPfonie business national service are able to port existing telephone numbers and enjoy free calls between multiple connected locations. Available throughout Germany, the service allows telephone calls to be made over data networks and offers considerable business advantages including branch office VPNs and mobile VoIP services.

QSC Voice Product Manager Stefan Pasternak said: "TELES' superior complete business trunking solution has allowed us to provide business subscribers to our IPfonie business national service with all of the benefits of value-added IP services while simultaneously significantly reducing our own operating costs. We are delighted to be a trusted partner of an innovative and forward-looking provider of TELES' stature."

"We're thrilled that QSC has selected our complete business trunking solution for its IPfonie®business national solution" said TELES Product Marketing Director Thomas Haydn. "In selecting the TELES business trunking solution, QSC has opted for one of the most sophisticated business trunking solutions available today. Operator costs are not only reduced through voice and data consolidation, but further slashed by doing away with the need to invest in expensive legacy equipment; allowing providers to gradually migrate their networks for significant revenue expenditure savings."

M:TEL selects Nokia Siemens Networks for GSM/EDGE network expansion

M:TEL, a leading mobile operator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and mobile division of Telekom Srpske, has chosen Nokia Siemens Networks for the implementation and optimization of a mobile network extension and associated services that will lay the grounds for an evolution to a unified IP network.

The deal, comprising several contracts with a total amount of some 60 million KM (more than 30 million Euro), covers a whole range of mobile network solutions, products as well as services. It will result in a physical extension of the GSM network, an increase of its coverage and improvement of quality of the service for end users.

The implementation of the whole package will allow Telekom Srpske to offer new, advanced GSM services to M:TEL's almost 700,000 mobile subscribers and to further increase its network capacity, thus strengthening the operator's leading position on the market of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 In order to meet Telekom Srpske's long-term strategic and investment goals, Nokia Siemens Networks' solutions provide high performance call control, simplify network complexity and create the framework to deliver end-to-end Voice over IP (VoIP) and IP multimedia services.

It all translates into new experiences for end users, with easier access, better quality of voice calls, faster transmission speeds and new services, including multimedia, mobile payment and intelligent data services like VPN.

"This is a very important contract for us, which strengthens the basis for our future expansion in Bosnia and Herzegovina," said Predrag Culibrk, CEO of Telekom Srpske. "With this contract Telekom Srpske will be able to provide better network coverage and quality of service in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a necessary increase of network capacity to accommodate the influx of new subscribers. We will also have innovative technologies that will enable us to improve the existing services and to offer new ones to our subscribers".

"We are truly excited that Telekom Srpske has chosen Nokia Siemens Networks' state-of-the-art solutions to extend its mobile network," says Dietmar Appeltauer, Head of Subregion Central East Europe of Nokia Siemens Networks. "We appreciate the opportunity of leaving a strong footprint in the Bosnian telecommunications market thanks to our biggest partner in Bosnia and Herzegovina and we will meet our customer's requirements regarding quick and flexible installation."

The package includes such technologies as GSM/EDGE radio access (new base stations and controllers, with an upgrade of the existing network), mobile softswitching and media gateway core equipment (Release 4 - MSC Servers and MGW, HLR extension) and prepaid hardware/software extension. It also covers a new Virtual Private Network (VPN) system and a payment platform.

Ericsson and Vodafone launch IMS network in the Czech Republic

Ericsson has supplied and successfully integrated its IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) solution into mobile operator Vodafone's network in the Czech Republic, bringing fixed-mobile converged services to business customers.

Under an agreement signed earlier this year, Ericsson was responsible for delivery and systems integration of its advanced IMS solution, along with project management, network design and implementation.

With Ericsson's IMS solution, Vodafone Czech Republic can offer the market a wide range of next-generation IP telephony and multimedia services towards both fixed and mobile users.

IMS is an important step towards fixed-mobile convergence. The international-standards-based technology is highly scalable, takes care of connection control, and ensures service quality as well as network and service security. IMS also allows network operators and service providers to implement new revenue-generating multimedia services quickly and cost effectively.

Andreas Laukenmann, Vice-President, Vodafone Business Solutions, says: "IMS is an important element in crossing the proverbial mobile line. It will help us to launch revolutionary services to business customers, taking away the difference between the mobile and the fixed world while enabling significant cost savings for our customers. Smooth systems integration has been key in providing our customers with a truly converged multimedia experience."

Roman Stupka, President of Ericsson Czech Republic, says: "We are proud to be strengthening our long partnership with Vodafone. Our advanced IMS solution will power new services and applications, and pave the way to fixed-mobile convergence for our customer."

Complex Migrations separate the men from the boys with majority shirking new projects

Telecoms IT managers are hugely cynical and fearful of under-going large-scale BSS and OSS transformation projects because they are worried the projects will fail before they've even started. 59% of service providers admitted they won't even embark on a project - even though they know it's essential to keep ahead of the game!  That's according to a new survey into application data migrations from Celona Technologies, specialists in application migrations.

The survey carried out last month amongst 212 telecoms IT professionals, found that a staggering 93% of IT managers are scared of the consequences of complex data migrations with 59% admitting they have decided, on at least one occasion, not to go through with a project because they are so fearful it will fail. Over 34% are worried that projects will be delivered late, while 36% worry that they will be unable to get some or even all of the data migrated. 33% said they are fearful that they will never get to the end of the project.

These results come at a time when many service providers now find themselves between a rock and a hard place. They are coming under increasing pressure from competitors unhindered by legacy IT issues, which consequently have a lower cost base and a more agile back-end infrastructure. But at the same time, the complexity and risk of re-engineering their platform infrastructure means that many have delayed consolidation and renewal projects for years.

The window of opportunity to renew IT infrastructure is finite and closing fast. Cutting-edge operators are already mid-way through multi-year transformation projects, and are beginning to see substantial business benefits. Service providers that continue to delay embarking on their own projects risk falling behind both traditional and non-traditional competitors.

"This survey shows that it's going to be a case of us and them," says Celona's CEO Tony Sceales "those who are hindered by legacy IT systems and can't face migrating, and those that take the plunge, go for it and come out the other end nimble and able to move quickly and therefore, beat the competition. As revenues from voice calls drop and after billion dollar investments in next-generation networks, the industry desperately needs to start seeing new service revenues. The clock is ticking now and those that can deliver these migrations will have first-mover advantage over those that can't."

According to Sceales, the good news is that using a progressive data migration approach will help service providers substantially reduce their risk profile and avoid slippage, as well as improve their agility. "Forty-three per cent of respondents told us that application-level migrations fail because business priorities change during the migration," says Sceales.

"Accommodating business change is one of the major benefits of using Celona Evolve. In fact, one of the key differences between our product and traditional tools is that Evolve has been built from the ground up for complex application-level migrations in large telecommunications environments. Celona understands the kind of problems service providers are facing and we are already helping our customers overcome them."

Key finding from the research include:

-      93% of telecoms IT managers say they are fearful of undertaking complex application level migrations

-      59% say they have been discouraged to the extent they have decided not to go ahead with some migrations

-      60% of respondents say the main cause of failed migrations is that data complexity and cleanliness are poorly understood

-      89% say data complexity is getting worse

-      47% say their data migrations are not on schedule

-      36% say they worry that they will not be able to get some or all of their data across

-      33% say they fear they will never finish the project.

Orga Systems and BassetLabs sign partner contract

Orga Systems, the leading expert in convergent real-time billing, today announced that it has selected BassetLabs as its preferred partner for interconnect billing. The agreement means that Orga Systems can add significant new interconnect billing functionality into its solution portfolio around its flagship billing platform, OPSC Gold.

Orga Systems and BassetLabs will work together to provide operators with a "one-stop-shop" solution for interconnect billing by offering Orga Systems' leading convergent billing solution OPSC Gold with BassetLabs' intercarrier billing solution Inopac. Combining the real-time processing capabilities of OPSC Gold with BassetLabs' intercarrier billing expertise provides a complete solution that allows operators to handle retail and wholesale billing most efficiently and thus reduce interconnect costs and complexity, and eliminate instances of revenue leakage related to interconnect billing.

OPSC Gold is a unique billing solution that enables true convergence between prepaid and postpaid charging. This product is a powerful revenue-enabler that allows telecommunications service providers to launch innovative pricing plans with flexible payment options while maintaining real-time credit control. For convergent voice and data mediation and real-time charging the OPSC Gold Billing System is pre-integrated with Orga Systems Media Control Point (MCP) and an IN/Service Control Point (SCP). Innovative mobile recharge and payment products complement Orga Systems end-to-end solution for convergent billing.

Inopac from BassetLabs is the complete intercarrier billing solution that provides the best overall cost-effectiveness for domestic and international settlements on the telecommunication market, including PSTN, GSM, 3G and IP networks. Inopac enables telecommunication providers to offer a complete range of services, maximizing the potential revenue within interconnect.

"We selected BassetLabs as a preferred partner to meet the increasing demands of our customers for an end-to-end billing solution with interconnect billing functionalities," said Rainer Neumann, CEO, Orga Systems. "By integrating BassetLabs' InopacTM interconnect billing solution into our portfolio, we can now offer our customers true unified interconnect and wholesale billing within our OPSC Gold billing solution."

"Cooperation with Orga Systems will extend and strengthen BassetLabs interconnect billing portfolio and the combined solution offering will extend the leading market position of our company," comments Jesper Wikström, President and CEO, BassetLabs. "We anticipate significant benefits for our customers through this joint and complimentary solution offering. Pooling of our interconnect billing expertise will offer both short and long term benefits to the bottom line of our end customers and in addition establish a strengthened platform to meet future billing needs."

"Market and technology synergies between our two companies will contribute to the continued growth of BassetLabs." he adds.

Sky Telecom chooses Squire Technologies and delivers carrier pre-selected services over SS7/VoIP network

Squire Technologies, provider of carrier-grade SS7 and VoIP signalling equipment, has today announced the successful integration of the SVI_MGC SS7 Media Gateway Controller into the network of the leading Maltese ISP, Sky Telecom Ltd. Providing RADIUS authentication, billing and routing, and local number portability, the dual redundant system has enabled Sky Telecom to progress its expanding VoIP services to the next level in cost-efficiency and reliability, and deliver the associated benefits to its customers.

"The SVI_MGC provided Sky Telecom with functionality that we needed at an excellent cost and we are very happy with our choice to develop our new services on a network including it," says Philip Cassar, Managing Director, Sky Telecom Ltd.

Interconnected to four of the five carriers operating in Malta (Vodafone, Maltacom, Go Mobile and Melita), this Media Gateway Controller provides Sky Telecom with all the advantages of routing its traffic between SS7 and VoIP. This well proven product was chosen by the ISP for its pedigree of SS7 engineering and worldwide deployments. Offering the best specifications at the best price on the market, the SVI_MGC has been quickly deployed into the network.

"In deploying the SVI_MGC into its network Sky Telecom has purchased a reliable and adaptable product solution which provides them with signalling and routing control that easily enables them to develop their own services," says Andrew Cooper, Squire Technologies' Managing Director. "It is Squire's philosophy to deploy products which integrate easily into the client environment instead of making them integrate into ours."

Following the introduction of compulsory Carrier Pre-Selection for large network operators in Malta, Sky Telecom developed a proprietary RADIUS server. Consequently the ISP required an SS7/VoIP Media Gateway Controller offering interoperability with Cisco gateways to control their incumbent network infrastructure. The additional RADIUS functionality that the SVI_MGC SS7 Media Gateway Controller provides allows Sky Telecom to rapidly develop new services on its in-house RADIUS server, bringing innovative solutions to market without 3rd party suppliers, reducing lead times to delivery and development costs.

By deploying the MGC Sky Telecom has been able to implement its system quickly and cost-effectively, and engage with the newly deregularised and competitive Maltese Telecommunications market. This has enabled its customers to realise the benefits of easy, reliable and efficient communications services, in particular reducing international call tariffs. Squire Technologies is proud to have provided Sky Telecom with a solution enabling it to comply with the CPS legislation and deliver the required functionality quickly.