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.

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."

Radvision powering home surveillance service deployed throughout Spain

Radvision, a leading provider of video network infrastructure and developer tools for unified visual communications over IP, 3G, and emerging next-generation IMS networks, has announced that its technology is powering an advanced 3G access and control system for home surveillance. The security solution is developed by Cestel, a major Spanish system integrator and service provider and deployed by Securitas Direct, a world leader in security systems.

The initial deployment targets an installation base of 7,000 households throughout Spain. Home cameras, connected to the security system via ADSL can be accessed by 3G subscribers, who are called when a manual or automatic alarm triggers the system. The 3G subscriber may also dial-in to the system and obtain direct access to the home surveillance camera whenever desired. The cameras and other electrically controlled devices such as doors, gates and alarms can be activated by the number pad on the 3G mobile phone. Utilizing the camera’s built in speaker and microphone, the solution enables 3G subscribers to verbally communicate with the actual location where the camera is set.

“3G mobile access to surveillance cameras is a solution that our customers are looking for,” said Mr. José Luis Martin, Securitas Direct’s CTO. “The solution provided by Radvision and Cestel allows easy access to 3G video streams from any device, anywhere, in real-time and with no need for a client download, resulting in an efficient and manageable large scale deployment.  The superior video quality and smooth operation enhances our surveillance and security offerings significantly.”

The 3G integration application, developed by Cestel with its 3G Builder product and Radvision’s IMS ready SCOPIA Interactive Video Platform, is based on network and device-agnostic infrastructure that enables remote cameras to be accessed and operated by any 3G handset.

“Our ability to quickly develop the best system to comply with Securitas Direct’s forward looking requirements for the initial deployment is an excellent example of the benefits of our continued partnership with Radvision,” said Mr. Fernando Ortiz, CEO of Cestel. “The SCOPIA Interactive Video Platform’s flexible API allowed us to implement together with the Cestel 3G Builder, an advanced interactive video application for the security market, that combines 3G access to security cameras’ video streams, remote control of the cameras, bidirectional audio, and access to recorded video streams.  We are confident that our combined solution provides the ease of use that Securitas Direct wants their customers to enjoy.”

“Securitas Direct and Cestel are pioneering new paradigms in home surveillance and security and leading the market towards widely-deployed remote interactive multimedia access.  The new systems are not only technologically viable, but their ease of use and ubiquitous availability offers commercial promise and potential. The remote voice and video communications service is also appealing for personal monitoring of the elderly, nannies, babysitters, household pets and more,” said Alon Barnea, General Manager of Radvision’s Mobility & Service Provider Business Unit. "This video-based home surveillance service is further testimony to the importance of advanced scalable interactive mobile video communications, combining real-time external media sources and bidirectional video, fulfilling various day to day needs that are now becoming part of the telecom landscape.

Mass P2P Fiber Deployment by Slovenian Incumbent

Iskratel, a leading provider of innovative solutions for convergent and next generation networks, and Telekom Slovenije will collaborate in Europe’s first all-national commercial FTTH deployment project led by an incumbent service provider. The project’s goal is to provide optical access to more than 100,000 subscribers by the end of 2008 and to nearly 70% of Slovenian households by 2015. 

Telekom Slovenije has chosen the point-to-point optical fiber architecture to ensure the advanced delivery of broadband services – best-quality multimedia, data and voice – to each subscriber. The Ethernet P2P architecture makes it possible to offer Fast- and Gigabit-Ethernet connectivity to each subscriber using standard and widely available network equipment.

The network model used in the project continues the concept of the IP triple-play-enabled access-network architecture of Telekom Slovenije, based on Iskratel’s SI3000 MSAP family of access products. Iskratel SI3000 Fiber Access, the chosen CO product for the project, is a member of Iskratel’s SI3000 MSAP network-access product family and is designed on the same platform (same shelves, central Ethernet switch and management) as the SI3000 DSL Access, which is already widely deployed in the access network of Telekom Slovenije.

A single IP-based infrastructure for FTTH, VDSL2 and ADSL2+ access technologies and the TR-069 compliant home-gateway product family greatly reduce the CAPEX and OPEX, and preserve the operator’s previous investments in the existing IP/MPLS network and the established operational model.

The complete Iskratel solution on the CO and CPE side offers the most comprehensive and advanced solution for triple-play operators today. In addition, Telekom Slovenije will be able to offer a CATV overlay solution integrated into the Iskratel Prospero FTTH Home Gateway. 

“The project is a great opportunity for Iskratel to prove its technological vision. Ethernet P2P fiber is certainly the right solution when dealing with the increasing consumption of advanced communication services” says Franc Dolenc, head of Iskratel’s Products and Solutions Department. 

“Telekom Slovenije has decided to invest heavily in a new optical network infrastructure that will serve the users’ needs for decades to come. This joint effort with Iskratel is bringing the Slovenian telecommunications network up to a whole new performance level” says Zeljko Puljic, CTO Telekom Slovenije.

Dramatically increasing the number of Slovenian homes equipped with fiber connections shows that high-performance networking has already become a standard. Medium-term plans estimate approximately 300,000 fiber subscribers connected with equipment provided by Iskratel and Telekom Slovenije.

Amway leverages Sybase 365 across Europe

Sybase 365, a subsidiary of Sybase, the specialist in the delivery and settlement of messaging interoperability as well as the management and distribution of mobile content, has announced a partnership with Amway to launch targeted, timely, and cost-saving SMS communication for Amway‘s entire European sales force.

As one of the largest direct selling companies in the world, Amway maintains an extensive network of independent business partners. The company needed to find a cost-effective and efficient way to provide sales partners with news and important business information in real-time.  With 100 percent of its independent business partners owning a mobile phone, making them accessible throughout Europe, SMS is the perfect medium for fast and efficient communication.

“Our business partners tend to be out of the office all day meeting customers, making email communication ineffective,” says Matthias Berquet, Area Manager Service Development, Amway.  “Furthermore, BlackBerries and other devices are more expensive than the mobile phone.”

Via SMS, Amway can quickly inform all business partners that a certain product is on offer, that new goods have been delivered, or that a shipment has been delayed at customs.

“Customer satisfaction is Amway‘s top priority,” says Berquet.  “Smooth communication and a continuous flow of information are key factors.  If our independent business partners know about our most recent offers, they are able to fulfil their customers’ needs quickly and efficiently, boosting customer satisfaction and improving business relations.”

Amway wanted to find a mobile services provider who could guarantee superior reliability and network interoperability while offering quality customer support. After a thorough market evaluation, Amway chose Sybase 365 because of its highly-available, fully redundant network, ensuring that all messages are reliably delivered. In addition, Sybase 365 offers extensive global experience, with a customer base of more than 1000 brands worldwide.

“Sybase 365 offers a first-class technical infrastructure, as well as excellent services and support. The Web-based interface is very user-friendly and self-explanatory,” says Berquet. “For 2008, we plan to roll out further interactive customer communication via SMS with the help of Sybase 365.”

“Using SMS is no longer simply a vehicle for teenagers to download ringtones and wallpaper, “said Klaus Jansen-Knor, country manager, Central and Eastern Europe, Sybase 365. “More and more businesses around the world are recognizing the value of SMS as an effective communication tool. Not only is it easy to use, but just about everyone knows how to send and receive an SMS, making it an ideal medium for business communication.”

Thomson helps in DVB-H pilot launch

Thomson has contributed to the DVB-H pilot launch completed by leading broadcast service provider Antenna and T-Mobile Hungary, Hungary’s largest mobile operator, T-Mobile Hungary and Antenna Hungária used Thomson’s Mobile TV head-end and SmartVision interactive service platform.

During the pilot launch, four live national TV channels with secure conditional access from Irdeto were broadcast to mobile phones, delivering high quality video experience to Hungarian customers.

The DVB-H trial used Thomson Argos Mobile TV encoders, Opal DVB-H IP encapsulator and SmartVision service platform for the management of advanced Electronic Service Guide and convergent services. 

“Antenna Hungária, a nationwide provider of terrestrial TV and radio in Hungary, is actively involved in the mobile TV trial,” said András Tóth, Director of Communications and Marketing for Antenna Hungária, “We chose Thomson's mobile TV solutions as they offer a complete range of management and delivery systems which have been successfully implemented in other nationwide projects.”

“Central and Eastern Europe are growing markets for mobile phone subscriptions,” said Frédéric Caussarieu, GM of the Network Intelligence Solutions business unit within Thomson. “By offering attractive new services such as mobile TV, combined with revenue generating interactive features, mobile operators can augment their subscriber databases and ARPU.  Our experience in providing mobile TV solutions to broadcasters and mobile operators is key to our success. Thomson's systems are used in 70 % of mobile TV trials and 50 % of commercial services in the world.”

Cardiff University secures the UK's largest wireless LAN infrastructure with AirDefense & RM

AirDefense has announced that its enterprise security product is being deployed by Cardiff University to secure  the largest Wireless LAN so far built in the UK. The contract to build the network was awarded to RM the leading supplier of ICT to the UK education market. Just like any wired network, a WLAN at requires a comprehensive security solution to guard against intruders and hackers and AirDefense was chosen to defend Cardiff's WLAN after rigorous testing.

The wireless network will cover 66 buildings across three square miles. It will include over 1,300 Access Points and cater for 30,000 students, 5,000 staff and visiting guests. The goals of the University are to ensure maximum wireless coverage by expanding the existing wireless capability for the whole campus and outlying peripheral sites. In addition, it has to help realise the goals of the Modern Working Environment project that is the core of the university's Information Services Strategy for the future.  "We want to enhance the wireless networking service as much as possible, to improve the users experience and to ensure the service is as robust, resilient and as secure as possible with the least amount of Man effort for ongoing management," said Anthony Cope IT Manager Cardiff University. The required defenses for a WLAN's are different from a wired network because the vulnerabilities are in the air. The airwaves surrounding the Cardiff WLAN will be constantly monitored by AirDefense Enterprise to ensure the security of the network at the university.

"We are delighted to be working with the IT team at Cardiff University to provide a comprehensive networking solution" Said Brian Andrews of RM. "The complexity of the site means we had to design and build and secure a wireless network for buildings of diverse design and structure that would be world class and fully scalable and provide networking services to wireless devices of varying types".

The need for a university to plan for full capacity at times when the campus is densely populated and empty at others, as well as maintaining a high quality of service, by tailoring the network response to application requirements, means that the university had to deploy a centrally managed management platform that does not take up too much time for the IT staff. The platform chosen was Ringmaster from Trapeze because of the ease of use. The ease of support and troubleshooting were major consideration when designing the network. 

"Being chosen to secure such a large wireless network demonstrates that AirDefense has become the technology of choice " said Anthnoy Perridge VP EMEA for Airdefense. "With limited time and resource availble to manage such a large network and thousands of devices in the air, accurate detection, and policy based threat mitigation is essential.
Delivering the lowest total cost of ownership means that the University can focus on delivering service to their users. "

KPN and Atos Origin reinforce collaboration and renew outsourcing agreements

KPN and Atos Origin, an international IT services company, have signed Heads of Agreement and Letters of Intent redefining their relationship in The Netherlands in order to reflect the changes in KPN’s strategy.  Atos Origin will continue to deliver most of the current services to KPN and the contracts will be extended with a minimum duration of 3 years. The relationships with E-Plus in Germany and BASE in Belgium are not altered by the new agreements and remain in place.

Atos Origin and KPN have an extensive outsourcing and IT services relationship dating back to 2001. Atos Origin performs datacenter services, end user services, system integration services, consultancy and application maintenance services for KPN in The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

Atos Origin and KPN have agreed that Atos Origin will continue to perform application maintenance and enhancement services for KPN on the current application portfolio. KPN has selected Atos Origin as its sole System Integrator for Enterprise Application Integration and for Delivery Orchestration.

Atos Origin and KPN will continue their day to day collaboration for datacenter services as usual. Since it is now KPN's strategy to be a leading supplier in the Dutch market for infrastructural services including housing and hosting, Atos Origin will transfer three of its six datacenter sites in the Netherlands back to KPN. The transfer is in line with Atos Origin’s datacenter strategy, aiming to consolidate its existing datacenters into high availability main sites in the Netherlands and other key countries. The agreement with KPN will have no impact for Atos Origin customers whose high level services will continue to be delivered by Atos Origin.

KPN has also entered the market for workspace services. A logical consequence of this strategy is that Atos Origin and KPN have agreed that, after a period of transition, KPN will insource end user services currently provided by Atos Origin.

The new agreements do not cause any transfer of personnel between the two companies and no restructuring consequences on Atos Origin employees thanks to the continued datacenter services to KPN and increased demand with other customers.

“KPN is a very different company from what it was in 2001. We are pleased that we have found a way to continue our longstanding relationship with Atos Origin and at the same time expand our capabilities as an ICT services supplier in The Netherlands” says Marcel Smits, CFO of KPN. “We are looking forward to a renewed and invigorated relationship with Atos Origin.”

“These agreements show that we are capable of building long-term relationships that span several outsourcing cycles. Releasing control over 3 of our 6 datacenters in The Netherlands fits well with our 3O3 transformation plan.” comments Wilbert Kieboom, Senior Executive Vice President Operations at Atos Origin. KPN has been and will continue to be one of our largest accounts. The telecommunications industry is one of our key industry markets and the Netherlands is one of our largest geographical markets. We will continue to leverage our relationship with KPN in these markets.”

Siemens selected for Europe's largest private managed IP network

Siemens Enterprise Communications has announced today that it has been selected by Global Crossing to provide the open communications technology behind Europe's largest private managed IP communications network.

OGCbuying.solutions has extended Global Crossing's existing Managed Telephony  Service (Mts) to 125,000 UK public servants across 600 locations until December 2011. A key enabler of the Government's shared service agenda; Mts applies advanced communications technology to achieve more efficient use of public funds. Siemens' open communications technology is a critical part of the infrastructure underpinning new ways of working.

Global Crossing is partnering with Siemens for a hosted IP telephony service delivering pan-governmental collaboration and messaging services. The services are based on a managed implementation of Siemens HiPath 8000 platform plus its OpenScape unified communications application.

The contract calls for HiPath 8000 and OpenScape to be EAL2 security accredited, providing assurance for "restricted" communications. The open standards infrastructure will allow adoption of full unified communications across the whole of government at a pace that meets the needs of individual departments.

"This is flexible working in practice - on a massive scale," said David Leighton, director public sector at Siemens Enterprise Communications. "Government departments can access a simple, seamless communications experience that brings together every important business communications method, from voice and email to IM and video.  Cross-governmental collaboration efforts will be underpinned by presence and preference-based functionality, delivering enhanced productivity. This arguably puts the public sector ahead of the private sector in the wide-scale adoption of unified communications."

Anthony Christie, managing director UK and Europe, Global Crossing said, "Bringing together our two companies' expertise has enabled us to create a service that will transform the way that government departments work in the future.  With a strong focus on creating efficiencies and supporting a completely secure and flexible working environment, this agreement includes migration capability to a full suite of advanced IP services which will allow government users access to one of the largest managed IP network services in Europe."