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According to a new report from telecoms research firm, Berg Insight, the market for LBS platforms and middleware in Europe will return to growth in the coming years, with demand driven by E112 and lawful intercept requirements as well as increasing adoption of A-GPS. Annual revenues in Europe for mobile location platforms, including A-GPS servers and middleware platforms, are projected to grow from about € 18 million in 2009 to € 35 million in 2015.

"Location-based services are finally on the verge of mainstream acceptance, enabled by broader adoption of GPS-enabled smartphones", said André Malm, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight. "Mobile operators are now gradually responding by investing in location platforms and new technologies. Especially A-GPS servers and hybrid technologies will become very important as the installed base of GPS-enabled handsets is projected to surpass 400 million devices in 2014."

In addition to supporting commercial services, mobile operators also face increasingly stricter requirements for emergency call location and lawful intercept. Improved emergency call and lawful intercept capabilities typically entail accurate location of any handset deployed and therefore require installation of network-based location technologies, says Berg.

OneAccess, a European specialist in multi-service access routers, has today extended its range of ONE Series products to help service providers 'dynamically and cost-effectively' address the demand for unified voice and data services.  The ONE270 and ONE700 represent the largest scale multi-service access routers currently available from OneAccess, and share a range of advanced software options as well as incorporating OneAccess' suite of provisioning tools and latest industry-standard CLI, said to enable extremely low cost implementation and ongoing support.

"These latest products again demonstrate our responsiveness to the needs of service provider customers, giving them the functions and flexibility required to maximise revenue opportunities at minimum capital and operating cost," commented Mike Wilkinson, CMO at OneAccess.  "Small and medium sized enterprises, and the branch offices of major enterprises, represent a significant opportunity for fixed line operators, mobile operators and ISPs to drive a portfolio of managed and value-added services."

The ONE700 Multi-Service Access Router is the highest capacity integrated voice and data platform offered by OneAccess.  Scaled to provide up to 300 desks with legacy or IP voice, enterprise-class data services and embedded security, the ONE700 supports high availability connectivity over Ethernet, fibre, DSL and ISDN access networks. 

A SHDSL EFM (Ethernet First Mile) interface supports ATM and EFM protocols at speeds of up to 22Mbps, whilst fibre and copper Ethernet interfaces operate at a full 100Mbps.  A VDSL/ADSL interface is optional, offering a smooth migration from ADSL2+ to VDSL.

Like others in the ONE Series range, the ONE700 features Dial-Tone Continuity, sophisticated IP QoS and IPVPN as standard.  Traditional PBXs connect via two ISDN PRI interfaces for a full 60 voice channels. Up to two more PRIs can be specified - network side - for network service and number migration, or network failover.  Provisioning is simple, and supported by an industry standard CLI.  Software options including SBC Nano and Integrated Business Communications (IBC) add richness, assurance and simplicity to new service introductions.

The ONE270 Multi-Service Access Router is a smaller scale product than the ONE700 integrated voice and data platform though both share the same set of standard and optional functions.  The ONE270 is scaled to support up to 80 desks.  Traditional PBXs connect via an ISDN PRI interface for 16 voice channels, or eight ISDN BRI.  A second PRI can be specified - network side - for network service and number migration, or network failover. 

Vodafone Roaming Services has selected Roamware, a provider of mobile roaming solutions, to provide its Network Traffic Redirection (NTR) service as part of a wider managed traffic solution on Vodafone's roaming hub. NTR, also known as ‘traffic steering', is said to be a solution that enables mobile operators to proactively influence their outbound roamers' choice of mobile network based on signalling information.

NTR is said to enable operators to steer international traffic to partners with higher quality of service and lower inter-operator tariffs (IOT) resulting in optimum customer experience, lower costs for end-users and increased margins and revenues for mobile carriers.

"Customers are expecting the same quality of service at home and abroad. Previously, operators had little or no control over which network their customers connect to. With traffic redirection, operators are able to steer traffic to a network that provides voice and data services at a quality and price their customers demand," said Richard Grohol, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Field Operations at Roamware.

Roamware's NTR will form the basis of Vodafone Roaming Services' modular steering solution. Vodafone's roaming hub members will be able to deploy network-based steering, SIM based steering, or a fully integrated combination of both methods.

Opera Software and the Russian federal mobile operator MegaFon signed an agreement under which MegaFon's special package "Unlimited Internet with Opera Mini" will be distributed to all Russian territories. It means that more than 53 million Russian mobile subscribers will have access to the mobile web without traffic counting.

MegaFon is said to be the leader of mobile Internet in Russia, serving 39 percent of mobile web traffic, according to ComNews Research. In September 2009, MegaFon chose Opera Mini as the means to provide unlimited mobile web access in the Moscow region for just 7 roubles (0.18 EUR) per day. The dramatic user growth seen as the result of the "Unlimited Internet with Opera Mini" plan persuaded MegaFon to provide this package in all Russian regions in their coverage area. Ural and Siberia were the next areas to gain access to fast and cost-effective mobile web via Opera Mini after Moscow. The remaining regions will gain access from June 2010.

"According to our statistics, the traffic amount generated by an Opera Mini subscriber is twice more than any other MegaFon user generates," said Aleksey Ivlev, Head of new products and services, OJSC MegaFon. "This package got great interest, and the number of Opera Mini package unique users increase by 10-15 percent monthly".

"Opera Mini helps mobile operators to build an active mobile web user community and to make them loyal," said Mikhail Ilin, Sales Director of Opera Software, Russia and CIS. "Keeping in mind the popularity of Opera Mini browser in the Russian-speaking Internet segment, we expect a significant growth in user numbers."

Opera Mini is claimed to be the most popular browser for mobile phones in Russia, with the highest market share. Opera Mini compresses data up to 90 percent, resulting in cost savings and increased speed, even while surfing with low-end mobile handsets, it says.

The world's smartphone markets continued to build on their strong 4Q-2009 performance in the first three months of 2010, according to the latest ABI Research data, which says that a little more than 55 million smartphones were shipped during the quarter.

While this represents a drop of about one million compared to 4Q-2009, seasonal sales cycles always produce lower results in the first quarter of any year compared to the previous quarter, according to senior analyst Michael Morgan, "Normally we would see a much greater decline in shipments in the first quarter; the fact that the drop was so relatively small highlights the continuing dynamic growth of the smartphone market."

Much of the fastest growth is being seen in markets previously little penetrated by expensive, cutting-edge smartphones, says ABI. With new less expensive models becoming available, the global market is becoming much more diverse.

An example is provided by Nokia. Its shipments rose QoQ from 20.8 million to 21.5 million despite the usual quarterly decline, building on an explosive last quarter of 2009 which saw the firm's smartphone shipments expand 25%, largely on the strength of its new models such as the "C" and "X" lines which are really experience-focused, lower-cost smartphones that directly address those newer markets. Nokia has a history of success in lower-cost feature phone markets, but until recently their smartphone lineup was exclusively high-end, says ABI.

"These are not ‘iPhone-killers'," notes Morgan. "They're simpler, lower-end devices, not bleeding-edge top-of-the-line technologies, but they can still deliver satisfying social networking and other basic smartphone experiences."

iPhone shipments also rose slightly, from 8.7 to 8.8 million, partly on the back of strong performance in markets such as Japan and China. Morgan believes that "The smartphone market as a whole was probably buoyed by improving first quarter holiday season demand from the Asia-Pacific region."

Funambol, the open source mobile cloud sync company, today announced the availability of the new Funambol Cloud API (CAPI). CAPI is said to make it simple for developers to create mobile cloud apps that leverage contacts, calendars and pictures across diverse devices and systems. It allows data and media to be mashed up for novel purposes, such as machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, for example, using contact data in a car or internet appliance, calendars with navigation systems, or pictures for a TV slideshow. Funambol is hosting a gallery of open source CAPI apps built by its global developer community to facilitate collaboration of new mobile cloud services.

"The mobile cloud makes it super easy for people to access their data and media, anytime, anywhere," said Fabrizio Capobianco, Funambol CEO. "The Funambol Cloud API allows developers to quickly create new types of apps and services that mashup mobile and online data across a broad variety of devices."

The Funambol mobile cloud server syncs data and media on billions of mobile phones and connected devices with social networks, email systems and PCs. Funambol CAPI makes it easy for developers to access synced data, such as contacts, calendars and pictures, using simple API calls from high-level languages, such as Java, AJAX and PHP. This allows rapid development of apps that mashup mobile and online data and media from diverse devices and systems, for a wide range of projects.

Some apps and services that have been built using CAPI include: Automatic sync of calendars (from Google, Outlook or mobile phones) to a wireless navigation device, enabling people to always access their calendar on a GPS device and for the device to tell people how to get somewhere without manually entering addresses; Syncing pictures, which could be from mobile phones, to any internet-connected device, such as an e-picture frame, e-book reader, TV, or home internet appliance such as a Chumby; Syncing contacts, which could be from Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail or mobile phones, with people's Facebook profile pictures, to a car, to eliminate manual entry or dialing of phone numbers; Providing contacts and calendars, which could be from virtually any source, in iGoogle widgets

CAPI is designed to simplify the task of automatically accessing and sharing data such as contacts, calendars and photos from one system or device with another via the cloud. Funambol invites developers to use CAPI to create interesting apps and is hosting a gallery of open source CAPI apps built by Funambol community members, that can be modified for diverse purposes.

Envivio today announced that TTNET, a subsidiary of Türk Telekom and the leading broadband Internet service provider in Turkey with more than 5 million subscribers, has added a new dimension to its customer offerings by deploying multiple Envivio Three Screens video encoders to launch a new Web TV service. The new service, integrated by Envivio's system integration partner Birtel based in Ankara, enables TTNET to offer live TV channels and on-demand services to subscribers over the Internet for viewing on their computers and Wi-Fi enabled devices.

"The Envivio Three Screens solution provides TTNET subscribers with a superior viewing experience by ensuring exceptional encoding and video delivery with support for technologies such as Smooth Streaming," said Metin Olgun, General Manager of Birtel. "The result is that the new TTNET Web TV offers video quality to computers and Internet-connected TVs that exceeds what people have come to expect from satellite TV."

The Envivio Internet TV solution employed by TTNET, based on the Envivio 4Caster C4 encoders, delivers more than 70 live and on demand channels to the Web TV service subscribers across Turkey. The solution directly ingests MPEG-2 satellite sources, eliminating the need for additional costly and quality-degrading interfaces. The 4Caster C4 encoders supply IIS Media Servers with continuous streams of Microsoft PlayReady DRM-protected, Silverlight video encoded at up to HD resolution for distribution to subscribers. The 4Caster C4 systems simultaneously encode video at multiple resolutions enabling TTNET to use adaptive streaming technology to continuously deliver video, without interruptions or buffering, as network bandwidth and other conditions vary. Service reliability, redundancy management and operational control in the headend are fully integrated within the Envivio 4Manager network management system.

"The TTNET deployment is an excellent example of how Envivio's high efficiency encoding and support for advanced features like Smooth Streaming and PlayReady DRM are enabling operators to innovate and expand their services," Julien Signès, President and CEO of Envivio. "The Web TV service introduced by TTNET creates a new revenue opportunity for the company by offering a powerful enticement for consumers looking for an alternative to incumbent services."

cVidya Networks, a global  provider of Revenue Intelligence solutions for telecom, media and entertainment service providers, announced today the launch of an integrated version of its FraudView and MoneyMap modules, both key components of the IRIS (Integrated Revenue Intelligence Solutions) suite.

FraudView identifies next-generation fraud patterns and performs real-time subscriber risk management and MoneyMap identifies and reclaims revenue leakages by reconciling OSS/BSS and networks. The integrated solution leverages the abilities of both products and provides a platform that shares knowledge and information of revenue assurance and fraud cases.

With the acquisition of ECtel, cVidya consolidated the product portfolios of both companies and now offers fraud management and margin analytics in addition to revenue assurance.  In addition to MoneyMap and FraudView cVidya's IRIS suite offers the following modules, all integrated to address the entire spectrum of service operators' requirements: DealerMap - Manages relationships between service providers and their dealers; BusinessView - Analyzes and optimizes price-plan margins and measure service profitability; EZTrust - Manages disputes and settlements for B2B partners and wholesale providers.
 
"With the acquisition of ECtel, cVidya took the next step towards providing the optimum response to the market's growing need for convergent fraud management, revenue assurance and margin analytics while increasing overall market consolidation", said Alon Aginsky, Founder, President and CEO of cVidya Networks. "The integrated version of FraudView and MoneyMap provides operators with a global view of their fraud and revenue assurance issues and enables them to determine their targets to improve their bottom line."

cVidya's IRIS suite features built-in components that address all business domains and services, including data/IP, wholesale/retail, prepaid, mobile content, TV, cross-domain bundles, interconnect, roaming, and more.

Espial, a specialist in on-demand TV solutions and services announced that Optimus Clix has doubled the usage of its Time-Shift TV Services in the first 5 months of 2010. Optimus Clix is a fixed and mobile telecom operator in Portugal with a national DSL network reaching 1.6 million homes and a FTTH deployment already covering more than 200,000 households.  As part of its triple-play service, customers can subscribe to Optimus Clix TV, its IPTV solution.

"In 2009,  we invested heavily in our TV service to provide better quality, increased content and new On-Demand services",  said Susanna Barbato, TV Director, Optimus. "To achieve continued growth in service revenue we rely on the Espial MediaBase open application interface to simplify introduction of new services. Their intelligent content delivery distribution makes hyper-efficient use of our network and we can easily scale the system with commercial-off-the-shelf servers".

"Optimus Clix is the most innovative IPTV solution in Portugal" stated Robert Hopkins, Managing Director of Espial Europe. "They are achieving excellent growth with great on-demand content and innovative services. We're pleased that Espial MediaBase is powering their success with on-demand video services".

Aculab, a provider of enabling technologies for the communications market, has announced that Nixxis, a global provider of customer interaction solutions for businesses, has selected Aculab's ApplianX brand of IP gateways to provide protocol conversion and connectivity between its IP-based customer interaction/contact centre solutions and legacy TDM networks.  Nixxis is initially utilising the ApplianX IP Gateway in select customer deployments in Western Europe, and plans to expand use of the ApplianX IP Gateway to other geographies in the near future.

Nixxis is said to provide business drivers through a wide scope of IP-based customer relationship management tools and applications, including customer interaction and call centre solutions, advanced call recording and reporting features, management tools, and powerful multi-media agent solutions.

Working in disparate geographies calls for Nixxis to understand and manage various network infrastructures and protocols, particularly in locations where the customer is using legacy TDM technology as its core infrastructure. To help address these challenges, Nixxis is deploying the ApplianX IP Gateway as its lead solution for protocol translation and compatibility issues. The ApplianX IP Gateway supports a wide range of IP and TDM protocols in both enterprise and service provider environments.

"We designed the ApplianX IP Gateway with customers like Nixxis in mind, specifically, communications providers who are looking to use the gateway to solve a particular problem," explained Tim Joint, Commercial Manager for the ApplianX products. "This single purpose philosophy is a very compelling attribute and gives companies like Nixxis the appropriate functionality they require in a user friendly, plug-and-play format that needs little support."

The ApplianX IP Gateway also includes a wide range of routing options for both SIP-to-TDM and SIP-to-SIP conversions, as well as load balancing between endpoints on a round-robin basis, ensuring that calls are automatically routed away from unresponsive endpoints. Reliability features are also built into the gateway, with TDM fallback support enabling the ApplianX IP Gateway to complete inbound and outbound calls and other medias even in the event of an IP network failure.

In addition to comprehensive protocol support, the ApplianX IP Gateway's operational resilience was also appealing to Nixxis. Features like dynamic routing and load balancing give Nixxis customers a number of options to remain online in the event of a network failure.

"Maintaining reliable communications is a critical element for every business, and nowhere is this more essential than in the interaction/contact centre," explains Marc Temmerman, CEO of Nixxis. "Organisations that value their relationships with customers simply cannot afford any downtime in the contact centre. The ApplianX IP Gateway serves a vital role in delivering the reliability and seamless connectivity our customers demand."

"We've looked at a number of competitive gateways, and they've always paled in comparison to the ApplianX products," concludes van der Kraan. "In terms of reliability, functionality, adaptability, scalability, and certainly operating simplicity, the ApplianX IP Gateway exceeds our expectations."

According to new research from Informa Telecoms & Media, femtocell technology is continuing to mature with several tier-one operators deploying the technology using a variety of business models. There are currently 16 service commitments, including 13 confirmed commercial launches and several ongoing trials, while completed trials are now progressing into deployment plans for several mobile operators. This contrasts with eight femtocell service commitments and six commercial launches in November 2009.

In the past quarter alone, Vodafone Spain, AT&T, Softbank and KDDI have commercially launched femtocell services. Vodafone's decision to rollout femtocells in a second European market illustrates the success of their UK ‘Sure Signal' service which has been heavily promoted. AT&T became the first US operator to announce a nationwide 3G femtocell rollout and Softbank became the first operator to offer both free femtocells and free DSL backhaul. Major progress has also been made in the field of femtocell standards with 3GPP2 and WiMAX Forum both announcing specifications. Standardised UMTS femtocell equipment recently underwent interoperability testing in the world's first femtocell plugfest.

"The femtocell market is experiencing maturity with many of the largest operators in Asia, North America and Europe now offering services. Global operator demand for femtocells is undeniable and recent femtocell standards milestones can only enhance this situation further. As mobile data traffic continues to rocket, femtocells look set to become a vital component of next generation mobile broadband deployments and this is reflected in the increasing interest in enterprise, metropolitan and LTE models," said Dimitris Mavrakis, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.

Informa says it expects the femtocell market to experience significant growth over the next few years, reaching just under 49 million femtocell access points (FAP) in the market by 2014 and 114 million mobile users accessing mobile networks through femtocells during that year. Healthy growth is anticipated throughout the forecast period with femtocell unit sales reaching 25 million in 2014 alone.

The expansion of the femtocell industry is reflected in the growing membership of the Femto Forum, the femtocell industry association, which now includes 67 vendors and 56 mobile operators representing 1.4 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, across multiple wireless technologies (WiMAX, UMTS and CDMA) and accounts for 27% of total mobile subscribers worldwide.

Digi International today announced the integration of the Digi Connect WAN 3G cellular  router into NetCase, an on-board ticketing system with a touchscreen PC from NetControl. The French specialist in on-board computer systems for the tourism industry installed the NetCase in 35 of the buses owned by OpenTour, the Société des Lignes Touristiques created by Cityrama, that offers sightseeing tours in Paris, Nice, Lyon, etc.

The Connect WAN 3G connects the NetCase to the NetControl servers via high-speed data connectivity over standard cellular networks.  Once connected, the NetCase facilitates on-board ticket sales, card payments using payment terminals, the collection of prepaid tickets and vouchers, and the validation of electronic tickets identified by a reservation code (the tickets are validated using a 2D barcode scanner).

"With the recommendation of M2M Design, a French distributor and technical support provider for M2M solutions, we chose this solution from Digi International because it could be implemented almost immediately as it is so easy to connect to our NetCase," says Nicolas Bebawi, Computer Manager at NetControl. "Digi Connect WAN 3G provides high-quality connectivity with built-in management. Furthermore, the fact that Digi products are used by many retailers and well-established companies was very reassuring."

Digi Connect WAN 3G is said to facilitate a rapid, regular and practically guaranteed data transfer. Ticket validation by the server and the transfer of card payment details are carried out in real time, which greatly reduces the time it takes for passengers to board the buses. In addition, the improved data transfer for ticket validation enables the OpenTour Company to protect its system from all types of fraud.

Digi Connect WAN 3G enables data transfer for the complete vehicle fleet management with constant connection to the till for sales analysis and validation. It also allows fleet movements to be analysed in real time by means of data transfer, which provides a record of each vehicle's trips, and offers constant monitoring by surveillance cameras and door sensors in order to improve bus security.

Nicolas Bebawi concludes: "Thanks to Digi Connect WAN 3G's reliability, the NetCase has become an all-round effective piece of equipment for OpenTour as it manages various operational parameters in real time.  Our provision of an on-board computerised ticketing system in the OpenTour buses has become a benchmark for quality and operations in the field of sightseeing tours."

The number of mobile subscribers who use their phones for mobile banking will exceed 400m globally by 2013, according to a new in depth study by Juniper Research.  This equates to double the number of users this year.

The results of Juniper's detailed Mobile Banking Technology Strategies Survey showed that banks are laying the foundations for this rapid user take-up by rolling out services using SMS, mobile web and apps to provide additional channel choices for their customers.

Report author Howard Wilcox explained: "Our survey concluded that banks in all regions are becoming increasingly innovative in their service offerings and provide impetus for user growth. Mobile is becoming a ‘must have' channel for banks."

The mobile banking report, however, stressed that some banks are limiting their options by offering insufficient mobile channel options for users, whilst others have yet to deploy mobile services at all.   On the other hand, there are many banks in Europe, North America and the Far East that are actively delivering and promoting their services by significant above the line marketing campaigns.

Further findings included:

  • Over 80% of banks currently offer some form of mobile banking;
  • Far East and China will be the region with the highest number of users in 2015;
  • Demand for on-the-move bank balance enquiries and advanced alerts will fuel SMS messaging growth.

Huawei has today launched the OSN8800 T16, a next-generation metropolitan OTN (Optical Transport Network) system, at the 2010 WDM & Next Generation Optical Networking event in Monaco. The new transport system is said to accommodate bandwidth-heavy services such as data, video, and storage, and is claimed to significantly reduce operator costs with easy maintenance, energy-efficiency, and space-saving features.

Said to enable operators to handle future bandwidth demands, the OSN8800 T16 achieves 40G/100G transport and offers full-service cross-connection capabilities that support ODUk wavelength and packet cross-connections, offering more flexibility and efficiency in wavelength utilization.  By utilizing OTN cross-connections, which reach 640G and easily upgrade to 1.6T, OSN8800 T16 provides easy maintenance and fast service provisioning, similar to SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy). Additionally, the OSN8800 T16 is designed with industry-leading PID (photonics integrated device) technology, achieving 120G capacity per card and dramatically reducing power consumption and space requirements.

Christian Chua, president of Transport Network Product Line, Huawei, said, "Operators worldwide are focusing on how to achieve fast service rollouts for metropolitan transport, while coping with the impact of high traffic on their live networks. As part of Huawei's All-IP convergence strategy, our OSN8800 T16 addresses these challenges with its advanced features and promises long-term customer benefits with its future-proof designs."

    

@eurocomms