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.

Ericsson wins WCDMA/HSPA contract with Austria's ONE

Ericsson has been selected by Austrian operator ONE as the sole supplier to expand and upgrade their WCDMA radio network with HSPA.

Under the contract, Ericsson will deliver WCDMA radio access components and HSPA functionality to enhance ONE's mobile broadband capabilities.
 
The contract period runs for three years and rollout will start immediately. 
 
In addition to expanding and upgrading ONE's WCDMA/HSPA network, Ericsson will also provide turnkey network deployment and integration as well as related support services. 
 
The increase of coverage and speed is a cornerstone of ONE's strategy for mobile broadband and entertainment offerings in the competitive Austrian market.
 
Jörgen Bang-Jensen, Chief Executive Officer at ONE, says: "Ericsson's strong WCDMA/HSPA technology positions us for future growth. In the next two years we will offer our customers a nationwide coverage with mobile broadband"
 
Jan Campbell, President of Ericsson Austria and Ericsson Central Europe, says: "This deal underlines Ericsson's leading position in the mobile broadband market and we are proud to build on our strong relationship with ONE by supporting them with the latest HSPA technology. This mobile broadband service will strengthen our longstanding partnership in the mobile music market, while high-speed delivery will provide an enhanced user experience."   

Americans lag behind Europeans in smartphone adoption, says research

European smartphone owner demographic moving beyond the traditional business profile

European consumers have been faster to adopt ‘smart’ mobile phones than their American counterparts, according to Telephia, the provider of syndicated consumer research to the telecom and mobile media markets.

In Q3 2006, smartphone penetration in Western Europe was 8.8 percent among recent device buyers; more than double that of the U.S. which was 3.8 percent. A smartphone is a class of handsets with a mobile operating system such as Symbian, Microsoft OS, RIM or Palm.

Telephia's European Subscriber and Device Report highlights significant differences between European countries. Italy has been at the forefront of driving mobile development and penetration in Europe and is also leading the adoption of smartphones by far. More than 95 percent of all Italians own a mobile phone and almost one in five buyers of new phones in the last six months (19.2%) bought smartphones. Recent phone buyers in Spain and the UK are also choosing smartphones with penetration rates of 9.5 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively. France trails with 3.5 percent of recent phone buyers upgrading to smartphones. This is only slightly less than the U.S. where the proportion of these devices among recent buyers was 3.8 percent in Q3.

“High speed networks like 3G were available earlier in Europe than in the U.S. To get the best out of these faster networks, mobile consumers were motivated to purchase more advanced devices like smartphones which provided a better experience with data applications,” said Reza Chady, Telephia's Managing Director for Europe. “On a country-by-country level, it's not a surprise to see Italy lead in smartphone adoption, as Italians consistently spend the most on devices and data usage as compared to the other European countries. Moreover, Italian Internet penetration is less than the UK or Germany for example and smartphone devices with advanced capabilities provide an excellent opportunity for content owners to entice Italians accessing the Web using their phone.” 

European smartphone consumer demographic moving towards mainstream

A new wave of stylish and sleek smartphones launched recently in Europe and the USA is positioning the market to move beyond the traditional business-user niche. Telephia data shows that shift is already happening in Europe. Young professionals in Europe aged 25-34 were the largest group of smartphone owners in Q3 2006, followed by 35-44 year olds. Young professionals accounted for 27 percent of all mobile users, but posted a higher penetration rate of 34 percent among smartphone users. However, the gap has closed between smartphone and the general mobile user profile among all other age groups in the latest quarter. In addition, the proportion of women smartphone owners is increasing although they currently still seem to be predominantly owned by men in most countries.

“Devices like the Blackberry Pearl, Sony Ericsson's P990i or Nokia's E61 in Europe and Moto Q, Palm Treo 680 or LG enV in the USA represent a breed of smartphones that are designed to cater to the mainstream mobile user—touting consumer-friendly features like music players and cameras, while maintaining the software applications and other functionality championed by business users,” added Chady.

Steria and Kabira sign European Partnership Agreement

Steria brings systems integration expertise to the deployment of
Kabira's industry-specific transaction processing solutions for the European telecom market

Kabira Technologies, a leader in high performance transaction processing software for global enterprises, and Steria, a leading end-to-end European IT services provider, have today announced the signing of a systems integration partnership agreement.

With the agreement, Steria joins the Kabira European Alliance Program as a Gold Partner and Kabira becomes a Steria Preferred Partner.  The companies have already successfully collaborated on opportunities in high-performance environments. The alliance is expected to enable both companies to deliver innovative high performance Transaction Processing and Operational Support Systems in Europe.

“We see this alliance with Kabira as a strategic decision to provide our clients with world class solutions in service activation, provisioning, and service delivery platform.” says Gilles Graziani, Director of the Steria Telecom and Media business unit in France.  “Together, we will enable our telecommunications provider clients to optimize network performance, response time, and throughput, reduce cost through single provisioning process for 3G voice and data services, and shorten time-to-revenue by rapid deployment of third-party content providers. This partnership brings real value in our Operational Support Systems set of solutions and we are excited to work with Kabira across Europe.”

Philippe Lavigne, Director of Kabira Alliances for Europe, said, “When we introduced our Alliance Program last June, we stressed our commitment to working with partners that will bring our industry-specific transaction processing solutions to market.  We are delighted Steria shares this commitment and has joined our Alliance Program as a Gold Partner and we look forward to working closely with them to achieve incremental business.” Lavigne continued, “We believe that Steria has the core competencies and the delivery capability to address, with excellence, the demanding requirements of our target customers with a Kabira-based transaction processing solutions.”

Ericsson and Napster announce two firsts with O2 Ireland

Ericsson and Napster have today announced the first European launch for Napster Mobile, with Irish mobile phone operator O2 Ireland. O2 Ireland is also the first operator to launch Napster Mobile in i-mode. 

O2 Ireland customers will be able to search, browse, preview and purchase full-length songs from Napster's immense catalog and enjoy Ericsson-aggregated personalization content via their i-mode, WAP and Java-enabled wireless handsets.

The service also features a recommendation engine which makes content recommendations based upon each consumer's musical taste, and dual delivery, a feature that sends a copy of the content purchased on the handset to the customer's PC. Napster Mobile gives customers access to Napster's expert programming on the handset, including featured artists and top tracks of the day.

Gerry McQuaid, Commercial Director, O2 Ireland, says: "We are delighted to be the first mobile operator in Europe to launch Napster Mobile. The Napster brand is instantly recognisable as one of the world's biggest music brands with 2 million tracks available immediately for our i-mode customers. Our customers have asked us for on-line music brands and we are delighted to provide the Napster catalogue as part of our i-mode service."

John Hennessy, country manager, Ericsson Ireland, says: "We believe that O2 Ireland's subscribers will find this a very attractive service to use. Music is an important area for telecom operators and now Napster Mobile service with i-mode functionality opens up possibilities for other i-mode operators." 

Brad Duea, Napster's president, says: "We're incredibly excited to be partnering with O2 Ireland on the European launch of Napster Mobile and are confident that the mobile service will prove as successful as its online counterpart. With over 3 million available tracks, Napster Mobile gives music fans the freedom to explore the biggest mobile music catalog whenever and wherever they want, making it the perfect extension of Napster's existing service."

Ericsson will host, integrate and manage the round-the-clock-operations of the service for O2 Ireland under a managed service agreement.

Intel Core Microarchitecture-Based Processor Line-Up Expands to Communications Solutions

Intel Corporation has announced building blocks for communication servers that deliver enhanced performance, value and choice for telecommunications equipment manufacturers and computing tasks such as call control, mobile location services and subscriber billing.

“Today’s new products, based on the revolutionary Intel Core microarchitecture, expands the Intel portfolio of modular communications building blocks and turbo charges Moore’s Law for communications,” said Anthony Ambrose, general manager, Intel Modular Communications Platform Division. “Intel now offers the broadest choice of high-performance, standards-based building blocks for communication servers with the price and feature flexibility equipment manufacturers require.”

The Intel NetStructure MPCBL0050 blade server, powered by the new Dual-Core Intel Xeon processor LV 5138, delivers almost three times the performance per slot of the leading competitive blade server, which enables service providers to deliver new, revenue-generating services with fewer blades. It runs Carrier Grade Linux operating system and offers significant performance improvements for compute-intensive and database-access applications, including IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS), wireless control plane and IPTV. Additionally, it is designed to be the first blade server to comply with the proposed Communications Platforms Trade Association (CP-TA) 1.0 standard to improve industry interoperability.

The Dual-Core Intel Xeon processor LV 5138 and 5128 combine the benefits of a dual-core processing with dual-processor capabilities, providing four high-performance cores on a single platform. The LV 5138 offers telecommunication customers robust thermal profiles and a low Thermal Design Power (TDP) for solutions that require compliance with ATCA form factor and NEBS Level-3 thermal specifications.

“HP works closely with Intel to incorporate the latest high-performance ATCA processor blade technology into comprehensive solutions that include hardware, software and worldwide services and support,” said Stephen Low, marketing director, carrier grade platforms, Business Critical Systems, HP. “With solutions based on ATCA blade servers such as the HP bh5700 series, HP can give its customers a time-to-market advantage.”

“Motorola is committed to adopting multi-core technology such as the Intel NetStructure MPCBL0050 Single Board Computer in our Centellis and Avantellis series AdvancedTCA servers as it will enable us to deliver more cost-effective and energy-efficient solutions to meet network equipment provider requirements for compute-intensive applications,” said Wade Campbell, senior director, Strategic Marketing for Motorola’s Embedded Communications Computing business. “We believe this technology will allow us to increase the capacity on existing applications and will enable our industry-leading communications servers to address a broader range of next-generation applications.”

The Intel NetStructure MPCBL0050 Single Board Computer will cost $5,169 and the Intel Carrier Grade Server TIGW1U starts at $1,550. Both products will be available in the first quarter of 2007. The Dual-Core Intel Xeon processor LV 5138 and LV 5128 will cost $617 and $412, respectively, per 1,000 units, and will begin shipping in the fourth quarter of this year.

Intel demonstrates its first mobile WiMAX baseband chip

Next step toward integrated WiMAX/Wi-Fi technology for future laptops, mobile devices

Intel Corporation has announced design completion of its first mobile WiMAX baseband chip. Combined with the company’s previously announced single-chip, multi-band WiMAX/Wi-Fi radio, the pair creates a complete chipset called the Intel WiMAX Connection 2300. The development marks another major step in Intel’s efforts to deliver an “always best connected” mobile Internet experience for future laptops and mobile devices.

The Intel WiMAX Connection 2300 chipset design was demonstrated during Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Sean Maloney’s keynote at the 3G World Congress and Mobility Marketplace in Hong Kong.

Maloney showed an Intel Centrino Duo mobile technology-based laptop with mobile WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e-2005), Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n), and high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) 3G capabilities successfully accessing the Internet at broadband speeds over a mobile WiMAX network. The demonstration illustrates the high-speed and quality of service capability of WiMAX for handling content-rich applications that can be extremely responsive without interference from other wireless technologies residing on the same system.

“Intel continues to drive innovation in mobile broadband access by eliminating the seams that prevent ubiquitous wireless connectivity,” said Maloney. “The Intel WiMAX Connection 2300 will help speed the deployment of mobile WiMAX, and accelerate the availability of a new wave of “personal broadband” laptops and mobile devices that deliver the real Internet.”

The completed design of the Intel WiMAX Connection 2300 brings Intel a step closer to an integrated wireless system-on-chip that will help drive WiMAX adoption by maximizing useable space in mobile devices. As laptops become smaller, for example, they will have limited space for new technologies. Integration also helps enable ubiquitous connectivity on ultra mobile PCs, consumer electronics and handheld devices that have significant size constraints for the number of cards or components.

With global frequency support for standards-based Wi-Fi and WiMAX, scalable channel bandwidth, and high-performance multiple-antennas, the Intel WiMAX Connection 2300 will help bring about mobile communications and rich content across supported networks anywhere in the world. For the first time, Intel incorporated multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) functionality into the baseband chip to enhance the signal quality and throughput of wireless bandwidth. The baseband chip also employs the same software for Intel’s WiMAX and Wi-Fi solutions to help ensure unified management for connectivity. Over-the-air provisioning supports easy configuration and enables consumer activation of services, shifting the traditional hands on service provider business model to a direct activation one based purely on consumer purchases of mobile devices. The baseband chip also has low power requirements for increased battery life and lower thermals to support smaller and thinner designs.

With the initial Intel WiMAX Connection 2300 chipset design now complete, Intel plans to focus on validating and testing the product, with plans to sample both card and module forms beginning in late 2007.

BeST goes live with LHS

LHS, a leading provider of telecom billing and customer care systems across the wireless, wireline, and IP telecom markets worldwide, today announced that the Belarus telecommunications provider BeST has just gone live with its billing and customer care system BSCS iX, integrated and deployed by Alcatel. BeST has introduced the fully convergent real-time based billing system BSCS iX for the rating and billing of its postpaid voice, data and content services. Additionally, BeST selected LHS’ iX Recharge system, a voucher and refill management system for pre-paid cards, which will be installed in the next phase implementing pre-postpaid convergence.

LHS’ billing system BSCS iX allows BeST the fast introduction of new and innovative services. Internet-based customer self-care options will lower the costs yet improve the quality of customer service, thus strengthening customer loyalty.
 
Crucial factors in the decision of BeST were the high availability option of the billing system, as well as the pre-integration of BSCS iX with Hewlett Packard’s OpenCall Service Access Controller (OC SAC), which will allow the real-time control of the used voice and data services.
 
The state-owned GSM (900/1800 MHz) network operator BeST was established in 2005. Alcatel, as a long term partner of LHS for system integration, implemented BSCS iX, with the support of LHS’ professional services.
 
“With BeST we have gained a further customer in one of our most important growth markets,” said Detlef Purschke, Division Officer Europe of LHS. “Our billing system allows BeST to be optimally positioned in its market and provides it with a leading edge over its competition.”

Martin Dawes Systems enters Eastern European market with ACN rollout in Poland

Martin Dawes Systems, provider of dise3G, the integrated end-to-end billing & CRM solution, has announced ACN Europe will be utilising the platform to expand into the Polish market. The contract marks the entry of Martin Dawes Systems in Eastern Europe and builds on the successful use of dise3G to launch and grow ACN as an international telecommunications services business, serving over ≤million European subscribers.

ACN provides fixed line services in 13 European countries including Germany, France and Spain, connecting to over 20 different networks.  For the Polish roll-out, Martin Dawes Systems had to customise key areas of dise3G including order entry, CDR processing, provisioning and billing. These changes were necessary to ensure compatibility with the existing telecommunications systems, compliance with local regulations and to adapt the billing systems to the local currency.  By providing a tailored solution for these challenges Martin Dawes Systems was able to provide ACN with a solid platform to launch the new Polish services on schedule on 3rd October 2006.

Project sponsor at ACN, David Nash, commented, “Our latest roll out in Poland has been carried out without a hitch.  Martin Dawes Systems really came through for us, especially in the localisation of key elements.  Provisioning for a new market can often prove to be the most complex area as this requires interaction with new network commands and operators for each country but Martin Dawes Systems had the skills and tools that made this an easy transition for us.”

Barry Dowd, customer support director at Martin Dawes Systems, said, “This latest deployment has gone well for ACN and Martin Dawes Systems. We have effectively facilitated ACN's entry into Poland and helped it meet the local market and technological requirements. The project was completed on time and marked the renewal of our active relationship with ACN. We look forward to supporting ACN as it continues to expand in the region.”

Ericsson wins next-generation network contract with Versatel

Ericsson has been selected by German operator Versatel for the nationwide deployment and integration of its all-IP next-generation access network.

The multi-million euro deal is one of Ericsson's largest EDA broadband contracts in Germany and will cover a minimum two-year period. Ericsson's high-performance broadband solution positions Versatel for future multimedia expansion by boosting capacity and quality, and enabling it to offer higher bandwidth to end users.
 
The rollout and commercial launch are scheduled to begin in December 2006. Ericsson will initially provide a full-service broadband solution beginning with all-IP access through EDA 2530, with the potential to add IMS and multimedia applications. The contract also includes turnkey program management, installation, commissioning, integration and after-sales service.
 
Versatel COO Dr Hai Cheng says: "Ericsson's solution provides the springboard for our national rollout. It ensures we have the necessary systems in place to deliver high-quality, cost-effective and innovative multimedia services to customers, both now and in the future."
 
Dr Stefan Kindt, president of Ericsson in Germany, says: "The deal represents a milestone in Ericsson's longstanding relationship with Versatel and is one of the largest bandwidth upgrades in Germany. It also confirms Ericsson's decision to structure its business around infrastructure, services and multimedia to meet the needs of customers like Versatel."