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Espial, a specialist in the delivery of digital and IP TV (Internet Protocol Television) software, today announced that Tele2 Netherlands has selected Espial's IPTV middleware for its IPTV service. Tele2 Netherlands will use the Evo TV Service Platform to launch its next generation television platform. With this platform Tele2 provides advanced services including linear TV, Video-on-demand, High Definition, PVR (Personal Video Recorder) and interactive services.

Tele2 Netherlands has emerged as one of the largest telecommunications operators in the Netherlands since they began business 12 years ago. They started their business with fixed telephony services and over time have become a multi-play provider with the addition of mobile services, Internet services and television services. As the first operator to offer IPTV services in the Netherlands, they have gained deep knowledge and experience in pay TV services. 

"It is essential for Tele2 to provide a rich set of high performance, interactive television services to our consumers. We evaluated several middleware products during a rigorous evaluation process and chose Espial's IPTV middleware. It met our selection criteria for its scalability, rapid service creation capabilities and ease of portability to set-top boxes" stated Günther Vogelpoel, Managing Director Consumer of Tele2 Netherlands. "Espial's middleware is a critical element of our next generation television strategy. We are counting on Espial's platform to deliver innovative new services, differentiate our brand experience and to provide a highly responsive user experience."

"Tele2 Netherlands is one of the IPTV pioneers in Europe and we're honoured to be chosen for their next generation digital television platform. Their evaluation process was based on stringent requirements from lessons they've learned from years of delivering IPTV services" stated Jaison Dolvane, CEO of Espial. "The selection of our IPTV middleware testifies to the scalability, robustness and rich capabilities of our IPTV middleware, Evo TV Service Platform. We look forward to working with Tele2 to launch their advanced interactive television services."

Espial's IPTV middleware is purpose-built to serve millions of subscribers with a minimal capital investment, a highly responsive user experience and a powerful service creation environment. With sub-second response times for Electronic Program Guide, Video-On-Demand, Time-shift TV and other interactive applications, the Evo TV Service Platform delivers a near-instant user response. This level of performance is expected by today's Internet generation. For operational ease, it is designed to fit into IPTV and cable back-office architectures. Cable and telco operators can quickly build and rapidly roll out services such as personalized user interface advertising, Time-Shift TV services and Multiple Dwelling Unit (or Campus) services.

Hurricane Electric, an Internet backbone and IPv6 Internet Service Provider, and Equinix, a provider of global data centre services, today announced that Hurricane Electric will extend its points-of-presence to additional Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres outside of the United States. The expansion to Equinix's Toyko-2 (TY2), Hong Kong-1 (HK1) and Zurich-1 (ZH1) centres will enable Hurricane Electric to improve fault tolerance, load balancing and congestion management infrastructure capabilities for the delivery of next-generation IP access services. It will also enable Equinix customers to directly exchange IP traffic, or "peer," with Hurricane Electric's global Internet backbone which is interconnected with more than 500 associated IPv6 backbones.

The increasing demand for IPv6 content in Asia and Europe has led to Hurricane Electric's global expansion into these markets. By leveraging Equinix's data centres to deploy network nodes, Hurricane Electric says it will provide next-generation and reliable IP access services for its customers.

"We are delighted to further expand our relationship with Equinix," said Martin Levy, director of IPv6 strategy at Hurricane Electric. "Our growing global footprint through Equinix will give our customers the geographic reach and extended IPv6 functionality they are demanding."

Hurricane Electric first deployed IPv6 on its global backbone in 2001. It is one of the few global Internet backbones that is IPv6-native and does not rely on internal tunnels for its IPv6 connectivity. IPv6 is offered as a core service and every customer is provided IPv6 connectivity, as well as classic IPv4 connectivity.

"Our relationship with Hurricane Electric, a well respected IPv6 player, further demonstrates our leadership role in operating robust data centre infrastructure with operational excellence," said Jarrett Appleby, chief marketing officer of Equinix. "Operating also within our TY2, HK1 and ZH1 centres will put Hurricane Electric in the middle of an existing community of international and local networks and carriers for its next generation IP access service."

 

Comverse has enabled Cherry, the mobile brand of service provider Mondial Telecom, to launch voice services in Belgium by using fixed-mobile converged (FMC), dual cellular/WiFi technology. 

When subscribing to Cherry's mobile service, customers receive a dual-mode mobile handset that operates over WiFi within its coverage zone and switches seamlessly to GSM technology when leaving the WiFi coverage zone. The communication between GSM and VoIP over WiFi is enabled by Comverse Netcentrex IP Communications.

Deployed as a Software as a Service (SaaS) service model at the Comverse Netcentrex hosting center, this has allowed Cherry to launch service in the Belgium market without a mobile infrastructure.  As a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, Cherry also does not have its own licensed frequency allocation of radio spectrum.

"Comverse has been a valuable partner in this innovative project by enhancing the intelligence of the network to offer affordable mobile services over a unified network with user transparency," said Bernard Noël de Burlin, CEO of Mondial Telecom.

"Comverse Netcentrex hosted services is at the heart of our strategy to innovate into the mobile market and by doing so, become a differentiating mobile service provider," de Burlin said. "Both our business model and the technical know-how of Comverse were critical success factors for this launch."

Comverse's technology, for instance, complemented Mondial Telecom's experience in all customer facing aspects, including back-office operations and agreements with a wide range of operators, such as global hotspots, WiFi providers, and mobile and fixed network providers.

"This innovative technical FMC solution is an excellent example of how IP Communications expands the telecommunications business model," said Lionel Chmilewsky, CEO of Netcentrex IP Communications at Comverse, the world's leading supplier of software and systems enabling value-added messaging and content services, converged billing and active customer management, and IP communications.

"Our hosted IP Communications model, together with the robust, high-quality Comverse Netcentrex solution, lowers the technical and financial risk and the high entry cost for service providers to provide voice services," he said.

Cherry envisions launching a similar service in other countries with various Internet Service Providers (ISP) and fixed and/or mobile operators. "This model that we developed with Comverse and some other partners has high potential," said José Zurstrassen, Chairman of Mondial Telecom and the founder of Skynet, the largest ISP in Belgium. 

Comverse's hosting facilities provide a full range of IP communications services for the enterprise and consumer markets with carrier-grade service quality and availability. Comverse Netcentrex Hosted IP Communications is the ideal solution for rapid, cost-effective deployment of innovative and attractive value-added services.

Continued growth of Europe's largest next generation network transforms business to self-funding enterprise

Interoute Communications, owner operator of Europe's largest next-generation network, today announced EBITDA of €22.7m for the first six months of 2009, a 155% increase over 2008.  Despite the deep recession that has seen a decline in growth for many operators in the telecommunications industry, Interoute has increased its revenues by eleven per cent during January to June 2009 to report €129m.  By accelerating at this rate, Interoute says it has become operationally cash-flow positive and is now a self-funding enterprise. 

Since completing the largest pan-European fibre optic network in 2003 to provide enterprises and the wholesale carrier market with a portfolio of services and next generation connectivity, Interoute's revenues have increased at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57%, making today's revenues 15 times greater than six years ago.  Despite a 400% growth in the number of lit fibre kilometres across the network to meet customer demand, Interoute's operating costs have only doubled and network costs have remained flat since 2003.

Commenting on the results Gareth Williams, Interoute CEO (pictured above), said, "We are particularly proud to have taken Interoute to operational profitability during this global recession at a time when other operators are seeing their growth rate stagnate or decline.  More broadly, to have built a successful communications company following the collapse of the telecoms boom at the beginning of this decade, proves that our unique approach to building a pan-European fibre backbone has paid off."

Interoute is the only next generation network covering the European Union, from London to Warsaw, Stockholm to Sicily and beyond into the emerging economies of Southeastern Europe as well as linking to North America's major telecoms hub through its transatlantic capacity. The network serves as a global bridge between the North and South and East and West. With seven subsea landing stations ringing the edge of Europe, Interoute acts as the European link for operators from the Middle East, Africa and North America. 

Interoute's network also reaches deep into the heart of Europe's metropolitan networks, with a presence in 21 urban hubs, as well as being connected to the Arab world's most dynamic international hub, Dubai, via a fully operational Point of Presence. And with the Company's 59 data centres located across the European footprint, Interoute is a leader in the deployment and hosting of Cloud computing applications for industry.

The Spanish operator Jazztel and Huawei have announced today the signature of a framework agreement for the expansion of the operator's network. Huawei will provide and deploy new network technologies that are said to allow the operator to face the expected strong increase in the number of customers, while at the same time, Huawei will also deal with the integral management of its network.

The agreement signed between the two companies, which comes into force immediately, contemplates both the expansion of the network capacity and the modernisation of the services. This way, Jazztel will increase the capacity of its network, so that it will be able to provide first class services to more than one million customers, both in broadband and other emerging communication services.

As a result of the contract, the company will increase its current access network with new DSLAM, allowing Jazztel to offer new services such as VDSL2 and ADSL2+ Bonding. These technologies will help the company to duplicate the speeds that it is currently offering to its customers. This equipment will have integrated voice cards, which will represent relevant cost reductions for the operator both in space and in electricity use. The agreement also contemplates data network and transmission network expansion, as well as the deployment of softswitch equipment.

Jazztel has also awarded Huawei an outsourcing contract for the management and operation of its network. The renewable five-year contract will allow Jazztel to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of its network and focus on the business development and value-added services. This new model will ease the process to detect and solve incidents as the provider of the technology will be directly involved in Jazztel's network operation. This contract includes strict quality of service indicators and commitments that will strengthen Jazztel's network together with a world leader.

Under the terms of the agreement, Huawei will assume full responsibility of network operation activities such as 24x7 network monitoring and operation, field maintenance, multivendor network technical support, and spare parts management. This way, Huawei assumes end-to-end network operations, incorporating into its own organization Jazztel's network operation and maintenance departments.

According to José Miguel García, CEO of Jazztel, "this agreement will allow us to sustain the continuous growth of our business and maintain our leadership in terms of innovation and quality of service. We renovate our confidence in Huawei not only as our main technology provider, but as a partner in one of the main pillars of our business".

"This agreement represents a new milestone in our strategy to support our customers in Europe with value added solutions and services", says Yu Chendong, EU President of Huawei. "We are very much satisfied to support Jazztel in its technology development and, at the same time, this is an opportunity for Huawei to demonstrate how the unmatched reliability of our technology together with our knowledge on network management can help our customers reach new levels of excellence in the market".

"This contract represents a step ahead in Huawei's corporate strategy to provide professional network outsourcing service in Europe", comments Adriana Boersma-Rodríguez, Services Sales Vice President EU, Huawei. "Besides, it guarantees the implementation of our localization strategy in the services area in Europe".

The relationship between Jazztel and Huawei dates back to year 2005, when Jazztel awarded Huawei the deployment of the first functional NGN network in Spain. The agreement signed today is said to reinforce the strategic relationship between the two companies and reflects the commitment of the operator to be an innovation leader the Spanish telecommunications market.

Huawei has announced the launch of its IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) based High-Definition (HD) video conference solution, which can enable enterprise users to participate in virtual meetings across a broader range of access methods via a carrier's existing network.

The new convergent, high definition solution is capable of supporting almost all conferencing devices such as HD and standard definition (SD) video in fixed and/or mobile phones, desktop soft-clients and facilities with tele-presence, while also offering more functions for enterprise users, including multiple access methods and open media capabilities.  Beyond the traditional voice and video connections, the new solution will allow enterprises to take full advantage of additional services such as desktop sharing, high definition video, and virtual reality. The solution can also bring applications like video calls to end users by integrating IPTV and ICT services.

"Partnering with operators from around the world, Huawei is committed to supporting customers in All-IP network transformation and we are excited to launch the new IMS-based HD conference solution, which is going to enhance the capabilities of operators' existing networks," said Jin Huang, Vice President of Huawei Core Network. "With these new features, enterprise users will be able to experience virtual meetings at a higher quality and with more services than ever before."

Huawei's state-of-the-art solution is equipped with the industry's largest capacity and highest carrier-grade reliability.  It can be deployed via an operator's existing network, which allows operators to remarkably protect their network investment and rapidly expand their business in SME (small and medium enterprises) markets by matching the increasing demand for diversified conference services.

Italtel, a specialist in the next generation IP networks sector, and ECI Telecom, global provider of networking infrastructure solutions optimized for Next - Generation Network (NGN) migration, today announced that they have signed a partnership agreement for the sale and customization of optical transport systems for metropolitan networks and access platforms for voice, data, IP video and fixed/mobile convergence. 

As such, Italtel will be a preferred vendor and system integrator for ECI Telecom technology in the building of integrated communication networks for service providers, communications providers and utility companies in the ‘Quadruple Play' (data, voice, video, mobile) access and transport markets. Under this agreement, Italtel has become one of ECI's Global Partners. 

"As the telecom sector continues to evolve, strategic partnerships such as this new agreement between ECI Telecom and Italtel, will be critical for the success of telecom equipment suppliers, especially in an increasingly competitive and mature market.  ECI brings a best-in-class Access platform in the Hi-FOCuS portfolio and a leading multi-service transport platform in the XDM, while Italtel brings an impressive presence in EMEA and Latin America, as well as valuable expertise in system integration, voice over IP and mobility. This partnership makes perfect business and technology sense," said Erik M. Keith, Principal Analyst for Broadband Infrastructure at Current Analysis.

"The partnership with Italtel strengthens our presence in important and growing international markets.  With our access and transport portfolio, Italtel will be able to provide their customers with high-end platforms that are optimized for next-generation evolution.  In Italtel, we have found a partner with the required ability and expertise that are complementary to our own, in addition to a strong and recognised specialisation in system integration," noted Tony Scarfo, Head of Global Channel Sales, and Partners of ECI Telecom.

"The agreement with ECI is part of our plan to develop into specific foreign markets and to widen the perimeter of our products and services," commented Claudio Chiarenza, Italtel General Manager and Chief Strategy Officer. "This partnership allows us to extend our portfolio of solutions for service providers in the EMEA and Latin America markets with products for access and optical transport, and to adopt a structured approach to a market segment that is potentially attractive, represented by European service providers and utilities with their own network infrastructure."

The partnership between Italtel and ECI Telecom will cover the integration and customisation, at the customers' premises, of ECI's Multi-Service Access Node (MSAN) Hi-FOCuS, and the metro edge BroadGate line of products.  The Hi-FOCuS supports voice, data and video over one, converged IP platform, while the BroadGate line is an advanced Multi-Service Provisioning Platform (MSPP) for the transporting of data streams over fibre optic in metropolitan networks.

The Home Gateway Initiative (HGI) today announced that it has signed a liaison agreement with the Broadband Forum that will lead to close collaboration by both organisations on the development of standards and specifications for broadband networks worldwide.

The comprehensive agreement is designed to enhance the already active cooperation between HGI and the Broadband Forum. It allows each organisation to provide input, and to release copyright on work-in-progress specifications to the partner organisation as working documents are drafted.  The result will be acceleration and strong alignment of key specification work within the industry that leads to improvements in the capabilities of customers' broadband networks.

The areas of cooperation by these two groups will be centred on architectural and functional requirements for customer located broadband equipment. HGI's mission to solve the service, feature and technology challenges in the digital home complements the Broadband Forum's core competencies in end-to-end architecture and management. The groups agreed to cooperate in addressing quality of service (QoS), software modularity, IPv6, energy efficiency and testing. 

Both groups will meet regularly to discuss projects and priorities for industry standards in these and other areas. HGI Chief Technical Officer, Duncan Bees, said, "While informal cooperation has happened for some time, the strong formal collaboration between HGI and Broadband Forum that is now taking place is tremendously important for the industry. Both organisations bring a unique focus on a set of related problems, and are stronger by working together.

By jointly identifying goals, sharing work in progress, and avoiding duplication of efforts, our member companies receive better value for their investments of resources in our respective efforts. The industry has important issues to solve, and this agreement helps significantly."

"The customer's network is now undoubtedly a vital part of all service providers' networks, and one in which standardisation is becoming increasingly important," said Robin Mersh, COO of the Broadband Forum.  "This agreement gives greater breadth to the expertise of both the Broadband Forum and the HGI, which, in turn expedites critical work and ensures more advanced specifications and standards; ultimately the result is increased service provider deployment of CPE and improved QoS for the end-user."

Together, the two groups represent over 200 companies, and over 30 service providers, including Arcor, AT&T, Belgacom, Bell, BT, Cable & Wireless, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Embarq, Fastweb, France Telecom, KDDI, KPN, KT, Magyar Telecom, NTT, OTE, Portugal Telecom, Qwest, SingTel, Swisscom, Telecom Italia, Tata Teleservices Ltd, TDC, Telecom Slovenije, Telecom New Zealand, Telefonica, Telekomunikacja Polska, Telekom Austria, Telekom Malaysia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Telkom SA, Telstra, Telus and Verizon. 

BH Telecom, the leading telecommunications operator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has begun the rollout of its new "Moja TV" IPTV service using a complete IPTV headend from Envivio. Built by systems integrator and middleware vendor Smart Com, the deployment enables BH Telecom to offer a full suite of live and on-demand channels complete with electronic program guide, PVR and other interactive features to its more than 2 million subscribers.

The Envivio IPTV headend includes the 4Caster C4 high quality, three screens encoder/transcoder paired with 4Stream IP Gateways and comprehensive monitoring and redundancy protection from the 4Manager management system. It provides an efficient, all-digital, IP-based signal flow that can directly ingest channels from any source and deliver the highest quality video at low bit rates that enable the service to optimize its reach and channel count.

Smart Com provided complete integration services for the BH Telecom installation, including BeeSmart middleware to enable converged multimedia services such as electronic program guides, video on demand, web browsing and mail.

Nedim Dzaferovic, Deputy Director ID BH Line, said, "We identified two primary factors that we believe will contribute to subscriber interest in Moja TV, variety of content and quality of experience. The well-managed, redundant headend from Envivio provides the reliability and video quality subscribers expect from us, at bit rates that ensure we can extend our reach to the most subscribers possible. Smart Com's expertise enabled the entire project to be completed efficiently while delivering a world-class feature set to provide subscribers with control over their viewing."

4Caster C4 from Envivio combines the performance of the latest generation Intel multi-core processors with advanced video compression codecs developed by Envivio. A flexible software architecture allows Envivio to make continual quality enhancements and feature additions. The high availability IPTV platform delivers 99.999% uptime and unshakeable performance with fully redundant signal routing and power management. Fault tolerance throughout the headend is increased by redundant components administered via the Envivio 4Manager headend management system which provides automatic 1+1 or N+1 redundancy protection and high level service supervision. The 4Caster C4 encoder/transcoder can be extended to support distribution to mobile and broadband devices.

Huawei today announced that it has been selected by Comfone to replace Comfone's existing Signalling Transfer Point (STP) with Huawei's 'enhanced' solution. The STP solution will provide the Swiss roaming service provider with signalling, transmitting and charging services within its signalling network.

Comfone, provider of roaming services to over 300 mobile operators in over 130 countries worldwide, is an international mobile roaming specialist. Having provided its customers with reliable and quality signalling services for years, Comfone requires a high-capacity and high-performance STP solution to maintain its high level of service provision and to optimise service quality for its customers. Huawei's technical solution excels in signaling processing ability and guarantees safety and stability for Comfone's SS7 network.

Matthias Rüfenacht, Chief Operating Officer of Comfone, said: "We are convinced that we have chosen the right partner with Huawei. Their expertise and innovative technology solutions fulfill our requirements regarding signaling and accounting functionalities extremely well. With more switching and signaling capabilities, the Huawei solution will enable us to offer our customers enhanced signaling services and solutions, while continuing to guarantee our high standards of quality."

Huawei's SG7000 equipment is based on an OSTA platform and provides high-capacity SS7 & Sigtran protocol processing ability with 'large capacity interfaces and high performance'. It can support IP/TDM bearer as well as STP, SG, IP-STP applications in mobile networks. These features enable operators to simplify their signaling network which allows them to significantly reduce the total cost of network ownership and, at the same time, increase profitability, says Huawei.

"We are excited about supporting Comfone in providing their customers with high-quality, reliable signaling services. Mobile operators rely on Comfone's network and we are very pleased that Comfone is relying on us and our STP solution to support their fast-paced development," stated Tony Cheng, Deputy Managing Director of Huawei Switzerland.

According to a new commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of COLT, enterprises typically spend 25 to 30% of their annual IT budget on telecoms, but many are not giving this spend the attention it deserves. By moving to leading-edge Ethernet for their company networks and taking the time to understand which underlying technology works best for their business, enterprises stand to save up to 30% on their network spend and benefit from better performing networks. This could translate into a major annual saving for large firms, says COLT. 

COLT, a European provider of business communications, commissioned Forrester Consulting to interview IT decision-makers of large UK businesses about their existing network infrastructure and their current ICT priorities. The study found that many firms regard networks as a commodity and not something they need to understand in spite of the fact that network performance is now critical for all enterprises' efficiency and increasingly, competitiveness. According to the study: "These firms will waste money and have networks that won't perform as well as those of their network-technology-savvy-competitors." 

A separate independent survey conducted by Forrester Research in Q1 2009 (the Enterprise and SMB Networks and Telecommunications Survey, North America and Europe) found that 24% of European enterprises surveyed said they didn't know whether Ethernet was used in their networks or not, whilst 40% said they were not interested in using Ethernet in their wide area network (WAN).

The study found that data traffic growth is accelerating year on year and cost reduction is a key driver for IT departments. The legal firms interviewed for the study said that their WAN needs were growing by around 30% and the media firms by up to 100 - 200%. Across all industry sectors, the top CIO-led priorities were data centre consolidation, server centralisation and desk virtualisation, as well as bandwidth hungry applications like unified communications and disaster recovery projects, all of which put increasing demands on networks.

The Forrester Consulting study concludes that deploying more Ethernet WAN technology is one of the key ways to mitigate the costs of growing data traffic levels. Many of the survey group who had already chosen Ethernet services in their WAN said that low cost was the key driver, followed by simplicity and flexibility, resilience and low latency.

"In 2009, firms are putting all their telecom costs under the microscope and this will increase the rate at which firms migrate to Ethernet from older technologies."  The study continues, "All service providers are now using MPLS core networks to deliver Ethernet services, but their approaches vary considerably, as does the performance of the resulting services." To maximise the benefits of using leading-edge Ethernet services, Forrester concludes that enterprises need to be ‘knowledgeable and inquiring buyers'. 

Commenting on the finding of the study, Tanuja Randery, head of UK, Ireland & Global for COLT's Major Enterprise Division, added, "Networks are a critical part of the jigsaw in making IT and communications applications available to users securely, reliably and at a reasonable cost. As managed service and cloud computing models become more established, we are going to see networks become increasingly important. It is key that enterprises understand that there are differences between what service providers offer in terms of resilience, latency and speed and make the right choice for their business. What came out clearly in the study is that firms who are using Ethernet WANs are getting significant benefits, not just in terms of cost savings, but also in terms of performance, and that this can directly impact their competitiveness." 

The London Internet Exchange (LINX) has announced that Rostelecom, Russia's national telecommunications operator, has taken the 200th 10 Gigabit Ethernet port at the exchange.

The increased demand for 10GigE ports is said to be due to the need of LINX members to meet escalating bandwidth requirements following the dramatic growth of the global Internet in recent years. LINX already has 685 connected member ports but 10GigE is taking ever-greater emphasis as the membership look to expand their networks still further. LINX was a very early adopter of 10GigE technology with its first switch employed on the Foundry (now known as Brocade) network as far back as 2001.

Rostelecom's CEO Anton Kolpakov said, "This interconnection upgrade is a direct response to significant growth of traffic in the international segment of Rostelecom IP MPLS network and was implemented to enhance capacity, improve quality and efficiency of telecommunications."

This growth has seen the share of data and intelligent network services traffic approximately double since the beginning of 2008 and now amounts to 10% of Rostelecom's total revenue.

The strong demand for 10GigE ports enabled the non-profit exchange to reduce the price of these high capacity ports by 7.5% last summer. This continued a run of annual price cuts which has in turn meant that the cost of being a LINX member has decreased year-on-year.

Of the 342 LINX members 111 are now running one or more 10GigE across the exchange. Overall, LINX has more peers, more sites over a greater metro area and access to more Internet routes than any other Internet exchange point in the world.

According to a recent report published by Informa Telecoms & Media, European mobile operators are re-assessing their business models and considering alternative approaches to dealing with the current operating climate. The impact of the economic downturn, the subsequent shift in consumer behaviour and intense competition has forced mobile operators across Europe to change their strategies, with many reducing capital expenditure and others introducing discounted pricing models. However, operators need to be careful that these short-term solutions do not restrict growth in the long-term.

"We have seen a reduction in capex by many of the European carriers, with the total spend in Europe dropping to €6 billion in 2Q09 which is a y-o-y decrease of 8.6%. However, at a time when the operating climate is as competitive as it is, they should really be looking to increase their investment in high-speed network rollouts. The fall in prices and the commoditization of voice services has seen the need for operators to offer new data services, which means there is a very real opportunity to differentiate from their competition and invest in new technologies," explains Marisol Gomez, Research Analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media.

Although the overall trend has been to reduce capex, many operators are simply monitoring their costs and looking at alternative strategies to combat the overall decline in revenues and the rise in churn. Informa Telecoms & Media calculates that total revenues in Europe were €50billion in 2Q09 which represents a y-o-y decline of 4.7%.

"We have seen the emergence of a number of trends to tackle the decline in revenues, with pricing models very much at the centre of strategic thinking. Cut-price tariffs, SIM-only plans, promotions which benefit the unemployed and bundled offers have been implemented with varying degrees of success, in a bid to win new customers and keep existing ones."

"With unemployment levels soaring in Spain, operators have resorted to adapting plans aimed at retaining customers through difficult personal times. In highly penetrated markets in Western Europe, many operators have turned to SIM-only plans with impressive success, particularly in the UK, where in 2008 mobile operators sold over 1.2 million SIM-only subscriptions according to Ofcom," added Gomez.

"In the long-term, the challenging economic environment presents new opportunities to those able to adapt to the climate and those who understand customer needs and behaviour. But, at the same time, the difficult operating conditions can highlight bad management and past commercial flaws. Never before has there been a time when the delivery of relevant content and services at the right price has been such a priority for operators," Gomez concludes.

A new report from Juniper Research, forecasts that consumer usage of mobile coupons will generate close to $6 billion globally in retail redemption value by 2014.

Juniper Research's new report - ‘Mobile Coupons & NFC Smart Posters: Strategies, Applications & Forecasts 2009-2014' - cautions that user apathy amongst the wider public, as well as lack of willingness to change and learn a new method of making financial transactions are potential stumbling blocks. This is despite NFC trial results which show very high levels of user acceptance.

"Marketers can use the mobile device as the ultimate personal marketing channel. It is almost permanently switched on and physically with the consumer. This makes a great opportunity for brands and marketing agencies to access clients immediately, driving footfall and encouraging an instant decision," explained Howard Wilcox, Senior Analyst at Juniper Research and lead report author.

Smart posters with embedded NFC tags will bring to life static billboards, creating immediate interaction between potential customers and their prospective purchases. By simply passing their device close to the tag, users can take away a coupon or product information that can result in purchase decisions. 

Further findings from the Mobile Coupons and Smart Posters report include:

  • ARPU from NFC coupons and smart posters will exceed ARPU from NFC payment transactions
  • The vast majority of mobile coupon redemption value will be generated by the Far East & China, Western Europe and North America in 2014

The report, launched globally today, contains six year forecasting for all the key market parameters including users, redemption rates, values and incremental ARPU for all mobile coupons, NFC coupons and NFC smart posters.

    

@eurocomms