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.

G-FIT Germany selects Thomson

Thomson’s VoIP platform to service up to 200,000 new German subscribers on cable, DSL and TDM networks

Thomson has announced that G-FIT, a German telephony services provider, has selected Thomson’s Cirpack VoIP platform to enable the launch of voice services initially by three city and regional carriers in south Germany, with two more to follow shortly.

The first three carriers, R-KOM, komro and SWU Telenet, currently offer different sets of services such as cable TV, DSL Internet and traditional TDM telephony. Using G-FIT’s Cirpack softswitch, they will now be able to offer primary line telephony over broadband.

Jean-Pierre Dumolard, General Manager of Thomson’s Network Intelligence Solutions commented “Germany’s system of regional operators using different types of networks (cable, legacy TDM, DSL, fibre, etc) makes our Cirpack voice switching solutions very attractive to this market as we are fully interoperable with all types of local loop technologies. Thomson’s Cirpack voice platform is now in place with a dozen operators in regions all over Germany and represents the ideal first step towards deploying Thomson’s comprehensive Triple Play solution for IPTV”. 

G-FIT needed a voice solution which could be added seamlessly and which would be completely interoperable with each of their carrier customer’s solutions, as each owns and operates different types of network infrastructures.

Alfred Rauscher CEO of G-FIT commented “We choose Thomson’s Cirpack platforms as they offer exactly the range of features and protocols that are required to realize next-generation-network services in our multi-regional multi-technological network. We will switch our existing voice customers to the Cirpack platform very quickly and leverage its extensive feature set to launch a new hosted PBX-service in autumn.

"The experience of Thomson and our integrator Quante-Netzwerke in migration from TDM- to NGN-environment are a guarantee for our success. A lot of city and regional carriers are in contact with us to subscribe to this service. But this is just the beginning as we are already planning to expand our traditional TV offering with new IPTV services.”

Thomson’s Cirpack gateway technology will connect G-FIT’s infrastructure with Deutsche Telekom using SS7 and with other international carriers using SIP. It will also operate legacy TDM-based business and residential voice services such as ISDN telephony. The entire solution will provide legal intercept and local number portability to TDM subscribers as well as to cable and DSL users.

Bulgarian wireless operator M-Tel places a follow-on order for ECtel's revenue assurance solution

ECtel, a leading provider of Integrated Revenue Management (IRM) solutions, has announced that the leading Bulgarian mobile operator M-Tel has placed a follow-on order for ECtel's revenue assurance solution RAP version 5.

M-Tel is the national market leader with 52.5% market share. With more than 4.3 million customers it is the biggest telecommunications network in Bulgaria and one of the most successful mobile operators in Europe. The operator became the first to start EDGE, UMTS and WiMax networks in Bulgaria and the fifth in the world to start a HSDPA network.

RAP is ECtel's innovative revenue assurance platform facilitating cost-effective and proactive assurance of revenues and processes for wireline, wireless, and next generation IP, multimedia and IPTV providers. It provides a unique set of functionalities and capabilities and enables operators and system integrators to implement system interfaces, define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), add or update revenue assurance KPIs, controls and more.

"We are very pleased that M-Tel has chosen to implement our latest revenue assurance solution RAP version 5" commented Mr. Eitan Naor, President and CEO of ECtel. "This order demonstrates the strategic benefits operators see in our products and the great long-term relationship we maintain with our customers."

SAS.mobi provides easy access to travel information on mobile phones

International travelers now have flight data in their hands

To meet the needs of its millions of international passengers, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) -- the Scandinavian carrier -- has launched SAS.mobi, said to be the first .mobi site from a major airline.

SAS.mobi is the mobile version of the airline's web site and offers a host of features, including check in, time tables, flight status and EuroBonus, the SAS frequent flyer program.

"SAS.mobi is another way for us to communicate with our passengers," said Morgan Svensson, Manager IT Solutions at SAS Business Opportunities. "We understand that business and leisure travelers need access to the most up-to- date information while they're on the go. At SAS.mobi, passengers can check on timetables and promotional offers as well as get updates on flight status, news and weather around the world."

Neil Edwards, CEO of dotMobi added, "SAS has a long history of delivering leading-edge services to their loyal base of travelers and SAS.mobi proves that they're once again leading the way by providing an innovative web site designed for access when their passengers need information on the go."

The SAS.mobi site was created by Swedish mobile portal developers, Adimo, a company that has highlighted what can be achieved with mobile sites by creating interesting, innovative content and business models using the .mobi domain and its standards.

"We are proud to work with SAS, one of Sweden's most well known companies and a company with demands for high quality. Since travelers by definition are mobile, the SAS mobile portal is a perfect communication channel for the airline. The flexibility of the .mobi-compliant Adimo development platform allows us to quickly and easily create and develop compelling content for the mobile Internet," said Anna Caracolias, CEO, Adimo.

Prime Carrier announces MOST Carrier Management System

Provides detailed visibility of the business’s operations on a daily basis, enabling improvement in all commercial aspects

Prime Carrier, a leader in the provision of ‘On Demand’ solutions for the global telecommunications and media industries, has today announced the release of the MOST Carrier Management System, a solution for managing a carrier’s business more effectively.

By combining a number of individual products, Prime Carrier’s MOST Carrier Management System delivers a complete solution that enables wholesale carriers manage their business more effectively by providing the following:

  a.. Detailed analysis of the dynamics of the wholesale business on a daily basis, through a greater visibility of cost and margin.
  b.. Improving the comparison and  selection of supplying carriers  and therefore strengthening a carrier’s  overall procurement capabilities
  c.. Maintaining minimum selling prices for all destinations preventing the introduction of loss making routes
  d.. Generation of sophisticated routing plans quickly and easily
The cost and margin analysis is delivered through market leading analytic reporting technology which provides daily reports and analysis of business operations based on actual traffic information gathered from the carrier’s network.

MOST Carrier Management System, as with all of Prime Carrier’s products, is uniquely delivered through Prime Carrier’s ‘On Demand’ environment. This overcomes many of the barriers involved in deploying software solutions. ‘On-Demand’ computing gives companies an alternative to buying, building, and maintaining their own IT infrastructures. By using applications running on a world-class infrastructure and delivered over the Web, companies can experience a decrease in the total cost of ownership saving up to 90% and dramatically reduce the implementation from months to days. This accelerates the Return-on-Investment and allows carriers to focus on running their business, not on technology.

“Prime Carrier’s products enable carriers to more efficiently and cost-effectively manage inter-carrier trading relationships. Simply put, Prime Carrier’s solutions gives Carriers total control of their wholesale business and allows them to trade safely, effectively and profitably. The MOST Carrier Management System provides carriers with detailed, timely and accurate Management Information to improve underlying financial results. This will substantially increase the speed, control and efficiency of a carrier’s business processes and will enable improved cost and margins across all of its destinations and customers” explained Geoff Butcher, CEO Prime Carrier.

“With this product, Carriers can have daily, answers to some fundamental business questions which otherwise may only be provided through the normal monthly Interconnect Billing cycle. These include: Do you know which of your destinations are profitable and which are making a loss? Do you know how much you are spending with your supplying carriers on a daily basis? Do you know which customers are currently generating the most revenue?” stated Frank Reen, Head of Product Management, Prime Carrier. “With this level of detailed, accurate and timely management information, carriers can confidently scale and grow their business in a controlled manner with visibility on the operations on a more regular basis than just at month end.”

WIMA opens its doors

WIMA, the year's major event in the sector of wireless multimedia convergence, opened today and will be welcoming its guests and delegates to Monaco's Grimaldi Forum over the course of the next three days.

WIMA, which attracts the biggest names (Chief Executives, CTOs, Business Developers, Engineers, Systems Integrators...) from the fields of wireless applications, services and technology, is fast establishing itself as a main point of reference in the industry.                       

With more than 40 sponsors, 25 exhibitors and over 300 participants already registered, WIMA, due to its hospitable and dynamic atmosphere, acts as an ideal venue for the sector's players to establish new contacts within the industry. Laurent Puons, WIMA's Managing Director, is particularly proud that his event will be hosting the first-ever European Summit of NFC (Near Field Communication) Technology Developers, which will see the participation of the sector's foremost actors. The first NFC Awards ceremony will reward the most impressive development projects focused around this new technology.

WIMA is offering exhibiting floor space of over 2000 m2 dedicated to showcasing the very latest technological innovations and breakthroughs in the field as well as the most recent services and developments introduced.
Covering almost the entire spectrum of the wireless value chain, WIMA offers a total of 4 conferences sessions over the course of the three days enabling all participants to discover at first hand the very latest developments in NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, as well as WiFi, WiMAX and Meshed Networks, Mobile TV and Communicating Vehicles, whilst benefiting from media coverage for each one of these sectors. This congress will also provide the wireless industry as a whole with the opportunity to map out the way forward to ensure it continues to build upon its extraordinary rate of development.

This second edition of WIMA, set in the scintillating European business hub of Monaco, and backed by in excess of 140 different companies and associations, is already showing every sign of being a total success.

Wicom and HP transform Deutsche Bahn's call centers to VOIP technology

Wicom Communications, a leading European provider of all-IP contact center solutions and VoIP enterprise telephony software, has announced that Deutsche Bahn has implemented a new contact center system jointly delivered by Wicom and HP. The new solution transforms DB Dialog's call centers into an all-IP environment based on Wicom CSS software.

DB Dialog is part of the Deutsche Bahn Group and specializes in customer services, managing call centers across multiple locations in Germany including Schwerin, Berlin, Hannover, Hamm, Karlsruhe and Frankfurt. DB Dialog’s call centers handle around twelve million customer contacts per year, nine million of which are telephone queries. At peak times, the call centers receive an average of one call per second.

“Working closely with Hewlett-Packard and DB Systems, the subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, we migrated DB's call center services to VoIP in only four months,” comments Stephan Bahr, Regional Sales Director for Germany, Austria and Switzerland at Wicom Communications. “DB Systems now operates the complete system, including Wicom’s software, from its two ICT centers in Berlin.”

At present, the new solution covers Deutsche Bahn’s BahnCard service, distributing incoming calls to 300 agents. By the middle of 2007, calls to the travel service and e-mail queries will also be included in the same system. “This scenario shows clearly the advantages of IP technology,” explains Stephan Bahr. “Since telephone conversations are now an IP application, they can be bundled together with e-mail services and run over the same corporate network.”

Simplified monitoring and standardized reporting are further advantages for DB Dialog, as IT administrators can quickly evaluate and analyze activities across six call centers. The easy-to-use interface allows potential resourcing problems to be recognized and addressed rapidly.

“With the help of the VoIP solution, we have successfully reduced costs while increasing service levels,” says Iris Gassi, Director, Customer Solutions at DB Dialog Telefonservice GmbH. “We can now deploy our existing resources more efficiently while offering our customers a faster and more capable service. Since DB Dialog’s call centers are connected via our data centers in Berlin, they can share call handling at peak times.”

“By the middle of the year, we plan to have up to 1,300 agents using the VoIP system, handling approximately 25,000 calls per day,” Ms. Gassi continues. “The system distributes customer queries intelligently across six locations, choosing the route that offers the shortest waiting times. We have already reaped the benefits of our virtual call center during the initial trial period, when it stood the test of successfully handling the sudden peak load of telephone queries during gale storm Kyrill.”

The joint Wicom and HP VoIP platform requires no heavy financial investment upfront, as it relies only on standard hardware components. Operation and maintenance costs are also low compared to conventional telephone systems. Call routing within the VoIP infrastructure is free, as it takes place over the company’s existing data network.

“VoIP supports our strategy of continuously improving the services we can offer our customers,” comments Iris Gassi. “The new system allows us to integrate new services, to develop our service offering and adapt to new challenges flexibly. In a short time, we have already managed to increase agent availability within our call center and utilize the expertise of our agents better than before.” 

Subex Azure hosts International User Conference for global customers and partners

Subex Azure, a leading global provider of OSS solutions for telecom operators, is hosting its bi-annual International User Conference between 18 – 20 April 2007 at the Athenaeum InterContinental Hotel in Athens, Greece.

The three-day event will provide attendees with valuable insight into emerging trends in the revenue maximization space, as well as the discussion of best practices and the examination of case studies from a variety of operators. Guest speakers include James Moran, Director of Fraud & Security of the GSM Association and presentations from customers including BT, Claro Brazil, Global Crossing, RCI Rogers, StarHub and Vodafone UK.

This year’s conference will also include presentations from Subash Menon, CEO, Managing Director and Founder of Subex Azure, who will give a review of the past year for Subex Azure, which has included the acquisition of Syndesis and a company listing on the London Stock Exchange.  In addition, Mark Nicholson, CTO of Subex Azure, will speak on the topic of ‘Managing Triple Play, Quad Play and Content based services with a converged IP infrastructure’.

Subex Azure will be providing an overview of its latest corporate and product developments, the evolution of the Revenue Operations Center (ROC) and the future plans of the company following its recent acquisition of Syndesis.  The event will also offer all attendees an exceptional opportunity to network with their peers from around the world.

Meru Networks delivers the largest campus-wide wireless network in Belgium

The Ministry of the Brussels-Capital Region selects Meru to provide wireless Internet access across the Vrije Universiteit Brussel/Universite libre de Bruxelles in Brussels

Meru Networks, a leader in wireless infrastructure for the All-Wireless Enterprise, has announced that the Brussels Regional Informatics Centre (BRIC), on behalf of the Brussels-Capital Region, has deployed Meru Networks’ Wireless LAN (WLAN) System and its Wireless Backbone System (WBS) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel/Universite libre de Bruxelles (VUB/ULB) in Brussels, making it the largest mesh network in Belgium.

Designed by Multicap, Meru’s distribution partner in Belgium, the mesh network provides broadband Internet access to all students and campus visitors.  Meru’s 4th generation WLAN provides reliable application delivery for high density data, toll-quality voice, and streaming video Wi-Fi applications. WBS extends these services to outdoor areas and remote locations through an innovative wireless backbone and mesh repeating scheme that provides end-to-end QoS and security.  Additionally, Meru’s network enables wireless VoIP to all VUB/ULB university staff. 

Guy Vanhengel, Brussels’ Informatics Minister, described the deployment, “We see this as a revolutionary step forward for the University. This impressive wireless network provides a fine example that other institutions will be able to emulate.  To achieve such a sophisticated solution and to make such significant cost savings at the same time is remarkable.”

Meru’s Air Traffic Control technology automatically balances network traffic among the wireless Access Points located throughout the campus. WBS allows the Access Points to be installed in locations without access to a wired network, including on light poles, rooftops, and exterior walls.

Glenn De Haes, System Engineer of Multicap said, “Meru’s Wireless Backbone System provides 100 percent reliability and security. Their mesh network enabled us to install Access Points in locations where it would have been very difficult and expensive to string cabling, so WBS saved VUB/ULB a significant sum of money. Meru delivered everything we needed - scalability, low installation cost, and superior Quality of Service.

Kamal Anand, SVP Marketing and Corporate Strategy at Meru Networks explained, “This installation really demonstrates the superiority of Meru’s innovative technology. Unlike older 3rd generation wireless LANs, Meru’s network has been purpose-built to reliably carry high bandwidth voice and data traffic with optimum quality. These features, combined with the WBS mesh support, are ideal for high density environments such as universities.”

Vodafone selects Ericsson for European-wide managed services contract for its network spare parts

Agreement set to deliver greater efficiencies to Vodafone

Vodafone has selected Ericsson to manage the supply and distribution of spare parts for its mobile networks across several of its major European operating companies including Germany, Spain and Portugal.

Under the multi-million euro deal, Ericsson will assume responsibility for the logistics, warehousing, repair and replacement of multi-vendor spare parts in the selected operating companies. This is expected to deliver greater cost efficiencies to Vodafone through lower average prices for the management process of spares, as well as enhanced service levels.

The agreement will cover the end-to-end management of spare parts for 2G, 3G and transmission equipment in the selected European operating companies.

The initiative forms part of Vodafone's cost reduction strategy as each Vodafone operating company currently runs its own spare parts operation.
It will also enable the company to focus more on its core business of enhancing network performance, as well as delivering more attractive services to customers.

Working under service level agreements, Ericsson is tasked with taking advantage of its expertise in the managed service sector to deliver an enhanced and added-value service to Vodafone operating companies.

Other benefits to Vodafone include the harmonisation of the spare parts supply process, greater price transparency for the provision of services, as well as removing the need for further investment in stocks of spare parts for the future. The agreement is also expected to deliver greater savings by channelling spare part purchases in all participating operating companies through a single supplier.

The deal will be effective from April 2007 and the service will be implemented in the participating Vodafone operating companies in the course of this year. During that time, Vodafone will also have the option to further extend the agreement to additional operating companies.

Commenting on the deal, Detlef Schultz, Vodafone Global Director for Supply Chain Management said: "This initiative is another example of how Vodafone is looking for more and more innovative ways to deliver on its cost reduction strategy in Europe. By agreeing this managed services contract with Ericsson, we will be even better placed to focus on our customers and give them an even better mobile experience."

Hans Vestberg, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Unit Global Services, Ericsson, said: "Vodafone has truly been in the forefront demonstrating their innovative approach which has been a key success factor when developing this solution. This agreement will bring further benefits from leveraging on economies of scale and skill across several countries. We are extremely proud to extend our partnership with Vodafone, breaking new ground together. This is an evolution of Ericsson's managed services capabilities, enabling operators to outsource their entire supply chain of spare parts. This is also to date one of the biggest contracts for multivendor spare parts management."