European Communications

Last update01:22:38 PM

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 and Deutsche Telekom enter managed services deal for microwave network

Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom, one of the world's largest incumbents, have entered a six-year managed services partnership. The strategically important contract covers the operation and maintenance of Deutsche Telekom's microwave network in Germany.

As part of the transaction, roughly 200 employees will be transferred from T-Com to Ericsson, the world's leading telecom vendor and service provider. T-Com will transfer its microwave assets and related operation activities to Ericsson. Ericsson will thereby take over full responsibility for the realization and operation of Deutsche Telekom AG's microwave based links in Germany, including planning, deployment, operation and field services.

T-Com will buy capacity from Ericsson as part of an ongoing managed services contract.

Hans Vestberg, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Unit Global Services at Ericsson says: "We are confident that we not only can maintain the high quality of the network while helping reduce costs for our customer, but that we can also improve profitability in the operation of microwave networks over coming years by adding new customers. This agreement will also lay the foundation for our strategy to make managed services a growth area and success story in Germany as well. We welcome the highly qualified new employees from T-Com, whom we will offer attractive career paths in an international environment of a true global player."

'World's fastest' mobile network chooses iO Mobile Experience platform

iO global, a provider of integrated mobile content solutions, has today announced that Isle of Man's Manx Telecom has launched a converged content delivery service, ‘Mobile Downloads', which enables its 75,000 subscribers to purchase, download and consume music from a mobile device and/or PC using the new iO Mobile Experience Platform.

For the first time, Manx Telecom customers will be able to select and download their chosen content to the destination of their choice and then seamlessly share the content between the mobile device and personal computer.   Manx Telecom, which has earned a reputation for being at the leading edge of telecoms innovation, is the first operator in the world to deliver this converged service from iO global to its 75,000 subscriber-base on the island and was the first operator in the world to launch a 3.5G mobile service.

As part of the new ‘Mobile Downloads' service, Manx Telecoms has signed a number of local bands in order to offer their music free to subscribers.  It also provides an excellent opportunity for local artists and musicians to have their work profiled on a national and international level.  The ‘Mobile Downloads' service is available to all Manx Telecoms subscribers with immediate effect.

Confirms Andy Bridson, Marketing Director of Manx Telecom: "At Manx Telecom we continually strive to provide the very latest, innovative services to our customers to maximise their mobile enjoyment and lifestyles.  We believe that consumers should be able to enjoy the content they want, when they want and in the format that is most appropriate to them at the time. By working with iO global, we have been able to launch the world-class converged ‘Mobile Downloads' service, that delivers flexibility and choice to our customers. The experience is incredible, when using 3.5G technology it is as quick to download a new tune as it is to browse on an iPod."

Adds Martin Knestrick, CEO of iO global: "Through iO global's new Mobile Experience Platform, Manx Telecom is leading the way in providing its subscribers with converged mobile content.  By being able to download content and share between mobile and PC, we believe this will not only further build consumer interest in downloadable media, but will help increase sales of 3G and 3.5G handsets on the Isle of Man."

Huawei constructs all IP network for QSC in Germany

Huawei Technologies, the provider of next generation telecommunications network solutions for operators, has today announced that it has accomplished the installation of its multi-service control gateways (MSCG) ME60, in the all IP network of German leading telecommunications provider QSC AG.

The ME60 is a next-generation multi-service edge solution designed to meet the challenges in the transformation toward a customer-centric All IP architecture network for multi-play applications. The ME60 offers a perfect QoS mechanism to help QSC deploy services more quickly at highly reliable levels and achieve intensive service operations. It also provides QSC with a unified operation platform for services and applications, reducing the capital and operational expenditure of its broadband network. After a strict test and selection process, QSC chose Huawei as a partner to build up its All IP network.

QSC is one of the leading fixed network carriers in Germany. Its broadband network is accessible nationwide in Germany and offers voice and data services to business- and private customers. QSC also provides other carriers and internet service providers with wholesale services.

In 2006 QSC has founded Plusnet GmbH & Co. KG. This "network manufactory", now a joint venture between QSC and TELE2, plans, builds and operates QSC's next generation network.

"Huawei owns advanced technologies and rich experiences in telecoms market in data communication field, our cooperation with Huawei on MSCG is a good start. We will join hands with Huawei to provide higher-quality service experience for our users." said Mr. Eivind Dugstad, Managing Director Plusnet GmbH & Co KG.

"We are pleased to see Huawei MSCG devices recognized by leading European carriers such as QSC," commented Chen Junhua, president of Huawei's data communications product line. "Huawei's data communications product line has always been devoted to serving the needs of carrier markets by offering its vast technology resources and extensive network construction experience to customers. Huawei will continue to focus on customers' demands and help QSC build up operable, maintainable and manageable broadband networks."

Extreme Mobile to get investment from billionaire

High profile Polish billionaire, Roman Karkosik, has pledged to invest $1 billion USD in mobile telecoms projects, including the development in the UK of the Extreme Mobile Ltd. mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and its sister company Advantage Cellular Communications Ltd, which comprises Advantage Business Solutions and Advantage Cellular.

Through Centernet, a telecoms company wholly owned by Mr Karkosik's Midas investment fund, the 56 year-old entrepreneur is currently planning to launch Poland's fifth national and first 3G mobile network.

Simon Earle, Chairman and Chief Executive of Xebra (the holding company for the Extreme/Advantage group of companies in the UK), first met with Mr Karkosik in Warsaw during December 2006.

"Following Poland's membership of the EU Mr Karkosik stated that he was keen to invest in an MVNO or mobile network operator (MNO) in the UK and Poland.  With his inherent awareness of timing, recognition of market conditions and overall knowledge and experience of the financial markets, Mr Karkosik has an exemplary history of making successful investments.  He is also acknowledged for having the vision to select the right business partners, so I was delighted to conclude the agreement, whereby Centernet now has an 80% share in Xebra Ltd.

"This investment will enable us to launch Extreme Mobile as an exciting new youth oriented MVNO and establish the Advantage companies as leaders in their field."

Mr Karkosik will visit the UK next month to perform the official opening of Advantage's modern warehouse and Operations Centre in Didcot, Oxfordshire, in addition to viewing the new administration offices in Preston, Lancs.and Extreme Mobile's new office at Vintage Yard near to London Bridge.

John McFarnon, Group Managing Director added: "It is anticipated that the B2B market will show major growth over the next two to three years and Advantage Business Solutions has developed a comprehensive portfolio of products and services to facilitate the needs of the SME sector.   The market is changing. 

"The industry now needs to focus more clearly on fulfilling the needs of the customer; providing them with a range of products and services to allow mobile centric businesses to concentrate on developing core front end solutions. Advantage Cellular is the operations hub for the group and will establish a fresh new level of service for mobile resellers in the UK irrespective of their size and routes to market.

"This business will function more effectively than our competition.  It's a start up with a new set of rules, procedures and a strong spirit all embedded in the philosophy of total professionalism with the emphasis on giving our customers a true advantage."

City of Szklarska Poreba in Poland is Europe's first free HotSpot Zone

free-hotspot.com has announced today that the city of Szklarska Poreba in Poland has become its first "FREE HotSpot Zone" in Europe. This designation means that public Wi-Fi access is made available through a network of FREE HotSpots operating throughout the community. The FREE wireless Internet access is now offered in over 50 hotels, restaurants, cafes and other venues located in the town centre and the surrounding areas.

The development of the FREE HotSpot Zone was achieved with the cooperation the city government. Arkadiusz Wichniak, the Lord Mayor of Szklarska Poreba, described the idea behind the project: "We were looking for a way to make free Wi-Fi available to our citizens and tourist visitors in a way that would also benefit our business community," he said. "However, we wanted to achieve this goal in a way that would not impose a cost burden on the city. free-hotspot.com was able to work with our local business owners to provide FREE Wi-Fi to Szklarska Poreba in a way that meets both these criteria."

"The free-hotspot.com service further enhances Szklarska Poreba as a leisure destination," said Grzinna Biederman, head of the city's Marketing and Promotion Department. "Whether on summer holidays or a winter ski weekend, visitors to our city are now able to email their friends, stay in touch with the office or simply surf the web - all at no charge. We believe that our FREE HotSpot Zone will not only boost our normal tourist traffic, but also help draw visitors to the many festivals and events that we host in our city throughout the year."

Joe Brunoli, Vice President of HotSpot Market Development for free-hotspot.com, described the advantages of the FREE HotSpot Zone programme: "Municipalities across Europe are looking for affordable ways to bring FREE Wi-Fi to their communities," he said. "Szklarska Poreba is the first example of such a solution, namely a joint effort by government and business that delivers FREE Wi-Fi to the public at no cost to the city - and which actually increases revenues to the community."

Cable & Wireless wins business from Virgin

Cable & Wireless Europe, Asia & US has announced that it has landed a three-year, multi million pound contract with Virgin Group to deliver strategic datacomms services.

Cable & Wireless has been providing communications services to Virgin Group for over seven years and currently delivers hosting, security and contact centre services to different parts of the Group.   Under the new contract, it will provide the company with IPVPN services to over 130 sites in the UK, managed security, WiFi and application monitoring solutions.

Virgin decided to build on its existing relationship because of Cable & Wireless' track record of delivering excellent service and managing mission critical services - as well as its deep knowledge of the company.

Cable & Wireless will take responsibility for delivering datacomms services to Virgin Operating companies including Virgin Management, Virgin Trains, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Active.  The increased bandwidth will allow Virgin Atlantic's applications to work more effectively; and Virgin Trains to implement an IT refresh that is fundamental to its business. Virgin Active also has an increasing reliance on real-time systems for operational processes so a robust, reliable, secure and speedy network is essential to its success.

Gareth Lewis, CIO, Virgin Group, said: "We're a complex business, made up of a diverse number of different companies each with very specific requirements - Cable & Wireless gets this.  We also valued its commercial innovativeness and flexibility, as well as its strategic vision for the shared services model. 

"Cable & Wireless has focused on making sure it understands our business, our people and our communications needs.  I have great confidence that our datacomms are in safe hands, allowing us to concentrate on driving our business forward."

Jim Marsh, CEO, Cable & Wireless Europe, Asia & US, said: "Our priority is to know exactly what our customers' requirements are - and deliver a great customer experience first time, every time. This is a fantastic win for us and we're thrilled that we can build our on existing relationship with Virgin Group." 

Orga Systems strengthens long time partnership with CAPE Technologies

Orga Systems, the specialist in convergent real-time billing, has today announced that CAPE Technologies is its preferred partner for roaming solutions.

The partnership agreement builds upon the existing relationship between the two companies. Under the terms of the partnership, CAPE's roaming solution, RoamBroker, is integrated with Orga Systems' convergent billing solution, OPSC Gold. Following requests from clients to include roaming in their product portfolio, Orga Systems performed a detailed analysis of the solutions available in the market and selected RoamBroker, allowing them to strategically expand their business offering and provide a "one-stop-shop" solution to their clients.

The RoamBroker solution will offer a wide range of new roaming benefits to Orga Systems' clients, including real-time cost control, management of all aspects of billing for inter-operator roaming and control of their roaming business. This agreement further strengthens the existing alliance between CAPE and Orga Systems. 

OPSC Gold enab­les operators to unify convergent billing processes for all voice and data services - whe­ther they are prepaid in real-time or postpaid - into a single system. The RoamBroker web interface allows for effective management of roaming administration tasks thus maximizing the ease-of-use for the end-user. 

RoamBroker assists the operator in reducing third-party roaming costs, while at the same time maximizing roaming revenues. The solution complies with a range of GSM Association specifications, including TD57, simultaneous support of multiple TAP and RAP file formats and HUR reporting. With its integrated reporting suite, RoamBroker also provides traffic, financial and high-usage reports to the end-user.

"We selected CAPE as a preferred partner to meet the increasing demands of our customers for a billing system with integrated roaming functionality," said Rainer Neumann, CEO, Orga Systems. "By implementing CAPE's RoamBroker roaming solution, we can now offer our customers true unified rating within our OPSC Gold billing solution."

Philip Sharpe, President and CEO of CAPE, commented: "We are delighted to be working with Orga Systems and we are confident that the features in RoamBroker will meet their requirements in the areas of roaming for convergent billing. This partnership is another great endorsement of RoamBroker which is used by leading operators around the world as a comprehensive solution for managing all aspects of billing for inter-operator roaming."

Ericsson is new WCDMA/HSPA network supplier for Elisa in Finland

Ericsson has been chosen by Finnish operator Elisa to deliver WCDMA/HSPA network equipment, taking the longstanding relationship between the two companies to a new level. The expansion will virtually double the coverage and capacity of Elisa's existing WCDMA/HSPA network.

Under the contract, Ericsson will more than double the number of radio base stations in the Elisa network over the coming year. By the end of the year, more than 120 towns and cities will have 3G coverage, strengthening Elisa's position as a leading Finnish 3G/HSPA network operator and service provider. Elisa chose Ericsson for the expansion project following a successful pilot that concluded earlier this year.

Ericsson's High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) solution provides increased data speeds by introducing enhancements in the uplink and the downlink. The advanced technology boosts network capacity and cuts response times for interactive services, increasing the performance of mobile broadband.

The contract also covers support services, deployment, integration and educational services.

Veli-Matti Mattila, President and CEO at Elisa, says: "We have seen a dramatic increase in the demand for 3G services in Finland. According to recent surveys, internet, e-mail, maps and local services are soon to be found in every pocket. We must be able to offer 3G solutions that are easy to use and help day-to-day living. Our decision to provide flat-rate mobile services reinforces our commitment to Elisa and Saunalahti customers. Ericsson's technology will help us achieve that goal."

Janne Laitala, President, Ericsson Finland, says: "We are proud to be selected by Elisa to expand its HSPA radio network, and in this way contribute to bringing faster mobile broadband to a greater number of Finnish consumers. This contract further emphasizes Ericsson's leadership in broadband."

VimpelCom acquires cellular operator in Irkutsk region

VimpelCom has announced that it has acquired Corporation Severnaya Korona, which holds GSM 900/1800 and D-AMPS licenses covering the Irkutsk Region.

The Company acquired 100% of the shares of CSK for approximately US$ 232 million. The sole shareholder of CSK was Tele2 Sverige AB of Sweden, a member of the telecommunications holding company Tele2 which operates in the Nordic and Russian markets.

CSK's GSM-900/1800 and D-AMPS licenses cover a territory with a population of about 2.5 million. According to the Company's estimates, the CSK subscriber base as of the end of June 2007 amounted to over 571,000 subscribers (including more than 3,000 D-AMPS subscribers), which accounts for 21.5% of the entire cellular market in the Irkutsk Region. According to independent surveys, the penetration level of cellular telecommunications in the region is about 107.6%.

Commenting on today's announcement, Nikolai Pryanishnikov, VimpelCom's Executive Vice-President and General Director for Russia, noted: "We are happy to announce our entry into one of the most important regions of the Far East and Siberia. The acquisition of CSK substantially enhances our position in Russia and expands the communication options available to existing and new subscribers. We plan to integrate the acquired company into VimpelCom's network as soon as possible and offer the local population Beeline's high level of service."

Following the acquisition of CSK, VimpelCom's operating area covers 75 regions of the 85 administrative regions of the Russian Federation.