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.

TeliaSonera launches Turbo 3G in Norway

TeliaSonera subsidiary, NetCom, is claiming to be the first in Norway to launch a next generation mobile network, and the biggest cities in Norway will have access to the new network in 2007, offering customers up to ten times faster Internet access compared to the conventional 3G network. 

”Turbo 3G will give a completely new meaning to mobile broadband. Where previously ADSL was needed to achieve satisfactory upload and download speed, all that is needed now is a computer and plug-in card,” says August Baumann, President, NetCom. 
 
The network will be built out where most needed, and so Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen and Stavanger are the cities that will get Turbo 3G in 2007. The build-out is planned to continue in 2008 and 2009.
 
In parallel with the launch of the new mobile network, NetCom is releasing several new services and price plans.
 
“We customize the mobile broadband offering to the needs of the different customer groups and offer several new subscription solutions. The products will be adapted both to big users in the business market and to consumer customers who wish to have access to the Internet wherever they are,” says Hans Heggenhaugen, Product Manager, Mobile Broadband, NetCom.
 
TeliaSonera already offers Turbo 3G in Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and plans a launch in Finland in the near future. 

Moovera and Vodafone collaborate on Wi-Fi for public transport

Moovera Moovbox uses 3G broadband network for in-vehicle Internet access for passengers

Moovera Networks, a leading developer of mobile wireless broadband technology, and Vodafone UK, have announced the successful commercial launch of high-speed Internet access on Europe's most frequent express coach service, the Oxford Tube. Passengers traveling on the Stagecoach Group service between Central London and Oxford now have email and web access on the move at speeds up to 1.4Mbps due to the combination of Moovera's mobile Wi-Fi equipment and Vodafone UK's 3G broadband network, which now covers 80% of the UK population.

Following an initial three-month trial by Stagecoach Group across the 25-vehicle fleet, over 7,000 passengers have used the free service more than 32,000 times with an average session duration of 41 minutes. Oxford Tube, which runs a 24-hour service every day of the year with coaches leaving up to every 10 minutes at peak times, has revealed that a number of commuters have transferred from the railways and from rival coach operators due to the popularity of the free Wi-Fi service.

"The success of the Stagecoach Wi-Fi service clearly demonstrates the demand for high-speed Internet connectivity on public transport," said Jim Baker, CEO and founder of Moovera Networks. "Providing free 'always-on' broadband access on routes frequented by commuters, students and tourists is a significant way for bus, coach and train operators to distinguish their service from others and increase passenger footfall."

Internet connectivity is provided by Moovera's Moovbox M Series, a small ruggedised device that creates a Wi-Fi network throughout a vehicle, allowing passengers to connect with any Wi-Fi enabled laptop, PDA or mobile phone. The Moovbox bridges the Wi-Fi network with Vodafone UK's 3G broadband service that uses HSDPA (High Speed Download Packet Access) technology to deliver download speeds of around 1.4Mbps. The Moovbox also provides a secure Internet link for in-vehicle applications including CCTV for remote camera monitoring, and features built-in GPS tracking so that fleet operators know where their vehicles are at any time of day or night.

"Moovera's Moovbox is an excellent example of how Vodafone's 3G broadband services can be extended to reach even more potential users with a wide variety of applications," said Kyle Whitehill, Director of Vodafone UK's Enterprise Business Unit. "By offering Wi-Fi, vehicle tracking, video security and support for a host of other transport telematics applications, the Moovbox fully leverages the high speed capability of our 3G broadband network."

Huawei and TransTeleCom build Russia's first large-scale NGN toll network

Network to reduce transmission costs, provide users with multimedia services and evolve towards ALL-IP environment

Huawei, a leader in providing next-generation telecommunications networks for operators around the world, has announced that it has built the first large-scale Next Generation Network (NGN) toll communication network with TransTeleCom in Russia. The IP network will carry TransTeleCom’s subscribers’ international and national voice traffic.

The first ever country-wide Russian NGN network spans nine time zones from Europe to Asia, covering an area of 170,055,000 Km². At present, TransTeleCom has built seven national toll call offices and four international toll call offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and six other cities. Transmitting voice over the IP network helps TransTeleCom to reduce its transmission costs and also makes it possible to evolve towards ALL-IP.                       

The newly built NGN interoperates with the original network and retains all the services of the original network. The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) technology integrated in Huawei’s NGN solution also enables TransTeleCom to provide end-users with even more multimedia services.

Huawei’s NGN solution optimizes the network structure by separating the call control layer from the bearer layer. With the uniform platform for network management and service deployment, it enables centralized network management, as well as allowing TransTeleCom to quickly deploy new services. In addition, Huawei has provided TransTeleCom with an advanced disaster tolerance solution, to ensure secure and stable running of the network, such as a dual-homing Softswitch solution and a network management system that uses dual systems located in different places.

"With the joint effort of TransTeleCom and Huawei, we have brought in the NGN technology and deployed a large-scale network, as well as accumulating experience in constructing and operating a country-level NGN communication network. Based on this network, we will be able to provide network services of higher quality and service experience of greater diversity," said Mr. Oleg Mamontov, vice president of TransTeleCom and chairman of toll network.

"Huawei has successfully deployed NGN solutions in over 60 countries and regions around the world,” added Mr. Wang Ke-xiang, the president of Huawei, CIS, “Our solution for TransTeleCom is based on its unique requirements, and will help it to improve the quality of its network operation and maintenance, enrich the network experience of its end-users, and will build-up momentum for future network evolution."

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.”