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.

NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT: Ripley introduces new CT2-AS Series Compression Assembly Tools

New compression tool assembles a variety of different connectors

Ripley’s Cablematic division has introduced its new CT2-AS and CT2-AS-EX Compression Assembly Tools. This new generation CT2 AS series tools offer Ripley’s patented “Split Jaw” technology which assembles 59, 6, 7, and 11 “F” compression type connectors as well as most RCA, IEC, and Mini connectors.

The CT2-AS series offers the installer an ergonomic platform incorporating spring loaded handles and push button handle lock, keeping the tool pouch friendly. The required compression hand force is considered one of the lowest in the industry. Both tool's spring loaded split jaws position cable and connector for easy insertion/removal and are easy to use around and in wall boxes where space and cable length may be limited.  The tool requires no special adjustment or adapter and can be kept in calibration with a supplied gauge block.

Ripley's “Split Jaw” technology secures the cable assembly a full 360 degrees ensuring linear cable to connector compression each and every time. The CT2-AS is offered in two distinct colors for identification of connector use.

TVI Portugal and Vodafone Portugal complete successful trials with DVB-H solutions from Thomson

SmartVision service platform and Mobile TV head-end from Thomson used by Portugal’s largest broadcaster and Vodafone Portugal

TVI Portugal and Vodafone Portugal have completed successful trials of digital television broadcasts to mobile phones using Thomson’s SmartVision interactive service platforms and Mobile TV head-end products, Argos mobile TV encoders and Opal DVB-H IP encapsulators.

TVI Portugal is Portugal’s largest broadcaster in terms of viewer ratings while Vodafone Portugal is the country’s second biggest telecommunications operator. The trial consisted of eight live channels broadcasted by DVB-H to panel of users with mobile phones from Samsung.

 “As the operator, our dual goals were to obtain a first level of feedback from our customers on user experience and to test the technology itself,” said António Carriço, Director of Global Products and Innovations for Vodafone Portugal. “Mobile TV has been a key service for Vodafone Portugal since its launch in 2004 and DVB-H technology is one of the next milestones in the path of our customer’s satisfaction. We are very satisfied with this pilot test phase.”

“We chose to test Thomson’s DVB-H broadcast head-end equipment and SmartVision services platform with ESG (Electronic Service Guide) management for their proven track records and fast implementation,” said José Nabais, CTO of TVI Portugal.

“The Portuguese market represents a particularly interesting opportunity for launching new mobile services as the population are strong users of mobile phones,” said Jacques Dunogué Thomson senior executive vice president in charge of the Systems Division . “More than 60 % of all voice calls made in Portugal are made using mobile phones whilst the European average is only 43%. Thomson is well placed in this promising market, and our participation to most mobile  TV trials gives us a unique experience .”

T-Online France deploys Visionael to automate delivery of services to residential customers

T-Online France has selected Visionael’s Network Resource Manager (NRM) to automate delivery of its triple play services to residential customers.  Visionael’s NRM was deployed by T-Online France to establish an essential foundation for effectively managing video, voice and data services that are in a state of constant change due to fierce competitive pressures.

Visionael also issued a release last week in which it announced the release of preliminary data from Frost & Sullivan’s Stratecast report at Visionael Advantage conference, which took place in New York City. The in-depth research report which interviews mobile, wireline, and cable service providers responsible for management of hundreds of millions of subscribers/access lines, found drastic changes in communications service provider (CSP) buying habits for customized OSS/BSS solutions. According to Stratecast, with competition growing fierce among service providers for triple play services, CSPs are making the move towards commercial off-the-shelf products that do not require customisation. Previous Stratecast research in 2005 showed that 16 percent of CSPs questioned were implementing highly customized OSS/BSS solutions. This figure has now plunged to two percent.

Reasons given by communications service providers include no longer being able to accept 18-24 month implementation cycles for fulfillment solutions, and out-of-control ongoing costs to maintain, update, and test custom or homegrown OSS/BSS software. The study cites one executive from a mobile and wireless service provider who went so far as to say, "Any manager authorizing customization will be sacked!" The stakes are high for service providers, with annual OSS/BSS spending estimated to be 20 - 25 percent of CAPEX. Based on combined estimates, annual service provider CAPEX is expected to be $150 - $250 billion. This results in OSS/BSS capital spending estimates of $30 - $62.5 billion annually, which does not include professional services beyond those required to install the solution or managed services.

3GSM World Congresses rebranded as mobile industry approaches 3 billion milestone

Mobile Asia Congress to take place in Macau in November followed by Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February

The GSMA is rebranding the 3GSM World Congress and its sister event in Asia to reflect their role encouraging the development of compelling new mobile services for end-users. Set to take place in Macau in November, the 3GSM World Congress Asia will now be called the Mobile Asia Congress and the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona has been rebranded as the Mobile World Congress.

"Both the GSMA and the Congresses are focused on helping operators use the potent platform provided by today's highly-capable and extensive mobile networks to better serve the many needs and desires of this industry's almost 3 billion customers," said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA, which owns both the Barcelona and Macau events. "Attracting visitors from the information technology, entertainment and financial services industries, as well as the mobile industry, the Congresses provide forums for the cross-pollination of services, ideas and business models."

The two Congresses, which attract speakers, exhibitors and visitors from across the world and all segments of the mobile market, serve one of the world's most widespread and fast-growing industries. The mobile industry has added one billion new connections in just two years and is set to pass the three billion milestone in August, according to the mobile industry research service, Wireless Intelligence.

The Mobile Asia Congress will take place in the vibrant entertainment hub of Macau, where it will be well-placed to cover the evolution of mobile music, games, films, advertising and other multimedia entertainment, as well as China's imminent adoption of 3G technologies.

The GSMA has also announced today that GSMC, its subsidiary that runs the Congresses, has appointed John Hoffman, a dynamic and experienced mobile industry executive, as CEO. Having served as a senior executive with mobile operators in both the U.S. and Europe and CEO of mobile technology suppliers fastmobile and Roamware, Mr. Hoffman has extensive experience of the many facets of the mobile industry.

"We appointed John to take on this challenging role because he has the in-depth understanding of mobile communications and the commercial acumen necessary to ensure that the Mobile Congresses in Macau and Barcelona remain at the forefront of this fast-moving and fast-growing industry," added Mr. Conway.

Mr. Conway also announced that Bill Gadja, the GSMA's Chief Marketing Officer, has taken on the newly created role of Chief Commercial Officer at the GSMA. Instrumental in the GSMA's groundbreaking work with the Sundance Institute and the Bollywood film industry, Mr. Gadja will lead the development of media and entertainment programmes within the GSMA, as well as the expansion and delivery of the Association's Mobile Innovation Programme.

Alcatel-Lucent announces software platform to allow mobile operators to capitalize on mobile content shopping

Alcatel-Lucent has today announced the availability of the enhanced Alcatel-Lucent 5965 Mobile Content Platform, said to be a powerful software platform that changes the way mobile content is delivered to mobile phone users. With the new release, operators can create a personalized mobile shopping experience for targeted subscriber segments based on individual interests and behaviour, and improve the overall quality of their service with expert content management, merchandizing and delivery of mobile advertising and entertainment. The Alcatel-Lucent 5965 Mobile Content Platform gives operators the tools needed to create a simplified one-stop shop for mobile content, providing the integrated shopping experience subscribers are looking for.

Today, mobile content is typically sorted by content type rather than by brand, requiring subscribers to search through multiple levels of menus to find the content they want to buy. For example, a subscriber interested in purchasing content relating to U2 or another favourite music group or artist, would likely visit their operator's portal and see a ringtones menu, a graphics menu and a video menu and have to navigate each one separately. Alternatively, subscribers could shop at other mobile web sites (off portal). At no time, however would subscribers be able to see everything relating to U2 or their preferred artist. In addition the operator may not be able to capture a record of their buying preferences.

With the Alcatel-Lucent 5965 Mobile Content Platform, this dynamic changes, and operator's existing content systems (e.g. video, music, games, etc.) can be used to drive marketing campaigns and gain the intelligence to help them sell more. For the end user, the ability of the operator to support content both on and off their network, enables the subscriber to quickly see the content and brands they care about regardless of content type or where it is hosted. In addition, the operator can track purchases and based on that intelligence send targeted advertisements or special offers for related entertainment or brand specific promotions such as buy one get one free or earn a free ringtone.

The Alcatel-Lucent 5965 Mobile Content Platform is a software platform that can be added to mobile networks without replacing existing content systems enabling operators to quickly begin delivering revenue-generating new services.

"The mobile phone is a highly personal communication channel. This goes beyond simple advertising. It is this kind of relevant, interactive experience that brands want and subscribers appreciate," said Scott Ellison, VP Consumer Mobile Research at IDC. "This release offers new opportunities for operators to turn their content investment into a profitable revenue stream through higher subscriber usage and brand revenue."

Today's product announcement also coincides with the release of new user survey data from The Worldwide Lab at Alcatel-Lucent, a primary research program designed to understand the preferences of teens and young adults. The new survey data highlights growing market demand from the Internet generation for personalized advertising and awareness campaigns that deliver relevant content.

"Our research has shown that teens and young adults want to find and interact with the brands they care about," said Margaret Norton, Vice President of Mobile Content Platforms at Alcatel-Lucent. "Subscribers continue to be surprised at the lack of visible, relevant brands on their mobiles. They want to be marketed to as they are on the Internet, at the mall and on TV. With the new release of the Alcatel-Lucent 5965 Mobile Content Platform, mobile operators can take advantage of this market demand and revenue opportunity."

In addition to its orchestration capability, the Alcatel-Lucent 5965 Mobile Content Platform includes a set of tools that can be used across existing content components from marketing to delivery.

Eight out of 10 London-based IT executives say that business-continuity plans are in place, cybersecurity is top of mind

AT&T has announced that business- continuity planning is seen as a priority by 76 percent of IT executives in London, according to the results of a survey of London-based IT executives, which was conducted by AT&T.

Key findings show that:
* More than eight out of 10 (83 percent) London executives indicate that their company has a business plan in place.
* The majority (72 percent) of companies have had these plans updated in the past 12 months, and more than half (52 percent) have had them tested during the same time.
* More than three out of four (79 percent) indicate that cybersecurity is part of their company's overall business-continuity plan, and a majority (51 percent) view cybersecurity as a key concern.
* Sixty-two percent of surveyed IT executives say that viruses and worms are the most significant perceived threats to cybersecurity, followed by hackers (39 percent).

Detailed results of the AT&T 2007 Business-Continuity Study show that
business- continuity planning has always been a priority for almost half
(46 percent) of the companies interviewed. Nearly one-third (30 percent) indicate that business-continuity planning has become a priority in recent years because of natural disasters, security and terrorist threats.

The types of business-continuity measures that companies have already taken in London include having implemented Internet security measures (81 percent), established backup and restore procedures (80 percent), educated employees (76 percent), established procedures for off-site storage and recovery of backup data (76 percent), established redundant servers and/or backup sites (67 percent), implemented protection against DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) (67 percent) and used a service provider for outsourcing (49 percent).

Actions that London companies have taken when it comes to cybersecurity include educating employees (69 percent), defining corporate security policies (67 percent) and contracting with an outside service provider to manage security (31 percent).

When asked what would keep IT executives up at night, one-third (34
percent) answered security breaches, followed by viruses/worms (22 percent), man-made disasters (17 percent), corporate/e-commerce sites crashing (9 percent) and natural disasters (9 percent).

"It is extremely encouraging to learn that the majority of organisations that we talked to in London have business-continuity plans in place and review and test them," said John Slamecka, vice president of, AT&T Europe, Middle East & Africa. "I am not that surprised to see that cybersecurity is top of mind. We find that this is a common concern for our customers around the world, and AT&T continues to work closely with our customers to provide comprehensive and robust network and IT security solutions."

AT&T conducted the business-continuity study ahead of a Networking Leaders Forum, where AT&T specialists will educate customers about business-continuity planning, best practices and how recent innovations in network security can protect organisations from cyber- attacks. The company brings its own business-continuity and disaster-recovery expertise in running and managing some of the world's largest and most complex networks - including its own - to businesses worldwide.

Irdeto sucessfully demonstrates OMA BCAST mobile TV security solution

Company completes full system interoperability testing at Broadcast Mobile Convergence Forum (BMCO) Test Camp in Berlin

Irdeto, a specialist in content security for digital TV, IPTV, and mobile, successfully demonstrated its service and content protection solution for mobile TV solution during the recent  Broadcast Mobile Convergence Forum (BMCO) Test Camp, held 4-8 June, in Berlin, Germany.  Irdeto demonstrated a total end-to-end implementation of the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) BCAST smartcard profile security solution together with other mobile TV solution providers like digital rights management (DRM) server partner SafeNet Inc., middleware supplier S3, and multimedia software solution provider Nextreaming.

The BMCO Forum's five-day interoperability test camp allowed mobile TV solution providers to test their products in an open environment with system integrators and network operators and to view the results and analyze the various solutions. "This event gives Irdeto and our partners the perfect stage to showcase our Mobile TV solution which is tailored to the needs of the dynamic emerging German market," stated Doug Lowther, VP of sales and marketing for Irdeto.

The Broadcast Mobile Convergence (BMCO) is an international, non-profit industry consortium comprised of members from the media and telecommunications industries.  BMCO is designed to provide a discussion platform for companies involved in the development of a worldwide open market for mobile broadcast services. Their goal is to provide an international platform for the exchange of information and experiences in the run-up to the introduction of mobile broadcast services as well as a basis for future joint information projects and the promotion of sharing experiences between countries, companies and public institutions.

Global Crossing Expands VoIP Local Service to Nine More Countries; Enhances Services in the UK

Global Crossing, a leading global IP solutions provider, today announced it has  broadened the scope and reach of its Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services for customers around the world by extending its Global Crossing VoIP Local Service to six more European countries and three in Latin America. The addition of Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Peru, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland brings to 20 the total number of countries worldwide where the service is offered.

The newly available VoIP Local Service offering complements the existing suite of VoIP Outbound and converged IP services in these markets. VoIP Local Service also is available in Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Global Crossing VoIP Outbound services are available from 29 countries around the world and provide the consistency customers require from global services.


"The UK is a critical growth market for Global Crossing. Customers are asking for increased functionality for local applications that fits seamlessly with our global footprint," said Anthony Christie, Global Crossing's managing director, UK and Europe. "As we extend our VoIP footprint deeper into the UK and continental Europe, we're delivering that functionality -- along with the security, reliability and network coverage of Global Crossing's high-quality, global IP network."


With its new emergency calling services in the UK, Global Crossing will provide call routing and associated information, including trace back and call identification, via 999 or 112 to emergency service operators, so they can correctly identify the caller's registered location to emergency services personnel.


"These latest enhancements to Global Crossing VoIP Local Services in the UK provide significant benefits to customers in terms of convenience, quality and feature-rich services," said Camille Mendler, vice president of enterprise research at Yankee Group. "Global Crossing continues to be in the forefront of innovation and voice quality with its suite of global VoIP services, as it expands its reach into key markets across the world to support multinational customers."


In addition, Global Crossing's standard Local Services offer in the UK now includes local number portability. This lets telephone subscribers retain their phone numbers when they switch local carriers, avoiding the cost and inconvenience associated with changing to a new number.


Global Crossing VoIP Local Service is an inbound local service that provides nationwide Direct Inward Dialing/Direct Dial Inward (DID/DDI) functionality through a single IP interconnection. The service lets customers originate traffic on the public switched telephone network (PSTN) in different countries. The traffic is then converted to VoIP on Global Crossing's network and then delivered to the customer's IP network. VoIP Local Service eliminates traditional time division multiplexing (TDM), private line and foreign exchange service fees by providing a single IP connection to serve multiple markets.

Global Crossing's global, fully meshed MPLS-based network ensures that VoIP calls are delivered with minimal latency, packet loss and jitter -- a consistent and predictable call quality not possible with voice services based on public Internet transport. Global Crossing's VoIP platform carried more than 30 billion minutes of use during 2006, positioning the company as a leader in global IP communications.

Cable & Wireless offers new Telepresence managed video services

Cable & Wireless Europe, Asia and US has announced the availability of Virtual Telepresence - a fully managed video conferencing and collaboration solution that provides seamless, global connectivity and complete interoperability with other telepresence suites, standard and high-definition systems, desktop video appliances, webcams, 3G video phones and audio devices.

Cable & Wireless, through a partnership with BCS Global, will be offering the Virtual Telepresence solution, as part of its continued focus on providing IP-based applications that enhance its customers' overall experience.

David Bartholomew, Head of Applications, Product Management, Cable & Wireless Europe, Asia and US said "We aim to deliver the best possible service experience to our customers. By partnering with BCS Global, we are able to offer our customers an enhanced Telepresence solution that also allows them to get more value out of their existing traditional video conferencing equipment."

The Virtual Telepresence application includes an unlimited use video-calling plan, always on Virtual Video Meeting Rooms, customised screen layouts, complete end-point and directory management and detailed billing. Cable & Wireless Virtual Telepresence customers will also be fully supported by one of the industries most advanced Video Network Operations Centers (VNOC), and will have access to a "Video Concierge" service, providing a live person via video for face-to-face assistance or support.

"BCS Global is excited to partner with Cable & Wireless to deliver on the new paradigm of IP-based video communication applications," said Stu Gold, Vice President, Global Marketing of BCS Global Networks, Inc. "The deployment of the Virtual Telepresence application supports this shift by providing customers an application that significantly enhances their Telepresence based video communication and collaboration experience."