European Communications

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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.

Users fed up with receiving marketing spam from mobile service providers, claims new survey

Results of a GfK NOP survey commissioned by Pontis, a provider of Marketing Delivery Platforms, amongst 752 mobile phone users in the UK reveals a deep dissatisfaction amongst the public with the way that mobile service providers are currently marketing their voice and data services.  70% of mobile phone users consider the marketing offers they receive not to be relevant to them and 64% of these confess to being annoyed by them.  Just 11% of those surveyed had ever purchased an item, or signed up for a special promotion or bundle as a result of an online promotion or offer from their mobile service provider.

The survey highlights how mobile operators are failing to capture the imagination of the baby boomer generation, with 75% of 45-54 year olds and 78% of 55-64 year olds viewing the marketing offers they receive as irrelevant to them.  Surprisingly though, even teenagers and young adult are less than enamoured with the ability of the operators to promote services which might interest them: 57% of them feel that the services they are offered today are irrelevant.  Of all the respondents, this age group also declared itself to be the most irritated by receiving marketing spam, with a whopping 72% of 25-34 year olds who do not find offers relevant claiming to be annoyed by this practice.  However, within this same age group 47% of all mobile users are also willing to change operators to one that can provide them with marketing offers and services more tailored to their lifestyles.

Guy Talmi, senior marketing director at Pontis said, "These results are proof of the fact that the mass marketing approach most operators still take today is not working.  The findings represent both good and bad news for the service provider community: on one hand it shows that their inability to tailor services and content to the individual user's interests and situation is not only failing to attract new revenue streams but - even worse - it's alienating their customer base.  On the other hand, it clearly points to a major opportunity for those operators who can harness vital information about a user's interests and behaviour and offer them relevant services at the right time,, as a large number of users would be willing to change suppliers for just such a service."

Emma Mohr-McClune principal analyst for wireless services at industry analyst Current Analysis comments,, ""We can't keep burying our head in the sands on this issue. Today's spam-weary consumer is heartily sick of poorly-aimed and irrelevant campaigning. The 'one size fits all' promotion model is outdated. This report flags up a growing need for better tailored and personalised campaign techniques, and a higher level of commitment to customer micro-segmentation going forward."

Alcatel-Lucent deploys HSUPA solution for mobilkom austria in Austria

Alcatel-Lucent has today announced that mobilkom austria has deployed Alcatel-Lucent's HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access) solution in all Alcatel-Lucent NodeB's of its Austrian network.  This enables mobilkom austria to offer its customers mobile broadband service with an uplink of up to 1.4 Mbps, which is five to ten times faster than previously available and helps solidify Alcatel-Lucent's position as a major supplier of advanced mobile broadband technology.

mobilkom austria, a part of Telekom Austria Group in Vienna, Austria, is the leading mobile operator in Austria and follows the principle of always being on the leading edge of wireless technology.

HSUPA is designed to improve uplink transmission rates to reach peak speeds of 5.7 Mbps.  Alcatel-Lucent's HSUPA solution gives users continuous coverage on the move and allows them to upload large files such as presentations and videos easier and faster.  It  provides end-users with excellent quality for peer-to-peer interactive multi-media applications, such as voice and video over IP, file sharing, interactive gaming,  push-to see, video sharing.

Alcatel-Lucent implemented the rollout for mobilkom austria with its local partner Kapsch Carrier Com.

"Alcatel-Lucent has been chosen as supplier of HSUPA equipment for mobilkom austria because Alcatel-Lucent's technology is one of the most advanced on the market and has proven its reliability in a test phase in Graz," stated Ulrich Rokita, Head of Network Planning, mobilkom austria. "mobilkom austria is strongly relying on Alcatel-Lucent's capability to deliver and support leading edge wireless technology in order to help mobilkom austria to maintain and even extend its position as one of the most advanced mobile operators in Central and Eastern Europe."

"Alcatel-Lucent's dedicated goal is to assist our customers in their effort to provide top quality services by delivering the latest technology, and Alcatel-Lucent's HSUPA solution fully meets this demand," added Philippe Keryer, President of Alcatel-Lucent's GSM/W-CDMA/WiMAX activities. "mobilkom austria's decision is another positive result of our acquisition of Nortel's 3G UMTS access business, and it provides further proof that this acquisition will help us gain momentum in the telecoms market."

Nokia renews its chipset development strategy

Nokia has announced that it is introducing a licensing and multisourcing model for its chipset strategy, allowing the company to focus on its core competencies in chipset development, leverage external innovation, and foster competition in the chipset industry. Under this renewed strategy Nokia will discontinue parts of its own chipset development and expand its use of commercially available chipsets.

Nokia will however continue to develop its modem technology, which includes protocol software and related digital design for WCDMA/GSM and its evolution. Nokia will then license this modem technology to its chipset manufacturers, who will use it in the chipsets they develop and produce for Nokia and - if they so decide - in the chipsets they produce for the open market.

This licensing and multisourcing strategy will allow Nokia to broaden its pool of chipset suppliers and leverage external innovation to support its wide range of products. It will also allow Nokia to focus on its core competence in modem technology and invest in R&D areas besides radio technology, such as in software to power internet services.

"This is a pragmatic move in the face of an increasingly complex technology environment," said Niklas Savander, Executive Vice President, Nokia Technology Platforms. "Companies in this industry need to focus on areas where they can add value and partner with others where it makes sense. We believe that our renewed strategy will allow us to concentrate on developing core chipset technologies, while increasing our R&D efficiencies and improving our agility in a fast-moving marketplace."

Based on this renewed strategy, Nokia is now working with four chipset suppliers. Texas Instruments continues to be a broad scope supplier across all protocols, Broadcom has been chosen as a supplier in EDGE, Infineon Technologies as a supplier in GSM, and STMicroelectronics as a supplier in 3G.

New Telephone Company selects new convergent solution from CBOSS

Russia's New Telephone Company (NTC) has upgraded the CBOSS solution to full convergence, implementing the real-time service billing and control system CBOSSrtb (rtBilling).

New Telephone Company has been a CBOSS customer since 1999. Using a comprehensive IT solution based on the postpaid billing and customer care system CBOSSbcc, the company achieved the highest quality of services and became the leader on the telecommunications market of Primorsky Krai. In 2006 NTC increased its customer base by 59%. High rates of subscriber acquisition, sustained business growth, and higher reliability expectations of the customers required a much greater degree of convergence.

NTC has opted for the end-to-end convergent solution from CBOSS, providing real-time control over provisioning of any service in any network and enabling convergence of data and payments for both prepaid and postpaid subscribers. The solution's response time is less than 100ms, which guarantees high revenues and elimination of subscriber debt.

One of the key benefits of the CBOSS' solution is its unique reliability delivered by the HP NonStop platform in the Mated Pair configuration that guarantees zero down-time and uninterruptible service provisioning.

CBOSS also enables NTC to address another challenging issue of telecommunications: OpEx reduction. The solution has the lowest TCO in the class, due to the following reasons:

-All the solution components are pre-integrated, therefore no additional integration costs are required.

-The solution features unique scalability and settings flexibility minimizing system expansion costs.

-CBOSS Corporation provides a general warranty and comprehensive technical support for both software and hardware of the solution, dramatically reducing operating expenditures.

In addition to the supply, configuration and debugging of the solution, CBOSS experts performed the migration of data of 540,000 subscribers to the real-time billing system, which further reduced OPEX per user. The data migration was implemented without service interruption and in short time.

"Telecommunications technologies are developing very fast and customers' expectations become increasingly higher. Any service failure causes irreversible damage to the company's image, which is absolutely unacceptable in the tough competitive environment," said Timur Gilyazetdinov, head of the billing department at NTC. "The CBOSS solution delivers uninterruptible operation, allowing us to provide high quality innovative services meeting the most stringent requirements of our subscribers and the telecommunications market."

Subex Azure launches Concilia V9.2

Subex Azure, a leading global provider of OSS solutions for telecom operators, has today announced the launch of Concilia V9.2, the latest version of its Interconnect Billing System.

Part of the Rocware suite of revenue maximization solutions, Concilia enables operators to quickly and accurately settle interconnect agreements with their network partners, allowing them to manage costs and revenues much more effectively.  Concilia V9.2 has several new features, which

  • Improved control and security in the settlement process by enabling
    authorization within the operator's organization. This further helps operators in tracking the settlement process by identifying any bottlenecks related to acceptance and disputes.
    Enhanced flexibility for billing managers through the inclusion of
    negative rates settlement.
    Ability to configure the bill profile type in the reference tables,
    which allows operators to include or exclude specific types of profiles from the settlement.

"With the onset of IP and content-based services, service providers and content resellers are looking for higher degrees of flexibility and automation in their wholesale settlement processes," said Mark Nicholson, Chief Technology Officer, Subex Azure Ltd. "We are helping providers reduce the number of iterations necessary to settle bills with partners through this latest version of Concilia."

Operators' non-voice revenues threatened by SIM-only tariffs, says Analysys

The decision to reduce handset subsidies should be approached with caution by operators, as there is a trade-off between the clear benefit of reduced subsidies and the associated risk of losing control over how customers purchase handsets and use data services, according to new research from Analysys.

Analysys Senior Consultant, Marco Cordoni, says operators should consider carefully the extent to which they want to push towards a model characterised by the lack of handset subsidies to avoid becoming ‘dis-intermediated' from the mobile content and advertising value chains, potentially losing lucrative new revenue streams.

"Indeed, the key advantage for operators that have control over handsets is the ability to offer a differentiated end-to-end customer experience and to secure their position within the non-voice value chains," Cordoni says. "The risk associated with SIM-only tariffs is that operators are reduced to big pipes that add no value."

While many Western European markets are characterised by high levels of handset subsidies, Cordoni says there have been signs that operators are trying to move away from this model by introducing SIM-only tariffs in an attempt to reduce the high cost of acquiring and retaining subscribers.

"However, the move towards a reduction in handset subsidisation comes at a cost: an increased risk of higher churn due to the shorter lock-in period" Cordoni says. "More significantly the loss of control over handset distribution causes operators to lose the opportunity to determine the customer experience."

"In markets with high levels of handset subsidy, the selection of both handset and operator happens simultaneously, and the purchasing experience is driven by the operator rather than by a handset re-seller as it happens in markets with lower levels of handset subsidy. With SIM-only tariffs, operators also lose control over the possibility to shape the subscriber's experience with non-voice services. In handset-subsidised markets, by contrast, operators are able to ensure that new handsets are pre-configured to certain settings and applications, including network settings, Internet preferences, home-page and portal-caching options. In this way, operators can direct customers to their portals and benefit from sales of mobile content and mobile advertising, either by providing advertising partners with a place directly on the home page, or by delivering advertising to subscribers on a portion of the screen controlled by the operator."

"Therefore, the decision to reduce handset subsidies is not as clear cut as it may seem at first and operators need to be aware of the potential risks of this approach."

Minerva Networks opens development center and sales and support office in Europe

Minerva Networks, a leading provider of open and scalable IPTV delivery platforms, today announced that it has strengthened its development capability and international market presence with the opening of a development center in Bulgaria and a sales and support office in Italy.
The new European Development Center (Minerva EDC), located in Sofia, Bulgaria, will focus on product development and testing. The European Sales & Support Office, located in Milan, Italy, will provide sales and field support for customers located in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
"Minerva is experiencing significant interest from international operators due to the success we have enjoyed in the North American market," stated Mauro Bonomi, CEO of Minerva Networks. "To capitalize on international opportunities, we are building a strong local sales and support presence."

"Hiring talented professionals is a major challenge for fast-growing companies like Minerva. Bulgaria has a large pool of highly qualified engineers that are knowledgeable about video and multimedia technology," stated Jean-Georges Fritsch, COO of Minerva Networks. "The European Development Center will enable us to speed up our product development and better address local market requirements. We expect to scale our engineering team by over 30% by year-end."

Radvision powering home surveillance service deployed throughout Spain

Radvision, a leading provider of video network infrastructure and developer tools for unified visual communications over IP, 3G, and emerging next-generation IMS networks, has announced that its technology is powering an advanced 3G access and control system for home surveillance. The security solution is developed by Cestel, a major Spanish system integrator and service provider and deployed by Securitas Direct, a world leader in security systems.

The initial deployment targets an installation base of 7,000 households throughout Spain. Home cameras, connected to the security system via ADSL can be accessed by 3G subscribers, who are called when a manual or automatic alarm triggers the system. The 3G subscriber may also dial-in to the system and obtain direct access to the home surveillance camera whenever desired. The cameras and other electrically controlled devices such as doors, gates and alarms can be activated by the number pad on the 3G mobile phone. Utilizing the camera’s built in speaker and microphone, the solution enables 3G subscribers to verbally communicate with the actual location where the camera is set.

“3G mobile access to surveillance cameras is a solution that our customers are looking for,” said Mr. José Luis Martin, Securitas Direct’s CTO. “The solution provided by Radvision and Cestel allows easy access to 3G video streams from any device, anywhere, in real-time and with no need for a client download, resulting in an efficient and manageable large scale deployment.  The superior video quality and smooth operation enhances our surveillance and security offerings significantly.”

The 3G integration application, developed by Cestel with its 3G Builder product and Radvision’s IMS ready SCOPIA Interactive Video Platform, is based on network and device-agnostic infrastructure that enables remote cameras to be accessed and operated by any 3G handset.

“Our ability to quickly develop the best system to comply with Securitas Direct’s forward looking requirements for the initial deployment is an excellent example of the benefits of our continued partnership with Radvision,” said Mr. Fernando Ortiz, CEO of Cestel. “The SCOPIA Interactive Video Platform’s flexible API allowed us to implement together with the Cestel 3G Builder, an advanced interactive video application for the security market, that combines 3G access to security cameras’ video streams, remote control of the cameras, bidirectional audio, and access to recorded video streams.  We are confident that our combined solution provides the ease of use that Securitas Direct wants their customers to enjoy.”

“Securitas Direct and Cestel are pioneering new paradigms in home surveillance and security and leading the market towards widely-deployed remote interactive multimedia access.  The new systems are not only technologically viable, but their ease of use and ubiquitous availability offers commercial promise and potential. The remote voice and video communications service is also appealing for personal monitoring of the elderly, nannies, babysitters, household pets and more,” said Alon Barnea, General Manager of Radvision’s Mobility & Service Provider Business Unit. "This video-based home surveillance service is further testimony to the importance of advanced scalable interactive mobile video communications, combining real-time external media sources and bidirectional video, fulfilling various day to day needs that are now becoming part of the telecom landscape.

Mass P2P Fiber Deployment by Slovenian Incumbent

Iskratel, a leading provider of innovative solutions for convergent and next generation networks, and Telekom Slovenije will collaborate in Europe’s first all-national commercial FTTH deployment project led by an incumbent service provider. The project’s goal is to provide optical access to more than 100,000 subscribers by the end of 2008 and to nearly 70% of Slovenian households by 2015. 

Telekom Slovenije has chosen the point-to-point optical fiber architecture to ensure the advanced delivery of broadband services – best-quality multimedia, data and voice – to each subscriber. The Ethernet P2P architecture makes it possible to offer Fast- and Gigabit-Ethernet connectivity to each subscriber using standard and widely available network equipment.

The network model used in the project continues the concept of the IP triple-play-enabled access-network architecture of Telekom Slovenije, based on Iskratel’s SI3000 MSAP family of access products. Iskratel SI3000 Fiber Access, the chosen CO product for the project, is a member of Iskratel’s SI3000 MSAP network-access product family and is designed on the same platform (same shelves, central Ethernet switch and management) as the SI3000 DSL Access, which is already widely deployed in the access network of Telekom Slovenije.

A single IP-based infrastructure for FTTH, VDSL2 and ADSL2+ access technologies and the TR-069 compliant home-gateway product family greatly reduce the CAPEX and OPEX, and preserve the operator’s previous investments in the existing IP/MPLS network and the established operational model.

The complete Iskratel solution on the CO and CPE side offers the most comprehensive and advanced solution for triple-play operators today. In addition, Telekom Slovenije will be able to offer a CATV overlay solution integrated into the Iskratel Prospero FTTH Home Gateway. 

“The project is a great opportunity for Iskratel to prove its technological vision. Ethernet P2P fiber is certainly the right solution when dealing with the increasing consumption of advanced communication services” says Franc Dolenc, head of Iskratel’s Products and Solutions Department. 

“Telekom Slovenije has decided to invest heavily in a new optical network infrastructure that will serve the users’ needs for decades to come. This joint effort with Iskratel is bringing the Slovenian telecommunications network up to a whole new performance level” says Zeljko Puljic, CTO Telekom Slovenije.

Dramatically increasing the number of Slovenian homes equipped with fiber connections shows that high-performance networking has already become a standard. Medium-term plans estimate approximately 300,000 fiber subscribers connected with equipment provided by Iskratel and Telekom Slovenije.