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First Mobile Music Deal of Its Kind, Covering T-Mobile Markets Across Europe; Extensive Marketing Campaign Starting in October 2004

Motorola, a global leader in wireless communications, and T-Mobile International, one of the world's leading companies in mobile communications, has today announced an alliance with global superstars and multi-platinum selling band The Black Eyed Peas.

The agreement with the Black Eyed Peas is the first of its kind and incorporates a series of new wireless, on-line, and radio promotional activities. These include competitions to win concert tickets when purchasing a Motorola E398, an exclusive opportunity to be among to first to listen to the Black Eyed Peas' new material, a chance to actually meet with the band, and even visit them during the shooting of their next music video. One fan will also get the opportunity of a lifetime to create the "official ringtone" for the band's new album, which will be available as a download from t-zones.

This unique marketing relationship will establish The Black Eyed Peas as the first group in Europe to take full advantage of the benefits of mobile music, including "mashing," video editing and live concert theme packs. In addition, exclusive Black Eyed Peas content, such as realtones, wallpapers, videos and Mobile Jukebox music tracks, will be available through T-Mobile's t-zones services which can be accessed via a dedicated t-zones button on the Motorola E398 handset.

Motorola and T-Mobile customers will have unique and exclusive access to newly released content from the Black Eyed Peas, as well as many first time services.

Company Launches Services in Dublin and Increases Network Capacity Into Manchester, UK

Level 3 Communications has today announced that it has further expanded its network in Europe. The company has launched service in Dublin, Ireland, and has substantially increased its network capacity into Manchester, UK.

"Both Dublin and Manchester have become key markets for communications services in Europe," said Brady Rafuse, president of Level 3's European operations. "We acquired network infrastructure into both cities through our acquisition of Genuity assets last year, and we're pleased that we can leverage that capacity now to serve growing demand for services from communications companies operating in Ireland and the UK."

Level 3's fibre-optic network spans 23,000 route miles and serves 21 of the largest markets in Europe, as well as 77 markets across North America. In addition, the company operates metropolitan networks in 36 cities, including London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt. Level 3 also has network capacity on high-speed transatlantic cable systems.

Seasoned Executive Leads Presence in U.K. to Meet Expanding Sales,Business Development and Partnership Interests Across Europe

Q1 Labs, a leading network security company, today announced that it has opened an office in London to meet growing demand for its networksecurity software in the European market. At the same time, Q1 Labs announced the hiring of Fiaz Khan as Director of Sales (EMEA), who will be based in London. Khan has hired initial staff for the London office and will build momentum for European sales of Q1 Labs' flagship product, QRadar.    QRadar (an acronym for Real-time Anomaly Detection andResolution), provides both network and security experts with a uniquelive window for surveillance, analysis and control. QRadar profilesthe behavior of systems, applications and users, learning normalpatterns and immediately recognizing anomalies, whether they originatefrom security breaches, internal network misuse and policy violations,or operational inefficiencies.    "The European market will be an important pipeline for QRadarsales, as there is no comparable product on the market that can helpboth security and network professionals to identify, understand andaddress new threats and network issues in real-time," said MikeLanagan, vice president of Business Development and EuropeanOperations for Q1 Labs. "The experience of veteran Fiaz Khan willensure consistent excellence for all our U.K. and European business."

New market will be worth millions and will revolutionise cameramanufacturers’ traditional business models

As camera phones exceed sales of traditional cameras, future digital camera launches will include embedded modems and SIM Cards. This will enable users to shoot and share pictures on the move according to Netsize, the global leader for mobile business and entertainment solutions.

Digital cameras over the last two years have seen their developmentaccelerated in terms of image quality (mega pixels), memory, speed, batterylife, stability and most importantly user friendliness. However, thePhotography and Imaging industry has yet to wholeheartedly embrace wirelesstechnology.  As a result it has been slow to adopt new opportunities thatcould radically change product design and the value proposition offered bydigital cameras.

According to Paul Naldrett, Country Manager, Netsize UK, “To date, thetelecoms industry has pioneered the embedding of new technologies andproduct features such as cameras to add value and increase revenues. Now,digital camera manufacturers need to embed wireless connectivity into theirproducts, thus enabling customers to click and send pictures on the move.”

Continues Naldrett, “MMS technology is one way of doing this but not theonly one. Manufacturers could embed mini-wireless modems with SIM cardswhich would enable pictures to be sent via email over different networkingtechnologies such as WAP, GPRS or 3G. Digital Cameras could also opt to useother wireless technologies such as Bluetooth.”

Naldrett says that Netsize is already working with major photography brandsto help them implement mobile strategies. He predicts that wirelessenablement of traditional cameras will soon revolutionalise product design,enhance relationships with customers and create new revenue streams.  Forinstance, the wireless enablement of digital cameras will empower consumersto send pictures to the Web, Email, to other phones or other DigitalCameras. Digital Cameras would be able to receive pictures on the move aswell as to send them.

“The wireless enablement of digital cameras would not only offer convenienceand mobility to consumers but also create a whole new revenue opportunityfor manufacturers. Every picture sent or received could be a source ofincome, ensuring ongoing revenue and contact with the customer. The businessmodel of selling cameras would change,” added Naldrett.

Naldrett explains, “a camera might be given away entirely or sold atsubsidized prices in exchange for a monthly subscription fee. Customerscould buy a prepaid camera and services package enabling them to use theequipment including the ability to send and receive pictures, store themonline and get them printed.”  “Thus,” he continues, “instead of buying aproduct for a one time cost, customers would subscribe to services whichgive camera providers an opportunity for ongoing revenue.”

Naldtrett concludes, “The Digital Camera industry is missing the point byonly focussing on the quality of MMS images.  Photos can be transmitted overmultiple wireless technologies which can guarantee the quality of the imagesand retain their original formats. Every camera launched in the near futureneeds to have some kind of wireless ability or the industry will miss out ona goldmine of opportunities.”

Company Broadens Board with New Chairman

Extreme Networks, a leader in Ethernet networking, has broadened its Board of Directors with the appointment of Mike West as chairman.

West brings to his role as chairman more than 30 years of experience in growing high-tech communications companies from emerging to market leader status. West was president, chief operating officer and a director of Octel Communications from Jan. 1995 to Aug. 1997, after having served as executive vice president since Sept. 1986. His extensive communications industry experience also includes holding executive positions at Rolm Corp. from 1979 to Sept. 1986, the most recent as general manager of the National Sales Division.

The addition of West as chairman demonstrates Extreme Networks' strong commitment to corporate governance.

"With the appointment of Mike as chairman, we are broadening the executive expertise within our board that can help guide the Company's growth and ongoing commitment to corporate governance requirements," said Gordon Stitt, president and CEO of Extreme Networks. "Mike's proven track record for bringing companies to market leadership will help shape our direction as Extreme progresses to the next level."

SMS To MMS Evolution Requires A More Convincing Value Proposition

In response to the increasing competition and market maturity in the short messaging services (SMS) space, mobile operators in Europe are shifting focus to multimedia messaging services (MMS) as a means to revive end-user enthusiasm, stabilise revenue generation, increase average revenue per user (ARPU) and reduce the customer churn rate.

While the price of sending basic SMS messages will continue to fall with increasing competition from mobile virtual network operators, a proportionate increase in network traffic is not likely. This could result in lost revenues for mobile operators.

“MMS is expected to step in as a value-added service that provides premium content and supplements the existing revenue stream. Additionally, while SMS will remain useful for simple and quick correspondence, MMS proves a much superior delivery mechanism for multimedia features,” explains Frost & Sullivan (http://www.frost.com) Research Analyst Ashish Maheshwari.

Frost & Sullivan expects a significant drop in the contribution of SMS toward mobile data revenues from 90 per cent in 2003 to 40 per cent in 2008. Nevertheless, mobile operators can expect to stay afloat and replace lost revenue given the large subscriber base in Europe and the opportunities it presents to new services such as MMS.

Availability of handsets with coloured screens and integrated cameras and the rollout of third-generation networks are major driving forces in the MMS market. In 2008, MMS is expected to achieve a 65 per cent penetration rate, creating 210 million active users and EUR 10 billion in revenue for mobile operators.

However, in the two years since its European launch in 2002, MMS has fallen drastically short of mobile operators’ expectations, and even while the future for MMS looks bright, operators need to tread carefully.

Confronted by various technical and commercial challenges such as network interoperability, MMS has struggled to reach the mass market. Fortunately, the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) has released the version 1.2 to extend MMS capabilities through open standards and interoperable mobile services.

Since the positioning of MMS as a logical extension of SMS has not been completely successful, mobile operators need to rethink their value proposition, focus on providing superior end-user experience and promote the compelling new features offered by MMS.

“The target customer must be made aware that MMS is primarily a fun and personal content application that adds a rich visual feel compared to the services already offered by SMS,” emphasises Maheshwari.

Besides photo messaging, new services such as blogging, group messaging, dating services and competitions are likely to increase the application-to-person traffic and, in turn, drive MMS usage.

However, the marketing push provided by upgraded functionality in terms of colour, audio-visual quality and graphics is likely to have minimal effect due to the high price of MMS and MMS-compliant multimedia handsets.

In order to increase the MMS subscriber base and provide value-for-money services to users, mobile operators have devised upgrade and subsidisation programmes for MMS-enabled handsets. Special offers such as lower weekend prices and personalised services are also likely to propel MMS popularity.

Until prices are stabilised and MMS attains mass appeal, it is likely to take a backseat to SMS since the latter still scores well in terms of affordability, simplicity, accessibility and ease-of-use.

“Unlike MMS, SMS does not require packet-based networks, new wireless devices, sophisticated billing infrastructure and greater bandwidth to deliver a compelling and value-added user experience,” notes Maheshwari.

SMS has evolved into a viable, practical and profitable delivery channel and will continue to play a central role in the future, as a communication tool in the mid-term and a support for MMS in the long-term.

“Although SMS is here to stay, MMS can expect numerous growth opportunities owing to its more valuable and stimulating content and the new nature of the messaging service environment, technology and functionality,” concludes Maheshwari.

Envision Telephony, a leading provider of business solutions for thecontact center and the enterprise, has introduced its suite ofbusiness applications to Europe at Call Centre Expo 2004.

The suite of applications focuses on four main areas within the enterprise that influence the overall customer experience: contact center performance, transaction management, customer experience management and enterprise quality. Part of the Envision Performance Suite, theseapplications allow enterprises to gather business intelligence fromcustomer interactions using analytical tools to improve contact centerperformance, identify areas for process improvement throughout theenterprise and to capture the customer experience while providing thecritical intelligence to create the superior customer experience.    "The contact center has been the focal point within the enterprisefor communicating with and serving the needs of the customer," saidTed Lubowsky, vice president of sales and marketing at Envision. "Butputting the burden of delivering a superior customer experienceexclusively on the agents, supervisors, trainers and coaches withinthe contact center will never lead to the superior customer experiencewithout the involvement of the entire enterprise in the qualityinitiative."    Envision's new suite of business applications extends the qualityinitiative from the contact center throughout the enterprise to createa truly superior customer experience. Using Envision's newapplications to analyze the content of customer interactions andprovide the intelligence gained to the enterprise in real-time,enterprises will be able to spot trends, improve efficiencies, reduceerrors, lower costs and improve the bottom line.

Mid-market perceives Vodafone, T-Mobile and Orange as the leading brands for business communications in the United Kingdom

Significant opportunities still exist for European mobile networkoperators (MNOs) servicing the mid-market enterprise, according to theYankee Group report, European Mobile Operators Lack StrategicRelationships with Mid-Market Companies. The report's findings werebased on results from the Yankee Group 2004 European Mid-MarketCommunications Survey of 523 European enterprises:    Basic wireless data services, such as mobile e-mail and GPRSconnectivity, already are in wide use, but there are few plans toincrease penetration of these services significantly withinorganizations.    Mid-market employees upgrade mobile phones frequently. This trendwill enable new wireless technologies, such as 3G and PWLAN, topenetrate the existing wireless data user base quickly.    A perception of high costs remains the most significant inhibitorof wireless data deployment among mid-market companies.    Among UK MNOs, Vodafone and Orange are perceived as the leadingbrands for business communications services. T-Mobile leads inGermany, Vodafone in Spain and Orange in France.    "From this extensive survey of the European mid-market enterprisecustomer, we can be certain that significant opportunities remain forwireless data solutions providers," says Declan Lonergan, Yankee GroupWireless/Mobile Europe director. "These customers are satisfied withtheir basic mobile voice services, but they do not view mobileoperators as strategic partners for deploying more advanced services.Despite this, there is no reason why today's barriers to wideradoption of wireless data cannot be overcome through partnershipsbetween supply-side players and a more integrated service offering toend users."

Telcordia Technologies, a global provider of telecommunications software and services, has announced that Greece's National Telecommunications and Post Commission, also known as EETT, has successfully launched the Telcordia Number Portability Clearinghouse solution, which has now been in operation for 6 months, enabling fixed line and mobile number portability for all service providers in Greece.    The solution, which went fully operational for mobile customers in April 2004 and for fixed line customers in June 2004, puts Greece in compliance with the European Union number portability mandate and, ultimately, provides all Greek residents with more choice.    "Telcordia's clearinghouse solution enables EETT to effectively manage the complexity and the speed at which number porting transactions must be processed," said Emmanuel Giakoumakis, President of the EETT. "Now, Greek consumers have unprecedented competitive choice for fixed line and mobile service and service providers can embrace new market opportunities and new revenue streams."   Part of a five-year exclusive contract, the Telcordia solution enables fixed line and mobile number portability to Greece's 14 million phone lines, including 5.5 million fixed line and 10 million mobile lines. Telcordia and its in-country regional subcontractor, Spirit S.A., have worked closely with EETT and Greek carriers to get relevant business processes agreed upon, integrated and fully implemented.    "We are pleased to be part of this successful implementation for EETT that will have lasting impact on customer service and competition in Greece's telecommunications market," said Nikos Skarpetis, General Manager, Spirit S.A.

The number of subscribers to UK broadband networks broke throughthe 5 million mark in September according to the Telecom Markets' Broadband Subscriber Database (BSD).

"With some 50,000 new subscribers joining every week, the 5 million barrier was breached in mid-September", says Gareth Willmer, analyst for the database. Out of some 3 million DSL subscribers about 40% subscribe to BT directly, the majority subscribing to a service offered by ISPs that buy their DSL service wholesale from BT.

Unbundling, which reduces operators' dependence on the dominantcarrier, has yet to make an impact in the UK, says Willmer: there were only 13,000 subscribers to unbundled DSL by the end of June compared to 730,000 in France.

Forecasts based on the BSD suggest that there will be well over8 million broadband customers in the UK by the end of 2005,about a tenth of whom will subscribe to unbundled DSL. Overall,a third of households will subscribe to broadband by that date.

Willmer adds that in the next year or so subscriptions will riserapidly owing to falling prices, VoIP launches and increasingcompetition from alternative broadband carriers. Falling pricesof unbundling could be a key driver of an increase in UKbroadband subscriber numbers, as has been seen in France, hesays.

Converged Devices and Voice Services - A Frost & Sullivan Analysis

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan estimates that around 4.5 million customers currently subscribe to converged services in Europe. This number is projected to increase to almost 50 million in 2010. The overall pace of growth is expected to be moderate, although 2007 is likely to see it accelerate.

By 2010, almost 13 per cent of contract subscribers are expected to subscribe to a converged service through a single handset. These services will also drive voice usage due to the enhanced convenience, substantial cost savings and better call quality that they offer.

Subscriber growth is, for obvious reasons, highly dependent on the release of such services in various countries and the manner in which they are marketed. Regulators’ policies on, for instance, mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), consequently, play a critical role in driving converged services.

These policies vary from country to country and are particularly significant since one of the optimal models for offering a converged service is by a fixed carrier becoming an MVNO. Regulators are gradually changing their policies as they realise the considerable price reductions that converged services can offer – such as in Denmark, where MVNOS have revolutionised the market and transformed the prevalent pricing structure. Such regulatory changes will have profound implications on the strategies of carriers, as shown by developments in the Belgian marketplace, for example.

Currently, the converged services market is grappling with various organisational issues as fixed and mobile carriers attempt to synergise their respective network assets into a complete solution. Issues of customer ownership, mutually acceptable revenue and cost-sharing and decreasing margins due to the need to provide the customer with a strong cost benefit can adversely impact the growth of converged services.

“Carriers must find a way for services to be delivered to the market in a manner that is beneficial to the different divisions or partners,” notes Mr. Sythoff. “Apart from sorting customer ownership issues, the different parties must have a clear customer segmentation model to avoid or minimise internal competition.”

Due to the compulsion to offer price incentives, pricing pressure in the market is expected to increase considerably. Lower prices will, however, attract new subscribers and the business market is expected to see higher penetration. Lack of device availability is a significant restraining factor for converged devices. The reason for this is mainly political, as handset manufacturers do not want to be seen to be developing products that could harm their major customer base. Considering that the handset plays a big part in the consumer’s choice of a mobile subscription, a limited range could severely reduce the appeal of a converged device service.

This situation is likely to change due to increasing pressure from fixed carriers and due to mobile operators gradually beginning to open up to convergence opportunities. Aggressive marketing campaigns positioning these services as a complete voice solution for businesses and consumers are also likely to help increase their sales.

The uptake of converged services is and will vary significantly in the different countries around Europe. This is because of the different regulatory environments, the degree of competition and penetration. However, the pricing advantages on top of other benefits make converged services attractive across the region, says the research.

Chiaro Networks, developer of true infrastructure-class IP/MPLS platforms,has announced the appointment of former Procket Networks executiveStefan Beck to the newly created post of vice president for Europeansales. In his new position, to be based in Frankfurt, Germany, Beckwill develop European business opportunities and manage sales forChiaro.    Beck was Procket's managing director of business development forEurope, the Middle East and Africa until equipment maker Cisco Systemsacquired the core-router start-up earlier this year. Prior to joiningProcket in 2002, Beck held senior sales positions in the CentralEuropean Organizations of Redback Networks, a leading edge-routervendor, and prior to that at Cisco.    Beck's hiring follows a year after Chiaro opened its firstEuropean office in Amsterdam, and selected seasoned telecommunicationsexecutive Ronald Cornelisse as managing director of European productmarketing.    "Chiaro is extremely fortunate to have recruited Stefan Beck, theman who introduced and established Procket and Redback to customers inEurope, the Middle East and Africa," said Ken Lewis, CEO of Chiaro."Stefan has a reputation for driving outstanding sales growth for hisemployers and for providing superior support to his customers."

    

 

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