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Subex to serve more Tier-1 carriers in the US – Announces Agreement to Acquire Fraud Centurion Product from US-based Lightbridge, subject to customer due diligence

Subex Systems, the global telecom software product company, has announced its agreement to acquire, subject to customer due diligence, certain assets and liabilities related to the Fraud Centurion product from Lightbridge, Inc., a leading value-added transaction processing company. This acquisition adds nearly 14 new clients to Subex’s 50 and consolidates Subex’s position as the No. 1 vendor for fraud management solutions, worldwide. The closing is subject to certain requirements set forth the agreement.

"The acquisition will help Subex take giant strides in the US market," said Mr. Subash Menon, President & CEO, Subex Systems. "Coming close on the heels of our European expansion, we now have a clear leadership position in two of the biggest markets - Western Europe and the US.”

"We are very pleased that Fraud Centurion clients will have the opportunity to benefit from Subex's concentrated focus on fraud management and revenue assurance,” said Gregory Crowley, Vice President of Corporate Development at Lightbridge, Inc. "Knowing these clients are in good hands with Subex, we can focus our Fraud initiatives on customer fraud screening, risk and value management solutions.  In addition, with our Intelligent Network solutions, we can focus on our PrePay IN software product.”

“We plan to transition the core support team from Lightbridge to our new facility located in Denver US,” added Mr. Menon. Subex's new facility in Denver is expected to be operational by August - September 2004 and would act as a sales and support office for the Americas. Besides taking over the support of Fraud Centurion’s global clientele, Subex will also merge the Fraud Centurion’s functionalities with its flagship FMS, Ranger.

Subex’s recently launched integrated platform for revenue maximization, RevMax offers telecom operators an integrated platform for revenue maximization solutions and eliminates the need to invest piecemeal in point solutions. The benefits of an integrated architecture are both - strategic and operational. Strategically, a single platform optimizing the IT infrastructure costs significantly lesser and such integration drives informed, holistic business decisions and course corrections. The operational benefits include streamlined, standards driven end-to-end Revenue Maximization workflow across the organization. An integrated solution is also easy to maintain, provides architectural flexibility to add new modules and thus extracts maximum analytics value with minimum resource requirement.

US-based Communications Fraud Control Association's (CFCA) pegs annual worldwide telecom fraud losses to be in the range of USD 35 - 40 billion. According to estimates, currently only about 27% of operators use any revenue maximization solution. Of these, around 60% use systems developed in-house. Subex's RevMax suite, through its products Ranger FMS and INcharge revenue assurance solution, maximizes revenue and profits through, assuring earned revenue, enhancement of revenue and cost optimization.

Survey commissioned by Amdocs finds that 80% of UK consumers are prepared to change service providers after just one negative experience

A customer service survey, commissioned by Amdocs, the leading provider of billing and CRM products and services for true integrated customer management, reveals that customer service throughout the UK continues to be well below expected standards in the telecommunications, banking and retail sectors. Results show that 80% of UK consumers will only withstand one negative experience before taking their business elsewhere, thus demonstrating the need to put the customer at the centre of the business.

The UK is no longer a 'put up or shut up' culture, with 75% of the 1001 people surveyed insisting that they would argue their case and get increasingly angry in the face of bad customer service. Over 80% of consumers said that they have had to endure a bad customer service experience recently and more than half would rather visit their in-laws or drive round the M25 than deal with current levels of customer service. The consumer expects nothing less than the most superior service from their communications, financial or retail service providers and with intense competition for consumers' business, a service organisation's profitability hinges on its ability to deliver it, as well as to know and predict its customers preferences.

Other key findings include:

The British Love to Queue?- Despite the common perception that the British love to queue, 90 % of consumers cite long waiting times as their greatest customer service peeve. Nothing in life comes free - The offer of free goods/services following poor service was only deemed important by less than 5% of those questioned. Hearsay is dynamite - over 80% insist that they would spread the word to friends and family following a poor customer service experience. The grass is always greener - 85% of those surveyed felt that customer service is far superior abroad. Granny knows best - over three quarters of consumers prefer for their query to be handled by a mature woman.

The customer is king

Neil Philpott, Director, Amdocs UK commented: "There is no denying that customer is king. The results of the survey, although hard hitting, are not unexpected. The onus is on the company, whether that be in the telecommunications, banking or retail sector, to provide the best possible service. Companies must integrate their business processes, moving beyond disparate billing and CRM solutions to a customer centric operation. With a 360 degree view of their customers, a company should be able to provide a seamless, tailored service. If used efficiently, this data can be invaluable, if not the result is further frustrations for the customer."

He continued: "We now have a de facto list of the grievances of the UK population which can be used to raise standards across the board. We should remember that some companies are fantastic when it comes to customer service, but we need to ensure that these are not exceptions – a high level of service should be the norm."

MPLS Technology Enables CODA to Benefit from Any-to-Any Connectivity and Traffic Prioritisation Across 10 International Sites

MCI has today announced that it has provided CODA, the financial systems specialist, with a fully-managed international Private IP solution. MCI Private IP is a network-based, MPLS VPN service. This solution extends the longstanding successful customer relationship of CODA with MCI.

CODA offers award-winning, best-of-class, unified ledgeraccounting systems and versatile financial analysis tools that supportenhanced performance management in public sector and commercialorganizations world-wide. With its headquarters in Harrogate in theUnited Kingdom, CODA operates 10 business locations in Europe, theAmericas and the Asia Pacific region.    "We chose MCI's fully-managed Private IP solution since it allowedus to improve connectivity between the CODA sites," said Richard Hall,IT manager at CODA. "The previous network configuration required alltraffic to be routed via our head office at Harrogate. In the event ofa network problem in Harrogate, the other offices were prevented fromaccessing resources. With Private IP, however, we achieved any-to-anyconnectivity, allowing all traffic to travel point-to-point, greatlyimproving both reliability and efficiency."    By using MPLS technology, customers can utilise a singleconnection for all of their network traffic regardless of protocol(Frame Relay, ATM or IP) enabling the transport of packets labeledwith a destination route and a Class of Service level. By using MCIPrivate IP, CODA is realizing a significant increase in networkperformance as a result of reduced intermediate switching.    "MCI Private IP delivers the ability to intelligently converge andprioritise voice services, enterprise applications, as well as dataand video traffic over a single seamless network connection,increasing simplicity and ease of use," said Andrew McGrath, vicepresident of Marketing for MCI in Europe, the Middle East and Africa(EMEA). "MCI's Private IP solution offers CODA the flexibility andscalability to support the dynamic needs of its business, enablingthem to implement Class of Service across the connections and allowingthem to define the Class of Service required by critical data andallowing it the access to the bandwidth it needs."    Because CODA chose a fully-managed solution, MCI also handled thehardware implementation, integration and the ongoing maintenance oftheir network from the router and beyond. MCI took on theresponsibility for CODA's network connections and providesstate-of-the-art monitoring and reporting via Concorde Reporting, allbacked by the company's comprehensive Service Level Agreements.

UK-based Analysys Limited has today announced its acquisition by Datatec International, the global arm of Datatec, the JSE-listed networking and IT services group. A new company, Analysys Mason Group (AMG), has been created.

Analysys Limited is one of the world's leading telecommunications strategy consulting firms with a global client base that includes: regulators, governments, network operators, equipment manufacturers and financial institutions. Analysys's headquarters are in Cambridge, UK, and it has an extensive international footprint with offices in London, Glasgow, Paris, Milan, Madrid, San Francisco and Washington DC.

AMG will become the umbrella brand for a broader and deeper consultancy offering comprising the businesses of both Analysys Limited and Mason Group Limited (Mason), Datatec's existing telecommunications consultancy.

Simon Jones, previously managing director of Analysys Limited, will become chief executive of AMG, says: "This deal provides an unrivalled opportunity to leverage our unique collection of consulting and research expertise and market reach to achieve outstanding insights for our clients."

Says Terry Flanagan, who will become executive director of AMG, and remain as managing director of Mason: "Mason and Analysys have already enjoyed a successful working relationship on a number of projects and we are very excited about the possibility of extending this impact across a wider range of clients."

Datatec chief executive Jens Montanana says the formation of the new company will significantly enhance the group's ability to remain at the forefront of fundamental shifts in technology. He cites the globalisation of telecommunications and the mainstream adoption of newer technologies in voice over IP (VoIP), convergence, wireless networking and 3G as the prime drivers of changing client demands for consulting services in the telecommunications field.

"Welcome. My name is Rita and I'm going to help you configure your mailbox."Rita is the personal assistant who will help Videomail users to configure their new message mailbox.

TMN has just launched Videomail, one more innovative 3rd generation service supported on video calls. It is unique in Portugal and one of the first of its kind to be launched in the world.

A little over three months ago TMN revolutionised mobile telecommunications with sight and sound in real time, when it launched the first i9 3G product, one of the first in the world to make video calls possible. One month later it launched the first video answering service. The launch today of a pioneering service such as Videomail will strengthen the attitude of the leading mobile phone operator in Portugal: permanent innovation geared to customers' expectations and needs.

With TMN Videomail, any user of the video-call service can now leave video messages in the mailbox of customers who do not answer a video-call. The concept is similar to that of voicemail for voice calls, but Videomail allows people to receive and record video-calls in the mailbox. In other words, TMN customers can record any video they want their interlocutors to see and hear when leaving a video-message.

Rita is the personal assistant who will help Videomail users to configure their new message box. Rita interacts with the client or with whoever makes a video-call in a simple and objective manner to help them use the service.

Messages left following an unanswered voice call are also recorded in the same message box and in the same way as traditional voice-mail.

Consulting one's Videomail box is free until 31 December in Portugal when using an i9 3G. The promotional tariffs for video-calls are also extended to the end of the year: 5 cents per minute in the TMN network and 39 cents per minute for the other Portuguese mobile networks.

Intec Dynamic Charging Platform provides real time charging and control of new services

Intec Telecom Systems, a global provider of operations support systems (OSS) for fixed, mobile and IP/next-generation networks, today announced it has signed a multi-million dollar contract for its new Intec Dynamic Charging Platform (DCP). The customer, a major US communications company, will use DCP to launch and charge for innovative IP based products and services, generating new revenue streams for the operator. Intec DCP is based on technology originally developed by Digiquant, a company which Intec acquired in September 2003 and has subsequently integrated into the business.

"This is one of our biggest and most important contract wins to date, and it underlines Intec's ability to acquire, develop and market leading-edge OSS technology to some of the world's largest telecom carriers," said Kevin Adams, Intec's CEO. "A win of this magnitude shows how DCP is gaining market traction in the IP and next generation services space, and that it can meet the functional and performance needs of one of the world's largest carriers."

Intec DCP will provide a complete active mediation layer including real-time charging, access control and balance management for Premium Content services. Full functionality to support revenue sharing and settlement with Content Partners will also be provided. Intec expects to release more information on the customer and the project in due course.

Revenues from mobile ticketing applications will help turn the global mobile commerce market into an $88bn industry by 2009, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

Digital goods such as mobile entertainment (ringtones, games,wallpaper, gambling and so on) will continue to be the largestapplication for buying and selling via the mobile phone but ticketpurchases will also emerge as a major application area by 2007 withrevenues totalling $39bn by 2009.    The report reveals that train and bus travel, cinemas andtheatres, as well as car parking, will be key ticketing applicationareas. Mobile users have already started to show interest in ticketingparticularly in Europe and Japan.

The report also reveals that:

•Mobile entertainment transactions will be worth $48bn by 2009.•Retail Point of Sale (POS) mobile transactions will be slow and be worth only $299m by 2009.•RFID and Infra Red technologies are likely to have major influence on future developments of mobile as a payment device.•The development of global standards will continue to be slow due to too many industry bodies concentrating on vested interests.

Report author Marc Ambasna-Jones said: "Mobile ticketing has thepotential to be a huge application. The very nature of buying andselling tickets is high volume and low cost. This will make it easierfor consumers to try it at least once because it is low risk. The aimis to make it more convenient than cash and there is willing amongoperators and merchants to make it happen but it will take time."    "Globally the m-commerce market will be fragmented mainly drawn upby continental boundaries. Each region is developing at a differentpace and with different technologies in mind. There is no one globalstandard but this will both help and hinder m-commerce. A focus onlocal needs will probably help the technology develop more quickly buteventually we will be faced with a roaming problem between regions."

Seminars to highlight how to detect and prevent revenue leakage on telecomsnetworks

Azure, the telecoms revenue assurance company, will be hosting a series ofrevenue assurance seminars throughout seven capital cities in Europe laterin the year.

Operator revenue losses are currently estimated to have risen to 13.7 percent of turnover (Analysys, 2003). Azure has re-commissioned this survey andwill presenting the results at the seminars and every attendee will receivea free copy of the research. The seminars will identify the sources ofrevenue leakage networks, and outline the strategies operators should adoptto minimise losses, and maximise revenue opportunities.

Drawing on Azure’s industry experience and case-study examples, the seminarswill help delegates understand the revenue assurance challenges operatorsface on both their current and next-generation networks, whether it beensuring regulatory compliance, billing accuracy or detecting and preventingfraudulent network activity.

Tour dates:•Tuesday 21st September 2004 – Copenhagen, Denmark•Thursday 23rd September 2004 – Stockholm, Sweden•Tuesday 19th October 2004 – Brussels, Belgium•Thursday 21st October 2004 – Vienna, Austria•Tuesday 16th November 2004 – Madrid, Spain•Thursday 18th November 2004 – Lisbon, Portugal•Wednesday 8th December 2004 – Rome, Italy.

Entrance to each of the events is free. For further information and/orregistration for the event please go to  [l=www.azuresolutions.com/]http://www.azuresolutions.com/[/l] or contact Marian Sierra on +44 (0) 1483 48 49 75.

IN-FUSIO's gaming service becomes global reference point as operator optsfor proven capability and ARPU generating service

IN-FUSIO, a leading mobile games service provider and publisher in Europe, US, and China, has announced that the Orange Group has selected its ExEn Gaming Extensions (EGE) to be a key feature of its Signature phone range, for Java-enabled handsets across Europe.

IN-FUSIO's EGE, which is compatible with all Java handsets, has been chosenby Orange for its ability to provide the most comprehensive service forgenerating mobile game communities and sustained repeat revenue. IN-FUSIOmobile game service players have an ARPU three times higher than Java onlyofferings.

While EGE supports Java and BREW platforms it is the focus on service whichis winning industry support. By adding end-user and 'managed' functionalityEGE ensures that the mobile game experience is fun, addictive and, aboveall, intuitive.

Orange first adopted IN-FUSIO's ExEn gaming service three years ago and hassince built a community of loyal and avid mobile game players. With theaddition of IN-FUSIO's EGE, as a device requirement, Orange is ensuring thatit continues to succeed as a leading brand for the youth market.

The first Orange handset to ship with EGE is due to be launched in Q1 2005.

Gilles Raymond, co-CEO and President, IN-FUSIO said: "The decision by Orangeto adopt ExEn Gaming Extensions for its Java gaming handsets goes beyond asimple decision between technologies. What is at stake today is whatoperators can offer their customers' communities in the form of value-addedservices, increased functionality and ease of use and not what type oftechnology is embedded in handsets."

Julien Billot, Vice President of Marketing for Orange France said:"IN-FUSIO's EGE will introduce exciting games features and powerful players'community management tools. Thanks to our history with IN-FUSIO, we knowthat this dynamic combination of games and services can deliver revenuesover and above other providers. It is for this reason that we partner soclosely with IN-FUSIO, and why we want the ExEn Gaming Extensions to beembedded on our Signature phone series."

Florian Seiche, Director of Devices Orange: "Our focus on Orange Signaturephone customisation is to deliver an easy to use experience, that removesbarriers to adoption and increase usage. In the field of mobile gaming, INFUSIO's EGE fits perfectly with this strategy, combining the benefits ofJava standard and full end to end experience definition."

Seiche added: "IN-FUSIO's ExEn Gaming Extension will introduce excitinggames features and powerful players' community management tools. Orange iskeen to leverage current successes with IN-FUSIO in France, the UK and theNetherlands in order to accelerate the usage of mobile games and enhance themobile gamer experience.

A recent piece of research by Heavy Reading outlines some of the key attitudes of enterprise users towards Ethernet Services outside the LAN. Their 2004 Enterprise User Survey on Ethernet Services describes how 80% of SMEs either use or intend to use Ethernet from a service provider, while over 70% of large enterprises intend to have Ethernet services by the end of the year.

More worryingly, it appears as though carriers may be facing problems deriving much financial benefit from deploying Ethernet services on their networks. Many carriers are experiencing exactly what the Heavy Reading report would suggest – that businesses, familiar with the concept of Ethernet as an easily-scalable ‘big fat cheap data pipe’, are unwilling to pay top-dollar for the privilege of using the service. It may also prove difficult to use Service Level Agreements to charge a premium on data provision – according to the report, over two thirds of interviewed companies would not pay more than a 10% premium for QoS guarantees, while nearly a third would not expect to pay anything.

On the bright side, the respondents to the survey were principally US-based, so the results may to some extent reflect the high levels of service expectation prevalent there. Nevertheless, the conclusion is that European carriers, too, will have to be canny in terms of making their network as cost-efficient as possible in order to avoid cannibalising customer revenues from legacy services, or else wean the market away from low price expectations.

This September the Institute of International Research is bringing together leading carriers, vendors and industry bodies in Budapest to address the issue of how to deliver efficient, profitable Ethernet services to business and residential end-users. With speakers gathering from across EMEA and North America to share their experiences over four days, it is expected to deliver valuable insights into consumers and competitors in the Ethernet marketplace.

“Carriers are definitely interested in offering Ethernet-based services, “ says Alex Lawrence, organising the event, “The question is, how can they meet the demands of their customers – in terms of price levels, quality of service, security and bandwidth – and still make a profit? With competition across Europe and globally due to intensify over the next few years, the decision about how to go about delivering Ethernet services could well be make-or-break for some carriers. This conference aims to examine key technical, business strategy and marketing issues and identify intelligent and successful solutions.”

Delivering Ethernet Services will be supported by the Metro Ethernet Forum, the Ethernet in the First Mile Alliance, the MPLS and Frame Relay Alliance and the RPR Alliance. In addition, the Metro Ethernet Forum will be holding a workshop day examining best practice and optimum cost-efficiencies in deploying Ethernet.

Delivering Ethernet Services will be held at the Hilton Budapest WestEnd, 20-24 September 2004. For more information click on the link below or call IIR’s Alex Crow on +44 20 7915 5627.[l=www.iir-conferences.com/a.cfm?id=7643 ]http://www.iir-conferences.com/a.cfm?id=7643[/l]

Analysis of Europe's telco video opportunity discovers slim pickings

Video-over-broadband is on the agenda of every incumbent and mostsecond-tier broadband service providers in Western Europe, and it isalready up and running in several markets. Yet these services will notgenerate significant revenue or profits in the medium term, accordingto the Yankee Group report, Tough Challenges Ahead for Europe'sVideo-Over-Broadband Providers.    Video-over-broadband (VioBB) has arrived in Western Europe, withincumbent DSL operators in France, Germany, Italy and Spain eitherintroducing or stepping up existing video content offerings, markingthe entry of a fourth digital platform into Europe's pay-TVmarketplace.    "VioBB providers are facing significant challenges," says JonathanDoran, Broadband & Media Europe senior analyst. "Entrenchedcompetition from cable and satellite, a lack of technical standardsfor the new platform, and an array of under-developed business modelsare causing uncertainty and a lack of cohesion among the various VioBBstrategies."    Video will provide an important enhancement to the broadband valueproposition, and revenue is projected to grow seven-fold from lessthan EURO100 million in 2003 to nearly EURO1 billion in 2008. However,Doran concludes, "these services will account for only 3.4 percent ofBSP revenue by the end of the forecast period and will not beprofitable in the medium term."    The report highlights recent developments in VioBB, examines thedifferent approaches BSPs are taking to service implementation, andassesses the overall market opportunity, concluding that despite theanticipated increase in take-up of broadband video services, thefinancial rewards will remain limited.

Acquires Alcatel’s Fraud Management Group, Gains 25 additional customers, Expands presence in Europe

Subex Systems, the global telecom software product company, has announced its acquisition of the Fraud Management Group (FMG) of the French giant Alcatel. This acquisition adds nearly 25 new clients to Subex's already large roster of 39 clients and gives Subex No. 1 position in the global Telecom Fraud Management space. Subex has signed an agreement to this effect for a total consideration of about USD 3 million.

“This acquisition marks a very exciting and strategic step forward for Subex," said Mr. Subash Menon, President & CEO, Subex Systems. "With this acquisition we become the largest vendor, the world over, for fraud management systems, based on the number of customers and the number of installations”.

Further strengthening the association between the two companies, Alcatel will partner with Subex and will offer Subex’s fraud management and revenue assurance solutions as part of its’ extensive offering for revenue management to telcos all over the world. This global partnership with Alcatel is expected to boost the business of Subex in the coming years. “Subex will be Alcatel’s sole partner for fraud management and revenue assurance. This acquisition and the consequent partnership strengthens our credentials and stature in the revenue maximization segment,” said Mr. Menon, while commenting on the partnership.

Alcatel FMG brings to Subex very strong synergies with its client base. As many as 30 carriers worldwide, including Tier-1 carriers like Tiscali Italy, Vodafone Ireland, Colt UK, Thus UK and Energis UK among others, use Alcatel's fraud management system. “More than the acquisition, what is significant here is the trust that Alcatel has placed on us indicating that we have the capability to manage the revenue assurance needs of their existing and future clientele. We'd also be retaining some of the employees of Alcatel's FMG and place them in our new facility in the UK," added Mr. Menon. Subex's new facility, expected to be operational by August - September 2004 would be located in London and would act as a sales and support office, primarily for Europe.

    

 

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