Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Executive Council takes over at COAI

NEW DELHI, INDIA: The COAI Annual General Meeting held on May 29, 2009 at New Delhi saw a smooth transition with the new Executive Council taking over the reins of the industry association.

The event saw the General Body ratify the nominations of Ms. Suneeta Reddy, Chairperson, Aircel Ltd. and Vice Chairperson, COAI as Chairperson, COAI, and Sanjay Kapoor, Deputy CEO, Bharti Airtel as Vice Chairperson of COAI for 2009-2010. The nominations for the Executive Council were also ratified by the General Body.

Outgoing Chairman, Asim Ghosh thanked the members for their unwavering support during his tenure as Chairman. He reminisced fondly about his long association with the industry and the several challenges that the industry had faced and overcome in the last decade.

He noted that 2008 was a landmark year for the Indian industry as it had reached global scale. He pointed out that the job was never done and there would always be challenges ahead. He thanked Ms. Reddy for her support as Vice Chairperson, the Executive Council and the Secretariat team for their efforts and contributions and wished them all the very best for the future.

Ms. Suneeta Ready, Chairperson Elect thanked the members for the trust and faith reposed in her. She emphasized that COAI had always stood for inclusive growth. She noted that the industry still had many challenges ahead.

She pointed out that the agenda for the industry for the next 12 months included ensuring availability of adequate 2G spectrum, an early auction of 3G and BWA spectrum to facilitate the leap to the next generation of services, bridging of the digital divide, improving the financial viability of the industry and making it globally competitive..

She added that with the imminent introduction of mobile number portability, the SIM card would become like a vote that could be exercised anytime by the consumers and the industry should make all efforts to ensure that mobile is viewed as a service that adds value to the consumers lives.

TV Ramachandran, Director General, COAI, presented the Annual Report of the COAI activities to the members. He pointed out that the Association had undertaken several landmark initiatives over the last 12 months. This included strengthening subscriber verifications processes under the aegis of ACT -- the apex Advisory Council; efforts to minimize unsolicited commercial communications through a joint working group set up by TRAI; engaging with the Reserve Bank of India through the Mobile Banking Payment Forum for encouraging the use of mobile as a payment platform; working with the Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology in IIT, Chennai for developing coding for
SMS in vernacular languages; ensuring environment protection with the adoption of ICNIRP guidelines, introduction of Mobile Instant Messaging, etc.

ThinkFree unveils first complete Office productivity suite for Android-based mobile devices

SANTA CLARA, USA: ThinkFree, Inc., a leader in next-generation office productivity solutions, announced ThinkFree Mobile for Android, the first complete office productivity suite offering for Android-based mobile devices. A demo can be seen at the upcoming COMPUTEX trade show taking place June 2-6 in Taipei, Taiwan where ThinkFree will be showing its mobile office product line-up with ARM.

Android is a software platform for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications. ThinkFree Mobile for Android brings several firsts to the platform. With ThinkFree, users can create, view and edit not only Microsoft Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, but also PowerPoint presentations - a feature that has not been available before with any other solution.

The new software also features support for drawing objects - another first on the Android platform. ThinkFree furthermore offers the best roundtrip Microsoft Office compatibility of any alternate office suite on any platform and comes with 1GB of free, reliable and secure online document storage.

"ThinkFree Mobile for Android is bringing a new level of choice to smartphones by offering a mobile office solution that satisfies the growing demand for mobility and 24/7 access to your documents," said Kerry McGuire, Director of Software Alliances, ARM. "ThinkFree has brought an innovative approach to the mobile office suite that enables a consistent office experience across both smartphones and netbooks. We are pleased to have their continued support as part of the ARM community."

ThinkFree Mobile for Android consists of ThinkFree Write for word processing, ThinkFree Calc for spreadsheets and ThinkFree Show for presentations. It features seamless integration with ThinkFree Online, ThinkFree's already existing online service for collaboration and synchronization across all documents. A file manager enables easy access to documents stored on expansion cards through a built-in file browser. With the commercial launch of Android for netbooks, ThinkFree plans to roll out an optimized version of its software.

"With ThinkFree Mobile for Android, we manifest our leadership position in the online office suite and Web collaboration space," said Su Jin Kim, CEO of ThinkFree, "After the success of our ThinkFree Mobile Netbook Edition, we are thrilled to have partnered with ARM for the Android platform."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

GSM/3G market update May 2009: GSA

UK: Key kacts from May 2009 GSM/3G market update, provided by theGlobal mobile Suppliers Association (GSA)!

Network commitments, deployments, launches
· 3G/WCDMA: 284 operators launched in 120 countries
· WCDMA has more than 72.8 percent market share of 390 commercially launched 3G networks
· 94 percent of commercial WCDMA operators have launched HSPA
· 306 HSPA network commitments in 126 countries
· 267 3G/HSDPA operators launched in 114 countries
· 125 HSDPA networks launched in Europe including in all 27 Member States of the European Union
· 196 HSDPA networks have launched 3.6 Mbps (peak) downlink service or higher = over 73 percent of commercial HSDPA operators, thus establishing the baseline for mobile broadband services
· 105 commercial HSDPA networks, i.e. over 39 percent, support 7.2 Mbps (peak) or higher
· 72 HSUPA networks launched in 42 countries, plus another 14 network commitments/deployments
· 10 commercial UMTS900 (i.e. WCDMA-HSPA operating at 900 MHz) networks launched, in Europe, APAC and Latin America
· 4 HSPA+ networks have launched commercial service (21 Mbps downlink peak)
· At least 25 additional HSPA+ operator commitments worldwide
· 31 LTE network operator commitments worldwide
· Up to 12 LTE networks are expected to enter commercial service by end 2010
· 441 GSM/EDGE network commitments in 184 countries; 413 networks launched in 177 countries
· Over 80 percent of commercial GPRS operators globally have committed to EDGE
· 172 of 267 commercially launched HSDPA operators (over 64 percent) also launched EDGE

User devices
· 1,470 HSDPA devices launched by 171 suppliers
· 944 devices support 3.6 Mbps peak or higher (excluding notebooks)
· 514 devices support 7.2 Mbps peak or higher (excluding notebooks)
· 260 HSUPA devices launched (compared to 75 in July 2008) (excl. notebooks)
· 1,068 HSPA devices (over 93 percent) operate in 2100 MHz band (excl. notebooks)
· 512 HSPA devices (over 44 percent) operate in 850 MHz band (excl. notebooks)
· 365 tri-band HSPA devices 850/1900/2100 MHz (excl. notebooks)
· 130 HSPA devices operate in 900 MHz band (UMTS900) (excl. notebooks)
· 212 HSPA phones (including smartphones) incorporate 802.11 WiFi
· 248 HSPA phones (including smartphones) incorporate GPS/positioning functionality
· Over 83 percent of HSDPA devices also support GSM/EDGE

Subscriptions
· 3.72 billion GSM, WCDMA-HSPA subscriptions (Q1 09)
· GSM/WCDMA has 89.4 percent worldwide market share
· Over 329 million WCDMA subs including HSPA worldwide (Q1 09)
· WCDMA now has 8% share of global mobile subscriptions
· 103.8 million HSPA subscriptions (Q4 08) included in the WCDMA subs total
· WCDMA has over 72.3 percent market share of global 3G subscriptions
· APAC has almost 1.6 billion GSM, WCDMA-HSPA subscriptions (Q1 09)
· The BRIC countries –- Brazil, Russia, India, and China together account for over 1.25 billion GSM Subscriptions (Q1 09)
· China and India have a combined total of 907.3 million GSM subs (Q1 09)
· India is estimated to have passed 300 million GSM subs during May 2009
· Western Europe has 576 million GSM, WCDMA-HSPA subscriptions (Q1 09)
· The Western Hemisphere exceeds 554 million GSM, WCDMA-HSPA subscriptions (Q1 09)
· MEA has 541 million GSM subscribers (Q1 09)
· GSA estimates that there are approaching 2 billion GSM, WCDMA and HSPA subscriptions in commercial HSPA-enabled networks worldwide.

Ringback tones, music top mobile content consumption

MALAYSIA: The past year has seen a steady rise in the consumption of [mobile] premium content on social networks and communities, as well as other new applications such as location-based services and mobile advertising.

Ringback tones and mobile music, however, still remain the top revenue earners, accounting for about 21.4 percent ($6.2 billion) of the region’s mobile content revenues in 2008, and are expected to continue to top mobile operators’ and content providers’ billings in the next five to six years.

“The demand for such mobile entertainment content is driven by the increasing mobile lifestyles of consumers and the desire to personalise,” says Frost & Sullivan senior industry analyst Jeff Teh. “It has become fairly important for subscribers to accessorise and personalise their mobile devices to differentiate themselves from their peers.”

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan Asia-Pacific Premium Content Market, finds that paid mobile content services across 13 Asia-Pacific countries grossed an estimated $29.1 billion in 2008. Growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 23.6 percent (2008-2013), revenues are expected to breach $75.6 billion by end-2013, driven largely by consumer demand for mobile entertainment applications such as music and video.

Mobile entertainment applications, which include ringtones, music, videos, mobile games, wallpapers, graphics, icons and betting, dominated premium content consumption accounting for 44.4 percent ($12.9 billion) of the revenues last year. This is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.3 percent (2008-2013) to be valued at $34.3 billion by end-2013.

Mobile information services, including news, search engines, location-based navigation, thesaurus and such, raked-in revenues of $5.2 billion (17.9 percent of total premium content market) in 2008. While other premium content services such as mobile commerce, mobile banking, mobile e-mail, mobile advertising et al. accounted for 37.7 percent ($10.9 billion) of revenues last year. Mobile information and other premium services are forecasted to grow at CAGRs of 25.8 and 23 percent from 2008 to 2013, respectively.

Apart from a tech-savvy and mobile-lifestyle generation, Teh attributes this growth to mobile social networks which are fuelling mobile usage and opening-up mobile commerce opportunities, enabling users to send virtual or tangible items to each other. This is further driven by greater use of mobile Internet, the maturity of mobile networks and flat-rate data plans, prompting consumption of premium content.

Premium content accounted for 44.7 percent of mobile operators’ total data revenues in 2008. The remaining 55.3 percent, not surprisingly, accrued from basic messaging (SMS - short message service).

According to Teh: “Inexpensive, simple and ubiquitous messaging will continue to be the primary contributor to mobile data revenues, at least for the next two to three years. Premium content however, especially mobile entertainment applications, are becoming hugely popular. By 2012, content revenues could well outstrip messaging revenues -- if the main challenges of often unclear [content] purchase and pricing mechanisms, as well as non-transparent mobile data charges can be overcome.”

Google Latitude: Operator business case heading south?

UK: Comment from Jeremy Green, Practice Leader & Michele Mackenzie, Principal Analyst, Ovum.

Google is stealing a march on operators
Location has long been touted as one of the key enablers which should be core to both the operator’s own direct-to-consumer (D2C) service offering and more recently as a network enabler which operators could open up to third-party application developers and preferably at a premium.

However, operators have dragged their heels for so long that device vendors such as Nokia and Internet players such as Google have stolen a march on the operators, launching their own location-enabled applications and building location platforms which allow them to enable third-party applications and build developer communities to serve their own user bases.

Google is in the process of building a location network across its markets and this is largely independent of the operator’s cooperation (although it is dependent on the operator refraining from disruptive action).

For most operators, it is too late to develop location awareness as a fully fledged premium service. And it was becoming increasingly unlikely that they would succeed in offering location as an enabler to third parties.

But Vodafone’s recent announcement that it will open up its network APIs to the developer community puts Vodafone at least back in the picture. Vodafone is one of the few operators with the size and scale to take on some of the other contenders. But is it too little too late?

Neither side ready for a fight
Google’s location platform uses a number of data criteria and location solutions in order to pinpoint the user’s location. It takes the device’s dynamically assigned IP address in order to determine the user’s country information.

It then identifies the cell tower which is serving the user in order to determine further the location of the user; this is done by the Google Maps application itself, so that the device can calculate its own location without any further information from or calculations by the operator’s network.

Google has built its own database of cell tower locations and cell IDs, information which is collected through active ‘war driving’ and its mapping application and fed back to its database. Google Latitude also uses the network of WiFi access point locations in order to determine the user’s location, and lastly the GPS functionality on the mobile phone.

Google’s service is to some extent dependent therefore on the operator’s infrastructure. At present, this would not be an issue for most operators who are seeking to drive further data traffic on their networks and Google’s applications are contributing to this.

But for those operators who are providing their own location services either as a D2C offering or business-to-business (B2B) offering, Google may well be undermining their business case.

The G1 Android phone offered in the UK by T-Mobile does not support Google Latitude, even though Google Maps is available, and G1s offered by other operators do support Latitude. This is allegedly because T-Mobile UK has requested that the feature is disabled, citing privacy concerns. This suggests that the operators are not prepared to go down without a fight, and that Google is still sensitive to operator concerns.

Advertising is key to success again
In line with its core business model of advertising, Google is likely to focus on monetising Latitude through advertising revenues, mainly local advertising. It may look at how it could generate revenues from selling contextual information on its users, presumably to advertisers. This will have to be done on an aggregated level in order not to compromise the data privacy of its users.

We believe that Google will make its location tools, including APIs, available free of charge to developers on the Google platform in order to drive usage of the Web.

These developers will therefore be able to query Google’s database of users’ locations, subject to the privacy constraints set by the users themselves and stored on the platform; we think that Google does not plan to charge for this.

It’s worth noting, though, that Google’s location server (which makes this possible) is not a Gateway Mobile Location Centre in the sense intended in the architecture for location services standardised by the mobile industry almost ten years ago. This too may be an indication that the operator-centric model for mobile location services is past its sell-by date.

Friday, May 29, 2009

mKhoj launches mobile advertising that speaks local tongue

PALO ALTO, USA & BANGALORE, INDIA: mKhoj, the leading mobile advertising marketplace for the rest of the world, announced the ability to power relevant mobile advertising tailored to local languages in seventeen different countries. With this announcement, mobile advertisers can leverage mKhoj’s ad network to display ads in hundreds of languages, including Afrikaans, Arabic, Bahasa, Hindi, Tamil, Turkic, and Zulu.

This new technology continues mKhoj’s commitment to provide the fastest character mapping for more than 600 mobile publishers. With UTF-8 encoding, mKhoj allows advertisers to increase the power of their mobile marketing by more effectively targeting their audience, and increases the monetization as well as the value of the publishers’ mobile properties through greater localization.

How it works
When advertisers sign up, they now have the ability to upload their mobile advertising in any local language and in any alphabet. This gives advertisers new ways to target and communicate with consumers.

“Empowering advertisers to speak to consumers in their native language enables them to make more personal connections with their target audiences,” said Abhay Singhal – Head of Global Sales for mKhoj. “This provides multinational advertisers a more effective way to reach local audiences around the globe.”

mKhoj has implemented its UTF-8 encoding technology to enable advertisers to easily upload local language advertising as-is, so publishers and their users are ensured a high quality experience.

Hyderabad based Way2SMS launches Email alerts on mobile

HYDERABAD, INDIA: Way2SMS, Hyderabad based SMS service provider has launched Email alerts on mobile. Any subscriber of www.way2sms.com can avail this free service, which works with any mail box that has forward option. It doesn’t require GPRS in the mobile and activation is done quick and easy.

“Now, with Way2SMS email alerts, one will never be far from his mail inbox. As a pioneer in Internet to mobile SMS segment, connecting inbox with mobile is yet another significant step that keeps way2sms ahead of its peers. Subscriber will become more informed no matter where he is. We have made sure that this feature can be easily activated as there is no installation required. Alerts can be received from multiple mail boxes if subscriber wishes.” said VV Raju, Founder CEO, Way2SMS.com.

Subscriber receives alerts for only those emails, which he wants. One can customize his preferences incase if he would like to receive email notifications only from particular contacts during a particular time. All one needs to do is to link his/her Yahoo, Gmail and other email accounts with Way2SMS mail account.

One can also choose or mark spam email IDs to avoid unwanted mail alerts. This feature best helps those who tend to be away from the computer a lot when important emails arrive and whose emails take is moderate.

Fluke organizes six-city workshops in India

BANGALORE, INDIA: Fluke Networks, provider of innovative solutions for the testing, monitoring and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks, today announced workshops on Network and Protocol Analysis Techniques across six cities in India.

The workshops aim at providing network engineers and managers of enterprise networks the best of technical know how required to manage networks efficiently. The workshop also reaches out to heads of departments of engineering colleges who would like to enhance their curriculum with lab sessions in Network Engineering studies.

“Today’s Network engineers and managers are faced with the challenge of doing more with less while providing high levels of service and user satisfaction. Through these workshops our aim is to educate these network engineers and managers to maximize the performance of their networks and avoid unnecessary network upgrades thereby improving productivity and reducing the downtime of their networks,” said Alamuri Sitaramaiah, General Manager Sales, Fluke Networks India.

The sessions are being handled by Ted Chiou, an experienced Fluke Networks trainer who has trained extensively in USA, Singapore and Australia.

The series of 2 days works shops will be held in the following cities across India:

* Chennai - May 28 - 29, 2009
* Hyderabad - June 1 – 2, 2009
* Bangalore - June 3 – 4, 2009 and June 5- 6, 2009
* Ahmedabad, June 8 – 9 , 2009
* New Delhi - June 10 – 11,2009
* Kolkata - June 12 – 13,2009

CDMA now being used by over 100 million people in India!

MUMBAI, INDIA: The CDMA Development Group (CDG) announced that there are now more than 100 million CDMA subscribers in India, making it the world's second-largest CDMA market.

Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices are placed among the top five CDMA operators globally, ranking second and fourth, respectively. The rapid growth of CDMA users in India is attributed to a wide selection of affordable devices -- ranging from entry-level handsets to feature-rich smartphones -- and the introduction of CDMA2000 voice and data services into urban and rural areas, helping to reshape the communications culture of India.

Since CDMA mobile services were introduced in December 2002, the cellular landscape in India changed rapidly. Efforts led by CDMA operators, device manufacturers, technology enablers and the CDG introduced an array of entry-level handsets to the market while tariffs dropped by more than 40 percent.

As a result, CDMA reached 50 million subscribers in India twice as fast as any competing cellular technology, and at the same time greatly increased voice telephony and wireless Internet connectivity in India. Now, recently-introduced CDMA mobile broadband solutions are poised to have a similar significant impact on increasing broadband penetration in the country.

"The CDG is encouraged by the continued CDMA subscriber growth in India, and we are proud to have worked with operators and manufacturers to bring wireless voice and data services to over 100 million Indians," said Perry LaForge, executive director of the CDG. "Efforts to bring a wide range of devices into the market have resulted in a tremendously rapid growth of voice telephony in the country. As we look to the next 100 million subscribers, CDMA mobile broadband is already satisfying the demand for affordable high-speed wireless data services, while CDG initiatives will further increase the selection of CDMA voice and data devices."

In March 2009, CDMA operators Reliance and Tata both launched high-speed mobile broadband services, delivering average download speeds of 600-1400 kbps with bursts up to 3.1 Mbps and average upload speeds of 500-800 kbps with bursts up to 1.8 Mbps. Reliance's Netconnect Broadband Plus wireless broadband service is offered nationwide in 35 major cities, 20,000 towns and 450,000 villages, covering 80 percent of the potential laptop and desktop broadband users in India.

"Reliance has been a pioneer and the largest operator of a CDMA platform in India's wireless sector. We have successfully launched and grown new segments in the wireless sector leveraging the unique strengths of CDMA technology, such as Unlimited and Bucket plans in voice usage, Wireless Broadband and anchored applications of PCO, ATM and FWP. We remain committed to further grow and serve our ever-increasing CDMA customer base through innovative applications, superior network quality and service and attractive value-propositions," said S.P. Shukla, President Wireless of Reliance Communications.

Concurrently, Tata Indicom is offering its Photon Plus services in several large markets including Bangalore, Calcutta, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai, accessible via USB modems as well as routers.

"It has always been our mission to provide quality telecom services to subscribers in India and it is a matter of pride that we have played a role in this 100 million CDMA subscriber achievement. CDMA is a technology that allows a rich telecom experience, especially on the data side, and we are confident that in the years to come that experience will only get better, especially as 3G arrives and we are able to unleash the full potential of applications and services," said Anil Sardana, Managing Director of Tata Teleservices.

Dr. Mukund Rajan, Managing Director, Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd, said: "There were a number of doomsday prophets who questioned the logic behind the introduction of CDMA in India. Today, 100 million satisfied CDMA subscribers, on networks across India that boast the best voice quality and excellent data throughput, vindicate our decision to launch CDMA services in India.

"The dramatic growth of CDMA in India, in the short span of six years, has led the surge in wireless subscriber additions in India and the huge jump in teledensity across the country. Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) (TTML), with over 7 million CDMA subscribers and 14 percent market share in the Mumbai-Maharashtra geography that contributes the most to India's GDP, is proud to have played its role in establishing CDMA as a compelling choice for customers."

"Qualcomm congratulates the CDMA ecosystem on this remarkable journey to 100 million subscribers in India, bringing in not just voice, but also wireless Internet and broadband connectivity. India is now the second largest CDMA market globally, and the ecosystem continues to grow with new operators, handset OEMs, content providers and application developers," said Kanwalinder Singh, senior vice-president of Qualcomm and president of Qualcomm India and South Asia. "CDMA triggered the wireless revolution in India by making mobile communication affordable, and has played a key role in bridging the digital divide. Qualcomm, along with its partners, will continue to bring the benefits of advanced CDMA technologies to India for an enriched and differential wireless experience."

T Narsimhan, Dy CEO, Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd, the new entrant to the CDMA ecosystem, said: "100 million subscribers is a landmark moment for the CDMA industry, and reiterates the huge potential for CDMA to grow in India. MTS is a hugely successful global brand and is committed to revolutionize the manner in which wireless telephony services are made available in the country. We stay committed to the continued explosive growth of CDMA telecommunication services in India."

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), broadband penetration in the country was only at 5.5 million users as of the end of 2008, and PC connectivity continues to be a limitation in achieving faster growth. Recently launched mobile broadband services by CDMA2000 operators will have the same effect on increasing India's broadband penetration as CDMA2000 1X services had on increasing voice telephony in the region earlier this decade.

Newgen to increase focus on telecom sector

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Newgen Software, a leading provider of Business Process Management and Document Management System solutions, announced that it shall enhance focus on the fast-growing and lucrative telecom sector to accelerate its growth.

In the ever-evolving and competitive environment, telecom sector is facing tremendous pressure from the customers regarding the quality of service offered in terms of time taken to resolve a customer query and a strong and flexible infrastructure platform that allows management of end-to-end business processes.

Newgen with its powerful web-based document management, business process management, bill management and output management solutions helps Telecom Service Providers gain new agility in responding to dynamic changes. Newgen solutions help operators enhance customer service by reducing cycle times of query handling, increasing coordination with subscribers, reducing errors in billing processes, presenting bills/statements online and improving responsiveness to customers.

Diwakar Nigam, Managing Director, Newgen Software Technologies said: “The sector has maintained growth momentum with operators now expanding networks to smaller towns and villages. We believe that with our domain knowledge and technology thought leadership, we can offer expert solutions to telecom service providers around the world and establish ourselves as the vendor of choice.”

Telecom companies can achieve operational excellence with the help of the Newgen solutions. The solutions help in cost efficiency, better storage, improving customer care, compliance to regulatory needs and faster verification.

Besides this focus on the Telecom sector, Newgen has also expanded its attention on industry verticals such as Retail, Hospitality, Insurance and Government departments.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mobile payment users to increase 70pc in 2009

MUMBAI, INDIA: The mobile payment industry will experience steady growth, as the number of mobile payment users worldwide will total 73.4 million in 2009, up 70.4 percent from 2008 when there were 43.1 million users, according to Gartner, Inc.

Gartner predicts that the number of mobile payment users will reach more than 190 million in 2012, representing more than 3 percent of total mobile users worldwide and attaining a level at which it will be considered "mainstream."

“Momentum in the mobile payment market gathered further in 2008 with a number of high-profile launches of mobile money transfer services in multiple markets, participation of major global institutions in near-field communication (NFC) payment trials, as well as new payment solutions entering the market,” said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. “However, at the same time, security concerns, an inadequate ‘ecosystem’ and undefined areas in banking regulations remain challenges for mobile payment.”

Gartner defines a mobile payment as paying for a product or service using mobile technology such as a short message service (SMS), Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and NFC.

It includes transactions that use banking instruments such as cash, bank accounts or debit and credit cards, as well as noncarrier stored value accounts, such as travel cards, gift cards or Paypal. It does not include transactions that use mobile operators’ billing systems, such as purchase of mobile content or telebanking by mobile to the service center via an interactive voice response (IVR) system.

“Mobile payment has very different user cases and impact on developing markets to that of developed markets,” Ms. Shen said. “In developing markets, together with mobile banking, it allows people to use financial services in a more-efficient way — and sometimes the only way -— at more-affordable costs, and can greatly improve standards of living. In developed markets, mobile is more of an extension of the existing payment infrastructure that allows people to deal with their financial needs on the go and in a timely fashion.”

This disparity leads to the presence of different products in different markets. For example, many services in the US rely on a full browser and credit card, but this won’t work in developing markets, as many people don’t even have a bank account or bank card. On the other hand, Ms. Shen said USSD banking wouldn’t be acceptable in the U.S. as mobile operators have never made use of this for customer services and users may find it very awkward to work with.

In terms of both number of users and transaction volumes, Gartner expects Asia/Pacific and Japan to maintain a larger share of the market through 2012.

While mobile payment penetration in Western Europe is expected to rise from 0.9 percent in 2009 to 2.5 percent in 2012, and from 1.7 percent to 3 percent in North America; penetration in Asia/Pacific and Japan will rise from 2 percent in 2009 to 3.8 percent in 2012. Mobile payment penetration in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Latin America is also expected to exceed 3 percent by 2012.

“The most profound impact of mobile banking and payment services is that they provide the nonbanking population with access to modern financial services, giving them tools to improve their living standards,” said Ms. Shen. “For mobile operators, mobile payment can help attract and retain users and generate new revenue streams. For financial institutions, mobile payment is an opportunity to reach users who may have been previously unreachable, due to a lack of retail infrastructure.”

Ms. Shen said that overall, the market will see fragmentation in both technologies and business models, meaning that services need to be adapted for individual markets — even when deployed with the same partners — and that long lead times will be needed for deployment. This, together with the time required for creating user awareness, leads Gartner to believe that mobile payment is at least three years away from entering the mainstream market.

MindTree lists Bluetooth Health Device Profile (HDP)

BANGALORE, INDIA, MindTree Ltd., a global IT Solutions Company and a leading provider of Bluetooth® intellectual property (IP) solutions, announced that its Bluetooth Health Device Profile (HDP) along with its EtherMind 2.1+EDR stack have been successfully listed as a qualified design component by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).

MindTree’s implementation of HDP supports all mandatory and optional features, including those of underlying layers such as Multi Channel Adaptation Protocol (MCAP) and Enhanced L2CAP (eL2CAP).

Today’s medical devices use Bluetooth as a cable replacement, but use proprietary methods based on Serial Port Profile (SPP). This can prove to be a bottleneck due to lack of interoperability. MindTree’s Bluetooth HDP surmounts this bottleneck by allowing for an interoperable way for the health and fitness devices to connect to cell phones, laptops and other communication devices.

“Medical devices require efficient implementation of Bluetooth technology as they are typically battery-powered. MindTree’s implementation of HDP is perfectly suited for such applications, thanks to its ultra compact footprint and low MIPS,” said MindTree CTO – R&D Services, Dr. Raghunath Govindachari. “A multitude of devices like pulse oximeters, blood glucose monitors and digital thermometers are expected to incorporate Bluetooth, which makes this segment very promising,” he added.

“Being the first independent Bluetooth stack provider to figure in the Qualified Design Listing (QDL) for HDP is a testimony to our involvement in the leading edge of Bluetooth technology,” said MindTree CEO – R&D Services, Vinod Deshmukh. “In particular, we see the medical segment as the next big market opening up for the adoption of Bluetooth, with the advent of HDP,” he added.

MindTree is a leading provider of Bluetooth IP solutions with a comprehensive set of offerings including the BlueWiz baseband controller and EtherMind stack and profile solutions.

MindTree has been a Bluetooth SIG member since 2000. It has also been actively participating in the Bluetooth standardization process. It is also a part of several working groups and regularly participates in the Bluetooth unplug fests.

MindTree IP has been product proven and has been licensed to several marquee customers and has shipped in several products in volumes. MindTree also offers product realization services across various industry verticals including specialized services for the medical industry.

Over half of cellular backhaul capacity will be Ethernet by 2011 end

USA: While microwave will remain the most common last mile link medium, Ethernet is playing an increasing role in supporting backhaul needs for cellular and WiMAX networks.

Over half of cellular backhaul capacity will use Ethernet by the end of 2011, reports In-Stat.

The transition to Ethernet will vary by region, depending on where mobile operators are in their transition to 3G and LTE networks.

Backhaul is getting renewed attention as mobile operators plan for a more data intensive network. The old voice-based solutions can not support the growth in data traffic operators currently face.

Cellular backhaul provides that crucial link between the mobile operator’s radio access network and its core network. Some of the key findings from In-Stat’s new research are:

* 90,000 Gbps of capacity in the last mile of the backhaul network will be needed by the end of 2013 to support the worlds cellular and WiMAX networks.
* In Asia/Pacific, the cellular backhaul last mile backhaul capacity for LTE will be 2,500 Gbps in 2013.
* Scalability is very important for operators when selecting a backhaul solution. Operators want a clear and easy path to increase backhaul capacity.
* For voice over Ethernet, operators are starting to focus on IEEE 1588v2 and Synchronous Ethernet.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NTT Com exceeds 200Gbps on tier-1 transpacific network

NEW YORK, USA:NTT America, a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of NTT Communications Corp. (NTT Com) and a global IP network services provider, announced the NTT Com Global IP Network has surpassed 200 Gigabits per second (Gbps) on its transpacific network, the highest bandwidth currently available.

As the largest telecommunications company in Asia and one of the largest in the world, NTT Com continues to extend its capabilities in providing enterprises, ISPs and other telecoms throughout Asia, North and South America and Europe with the most and highest quality data transport supporting international business growth.

NTT America will participate at International Telecoms Week (ITW), June 1 to 3 in Washington, D.C. ITW brings together the global wholesale telecoms community from more than 1,000 companies from 130 countries to evaluate, buy and sell voice and data products and services.

ITW attracts the entire industry with participants from all areas of the wholesale industry, Tier-1, 2 and 3 carriers, mobile / wireless operators, ISPs, VoIP providers, and voice, data, satellite, sub sea and fixed-line markets.

“The attendees of ITW are truly an international group that we think would be particularly interested in our growing speed and performance network milestones,” said Kazuhiro Gomi, CTO of NTT America and vice president of the NTT Communications Global IP Network. “At the same time we are seeing our network grow, we are also bringing our US-based customers into the Asian markets with access to our prime data center space and bandwidth.”

US customers are using the NTT Com network to reach customers, suppliers and international offices in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Australia.

NTT Com’s US subsidiary NTT America operates the NTT Com Global IP Network (AS 2914). The NTT Com Global IP Network provides Tier-1 IP transit up to 10GigE, a content delivery network, and CPE resale as well as managed router, security and network services and is fully upgraded to run the new Internet Protocol, IPv6.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kyocera intros iBurst 3.9G mobile broadband wireless technology

KYOTO, JAPAN: Kyocera Corp. has introduced its iBurst system as a leading solution to comply with a variety of market demands for Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA) in Latin American markets.

The iBurst system is standardized at ANSI and Recommendation ITU-R M.1801 as HC-SDMA, and forward-compatible with IEEE802.20 625k-MC.

Kyocera’s iBurst is a TDD/TDMA system with Adaptive-Array smart antenna technology that operates within a 5MHz bandwidth in the ranges of 1785-1805MHz, 1900-1920MHz and 2010-2025MHz. The Base Station delivers up to 24Mbps downlink and 8Mbps uplink, and the typical coverage is 3 to 5 km in radius. It supports non-line-of-sight mobile communications of data as well as voice even at traveling speeds of 100km/h.

By taking full advantage of iBurst’s cost effectiveness, and its functionality as the highest spectrally efficient option among MBWA systems, it has been commercially deployed since 2004 and there are currently 13 commercial networks in 12 countries. More than 10 operators are also in the process of launching iBurst service networks within the year 2009.

iBurst operators in serviced countries greatly appreciate the flexibility of iBurst applications to provide data and voice services in rural areas as well as high density metropolitan areas. Furthermore, iBurst subscribers are fully able to enjoy high speed internet with downlink speeds of up to 2Mbps, high quality VoIP and VPN services in fixed, portable and mobile environments with great satisfaction.

iBurst operators worldwide have formed the iBurst Association (iBA), a not-for-profit organization advocating the promotion and development of iBurst technology as a preferred MBWA solution.

Bharti-MTN deal largest Indian cross-border corporate merger

NEW DELHI, INDIA & LONDON, UK: The potential merger of India's largest GSM mobile telecom service provider Bharti Airtel Ltd and South Africa's largest telecom company MTN Group Ltd highlights the attractiveness of fast-growing telecoms markets in India and Africa and reinforces India Inc.'s global ambitions undeterred by the worldwide economic slowdown.

"The companies are buying international scale and growth in the world's fastest growing telecoms markets of India and Africa," said Bundeep Singh Rangar, Chairman, IndusView Advisors Ltd, the India-focused cross-border advisory firm. "This one deal worth $23 billion will almost match the value of the 280 cross-border mergers and acquisitions last year at $25 billion. It marks the grand entry of India as an acquirer in the international telecoms industry, just as previous years saw India Inc. buy into international steel, auto and IT industries."

"It shows what a catalyst a stable government with an unencumbered policy toward economic liberalization can be," he added. Earlier, the people of India had voted in favour of the Indian National Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in the month long General Elections for the 15th Lok Sabha or the House of the People, for a second consecutive term, which is an affirmation of the government's economic policies of continued liberalization and represents a vote for stability and continuity.

The merger of Bharti and MTN will be India's biggest cross border deal at almost twice the value of the acquisition of UK's top steel maker Corus Group Plc for $12 billion by India's Tata Steel Ltd in January 2007. It also surpasses the acquisition of Hutchison Essar Ltd, India's second largest GSM mobile service provider then by the UK's Vodafone Group Plc for $11 billion, by more than a similar margin.

A winning deal
The Bharti Airtel and MTN Group combine will create a leading emerging market telecom operator with more than $60 billion in market value, revenues of about $20 billion and over 200 million subscribers. The combined entity will be amongst the top five service providers globally with operations spanning more than 23 countries in Asia, Middle East and Africa.

The new entity will enjoy better pricing power in the market, lower costs on account of shared infrastructure and resources, better purchasing power with suppliers, doubling up of subscribers to 200 million that will gradually result in more average revenue per user (ARPU) as new mobile applications and services are offered to them.

Global telecom companies are drawn to India's market estimated to grow to over 650 million subscribers by 2012 from 360 million currently as 10 million new subscribers are added each month. Africa's telecom markets are dominated by mobile phone subscribers at more than 360 million accounting for 90 percent of all subscribers, growing at around 40 percent per year.

Traction in telecom M&As
The telecom sector has been a significant driver of merger and acquisition (M&A) deals in India accounting for the highest share of deals at 18.6 percent and 22 percent during the last two years with values of $5.7 billion and $11 billion in 2008 and 2007, respectively.

"The deal will add the much needed traction to the deal flow in the country this year encouraging other companies to pursue their growth ambitions that had been stalled owing to the downturn," added Rangar.

The total number of M&A deals during the first four months of 2009 at $2 billion against $9.43 billion during the corresponding period last year illustrates the impact of the economic slowdown.

The string of investments in Indian telecom companies since last year, including, Tata Teleservices Ltd, the telecommunication services arm of India's largest private sector diversified Tata Group by NTT DoCoMo, Inc., the largest Japanese mobile telecom service provider; Unitech Telecom, the telecom arm of India's second largest real estate developer Unitech Ltd by Norwegian telecom firm Telenor ASA, world's seventh largest telecom service provider at $1.36 billion; and Swan Telecom, a start-up GSM telecom service company of a Mumbai-based real estate developer Dynamix Balwas Group by Dubai-based Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat) at $900 million.

Also, Gulf-based Bahrain Telecommunications Co's acquisition of 49 percent stake in S Tel Ltd, joint venture between Skycity Foundations and Telecom Investments (Mauritius) Ltd for $225 million; and now, South Africa's largest telecom company MTN Group's renewed attempt to enter the Indian market -- are an indication of the fact that there is ample room to enter this market, at least inorganically.

Other international telecom service providers seeking an India entry include Kuwait-based Zain Group, Qatar Telecom, Italy-based Telecom Italia SpA, among others. However, some of the global mobile telecom service providers such as Telefonica SA of Spain, French mobile telecommunication services provider, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom AG of Germany are among those missing out on the opportunity to tap a market that is projected to offer overall mobile services revenues of more than $37 billion by 2012 growing at a CAGR of 18 percent, according to estimates.

Such growth trends bring with it corresponding increase in investments as government estimates suggest that the overall telecom sector will need $73 billion over the next five years to achieve a tele-density of up to 45 percent. And, a major chunk of the investment is expected to be realized through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), particularly in the area of mobile communication.

"After the victory of Indian National Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in the General Elections, the government's pledge to revive the economy from the slowdown with more reforms, will likely see some sectoral regulatory reforms going towards attracting investments in the telecom sector, among others." added Rangar.

It becomes significant as the government has granted new licenses and spectrum to aspiring operators such as Datacom Solutions a subsidiary of one of India's leading consumer durables company Videocon Industries Ltd; and Loop Telecom, a BPL Mobile Communications group company, which are likely targets -- but within the regulatory purview of the overseas entity's stake in the domestic company not to exceed 74 percent.

BOLT mobile browser takes India by storm

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Two months after its public debut at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Bitstream Inc. today announced that BOLT, the company’s web browser for mobile phones of all types, has more active users in India than in any other country outside North America.

Today, one in six of BOLT’s active users reside in India where users have visited more than 5 million web pages and consumed more than 1 terabyte of bandwidth using the mobile browser since it debuted in February of this year.

“Seeing how popular the BOLT mobile browser is becoming in India is particularly gratifying for the team here in India which has contributed to its engineering,” said Lokesh Joshi, director of research and development at Bitstream India. “The BOLT browser has been getting good reviews and strong support from users all over the world but it’s very exciting to see such strong adoption here in India. We are impressed with the number of feature phones in India on which BOLT is installed, leading us to believe that India’s mobile population is embracing mobile applications for regular phones faster than we are seeing in the West.”

BOLT’s feature set:
* Fast, secure, desktop-style web browsing on both high-end and low-end handsets.
* Unrivalled speed -– routinely at least 25-50 percent faster than competitors.
* Streaming video capabilities.
* Split screen and full screen modes for easy navigation and viewing.
* Easily add and select favourites and view browsing history.
* Intuitive keystroke shortcuts for easier navigation and content selection.
* Protection against spyware and malicious or faulty add-ons.

People are enjoying the video streaming feature of the BOLT browser -– the only mobile browser that lets people enjoy videos on average mobile phones from popular services such as YouTube, vids.myspace.com, video.yahoo.com, blip.tv, dailymotion.com, metacafe.com and more.

BOLT usage in India
Well over 100,000 different web pages have been visited by BOLT browser users in India, resulting in over 5 million web pages served in just the last fourteen weeks.

The top five domains visited most by BOLT browser users in India include:
orkut.com
google.com
youtube.com
yahoo.com
gmail.com

The top 5 Indian-based domains visited by BOLT browser users in India are:
rediff.com
manoramaonline.com
masalatalk.com
exbii.com
santabanta.com

Nearly 300 different models of mobile phones are currently used by BOLT users in India. Unlike in North America where BOLT has become very popular among the users of smartphones such as BlackBerry smartphones from RIM, India’s BOLT users are using feature phones in far greater numbers.

The 10 most popular phones used in India are:
Nokia N73
Sony Ericsson W200
Nokia N70
Nokia 3110C
Nokia 6233
Nokia 6300
Nokia N95
Sony Ericsson K530
Motorola MOTOROKR E6
Nokia N72

You can download the BOLT mobile browser for free

Frost on MTN and Bharti Airtel Round 2

SOUTH AFRICA: MTN announced that it is exploring a potential transaction with Indian telecommunications giant Bharti Airtel. The proposed deal would see MTN acquiring 25 percent of Bharti, and Bharti acquiring effectively 49 percent of MTN’s share capital.

This is the second time that MTN and Bharti have entered into discussions. There were attempts to come to some sort of agreement last year, but the proposed transaction fell through, apparently due to disagreements about what each partner wanted to achieve.

“I think the important thing is that this time there is a clear definition of what MTN and Bharti are looking for,” says Frost & Sullivan senior ICT industry analyst Lindsey McDonald. “Last time, Bharti wanted to buy MTN, then MTN turned around and wanted to buy Bharti. What eventually led to the breakdown was that the management of MTN didn’t want to give up their ability to steer the company in the direction they think best.”

The transaction proposed today however seems to offer clearer benefits to both participants.

“It’s a partnership,” McDonald explains. “Basically what will happen is that both companies will get exposure to new revenues from areas they are not already in, without having to go there and establish new operations themselves.”

She says that, given the current economic climate, it would be difficult for MTN to launch its own operations in an entirely new market.

“MTN is trying to increase its exposure to new revenue streams without taking the risk of having to start operations in a new market,” she says. “It’s always difficult to go into a new country, install new infrastructure and come to grips with a new group of customers and a new culture. But the economic conditions are such that going into a new market now would be even more risky.”

MTN has already given a hint of its new approach this year through its partnership with Neotel.

“The company has made it clear that it is looking to ensure it maintains margins by taking an approach to the market that is more cautious than the MTN we might have known a few years ago,” McDonald says.

She believes that the two operators need to concentrate on what they have in common. Bharti is the market leader in India and MTN is a market leader in Africa.

“The good thing about this is that this partnership would see the two companies cooperating with each other,” she adds. “As there is no overlap in footprint, their operations would be complimentary.”

NTT Com to acquire Pacific Crossing

HAMILTON, BERMUDA: Pacific Crossing Ltd, the operator of the most reliable trans-Pacific undersea cable network, PC-1, announced that it had agreed to be acquired by NTT Com, the international and long distance service arm of NTT Corp.

NTT Com will acquire 100 percent of Pacific Crossing's outstanding common shares. The largest of PCL's shareholders are funds managed by Strategic Value Partners, LLC.

Pacific Crossing's PC-1 network is the second-largest trans-Pacific subsea cable system, offering route diversity, PC-1's unparalleled reliability record and the advantage of the lowest latency across the Pacific. Through the acquisition of Pacific Crossing, NTT Com will combine its premier network assets in Japan and globally with the PC-1 network to provide enhanced connectivity between the United States, Japan and Asia.

NTT Com will retain the Pacific Crossing management team, led by CEO Mark Simpson. Pacific Crossing anticipates a smooth transition, ensuring that customers continue to receive the unmatched reliability and performance of the PC-1 network. Customers of Pacific Crossing will now have access to NTT Com's global infrastructure including a domestic Japan network capable of providing seamless connectivity between the PC-1 network and major communication hubs in Tokyo and Osaka, as well as the rest of Asia.

Customers in mainland Asia will now be able to connect directly to Pacific Crossing's and NTT's combined twelve points of presence in the US, including Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and New York.

"Pacific Crossing's customers have long appreciated the performance and reliability of the PC-1 network. With the addition of PC-1 to NTT Com's premier global network, a broader base of carriers and enterprise customers will now be able to utilize our system and recently expanded service offerings, including Gigabit Ethernet," said Mark Simpson. "Because of the synergies between NTT Com and Pacific Crossing, we view the acquisition as an exciting opportunity to build upon our recent successes and to expand access to our network."

The Blackstone Group L.P. acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Pacific Crossing on the transaction, and Latham & Watkins LLP served as Pacific Crossing's legal advisor. Houlihan Lokey acted as the financial advisor to NTT Com and Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP served as NTT Com's legal advisor.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bharti Airtel renews MTN partnership efforts

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Bharti Airtel Ltd announced that it has renewed its effort for a significant partnership with MTN Group Ltd (“MTN”) and is exploring a potential transaction whereby, pursuant to a scheme of arrangement, Bharti would acquire a 49 percent shareholding in MTN and, in turn, MTN and its shareholders would acquire an approximate 36 percent economic interest in Bharti, of which 25 percent would be held by MTN with the remainder held directly by MTN shareholders. Bharti and MTN have agreed to discuss the potential transaction exclusively with one another until July 31, 2009.

The potential transaction between Bharti and MTN would create a leading telecom service provider group aligning Bharti’s market leading Indian business with MTN’s market leading African and Middle Eastern operations.

The broader strategic objective would be to achieve a full merger of MTN and Bharti as soon as it is practicable to create a leading emerging market telecom operator which today would have combined revenues of over $20 billion and a combined customer base of over 200 million.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti, said: “We are delighted at the prospect of developing a partnership with MTN to create an emerging market telecom powerhouse. Both companies would stand to gain significant benefits from sharing each other’s best practices in addition to savings emanating from enhanced scale. We see real power in the combination and we will work hard to unleash it for all our shareholders. This opportunity also represents a first of its kind in developing an Indian-African initiative that would serve as a shining example of South-South cooperation.”

The discussions contemplate that the potential transaction, which would be achieved through a scheme of arrangement, would include the following principal elements:

• MTN would acquire approximately a 25 percent post-transaction economic interest in Bharti for an effective consideration of approximately $2.9 billion in cash and newly issued shares of MTN equal to approximately 25 percent of the currently issued share capital of MTN.
• Bharti would acquire approximately 36 percent of the currently issued share capital of MTN from MTN shareholders for a consideration comprising ZAR 86.00 in cash and 0.5 newly issued Bharti shares in the form of Global Depository Receipts (GDRs) for every MTN share acquired which, in combination with MTN shares issued in part settlement of MTN’s acquisition of approximately a 25 percent post-transaction economic interest in Bharti, would take Bharti’s stake to 49 percent of the enlarged capital of MTN. Each GDR would be equivalent to one share in Bharti and would be listed on the securities exchange operated by JSE Limited, South Africa.
• Bharti would have substantial participatory and governance rights in MTN enabling it to fully consolidate the accounts of MTN.
• MTN's economic interest in Bharti would be equity accounted and would have appropriate representation on the Bharti Board.

Singapore Telecommunications, a major existing shareholder of Bharti, will continue to be a strategic partner and significant shareholder after the implementation of the potential transaction.

The potential transaction, when completed, would be expected to create value for Bharti shareholders due to, among others, synergistic benefits and further diversification of Bharti income streams into the fast growing and relatively under-penetrated African and Middle Eastern markets.

This potential transaction would combine the strengths of two leading emerging market telecom operators to create a leading telecom group serving the large populations of Asia, Middle East and Africa. The potential transaction will represent a significant development in South-South cooperation between India and South Africa. Additionally, along with Bharti’s partner, Singapore Telecommunications, and its Bridge Alliance the combined networks will cover a geography spanning Africa to Australasia.

Bharti would be the primary vehicle for both Bharti and MTN to pursue further expansion in India and Asia while MTN would be the primary vehicle for both Bharti and MTN to pursue further expansion in Africa and the Middle East.

The discussions are at an early stage and may or may not lead to any transaction. The structure and terms of the potential transaction may be adjusted to reflect further discussions between the parties and discussions with lending banks and applicable regulators. No decisions or agreement to acquire any shares or implement the transactions outlined above have been made by the Boards of either MTN or Bharti.

Standard Chartered Bank and its affiliate First Africa SA (Pty) Ltd are the financial advisers and AZB & Partners and Bowman Gilfillan are the legal advisers to Bharti.

Tata Indicom, Yahoo! India in unique partnership

BANGALORE, INDIA: Continuing to innovate and launch unique services for its subscribers in India, Tata Teleservices Ltd, the fastest-growing pan-India telecom service provider in the country, has entered into an exclusive partnership with Yahoo! India, the leading Internet company.

The strategic partnership will provide a compelling web experience and a unique user interface to all Tata Indicom customers. As part of this partnership, a co-branded Yahoo! India homepage will serve as the default across all Tata Indicom Internet access devices.

The partnership will enable Yahoo! India to reach out directly to millions of users subscribing to Tata Indicom Internet services, such as Photon Plug2Surf, Photon Plus and Photon Pro Wireline Broadband. Tata Indicom subscribers will also be able to find relevant information on services like bill payment, tariff plans, promotions, etc. on the portal.

At the same time, they will also have access to the best online content and communication services through Yahoo!’s flagship properties like Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Search, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Cricket, Yahoo! Mobile, etc. The Yahoo! India homepage already attracts around 3 million consumers every day (Source: comScore April’09).

Gopal Krishna, Vice-President and Head of Audience (Emerging Markets), Yahoo!, said: “Tata Teleservices’ fast-paced growth makes this partnership strategic and special for Yahoo! India. Providing world-class online content and services to a consumer on the go is integral to our growth. This partnership opens a brand new opportunity to deliver the best of Web content and services, anywhere and everywhere.”

Under this partnership, when a new Tata Teleservices customer logs in to the Internet using any Tata Indicom Internet access device or service, he/she will see a co-branded Yahoo! India homepage with ready access to all Yahoo! services.

“Our partnership with Yahoo! India is first of its kind in the telecom space in India. This alliance will allow Yahoo! to reach a wider audience in the Internet and digital spaces, and gain access to a captive user base to create not only a deeper connection with users, but also deliver a seamless user experience across platforms,” Lloyd Mathias, Chief Marketing Officer of Tata Teleservices said. “Tata Indicom’s Internet and data services product lines are the best in the industry and this joint initiative will open up potential avenues to extend the popularity of co-branded portals to audiences globally,” he added.

Zubin Jimmy Dubash, Assistant Vice-President (Value-Added Services), Tata Teleservices, was instrumental in putting the TTSL-Yahoo! alliance in place. He said: “Tata Indicom is leading the way in delivering Next-Gen services and creating a new benchmark for convergence and data services. Our continued customer focus and emphasis on delivering the best experience and value to users is driving a new era of true convergence with the help of internet partner like Yahoo."

Nokia India unveils Nokia 6208 Classic

BANGALORE, INDIA: Nokia India today announced the launch of its first series 40 touch-input device Nokia 6208 classic.

The stylish Nokia 6208 Classic, priced at Rs 13,259, features a sophisticated pen input along with an alphanumeric keypad and handwriting recognition features.

Sharing details of the new 6208 classic, Vineet Taneja, Marketing Director, Nokia India said: “We are extremely excited to launch the Nokia 6208 Classic truly designed for convenience. This is our first series 40 touch input aimed to give our consumers an enhanced messaging experience."

He added, “With a 3.2 megapixel camera, dual LED flash and 8x digital zoom, the Nokia 6208 classic makes capturing memories and sharing moments simple, fun and easy."

The large 2.4” QVGA touch screen combined with an innovative stylus makes messaging simpler and allows users to write in simplified English text and conveniently access the phone’s features.

The Nokia 6208 classic is made from premium materials such as the stainless steel back cover, which makes the handset both easy to use and comfortable to hold. The device features larger fonts for messaging and browsing as well as viewing pictures and web pages. The Nokia 6208 Classic also supports optional microSD cards up to 8GB, providing ample memory for images, videos, music and more.

Virgin Mobile's 24by 7 Rockathon -- 100 hours continuous music fest!

BANGALORE, INDIA: In a constant endeavour to enthuse the youth with unlimited music and masti, Virgin Mobile in collaboration with Planet M today kick started the first ever attempt at continuous 100 hours of live music performance at Planet M’s flagship store on Brigade Road.

The event titled ‘The 24x7 Rockathon’, will witness a massive congregation of approximately 50 music bands from all across the country performing live spread across 5 days. This first of its kind hatke music fest organized by Virgin Mobile will attempt to enter the Limca Book of Records for the longest ever continuous musical concert.

The event is being organized by Virgin Mobile to promote their latest offering vJazz which lets you download music absolutely free, without any charge, for one year. Virgin Mobile users do not have to pay any charges to access and download music from a library of over 1,00,000 compositions featuring a wide variety of genres. vJazz priced at Rs. 4250/- can be purchased from Planet M and during this festival customers can take advantage of the fabulous offers being given by Virgin Mobile.

Additionally, for every customer who walks into the venue, Planet M and Virgin Mobile India will donate Rs. 5 to support the hearing impaired kids of Dr. S. R. Chandrasekhar Institute of Speech & Hearing, Bangalore.

Besides, the entire 100 hours live performance will also be webcast live on www.rockathon.in –- Powered by Yahoo! India -- setting another record, as the current longest live streaming record is at a bit over 50 hours. Virgin Mobile users will be able to hear this performance live on their phones by calling in the Voice Portal on 5868656 – the third record and the first unique initiative in VAS services by a Mobile Provider.

A Time Capsule is being created; in which the audience can put in their photographs, messages or anything else that they choose, to be sealed for the next ten years. Gibson has also participated in this unique initiative by giving a Les Paul Guitar to be featured on the Time Capsule along with the names of the bands that participated and other memorabilia from this event will also be preserved inside the time capsule to commemorate the completion of this unique music fest.

The guests of honour at the kickoff of the Virgin Mobile ‘24x7 Rockathon’ concert were the children from the Dr. S. R. Chandrasekhar Institute of Speech & Hearing. Visual DJ Archana Prasad added a special dimension through her translation of the music being played through image and light for the hearing impaired children.

M.A. Madhusudan, CEO, Virgin Mobile India said: “This 100 hours continuous musical concert is an extension of the concept of our recently launched phone vJazz which allows Virgin Mobile users to access and download unlimited full-track songs from an array of up to 100,000 Bollywood, Regional and International chartbusters for free for one whole year. We want the youth to enjoy music non-stop without any limitations with Virgin Mobile. Also, with this initiative we want to help the cause of the hearing impaired and jointly with Planet M we have pledged to donate Rs. 5/- for every customer who walks into Planet M during the days of the Rockathon."

Subir Ghosh, CEO, Planet M Retail Ltd, added: “We take great pride in associating with Virgin Mobile India in launching the ‘24x7 Rockathon’ (100 Hours Continuous Music Concert) to encourage musical talent in India. The convergence of mobiles and music is certainly the way ahead in the field of music and mobile retail. Through our committed service & constant product & service innovations, we are missioned towards making affordable feel-good indulgence available to more & more youth in the country."

During the course of the concert, the audience can win Virgin Mobile’s vJazz phones and other cool merchandise for being the best air-guitarist or the coolest head-banger. Besides, all the attendees at the music fest get a chance to vote for their favourite band and out of those one lucky rock enthusiast along with a companion gets to travel to the VFestival organized annually in London (UK) by the Virgin Group.
The best performing band will be adjudged by an audience (both at venue and through www.rockathon.in) poll at the end of the 100 hours of continuous performance and the winner will get to travel to the VFestival in UK.

DJ Gopu (part of the band G2Live , plays keyboards , guitar and is a vocalist has composed music for many movies down south), Gopi (percussionist , member of G2Live , played as a drummer for AR Rehman and Adnan Sami) and Pavitra Halkatti (fashion designer) are supporting this initiative and will be present during the opening and closing ceremonies.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hunan Telecom selects Teradata Campaign Management System for event-based marketing

BEIJING, USA: Teradata Corp., the world's largest company solely focused on data warehousing and enterprise analytics, announced that Hunan Telecom, a provincial subsidiary of China Telecom, has collaborated with Teradata Professional Services to develop and pilot a customized campaign management system (CMS).

The data warehouse-driven system is used for event-based marketing (EBM), which consists of software-based rules and triggers that digitally detect, analyze and interpret customer activities, transactions, and interactions.

Hunan Telecom has 14 city-level and 93 county-level branches and is the only communications operator in the province that owns an integrated fixed-line network, mobile network, basic network, digital network and data network. The CMS system was built to address increasing market competition, reduce customer churn and increase individual customer value.

Earlier this year, Hengyang Telecom, a unit of Hunan Telecom, launched a successful pilot operation for the Teradata CMS. The system includes a variety of integrated easy-to-operate modules that include customer profiling, marketing planning, campaign execution and marketing evaluation. The Teradata database platform supports CMS with detailed data collection, event-based marketing automation and multi-channel, multi-step marketing.

With the implementation of the project, Hunan Telecom will have fully automated event-based customer list generation, allowing front-line marketers to focus more time on managing and improving marketing campaigns and less time analyzing data. Automated analysis enables marketers to immediately identify relevant products for customers and establish personalized marketing scripts for effective conversations.

Since 2005, Teradata has been helping Hunan Telecom consolidate its many data silos across the business in a move to a centralized data warehousing system shared by all users. The CMS system was completed in 2008 and successfully piloted in 2009 – providing a complete view of all customer data and producing insights that improve marketing.

“Targeting customers and timely contact are the two most crucial factors for successful precision marketing,” said Xiaoming Yang, Enterprise Information Director of Hunan Telecom. “Event-based marketing can precisely target our customers and optimize customer contact -- an efficient tool to address these challenges.”

“Different from traditional marketing approaches, event-based marketing can significantly increase the marketing success rate, as it provides the right customer with the right offer at the right time,” said Jibo Qin, general manager of Hengyang Telecom. “It realizes a truly customer-centered approach and enhances customer experience.”

Using the CMS system in the first 90 days of implementation, Hengyang Telecom’s CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) business, which had experienced serious customer churn and a sudden drop in business volume, has since reported an excellent 20 percent response rate to its newest offer -– and customer churn is decreasing.

In addition, the company’s new “My e Home” business has experienced a smooth launch as customers renew and upgrade contracts, and the response rate of its new one-time package offer has reached a remarkable 70 percent. Moreover, CMS system analytics revealed the reasons why CDMA business had experienced churn –- and have been shared with other company marketers to take into account for better customer retention strategies in the future.

“Teradata is focused on introducing information solutions that precisely meet the requirements of our customers,” said Simon Yang, Teradata vice president for Greater China. “The Teradata campaign management system for Hunan Telecom is an example of our commitment to delivering custom analytical solutions for enterprise intelligence.

The new marketing system will help Hunan Telecom optimize their customers’ experience. We also believe, with more applications deployed, that Teradata’s data warehouse will play an increasingly important role in the marketing strategies of Hunan Telecom.”

Friday, May 22, 2009

ip.access revs up coverage for Monaco Telecom

CAMBRIDGE, UK: ip.access, the multi-award winning developer of picocell and femtocell solutions, announced that Monaco Telecom will deploy its nanoBTS picocell system, to boost the operator’s mobile network capacity during the F1 Monaco Grand Prix.

The deal comes on the back of Monaco Telecom’s successful deployment of nanoBTS systems to service VIP’s, Enterprises and hotels in the principality.

ip.access will install a number of nanoBTS picocells on-site in the Monaco F1 Grand Prix press office, providing additional GSM coverage and network capacity to deal with the expected surge in mobile phone usage throughout the Grand Prix weekend. The extra capacity will result in fewer dropped calls, less network interruptions and a vastly improved quality of service for customers using Monaco Telecom’s network.

"The Grand Prix weekend will see more than 100,000 people from around the world descend on Monaco, each demanding a reliable and high quality mobile network when using their phone," said Jean-Philippe Alfonsi, Marketing Director at Monaco Telecom.

"ip.access’ picocell solution is quick and easy to install, making use of our existing on-site broadband connection to provide the most cost-effective way of temporarily boosting coverage, which will be vital as the crowds begin to arrive. We look forward to working with ip.access again to deliver excellent mobile services throughout the highlight of the 2009 F1 season," he added.

Traditionally, Monaco Telecom has deployed expensive on-site trucks at the event, which are equipped with a large base transceiver station (BTS) and take up a significant amount of the limited space at the event. The ip.access nanoBTS picocells will be installed on the office walls within the newsroom and VIP areas to free-up additional room for people to move around the site easily.

"Events like the Monaco Grand Prix result in thousands of people attempting to use their mobile phones from the same location, at a single point in time," said Dr Andy Tiller, VP marketing at ip.access.

"This stretches network capacity to the limit and often results in people suffering a poor user experience when attempting to make a call. Our nanoBTS picocells provide a simple way of dealing with this problem, providing the temporary boost in coverage required to cope with the surge in network activity," he said.

The nanoBTS picocells are a complete GSM “basestation” solution, using the standard Um interface to the handset and an Abis interface carried over IP for the backhaul. ip.access is working with Grand Prix organisers, Automobile Club de Monaco, to ensure the solution is fully installed in the press centre for the start of the event, which will run from 21–24 May, 2009.

Top 10 mobile broadband myths

LONDON, UK: Mobile broadband is a luxury in a recession… Or is it? After extensive market research, Top 10 Broadband exposes the most popular misconceptions about mobile broadband.

"With this guide we wanted to put myths surrounding excessive costs and slow speeds to bed. Mobile broadband download costs are down to an all-time low of £1 per Gb and download speeds are coming in at an average of 2.62Mb -– we think it’s time to set the record straight on mobile broadband," Says Jessica McArdle, marketing manager of Top 10 Broadband.

To find out how Top 10 Broadband busted these myths, see the guide: Mobile broadband myths.

The top 10 mobile broadband myths in the guide are about:

1. Download allowances
2. Slow speeds
3. Rip-off laptop deals
4. Long contracts
5. Expensive data charges
6. Needing a dongle to connect
7. Overseas usage charges
8. Cost efficacy of deals
9. Dongle design
10. Home usage

Top 10 Broadband is the UK's most popular dedicated broadband
comparison site. The website offers a range of comparison tools, allowing users to make quick and easy broadband buying decisions.

Empirix's Hammer Edge -- next generation testing for IP communications

BEDFORD, USA: Empirix Inc., a leader of service quality assurance solutions for new IP communications, announced the immediate availability of Hammer Edge, an intelligent, high performance realistic behavior emulation tool.

With Hammer Edge, network equipment manufacturers, service providers and large enterprises can emulate complex, unpredictable user behavior and multidimensional data traffic during the pre-deployment phase, so that products and services are
optimized for the way IP communications networks work today. Hammer Edge ensures the quality and performance of products and services, while reducing time to market, increases service revenues and improves test productivity.

“We were looking for a comprehensive, multiservice testing tool that would allow us to easily emulate realistic scenarios with limited time and resources,” said David Tipping, vice president, service providers America at Sonus Networks. “Of the solutions we tested, we found Empirix’s Hammer Edge was the best product for our needs. We were able to quickly integrate Hammer Edge into our test methodology, resulting in a more efficient and independent verification of high call rates and large numbers of concurrent calls.”

Based on patent-pending RUB/E technology, Hammer Edge is the only tool in its class that can emulate the realistic behavior of users, devices and network topology configurations; test realistic security scenarios; and predict user experience of data, video and voice applications, as an aggregate, in the pre-deployment phase.

The next generation in quality assurance, Hammer Edge gives organizations the ability to truly assure the quality of their multiservice networks and services.

“In a challenging economic climate, pre-deployment testing is critically important to ensure the successful roll-out of a new service or product. Organizations need to anticipate the realistic impact of complex, all-IP data traffic on real-time services such as voice, video and gaming,” said Bob Hockman, director of product management at Empirix. “Hammer Edge provides an integrated and intelligent solution that tests multiple scenarios typical of next generation networks, ensuring successful
deployments and the highest quality experience for end users.”

Hammer Edge emulates the realistic behavior of users and devices required to test elements at the network edge, including border controllers, firewalls and deep packet inspection devices, as well as security and application level gateways––in both secure and unsecure network topologies.

In addition, Hammer Edge predicts the users’ experience within these realistic environments. By focusing on emulating realistic sessions, Hammer Edge is able to provide L2 to L7 statistics and report errors that impact a system’s quality of service.

Hammer Edge emulates millions of users on a single chassis with high performance and realistic testing of multiservice scenarios. The system can be easily incorporated into existing test plans and automation environments. It is available immediately.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

SMSGupShup grows to 20 million users

MUMBAI, INDIA: SMSGupShup, a Twitter-like service in India, is getting a ton of buzz over here in the US, too. In an interview with CEO Beerud Sheth now says the service now has 20 million users (and that’s without an appearance on Oprah), nearly all of which are in India. That’s up from 7 million late last year.

The service can only be accessed via SMS, which works just fine for India’s 400 million mobile phone users (there are just 40 million broadband Internet users, Sheth says). Users sign up and use the service all via text messages. They never need to visit the website at all.

The service’s main variable costs are fees for text messages, and Sheth says that they’ve had to implement caps to keep costs under control. But as the service grows, says Sheth, they are able to negotiate much better pricing. Already, SMSGupShup accounts for 400 million monthly text messages, around “5-6 percent” of the total Indian market.

Three months ago the service added advertising to messages. Three months in and they’re making $150,000/month in revenue. Not bad for an SMS-based service!

QuickPlay Media powers Virgin Mobile India’s first unlimited music download service

TORONTO, CANADA: QuickPlay Media, the premier provider of solutions that manage the business of mobile video, today announced that the company is powering Virgin Mobile India’s first unlimited full-track music download service, at no charge to subscribers.

Christened “Vmusic,” the service offers a range of Western and Indian content from leading artists across brands and music labels, such as Sony BMG and Hungama.

“As India’s leading youth-focused mobile service, Virgin Mobile India has consistently set itself apart by providing an attractive range of phones to the world’s fastest growing mobile market,” said Wayne Purboo, president and CEO, QuickPlay Media. “Now, through this collaboration with QuickPlay, VMI will transform their customers’ mobile experience by providing them with access to music from some of the world’s most popular artists. By working with QuickPlay, VMI also ensures seamless expansion of its multimedia services to meet evolving customer preferences.”

Subscribers can download an unlimited amount of full music tracks and play them on the Vmusic application of their vJazz phone. As a bonus, during the first 12 months, customers will receive unlimited music downloads at no charge -– absolutely FREE.

This service will not attract any subscription, preview or content download charge. Each track will have digital rights management (DRM), managed by QuickPlay’s solution. Consumers will also have access to a catalog of all available music, which enables them to browse for songs and preview selections for up to 20 seconds before downloading.

Deval Parikh, Chief Officer, Handset, VAS & Procurement, Virgin Mobile India commented: “Vmusic is a first in the Indian Telecom industry where it was a challenge to create an integrated and compelling music offering along with pricing innovation. Putting together the Unlimited Full-Music download service at no extra charge to the subscriber for a whole year was a tall order that Virgin Mobile India has achieved. Not only that, we have built-in simplicity & ease of access to the service by adding a one-touch access mechanism on the vJazz phone as well as designed a customized user interface targeted at the Indian youth.”

Complimenting QuickPlay, Deval Parikh, Chief Officer, Handset, VAS & Procurement, Virgin Mobile India added: “We selected QuickPlay because of the company’s proven ability to provide high-quality and customer-friendly mobile media solutions. Always ahead of the curve, our growing customer base wants anytime, anywhere access to the latest music. QuickPlay has delivered an innovative and flexible solution that enables us to satisfy the current demands of our customers.”

The “Vmusic” service is exclusively available on the “vJazz” phone, which has been specially designed by Huawei to provide an optimal music experience. With Vmusic, Virgin Mobile users can now choose from a wide array of up to 100,000 Bollywood, Regional and International chartbusters and download full songs at no charge to the subscriber for one whole year.

The Virgin Mobile user can go musical and open up to this latest musical revolution. Whether it is the chance to pump it up with the latest Bollywood hit, go multi-lingual with their pick of regional collections, go spiritual with some music for the soul or shake a leg to some retro tracks. The vJazz user will have it all with vMusic that comes packed with music from all genres.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Global mobile phone sales drop 9.4pc and smartphones grew 12.7pc in Q1-09

MUMBAI, INDIA: Worldwide mobile phone sales totalled 269.1 million units in the first quarter of 2009, a 9.4 percent decrease from the first quarter of 2008, according to Gartner, Inc. Smartphone sales surpassed 36.4 million units, a 12.7 percent increase from the same period last year.

"There were some signs of a recovery in markets such as North America and China, but overall sales in the first quarter of 2009 registered the biggest quarter-on-quarter contraction since Gartner began monitoring the market on a quarterly basis in 2001," said Carolina Milanesi, research director for mobile devices at Gartner, based in Egham, UK. "This was also the first time the market contracted year over year during the first quarter, a period traditionally helped by strong seasonality in the Asia/Pacific market."

The channel intensified its efforts in the first quarter of 2009 to reduce the levels of stock it holds, as Gartner predicted in the fourth quarter of 2008. Stock reduction is intended to minimize capital investment in response to low consumer confidence.

Sales into the channel were just short of 244 million units in the first quarter of 2009, while sales to users were just over 269 million units —- a difference of 25 million units, compared with 17 million units in the fourth quarter of 2008, the biggest difference ever recorded. Gartner expects channel inventory reductions to continue into the second quarter of 2009, albeit with lower volumes.

Nokia continued to lead the mobile phone market, but its share dropped to 36.2 percent from 39.1 percent in the first quarter of 2008 (see Table 1). Samsung retained second place and improved its market share as its sales totalled 51.4 million units. After dropping to the fifth position in the fourth quarter of 2008, Motorola overtook Sony Ericsson to regain fourth place.

Table 1
Worldwide Mobile Terminal Sales to End Users in 1Q09 (Thousands of Units)Note* This table includes iDEN shipments, but excludes ODM to OEM shipments.
Note: Totals may not add to 100.0 percent due to rounding.
Source: Gartner (May 2009)


Smartphone sales represented 13.5 percent of all mobile device sales in the first quarter of 2009, compared with 11 percent in the first quarter of 2008. Gartner analysts said positive performance by Research In Motion (RIM) and Apple (see Table 2) showed that services and applications are now instrumental to smartphones’ success.

“Much of the smartphone growth during the first quarter of 2009 was driven by touchscreen products, both in midtier and high-end devices,” said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner, based in Egham, UK. “’Touch for the sake of touch’ was enough of a driver in the midtier space, but tighter integration with applications and services around music, mobile e-mail, and Internet browsing made the difference at the high end of the market.”

Table 2
Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users in 1Q09 (Thousands of Units)
Note: For HTC, Gartner counts only the company's own-branded devices including the G1.
Note Totals may not add to 100.0 percent due to rounding.
Source: Gartner (May 2009)


Symbian accounted for 49.3 percent of worldwide smartphone operating systems (OS) market share in the first quarter of 2009, down from 56.9 percent share in the first quarter of 2008. RIM’s smartphone OS market share reached 19.9 percent in the first quarter of 2009, up from 13.3 percent share in the first quarter of last year. The iPhone OS accounted for 10.8 percent of the market, up from 5.3 percent market share in the first quarter of 2008.

Vendor performance
Nokia’s worldwide sales reached 97.4 million units in the first quarter of 2009, thanks to reductions in inventory in markets such as Asia/Pacific and Latin America. This was the first time Nokia’s sales dipped below 100 million units since the first quarter of 2007. The real impact of the current market recession was on the average selling price (ASP), which saw an 18 percent drop year over year. Nokia managed to grow its sales in the smartphone segment by introducing the Nokia 5800 into more regions.

Samsung had a very successful first quarter of 2009. With sales of 51.4 million units, Samsung's market share grew 4.7 percentage points to 19.1 percent. It returned to double-digit profitability due to a good product mix. Sales of its Omnia, Tocco and Pixon handsets continued to benefit from strong consumer interest in touchscreen devices. The arrival of the Tocco Ultra Edition late in the first quarter of 2009, and the announcement of its first Android-based product, the i7500, will help Samsung in a highly competitive second half of 2009.

LG sold 26.5 million units in the first quarter of 2009, growing its market share by 1.9 percentage points year over year. The company benefited from a very strong portfolio of touchscreen, messaging and imaging devices. The new LG Arena device showcases a new user interface that demonstrates a positive focus on improving usability. However, Gartner said LG’s biggest challenge is to become competitive in the smartphone segment as services and applications become more important to customers.

Motorola continued to experience significant difficulties even in its home market, but it had a solid quarter with prepaid operators Boost Mobile and Tracfone. It expects worldwide sales of iDEN handsets to be up 50 percent in 2009 compared with 2008. These factors will help sustain Motorola until it revamps its portfolio in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Motorola has committed to Android not only to revamp its position in the second half of 2009, but also to produce long-term performance improvements. Gartner analysts question how Motorola will be able to differentiate its offering when so many players in the mobile device market will be delivering Android-based products at the same time.

Sony Ericsson lost market share compared both with the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2008, with sales of 14.5 million units. While the recession contributed to this decline, a weak product portfolio was also a factor. The product features that helped Sony Ericsson become one of the world's top vendors — imaging and music — are now too common to serve as a differentiator.

Sony Ericsson is late to catch on to the popularity of touchscreen devices and has a limited smartphone portfolio. While its focus on services through Play Now Arena is important, Sony Ericsson needs to ensure its devices include the most desirable applications and features for consumers.

“With inventory-reduction efforts expected to continue in the second quarter of 2009, although to a lesser extent than what we have seen so far, and better-than-expected figures for the first quarter of 2009, we remain confident that overall sales to users for 2009 will remain considerably higher than the sell-in that many vendors are expecting,” Ms Milanesi said. “Device vendors will focus increasingly on smartphones, improved user interfaces and services to differentiate themselves and fuel consumer demand. We maintain our view that sales to users will decrease by about 4 percent for 2009 compared with 2008, while sell-in will slow to around a 10 percent decrease.”

WiMAX broadband services to generate $15bn by 2014

HAMPSHIRE, UK: Mobile WiMAX networks are being rolled out more slowly than expected, meaning that service revenues will grow more slowly than forecast a year ago, a new study from Juniper Research concluded.

The report found that revenues from WiMAX 802.16e broadband subscribers will exceed $15 billion globally by 2014. WiMAX will provide an improved experience for broadband customers who are receiving low speed DSL or cable modem services, or at the limit of DSL coverage.

However, WiMAX is faced by spectrum auction postponements in several countries, funding problems from the credit crunch, and slow network implementations, all combining to handicap network operators signing up subscribers.

WiMAX hampered by significant hurdles
These factors -– some of which are outside the control of the WiMAX ecosystem -- are holding back the market.

Report author Howard Wilcox warned: "Whilst market leaders such as Clearwire are launching services and expanding internationally, there are also well-publicised challenges for WiMAX such as those highlighted by French regulator ARCEP. We’re on the cusp of make or break time for WiMAX."

In addition, the report determined that the WiMAX ecosystem needs to deliver by translating trials into reliable, commercial services that attract customers.
Further findings include:

• North America, Far East and China, and Western Europe together will account for 70 percent of market by 2014.
• Mobile WiMAX has role to play in providing broadband in developing countries where there is no wired network.
• Africa and the Middle East, South America, the Indian subcontinent and Eastern Europe will together be worth some $4bn by 2014.

LTE to reach 100mn subscriptions faster than any previous mobile standard

CAMBRIDGE, USA: The number of Long Term Evolution (LTE) subscriptions worldwide will grow at a CAGR of 404 percent from 2010 to 2014, a pace faster than any previous mobile standard, including 3G, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.

LTE's Five-Year Global Forecast: Poised to Grow Faster than 3G identifies the main technical and business drivers, as well as the challenges for the LTE platform, and analyzes its market opportunity in comparison with earlier mobile technologies in their first few years of commercialization.

The 19-page report provides Pyramid Research's five-year outlook on LTE adoption, highlighting the largest LTE markets, and comparing adoption rates in emerging and developed markets. It also examines the LTE-related products, demos, and announcements of six of the largest vendors worldwide, including an analysis of how they compare with one another in terms of time to market and customer wins.

For the first time, most of the major players, operators, and vendors alike, are behind the same mobile standard, notes Daniel Locke, analyst at Pyramid Research and author of the report. "By using LTE's more efficient and cost-effective flat IP architecture, mobile operators can transfer the savings to end users in the form of lower prices for access, faster data rates, and higher traffic allowances for a wider adoption of mobile data services," he says.

"To date, 27 mobile operators worldwide have publicly committed to deploying LTE, with 12 of them expected to roll out commercial services in 2010 and the remainder during 2011 and 2012," he adds.

Pyramid expects LTE to grow more rapidly than preceding mobile standards in terms of subscriptions. "While it took nearly six years for UMTS/HSPA to reach 100 million subscriptions, Pyramid predicts that LTE will take just over four years to reach the same milestone," explains Locke. "The number of LTE subscriptions worldwide will grow at a CAGR of 404 percent from 2010 to 2014 and reach 136 million by year-end 2014," he says.

"The majority of LTE subscriptions in the early stage will come in developed markets, where most of the first LTE deployments will occur -- with the US and Japan leading," Locke says. "However, LTE will grow 30 percent faster in emerging markets than developed ones; subscriptions in emerging markets will account for 43 percent of the LTE total in 2014, up from 5 percent in 2010," he adds. Fueled by vendor support of TDD-mode, growth in emerging markets will be driven largely by China with 36.1 million subscriptions in 2014.

Download an excerpt of this report here!

LTE's Five-Year Global Forecast: Poised to Grow Faster than 3G is priced at $595 and can be purchased online here: or by contacting Jeff Claudino via email at claudino@pyr.com or telephone at +1-619-229-9940.