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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

MOBILE EMERGENCY SERVICES ARE BEING IMPROVED

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) released new rules to ensure emergency services will more readily be able to access location information about callers using mobile phones.

The new rules require mobile carriers to provide emergency service organisations with the most precise mobile phone location information available for emergency calls made from mobile phones, in situations where a Triple Zero (emergency hotline) caller is unable to verbally report their location.
The Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Amendment Determination 2011 (No. 1) will officially commence on 20 April 2011, giving carriers time to trial their systems before making the enhanced capability available to all emergency service organisations.
The new Determination requires mobile carriers to: • provide the most precise location information they have available on request from an emergency service organisation • resolve emergency call location queries with the highest possible priority • ensure emergency service organisations are provided with a designated contact point and telephone number for location queries, or have a dedicated process for location queries • assist an emergency service organisation to identify the relevant mobile network carrying the emergency call
The new rules were made after consultation with mobile carriers, the Emergency Call Person and emergency services organisations, and have the support of all groups as an important step in improving the delivery of mobile location information to enhance the emergency call service.
In an official statement released by ACMA, Acting Chairman Richard Bean said, “Locating callers quickly and with confidence is clearly a crucial element of the Triple Zero emergency call service.”
“The ACMA’s new rules enable emergency service organisations to access the most precise location information that is currently available on the mobile networks and also to automatically capture the benefits from any future developments in location-based services offered by the mobile carriers.”
Mobile phones now account for around 63 per cent of calls made to Triple Zero. Unlike fixed landline phones, emergency calls from mobile phones do not automatically give emergency service organisations accurate details about a caller’s whereabouts.
In addition, the ACMA is continuing to explore with industry and emergency services organisations the potential automatic provision of enhanced mobile location with every emergency call.source

New Foreign-Exchange Payment Service Gives Mobile Freedom to Business Clients with Smartphones


The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a leader in global payments, today announced the launch of a new foreign-exchange (FX) payment service that will enable small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) business clients to make payments from their smartphones.
The new mobile-friendly payment service is now available in countries where Western Union currently offers online payment and FX services through its Business Solutions division, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France and Australia.
The new mobile service is designed for busy professionals and offers an intuitive interface for customers making international business payments. The service, which offers more than 140 currencies to choose from, allows users to make payments to suppliers in global markets anywhere, anytime, and lock in a currency-exchange rate and fee before transferring funds.
“The sheer demand for innovative mobile services is evident, and our clients want to take advantage of new m-payment options,” said Raj Agrawal, General Manager, Western Union Business Solutions. “This new mobile payment service not only makes it easier to transfer funds globally to foreign suppliers and workers but also offers the ability to take advantage of foreign currencies when making international payments.”
According to an IEMR Global Mobile Payment Market Forecast report, mobile payments will reach 1 billion users and the $1 trillion transaction mark in the next five years. To take advantage of this growing market opportunity, this service will allow Western Union Business Solutions clients and partners the ability to take advantage of diverse foreign-exchange payment solutions that are flexible and easy to use.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions-branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. The Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta-branded services are offered through a combined network of 445,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In 2010, The Western Union Company completed 214 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $76 billion of principal between consumers, and 405 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.source

Dependency Increasing of Operators on VAS


By 2015, prepaid subscribers will make up 98% of Indian mobile phone users, making it harder for mobile operators, especially new players, to survive only on revenue from voice calls.
According to research group Ovum, from about 750 million now, the number of Indian mobile subscribers will grow to 1.3 billion by 2015 and nearly 98% of them would be prepaid customers — up from about 90% now.
“With mobile penetration in India above 60%, the majority of the next 500 million connections are likely to be low-value subscribers,” said Shiv Putcha, principal analyst (emerging markets) at Ovum.
Mobile penetration in the country’s major urban centres has already exceeded 100%, suggesting more than one mobile connection per person.
The dominance of prepaid customers in a market translates to lower average revenue per subscriber, lower minutes of usage and high customer churn between operators.
Such market dynamics call for telecom operators to be “focused on driving greater adoption of data and value added services (VAS),” said Ovum.
Tariffs have already reached such rock-bottom levels that incremental pricing innovation efforts are unlikely to pay off. “Any further tariff reductions will only have a minimal impact in the marketplace. New operators will have to go beyond voice tariffs and tap on improvisation in other areas like network quality, billing efficiency, and their portfolio of VAS to attract customers,” Putcha said.
“Operators need to realise that convincing low-income subscribers (from rural areas) to pay for complex services is a gradual process,” he said.
Timing will be a critical factor when it comes to introducing new VAS. Investing in introducing many new service offerings willforce operators to charge high amountsto ensure adequate returns on their investments, but pre-paid customers typically take longer to accept new offerings.
“The pace of product development is especially critical considering that prepaid subscribers generally prefer to wait to see the benefits of a service before adopting it,” Putcha said.
“New entrants have pulled down the tariff levels to new lows and to be able to run a profitable operation they must have high usage volume to compensate for lower call rates,” said Mritunjay Kapur, managing director at the Indian arm of advisory Protiviti Inc. “Failing that, they need more innovations on the VAS front, especially those that are relevant to rural subscribers.” source

25 tech firms sued for breaching 3G patents

A case started in a Delaware district court by Golden Bridge Technology lists 25 tech firms alleged to breach a number of 3G patents.

The defendants in the case are T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Amazon, Acer, Barnes & Noble, Dell, Garmin, Hewlett Packard, HTC, Exedea, Huawei, Lenovo, LG Electronics, Novatel, Option NV, Palm, Panasonic, Pantech, Research in Motion, Sharp, Sierra Wireless, Sony, Sony Ericsson, UTStarcom and ZTE.

Golden Bridge Technology (GBT) alleges these companies have all breached patents relating to standards for 3G wireless comms, including devices and base stations. The defendants, the filing says, have refused to license the patents. These patents are 6,574,267 B1, and 7,359,427. 



GBT said that it has contributed to the telecommunications standards with the patents related to 3G networks that use UMTS. Together with AT&T, it developed a wireless multimedia service using Code Division Multiple Access (GB-CDMA) and co-chared standardisation committees.

It claims that many of its developments were adopted by 3GPP “as an important and necessary part of the 3G and UMTS standards”.  All of the defendants, in one way or another, use GBT’s technology, it alleges. GBT is seeking damages from each of the defendants’ alleged past and present infringement. In addition, it wants treble damages against T-Mobile, HTC, LG, Palm, RIM and Sony Ericsson, and lawyers’ costs. source

New Silk Route's Ascend Telecom, India Telecom Infra Merge


Action in telecom tower consolidation continues. Private equity major New Silk Route-controlled Ascend Telecom Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. (formerly Aster Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd.) and India Telecom Infra Ltd. have agreed to merge their telecom tower businesses. The combination will create and independent tower company with approximately 4,000 towers, and an average tenancy ratio of over
1.6x, said a statement.
Ascend got its first round of investment from New Silk Route in July 2007.  India Telecom Infra is jointly owned by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) and TVS Interconnect Systems, a
part of the TVS Group. Ascend and  India Telecom Infra's customers will include mobile operators including Idea Cellular, BSNL, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices, Aircel, amongst others. The companies will be proceeding to file a scheme of amalgamation with the Honorable High Courts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to merge ITIL into Ascend after receiving approvals from all their stakeholders.
"Over the last decade, voice telephony in India has grown at a phenomenal pace and we are now at the cusp of another revolution in data usage with tablets, net books and smart phones as the key
enablers. We believe that telecom infrastructure will be the backbone of this growth and are excited to partner with IL&FS and the TVS Group to capitalize on this opportunity,” said  Parag Saxena, Founding
General Partner and CEO of New Silk Route. “The merger of ITIL and Ascend is extremely synergistic and provides
all the stakeholders of both companies’ enormous benefits in terms of an enlarged management team, increased scale, a pan-India footprint, and significant operational efficiencies,” said R Haresh, Chairman of TVSICS.
While there have been several consolidation moves by the larger telecom tower players, the deal between Ascend-India Telecom Infra will be the first instance of smaller players merging to compete in
the market. Earlier reports have said owners of both Ascend and TVS Interconnect tried to sell the firms.
"Telecom tower companies with a relatively large portfolio of towers offer certain clear advantages to telcos, including rapid rollout over a large area, and tenancy driven discounts. Further, large tower
companies can access capital markets better to fund growth. These advantages make it somewhat difficult for the smaller tower companies to grow, thereby paving the path for consolidation in the industry,"
said a recent report on the industry by credit rating agency ICRA, adding that it expects consolidation to continue, with the smaller players either getting acquired or merging with one another to stay
competitive.
Some of the large ticket deals in the telecom tower space include GTL-Aircel and Tata-Quipo, few firms have also scaled by buyingsmaller Indian players. Nasdaq-listed American Tower had acquired
smaller players like Xcel Telecom and Transcend Infrastructure before going ahead with a relatively bigger acquisition of Essar Telecom Infrastructure.source

The Smartphone Wave

Smartphones are no longer a "niche" for the wireless industry - they are its future.  This analysis is a discussion of some of the drivers and overall impact these tiny computers will have on the industry landscape.



There is little doubt that smart phones have buoyed the wireless industry, and in some cases have created even rosy expectations for the future of some companies amidst a bleak macroeconomic climate.
Like any other significant evolutionary layer, however, the industry has been able to get somewhat of a "free ride" from the overwhelmingly profitable economics that typically surround selling to early adopters. Over the past several years the focus for the smart phone market has been the phones themselves, and unless you've lived under a rock, iPhone has blasted its way into becoming the poster child. Integrated hardware, OS and carrier connectivity along with native apps and seamless integration to backend servers provided, for the first time, a smart phone wherein the smart part was in the phone and did not require user to also possess the same prowess. Voice has been regulated to just another broadband app (Google Voice, Vonage) on the tiny handheld computers.

Viable, but less popular devices like BlackBerry, Palm, Symbian and Windows OS.X all failed to deliver the integrated wireless, computer and mobile-based experience that iPhone was the first to create. Now, with the advent of Android and a formidable list of device manufacturers that have stepped up to the plate to take advantage of Google's robust, user-friendly and economically symbiotic operating system, the focus for smartphones has shifted decidedly towards applications, developer communities, network backhaul speed and capacity - overall a tightly integrated echo system that allows subscribers to spend their time using their mobile device rather than being frustrated and with an endless stream of set-up, patched and error messages.
Concurrent with the smart phone explosion most carriers have an absolute need to deploy 4G services, along with its inherently more robust backhaul capabilities. Switching to 4G is both a requisite and challenge for carriers in that the costs involved are both broad and deep. Additional cell sites, base stations, new handsets for subscribers (which require significant purchase subsidies) all blend together to create a complex and long-term investment proposition. At the same time, average revenue per user (ARPU) must and will continue to drop as smart phones continue to rack up deeper penetration rates.
The ROI curve for smart phones will not be unlike that of the original cellular business of the early 80s when the average monthly bill exceeded $100 per month for just voice service. As more and more people used cellular phones the price for voice alone has now dropped to the mid-$30 range. Increasingly spectrum-efficient technologies, enhanced economies of scale for manufacturers and double-digit growth of smart phone users will all combine to create compelling business economics for the industry players that are correctly positioned in this new model. Those that cling to the old model, characterized by rapidly declining traditional revenues will have a difficult task at survival.source

T-Mobile Finally Removes Sidekick Service

RIP, Sidekick. T-Mobile's once-beloved e-mail phone will finally die on May 31, when T-Mobile and Microsoft pull the plug on the specialized data service that delivers Web pages, e-mails, and apps to the Sidekick line.

"It was a joint decision reached by Microsoft and T-Mobile," T-Mobile spokesman Tom Harlin said. "We think it's a natural order for products to be replaced by newer technology, and we've announced there will be a 4G-enabled, Android-powered Sidekick."

But here's the catch: Harlin refused to commit to releasing the new Sidekick before May 31, saying only that "in terms of the next Sidekick, we'll have more information in the coming weeks."

Originally known as the Danger Hiptop, the T-Mobile Sidekick was a huge breakthrough for affordable, easy-to-use messaging phones when it first came out in 2002. Seven more models came out through 2009, and the Sidekick built a reputation as a popular messaging solution for young people with prepaid accounts. T-Mobile stopped selling the Sidekick last July.
In 2008, Sidekick maker Danger was bought by Microsoft. The combined company then brought out the Microsoft KIN, which was widely considered a failure after Verizon required an expensive data plan to make up for the fact that the KIN frequently uploaded huge photos to the Internet. Few KINs sold; then the KIN's special data service was cut off and Verizon now sells the device as a texting phone.

Sidekick users have been some of T-Mobile's most faithful, and company CEO Phillip Humm has said T-Mobile has problems with "churn," or existing customers leaving the service. So how will T-Mobile keep Sidekick users from jumping ship?

"We're trying to be very transparent and really proactive," Harlin said. "We're providing offers for these customers, providing options for them to easily move their data and help get them right-fitted for whatever products they seem to like in our lineup."

T-Mobile currently offers a tool on tmobile.com for Sidekick users to download or sync their personal data and photos onto their own computers or over to other Web-based services. An application is also available in the Sidekick Catalog to make it easy to export personal data to the Sidekick's memory card, the carrier says.

D-Link Continues To Empower Customers With 3G and 4G Innovation at Mobile World Congress 2011

To reinforce its continued commitment to both retail and mobile broadband operators, D-Link showcased its new range of  innovative 3G and 4G products at Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona. This marks the latest leap forward in D-Link's mobility strategy as they continue to broaden their 3G offering and furthermore launch their 4G portfolio.


Harrison Albert, Regional Sales Director at D-Link Middle East & Africa said: "
D-Link
recognizes the challenges facing operators who need to provide value-added services to their subscribers, at the same time as reducing operating costs, planning their 4G roadmap and creating new revenue opportunities. D-Link has furthermore continued to
listen to its customers and from their feedback understands that the need to be constantly connected is becoming essential. Our solutions are developed with flexibility in mind, providing reliable mobile connectivity, practical portability and easy access to the Internet anywhere, at any time. We are increasingly aware of the data demand placed on mobile networks, so we have also created products which enable users to share their 3G mobile connection with other people, or even offload altogether onto a nearby Wi-Fi network."

The maturing 3G market and explosive growth in mobile broadband has been driving demand among consumers and businesses for products which enable them to have ubiquitous Internet access. According to predictions from the UMTS Forum* (January 2011), one billion consumer devices are expected to be connected to the mobile Internet by 2016, and demand for connectivity will outstrip overall growth in the wireless market. Fuelled by this upward trend, mobile data growth has reached the point where a number of operators have recently announced the end of unlimited data tariffs, which will only continue to drive demand for innovative, portable and user-friendly products.


"Ultimately, the ongoing 3G and 4G evolution demands constant innovation from manufacturers to ensure that operators and channel partners can adapt and meet subscriber needs. D-Link is strategically well-positioned to provide industry-leading mobile
solutions to the market as it continues to evolve" states Harrison Albert.source

For Episodes Now Coming The Era Mobisodes and Webisodes

Next time your flight is delayed and you are stuck at the airport - Watch a serial on your mobile phone or listen to your favourite TV show that you missed while travelling. Surprised!! Well, such an era is here already.

Times are changing and so is the way of life in India. Heavy traffic in cities and towns has increased daily commuting hours for Indians. Also, we have been flying more frequently for business as well as leisure. This means that we have to spend considerable time waiting at the airports before boarding our flights. Media companies like Balaji Telefilms foresee an opportunity here. Last year, they had started with a series of mobisodes (mobile episodes) and websisodes (web episodes) for mobile and internet viewers. Some of their well received shows are "Bol Niti Bol"; "Ramayan Stories" and "Pyar ki Baatein". The company also introduced Lord Ganesha stories and aartis especially for iPhones. These have been recorded by professional artistes and Bollywood singers.

Television

Balaji is not the only company to hop onto the new media bandwagon. Last week Star Plus declared that it will now be available to its viewers across all media platforms. Star TV viewers can now listen to their favourite shows by simply dialing a number. One can also listen to old movies on phones, a concept that Star has termed as "audio cinema". Zee's joint venture with a Los Angeles based leading digital media Company is a step to get into the mobile and web entertainment space.

Movies

Our movie industry is not far behind in this new media race. In fact, Rajshri Group had released their movie "Vivah" online at the same time when it was released in cinemas all over. Dabang, the Salman Khan starrer, became the first Indian movie to be released on You Tube. Bollywood is also planning for edited shorter versions of movies for people who do not wish to spend 3 hours at a cinema.

Radio

Radio Mirchi of ENIL (Entertainment Network India Limited) has partnered with Reliance Communications, BSNL and Bharti Airtel for Mirchi Mobile. Under this, the listeners can tune in to special content created by Radio Mirchi for different regions. This is aimed at migrant population who can now listen to radio station of their home town in their native language.

VAS

India has 500 m mobile users and is now the second largest mobile entertainment market after China. With the introduction of 3G services, the mobile VAS (Value Added Services) market will expand and will mainly consist of teenagers and professionals with high disposable incomes. The media companies are very optimistic about this new market's potential and are making products and services aimed at the youth.

The advertising revenue share of new media has been constantly on the rise and this segment grew by nearly 25% last year. India's base of 81 m internet users is the fourth largest in the world. With increased use of mobile internet, this number is likely to grow nearly fivefold by 2015. Also, there will be a huge segment of mobile internet users.

However, there are certain concerns that need to be addressed

Internet penetration will involve infrastructure development which is a major problem in India. India is a diversified country and creating content for such a population will not be an easy task. Mobile networks will have to get better for mobile VAS to be successful. The consumers will have to pay a price to avail of services on new media platforms. Traditionally, Indians are not willing to spend for services that are otherwise freely available through other means.

The new media initiatives are not expensive propositions. The media companies may benefit out of these if they chose the right medium for the right target audience. Intelligent use of new media along with traditional media platforms will help the companies in getting distinct advantage over each other. A lot of experiments wait to happen in new media and the challenge for media companies is to decide which one will boost their earnings and build their brand value. Ultimately, the viewer will decide what works and what does not- Customer is King.source