3GSM World Congress, Cannes, France, 16th February 2005: The tenth GSM Association (GSMA) Awards winners were announced last night during a spectacular gala evening at the mobile industry's leading annual event, the 3GSM World Congress 2005.
In an opening speech, GSM Association CEO and board member Rob Conway, emphasised the economic scale and diversity of the mobile communications industry today and the benefits it delivers to people, businesses and governments throughout the world: "The mobile industry today generates in the region of $US450 billion annually and countless jobs directly and indirectly," he said.
"Mobile communications is an amazing engine for economic and social development which makes it so uniquely valuable. That engine powers growth not only in developed markets but also in emerging markets," he added.
At the Awards evening, hosted by veteran CNBC broadcaster Ron Insana, the GSMA also held a special charity auction in aid of UNICEF, offering rare and unique items from the sports, arts and entertainment fields, as part of the world's first international text message auction.
With a record number of entries, the 2005 Awards, sponsored by Intel, demonstrated the depth and breadth of the GSM industry - today serving more than 1.25 billion customers across 200 countries - with solutions and services for the individual, the enterprise, the corporate, the community and the environment.
Congratulating the winners, Conway said: "As we celebrate another year of industry achievement and growth, this year we have recognised progress in the areas of mobile messaging, entertainment & content, enterprise applications and for the first time, 3G devices.
"Also, each year in these awards, we honour those in the GSM world who are changing, enhancing and saving lives globally - with some breathtaking community services and initiatives."
3GSM World Congress, Cannes, France, 16th February 2005: Massive GSM growth in Latin America's largest mobile market - and fourth largest in the world - was recognised last night as the GSM Association Chairman's Award for Country Leadership was presented to Brazil last night, during the awards evening of the 3GSM World Congress.
Two and a half years after launching the first GSM services, Brazil boasts more than 22 million GSM subscribers today. Based on current growth, GSM will become the country's leading mobile technology by end February 2005.
"The Brazilian government that has clearly recognised the full value that mobility can unlock for its citizens, and has done so in spectacular fashion," said Craig Ehrlich, Chairman of the GSM Association.
"Brazil has benefited from the foresight of its regulator ANATEL to open up the mobile communications market to full competition - creating a fair and open competitive environment that has catalysed the GSM industry, and attracted massive inward investment to the tune of more than US$5 billion as a result," said Ehrlich.
"Since ANATEL'S decision, some 40,000 new jobs have been created in this country by GSM, making it one of the most important international roaming markets in the world."
The Deputy Minister of Communications for Brazil, Mr. Paulo de Tarso Lustosa da Costa, accepted the award on behalf of his country.
During his presentation, Craig Ehrlich underlined the GSM Association's initiative to create a new 'low cost handset market segment' that will greatly benefit customers across emerging markets of the world. He called on governments to partner with the mobile industry; "to help further reduce the barriers to providing communications for people who otherwise cannot afford to enjoy the many benefits that we take for granted."
The GSM Association Chairman's Award was established ten years ago as a public acknowledgement of outstanding contributions, either from an individual or an organization, to the development of the GSM standard worldwide. In 2004, the Award was presented to China Mobile Communications Corporation.
3GSM World Congress, Cannes, France, 15th February 2005: A new Integrated Messaging solution that builds on existing messaging services and interoperability to create an integrated user experience for SMS, MMS and mobile email will be announced by the GSM Association in Cannes. The primary objective of the initiative is to drive richer messaging formats into the mass market by making services such as MMS and mobile email as easy and intuitive to use as SMS.
Defined by a GSMA project team of operators, this solution will offer features such as a single inbox and address book for all store and forward messages; automatic selection of message type, with customer override facility; and a single message composer, making it simple to send individual, multiple and group messages.
With the mobile becoming the main point of contact, Integrated Messaging is a key enabler for the mass take up of new mobile messaging services as it delivers the benefits required to improve consumer adoption - zero user configuration, and a single easy method of sending and receiving mobile messages.
Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association and Member of its Board, said: "Sophisticated simplicity is the capability that will drive the mobile market forward. The more we can do, the easier it needs to be. Integrated Messaging will be crucial in streamlining messaging services for the subscriber."
The Integrated Messaging single message composer enables the user to concentrate on the content - not on the messaging technology, and repeats the simplicity that has characterised the massive success of SMS.
The Integrated Messaging Project team defined both the Service Requirements and the Technical Specifications, the latter designed to ensure that Integrated Messaging can be developed and adopted by mobile device manufacturers without any changes to existing technical standards.
"This is significant step forward for the industry and the mobile user," said Conway. "The simplicity of Integrated Messaging will encourage take-up of the latest messaging services, giving the user a much better experience and removing the technology barriers."
Consumer research conducted by the GSM Association shows that 85 per cent of respondents prefer the Integrated Messaging concept, 52 per cent indicating they would send more messages and 45 per cent saying they would upgrade their message type.
3GSM World Congress, Cannes, France, 14th February 2005: Net additions of more than 13.5 million users, representing an annual growth rate of more than 500%, confirmed that 3GSM took-off during 2004.
At the year-end, 60 operators in 30 countries were offering 3GSM services. The global 3GSM customer base is fast approaching 20 million today. 3GSM is now the world's most widely used broadband 3G mobile system and has already been commercially launched by operators in Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.
3GSM was conceived to build on GSM's heritage and preserve the user and operator benefits of seamless global services. It's efficiency delivers extra capacity to accommodate continuing growth in demand for voice services while its enhanced data performance creates the platform for the convergence of the mobile and internet worlds.
Inter-operability at the network level, combined with the general availability of dual-mode handsets, allows "green-field" 3GSM operators to connect into the global community of 650+ 3GSM and 3GSM operators, enhancing the international roaming services they can offer their customers, as demonstrated by the GSM Association's Japanese members.
The 13.5 million 3GSM net adds, combined with GSM's growth of more than 270 million users, helped the GSM family take 90% of global mobile growth in 2004.
Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association and Member of its Board said: "3GSM promised to add an exciting new dimension to mobile services and is now delivering against that promise. It's here, it's now and it's robust."
While operators have been deploying their networks and preparing to launch, the GSM Association has been actively building the foundations for the long term success of 3GSM.
Data roaming is now a reality, as demonstrated by the growing penetration of data cards and devices such as the Blackberry among international business travellers. GSMA's billing principles now support data and MMS roaming across GPRS, EDGE and 3GSM.
The GSMA has also led an initiative to ensure the quality and interoperability of new multimedia services by proving the technical interoperability of equipment and the practical network interconnection for SIP-based services such as instant messaging, push-to-talk-over-cellular, video telephony and multiplayer games. (See GSMA press release: GSMA Trials prove interoperability of IP Multimedia Messaging)
Integrated Messaging is a new solution for mobile users that builds on existing messaging services and interoperability to create an integrated user experience for SMS, MMS and mobile email that is intuitive and easy to use and will help drive richer messaging services into the mass market. (See GSMA press release: Mobile Industry aligns with Integrated Messaging)
The recently announced extension of GCF-testing to 3GSM terminals is another important step forward that will reduce inter-operability testing costs for operators and their vendor partners alike. It will also shorten time-to-market for new 3GSM terminals and ultimately reduce costs to users.
GCF-certification confirms that terminals have been tested to an agreed and continuously-updated suite of validated test cases based upon criteria developed by the global standards-making community.
"3GSM has now reached the critical mass required to catalyse a boom in the development of new, innovate broadband mobile data and multimedia services," says Conway. "As demand for broadband mobile data services grows, further performance enhancements based on international standards are already on the horizon, initially through HSDPA, and subsequently through HSUPA."