News Release

mmO2 Leads Mobile Market With Variable Charging With Cisco's Mobile Exchange Platform

European Mobile Operator Introduces Key Billing Concept for Data Services, Using Content Services Gateway Technology from Cisco Systems
Feb 23, 2004

LONDON, United Kingdom February 23, 2004 - mmO2, a leading European mobile operator with operations in Germany, Ireland and the UK, is to notch up an industry first with the introduction of a data services billing concept based on content rather than call duration or bandwidth use. The service, dubbed 'Variable Charging, Routing and Rating' (VCRR), uses the Cisco Mobile Exchange platform and will allow users to be charged in accordance with the value of the products and services they use rather than the basic per-minute or per-bit basis, giving mmO2's customers a far more detailed and streamlined billing experience than previously.

VCRR was developed in response to the growing need for an intelligent approach to mobile data services billing. The issue of how to charge for data transfer has become an acute problem for the mobile industry since the introduction of multi-media messaging services (MMS) and particularly as operators move from General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) to third-generation wireless (3G) networks. In these increasingly data-centric environments it is becoming more and more important to be able to distinguish what kind of content a user is accessing and to bill them accordingly - so that, for example, MMS messages are billed on a per-message basis while wireless application protocol (WAP) pages are charged on a bandwidth basis, even though WAP is the underlying protocol for both.

Anders Wasterlid, VP Data Products , mmO2, said: "This new variable charging capability will enable us to charge customers for products and services in an intuitive and efficient manner. As products and services evolve, and as we move from GPRS towards 3G networks, we expect charging to vary depending on the service. Some services will be charged by 'data volume'; others will be charged 'per event'; others will be based on 'time'. The new variable charging solution is highly flexible and can support all of these charging schemes. It is an important component in securing mmO2's continued leadership in mobile data services, and Cisco won the business thanks to its understanding of the IP market and the capability of the Cisco Mobile Exchange, its resilient architecture and its scalability."

VCRR is being implemented across the mmO2 group, initially being rolled out in Ireland in the second quarter of 2004, to be followed by the UK in the following months. The system analyses content types using Cisco's Content Services Gateway software, part of the Cisco Mobile Exchange architecture, which is integrated in a Cisco 7600 Series Router chassis. Information on content is fed into a billing system from Redknee.

Massimo Migliuolo, Vice President of Mobile Sales Worldwide, Cisco Systems Inc. said: "Intelligent, value-based billing is the key for mobile operators anxious to capitalise on the data service potential of GPRS and 3G networks. Their problem is how to distinguish between different types of content being accessed across the network - but mmO2's implementation of CMX demonstrates that Cisco technology can solve this critical issue, right now. Cisco looks forward to collaborating with O2 in the ongoing development of the solution."