Home > Idea Cellular, Indian telecom, JMCC, Kodiak Networks, PTT, PTT-over-cellular, PTT/PoC, push-to-talk, Tata Teleservices > Kodiak brings PTT conferencing, group SMS to India

Kodiak brings PTT conferencing, group SMS to India

December 16, 2007

US-based Kodiak Networks is in the business of voice-based VAS for mobile networks. It has a large presence in Bangalore ~200 full-time employees, with a total global workforce of 260. All R&D, testing and customer support are handled out of India.

Kodiak’s worldwide growth and application adoption puts a spotlight on this region for innovation and business success. The demand for wireless voice services continues to grow globally, but especially in this region.

According to Dr. Giridhar Boray, Country Manager – India, Kodiak Networks, three major operators have deployed the Kodiak Connected Portfolio [Idea, Airtel and Tata], and that Kodiak will continue to announce new applications geared toward business users and consumers.

He said that operators faced a common trend worldwide — increasing subscriber growth and declining revenues. Hence, the operators are now looking at VAS. Push-to-talk (PTT), as a solution, is becoming popular in the USA. An example is Nextel, which grew out of Fleetcall, has evolved into cellular.

Dr. Boray said: “Initially, all operators were waiting for 3G, but they could not wait. They wanted PTT in 2G, with migration into 3G.” Delving into history, he pointed out that AllTell, a CDMA operator and Kodiak’s first customer, agreed to trial PTT product in 2002. Kodiak’s customer base has swelled to 16 globally, since!

Dr Boray said: “In PTT, you need to have a dedicated button and a speaker. Our solution goes into the voice channel.” He explained that for 2G PTT, the industry adopted two approaches — PTT on the voice channel or PTT on the data channel.

Some of Kodiak’s competitors reportedly introduced PTT on data channel. India’s Tata Teleservices was the first to use PTT, but the service was discontinued after some time. Dr. Boray also added that for using PTT, the US government mandates that any service that is put on to the network can be legally intercepted or tapped as a matter of national security.

Kodiak’s next big customer was AT&T Wireless, which tested its PTT solutions. A lot of its customers in the US are regional operators, who have roaming agreements with the bigger operators, which also helped Kodiak.

AT&T Wireless was also able to drive handset vendors to use PTT via Kodiak’s solutions. “Right now, 45+ handset models carry our solutions,” added Dr. Boray. “These include Blackberry, LG, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, ZTE, etc.”

Conferencing, group SMS trials in India
India hosts Kodiak’s development center. He mentioned TRAI’s statement on PTT that, PTT is legal as operators are able to meet the ADC requirements, plus all regulatory requirements related to voice, such as lawful interception. “They did not say that PTT on data channel was incorrect. To do that, you would need to first build the infrastructure,” he added. Kodiak’s solutions work on both GSM and CDMA standards.

Kodiak has now evolved PTT into two-way conferencing. As an example, on the Airtel Blackberry, users can select up to six people and do conferencing. Dr. Boray said: “We also have the application on the SIM card as AVS (advanced voice services). From our side, you can conference with up to 30 users, but operators generally allow the selection of up to five to six users from your contacts list.”

Kodiak will be offering conferencing as well as group SMS with Airtel. “Only one SMS goes to the server, which distributes it,” he said. “Group SMS, conferencing, etc., should be helpful during emergencies.”

Touching on Kodiak’s partnership with Airtel, Dr. Boray said: “Airtel started over six months back as a market trial. It is offering the services to some corporates, but only on postpaid. We will be extending it over prepaid as well over the next few months.” As for the charges, he said that the customers would probably get deducted as per the existing and applicable NLD and ILD call charges.

Kodiak is also trialing the service with Idea in New Delhi. The next trial is with Tata Teleservices over BREW-enabled handsets. Kodiak offers applications for BREW.

Dr. Boray added: “We also want to enter into the prepaid coverage. Prepaid is widely used in enterprises as well.” Besides these three — Airtel, Idea and Tata — Kodiak is in discussions with some other operators as well. Kodiak also offers voice SMS, which it is not pushing hard enough for the moment. Kodiak’s India chief said that the enterprises may find value in this application.

PTT rollout with JMCC in China in Q1-08
Kodiak has also announced the first commercial PTT deployment in China for China Mobile’s Jiangsu Mobile Communications Co. (JMCC). Its target are corporate users with an emphasis on transportation, municipalities, and retail segments. The PTT subscribers will be billed a monthly service charge (bundled service offering).

The initial launch will include Nokia Symbian GSM handsets. According to Dr. Boray, the roll-out is scheduled for Q1-2008. “JMCC is a big operator. This win will also help us get into the other provinces of China as well,” he added.

The Kodiak PTT voice-based solution provides superior mobile coverage compared to previously trialed data/GPRS solutions. It is the only solution with QoS resulting in best-in-class reliability and speed for JMCC customers. Also, Kodiak PTT provides users with a convenient alternative to trunked radio (one handset provides function of both a radio and a mobile phone).

Some of Kodiak PTT’s unique features include: real-time presence and availability indicators; quick group calling up to 10 group members; convert to cellular (upgrade a one-way PTT call to a two-way cellular call); PTT/GSM call waiting; permission-based contact management; and contact alerts.

Dr. Boray added: “Lot of IM features are also making their way into PTT. Our focus is on group communications.”

Continued growth in 2008
To add to Kodiak’s PTT success in 2008, eight new PTT handsets are likely to be announced in the first half of the year. Significant PTT customers in three regions are likely to be announced as well. Finally, 2008 will also see two Open OS, downloadable PTT client versions announcements with commercial customers.

Research firm In-Stat believes that the number of PTT global subscribers will grow to 67.8 million by the end of 2009. PTT/PoC has an opportunity to reach non-traditional business and consumer (especially youth) markets. One-third of In-Stat respondents would consider switching carriers in order to be able to use PTT/PoC.

According to a Wintergreen Research report from September 2007, there were 45.6mn PTT subscribers in 2006 and 64mn in mid 2007. This is likely to reach 340mn by 2013. The PTT subscriber revenue of $1.2bn in 2006 is also likely to reach $16.7 billion in 2013.

Multi-generation platform support
Kodiak’s solutions are built on the Kodiak RTX platform, which will support the converged IMS network architecture with a software upgrade.

Kodiak RTX is a multi-generation platform that spans 2G and 3G network technologies, and extends services to social networks and IM communities. Kodiak IMS applications also leverage the Kodiak IMS Client framework.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: