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GSMA Delivers Industry First in Carrier ENUM Initiative

The GSM Association (GSMA), the global trade association for the mobile industry, and NeuStar, a provider of clearinghouse and directory services to the global communications and Internet industry, today announced the successful completion of the pilot of their Carrier ENUM service. The service, recently branded PathFinder™, is now generally available to mobile and fixed network operators, carriers and related service providers.

Supported by Bharti, Lleida.net, mobilkom austria, SMART, Telekom Austria, Telecom Italia and Telenor, the PathFinder service pilot achieved an industry first by successfully exchanging international packet voice and MMS traffic enabled via a global, fully-interoperable deployment of Carrier ENUM, validating ENUM as an effective solution to IP-based routing and interconnection. The service automatically translates a phone number into an IP-based address, making it simple and transparent for users to initiate a wide range of IP-based communications via their existing phone numbers and handset address books.

"We found this trial tremendously useful in familiarizing ourselves with the practicalities involved in using ENUM. Cooperation between operators is crucial in establishing how to make the telephone number a universal means to link up with IP-based applications. A simple, standardized process will benefit everyone," said Napoleon L. Nazareno, President and CEO of Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART) and GSMA board member.

By providing mobile and fixed-line operators with a single routing mechanism, PathFinder simplifies and reduces the cost of delivery of a wide range of IP-based services to end-users. It will serve as a central 'directory' for all operators, and enables them to rapidly launch new IP services including packet voice, Instant Messaging (IM), MMS, email, and video, by facilitating the linking of an IP address to a phone number for mobile devices, fixed-line phones and IP devices.

"The successful testing of ENUM on Telekom Austria's next generation environment demonstrates yet again that the infrastructure is ready for commercial customer pilots. With the ongoing improvement in capabilities of our global GRX/IPX platform, recently enhanced by the Carrier ENUM functionality, we are able to provide best-in-class interworking solutions for mobile network operators," commented Boris Nemsic, CEO of Telekom Austria Group and GSMA board member.

Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer of the GSMA added: "PathFinder will accelerate the rollout of innovative IP-based services that will be the key to ensuring profitability in tomorrow's industry. PathFinder provides a one-stop solution for operators to overcome the complexity of delivering IP-based services to communications devices. Furthermore, it helps mobile operators to cut costs and leverage their greatest asset: subscriber phone numbers."

GSMA and NeuStar also announced that Acme Packet and iXLink, a business unit of Telarix, have become the first vendors to successfully complete the PathFinder vendor certification programme, launched as part of the GSMA Industry Partner Programme earlier this year. The Partner Programme initiative is designed to foster working relationships with companies offering products and services complimentary to the PathFinder service, and provides certification of technology vendors, ensuring that PathFinder interoperability testing is available industry-wide.

Further Operator Support for PathFinder

"Bharti Airtel's participation in the carrier ENUM pilot programme paves the way for leveraging Carrier ENUM to create a collaborative ecosystem to route voice and data freely amongst operators. The GSMA PathFinder service will enable a far richer variety of applications and establish the telephone number as a universal means to link up IP-based applications on different networks globally," said Dr Jai Menon, Director, Technology & Customer Service, Bharti Airtel and Group CIO, Bharti Enterprises.

Sisco Sapena, Executive Director at Lleida.net, added: "This new service enables, for the first time, real convergence of services on a worldwide level. The GSMA Pathfinder Service minimizes the existing national barriers to real number portability. With this service, query methods will be much faster and more efficient, providing a better service for everyone."

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