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August 03, 2006

Vodafone Launches Fixed/Mobile Solution in Italy



By Erik Linask
Group Managing Editor


Vodafone Italy has extended its HomeZone project to the Italian market, where it has launched “Vodafone Casa,” its Italian version of its fixed/mobile calling solution. With it, subscribers can use their mobile handsets not only in the traditional (mobile) sense, but also as a home phone. Vodafone has deployed Lucent Technologies’ intelligent network solution to enable its new services.

‘Vodaphone Casa’ will offer subscribers the opportunity to pay only one monthly phone bill (i.e., discontinue use of their landline phones), cutting monthly costs substantially. Instead, customers will continue to pay for cell phone usage in most areas. But, in their self-defined ‘home zone,’ will pay lower rates, essentially landline rates. While subscribing to ‘Vodafone Casa’ will slightly increase monthly rates, consumers will still pay less overall for their monthly telephony service. They will also have the added benefit of being having a single number and a single handset for both home and mobile use.

“‘Vodafone Casa’ is our way to respond swiftly to the competitive market through simple and innovative propositions to the customer. The new voice offer will allow Vodafone to play in the fixed operator playground while maintaining the convenience for our customers of a unique handset and number,” said Didier Lebrat, chief technology officer at Vodafone Italy.

The ‘Vodafone Casa’ service, which is meant to replace fixed line telephone service for customers, uses Lucent’s SurePay Real-Time Rating and Charging Suite, which enables a carrier to determine where a call is originated. A subscriber defines his HomeZone area, then benefits from a lower rate when originating calls from that home area.

The SurePay suite offers a state of the art and highly scalable, converged pre-paid and post-paid billing solution that provides support for a wide variety of voice, data, content charging and e-commerce services. With it, Vodafone can easily provision all its services on a single system. The Lucent solution also features real-time rating and call control capabilities, simplifying call tracking and spending regulation.

Lucent’s SurePay suite has been previously deployed in commercial networks worldwide to a base of more than 135 million subscribers. The solution provides a single real-time rating engine for both pre- and postpaid customers. Lucent also supports data and content charging via Diameter, the online charging interface specified by 3GPP standardization body for the IP Multimedia Subsystem (News - Alert) (IMS) service delivery architecture.

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Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY. Most recently, he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit Erik Linask’s columnist page.

 

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