The press release isn't yet up on their website (it has been emailed out), but Private Mobile Networks (aka Teleware) is the first - I believe - fully commercial service to launch, based around Ofcom's low-power UK spectrum auctioned off this May.
"Thirsk, North Yorkshire – 24th October 2006 – Private Mobile Networks Ltd, the UK provider of private GSM network technology, today announced the launch of PMN SIM cards. Utilising the spectrum allocated by Ofcom in May 2006, this solution provides an industry first enabling business users on a private mobile network to move, seamlessly, between the private and public GSM networks without having to make any changes to their mobile phone. "
I'm dashing around today so can't do a full write-up - but suffice to say I was pre-briefed on this and it seems to make an awful lot of sense at first sight. Basically, it should enable enterprises to act "as their own MVNO", providing employees with pseudo-private GSM networks for use while on-campus, hooked up to their landline private/VPN networks to make free "on net" calls between sites. No WiFi dual-mode phones needed, just a new SIM card.
The system also integrates mobile phones with existing PBXs and enterprise fixed-telephony applications. This much more sensible for most companies than the ridiculous "oh, you can host it all on our mobile centrex platform, just put your PBX in a skip" approach advocated by the cellular-only folk, who are scared of boxes marked Cisco, Avaya or Nortel, and who run around gibbering at the phrase "call centre".
Right, so of the other licencees, who's up next? Carphone Warehouse aka Opal aka Martin W-H has been very quiet of late.... surely BT & Colt will pull something out of the bag? Or maybe Pipex fancies using the (actually technology-neutral, not GSM-specific) spectrum to do something to improve the performance of indoor WiMAX.....