February 14, 2008

Transcoding issues introduced by Novarra

Written by Jon Arne Sæterås.Filed under Blog | Be the First to Comment

It is not long ago the riot against Vodafone UK regarding their launch of Novarra in their network. Now TelaSonera in Sweden has launched the same service for their customers.

This is how the Novarra is presented on Telia Surfport.

On Telia Surfport the SurfOpen service is initiated.

The purpose of Novarra is to transcode web portals made for dekstop devices to readable chunks of information on mobile devices. A good thought of course, and will probably result in more use of the mobile web and more data traffic. Especially since the “pre entered www. curse” is common on the mobile internet. In addition to transcoding, Novarra also places some navigational links and an advertising banner at the top of the page. This is true both for desktop web portals and mobile optimized web portals. According to TeliaSonera, the transcoding of mobile optimized portals is not equally aggressive as for desktop portals. The transcoding affects issues such as editorial control and freedom, device adaptation, security and business models. TeliaSonera has promised to contact us to broaden our understanding of how these issues are attended to.

What it looks like

Below are some pictures of how SurfOpen behaves on the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter tested with a SonyEricson P990.

The desktop web site (www.dn.se) transcoded through the Novarra gateway. All above the DN.se logo is SurfOpen.

This is how the mobile portal (mobil.dn.se) looks like when the presentation is optimised for the requesting device (in this case a SonyEriscsson P990).

This is how the mobile portal (mobil.dn.se) transcoded through SurfOpen/Novarra. All above the mobil.dn.se logo is the work of SurfOpen.

This is how the footer on the mobile portal (mobil.dn.se) looks like through SurfOpen/Novarra.

The http header from a Novarra gateway.

Below is an example of a header request from the Novarra gateway.

user-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/20060909 Firefox/ Novarra-Vision/6.9
accept: text/html;q=1.0, text/css; q=1.0, application/x-javascript; q=1.0, text/plain;q=0.8, application/xhtml+xml;q=0.6, application/x-httpd-php;q=0.1, */*;q=0, image/gif; q=1.0, image/jpeg; q=1.0, image/png; q=1.0
accept-charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
accept-language: sv,en;q=0.9accept-encoding: identity;q=1.0, gzip;q=0.1, *;q=0
x-novarra-device-type: 0
x-device-accept: text/html, application/xml; q=0.90, application/xhtml+xml, multipart/mixed, image/png, image/jpeg, image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, */*; q=0.10
x-device-accept-charset: *
cookie: JSESSIONID=819895CB407417A2D11998C886A782D5; frame_unique=819895CB407417A2D11998C886A782D5
x-device-user-agent: SonyEricssonP990i/R100 Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Symbian OS; 513) Opera 8.65 [sv]
x-mobile-gateway: Novarra-Vision/6.9 (TELIASONERA; Server-Only)
x-wap-profile: “http://wap.sonyericsson.com/UAProf/P990iR100.xml”, “1-ZmJoNwmHPSZaqJlar2ufOA==”, “2-XnrTOLDzBJdZHN2vSasoNA==”, “3-PmmzhCT0/fx0ZmeXGvbhYQ==”
x-wap-profile-diff: 1; < ?xml version="1.0"?> text/htmlapplication/xml; q=0.90application/xhtml+xmlmultipart/mixedimage/pngimage/jpegimage/gifimage/x-xbitmap*/*; q=0.10
via: 1.1e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it :3128 (squid/2.6.STABLE14-20070821)
cache-control: max-age=259200
max-forwards: 10
x-forwarded-host: mcf.mobiletech.no
x-forwarded-server: mcf.mobiletech.no

If you would like to know more about this issue and how your mobile service is affected by transcoding proxies, please contact us.



The Swedish media companies do not agree with TeliaSoneras approach. All requests to their desktop web pages from the SurfOpen/Novarra gateway are now redirected to http://surfclosed.se.

Media coverage:

TeliaSonera responds to the criticism (Swedish).


We are experiencing a constructive dialogue with TeliaSonera.


TeliaSonera has now removed SurfOpen from the portal.

About the Author Jon Arne Sæterås

Product Director

Other posts written by Jon Arne Sæterås (40 posts)


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