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July 15, 1997


Nokia to launch 'next-generation' products

In order to address the fast growing mobile telephony market in India and abroad, Nokia is planning to launch a range of third-generation products and services across the globe.

"These products, which include video phones, multimedia and networking products, would be launched a soon as the technology is available and the market is ready to absorb them," Nokia Private Limited Managing Director Hannu Karavirta told newspersons in New Delhi last week.

He said these products and applications are expected to be launched globally by 2002. "It may take a while for them to be available in India but they will be here soon after 2002. Maybe a year or two later."

According to Karavirta, India has the advantage of having selected the GSM network "as all the future products are based on GSM and so can be adapted easily by India". All over the world, the GSM phone is becoming the preferred personal phone providing a single number and point of contact. "Subscribers no longer see the need to have separate phones and different numbers for work, home and leisure. The fast growth in mobile communications has revealed the high value that people place on being able to communicate wherever, whenever," he added.

Currently over 44 million people use GSM phones with services in over 100 countries. By 2000, there will be more than 200 million GSM subscribers. In the most developed GSM markets in northern Europe, every third person has a mobile phone today, and by the turn of the century half of the population in those countries will be using a mobile phone, Karavirta said.

According to Karavirta, there is a vast potential for mobile communications in India. "We are only observing the very first stages of the GSM evolution in India. By 2000, we estimate that there will be seven million cellular subscribers. In addition to the fast growing demand for mobile services, also a substantial part of the basic telecommunications need in India will be satisfied by wireless solutions. This evolution promises enormous market opportunities for Indian mobile operators to expand their business," he added.

In the more advanced GSM markets, operators are facing a rising demand for wireless data communications, driven by applications such as electronic mail and the demand for access to the Internet and company intranets. Nokia believes that the share of data traffic in cellular networks will exceed 50 per cent in the future.

"The next stage of mobile communication will be what we refer to as personal multimedia," said Karavirta. "Voice mail will be transformed into multimedia mail, short message into electronic postcard with embedded video clips, and everyday voice calls will be complemented with real-time imagery to achieve mass mobile videotelephony."

"We can also expect to see a growing variety and forms of electronic commerce and infotainment for people of all ages. And advanced mobile Internet-based services will flourish," he said. The higher data throughput that personal multimedia requires will be achieved through interfacing the GSM core network with advanced radio carriers such as wideband CDMA (WCDMA). This solution provides optimal spectrum efficiency as well as broadband transmission rates.

Nokia recently announced its support for WCDMA and other enhanced radio carriers such as wideband TDMA (WB-TDMA) for third generation cellular network. "The many strengths that have made GSM the most successful platform in the world for personal communications services will continue to serve well as wireless grows. In fact, the key element in the progression to third generation and personal multimedia is GSM's network capability rather than any new or enhanced air interface," he added.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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