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Nokia GPRS Rollout is on Schedule

Nokia Mobile Phones Tuesday said its GPRS release plan is on schedule and that it plans to release GPRS-enabled units of the Nokia 8310 in September.

"Our 3G product programs are proceeding very well," said Matti Alahuhta, president of Nokia Mobile Phones. "A couple of weeks ago we completed the world's first 3GPP Release 99 December 00 version standard compliant end-to-end WCDMA call in Finland using our actual commercial terminal prototypes in GSM and WCDMA modes. We have now reached the target density in the chipset integration, allowing us to implement both GSM and WCDMA protocols into the same chipset. The following week we completed the first international WCDM call between Finland and NTT DoCoMo's FOMA network in Japan. These steps give us the confidence to reiterate that the first Nokia 3G terminals will start shipping in the third quarter, 2002, with volumes rising into the millions during the fourth quarter. As further evidence of Nokia's capabilities across all mobile technologies, we have today announced the successful completion of a CDMA2000 high-speed packet data call on a Nokia prototype handset powered by a Nokia CDMA chipset."

GPRS, or General Packet Radio Service, is a bridge technology between GSM and WCDMA (also known as UMTS), a 3G standard competing with CDMA2000. It is a data-only high-speed technology that allows phones to utilize WAP/XHTML, Java and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). Nokia said it will begin delivering MMS-enabled phones in the first half of next year.

Along with the 8310 units Nokia said would become available this month, the company also said it will start selling the Nokia 6310 in the fourth quarter and the Nokia 8390 at the end of 2001.

"With the GPRS business system, our industry is moving to a new level of complexity, which means that careful attention has had to been paid to the smooth functioning of all elements of the entire system before the volume roll-out of terminals and services," Alahuhta said. "This year we estimate the GPRS terminal market volume to be about 10 million units but expect its share of the GSM handset market to rise to over 50 percent in two years' time. Our GPRS phone tests give us confidence that our products will perform to high expectations when they are released to the market."