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Nokia Unveils Roaming Solution Using GSM, WLANs

Nokia WLAN card with SIM card

Nokia Communications and Finnish operator Sonera reported today that they conducted wireless LAN roaming using the GSM core network and roaming infrastructure. This enables mobile operators to offer broadband connectivity in WLAN access zones, providing that mobile operators have an agreement with WLAN operators.

Nokia stated that its Operator Wireless LAN technology is commercially available. Subscribers will use a SIM card inserted into a WLAN card. The result will be that users will be able to have broadband access anywhere that local GSM operators have secured agreements with WLAN access zone providers. The companies stated that GSM roaming is used in more than 500 million calls per month and that they have over 20,000 roaming agreements worldwide.

The companies stated that this should provide new market opportunities for mobile operators by allowing them to offer broadband access to their own and other roaming customers within their affiliated WLAN zones.

Through its wGate service areas, Sonera plans to offer its customers wireless access based on the Nokia 802.11b WLAN technology. The wGate service provides Internet and intranet access in service areas located in hotels, airports, and conference centers.

Nokia reported that its Operator Wireless LAN solution is being piloted by more than 20 mobile operators, with launch dates expected in the first half of 2002.

Matthew Peretz is Managing Editor of 802.11-Planet.com