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Nokia VMR-WB Codec wins 3GPP2 Approval

Finnish mobile technology giant Nokia on Thursday announced that its VMR-WB (Variable-Rate Multi-Mode Wideband) codec has won approval from the 3GPP2 forum to form the underbelly of moves to standardize a CDMA2000 speech codec.

CDMA2000 is another term for single carrier (1x) radio transmission technology, a 3G technology based on the CDMA standard that can transmit data at speeds of up to 144 Kbps.

The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP2), a collaborative forum overseeing GSM development in the U.S. and Asia, picked Nokia's codec from a field of five competing proposals.

Nokia's VMR-WB is comparable to current narrowband speech codecs and is seen as a crucial piece of technology to help push widespread adoption of GSM/WCDMA networks. The standard is also seen as a way to help address bandwidth issues, as data demands rise on wireless networks, by using variable bit-rate codecs rather than traditional fixed bit-rate codecs.

With next-generation networks promising high-speed wireless data processing, the adoption of the VMR-WB codec could potentially be used to create applications for mobile-to-mobile wideband voice calls, voice over IP (VoIP) and mobile or fixed network audio conferencing.

Nokia said other uses could come in the areas of point-to-point and multi-point business applications, multimedia streaming and even videoconferencing on mobile devices.

For Nokia, one of 73 member companies in the 3GPP2 forum, the approval adds legitimacy to its heavy spending on R&D for 3G next-generation technology. The company said the use of its codec allows call quality that "represents a quantum leap over the quality of both today's wireless and wireline networks."

In addition to being fully compliant with the CDMA2000 rate-set II, Nokia said the VMR-WB standard was interoperable with the AMR-WB standard selected by the 3GPP for use in GSM/WCDMA networks. 3GPP is the European equivalent of the 3GPP2 project.

"The interoperability between CDMA2000 and WCDMA networks that is enabled by the VMR-WB technology allows high-value voice services to be used between mobile customers across the globe, regardless of the network standard that each customer is using," Nokia said in a statement.

The VMR-WB codec is built to ensure improved call performance under severe channel error and background noise conditions.

The 3GPP2 forum was born out of the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) International Mobile Telecommunications "IMT-2000" initiative, covering high speed, broadband, and Internet Protocol (IP)-based mobile systems. In addition to Nokia, member companies include Cisco Systems , DoCoMo , Ericsson Wireless, Hitachi, Ltd., Kyocera Corp., Nextel and Lucent.