In Cannes, France this week, Nokia
is putting on a show for 3GSM World Congress attendees.
In addition to the usual deluge of product announcements Wednesday that are
standard at any industry convention, the wireless phone maker issued a call
to other wireless equipment vendors to open up standards for
interoperability in a wide variety of areas, preferably using Nokia’s
Dr. J.T. Bergqvist, Nokia senior vice president, said compatibility is the
key to wireless phone equipment success in the future, and wants to create
“technology modules unit” that will use Nokia technology to create an open
vendor platform for wireless, which will be sold to all equipment makers
(including Nokia) on equal terms.
“Nokia’s strategy is to open the internal architectures for standard
commercial components, thereby increasing efficiency throughout the
industry and bringing consumers a wider range of new, exciting and
affordable mobile services,” he said.
It’s uncertain what other wireless equipment manufacturers think of this
somewhat utopian vision for wireless products based on Nokia’s existing
technology. Officials said they have approached other companies to join
the technology module initiative, but wouldn’t tell whether the vendors
were interested or not.
The first module products will be available for universal use in mid-2002.
The module unit launch and call for an open standard is part of Nokia’s
far-reaching goals to bring equipment makers under one standards
umbrella to speed up delivery of new products to the consumer. Working
with standards already created and approved by standard’s bodies like the
3rd Generation Partneship Project (3GPP) and the International
Telecommunications Union (ITU), the vendor hopes companies can work
together to launch more products going forward.
One initiative running under Nokia’s goal for standards unity is the open
IP base station architecture, running on the multiple mobile network
standard for radio access networks (RANs).
Launched concurrently with its new product line of wideband code-division
multiplex access (WCDMA) base stations, Nokia said a technology standard
brings network costs down for its customers.
“It will allow next-generation All-IP base stations to be built using
best-of-breed shared platforms and modules, available on an open market,
whilst letting network suppliers differentiate on system and
network-element levels,” Bergqvist said. “Expected to contribute to
bringing the network costs per capacity down, this initiative is a pivotal
element in enabling large-scale Mobile Internet service usage at affordable
Nokia has made a concerted effort to play nice with industry leaders,
culminating in the company’s joining forces with Siemens to support a
global open standard for broadband wireless networks, a hybrid of the
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.16 and the
European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s (ETSI) BRAN standards.
In related news:
- Nokia had a slew of product launches at the 3GSM convention Wednesday,
culminating with its end-to-end all-IP phone call on its radio-access
network (RAN). Called “rich” calls, all-IP network calls are a blend of
voice, video, and mobile multimedia messaging on one signal, bringing
operational costs down.
“This call proves that mobile networking is rapidly moving towards
end-to-end IP networks, and Omnitel Vodafone aims to be one of the first
operators to implement these,” said Valerio Zingarelli, Omnitel Vodaphone
chief technical officer.
Vodaphone and Verizon Communications jointly own the largest wireless phone
company in the U.S., Verizon Wireless, with more than 24 million 2G digital
phone users. The company launched
its 3G service in January to select U.S. cities.
- With the launch of two new services, Nokia hopes to show wireless
operators their network needs for the future. The Nokia GPRS network
survey and WCDMA simulation consultancy both give operators, depending on
the wireless standard they use, an assessment of the network’s current
performance and what improvements can be made.
According to Matti Makkonen, Nokia Networks senior vice president, the
successful wireless operators of the future are the one’s that today figure
out where they need to go.
“The communications industry seeks increased growth, and mobile operators
want to make the most of their networks and services,” he said. “Based on
Nokia’s demonstrated success with various technologies and networks, we are
well placed to help operators protect their network investment, optimize
their solutions and thus boost network usage.”
- Nokia rolled out a new product line of WCDMA products, dubbed
FlexiFamily, aimed at improving indoor and outdoor radio all-IP traffic and
range from base stations to carrier-grade servers. The equipment is
nothing new, largely upgrades from the company’s first
attempt to drive interest in the technology.