Nokia Readies 3G Wireless Push for Notebooks

The world’s top mobile phone maker, Nokia, plans to tap the surging market for connecting laptops to wireless networks taking on market leader Huawei Technologies, the Finnish device manufacturer said.

Nokia (NYSE: NOK) will start to ship its first Internet “dongle” — a term that refers to external USB modems and PC cards — in early 2009. The company aims to benefit from its know-how and experience in developing 3G technologies, like high-speed High-Speed Packet Access technologies, or HSPA , Tapio Markki, vice president for hardware platform components at Nokia, told Reuters.

“Leveraging these capabilities, we believe we are well-positioned to become one of the winning providers for HSPA modem solutions,” Markki said. “The market for HSPA modems is expected to grow very rapidly during the coming years.”

Nokia declined to comment on the price of the device — which uses HSPA, a super-fast 3G technology — saying it would be sold mostly through operators and bundled with services.

Research firm Strategy Analytics said it expects the global market for these devices to grow to 26 million units next year from 20 million this year.

“In particular European operators, such as Vodafone, are aggressively promoting and subsidizing dongles right now, because they are seen as a secondary device that provides additional revenues for carriers beyond a traditional handset,” said Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics.

Nokia tried to enter into the business of connecting laptops to wireless networks in late 2006 when it said it had developed an embedded 3G module for notebook computers, which Intel agreed to sell as part of its next-generation Centrino Duo mobile technology platform.

But in early 2007, Nokia and Intel made a joint decision to cease cooperation on the connectivity module.

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