Nokia's Ollila says 3G right on track

Nokia Corp.'s third-generation (3G) phones will be available to European mobile customers in the second half of next year, the company's President and Chief Executive Officer Jorma Ollila said in a speech here at the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association) Wireless 2001 show on Wednesday.

Speaking via satellite from the Helsinki Public Library in his native Finland, Ollila said that Nokia's original timeframe remained in effect, despite the fact that some have voiced doubt that the technology would debut in the schedule set by operators and manufacturers.

"We will launch our first GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) products in the third quarter (of this year) and have significant volume towards the fourth quarter," Ollila said. "GPRS will become very significant during the fourth quarter and eventually lead to 3G in the latter half of 2002."

"We have always said that this would be our timetable and we're sticking to it," he said. "We are confident that there will be a market, and we will see it take off."

Nokia launched two GPRS phones at the CeBIT show earlier today in Germany, Ollila said. "These phones represent 2.5G, which will educate new users to use the Internet through mobile phones," he said. Nokia announced the 6310 and 8310 GPRS handsets this morning. Although Nokia has an interest in the mobile Internet, the last thing Ollila wants to see is operators becoming more concerned with data services than with voice. "Voice will continue to be very important on mobile networks," he said.

And both voice and data require something which has became a common theme at the show, Ollila said, the need for more a wider mobile spectrum. "The EU (European Union) came out with a paper yesterday that really raised concern that the fast development we've had over the last 30 years in Europe might not continue if we can't make spectrum available for a reasonable cost," he said.

"There is a tremendous need for more spectrum capacity for both voice and data services," he said.

Nokia, in Espoo, Finland, is at +358-9-5113-8193, or at http://www.nokia.com/.

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