Nokia sees media phones outsell laptops in two years

(December 15, 1998) Reflecting the fast growth of mobile services and the emerging rise in wireless internet usage, Nokia believes that internet-capable media phones will be selling globally in larger quantities than laptop computers in just two years. This view was presented by Jorma Ollila, President and CEO of Nokia at the International Conference on Information Systems, '98 in Helsinki on Tuesday.

"The mobile phone is already becoming the preferred method of voice communication. In Finland and in a growing number of countries, people with a mobile phone now outnumber those without one. A mobile phone in almost every pocket is a realistic and not so distant prospect", said Ollila.

There will be an estimated 300 million mobile phone users worldwide by the end of this year. Nokia predicts that by the year 2005 there will be over one billion mobile phone users in the world. This will mean that the number of mobile phone subscribers will exceed the number of fixed telephone lines.

Media phones - the next big thing in mobile communication

There is undoubtedly a strong shift towards mobility. There are interesting analogies between the global sales volumes of computer and communications devices. During the last twenty years, desktop computing has emerged and is now present in almost every office and many homes. Sales of personal computers have grown strongly, but two years ago, their global sales volumes were overtaken by mobile phones.

"The global market for mobile phones is already larger than that of personal computers. Data too will become increasingly mobile and the next generation of handsets will include media phones", said Ollila. "They will be web optimized and communicate with a combination of letters, words, colors, graphics and still or moving images. We believe that, at the end of the year 2000 more media phones will be sold than portable personal computers."

Media phones combine many of the characteristics of a personal computer - word processing, calender, email and Internet access - with those of a mobile phone. The Nokia 9000 Communicator launched back in 1996 was the world's first media phone. Soon, media phones could include many other categories than just communicators. Within two years, Nokia estimates that some 10-15 % of all mobile phones sold will then have internet capability - be true media phones.

Industry initiatives support wireless data

Media phones will considerably expand the reach of the mobile phone and the internet. Electronic banking, office work, purchasing, entertainment, health care, will all be affected by mobile media phones.

Media phones are a good example of the way the telecommunications industry is developing. Technologies are emerging and converging, new standards are being created. Nokia is backing a number of following cross-industry initiatives, which will make also media phones even more appealing:

WAP - the Wireless Application Protocol - provides an open standard to bring Internet content and advanced services to mobile phones and wireless devices. It acts as the platform on which the media phone operates.

Bluetooth, provides an additional local networking, dimension to mobile devices. It is an open standard for short-range radio. Soon, connecting a computer to the local office network, updating databases, and much more can be done wirelessly, even on the move.

Symbian, a company jointly owned by the leading wireless companies. Symbian is creating a common operating system platform and user interface on which to base future media phone applications.

These are all open initiatives, and a number of industry players are already participating. These initiatives, together with existing technologies as well as the third generation of mobile communication, will be building blocks in what we call the Wireless Information Society.

Nokia believes that media phones, and the networks to which they are connected, will form the backbone of the Wireless Information Society. The mobile multimedia communications made possible by media phones will not only enhance the work performance and productivity of people, but also of organizations and societies.

Data speed increases and LAN's bring wireless data to offices

To make wireless data truly appealing, the present transmission speeds in mobile networks will be increased. That means providing broadband wireless access.

In about two years time, Enhanced Data Rate for GSM Evolution or EDGE technology, will take data rates to 384kbit/s. That is the equivalent of allowing 125 pages of information to be transmitted in a single second. This is around 40 times that, which conventional GSM was designed to achieve. And well beyond that, currently provided by the dial-up fixed network. 384kbit/s is also fast enough to handle high quality one-way or even two-way video.

All these initiatives are enhancements to second generation cellular radio systems. Starting in 2001 we will see the introduction of third generation cellular. It will be the first cellular standard designed with the requirements of the Wireless Information Society in mind.

Third generation will feature mobile data rates of 384 kbit/s and 2Mbit/s for stationary applications. Third generation terminals will also be multi-tasking. They will able to handle up to 6 different simultaneous calls, whether data, video or voice, and all without wires. Third generation cellular will turn multimedia into personal multimedia, just as second generation cellular turned telephony into personal communications.

On the way towards the Wireless Information Society some of today's distinctions between technologies will disappear; distinctions such as those between mobile phones, fixed telephones, portable computers and personal digital assistants disappear.

In the office, for example, the Local Area Network (LAN) will not necessarily mean a fixed wirebound network. The Wireless Local Area Network will provide a flexible extension of the LAN, which most office workers are already accustomed to use. It will support very high bit rates - over 20Mbit/s.

Wireless LANs will provide the perfect complement to third generation cellular radio systems. In the office for example, the wireless LAN will provide an extremely high bit rate resource for information-intensive communications - such as complex graphics or software programs. It will allow users to literally connect with the nervous system of the corporation without having to worry about cables or protocols. And they will be able to do it from wherever they need to be within the office environment.

Nokia is the world's leading mobile phone supplier and a leading supplier of mobile and fixed telecom networks including related customer services. Nokia also supplies solutions and products for fixed and wireless datacom, as well as multimedia terminals and computer monitors. In 1997, net sales totaled FIM 52.6 billion (USD 9.8 billion). Headquartered in Finland, Nokia is listed on five European Stock Exchanges and on the New York Stock Exchange (NOK.A), has sales in 130 countries and employs more than 42,000 people world-wide.