December 12, 2008

Nokia To Rival Huawei In Connecting Laptops To Wifi Networks

A senior official at Nokia said the world's top mobile phone maker plans to enter into the surging market for connecting laptops to wireless networks by taking on market leader Huawei Technologies.

Tapio Markki, vice president for hardware platform components at Nokia, said the company will start to ship its first Internet stick in early 2009, aiming to benefit from its know-how and experience in developing 3G technologies.

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

The device will use HSPA, a super-fast 3G technology, and will be sold mostly through operators and bundled with services. They did not comment on the devices price.

The global market for so-called "dongles," or external USB modems and PC cards, is expected to grow to 26 million units next year from 20 million this year, according to Strategy Analytics.

Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics said European operators in particular, 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.

Nokia made its first attempt at 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.

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


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