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Nokia looks beyond the handset

June 14, 2005 10:34 IST

It's not just the phone ring that's catching Nokia's attention. The Finnish telecom giant is clearly set to grow its new non-handset business. Just last year, the company, better known as a handset maker, stepped into enterprise solutions.

And in the next two years, Nokia aims at delivering end-to-end communication solutions for corporate clients in India, as an enterprise solution provider.

Currently its bouquet includes only firewall security devices for networks and IPVPN (Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network)-- which secures Internet connectivity between a corporate intra-net and an enterprise handset (currently available only on the 9500 Communicator and the 9300 Smartphone).

"India is a key market even for enterprise solutions," states Mathia Nalappan, vice president, Enterprise Solutions, Asia Pacific.

This year, Nokia plans to double its existing headcount at its enterprise solutions division based out of Hyderabad.

"Being a hardware manufacturer traditionally, the main challenge for Nokia, will obviously be establishing credibility as a solutions provider," admits Nalappan.

In the near future, the company is planning to upgrade customers to higher-end solutions like intra-net applications around productivity and efficiency tracking tools.

Apart from this, Nokia has confirmed plans to foray into deployment of site-less base stations for cellular providers in the Indian market. A base station is a transmit and receive link for a mobile communication system.

It is the device that actually connects the signal with the mobile handset. So far, Indian cellular providers have operated with base transceiver stations (commonly known as BTS).

Unlike BTS, which is a tower-like structure, site-less base stations are smaller, and do not require manning or shelters of any sort.

That reduces functional costs by 30-40 per cent, confirmed Rajeev Suri, senior vice president, Asia Pacific. Moreover, as the siteless base stations can withstand harsh operating conditions and are un-manned, they can be positioned even in remote villages.

The implication would mean deeper reach for cellular service providers who so far cover only 50-60 per cent of total potential coverage, leaving most of the rural areas out of coverage.

This comes shortly after Nokia's announcement of getting into manufacturing of high-end transmission components --- base station controllers (reception nodes).

Nokia may have become the first hardware manufacturer in India to look at enterprise and network solutions but globally it has been a late comer, compared to Motorola and Ericsson, for whom solutions account for more than 20 per cent of revenues already.

The correspondent's trip to Singapore was sponsored by Nokia.
Gouri Shukla in Singapore
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