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Nokia sees rapid growth in blended networks

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CIOL Bureau
New Update

Tarmo Virki

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BARCELONA - Nokia expects the market for technology that runs mobile and fixed-telephony networks over the Internet to grow by up to 10 times by 2010, the mobile firm's networks strategy head said on Thursday.

Nokia said IMS, or Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem, represented a growth opportunity for both telecom gear makers and operators, who need to meet the challenge of the Internet being used for everything from phone calls to viewing television broadcasts.

IMS has been a focus at this year's mobile industry trade show in Barcelona, with announcements from firms such as TeliaSonera, Ericsson, Vodafone and Nokia on plans for the technology.

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IMS is a platform that allows telecoms providers to quickly rollout new services, such as video calling, and it allows consumers to use one phone which automatically switches between mobile and fixed-line networks.

"The IMS market is not big yet, but it is of strategic importance," said Kai Konola, head of strategy at Nokia's networks unit.

"In 2006 I would expect it to be in the ballpark of 100-200 million euros. In 3-4 years time it will be an over 1 billion market," he said.

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Electronics manufacturer Flextronics said in a statement more than 200 fixed-line and mobile telecom operators were running trials using IMS.

Every major technology firm, including the world's top network maker Ericsson and U.S. Internet technology firm Cisco Systems Inc., are offering products to blend mobile and fixed networks.

"Everybody whose somebody in the mobile or fixed side will see themselves as an important player," said Markus Kantola, director of marketing and sales for core networks at Nokia's networks unit.

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"Everyone is trying to claim a victory in next generation networks," he said.

Telecom carriers are turning to IMS for growth at a time when mobile call prices are falling and fixed line clients are fleeing to use Internet calls.

"For operators the questions are simple. What role they are going to play? Are they going to be only the pipe, or are they going to also have subscribers, like before?" said Eran Dotan, head of privately-held telecoms software firm Outsmart.

© Reuters

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