Friday, September 21, 2007

Nokia Unleashes First Unlicensed Mobile Access Cell Phone

Nokia, the world’s largest maker of mobile phones, on Thursday unveiled the world’s first phone that can provide voice calls both over conventional GSM networks as well as via wireless local area networks (WLANs). While the Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) technology deserves applauds, its wide adoption is under question as it does not has obvious benefits to end-users.

The new Nokia 6301 cell phone can boast with stainless steel frame, 2” 320x240 pixels screen, 30MB of internal memory, built-in MP3 player, FM radio, microSD card slot, support for GSM 900, 1800 and 1900 networks and other peculiarities of a business-oriented cell phone. The Nokia 6301 weighs 93 grams and measures less than 13.1mm thin. The Nokia 6301 comes with an attractive desk stand, the Nokia Desk Stand DT-23, to hold the phone and keep its battery charged while connected to WLAN. The main feature of the device is support for the so-called Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) technology.

UMA technology makes it possible for users to seamlessly roam and handover between wireless local area networks (Wi-Fi) and wide area networks (such as GSM) using the same dual-mode device. Instead of constantly communicating with a base station, UMA allows the phone to also make calls through WLAN internet networks, provided that those networks are capable of establishing secure IP connection through a gateway to a server called a general access network controller (GANC) on the carrier’s network.

Nokia claims that with UMA technology ensures excellent indoor coverage both at office and home as WLAN/UMA provides excellent coverage and sound quality even in areas where mobile phone reception has previously been poor. Besides, UMA benefits operators as well, allowing them to deliver voice and data services to subscribers over WLAN, substantially increasing mobile service availability while decreasing the costs related to network deployment.

Orange will be one of the first operators to offer the Nokia 6301, as part of its Unik/Unique portfolio.

“The Nokia 6301 is a stylish new addition to our Unik range of converged fixed and mobile phones. Orange’s Unik offer brings together the convenience of a single phone and tariff at home and on the move and the widest range of UMA handsets. The Nokia 6301, with its sleek candy bar design and attractive stainless steel exterior adds to the appeal of Unik for Orange customers,” said Yves Maitre, senior vice president of devices, Orange.

The Nokia 6301 is expected to begin shipping to select markets in Europe during the fourth quarter of 2007 with an estimated retail price of €230 before subsidies or taxes.

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