Important step towards fast adoption of wireless broadband Internet services.
Nokia and the Finnish operator Sonera have conducted the world’s first Wireless LAN roaming based on GSM technology. Sonera is making use of Nokia technology that allows mobile operators to offer broadband wireless Internet services in Wireless LAN access zones.
Roaming agreements between network operators enable subscribers to use network services provided by their operator’s roaming partners when abroad. GSM roaming is the best example of this; operators have made more than 20,000 roaming agreements globally, and more than 500 million roaming phone calls are made every month.
Nokia Operator Wireless LAN technology is available commercially and utilises the existing GSM core network and roaming infrastructure. The subscriber uses a SIM card installed inside the Wireless LAN card. This makes it possible to use the card anywhere in the world within the access zones provided by local GSM operators, provided the operators have made an agreement on WLAN roaming.
For mobile operators, this will mean a substantial possibility to create the market now by offering broadband wireless Internet access to their own and to roaming customers within their WLAN access zones.
Sonera offers to its corporate customers broadband wireless Internet access based on Nokia’s 11Mbit/s IEEE802.11b Wireless LAN technology. The Sonera wGate service provides wireless broadband access to Internet and intranet services in wGate service areas. This makes it possible for the travelling employees of corporations to take care of business matters when they are in a wGate service area. Sonera’s wGate service areas have been established in airports, hotels and conference centers.
“Sonera believes in the fast adoption of WLAN services provided by operators, and we want to be a frontrunner in the development and offering of these services. Operator Wireless LAN services will in the future be an integral part of mobile Internet service offering, providing the best possible data transmission capacity. Solutions based on SIM cards will, in the very near future, enable easy and secure access to services both in the user’s home country and abroad,” says Mr. Pasi Tolonen, Vice President, Mobile Business Services, Sonera.
“The Nokia Operator Wireless LAN solution is being actively piloted by approximately 20 operators, and we believe many operators will launch their Wireless LAN services already during the first half of 2002,” comments Mr. Kimmo Kaitala, General Manager, Operator Wireless LAN, Nokia Networks. “The WLAN roaming now conducted with Sonera shows that operators can already make roaming agreements on Wireless LAN, because the existing GSM core network can be utilised. This will mean fast adoption of wireless LAN services all over the world. The services are especially beneficial to business travellers. They are as easy as using a GSM phone,” he adds.