Delay to 3G networks looks serious as Nokia fails to deliver

by Guy Kewney | posted on 02 December 2002

Nokia has fallen behind schedule with software, designed to make a 3G phone network in Singapore work correctly with dual-standard hand-sets. Is this a trivial matter of late software? or something more serious?

Guy Kewney

The delay is only one of a few months. It has been revealed by a share offering from MobileOne, a Singapore mobile phone operator. The report from Computergram suggests, however, that the problem Nokia is struggling with isn't just the normal one of "late software" - but rather, that the difficulty is in getting GSM/3G handsets to work seamlessly across both types of network.

"Nokia has successfully tested an all-3G network, but the problem it faces in Singapore and every other market where it 3G networks will be deployed is the need for dual-mode handsets that can switch between GSM and UMTS cells," says the report. "This is exactly the same problem that has delayed the launch of Europe's first 3G networks set up by Hutchison 3G in the UK and Italy ... the fact that NEC Corp, which supplies Hutchison 3G and Nokia, has so far found it impossible to overcome the problem suggests that it is a far-reaching difficulty."