Nokia's move to accelerate shift to IP telephony

You can hear the footsteps of an elephant, and the elephants are heading toward IP telephony. Nokia earlier this week introduced the Nokia 6136 phone, integrating UMA technology, allowing for seamless handover of voice and data connections between GSM cellular and WLAN networks. An operator adding the Nokia 6136 to its offerings will be able to offer customers voice and data services over WLANs.

The important news here is that Nokia, the largest maker of mobile handsets, is throwing its considerable weight behind IP telephony. The move by the giant handset maker will accelerate the shift of large volumes of voice traffic from traditional cellular networks and put further pressure on mobile voice tariffs. Nokia's CEO Jorma Ollila told the 3GSM Barcelona meeting that "Internet voice is going mobile." Ollila said the phone's support for VoIP would allow a user to make calls at lower costs through wireless broadband.

The quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) handset has other advanced features: 1.3 megapixel camera with 8x digital zoom; support for removable microSD memory card; built-in stereo FM radio supporting Visual Radio; push to talk, and more. Note that the Nokia 6136 also includes a new DARP (Downlink Advanced Receiver Performance) radio receiver, which is supposed to enhance the radio performance of the device (because it increases the operator network capacity by 40-70 percent). I'll say this: If you want to listen to Rachmaninoff's third piano concerto in D minor, choose a Bose radio system. The N6136 will be available in the second quarter of 2006, and will cost $325.

BT launched a dual-mode fixed-line/mobile phone late last year with Motorola, but it does not support VoIP.

For more on Nokia move:
- read Mark Odell's FT report
- and this Geekzone article
For a more general discussion of Nokia's strategy:
- see John Walko's Commsdesigns report

PLUS: Qualcomm and Atheros Communications are teaming up to create a reference design for dual mode cell phones with integrated WiFi VoIP capability. This new blueprint combines Qualcomm chipsets with the Atheros single-chip WiFi client and will be compatible with WLAN, GSM, and CDMA wireless technologies. The companies expect to make this design available to handset makers by June. Report

ALSO: Trolltech announced three design wins for Qtopia Phone Edition (QPE), its software stack for Linux-based phones. The devices include a dual-mode phone from Wistron NeWeb, a "peer-to-peer WiFi VoIP" phone from Accton, and a tri-band GSM/GPRS smartphone with camera and TV-out from Amoi. Trolltech is showing the three Qtopia design wins at the 3GSM conference in Barcelona. Story.

AND: See Unstrung's Dan Jones's discussion on the safety of WiFi VoIP.

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