Page 3: Developing a global business
As the mobile telephone networks opened, Nokia faced competition from well-known international rivals jumping into the Nordic market in Nokia’s own backyard. With this directly challenging situation, the company soon learned what it would need to succeed in a global telecommunications industry.
Whereas in some industries organisations focus upon domestic markets within limited geographical boundaries, Nokia made a key decision in 1991 to increase its research and development and global marketing. This was a critical decision which set a pathway for the whole organisation, so that Nokia was prepared when the cellular boom hit world markets. The development of global strategies offered Nokia the ability to respond and meet customer needs quickly as they developed, with the added benefits of cost reduction, improved quality and competitive leverage.
Digitalisation has ushered in a completely new telecommunications age. People’s ideas of the nature of telecommunications will change fundamentally in the next decade. Networks will become more customer focused and offer a wider range of services. In simple terms, 'going digital' means that radio or television signals are turned into strings of numbers (bits). These numbers occupy a much narrower part of the network than conventional signals and do not corrupt so easily in the transmission. Therefore, it is possible to:
- create more radio or television channels
- transmit clear, sharp 'phone pictures' on digital phone lines
- transmit much greater quantities of information at a faster rate.
Increasingly, data and graphics are transmitted over the phone in addition to speech. Therefore, new technologies are being developed to enhance the capacities of access networks. By the year 2000, it will be possible to transmit approximately one hundred times more information, cost-effectively, over access networks than was possible in 1986. These and the home multimedia terminals of the future will allow integrated use of telecommunications, computer applications and media technologies.
Nokia identified the opportunity for digital developments before anyone else, introducing its first digital transmissions systems in 1969. Following ongoing research and development in this field, Nokia was able to deliver the first GSM network in 1991.
The third-generation telecommunications systems, UMTS (Universal Mobile Telephone System) and FPLMTS (Future Public Land Mobile Telecommunications System), will be standardised during the next few years prior to launch at the beginning of the next millennium. Future solutions will include new platforms on which operators will build their service ranges.
Third-generation wireless telecommunications will support versatile broadband services largely based on various combinations of image, voice and data. The investments required for the new systems are so great that the networks must be developed in stages.