CANNES, France -- Mobile phone makers and the vendors who are driving the integration of devices and services on 3G handsets are looking for ways to attract more customers while squeezing more business out of existing ones.
The heads of the two leading European handset makers told the 3GSM World Congress here on Wednesday (Feb. 25) that they are increasingly targeting corporate customers and emerging multimedia applications while seeking to expand the number of voice subscribers, especially in underserved areas. That will require significantly lower handsets costs, a requirement where chip makers like Intel Corp. and Texas Instruments Corp. claimed here they are making significant progress.
Camera phones are commonplace and multimedia messaging services took off in 2003, said Jorma Ollila, Nokia's chairman and CEO. "Mobile is becoming the sixth medium" after TV, radio, print, recording and the Internet, Ollila asserted. Hence, "We need more intelligence in mobile networks."
Nokia's majority stake in the Symbian operating system alliance has raised eyebrows about the company's continuing commitment to the open standards and interoperability " the mantra of the mobile conference. Ollila downplayed the move, adding that "We will continue to work with other [Symbian] shareholders to maintain open platforms."
Ollila and Ericsson President and CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg also defended the industry's performance in delivering 3G handsets. Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin earlier blasted handset makers for failing to deliver dependable, affordable 3G handsets, saying their deficiencies have slowed 3G deployment.