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Sunrise WCDMA Network, Switzerland




The world's largest phone maker, Nokia, has signed an agreement to supply the core infrastructure for the rollout and introduction of Swiss operator Sunrise's third-generation WCDMA network.

No value was given for the deal, but according to industry analysts the order was worth between €100 and €200 million.

The Nokia WCDMA 3G core solution will give Sunrise customers access to advanced multimedia mobile services, such as multimedia messaging and live video streaming. The 3G network equipment will be integrated into the existing Nokia NetAct operations support system for combined 2G/3G network and mobile service management.

Nokia will also provide support for project management, implementation and integration for efficient network ramp-up, as well as a wide range of care services, including training, software maintenance and emergency services, to help the network remain competitive.

NOKIA TURNS TO 3G

Although its sales are under pressure, Nokia still has the highest profit margins in an increasingly crowded market, thanks to its global reach, economies of scale and tight logistics.

Mobile phone demand is once again on the rise after three years of stagnation, fuelled by robust growth in developing markets such as India and China, which offer firms hundreds of millions of potential new clients. Nokia has targeted these markets and recently launched its first mobile phone in China running on the CDMA standard, as part of a broader drive to raise its share of the world's second largest mobile standard.

"We are happy to work with Nokia," says Bo Chamberlain, CTO and executive director, networks, Sunrise. "We are sure that Nokia's 3G solution will provide technologically superior service and meet our needs for cost-efficient and effective rollout, to deliver 3G services to our customers.

"Sunrise is recognised as an innovator in the Swiss market and is committed to providing its customers with exciting and user-friendly 3G services of a high standard. Nokia has demonstrated its support for this goal."

THE BATTLE FOR WCDMA

Sunrise is controlled by TDC Group AS, Denmark's national operator. It was the first private mobile phone operator to emerge in Switzerland following the liberalisation of the telecommunications market and currently has about 1.17 million network customers. The Sunrise brand stands for innovative products and services, including many GPRS and MMS applications. It also offers provider services on fixed broadband and Internet.

In 2002 Sunrise awarded a contract to Nokia's Swedish rival, Ericsson, to supply the main infrastructure of its network, including base stations. Mika Paloranta of the investment bank Carnegie argues that the Nokia deal has been overshadowed by the Ericsson contract, estimated to be worth around €800 million: "It's kind of a disappointment to Nokia. Earlier they provided Sunrise with a complete GSM, or 2G network, but now they only deliver the core. So, in that respect, Nokia might have potentially lost a bit of market share on the network side."

The debate about which vendor leads the WCDMA market continues to rumble on. According to Sari Baldauf, president of Nokia Networks: "We currently lead WCDMA rollout in terms of volume, with more than 20,000 base stations deployed. We have over 30% market share in WCDMA and are well on track to reach our target of 35%." In total, Nokia has signed 3G deals with 45 operators, 35 of which have been made public.

However, Ericsson claims a 40% share of the market and said in late 2002 that it had deployed 10,000 base stations between March 2001 and October 2002.

WCDMA 3G CORE SOLUTION

WCDMA is fast emerging as the global standard of choice for next-generation communications, with 85% of the global 3G network markets expected to be based on WCDMA. According to Daniel Clauss, head of customer account team, Nokia Switzerland: "WCDMA is the only true wideband wireless standard and offers the most economical and efficient network solution with by far the largest user base, footprint and roaming."

ABI Research predicts that by 2007 the market for WCDMA and CDMA2000 1x EV-DO deployments will have expanded by over 40% on a CAGR basis, representing nearly 70% of a $16 billion infrastructure market.

So, for both Nokia and Sunrise, the WCDMA 3G core solution is a step in the right direction. Daniel Clauss again: "For a market innovator like Sunrise, Nokia's 3G solution will enable the operator to drive the advanced mobile services market in Switzerland."

Sunrise's next-generation network is expected to be launched commercially by the end of 2004.