Nokia´s Pioneering GSM Research and Development to be Awarded by Eduard Rhein Foundation


Heikki Huttunen, representing Nokia and its research and development activities, is specifically recognized "for fundamental innovations and advanced design work, in particular for contributions related to GSM handheld cellular telephones". Nokia launched its first GSM handheld Nokia 1011 in 1992, the only commercially available mobile phone for some time. Its successor Nokia 2110 won the most outstanding GSM/DCS 1800 handset awarded by GSM MoU Association in GSM World Conference 1996 in Cannes, France. The Nokia 2110 series of digital portable cellular phones was among the "Best New Products" of 1994 by Business Week.

Early long term research work has resulted in Nokia's advantage in the GSM development. Nokia today has a wide range of GSM products and the most advanced wireless data solutions in the market.

According to the Foundation, The Digital Cellular Telephone System (GSM) is among the most innovative and succesful telecommunications achievements globally. Nokia is one of the global pioneers, having actively cooperated in the development of GSM from its cradle to its current platform with users in more than 100 countries world-wide.

"Digital cellular radio standardization started in 1982 when the CEPT (The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations) formed the Groupe Special Mobile (GSM, nowadays known as Global System for Mobile Communications) and made a recommendation to allocate common frequencies for multinational cellular radio communications in Europe. The research work was first carried out on the national level and then in international co-operation programs but the standardization was done through ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) and its GSM working groups. Nokia has participated in all these activities," says Heikki Huttunen, Vice President R&D, Intellectual Property, Nokia Mobile Phones.

Nokia was one of the companies to participate in the first Digital Mobile Radio Conference organized by the Scandinavian tele-administrations in 1985. Later these meetings became annual, demonstrating the development which then lead to GSM standardization.

GSM - A Success Story of Cooperation
"It is evident that no single person or even one team can be identified as the father or the inventor of GSM. The development has been one of cooperation and evaluation as well as selection of technology between theoretical possibilities and practical operational solutions agreed upon to become a common specification," says Heikki Huttunen.

Nokia´s GSM research work started in the early 1980s with the study of digital FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access), continuing then on narrow-band TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) based systems. In 1986, Nokia delivered its first digital test system based on narrow-band TDMA technology to the Paris tests. Following that, the narrow-band TDMA concept was adopted by ETSI in 1987.

"The early investment on narrowband TDMA technology proved to offer a great advantage to us. Nokia has since often been the first company out with a ground-breaking, world-first solution or equipment," states Heikki Huttunen.

In 1987, Nokia established Nokia Cellular Systems which concentrated on GSM infrastructure research and development. GSM-based mobile phones, as well as the Nokia 9000 Communicator development has taken place in Nokia Mobile Phones. In addition, Nokia Research Center, the corporate research unit established in 1986, has closely interacted with all Nokia units in exploring new technologies and product concepts as well as exploiting those in the actual product development of the Nokia business units.

Nokia also actively participated in several ETSI working groups to develop the first GSM specification in 1987-1990 and has continued its efforts to support GSM evolution thereafter.

Nokia GSM World Firsts
The Nokia "World First" list includes the following industry GSM firsts:

  • First GSM order (Radiolinja, Finland, 1989)
  • First GSM mobile phone network (1991) and the first genuine GSM call in this Radiolinja network, supplied by Nokia.
  • First company to begin GSM phone large scale production (1992)
  • First DCS/GSM 1800 order (Orange, UK, 1991)
  • First SMSC (Short Message Service Center) into commercial use (in Europolitan's Nokia network, 1993)
  • First Personal Communications Network based on GSM 1800 standard delivery (1993).
  • First company to offer GSM data products (1994)
  • First PCS/GSM 1900 order for the US market (1995)
  • First all-in-one communications tool, Nokia 9000 Communicator (1996)
  • First GSM dual band base station (1997)

    Headquartered in Finland, Nokia is a leader in digital technologies including mobile phones, cellular and fixed telecommunications networks, wireless data solutions and multimedia terminals. With sales in approximately 130 countries, net sales totaled FIM 39.3 billion ($8.5 billion) in 1996. Nokia employs more than 34,000 people in 45 countries. Nokia's shares are listed in Helsinki, New York, London, Stockholm, Frankfurt and Paris.