Nokia, Cable & Wireless to Deliver Mobile Net Platform

Nokia and Cable & Wireless have entered an agreement to provide a global wireless Internet platform that is network-independent. The platform, hosted by Cable & Wireless, will provide fully managed wireless ASP and Internet services to second- and third-generation mobile network operators, ISPs, fixed operators and large corporate customers.

Cable & Wireless will supply the data centers and its global IP backbone, and Nokia will provide the services platform, applications and systems integration. The companies expect to make the services available later this year, first in Europe and then in North America and Asia.

The new Internet platform will allow customers to offer their users access to Internet content, information, and location-based services as well mobile-commerce and business applications via mobile devices. The services packages includes a mobile Internet portal, servers and middleware.

Software will run on either Windows NT or UNIX. So far, the companies plan to support WAP, the GSM standard and GPLS, and then 3G networks. Cable & Wireless says it will also work with providers that support CDMA.

Nokia and Cable & Wireless will try to drive the development of wireless applications and confront the present shortage by helping customers develop their own wireless applications. They will also offer a portfolio of generic wire applications that operators can sell as services under their own brand.

In other news, Nokia took a step into what may be a future market—that for wireless- and Internet-enabled home products. The Finnish company inked a deal with Whirlpool, the U.S. manufacturer of washing machines, to develop products that leverage Nokia's expertise in wireless communications and Whirlpool's in-home appliances. With this deal, the companies are following in the footsteps of Electrolux and Ericsson, which are developing products like refrigerators that phone home if the door is left open. Maytag is also in the act, having teamed up with Microsoft early this year to develop networked appliances. And Sun showed off Java-enabled microwave ovens and other Java-enabled home products a few years ago when it introduced Jini.

Nokia and Whirlpool refused to divulge specifics about the planned networked appliances but said they plan to introduce the first ones in the fourth quarter of this year.