NTT DoCoMo Inc. and Nokia Corp. have reached an agreement to jointly develop an open mobile architecture for W-CDMA (Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access) 3G (third-generation) services, the two companies announced at a Tokyo conference on Wednesday. Nokia also said it hopes to roll out its 3G handsets for NTT DoCoMo's FOMA 3G service in the third quarter next year.
The agreement is part of an open mobile architecture initiative unveiled at Comdex Fall earlier this week by Nokia's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jorma Ollila. A total of 20 companies, including Vodafone Group PLC, Motorola Inc. and NEC Corp., have joined the initiative so far.
The NTT DoCoMo and Nokia agreement aims to standardize, promote and accelerate W-CDMA-based 3G services globally, the two companies said.
"For Nokia, Comdex was all about the global open mobile architecture," said Ollila at a conference held on his arrival back in Tokyo. The initiative will be especially useful in promoting W-CDMA 3G services, he said.
The companies said they will start by working on three areas: browsing, messaging and the application execution environment.
For browsing, they will jointly develop a platform based on the WAP 2.0 (Wireless Application Protocol) global standard, and adopt the XHTML (Extensible HyperText Markup Language)/CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) description language, they said. They plan to complete the architecture by the end of this year, said Keiji Tachikawa, president and CEO of NTT DoCoMo.
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), which they will develop by 2003, allows users with any mobile device to download multimedia content, and to send and receive e-mail messages.
The two companies will also develop Java technology to offer an execution environment where more user-friendly applications can be created, they said. This should be completed next year, they said.
"At this time, we have reached an agreement on these three areas, but there are still others such as security, downloading, authentication and billing, that need to be worked on," said Tachikawa. He also said that this is "not an exclusive cooperation, other developers are welcome to join."
For NTT DoCoMo, which provides the world's first and currently only 3G service, the initiative is a way to show that it intends to work with other companies on 3G services, Tachikawa said.
"While others delayed, we tried to start the service," he said. "But this service involves not only hardware but also software, and when software varies, the business suffers. From that point of view, we believe that using the same architecture will spread and promote 3G services globally."
Nokia has been confident for the past three or four months that the 3G timetable and launch date of the second half of 2002 would be met, Ollila said. The company is also ready to provide 3G handsets for NTT DoCoMo's 3G service in the third quarter next year, he said.
The announcement of the initiative is proof of this confidence, he said. "Now is the time to work on the open architecture, which lets companies perform in the 3G world," Ollila said.