Nokia sets date for 3G phone launch

The Finnish mobile maker hits expectations with latest financial results, but cuts its forecast for worldwide mobile sales again

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is to unveil its first 3G phone in September, according to the company. The device will not go on sale until next year, though.

Nokia set the date on Thursday, when it also released its second-quarter financial results. Jorma Ollila, chairman and chief executive of Nokia, said that several other big product launches were scheduled to take place before the end of the year.

"Nokia is preparing for a string of new product launches for the remainder of the year, including a major step in September with the introduction of our first dual-mode WCDMA/GSM phone," said Ollila.

Few precise details about the product are yet available, but it will work on existing GSM networks as well as the forthcoming high-speed third-generation networks that should go live in the UK by the end of this year. A colour screen should allow users to view video clips and picture emails, and surf the Internet at high speeds.

However, Ollila said that the 3G handset would not go on sale until early 2003, reflecting the fact that only one UK 3G licence-holder -- Hutchison 3G -- is expected to launch its 3G network in 2002.

Nokia has already released several new handsets in 2002, including the Nokia 7650 -- a Symbian-based phone that includes PDA and digital camera functionality. According to Ollila, the initial feedback from customers has been "extremely positive".

Nokia's second-quarter financial results were in line with analyst expectations, and it increased its market share to 38 percent.

However, it cut its forecast for the number of mobile handset that would be sold worldwide this year once again -- this time to 400 million. Back in April it cut its global mobile handset sales forecast from 440 million to between 400 million and 420 million.

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