Nokia Mobile Phone History


Nokia Mobile Phone History - Mobile Phones


The History of Nokia - A synopsis

Beginnings
Nokia began its life by a river of the same name in Finland when Fredrik Idestam set up a wood-pulp mill to manufacture paper in 1865. In 1898 a rubber company was established in the same region although unconnected with the other business. Later, in 1912, a company that became known as the Finnish Cable Works opened in the centre of Helsinki. Ten years on, the Finnish Rubber Works bought majority shares in both Finnish Cable Works and Nokia Ab, the ground wood producer. Thus the three independent companies began to pool their resources and co-operate, evolving into a more cohesive group. Over time a community established itself around the factories and became the town of Nokia. The companies continued to operate under a single umbrella for some considerable time. In fact it was only as recently as 1966 that the companies decided officially to merge and Nokia began functioning as the business that we recognise today. When all of the Nokia divisions joined in the 1960's, electronics made up about 3% of the overall company sales. By 1980, Nokia had begun focusing its energies internationally on becoming a communications company. It was around this time that a department called Dedicated Networks was set up to deal specifically with transmission technology and Private Mobile Radio (PMR). Although initially based in Finland, Dedicated Networks had a global sales base. The seeds of Nokia's eventual international success had been planted.


Arrival
In 1984, Dedicated Networks arrived in the UK with avery small workforce of only a few people to test thelikely success of a local UK branch. However beforelong deals had been secured with both East Coast Railand British Gas Eastern for transmission and PMRequipment. Simply because both of these companieswere based in East Anglia, Nokia too made its homethere, in a small office on the Cambridge Science Park.Later in that same decade, a section of Nokia'sbusiness called Nokia Cellular Systems was formed todeal with mobile communications infrastructure.Nokia's UK history had begun - its quiet arrival in themid 1980's belying the explosive growth soon tobegin, where Nokia would become one of the largestand most successful businesses in the UK.


Early Growth
Nokia's unrivalled expansion came at the beginning ofthe 1990's, initiated by the signing of a contract withCellnet to supply base stations throughout the UK.Despite a small workforce, an entrepreneurial ethosand irrepressible self-belief ensured that Nokiawas more than capable of taking on establishedUK businesses.Gaining the Cellnet contract was not only a major coupfor such a young company. It also gave Nokia boththe financial power to expand, and the credibilitywith potential clients that it was a major corporatefigure in UK business.Cellnet required the first base stations to be producedlocally, so a production unit was set up at Huntingdonin a building named 'The Forum'. Meanwhile, by theend of 1990, Research and Development hadexpanded the Cambridge office from a few employeesto over 60.In 1991 Nokia began looking for a second networkoperator customer. And by the end of that year hadwon the business as sole supplier for GSMinfrastructure within the UK for Microtel - aconsortium of British Oxygen, British Aerospace andHutchison Whampoa, soon to be launched as Orange.The first payment received in this deal was around £4million. Although a seemingly small amount bytoday's standards, the deal enabled Nokia to cementits UK operations. The move into the UK marketplacehad been a success.


The Cable Effect
The contracts that were gained in the early part ofNokia's UK history heralded the arrival of the companyas a major player in the UK telecommunicationsindustry. Another contributor to this growth was theGovernment's deregulation of Cable TV in the firstquarter of 1992.The effect on Nokia's growth was enormous. Althoughfixed telephony had been deregulated in 1985, it tooktime for cables to be renewed so that other businessescould compete with BT.Nokia was quick to take advantage of the opportunity,immediately securing Telewest Communication as acustomer for the supply of transmission, accessand switching equipment for their nationaltelephony network.In the next few years, more contracts were securedwith Videotron, Bell Cable Media and NYNEX (allsubsequently part of Cable and Wireless and todayntl). This made a distinct contribution to Nokia'sfinancial standing and prompted further expansionacross the country.


Expansion
Nokia's business growth was matched by aproliferation of sites and locations across the SouthEast. The Cambridge office was filling up fast and TheForum in Huntingdon did not have the capacity tocater for the speed at which base stations were beingbuilt for Cellnet.Between 1986 and 1989 Nokia acquired the Finnishradio and television manufacturer, Salora, as well asLuxor AB and Schaub-Lorenz, inheriting their offices inSwindon, Slough and Basildon.Most importantly, the acquisition of Schaub-Lorenzbrought Nokia the licence to the ITT brandname -a major recognisable name within consumerelectronics, especially in Europe.In 1992, the local Huntingdon MP, then Chancellor ofthe Exchequer and soon-to-be Prime MinisterJohn Major opened the new Lancaster House siteto accommodate the growing number of NokiaUK employees.Later that same year Nokia bought anothertelecommunications company, Technophone,inheriting both its manufacturing plant in Camberleyand a skilled workforce.Even with these new facilities, Nokia Mobile Phonesdivision required a still larger production site. Someoperations were moved to Dallas, allowingCamberley's buildings to focus primarily on BaseStation production - delivering to both Cellnet andMicrotel by early 1992.At this time Nokia had around 150 employees in theUK. But huge new projects would transform this again.Although initially the Camberley building was requiredonly to produce five to ten base station units eachweek, due to escalating demand it soon becameapparent that more space would be needed.So, in 1994 a prestigious new factory was purposebuilt,its 35,000 square metres immediately filling upto allow construction of the hundreds of units that were to be delivered every month.By this stage the organisation had developeddistinctive characters to its northern and southernoperations within the South East. The southern regiondealing with mobile phones, the north with networksolutions. One of the main factors contributing to thiswas the degree of travel required in the Mobile Phonesteam, which depended on Camberley's close and easyaccess to the major UK airports.A Peterborough office was opened in 1996 as a sistersite to Huntingdon. Nokia UK had by now laid downthe solid foundations for its growth and developmentinto the company we know today.

Telecommunications Focus
Looking at the early 1990's the Telecommunicationsand Mobile Phones divisions made up only a smallpercentage of Nokia's overall UK constitution. However,despite making up the majority of the company bothIT and Consumer Electronics had by then begun to feelthe effect of a global downturn in both areas.But Nokia by this stage had become quite accustomedto managing change both in its industries and, in turn,within itself. Arguably the most influential decision inthe company's history was when Jorma Ollila, thenewly appointed CEO, chose to focus Nokia's financialand creative efforts on the communications sector.The timing of this decision was such that Nokiabecame set on a course which would see itsproducts and service rapidly become part of thefabric of western society, particularly in the key
were to be delivered every month.By this stage the organisation had developeddistinctive characters to its northern and southernoperations within the South East. The southern regiondealing with mobile phones, the north with networksolutions. One of the main factors contributing to thiswas the degree of travel required in the Mobile Phonesteam, which depended on Camberley's close and easyaccess to the major UK airports.A Peterborough office was opened in 1996 as a sistersite to Huntingdon. Nokia UK had by now laid downthe solid foundations for its growth and developmentinto the company we know today.phones that found their way into the nation's pocketsthroughout the 1990's. Nokia's incisive businessacumen had ensured that, despite arriving in the UK as a relatively small company, it had managed toovertake all its established rivals within a few years.During this period business partnerships andalliances which were forged in other areas of thecompany allowed further profitable affiliations in themobile communications industry. 1997 saw Nokiaproviding a major communications network to Cellnetand signing an agreement withOrange for mobile telephonenetwork expansion equipmentworth £150 million.


Success in the 90's
By now these contracts had cemented Nokia'sstanding as a major international business in theUK, and had allowed the company to direct bothenergy and money towards new and profitableways of continuing its success. It was in the latterpart of the 1990's that this success started to exceedall expectations.By mid-1995 cable TV operators had found that theirbusiness was not going nearly as well as had beenpredicted, with expenditure far exceeding income.Projects began to be scaled down and, as a directresult, a sizeable part of Nokia's UK business was indanger of diminishing.But in 1996 a global decision was taken to put moreemphasis on mobile telecommunications, which inthe UK led to the company dramatically increasing itsmarket share. Nokia's characteristic ability to foreseemarket changes and adapt accordingly was never soacutely successful as in this period.The contract signed in 1997 with Orange was thelargest agreed in any section of Nokia's UK businessat that time. This was followed in 1998 by Orangeannouncing that Nokia had been selected as the keysupplier for the accelerated construction of its GSM1800 network - further endorsing Nokia's rapid rise inthe telecommunications industry.At the time the contract meant that Nokia'sinfrastructure would be used by Orange as theplatform to launch advanced new mobile servicessuch as real internet browsing, online information,home shopping and narrow band television.Nokia mobile phones had already begun to dominatea fiercely competitive market and with these newcontracts a productive future looked set to continue.This contract meant that Nokia's infrastructure wouldbe used by Orange as the platform to launchadvanced new mobile services such as real internetbrowsing, online information, home shopping andnarrow band television.Nokia mobile phones had already begun to dominatea fiercely competitive market. With deals like these, aproductive future looked set to continue.


Connections
Business grew in the late 1990's on a number oflevels. Nokia's large-scale production of digitalterrestrial receivers allowed people nationwide toreceive quality digital television and additionalchannels without the need for a satellite dish.In addition to Nokia's long-standing relationship withCellnet (formerly BT Cellnet, now mm02) the companywas ensured a profitable income. In 1998 a networkexpansion contract worth £200 million was finalisedwith Cellnet alongside a new agreement withRedstone Telecom and an equipment contract withCable and Wireless UK. Thus, existing businessrelationships flourished, while additional ones allowedNokia to further grow in its major areas of expertise.With the end of the century approaching, Nokia's namehad become synonymous with phenomenal success -all the more impressive given the company'scomparatively recent history in the UK.Nokia mobile phones, popular not only for their easeof use and functionality but also their unique style,already grace the lives of millions of Britons.With Jorma Ollila's astute decision to streamline thebusiness to focus on telecommunications, businessalliances and contracts have been both developed andreinforced. Nokia UK today continues to go fromstrength to strength in many different fields.Nokia's future lies not only in the strengthening of itsalliances, but also in the development of newtechnologies for the next generation in mobilecommunications.Most importantly, Nokia intends to continuepredicting and adapting to changes in themarketplace based on the way people want toconnect with each other.In the same way that three diverse businessesforesaw the benefits of working innovatively togetherbeside the Nokia rapids almost 150 years ago, so tooNokia UK's interests will thrive in the continual flux oftoday's business climate.



Nokia Mobile Phone History



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