July 28,2006 Nokia started its very first public Unlicensed Mobile Access pilot over Wireless LAN in the Finnish city of Oulu last week. This trial will last at least two months and is being conducted under real life surroundings and conditions. Fifty families from the city of Oulu will be trying and testing the functionalities of this new technology with the help of Nokia’s 6136 mobile device. The 6136 integrates UMA technology to allow for seamless handover of voice and data connections between GSM cellular and WLAN networks. In other words, it combines the benefits of mobile and fixed landline through voice over WLAN.
"UMA technology truly brings simplicity in the usage of voice over IP," says Peter Ropke, Senior Vice President, Mobile Phones R&D, Nokia. "This pilot project is an important step forward in bringing functional UMA technology to the mass market. Both operators and consumers will be able to garner the benefits of this new technology." UMA technology makes it possible for users to seamlessly roam and handover between local area networks and wide area networks using the same dual-mode device. Instead of constantly communicating with a base station, UMA allows the phone to also make calls through WLAN internet networks. In turn, this will also make it easier and cheaper for operators to expand their area coverage by implementing WLAN hotspots instead of costly base stations. The pilot project is a joint cooperation between Nokia, the DNA/Finnet group and the City of Oulu. The City of Oulu announced the Pan Oulu project last year which enables its citizens to receive free WLAN internet via hotspots around the city. These hotspot areas around the downtown area of Oulu will be a great way to assess the way UMA works in a constantly changing environment like WLAN.