First ever international MMS roaming and interconnection via Sonera GRX and Nokia MMSCs


Sonera, the Finnish mobile operator, and EMT of Estonia have successfully demonstrated MMS roaming and interconnection between their respective commercial GPRS networks. The demonstration was performed end-to-end using multimedia messaging service centers (MMSCs) from Nokia, as well as latest generation GPRS handsets from Nokia and other manufacturers

The successful implementation shows that mobile subscribers can send multimedia messages and experience seamless, uninterrupted multimedia messaging service when roaming to a visited network. The achieved user experience is all the more impressive for the fact that the GPRS networks and handsets were supplied by different vendors.

Moreover, Sonera and EMT demonstrated, also for the first time anywhere, how multimedia messages can be sent between the subscribers of different operators. This breakthrough underscores that MMS is ready for business and will be widely available across networks, greatly expanding the accessible market for such services.

In practical terms, thanks to new interconnection technologies like Sonera GRX, MMS services can now be sent between different GPRS and UMTS networks as easily as SMS messages are routed in GSM. Moreover, for the end-users, multimedia messaging with the latest model MMS handsets is no more complex than SMS.

"By demonstrating successful MMS roaming, we are moving MMS into the global marketplace," said Tõnu Grünberg, Vice President, EMT. "Even networks with different systems will clearly be able to support MMS traffic from other operators - greatly expanding the scope of the MMS business. Also, for a customer-conscious operator like EMT, it is a pleasure to see how easy MMS is for the end-users."

"This is a landmark demonstration of MMS interconnection and roaming," said Timo Levoranta, Senior Vice President, Sonera Services. "Now operators can feel confident that the market for MMS will extend around the world. Furthermore, I think operators will appreciate the security and flexibility that Sonera GRX can bring to international MMS service."

"We are happy to be showing the way to global acceptance of next-generation messaging service," said Pekka Pohjakallio, Director, Mobile Internet Solutions, Nokia Networks. "With inter-operator MMS delivery fully in place, subscribers can be sure that messages are delivered, no matter in which network the receiver is currently located. With MMS roaming, traveling customers can enjoy the convenience of messaging in other networks as well."

Sonera's commercial GPRS Roaming Exchange (GRX) was used to route the MMS traffic and interconnect the two operator's networks. Sonera GRX acts as a bridge to next-generation GPRS and 3G roaming and interconnection for operators around the world.

The demonstration system made use of Nokia Multimedia Messaging Service Centers (MMSC) and new MMS enabled handsets, including Nokia 7650, to send and receive multimedia messages over the two operators' commercial GPRS networks.

Editor's notes:

GRX (GPRS Roaming Exchange) is specified in the IR.34 recommendations laid down by the International Roaming Expert Group (IREG) of the GSM Association.

Sonera Corporation (HEX: SRA, NASDAQ: SNRA) is a leading provider of mobile and advanced telecommunications services. Sonera is growing as an operator, as well as a provider of transaction and content services in Finland and in selected international markets. The company also offers advanced data solutions to businesses, and fixed network voice services in Finland and neighboring markets. In 2001, Sonera's revenues totaled EUR 2.2 billion, and profit before extraordinary items and taxes was EUR 0.45 billion. Sonera employs about 10,000 people.

EMT, a leading mobile telecommunications operator in Estonia, has gained and retains the highest position in terms of customer numbers, financial indicators, quality of service as well as the diversity of value-added services. EMT is recognized for its innovative business activities: the company was among the first to implement a GPRS system, location based services, as well as m-commerce services, such as mobile parking.

Nokia is the world leader in mobile communications. Backed by its experience, innovation, user-friendliness and secure solutions, the company has become the leading supplier of mobile phones and a leading supplier of mobile, fixed broadband and IP networks. By adding mobility to the Internet, Nokia creates new opportunities for companies and further enriches the daily lives of people. Nokia is one of the most broadly held companies in the world with listings on six major exchanges.

Further information:

Timo Niukkanen
Communications Manager
Sonera Inter Operator Services
Tel. + 358 400 504431

Communications Department, Nokia Networks
Tel. + 358 (0) 7180 38195