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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 May, 2005, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Nokia to upgrade Kuwaiti network
Nokia phone screen
The deal has come about after Finnish-Kuwaiti trade talks
Phone and telecoms firm Nokia has agreed a 100m euro ($125.7m; 68.9m) deal to upgrade the network of Kuwaiti mobile phone provider Wataniya Telecom.

According to Wataniya, the deal opens the way to "beyond 3G", with work due to start now and end by early in 2006.

The network will support High Speed Packet Access technology (HSPA), which opens up broadband internet access at speeds of up to 2 megabits per second.

The signing ceremony was attended by Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhane.

He is on a state visit to the Gulf state for talks on economic co-operation between the two nations.

Grid improvement

The HSPA-technology access speed compares to typical dial-up access speeds of 56 kilobits-per-second and "broadband" ADSL fixed internet access speeds of 1 megabit-per-second.

The deal comes after a 65m-euro tie-up signed by Wataniya with Sweden's LM Ericsson to upgrade the Kuwaiti operator's grid.

Wataniya Telecom has more 800,000 users among Kuwait's population of 2.7 million, and is in competition with larger rival Mobile Telecom Co.

It is involved in a consortium building a network in northern Iraq, and also operates in Algeria and Tunisia.

Good news warning

Last week Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone producer, was reprimanded by Finland's financial market watchdog and stock exchange for not releasing positive earnings news quickly enough.

Listed in New York and Helsinki, Nokia followed US rules but did not abide by those of Finland, the regulators said.

In January, the company surprised the market by saying that earnings per share were 0.23 euros, 25% more than had been expected.

Sales hit 9.1bn euros ($11.4bn), topping the forecast of between 8.4bn euros and 8.6bn euros.

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