Sales volumes of UMTS telephones will strongly increase at the end of 2002, even if the transition between mobile telephony's second generation (GPRS) and third generation will take several years, warned Matti Alahuhta, the boss of the largest component manufacturer in the world, ie of the Finnish company Nokia. Mr Alahuhta added on the eve of CeBIT fair, that the launch of this new generation telecommunication system, scheduled for September 26, will be supported by many telecommunication operators, such as the British company Hutchison-Wampoa and the German operators E-Plus (subsidiary of Dutch KPN) and T-Mobile (Deutsche Telekom).Nokia was joined by German operator Vodafone D2, a subsidiary of the British company Vodafone: it confirmed that it would launch UMTS telephones in the autumn. And Mobilcom, another German group, in which France T?l?com holds 28.5% capital, reaffirmed that it would launch its UMTS equipment in the fourth quarter. However, the group's leader, Gerhard Schmid, toned things down by underlining that this operation would depend on the availability of the mobile 'phones. Indeed, the launch of the "3G" or third generation UMTS-standard mobile 'phones has already been put back several times, while many telecom operators, heavily in debt, do not seem terribly keen to invest in these new networks.However, world leader Nokia, which has set itself the objective of increasing its market share from 35% to 40%, is not the most advanced UMTS telephone provider...

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