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Nokia Says Cell Phones to Topple PCs as Web Tool
TOKYO — The chief of Finnish cellular phone maker Nokia Corp said on Friday he expects web-connected mobile phones to outnumber personal computers linked to the Net within three years.

"The future is not PC-centric. It's mobile phone centric," Nokia chief Jorma Ollila told a seminar on mobile networks and digital home appliances in Tokyo.

He said mobile phones are quickly becoming a "personalised" tool for various forms of e-commerce.

"Supply chain management, supplier and vendor relationships... all of these will be managed through mobile devices rather than wireline connections through desktop PCs," he said.

Nokia, the world's biggest mobile phone handset maker with sales of 76.3 million phones worldwide in 1999, is aggressively pushing the convergence of mobile telephony and the Internet.

Last year, it introduced WAP (wireless application protocol-based) phones, which use software bridges that interpret the Net for phones or any other wireless gadgets. The phones have caused a stampede in Britain.

British Telecommunications Plc's group director, Andy Green, was even more aggressive about the prospect of a wireless Internet.

"I don't think a single phone would be sold in Japan or in Britain in 2001 that does not connect to the Internet," he told the seminar.

He predicted that PCs will quickly retreat as a major Internet access platform. "PCs will be the fourth. Mobile phones, TV sets, game machines and then the PC as a way to access the Internet."

In Japan, NTT Docomo, the world's second largest mobile phone company, launched its wireless Internet service i-mode a year ago. Now, it has 4.2 million users, becoming Japan's biggest service provider as the craze sweeps the country.

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