The cellular industry is moving from pure voice-based services to value-added, often data-based services and the traffic of wireless data transmissions over the Global Services for Mobile Telecommunications (GSM) network has the potential to exceed voice traffic. According to Janne Jormalainen, Nokia's general manager, wireless data communications for the Asia-Pacific, the GSM network could grow from 10 per cent of the global traffic today to 50 per cent in 2001. 'What we need is to create a mass market,' he said. In Hong Kong, factors required to create a mass market will be created when six planned PCS providers, known to have the ability to offer data services, start operating. 'In the competition that will result, offering data services will make the difference,' Mr Jormalainen said. Existing services are quite advanced. Hong Kong Telecom CSL has offered mobile data transmission for more than two years. Through its 1010 value-added services, CSL has been distributing PCMCIA-based data cards that enable Nokia and Ericsson mobile telephone users to receive data on their laptop. For an extra $400 a month, CSL data card users can enjoy services such as data transfer, fax and fax mail functions, as well as access to the Internet and e-mail. Data card packages cost $3,960 for users of Nokia handsets and $3,960 for Ericsson handset users. Since the beginning of the year, the same types of services - bundled under the Mobile Office Solution Service Plan - and fees apply to users of the Nokia 9000 Communicator, a digital mobile phone with personal digital assistant (PDA) and communications facilities integrated into one handset. Hong Kong Telecom CSL was the first to distribute the handset in Hong Kong and was recently joined by Smartone and Hutchison. 'Thanks to today's Value Added Services (VAS), a mobile phone is not only a mobile phone but a tool that enables access to a myriad of services,' a CSL spokesman said, giving as an example InvestSmart, an on-line service that provides subscribers with real-time stock data. Typical customers for the Nokia 9000 communicator are managers and sales personnel, large corporate organisations or vertical market group and small business owners. One way to attract more customer groups into wireless data is to develop solutions that answer different end-user needs - while some users seek total mobility, others prefer solutions that support their usual applications. The Nokia Cellular Data Suite, for example, is an optimised connectivity solution for the growing number of users in the Microsoft Windows environment. This software-based wireless data solution, which integrates Windows 95 with the Nokia phone, uses a serial cable to connect a laptop PC to a compatible, leaving the PCMCIA slot free for a network card, CD-ROM drive, printer or other peripherals. Users can send and receive e-mail, faxes, computer files and short messages via the cellular network. At present, the cable can only connect to Nokia phones - the recently launched Nokia 3810 and 8110 plus. The suite, which was launched as the CeBIT, will be available in Hong Kong in three weeks and will cost half the price of a Datacard. For those who want to do away with cables and phones altogether, Nokia developed the Cellular Card Phone - a PC card with a built-in GSM phone that fits into the PC Card type II or III of a laptop and turns it into a wireless communication device with no cellular phone, interface adapters or even cables. Users of this device will be able to work on their preferred Windows 95 applications to send and receive short messages, faxes and e-mail, access the Internet, connect to corporate databases and download files over digital GSM networks. The device, together with its user interface software, will be released next autumn. Based on these new technologies, operators should be able to develop a whole new range of personalised services. The aim is to turn mobile communications into the preferred type of communications.