Billions of dollars in potential new investments in corporate networks and the launch of a 'world phone' by Nokia are leading a revival in Asia's telecommunications markets. Organisers of the 15th Asian International Communications and Information Technology Exhibition and Conference, also known as CommunicAsia, said corporate visitors to the show had earmarked funds of US$3.17 billion to sign potential deals at the exhibit. That war chest comes from more than 40,000 trade visitors from 79 countries attending this year's event, which starts in Singapore today and ends on Friday. Stephen Tan, chief executive of Singapore Exhibition Services, said the huge interest in CommunicAsia reflected how much Asian economies had regained their momentum since the Sars crisis. Sourcing budgets registered by corporate visitors for the main CommunicAsia 2004 and EnterpriseIT 2004 conference and exhibition total $2.34 billion. Budgets for BroadcastAsia2004 come to about $827 million. 'An emerging trend this year is an increase in wireless solutions featured,' said Mr Tan. 'This includes wireless local loop, Wi-fi and wireless broadband, IP [internet protocol] over satellite, voice over IP, and mobile content and content delivery systems.' In a bid to distance itself from rivals but still capture the attention of visitors, Nokia is staging the independent Nokia Connection forum, where it yesterday unveiled the world's first mobile phone for use across third- and second-generation GSM networks. Nokia president Pekka Ala-Pietila said the 6630 handset, based on the Series 60 smartphone platform and running the Symbian operating system, was designed to boost mass market demand for 3G services worldwide. The 6630 would help speed up regional carriers' transition to Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) networks, based on the GSM infrastructure for 3G high-speed mobile data services, he said. More than 60 operators were expected to launch WCDMA 3G services by year's end. Nokia said the phone, which would be available in the fourth quarter this year, was also the world's smallest megapixel phone for GSM and new WCDMA networks. It weighs 127 grams. Features include an MP3 music player, real-time video streaming, a 1.23-megapixel camera, one-hour video recording, wireless printing and 74 megabytes of memory. Options include an attachable flash, a wireless Bluetooth keyboard and a hands-free car set. Mr Ala-Pietila said early adopters would come from Hong Kong, where Hutchison Telecom's 3 has been in operation for months, and Singapore, where MobileOne has set up a WCDMA network. 'Nokia is working very closely with Asian operators,' said Simon Beresford-Wylie, Nokia's senior vice-president for Asia-Pacific networks business. Mr Tan said this year's CommunicAsia had generated a high level of interest from the region's fastest expanding economies - including China, South Korea, India, Malaysia and Thailand. Singapore Exhibition Services figures show there are 76 exhibitors from the mainland at the show, compared with 36 in 2002. 'CommunicAsia presents Chinese companies with the opportunity to showcase and promote their products and services on the global stage,' Mr Tan said. 'These companies are eager to identify new markets and business opportunities, to promote their products and services, and to form partnerships with international players.' The number of Hong Kong-based exhibitors has risen to 47 from 43 two years ago. Research firm Gartner said growth opportunities had also opened up for fixed-line broadband internet connections. It forecast internet and broadband access revenues across the region would reach US$14.3 billion by 2008, representing about 14 per cent of the total value of the fixed-line telecommunications market. By then, the Asia-Pacific region will have about 107.9 million internet service provider accounts. Mr Tan said some of the biggest communications and technology firms in the world were expected to bolster the investment potential in the public and private sectors with new offerings at CommunicAsia. These included Ericsson, Siemens, LG Electronics, Samsung, Sony, Fujitsu, Sanyo Electric, Juniper Networks, Lucent Technologies and even Microsoft. The software giant will launch its Microsoft TV, a television over IP system, in Asia at the show.