Sonera, which already offers broadband wireless Internet access to its corporate customers, plans to offer the Sonera wGate service beginning in the first half of 2002.
The service will offer roaming capabilities over GSM core networks in wGate service areas, such as hotels and airports, that will offer WLAN public access points.
In order to use the WLAN public access points, the user's notebook computer must have a combined WLAN and SIM card installed. Current GSM mobile phones use SIM cards to authenticate a user on a mobile network.
Nokia announced in June that it was testing the technology for bringing SIM authentication to WLAN service and that Sonera had signed on to pilot the new service.
Nokia envisions a worldwide rollout of the service as 3G network technologies take off in the next three to four years. Nokia predicted that the general use of 3G will lead to future PC cards combining WLAN support with 3G and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) support.