REGISTRY OPERATOR’S PROPOSAL
I. GENERAL INFORMATION
Name, address, telephone and fax numbers of the registry operator:
PO Box 106
Fax: +358 2040 5643
For information on other business locations, please see the annual report.
The registry operator's type of business entity and law under which it is organized:
Public Limited Company, Corporation, Finland
URL of registry operator's principal world wide web site:
Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S Number of registry operator:
Number of employees:
Registry operator's total revenue (in US dollars) in the last-ended fiscal year:
Full names and positions of all directors, all officers, all relevant managers, and any persons or entities owning five percent or more of registry operator:
President and CEO Aulis Antero Salin
Deputy CEO Kaj-Erik Relander
Board of Director members Markku Juhani Talonen, Chairman
Liisa Marjut Kristiina Joronen, Vice Chairman
Kalevi Johan Edvard Alestalo
Reijo Kalervo Sulonen
Kari Ilmari Vilkman
Tapio Johannes Vaahtokivi
Other relevant directors
Executive Vice President Juha Pekka Varelius
Senior Vice President Jukka Tapani Leinonen
Vice President Juha-Pekka Weckström
Approximately 53 % of Sonera Oyj is owned by the Finnish State.
Name, telephone and fax number, and e-mail address of person to contact for additional information regarding this proposal:
Mr. Jukka Leinonen
Tel: +358 2040 3990
Fax: +358 2040 5643
II. BUSINESS CAPABILITIES AND PLAN
The name of the company is Sonera Corporation. The registered office of the company is the city of Helsinki.
The company's administrative bodies are the Supervisory Board, the Board of Directors, and the President and CEO.
Trading with the Sonera share commenced on the Pre-List of HEX Helsinki Exchanges on November 10, 1998. Quotation on the Main List commenced on November 17, 1998. The trading code of the share is SRA1V and its lot size is 200 shares.
As of October 13, 1999, the company has also been listed on the NASDAQ National Market in the United States. The quoted Sonera share is in the form of an ADS (American Depositary Share). On NASDAQ, Sonera's trading code is SNRA, and the ISIN code of the ADS shares is US8354332020. One ADS represents one Sonera share quoted on Helsinki Exchanges.
The shares are also traded within the SEAQ International trading system, which is managed by the London Stock Exchange. The ISIN code for international trading is FI0009007371. In the systems of real-time market information providers such as Reuters and Bridge, Sonera's trading code is SRA1V.HE
The State of Finland holds a majority share of the company. The Government has gained approval from the Finnish Parliament to reduce State’s ownership to 0% in Sonera. The ownership structure is shown on the table below as of August 10, 2000
Finnish State 52.9%
Pohjola Group 1.3%
Sampo-Varma Group 0.9%
The Local Government Pensions Institution 0.8%
Fennia Group 0.3%
PT Pension Fund 0.2%
Tapiola Insurance Group 0.1%
Neste Pension Foundation 0.1%
Sitra, the Finnish National
Fund for Research and Development 0.1%
LEL Employment Pension Fund 0.1%
Foreign/Nominee-registered shares 35.1%
Other shareholders, total 8.1%
Sonera’s average number of personnel for the period January-June 2000 is 9702. The number of personnel for January-June 1999 is 8963.
Current Business Operations
Sonera’s current operations can be divided into two divisions:
The Mobile and media division can be further divided into new media services businesses and mobile operations. Sonera’s mobile operations comprise of the leading mobile operator of Finland, and its foreign associate companies, including Turkcell of Turkey. Sonera recently agreed to sell its share in Voice Stream of United States to Deutsche Telekom. Sonera has been active in participating UMTS-license allocations in Europe. Sonera already has an UMTS-license in Finland, and in Spain and Germany through its associated companies. Sonera will pursue further UMTS opportunities wherever it regards them attractive business cases.
Sonera has proved its business capabilities in the advanced Finnish mobile market. Sonera has been a pioneer in mobile services already since 1973. Even though Finnish mobile market presents the highest penetration rates in the world, Sonera has managed to maintain high revenue per subscriber thanks to its innovative services.
Sonera is increasingly focusing on mobile Internet services that comprise the other part of Sonera’s Mobile and Media division. Sonera’s global ambitions materialize in its innovative services. Sonera understands that its services need to have global presence and hence Sonera has been actively building operations in Europe, United States and Asia. Current spearhead services Zed, SmartTrust, Juxto, Plaza and Infocommunications will be followed by other services that are under development in Sonera’s New Communications Services division as well as in mSpace, Sonera’s mobile operator’s test environment.
Sonera is also active in international industry forums. For example, Sonera (SmartTrust) is a founding member of security forum Radicchio that promotes use of public key infrastructure (PKI).
Sonera’s telecom division comprises fixed line voice and data services, equipment sales and other operations. Sonera operates a state-of-the-art fixed network in Finland and in Baltic region through its associated companies. Sonera has faced long period of competition in its domestic fixed data and voice services, as Finland was one of the first European countries to liberalize its telecoms sector. Liberalization begun in 1990 when free competition was introduced in data networks. Despite early deregulation, Sonera has maintained its strong position in data and voice services. Currently Sonera has over 780 000 equivalent subscriber lines, and growth is expected to come especially from residential and corporate data solutions, including ISDN and ADSL technologies.
Sonera has fixed line operations in Russia, and Central and Northern Europe. Sonera has laid fiber optic cable linking Russia, Central and Northern Europe to North America. Sonera also has city rings in major cities.
Telecom division’s other operations include equipment sales, construction installation and fault repair services for telecommunications and data systems, radiation testing, ticket sales, and paging service among others. Construction and maintenance businesses are concentrated in Sonera’s subsidiaries Primatel (100%) and Isoworks (50%).
Past Business Operations / History
Sonera originated as a state organization, the Telegraph Office of Finland, which was created shortly after the founding of the independent state of Finland in 1917 and was responsible for state telegraph operations. The Telegraph Office initially operated a fixed long distance network and a number of local fixed networks and was merged with another state organization, Post of Finland in 1928 to form Posts and Telegraphs of Finland, subsequently renamed Posts and Telecommunications of Finland.
To make the structure of Posts and Telecommunications of Finland more market-orientated, its regulatory functions were transferred to the Ministry of Transport and Communications in 1987. In January 1990, Posts and Telecommunications of Finland became an unincorporated state-owned enterprise and its operations were separated from the state budget. On January 1, 1994, Posts and Telecommunications of Finland was converted into a limited liability company, PT Finland, and its business operations and assets were divided into two principal business areas; postal services and telecommunications. PT Finland’s postal service operations and telecommunications operations were then transferred into newly-created corporations, Finland’s Post Ltd. and Telecom Finland, while certain non-core operations were transferred to other subsidiaries within PT Finland. After incorporation the group started operating entirely on commercial terms.
Until July 1, 1998 Sonera’s business operations constituted a part of the operations of PT Finland. Prior to July 1, 1998, all current subsidiaries of Sonera Corporation were direct or indirect subsidiaries of PT Finland with the exception of subsidiaries established or acquired after July 1, 1998. Effective July 1, 1998, PT Finland’s postal services and telecommunications operations were separated from each other in a demerger. After the demerger, Telecom Finland’s name was changed to Sonera Group plc.
In November 1998, the Finnish State sold 158 000 000 shares at the price of FIM45 per share in an offering in reliance on Rule 144A and Regulation S under Securities Act and in retail offering in Finland. At the same time, Sonera issued 2 000 000 shares at the price of FIM 40.5 per share in an employee offering. In connection with the November 1998 offering, Sonera’s shares were listed on the Helsinki Securities and Derivative Exchange, Clearing House Ltd.
On February 22, 1999, the board of Sonera Group plc, a predecessor of Sonera Corporation, approved a merger between Sonera Group plc, the stock exchange listed parent company of the consolidated group, and its principal operating subsidiary Sonera Ltd. The merger took effect on September 30, 1999, and upon the effectiveness of the merger the name of the merged entity was changed to Sonera Corporation.
In connection with a share offering in October 1999, Sonera applied for quotation of its shares on the NASDAQ National Market in the United States. Trading in the Sonera shares on the NASDAQ National Market commenced on October 13, 1999.
Registry / Database / Internet Related Experience and Activities
Sonera has experience in the database and Internet industries through its extensive operations spanning from fixed line voice and data network operations to new wireless Internet services. Sonera has launched and is building global services businesses that address the coming mobile Internet business opportunities. Sonera is recognized as the frontrunner in innovative multimedia services in both fixed line as well as wireless areas. Sonera has won a number of prizes for its innovations. New Sonera wireless internet businesses include mobile portal Zed, security solutions provider SmartTrust, directory services business Sonera Infocommunications, Sonera’s ASP offering Sonera Juxto, and Sonera’s multi-access portal Sonera Plaza. Sonera also has a number of younger start-ups such as positioning technology, travel service and mobile payment technology. Sonera’s New Communications Services division incubates also a number of yet unpublished service start-ups that operate in wireless Internet opportunity.
Database and network management experience
Sonera Infocommunications is a pioneer in acquiring and building directory content and databases internationally. Currently Sonera Infocommunications has European multi-access directory service provisioning service in Finland, France, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, and Sweden. Sonera Infocommunications is also in progress of establishing joint ventures in global locations.
Sonera Juxto comprises Sonera’s domestic and international computer network and application management services as well as web, server and application hosting operations. Sonera Juxto services both rapidly expanding external customer base and Sonera in-house customers. Sonera Juxto has international operations in Europe and in the United States ranging from sales offices to full service and development facilities.
Internet service provision
Sonera Plaza is the largest Internet service provider (ISP) and portal in Finland. Sonera launched Telesampo service, one of the first online banking and trading services platforms, already in 1984. Telesampo was followed by Sonera Plaza which was established in 1994. Sonera Plaza was once the largest ISPs in the world. Currently Sonera Plaza has over 300 employees, of which 150 are based in Finland. Sonera Plaza has been aggressive in new services development and online advertising. Sonera Plaza has 250 000 subscribers in Finland and abroad. Sonera Plaza is rapidly developing future services and expanding from present markets. Sonera Plaza’s approach is complemented by Sonera’s wireless portal start-up Zed. Zed is currently expanding its operations and rolling out its services globally. Zed has presence in Europe, Asia and the United States, and it has mobile operator deals in each of the mentioned regions.
Sonera is an innovative telecommunications expert and aims to become a major provider of services in the international market leveraging its expertise in the mobile Internet world. Its strength lies in the diversity of its operations, which cover both fixed network and mobile communications and services. Sonera also co-operates closely with partners who are world leaders in their own fields. Rapid growth in the use of mobile phones presents an excellent opportunity for Sonera to further expand its wireless services.
Future in services
Sonera's business growth will increasingly be derived from services. Sonera has already gained valuable experience in providing services on the highly developed Finnish market. Sonera is able to utilize this expertise in international markets, where it is already actively involved. Through our associated companies, for example, Sonera already has over 13 million mobile communications customers. In Finland, Sonera has over 2.2 million customers.
New era of mobile services
Third generation mobile networks (UMTS, Universal Mobile Telephone System) will mark a new era in wireless services. They will enable the rapid transmission of large quantities of data. Sonera also intends to actively participate in the development of local and personal area network technologies such as wireless LAN and Bluetooth. Sonera intends to be in the core of the Mobile Internet by providing advanced personal and business life management services.
Successful services require the support of a reliable and efficient network. Sonera has been active in applying for 3G licenses and aims to be a leading 3G operator, as it is in the GSM environment, where international comparison has rated Sonera as the top operator.
Sonera already possesses a third generation mobile communications license for Finland and, through its associated companies, for Germany and Spain. It also plans to submit other applications on a selective basis. Sonera expects 3G services to be launched towards the end of 2001.
Continuous development is an essential part of Sonera's expertise. Sonera was amongst the first to launch several innovative services, such as the now common text services, a security solution for mobile commerce and transactions, and services which make use of positioning information. Sonera's virtual test environment for new services, known as mSpace, is a good example of the company's forward-looking approach.
Sonera spearheads the wireless Internet opportunity with its innovative service concepts such as Zed, Juxto and Plaza, as well as seeks to enable m-commerce and other transactions by offering security solutions through fully owned subsidiary SmartTrust.
Corporate management group:
Markku Talonen has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sonera Corporation since 1998. Pursuant to a resolution passed at the March 22, 2000 annual general meeting of Sonera’s shareholders, he assumed the chairmanship on a full-time basis effective June 16, 2000. He was previously the Chairman of PT Finland and has served on the Board of Directors for several corporations. He holds a Licentiate of Science degree in engineering.
Aulis Salin is the president and CEO of Sonera. Mr. Salin joined Sonera in 1962 and he has held positions in various departments. He holds a Master of Laws degree and a Master of Science degree in engineering. Mr. Salin is scheduled to retire on January 1, 2001.
Aimo Eloholma is the executive vice president of Sonera’s Telecom area. Mr. Eloholma joined Sonera in 1974 and he has held a number of positions in various fields of operation within Sonera including data communications, business development and sales and marketing. He holds a Master of Science degree in engineering.
Harri Hollmén has been the executive vice president responsible for Sonera Plaza since April 10, 2000. Prior to joining Sonera, Mr. Hollmén was the chief executive officer of the Leonia Group, a Finland-based banking group. He holds a Master of Laws degree.
Kim Ignatius has been an executive vice president and chief financial officer for Sonera since April 1, 2000. Prior to joining Sonera, Mr. Ignatius was the chief financial officer and a member of the executive board of Tamro Corporation, a Nordic pharmaceutical distributor and healthcare group. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.
Jari Jaakkola is the executive vice president of corporate communications and investor relations. Prior to joining Sonera in 1997, Mr. Jaakkola was the director of corporate communications at Metsä-Serla Corporation. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Kaj-Erik Relander is the Deputy CEO of Sonera. Prior to joining Sonera in 1994, Mr. Relander worked for SITRA, a Finnish private equity fund. He holds a Master of Science degree in economics and a Master of Business Administration degree. Mr. Relander has been appointed by the Board of Directors to assume the position of president and chief executive officer of Sonera commencing on January 1, 2001.
Juha Varelius has been executive vice president responsible for Sonera Services since April 1, 2000. Mr. Varelius joined Sonera in 1993. He holds a Master of Science degree in economics.
Staff / Employees
Since 1994, the average number of persons employed by Sonera has risen gradually, reaching 9270 for the year ended December 31, 1999. In its recent recruitment efforts, Sonera has concentrated on hiring highly educated technical and business professionals for its high growth businesses, such as mobile communications, and data and media services. Management believes that the number of personnel in its high growth businesses will continue to grow. The new businesses require a global presence from Sonera, and therefore Sonera has build presence in Europe, North America, and Asia. The average payroll for the Group was 9702 for the period January-June 2000.
Average number of personnel by business area 1997 1998 1999
Mobile communications 963 1114 1280
Media communications and new services 515 555 1346
Fixed network voice and data services 2106 2485 2442
Equipment sales and other operations 4383 4455 4202
Total 7967 8609 9270
The annual general meeting of shareholders of Sonera Group (presently Sonera Corporation) held on April 23, 1999 approved an incentive program for Sonera’s entire personnel in the form of bond loan with warrants. The employee incentive program is intended to ensure the commitment of Sonera’s employees and to enable Sonera to continue to attract highly qualified personnel and to support the development of Sonera’s business.
In addition to the incentive program Sonera supports its personnel’s development through multiple training programs and open seminars. Sonera believes that continuing development and training acts as a strong motivator for its personnel and helps to retain competent professionals.
Commercial General Liability Insurance
As a part of Stop loss agreement no 9600, Sonera has a Third party liability insurance in force with the Finnish insurance company Industrial Insurance Company Ltd. of the SAMPO Group for the period of January 1 – December 31, 2000. The agreement covers a Third party liability insurance for all companies of the Sonera Group. The loss-specific deductible is MFIM 5. In the near future Sonera will take a cover for errors & omissions risks.
Services to be provided
As the registry operator of the proposed mobile domain name system, Sonera will provide domain name registration services and accompanying support functions for second-level domain names to the accredited registrars within the TLD. Value added services include hosting services for second-level domain registrars, information services and consultancy.
As a company with advanced technological capabilities, the registry operator will offer its services and customer support through enhanced mobile Internet and web technologies. Registrars will be offered to apply for second-level domain names either directly through web-based services or e-mail-based registration templates.
Revenue model and target market
The proposed concept focuses on meeting the needs of the mobile Internet community. The whole domain name structure will be specifically defined to serve mobile applications and services in order to improve the quality of the Internet experience for mobile Internet users.
The domain name system itself will be managed on a non-profit basis. The Registry seeks no direct financial benefit from the applied responsibility. The operating costs of the registry will be divided among all registrars based on principles to be defined by the Sponsoring Organization.
An annual fee for all second-level domains will be charged from the registrars, who are responsible for the second-level domains in the proposed model for the domain name system. The registrars will be given the right to define and price their registration services for the third-level domains in their subdomain freely. However, given that the number of registrars in the model will grow to be substantial, it can be expected that competition will ensure low pricing of registration services for the registrants.
The financial benefits of the proposed domain name system for the registry operator are indirect. A top-level domain particularly specified and carefully managed to meet the needs of mobile devices is both an interesting technology challenge and a huge opportunity for all parties involved. Additional revenues for the registry operator may come from hosting, information and consultancy services.
The marketing efforts for the registry services and the proposed new TLD will focus on conveying the message that the new TLD will offer mobile Internet users an Internet experience of higher quality. Clarity of the domain name structure, quality of service, and wide availability of content and services optimized for mobile use will be emphasized in the marketing messages.
The Registry will attract registrations and interest for third-level domains by offering a reliable, secure and efficient database and domain name system services which enable registrars and mobile Internet users to fully utilize the increasing benefits of the Mobile Internet.
The marketing methods will vary according to the growth phase of the TLD.
In the initial phase, the marketing efforts will focus on making the new TLD and its purpose widely known among the target group and the Internet community. The objectives for this phase are to provoke potential registrars to apply for registrar status and to support the expansion of the Sponsoring Organization to ensure that all views are taken into account when the detailed policies are defined for the new TLD. In the very beginning, the marketing will be based on identifying potential registrars and making direct contact to their managerial level.
After the initial phase, the marketing efforts will concentrate on expanding the TLD through marketing of third-level domains. In this marketing phase, the registrars will have a major role. Given that the target registrars responsible for the second-level domains in the TLD will be companies offering mobile services to the mobile Internet users, they are likely to have an interest to participate in the marketing of the TLD. The Registry will support the registrars in increasing the public awareness of the new TLD.
The commitment of the Registry and the potential registrars to market the new TLD follows from a common vision of the Mobile Internet. All registrars will be expected to commit to marketing the domain to other mobile service providers and the mobile Internet users.
The details of the marketing campaigns will be defined later in cooperation with the Sponsoring Organization.
Estimated demand for registry services in the new TLD
An increasing part of the growth in mobile wireless devices will come from web-connected handsets. It has been estimated that the number of mobile phones connected to the Internet will exceed the number of PCs connected to the Internet by the year 2003. The business potential of providing adequate time and location independent Internet services is, thus, very clear.
The current domain name system in the Internet, however, is designed for hosts that are fairly static. This is obviously not the case for mobile devices. There are already various types of mobile service providers, which would be natural candidates for managing second-level domains in the new TLD, but the number of third-level domains is not expected to grow beyond thousands in the near future. Therefore, an explosion in the total number of domains in the new TLD is not expected in the beginning.
The market for the proposed registry services in the new TLD grows in line with the growth of Internet capable mobile devices, service providers and services available. The explosive growth of the number of domains starts when both the domain name system and the mobile devices support mobile hosting of domain names. As that requires development within the naming service and subsequent implementation in devices themselves, the number of domain names in the TLD is not expected to growth extensively before year 2004.
Resources required to meet demand
The amount of technical personnel is approximately 900, which is approximately 8% of the 10 800 employees of Sonera Corporation as of 9/2000.
Sonera Customer Service & Help Desk enables provision of real-time web and telephone based customer service.
Sonera’s network has wide geographic coverage and peering connections on both local and regional levels and with the major international Internet providers. Sonera has been recognized as being one of the most innovative operators in the world, as can be seen in the list of relevant milestones in Sonera's history provided in this application.
Staff size/expansion capability
Sonera is one of the top two attractive employers in Finland and is gaining international recognition abroad . Since 1994, the number of persons employed by Sonera has grown gradually. Recently Sonera has concentrated on hiring highly educated people and business professionals for its high growth businesses, such as mobile communications plus data and media services.
Sonera offers extensive incentive programs including a share option program. Sonera also provides comprehensive international training through contacts with international top-level management schools like the London business School of Economics.
Term of registry agreement
Considering the significance of the Registry for the whole industry and high reliability requirements, Sonera justifiably assumes that a longer than the current 4 year license term will be beneficial and guarantee better performance and service level to registrars.
As the concept is based on non-profitability and costs will be shared between the registrar community, a longer term agreement does not lead to any fear of monopoly or intolerable fees.
Sonera is a financially profitable and an operationally healthy company. 2000/1H: EBITDA margin 30%, equity to assets ratio 45%. The credit rating of the company is A+ according to Standard&Poors and A2 according to Moody’s. Sonera’s shares are listed in the Helsinki Stock Exchange and NASDAQ with market cap of 25 BUSD.
Business Risk and opportunities
Business opportunities and risks of the proposed domain name system both result from three characteristics of the concept: mobility, high volumes and dynamics. In the long term, mobile IP may cover all mobile as well as remotely manageable objects, which, of course, indicates tremendous growth potential for the proposed TLD.
The risks involved rise from the fact that the existing domain name system does not support the dynamic nature of the proposed new TLD. Technical solutions do not yet exist for ensuring always updated routing information and a relevant name base connection for mobile hosts in a domain name system which accommodates millions of constantly moving devices, which can be randomly switched on and off.
In the short term, the primary target of the proposed model is to provide a specific environment for development of the domain name system towards better usability for mobile devices. This will be done in cooperation with the Sponsoring Organization and the developers of future Internet and mobile communications technologies. As such, the new TLD is one of the necessary enablers of future growth for the mobile IP industry.
Registry failure provisions
As a well known mobile operator, Sonera has extensive experience of running large service operations. Sonera is aware of possible risks of failures in the Internet and has developed its own risk management strategy and methodology based on tens of years of operator experience to cover the known risks of operating a domain name system.
The registry operator's primary target with the domain is to provide a specific environment for development of a mobile domain name system. Therefore, both an offline test environment and a connected name service environment is needed. The target is to build the test environment together with registrars and the Sponsoring Organization. New features are brought to the connected domain only after extensive testing and after the features have been approved by relevant authorities.
Apart from building a redundant distributed root naming service for the domain, a contingency plan will be prepared to help in facilitating a rapid recovery in case of a total failure of the naming service.
The expected financial details of the operation of the Registry are uncertain due to the fact that the mobile top-level domain and the proposed domain name system are both new concepts. During the start-up phase, the registry will be very small and relatively easy to operate, but the growth opportunities are tremendous, which is why the financial position and the resource needs of the Registry will vary significantly during the first years of operation. All investments and operational costs are scalable and can be grown according to the demand and the required service level.
The costs and revenues of the Registry shall be in balance. The Registry an assure the initial funding, and later the expenses are to be covered by the annual registration fees of the registrars on a non-profit basis. Given that the target registrars will be providers of mobile devices and services, they will be motivated to share the operating costs of the registry.
The commitment of the Registry and the potential registrars to backing the technical investments needed follows from a common vision of the Mobile Internet. Research and development on the field is in any case one of the focal areas of the involved parties and the mobile IP communications and services industry in general.
Sonera is a partner to many of the worlds leading companies in the fields of information technology and telecommunications. For further information, please turn to the enclosed annual report.
III. TECHNICAL CAPABILITIES AND PLAN
Detailed description of the registry operator’s technical capabilities
Sonera carries out extensive research and development activities to ensure continuous competitiveness in the rapidly changing telecommunications field. Key efforts concentrate today on solutions for Sonera's main business areas, mobile and media communications. Network and service operations are based on intelligent network technology, software-based management, and an information system, the development of which requires constant investments.
The rapid integration of telecommunications, information technology and the media industry is creating opportunities for new communication packages, in which wireless communications can be combined with the world of the Internet. The key areas are integrated messaging and solutions for electronic commerce and publishing. The major focus areas on multimedia technology are the development of virtual organizations and platforms with a variety of contents. Development also includes intelligent networks and services implemented through them as well as access solutions for broadband networks.
Most of Sonera's R&D work is done in small R&D labs and teams in the business units, where the teams work in close co-operation with the customers to develop services. This approach allows the company to offer services more quickly and accelerate market roll-outs. The success of Sonera's research comes from a joint effort of all these labs. Identified amount according to our HRD (Human Resources Function) of key technical personnel is app. 900, which is app.8% from the total, current amount of employees in Sonera Corporation (10 800) 9/2000. The average work experience is 12 years and average age is 37 years respectively. Personnel are increasing app. 10-15% annually due recruiting and acquisitions. From 900 people, 35% has a Master Degree from University, 60% Higher Vocational Degree and 5% has lower degrees from various Universities and Polytechnic Institutes. All are identified as a key technical persons and all do have a access for various development tools according to their identified tasks and positions within research and development labs.
Close co-operation with other leading research institutions and pioneering companies in the telecommunications sector has played a major role in obtaining and applying the latest knowledge and technology. Sonera is an active participant in the Digital Life research project carried out by the Media Laboratory of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). In the field of mobile communications, Sonera participates in joint research with Ericsson, Nokia and NTT DoCoMo in developing third generation broadband mobile communications technology and services. In Finland, the company participates in several joint projects with universities, the Technical Center of Finland and the Technology development Center of Finland.
The early deregulated, national competition in Finland, and the company's innovative development work has given the company a strong worldwide reputation. No other telco in Europe has gone so far in moving up the value chain as Sonera. In 1997 the company acquired 45 % of its revenues from mobile and 12 % from data and media communications. Mobile communications was spurred on by low tariffs and a range of value added offerings, such as wireless Centrex and information services. Finland’s wireless penetration rate surpasses 40%, the European average being 13%. It is also the country with the largest per capita Internet usage. Sonera has achieved several remarkable milestones within telecommunications; Europe's first frame relay service and the world's first public service based on asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) technology were born here. In 1995 Sonera was recognized with prestigious awards granted by the American magazine Data Communications with the Hot Product 1994 for DataNet ATM service and for a multimedia pilot, MediaNet, in 1996. Sonera was also the first phone company to offer voice over the Internet in 1996.
Relevant milestones in Sonera’s history:
DataNet, the first European LAN interconnection service (ref: DataComm Magazine, May 1997)
The first European concept for Packet Switched Private Network
DataNet, The first European Frame Relay service (ref: DataComm Magazine, May 1997)
The world's first pilot ATM service
Hot Product of the Year award by Data Communications International magazine for
DataNet ATM, Europe's first commercial ATM service (ref: DataComm Magazine, May 1997)
Nation-wide commercial ATM network
Medianet, Europe's first multimedia service pilot
Hot Product of the Year award by Data Communications International magazine for Medianet multimedia service pilot
Neophone, the first service for IP voice over corporate data networks including a gateway to the PSTN
User's choice award by Data Communications International magazine for Sonera's Frame Relay service. (ref: DataComm Magazine, May 1997)
First in the world to apply mobile cash in consumer applications
First in the world to develop wireless data backup service for smart phones
First telecom operator in Europe to introduce a new IP communications network incorporating the functionality of both the Internet and the traditional telephony network.
Hot Product of the Year award by DataComm Magazine for Sonera's IP Communications Network, (ref: DataComm Magazine, January 1999)
The World Billing Award for outstanding customer service and customer management in mobile telephone service billing by Institute for International Research (IIR) (ref: www.iir.com)
The International Ovations Award for outstanding innovation and vision in mobile network design, engineering and services by Tele-com magazine and the ComNet2000 conference.
General description of proposed facilities and systems
Delivery centers with appropriate facilities have currently been implemented in:
- New Jersey, USA
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Singapore, Far East
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Helsinki, Finland (Pre-delivery center for testing etc.)
Sonera’s network and Sonera’s partner networks have a wide geographic coverage from Europe to USA and Asia. Its infrastructure allows Sonera to monitor and manage the network thus providing high quality Internet and IP services.
Sonera is a founding member of the Internet Society, ISOC and the CIX association.
As a founding member of the EBONE association, Sonera among other 150 largest European ISPs, is connected to Ebone services for high quality Internet connectivity in Europe. Additional peering connections with the largest international Internet providers has been implemented for optimum connectivity. Sonera provides customers with connectivity to major Commercial Internet eXchange (CIX) points in Europe including AMS-IX (Amsterdam , The Netherlands), FICIX (Helsinki, Finland), DECIX & (Frankfurt, Germany) and DGIX & NETNOD (Stockholm, Sweden).
USA and Global Routing
Sonera’s high speed broadband network in Europe and its extensions to USA allows connectivity to all significant Internet Backbone Providers such as MCI Worldcom/Uunet and GTS/Ebone , which provides Sonera IP transit through their private peering agreements with multiple Internet backbones and ISPs. Sonera has its IP Backbone connected to these IP Backbone Providers in Stockholm, Amsterdam and New York in order to gain multiple path and to ensure maximum availability. The IP Backbone global connectivity to the domain name system will be developed even further.
Sonera Global IP Backbone layout:
Registry-registrar model and protocol
The Sponsoring Organization will create detailed requirements for the Registry-registrar model and protocols. However, as a general principle, it is clear that when registering each new second-level domain name, a registrar will be expected to demonstrate a clear commitment to limit the use of the domain to mobile services.
Each newly registered or transferred second-level domain name will have to be taken into active use within a reasonable period of time, the maximum of which will be specified by the Organization.
The registrars can utilize their second-level domain names as destination sites offering mobile services, for registering third and lower-level domains in the subdomains for registrants, or for some other use that serves the mobile Internet community.
The ability of each potential registrar to operate a second-level domain according to the policies of the Organization and ICANN will be carefully evaluated by the Registry. Applications for registrar status and registrations of second-level domains will not be approved unless they meet the set requirements and demonstrate an interest in serving the mobile Internet community.
Basic procedure to apply for a domain name
The registry operator organizes the Contact Center taking care of the application procedures according to the policies set forth by the Sponsoring Organization. These procedures include, but are not necessarily limited to
The Contact Center is responsible for getting the right information from the registrar for the domain name application.
In-house built database technology will be used for handling the registry. The database can take up to 1500 records per second over TCP. In normal conditions it can serve up to 3000 queries per second over TCP. Database and servers will be sufficiently scaled on the basis of prior experience and thorough testing by the registry operator.
When it comes to Zone files, maintaining configurations and other data in servers is done through encrypted network connections. Address frequency is planned to be twice a day. If required this may be changed. User authentication for changes will be done in several different methods. Zone file distribution and publication will be handled by name servers located in strictly controlled spaces. Data centers are geographically distributed to multiple locations which are already available. They have been certified to meet national legal requirements for physical security according to the Finnish Telecommunications Administration Center (TAC) regulations.
Data collection for mediation is done through secure channels utilizing SSH and now emerging IP-sec. Data is PGP signed for verification and integrity.
Initially, data escrow and backup is handled by systems installed in a SUN L11000 with six DLT7000 tape drives, amounting to 326 DLT tape slots with approximately 50-60GB per tape. The data transfer rate is 7-9 MB per second. The backup server is a SUN E450 with Solaris 2.6 with the latest patches. The backup data format is plain TAR. The backup host has multiple physical network interfaces with gigabit Ethernet.
Global administration can be handled from one single point. Local backup slave servers have been installed. Incremental backups are taken daily with regular full-backups.
Publicly accessible look up/Whois service is implemented according to RFC812, RIPE-157 and RIPE-189.
System security and reliability
All data centers have UPS systems with diesel generators and are located under ground. Backup systems are situated in separate spaces from the servers. Data is backed up every night and transaction logs are saved on separate disks during the day. All servers have mirrored disks.
Sonera has a subsidiary to supply strong authentication if customers will require it. For bulk customers SSL-type connections will be used. As a leading telecom operator Sonera has securely functioning 24/7/365 service for maintaining servers and networks to assure top quality service for even the most demanding customers for whom interruptions are not an option. Both technical hardware and software solutions, processes and personnel allocations have been designed to be scalable enough to also fulfill the needs of completely unexpected increased requirements in the service level within an acceptable response time.
Definition, analyzing, and quantifying quality of service is done by a Quality Control Team. It is responsible for establishing the required meters for functions and services. The different meters measure quality, volumes, deviations and faults. The Quality Control Team also participates in the documentation process. It is staffed by a Supervisor who is responsible for the development and follow-up of Internet Service Production meters. The Supervisor reports to the manager of Internet Service Production. The team is responsible for quality metering, volume metering and preparing of quality and volume reports.
Service production has an in-house built alarm system which is tailored for each service. Alarms are collected from distributed hosts. All alarms are logged and when so defined, sent to the person responsible for taking action. After business hours alarms go to the on-duty service that will act per service instructions. The on-duty service can call a supervisor if the problem is not immediately solved with given instructions.
All systems have RAID 0+1 disks and doubled or tripled power supply if possible. Solaris 2.6 is the current supported OS, with Solaris 8 emerging. All hosts have UPS with diesel generator backup.
System recovery procedures vary greatly from case to case. E.g. in the case of a broken machine: The backup host is put into place, a new operating system is installed, the proper configuration is recovered and application data is recovered from tape. Time for recovering from total server failure is approx. 3-4 hours. Parallel servers can handle the procedure.
Backup software is currently Veritas Netbackup Enterprise 3.2. Technical staff have been trained by the software vendor, all installations are made by Sonera staff, so good knowledge of backup systems is available. Service agreements with hardware vendor SUN cover all hardware failures. Platinum service support has been established. Redundant parallel servers with NAT or other similar systems are used. A new backup system is being installed: StorageTek STK9310 with 4000 tape capacity, tape drives STK9840 FC-AL with GB fiber optic net. 40-50 GB per tape. The backup server is a SUN E4500 with sufficient resources, like EMC connectivity, multiple GB Ethernet, etc.
The backup & recovery procedures for the staff of the Registry are extensively documented.
Technical Support and helpdesk Functions
The basic solution of the Sonera Customer Service enables provision of real-time Web, WAP, SMS and telephone based customer service for customers. The basic Sonera Customer Service solution includes the following tools and processes:
The solution can be flexibly supplemented to provide a multi-channel contact center by also directing fixed-line and mobile calls and voice messages through Sonera Global Customer Service to the any other company’s customer service if needed.
Operating principles of Sonera helpdesk functions:
Support for registrars and Internet registrants, general description:
Technical helpdesk Systems
Sonera helpdesk and customer care tools and information databases are working in real time environment connected together via Sonera wide LAN and secured by Sonera Intranet Firewall technology including all necessary information, communication and support tracking features what in well done Customer care is needed.
Internally in Intranet all personnel who has described to work for the process are accessible to utilize Helpdesk tool features like customer based tracking, statistic reporting and case handling using solution databases and tools in his/her own and granted role. There are clear objectives for case receiving that are described internally in the work instructions.
Problem Management Process behind the registering system:
Customer Case receiving
Problem analysis and repairing
Problem status reporting
Problem Management Process:
Other features of registry services
Web based technology in customer registering
Communication between customers and registry operator is always possible to do via e-mail, web, WAP and SMS and will be always be possible through multiple modern communications channels in the future as well, when new technologies emerge. The process, business models and tools are implemented to utilize this.
The primary contact channel to the Sonera Helpdesk is still the phone. All phone contacts are measured to continuously enhance all support processes.
7/24/365 based Customer Care is available via all communication methods; telephone, web, e-mail and necessary automated database engine systems.
Sonera operates in several major languages like English, French, German and Russian,. Several other ones like Dutch, Swedish the Baltic languages and Finnish also in use. More languages are available when needed.