A. General Description of the Application
- TLD String(s) Requested.
New Services, Message Routing.
Nokia Corporation (“Nokia”) requests a series of TLD’s mobile related devices. Nokia proposes a new service generally not available on the Internet today which qualifies Nokia for the new services category and message routing group.
- Sponsor, Registry Operator and Subcontractor.
The sponsoring organization is a to-be-formed entity, founded by Nokia together with other companies and established in the first stage in Finland. Its function will be to act as an international policy making body for a Mobile Internet TLD and its domain name system in the interest of the Internet community. Nokia's intention is to introduce and develop a new mobile Internet domain, in which the domain name system and services support mobile Internet access and mobile Internet Protocol communications in the most effective manner. Nokia the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer based on unit sales and a leading supplier of mobile, fixed and Internet Protocol networks and related services as well as multimedia terminals. Nokia is based in Finland and is listed on the New York, Helsinki, Stockholm, London, Frankfurt and Paris stock exchanges.
b. Registry Operator.
The Sonera Corporation ("Sonera") claims to be the leading provider of mobile telecommunications services in Finland and to also have significant strategic investments in mobile operators in eight other countries. Sonera also claims to be a forerunner in the development and commercialization of data and media services in Finland as well as one of the leading providers of domestic long distance and international voice services in Finland. Sonera claims experience in the database and Internet industries through its operations spanning from fixed line voice and date network operations to new wireless Internet services. Sonera is listed on the Helsinki stock exchange, Nasdaq-NMS, and SEAQ International trading system, a system managed by the London Stock Exchange.
- Registry-Registrar Model.
Nokia intends that the registry will not act as a registrar and that registrants will deal solely with registrars. Only second-level domain names in the TLD will be available to registrars who provide mobile devices and services. Nokia also intends that the registry will only register second-level domain names with third level domain names being available only through the registrars in accordance with certain polices set by the registry.
B. Technical Review
- Summary Description of Proposal.
The proposed TLD is one of a number of strings related to mobile applications, such as .mobile, or a variant. SLDs will be unique to the registrars and lower domains will be user specific, but will likely be unique telephone numbers. The name space will be restricted and defined by the sponsor to promote mobile Internet services. Lower domain names will be either telephone numbers or personal names (or possibly other character strings).
- Support of the Business Plan by the Technical Plan.
a. Total Capacity.
Registry capacity is specified at 3000 transactions per second.
b. Projected Growth Rate.
Because the SLDs are assigned to registrars, the actual number SLD registrations are expected to be rather small. Some qualification of registrars would be required. It is unclear if this is an automated or manual process
c. Startup Period.
Nothing specified, but probably no problem considering the SLD structure
d. Fault Tolerance.
The fault tolerance is based on physical and functional duplication. Parent companies have extensive experience in maintaining a high reliability telephone and data network for 700,000 customers. The fault tolerance approach is not described in very much detail. The application implies that the SRS service will be geographically dispersed.
Physical security is based on using current parent company premises designed for high reliability telephone and data traffic. Other security mechanisms will be either off the shelf or developed by a company security subsidiary. Security practices have been certified by Finnish government authorities. Transactions are protected by encryption and authentication techniques. Generally, the security measures proposed will likely prove adequate.
Presumably the mobile devices will, for the most part, be personal devices. This would imply that the system security would need to be very good. An improperly designed Who is service might seriously compromise personal privacy.
- Summary of Relevant Experience.
Nokia is a large company that was spun out of the Finnish public telephone monopoly. Nokia is currently active in mobile communications and data networking. Nokia intends to use Sonera as the registry operator. Sonera is a large company with good experience in all aspects of telecommunications.
- Apparent Implementation Risks.
It is difficult to assess the technical risks based on the rather spare information provided. The proposal directs itself to mobile Internet applications. However, there is almost no discussion of what these applications might be like. Given the proposed structure, it is likely that providing mobile value added services will be the responsibility of the registrars. No details are provided about how registrars will be selected and how a technical liaison (if any) will be established between the registry and the registrar.
Mobility within a network is a difficult technical problem with many remaining open questions. The application does not provide any information on how mobility will be handled or enhanced by the assignment of the domain name. Nokia provides transaction processing projections for the proposed system, but does not estimate the traffic actually expected. The undefined mobility services to be offered by the registrars might have a very different traffic profile from normal DNS and SRS services.
- Available of Human, Operational and Technical Resources to Cope with Unexpected Events.
Sonera is a large and capable company. It is likely that they can provide the registry services required.
- Advancing the State of the Art.
Nokia presents no clear technical plan to promote mobility.
- Other Comments.
Registrars will be providers of mobile units. It is likely that there will be many registrars. This diversity of registrars may lead to problems with uniform enforcement of intellectual property rights and other difficult aspects of naming. With respect to the SLD, the registrar would be responsible for doing a trademark search before establishing an SLD.
This application is incomplete. Although it is assumed that Sonera is fully capable of building the software and hardware systems sketched out in the application, the application by itself does not adequately describe the architecture of the proposed system. Most of the discussion relates to generalities about providing registry services. The only substantive discussion relates to the collection and billing system. Applicant has not provided a descriptive proposal that covers all the topics suggested by the ICANN Call for Applications.
C. Business Review
- Applicant’s Representations.
Nokia is the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile telephones and is a supplier of data, video and voice network solutions for mobile information society. Nokia intends to establish a non-profit association to function as an international policy making body for a mobile Internet top level domain. The aim is to support mobile Internet access and mobile IP communications in the most effective manner. For fiscal year 1999, Nokia had EUR19.8 Billion in sales and EUR 209.4 Billion in market capitalization.
Sonera provides a leading mobile and fixed line voice and data services in Finland. Sonera’s vision is to become a major provider of services in the international market leveraging its expertise in the mobile Internet world. The State of Finland holds a majority share of the company but has gained approval from the Finnish Parliament to reduce the State’s ownership to zero percent. Sonera has approximately 10,000 employees.
The revenue model will be on a cost recovery basis. The application states that the costs of the registry will be divided among all registrars. The registrars will be given the right to define and price their registration services for the third-level domains freely.
- ICANN’s Evaluation.
The strengths of this application lie in its ability to bring financial and technical resources to the venture. The weaknesses of the application are a (1) weak marketing plan and (2) weak assessment of estimated demand and the resources to meet demand. This application does not include pro-forma financial statements. Overall, this is a weak application from a business plan perspective.
D. Summary of Public Comments
- Number of Comments.
- Support for the Application.
Support was expressed for Nokia’s track record and technical capacities.
.mobile would provide a needed TLD to deal with the proliferation of wireless devices.
“It’s not like this application is about grabbing something for the applicant itself, but instead working together with all the other ones doing the same stuff they are.”
- Opposition to Application.
One comment expressed concern over the completeness of the application, specifically the lack of detail about the non-profit association as sponsor.