Skip to main content

Research and standardization in the cellular device ecosystem

We are excited by the potential of future mobile networks and devices and how they promise to unite the physical, digital and human worlds. Future device technologies will empower users to effortlessly interact with digital information and virtual environments whenever and wherever they are.  

With 75 million virtual and augmented reality devices expected to be in use by 2027, more than 18 billion smartphones and tablets, and as many as 41.6 billion IoT devices by 2025, the exponential growth in connected devices highlights the need for global standardization across the device ecosystem. 

Our decades of experience in mastering phone and smartphone technologies provides the foundation for our research and standardization of new device connectivity capabilities.  

In our device innovation research across all cellular standardization, our aim is to ensure future connectivity brings benefits for society as well as industry. Standardizing device connection requirements will help the rapid uptake of key technologies. For connected vehicles, it will be instrumental to reach zero fatalities in road transport by 2050. For new wearable XR devices, it will enable more wearable form factors. For IoT devices, there may be a day, when some do not even need a battery on board to establish a connection.  

At Nokia, we believe the benefits of advanced connected devices should be accessible and available to all, not just those in areas with good network coverage. Through our leading role in the standardization work in non-terrestrial networks or NTN, we can ensure the same interoperability and connectivity that is possible with cellular connections today, but using satellite communications, thus opening the exponential growth in connected devices to all.  

The position of devices and objects is also a true value driver, which can be unlocked thanks to our standardization efforts in cellular connectivity.

"The best way to predict the future is to create it"

Antenna design

Each generation of 3GPP cellular wireless communication standards introduce new features that the device must support, and 5G and 6G are no exception. Whether a higher number of frequency ranges, a larger total frequency span, and/or an increased number of simultaneously active bands, these features increase the complexity of antenna design and its implementation in devices like smartphones and XR glasses, while maintaining compliance with 3GPP standard requirements. 

Read more about how 5G is making us rethink UE antenna design.

Non-Terrestrial Networks

Lower costs for producing and launching low earth orbit (LEO) satellites have enabled the creation of non-terrestrial networks (NTN) that provide global connectivity in areas with limited or no terrestrial coverage. Users can now connect via smartphone in under-served remote areas or where terrestrial coverage is difficult, such as mountains. It also enables global IoT connectivity for tracking goods shipments, even across oceans, and enables a wide variety of environmental sensors for use cases such as remote forest fire monitoring or smart agriculture. Further, NTN will help with intelligent transportation systems by connecting ships, planes and road vehicles wherever they roam.


Positioning technology utilizing 5G New Radio (NR) is now evolving as a key feature that enables the operator of a 5G network to position devices for both indoor and outdoor applications. Accurate positioning will support more advanced use of robotics and automation in industrial processes, as well as autonomous driving, e-health monitoring, and use of drones. Capable of working with and even replacing global navigation systems, cellular networks offer the exciting possibility to deploy a single technology that addresses both the positioning and data needs of these use cases in an ultra-reliable manner.  

Read more about the Evolution of 5G New Radio Positioning Technologies. 


Cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2x) is a global standard that has been embraced by global policy makers and regulators. A vast number of new use cases are planned for vehicular networks beyond road safety. For manufacturers of the user equipment and network planners worried about latency, reliability, throughput and power consumption, standards will be essential to realize this ambition. Nokia is engaged in enabling deployment of this technology with significant standards-essential intellectual property and active participation in the standards bodies. 

Read more about how Sidelink is unlocking the full potential of device communication with 5G


The industry has identified mid-range IoT use cases that are beyond the capabilities of standard IoT devices, yet do not require broadband or critical types of services. These reduced capability (RedCap) devices represent a new device type that is still low cost but can support, for instance, limited video applications, smart wearables, medical monitoring, or more complex industrial applications. Nokia works closely with 3GPP in standardization development work for RedCap devices as part of the 5G evolution. 

Read a more detailed overview of 5G reduced capability devices

Ambient IoT

Ambient IoT introduces ultra-low-cost devices that use background, ambient waves for transmitting data and harvest the energy of these waves for their operation making possible battery-less sensors or zero-energy devices. Nokia is actively shaping 3GPP Ambient IoT standards with a focus on indoor and outdoor logistics. A fast-growing area of research and development, Ambient IoT will involve the work of multiple standards bodies with some analysts predicting that it will grow to a multi-trillion device marketplace in the 6G era.