Net neutrality could hamper new mobile services, Nokia CEO says

Self-driving cars and home health care services require special treatment, he said

Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri spoke at a Barcelona press event on Sunday on the eve of Mobile World Congress.

Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri spoke at a Barcelona press event on Sunday on the eve of Mobile World Congress.

New net neutrality rules just established in the U.S. may face a cool reception here at Mobile World Congress, where carriers are prime customers. Nokia's CEO took an early shot on Sunday night.

"There are some services that simply require a different level of connectivity and a different level of service," Rajeev Suri said at a press conference on the eve of MWC. Those include self-driving cars and remote home health care, which are too important to rely on "best-effort" networks, Suri said.

He's also worried about premium services to consumers: "You just need to be able to differentiate the quality of service for higher-paying consumers," Suri said. Otherwise, those customers may feel discriminated against, he said.

The Federal Communications Commission has not disclosed the details of the new rules, adopted on Thursday, but they are intended to bar paid preferential treatment of certain traffic. New, specialized services, especially for the Internet of Things, are stars of the show at MWC. And vendors like Nokia want to sell carriers ways to fine-tune their networks for optimal performance.

Nokia launched one such capability on Sunday, called Nokia Predictive Care. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to identify and correct software issues in a Nokia network before they turn into problems. The system detects the anomalies by catching and analyzing streams of inconsistencies, tapping into collective intelligence from hundreds of Nokia networks.

The system can catch issues as early as two months before they cause problems, reducing the number of software-related site visits by more than 60 percent, the company said.

Predictive Care is the third piece of Nokia's recently introduced Predictive Services family. Predictive Operations forecasts service degradations in multivendor networks. Preventive Complaint Analysis automatically identifies patterns in customer complaints to show where networks need to be optimized.

Also on Sunday, Suri said Nokia will take its N1 tablet to Europe and other markets beyond China, where it was introduced last November. The company is monitoring users' experiences with the N1 there and hasn't decided when it will expand sales, he said.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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