The Finnish town of Nokia, left in the shadow of its more famous namesake company, is going mobile.

Nokia's municipal workers will be given cellular handsets to replace their landline phones in a move aimed at improving communication, officials said.

"People will be able to call direct to officials' mobile phones," said Martin Andersson, the town's project leader for information technology. "The main aim is to make employees more reachable."

The town of 28,000 in southern Finland, where Nokia Corp. (NOK) started 140 years ago as a wood-pulp mill, will provide 1,300 municipal employees with mobile handsets by June, when their landline numbers will automatically connect to cell phones.

Switching to mobile phones will also save landline phone costs and will not be more expensive for customers calling town officials, Andersson said.

"For some time now, many town officials have been more easily reached on their cell phones anyway," he said, adding that the town hall's only landline numbers will be a few dozen fax machines.

The Nokia company shifted from pulp to gum boots, car tires and cables when it was based in the town, about 100 miles north of Helsinki. It also made televisions and home electronics products before becoming the world's leading mobile phone maker in 1998.

Nokia Corp., which no longer has a presence in Nokia and had no role in the town's decision, moved to Helsinki in 1991 and is now based in Espoo, near the Finnish capital.