No one even recalls what GSM phones are anymore. Now everyone's trying to get a hold of 3G phones, which are third-generation wireless services being developed by Nokia as well. But Nokia's success found its roots from the GSM project, which at first seemed impossible for the Finnish telecommunication pioneers to turn into reality. The GSM made a quantum leap in the history of mobile phones. GSM phones, along with other capabilities, allowed users to send SMS, which was a cheaper way to communicate wirelessly. The cheaper the phones got, the more people bought them, and the more units were manufactured.
If the people of Nokia were less visionary (Jorma Ollila was the CEO during that time), they would have given up on the GSM project. But they didn't, despite the disillusionment they have gone through. They were a startup company from nowhere that had to compete with the biggest analog telecom company (Telecom Finland) in the country. Now they are the biggest mobile phone manufacturer and seller in the world. I wouldn't even call it persistence. I would call it faith.
Being visionary also allowed Nokia to see and shape great technology that other telecommunication companies haven't foreseen such as CDMA. This is the basis of today's 3G phones.