10 Questions About Cellular Phones
the Entire Article ]
- What's the difference between analog and digital
- What is a Dual Band Phone?
- What type of battery has the longest life?
- What's the difference between the Stand-by time
and Talk time?
- What is a roaming charge?
- What are peak and off peak hours?
- What are anytime minutes?
- Do I pay for the call when someone calls me?
- Should I buy a cell phone or look for a free cellular
- What to do if you want to upgrade/downgrade or cancel
your service plan?
Articles - WAP
Why WAP Isn't As Bad As People Say
by Mike Street
It's unlucky that the acronym for Wireless Application
Protocol (WAP) has such an unfortunate rhyme! Even more
unlucky for WAP, it burst onto the mobile communication
scene with lavish promises from the Mobile Operators (you
know who you are) of 'The Internet on your Mobile' and
'Take the Internet with you'.
That really was a load of WAP.
So, a few years on we can ask, like Frankie Goes to Hollywood,
'WAP, what is it good for'?
More than you might think, given the current deafening
silence from those same Mobile Operators.
The rise (and rise) of SMS is instructive. This has gone
from nowhere to everywhere with practically no promotion
from the networks. Type SMS into Google and you get 52
million hits! In China in 2003, 220 Billion SMS messages
were sent. During 2003 in the UK alone, 30 Billion were
sent, which equates to 500 for every man, woman and child
in the entire country! What is going on here?
Well SMS is cheap, not cheap enough perhaps but, up until
a couple of years ago, much cheaper than calling. So it
was a viable alternative to making a mobile phone call,
everyone could send and receive them, and it didn't matter
what handset you used or what network you were on (or
even which country you were in).
Much the same is true of WAP. Most handsets sold this
century in GSM markets are compatible. Costs, especially
using GPRS, are very low, as long as the information is
optimised for the handset. Actually, it costs less to
read your email with GPRS than to send an SMS. How times
And people are using it, too. In the UK in December 2003,
the number of WAP pages viewed was over 1 billion for
the first time. The Mobile Data Association (MDA) forecasts
13 billion for 2004 as a whole, up from 9.2 billion in
2003 (against an original MDA forecast for 2003 of 8 billion).
All this is in the face of complete indifference, if not
outright hostility, from the networks. The problem for
them is that, as mentioned, WAP is cheap. You can get
all the mobile email you need via WAP to your handset
for around one tenth of the cost of a RIM Blackberry data
subscription. And please don't ask how much the running
costs are of a laptop mobile data card! A while ago, one
of my colleagues used more data in a month than the cost
of the mobile data card itself. Since then the networks
have introduced more reasonable price bands, but he now
gets all the email he needs on his cellular phone via
WAP for one hundredth the amount spent during those expensive
30 days. And he doesn't need to carry a laptop around
with him, wait for it boot, wait again for it to download
the mail, and balance it on one hand whilst holding his
coffee with the other and his mobile phone in a third!
One of our customers for our mobile email software reads
his mail whilst shaving in the morning. He can find out
what has been happening overnight without having to get
his computer out, dial in and log on. Another browses
whilst tending to his cows, miles from mains electricity.
Yet another admits he reads his mail in board meetings.
So far luckily no-one has noticed his mobile sitting on
the desk in front of him.
And there is for WAP, most likely, no new device to buy,
either. Nothing additional to weigh down your pockets
or to find room for in your briefcase. And it isn't just
good for email. You can also look up train timetables,
get news & sports results, find medical information,
find a restaurant and see what's on the TV tonight.
And you can do all this, with the one electronic device
that most people have with them all of the time - their
So - no new expensive devices are required, no high monthly
charges are incurred and there is no waiting. No wonder
the Mobile Operators aren't impressed!
About the Author
Mike Street is Technical Director of Fast Communications
Ltd (FastComm) in the UK. FastComm provides, installs,
supports a variety of innovative communication products.
For free downloads please visit http://www.fastcomm.net