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Issue #2001 - 32 (August 2001)
(Updated August 8, 2001)


GPRS Services to Boost WAP, study says

Research firm International Data Corp.’s Asia/Pacific division has released a study that attempts to shed some light on why WAP has been the subject of much frustration and disappointment among wireless users, specifically in Asia.

In its report, ‘Regulatory Status on the Implementation of 3G Services in Asia,’ IDC highlighted the current challenges facing WAP in the region include the lack of software to support local languages; lack of a user-friendly interface; slow access speeds; lack of useful content; high call rates, and time-based billing methods.

However, in the future, WAP could benefit from the availability and variety of access devices, compelling applications, and the next generation of network infrastructures.

  • The emergence of Internet-enabled access devices such as PDAs with wireless data/voice connections, mobile phones supporting WAP, and NTT DoCoMo’s i- mode phones
  • Speech technology will become a natural and powerful interface for next-generation devices
  • The Voice XML, a Web-based mark-up language for representing human computer dialogs, will create new opportunities
  • The availability of GPRS and 2.5 G technologies will drastically speed up deployment of WAP services
  • Mobile commerce will open up new opportunities for WAP, as transactional applications are expected to be popular among Asian wireless users
  • The usage of wireless Internet/data applications, such as Bluetooth, will also help boost demand for WAP

"WAP was designed with low available bandwidths in mind. WAP access requires a specific connection via the ISP the same way as the PC does and is expected to come into its own with the introduction of GPRS services," said Gary Hong, product manager with the research firm.

Asian Markets
Even though WAP penetration remains low throughout Asia, the availability of GPRS infrastructure and handsets is expected to increase adoption. In addition, the growing number of Internet/data applications and off-the-shelf solutions that extend standard business applications should also boost WAP’s profile, according to IDC.

For more information: http://www.idc.com/press/release.stm

Mobileinfo Comments and Advisory: WAP will succeed better in Asia because users over there do not care as much for slower speed, somewhat inferior security issues and lack of multi-media capabilities. Their expectations are different than those in North America and to some extent in Europe. GPRS will make WAP only better. For the perfect solution, wait and look for the next evolutionary version of WAP, i-mode or multi-mode application development platform. 

Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.

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