Justin Pearse looks at a week in the wild world of wireless, where there's some good news for beleagured WAP.

Finally some good news for beleaguered little WAP. If appearances are to be believed the WAP backlash has finally ground to a halt.

Consumer champion Which? became the latest critic of the technology in a report on the WAP services offered by UK operators. It found both the phones and services disappointing and too basic. Other problems encountered with the technology included dropped or failed connections and paucity of instruction material.

The surprising fact was that the report was relatively ignored. Which?'s connection with the mighty Consumer Association has usually its comments are usually jumped on and blown out of all proportion by the mainstream press.

Where WAP's concerned, the press' favourite whipping boy of late, the lack of hysterical coverage is even more surprising.

It looks finally as if the industry has got the point across that the technology is fine, if immature, and if people could just leave it to grow up peacefully it will eventually deliver on its promises.

This school of thought is backed up by James Pearce of The Wireless Internet Lab. Pearce reported this week that the testing labs were seeing a whole new range of services, with the emphasis this time around firmly on innovative, user friendly services.

WAP usage on the whole is also rising, with the small and relatively unknown portal BoltBlue this week claiming the frankly unbelievable feat of beating Genie on subscribers. It claimed to have won two million WAP customers, compared with Genie's January figures of 1.9m users, itself a 40% increase on the previous month.

With the WAP attack finally petering out, the latest victim for a wireless obsessed media is increasingly going to be the fiasco around 3G. And there's plenty to feast on there. This week saw the collapse of both the French and Belgium license auctions and they're certain not to be the last.

Which is starting to make the obscene sums shelled out in the UK's own auction look increasingly dangerous.


Published 9 February, 2001 by NMA Staff

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