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Wap market is limited, says Ericsson

Antony Savvas
As Nokia was launching its three new Wap-enabled phones, Ericsson was trying to deflect criticism over the scarcity of its own Wap products, writes Antony Savvas

There is only limited demand for Wap-enabled products at present, according to Ericsson chief executive Kurt Hellström, who said at CeBIT that his company is deliberately holding back supplies. However, he added that mobile Internet access was the way forward and that mobile connections to the Internet will soon outgrow fixed connections.

Ericsson's only Wap offering at CeBIT was an entry-level phone aimed at the youth market, with a low price and bright fascias.

The A2618 is only compatible with Wap "for selected markets", using Wap over SMS (Short Message Service) which is a network-dependant facility. SMS can be very expensive for sending and receiving large volumes of information.

Ericsson launched the MC218 Wap PDA (personal digital assistant) last year, and then introduced the R320 Wap phone, before recently introducing the R380 which has built-in PDA capabilities. But users have found it difficult to get hold of the new models.

Hellström admitted that the distribution of the MC218 was "not big", despite the fact that Ericsson claimed a lead in Wap-enabled products at the time of its launch. Pressed on availability of the previous Wap products, Hellström said, "Where is the market? We are able, but not willing to ship them in numbers at this stage."

Hellström said there was a lack of content and applications able to take advantage of Wap. Ericsson's stance suggests it is waiting for General Packet Radio Service before the Wap mass market takes off.

  • Motorola has launched six new Wap phones, including the first world triband Wap phone, which is also the first to support General Packet Radio Service.

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