BT denies WAP site access to Timeport users

Antony Savvas.

The issue of mobile telecoms operators stopping users accessing the Wireless Application Protocol (Wap) information they want has...

Antony Savvas.

The issue of mobile telecoms operators stopping users accessing the Wireless Application Protocol (Wap) information they want has returned.

BT Cellnet has closed off direct routes to information requested by users of Motorola's Timeport handset. However, it has backed down over locking out users of the Mitsubishi Trium/Geo Wap mobile.

The so-called "walled gardens" contained in operators' mobile portals have effectively been dismantled, but companies with Wap content can only include this information if it has been approved by the operator.

Users of the Nokia 7110 Wap phone, which uses a Nokia browser, can go direct to the sites they are interested in, avoiding these approved gateways. But the Timeport, the other main Wap phone commercially available in the UK, is equipped with the browser, whose support servers at BT Cellnet have not been configured to allow access to any gateway.

In the case of the Trium/Geo mobile, BT Cellnet prevented users accessing Wap sites that had not been approved by its portal by not informing its helpdesks of a four-digit unlocking code, which gives access to different gateways. The helpdesk is now giving out this code.

BT Cellnet acted after a complaint was made to telecoms regulator Oftel from a rival Wap gateway company.

France Telecom lost a court case brought by a user in France for locking out Wap phones last month.

UK user Edouard de Guitaut, the brother of the French litigant, told Computer Weekly about the problem after his Timeport refused to let him access a Wap shopping site that would allow him to collect transaction points. Because this site was not contained in the BT Cellnet portal, de Guitaut could not use it.

Dominic Strowbridge, Motorola European director of developer support, said, "It's nothing to do with us. It may be that some operators want to make sure the sites are written properly and fully accessible. After all, if a caller can't get through, it's usually the operator's helpdesk which gets the complaint."

BT Cellnet is still considering its position with the Timeport.

But there is a ready solution for Timeport users. Wap services firm wapHQ has set up a gateway via a local rate number to allow users to access any site. WapHQ takes a percentage of the call cost.

This was last published in June 2000

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