An alliance of mobile telecoms suppliers believes it has found a solution to the profusion of third generation mobile phone standards, by adding new software to phone Sim (subscriber identification module) cards.
The SIMalliance, backed by Sim and smartcard specialists Gemplus, Schlumberger, Geisecle & Devrient and ORGA, will enable people to use third generation services with the help of separately installed Sim card software.
Instead of having to wait for Wap-enabled phones, users will be able to modify existing Sim cards to get the same type of service.
Virgin Mobile said it will be the first to adopt the SIMalliance service this spring, allowing users to access BBC news services and Virgin retail sites.
The solution will also be far cheaper than replacing a £300 world phone, for instance, with another expensive Wap-enabled device. In addition, when a user buys a Wap phone, if they want to take advantage of higher-speed GPRS they will have to buy another phone in the future.