With version 1.01 of the WAP (wireless application protocol)
specification due to appear in mid-summer, Nokia is beating the
drum for the 'de facto' standard mobile phone internet
interface with a free server API download and a ground-breaking
mobile e-payment pilot. Mid-summer is also the scheduled
shipment time for the Nokia 7110 dual-band GSM handset, which
Nokia claims will be the first WAP-compliant phone to reach the
market when it goes on sale in June or July.
The 7110 is already slated to provide the client platform for a
mobile payment trial to be conducted jointly between Nokia,
Visa International, and the pan-Scandinavian clearing bank,
MeritaNordbanken Group. The pilot will demonstrate electronic
point of sale and remote payment using Visa's e-payment
platform, Visa Open Platform, SETTM-secured GSM handsets issued
with special "mini-SIM" authorization cards. It is an important
evolution for WAP, according to Gerhard Romen, VP of sales and
marketing at Nokia Wireless Communications. Although the
interface standard is widely supported among software
application vendors, telecoms equipment makers and mobile
operators, it has yet to be demonstrated in a live e-commerce
environment. "We see electronic payments as being a key
application for future mobiles," said Romen.
The pilot will also be one of the first systems to use Nokia's
WAP server technology, which is in turn one of the first
products to implement version 1.01 of the WAP Forum's WAP
specification, which is set for final ratification shortly.
Romen said that developers that want to try an early
implementation of WAP 1.01 functionality can do so now by
taking advantage of Nokia's free download version of the WAP
Server API at www.nokia.com/corporate/wap.
Nokia expects demand for the download to be high, in line with
the interest in the free download of Nokia's WAP toolkit that
was made available in February, and which has since seen
downloads reach a five-digit number, Romen said. Nokia expects
that by 2003, of the one billion mobile phones in use
worldwide, 500,000 will be WAP-enabled.