WAP as a technique
For now, WAP meets a lot of competition, mainly because of the cost of usage,
and the user interface, which could have better usability.
Gsm SMS (Short Message Service) offers a lot of the same services as WAP, with lower cost, and they can be accessed with a regular gsm phone without the expensive WAP properties. Large variety of utilizable services exist, e.g. banking and other financial services, news, remote controlling and security services, and leisure time related services. Also lots of plain entertainment is available. Services by SMS are not quite as easy to use as by WAP, but many customers still prefer them because of the great difference in costs.
Gsm data connection and a pocket sized computer, e.g. Palm or Communicator, offer a lot better user interface, a reletively fast connection, and a greater variety of services in almost the same convenient size as a WAP phone. A fast connection is based on the HSCSD (High Speed Circuit Switched Data) technique. Superior speed requires the use of several channels simultaneously, which of course afffects the cost of the service.
The Japanese I-mode, a trademark of NTT DoCoMo mobile telecommunications operator service, has got a similar idea as WAP, access to the Internet directly by a mobile telephone. It uses packet radio technique, where the customer is connected to the net continuously, and pays only for the sent and received data. I-mode is sufficiently fast, and it has been a great success, owing mostly to the customer-friendly pricing policy. Also, I-mode customers have access to thousands of web-pages.
The wireless LAN (Local Area Network) is incredibly fast compared to gsm, and it offers all the services of Internet, with a fixed price. It can be constructed with cheap standard technology, and it gives a bargain in capasity-cost ratio. True, a computer with w-lan connection is not quite as pocket sized as a WAP phone, and it only works in limited areas. Still, the combination of w-lan and gsm data, with w-lan in the cities, and gsm in rural areas presents an appealing view.
In the times coming, competition for WAP protocols could come from a number of sources: