Swisscom launches WAP, the Internet in NATEL format
18 January 2000
The new millennium has begun, not only on the calendar, but also in the world of technology - and Swisscom is right at the forefront of the new developments. On 21 February 2000, Swiss-com is to usher in a new era in mobile communications with its launch of the Internet in NATEL format. On the basis of the global standard Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), Swisscom will offer a comprehensive portfolio of new information and communications services. All kinds of content providers can use Swisscom"s WAP gateway to supply their service offerings to Swiss mobile users any place, any time: from the news and weather and all forms of travel timetables to e-mail via NATEL, wireless online shopping and mobile internet banking. Swisscom"s WAP platform is available to all mobile phone users, i.e. Orange and Diax customers too. Swisscom is also offering its own 2.3 million customers the WAP service at the highly attractive standard rate of CHF 0.20 per minute for NATEL subscribers and CHF 0.40 per minute for NATEL easy customers.
Swisscom´s comprehensive infrastructure based on the mobile Internet standard WAP transforms the NATEL into a platform which can handle all information and communications needs, any place, any time. Walter Heutschi, the Swisscom Mobile boss, explains: "The combination of these two technologies will create something entirely new. The Internet literally becomes mobile - and the mobile phone becomes interactive. The result is a medium which comprises far more than just the sum of both parts."
Owners of WAP-compatible mobile phones will be able to access Swisscom Mobile´s first WAP services as of 21 February 2000. Under headings such as News & Weather, Finance, Games, Travel & Transport and Leisure & Pastimes, they will be able to view the latest news, up-to-date share prices, cinema programme and much more on their NATEL displays, or just call up the departure times of trains and planes.
Coloro che possiedono un apparecchio NATEL idoneo al WAP possono accedere dal 21 febbraio 2000 ai primi servizi WAP di Swisscom Mobile. Sotto le rubriche News & previsioni del tempo, informazioni finanziarie, viaggi & trasporti come pure tempo e hobby si possono richiamare sul display del NATEL anche le notizie aggiornate, i corsi di borsa, i programmi dei cinema oppure gli orari dei treni e dei voli.
Along with the NATEL WAP services, users of the future will also receive an e-mail address with which they can send and receive electronic messages via the NATEL.
And this is only the start of many possible WAP applications. Even before the end of this year, the offering will be hugely expanded. There are plans for wireless online banking and for the introduction of an electronic wallet (e-wallet) for no-limits mobile shopping.
With its full interactive functions and simple user guidelines, the wireless Internet platform opens up new dimensions in value added services on the NATEL, transcending the boundaries of SMS (Short Messaging Services) based information services.
The mobile phone manufacturers - including Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia - will be offering the right equipment to handle Swisscom´s WAP platform upon start-up. These mobile phones have displays with more line capacity than the conventional ones, and contain a ´micro-browser´ for using WAP on the Internet.
Swisscom is aiming to make it possible for as many consumers as possible to access its WAP services. This target translates itself into its very low prices: for only CHF 0.20 per minute, Swisscom customers with a NATEL subscription can "WAP" on NATEL whenever and however they please, regardless of the time of day or the day of the week. NATEL easy customers pay CHF 0.40 per minute. Without paying extra, customers can access a wide range of ´Base Services´, including both information and communications services, which are offered free of charge by content providers. These are accompanied by Prime Content services for which special charges are set. In general, the prices are determined by the suppliers of these services, and not by Swisscom.
But it´s not just the rates that are simple and transparent; the operating model also has a lot to offer. Swisscom´s WAP gateway is open to all mobile phone users, regardless of their telecommunications provider.