People in the UK are downloading more web pages on their mobiles than ever, figures show.
Colourful icons are encouraging people to Wap it
On average, 28.5 million pages are viewed a day through Wap (Wireless Application Protocol), says the Mobile Data Association (MDA).
It is encouraging news for the industry since Wap has been slow to take-off.
Better sounding polyphonic ringtones, news, gossip and finding out where the nearest pub or cinema is are all fuelling the growth.
Wap it up
While people are downloading three times more web pages than last year, the figures also show the number of text messages sent has stayed the same for the seventh month in a row.
Newer phones with colour screens and user-friendly icons are encouraging people to make more use of them for information.
But many do not even realise they are using Wap when they ask for information to sent to them said MDA's Kate Marriott.
"And why should they? People are downloading ringtones and using it to see where nearest pub is," she told BBC News Online.
"There are so many compelling Wap applications out there now and more sites available."
Mobile operators are also realising there is no need to confuse people by using jargon like "Wap", but just tell them about what information they can get from their mobile.
Ms Marriott said film and gig sites, celebrity gossip, news and sport were largely responsible for the climb in figures.
Wap chat sites are one of the most popular services too, but she predicted that would change as more services go online.
"As users gets more educated, they move from chat to information," she said.
The popularity of downloading polyphonic ringtones has significantly added to the increase.
An estimated £70 million worth of ringtones are expected to be sold in 2003, up from £40m in 2002 according to the MDA.
"That has been very important, it is not anywhere near 50% of activity yet but there are significant numbers in there," said Ms Marriott.
"I think with the new handsets and their capabilities, and with the tones being such good quality, people are downloading them rather than buying singles."
Record labels using ringtones to promote new singles and albums is also fuelling this trend.
Most up-to-date mobile phones use both Wap and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) to get data from the web.
But GPRS refers to the way data is downloaded, while Wap is the browser technology that allows users to view downloaded information.
The MDA predicts that people will look at eight billion Wap pages by end of the year, and that will continue to grow with advances in applications and handsets.