[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 3 October, 2003, 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK
Mobile net growing in popularity
Colour screen mobile phones
Colourful icons are encouraging people to Wap it
People in the UK are downloading more web pages on their mobiles than ever, figures show.

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.

Polyphonic ringtones have been very important, they are not anywhere near 50% of activity yet but there are significant numbers in there
Kate Marriott, MDA

"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.

Wap music

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.


SEE ALSO:
Mobile games to 'tempt women'
03 Oct 03  |  Technology
Mobiles 'to replace handheld PCs'
05 Sep 03  |  Technology
Camera phone sales set to rocket
19 Aug 03  |  Technology
Phone tones show explosive growth
12 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Young 'prefer texting to calls'
13 Jun 03  |  Business


RELATED BBCi LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific