Equant offers global WAP roaming

Network service provider Equant has announced an international roaming service for WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) that will allow customers to reach WAP services via a local phone number in 22 countries.

Although mobile service providers commonly offer roaming service to other countries and continents for voice calls, WAP users have had to make an expensive long-distance call back to their carrier's WAP gateways at home when they wanted data services over the mobile Internet system. Equant claimed in its statement to be the first service provider to offer global roaming for WAP.

Among the countries to be served initially by Equant's roaming system are Australia, New Zealand,France, Japan and the UK.

Roaming could allow savings of 40 percent for intercontinental travelers, Equant said. The company pointed especially to corporate users who need to reach private, closed-group WAP applications.

The service is part of an upgrade to Equant's worldwide network that also will speed up WAP page access by allowing WAP requests to bypass slow analog modem interfaces. The network now directly supports GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) signalling to WAP services, which could cut access times from as long as 75 seconds per page to about 10 or 20 seconds.

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