It should not be a secret that service providers can add significant value to their service offerings by adding WAP-based services to their wireless networks. At present, many of the mobile handset and PDA manufacturers are starting to sell WAP-enabled devices. The only thing for the service providers to do is to package a product. By developing a WAP-based product line, the service providers will be able to market new services to the subscribers, which greatly increase network usage. By controlling the data connection through a WAP gateway, service providers can maintain strong relationships with their subscribers, forestalling customer churn. Many WAP developers are beginning to offer new content systems that provide the service provider with new easy-to-access subscriber services. This is much the same as with a new public page on the Internet that can be accessed globally by any Internet user. Because of the WAP open standard, many more options are available to the service providers for WAP gateways, WAP-enabled handsets, or Web-enabled content services. This flexibility of choice makes it possible for the service provider to choose from a wide array of vendor products, all at competitive price levels.
Handset manufacturers are now beginning to see the advantage of integrating a microbrowser into their handsets that is low in cost and provides additional capability beyond voice access. Some vendors are including Bluetooth chips as well, which will enhance the value of their handsets over that of competitors. These micro-browser-enabled handsets will allow handsets to work on all WAP servers and all networks that offer WAP-based services. These new enhancements increase their value to the network service provider, who is now in a position to package these new handsets into a variety of new service offerings.
Applications developers are now in a position to reach a much-larger audience of end users who carry Web-enabled mobile handsets. Phone.com, a wireless Internet service provider, reported that its registered developers who create Web sites and applications grew from 62,000 to over 110,000. Another element that has encouraged developers is the fact that WML is based on XML and is an easy markup language for the developers to learn. Because WML has its basis in XML, it sets the stage for automatic content transformation. Information written in XML can be automatically translated into content for HTML or WML. As the technology for universal content continues to evolve, applications developers can feel secure in using present-day WML because there will always be a migration path upward from WML. WML serves as the common denominator for all developers, with no one having a unique advantage over competitors. WML provides a common thread among developers because any application written in WML will run on any network. WML allows developers to integrate applications with any device or telephony function.