WAP: Pioneers of India’s Mobile Net

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

Tata Cellular

Hyderabad-based Tata Cellular has become the first Indian
cellular service provider to enable its subscribers to surf the

Net through a mobile phone.


In the first few days of

mobile Internet services, this operator has rightly introduced

mobile Internet services with free airtime. Even after 15 May it

was Rs 2 per minute for surfing WAP content, which is

significantly less than Rs 4.5 per minute standard airtime

tariff. It has also allowed its subscribers to surf any WAP-enabled

site in the world through its WAP gateway. Though Tata Cellular

is considering its own mobile portal, Manzoor Ul Ameen,

marketing manager, says, "We believe that the subscribers

objectives of getting personalized and localized services is

best served by facilitating the free propagation of portals and

services by a host of vendors". Ideal words from a real


Introducing mobile

Internet was indeed a leapfrog for Tata Cellular, which had till

recently been focusing more on growing its voice services. In

fact, apart from SMS-based e-mail services, the company is yet

to go in for other SMS-based services like

and mobile banking. Introducing these SMS-based services is a

priority because of the huge number of SMS-capable mobiles

already existing in the country. However, it was the long-term

opportunity of convergence technologies and the first mover

advantage that really pushed Tata Cellular to enable Internet

access on its mobile network.

It has already invested Rs

1 crore on WAP and expects the ongoing roll out of mobile

Internet to take 6-10 months.


Dial-up Number:


Gateway IP Address:

Manosh R





Mumbai-based Orange is likely to officially launch mobile
Internet services in the next few weeks. It has already

installed a WAP gateway, which its subscribers are using to

access’s WAP-enabled content and has introduced

several SMS-based information and messaging services like mobile

e-mail and mobile banking. When it offered mobile e-mail at an

introductory free tariff, market sources say Orange network

experienced a high of 2 lakh messages being transacted daily.

With competitors like BPL Mobile in Mumbai and AirTel in Delhi

close on its WAP heels, it might not like to lose the first

mover advantage by not speeding up its launch. Though WAP phones

are very few compared to SMS-capable phones, Orange must rightly

play a role of the mobile Internet incubator.



Perhaps the largest cellular service provider in India in terms
of geographical spread, after it bought over JT Mobiles and

Skycell, AirTel is known to be launching a mobile Internet

rollout across all its circles. It has tried out at least three

sets of WAP solutions. AirTel has already introduced unified

messaging, mobile e-mail, mobile stock information services, and

mobile banking. It was also known to have experienced a traffic

of 1 to 1.5 lakh messages per day during the initial

introductory phase of launching its SMS-based information



Aircel Digilink

Aircel Digilink is also in the process of enabling its cellular
subscribers to surf WAP-enable sites. It has roped in Ericsson

for its WAP infrastructure.


BPL Mobile

BPL Mobile, which is emerging as the most dominant cellular
service provider in South India, has also announced that it will

soon introduce mobile Internet services. It is likely to

coincide the WAP launch with introduction of its GPRS services

which can significantly speed up the access of connection to WAP

sites. It is known to be in intense negotiations with at least

two well-known WAP gateway vendors.


Other operators who are also in the process of putting up WAP
infrastructure include Birla AT&T in Maharashtra, Goa, and

Gujarat; Escotel in Haryana, UP (East), and Kerala; and Essar

Cellphone in Delhi.




The most comprehensive WAP site so far in India,
developed by Itfinity–a Mumbai-based WAP solution provider–is

a treat to surf on a cell phone. It really works and is both

interesting and useful. If you want to know which film is being

aired at prime time on Star Movies tonight, you better go

straight to on your phone. News, stocks,

mutual funds, address book, bookmarks, reminders, horoscopes,

movies, TV, forex rates, currency converters, and STD codes are

some of the info already available here.


WAP URL:, promoted by SSKI, a 75-year old broker firm with
a network of 47 franchisees across 28 cities, is India’s first

WAP-enabled site about investing. The team can be

credited for installing perhaps the most advanced WAP

gateway/server in India. A WAP phone can access it through any

cellular service provider in the world and an ISP, irrespective

of whether the cellular operator has a WAP gateway or not. One

does not even have to go through a public gateway available

abroad as one can directly use’s gateway IP


At present one can access

stock quotes, financial news headlines, latest Sensex (BSE) and

Nifty (NSE) values, top gainers and losers, and punters call

which is a specialized information service by stock market

experts All these services are free as of now. This apart, is promoting the usage of its mobile content by

giving away thirty Nokia 7110 WAP phones through a contest on

its web site.



Gateway IP Address: 

India’s leading portal, is one of the first Indian
portals to enable access to its content through a mobile phone.

Subscribers can access its WAP content through the WAP gateway

installed at Orange, Mumbai. General news, business news, sports

news and scores, calendar services, market indices, and daily

horoscope/star forecasts are currently available on Rediff



This Delhi-based niche SMS and other mobile solution provider is
in the process of providing a gamut of WAP-based services. It

will be an independent content provider and is also developing

an online booking system for mobile salesman. 

It is probably the first ASP in India to try out a mobile model.
Some of the applications that it is likely to host wirelessly

are messaging, voice/fax/mail notification, m-commerce, mobile

banking, corporate e-mail, and personalization. Netxcell is in

the process of launching its site and it is likely to brand it

with a carrier’s name. Though the final model of pricing is

not yet ready, most services will be free.



The other web sites working on WAP include
,,,  and 




Nokia was perhaps the earliest companies to talk about WAP in
India. Its strategy for India is to enable mobile Internet

access as part of the larger infrastructure solution to leading

cellular service providers. Nokia has one of the longest list of

worldwide references for WAP implementation. And its Indian arm

is likely to leverage on this experience to provide a reliable

WAP solution to the serious players. As Sanjay Bhasin, general

manager, sales and marketing, South Asia, puts it, "Nokia’s

is a solid WAP experience, not a hit and trial


Nokia’s WAP products

include Nokia WAP Server, which enables mobile terminals to

connect to content and applications hosted by web servers or any

other server on the Internet or Intranet, and Nokia WAP Client–a

platform independent implementation of a WAP client including

the micro browser and the protocol layer.

Clients in India:

Orange, BPL Mobile, Fascel (based on market sources and not yet


Sanjay Bhasin



Though Ericsson has implemented over 70 WAP systems worldwide,
it is not very active on the WAP solution front in India. The

reason is that it has preferred to remain silent initially and

focus on doing trials and providing WAP as part of a complete

wireless data solution inclusive of highs-speed bearers like

GPRS. It already has notched up a client in Bharti Cellular for

implementation of GPRS. Ericsson’s India WAP strategy,

according to Sanjay Sharma, general manager, business

development, Ericsson Communication Ltd, is to leverage on its

dominant mobile infrastructure client base in India, which is

35-40 percent of the entire market.

Ericsson has an array of

WAP products to offer which includes WAP gateway/proxy, WAP

application servers, WTA servers, and other WAP application


Clients in India

Clients in India:

Aircel Digilink

Karthik Shivaram


One of the founding members of the WAP Forum, this company has
actually been the most active evangelist of WAP. Often accused

of attempting to be the Microsoft of wireless Internet, has the largest client base of WAP gateway/server in

the world. However, it does not yet have a direct presence in

India, though it is known to have tied up with a leading Indian

integrator to address the Indian market.

While has a

complete portal solution called MyPhone, it has Up.Link Server

suite and Up.Link Applications catering to WAP service providers

and Up.Browser and Up.Smart catering to WAP phone manufacturers.

Integra Micro

Bangalore-based Integra Micro has arguably the largest client
base in India for WAP solutions. It is also contributing to the

growth of wireless Internet by promoting collaboration among

prospective Indian WAP players. The lead role that Integra is

playing in coordinating the forthcoming "WAPCON 2000"

and "India’s WAP Initiative" are efforts towards

that end.

Integra Micro’s family

of Jataayu WAP product includes separate servers designed for

personal clients, enterprise users, and carriers respectively,

apart from the Jataayu WAP client and WAP stack.

According to the market

sources, Integra is seen to be highly flexible and capable of

dedicated support. Its WAP strategy at the moment is to build up

a strong presence in the Indian market and using that to target

the worldwide market. As for the world market, Integra has got

its Jataayu stack for embedded systems already licenced to a

US-based software development house. It is also scouting for

strategic tie-ups for both domestic as well as the export




Orange, BPL Mobile, AirTel, Escotel, Rediff,,, JP Systems (US), Star Search (UK), and Siemens


Raj Kesarimall



This small company in Bangalore already offers GPRS and Edge
modem designs to GSM and IS-136 product vendors, and 3G Wireless

protocol stack for mobile handsets and terminals to

manufacturers worldwide. A technologically diversified company,

SAS is now 500 employees strong and ISO 9001 certified. With an

excellent technology background, it is now pitching its i-WAVE

WAP gateway for both the domestic and world markets.

SAS has a strategy of

targeting the solution developers first and then expand to

mobile operators and portals. It intends to help and guide

software solution providers having domain expertise in their

respective focus areas. This way, it enables the software

companies to concentrate on their core competencies while SAS

gives support in terms of value-additions in the WAP solution.

Consequently, SAS will team up with the software developer to

provide the best solutions to the mobile operators and portals.

This way, good local support and customization can be easily

delivered to clients–domestic or abroad.

Paresh Vora 


Taruni Technovision

Hyderabad-based Taruni Technovi-sion has the distinction of
providing WAP solutions to Tata Cellular and will implement it

for Birla AT&T as well. Started in early 1999, this start-up

has developed two ready products in FlashServ–a SMS solution–and

WAP 1.1 gateway/server. It is currently working towards

incorporating security mechanisms and other advanced features to

its existing products, apart from researching on next generation

wireless technologies. Taruni’s intent is to develop the

market in India and then target the markets abroad. The company

just completed its European marketing tour and is developing
mechanisms to have a strong presence in the world market. Going

by its early successes in India, Taruni already has a strong

launch pad apart from technological expertise.

Clients in India:

Tata Cellular, Birla AT&T

Arvind Kumar


Tanla Solutions

One of the first few companies in the world to work on a USSD
bearer-based operator class WAP gateway, Hyderabad-based Tanla

Solutions aims to be a one-stop shop for mobile solutions. Apart

from having an offshore centre for WAP-enabling web sites and

e-commerce portals, it has also set up an offshore competence

centre for mobile operating systems like EPOC, WinCE, and Palm

OS. Tanla’s WAP gateway offers mobile network operators a

complete solution for various services. It also supports

integration with telephony services. Its WAP server connects a

company’s Intranet to its mobile employees, clients, and

associates. Tanla Solutions approaches the world market by

offering both on-site and offshore services. Its Indian strategy

is to market its products and services both directly and through

channel partners.



Hewlett Packard

HP with its impressive suite of products for e-businesses is
emerging to be the preferred partner for product vendors in the

wireless space. Leading WAP gateway vendor Nokia’s WAP server

runs on HP’s server hardware and integrates well with software

platforms like OpenMail Anywhere, VirtualVault, E-speak, and

Smart Internet. Tantau Software is another leading WAP vendor,

which has based its wireless Internet platform on HP UX. HP is

also creating an ecosystem of developers and users of mobile

e-services and has already set up an online mobile bazaar (

where developers and users can exchange views and ideas, apart

from getting assistance and support from HP.

In India, HP is closely

working with Nokia, Ericsson, Alcatel, and Motorola to offer its

solutions to service providers and enterprises. It is also in

the process of setting up a local e-services mobile bazaar in

India at in Bangalore.

Telia of Sweden





Though software giant Microsoft showed lukewarm responses to WAP
initially, it is now trying hard to pitch its products like

Windows NT and Windows CE in the wireless space. It has a tie-up

with Ericsson for providing personal information management

solutions which include e-mail and calendar.

Its rival Sun Microsystems

is also working out strategy to position its Java and Jini

platforms in the new wireless paradigm. Oracle is also known to

be active in the field. It already has a strong application

platform for e-businesses suited for wireless service providers.

However, these three companies have not yet revealed their

strategy for India.

Phone Vendors


Nokia is easily the largest mobile handset vendor in the
country. It is the first company in India to introduce a WAP

phone–the Nokia 7110. It is reportedly available at a street

price of

Rs 18,000. Though not yet available in India, Nokia has already
launched two more WAP handsets, the 6210 and the 6250, while the

9110i now comes with a WAP browser.


Ericsson has also launched its WAP phone, R320s, in India
recently. However, it is targeted at the premium segment with a

street price of around Rs 30,000.


Siemens WAP model, C35I, is reportedly getting launched in India
soon. Its S25 also reportedly comes with a micro browser based

on the older WAP 1.0 specifications.


With a strong India initiative, Samsung is looking forward to
shortly launching its WAP phones in India. It has a CDMA-based

WAP phone already available in the Asian and European markets.

And it plans to shortly come out with a GSM WAP phone. 




Started in 1999, eCapital is India’s leading and the most
experienced integration company for the cellular services

industry. Powered by its domain expertise on telecommunications

and its popular applications platform eVector, eCapital has

already implemented impressive projects for some of the biggest

cellular service providers in Europe. Projects that it has

implemented include development of mobile-to-Internet messaging

application for Sonera in

Finland and deployment of mobile-enabled corporate applications
for Vodafone in the UK. eVector, the flagship product of this

company, allows it to integrate the legacy and new applications

of service providers and corporates to enable it to be accessed

by a mobile phone.

eCapital’s strategy for

India is to leverage on its experience to provide WAP

integration services to Indian mobile operators and other large

customers. For the purpose, it has tied up with Nokia for the

gateway solution and HP for the hardware platform. Currently, it

is reported to be in negotiation with several potential

customers in India.

Clients: WapIT, Yomi Media, Sonera of Finland; and Vodafone, Charles

Stanley, The Street, and TalkCast Media of UK.


Rajeev Batra


One of the earliest

companies to address the e-business needs of emerging new media

and dotcom companies in India, has expanded its

skills by building content, community, and m-commerce solutions

for the wireless space. Leveraging on its competencies in web

strategy consulting, application development, solution

architecture, and strong in-house processes, has

been able to strongly position itself in the mobile solution

arena as well.

Services it offers to

wireless operators, WAP content/commerce companies, and mobile

portals include providing solution consultancy and integration,

application environment evaluation, and providing information

design specifications.


Saju Joseph



IBM is emerging as one of the largest integrators of WAP
solutions in the world. With its long history of R&D in

pervasive computing technologies, the company has built up a


solution for the wireless space. 

Central among its products

for this space is IBM WebShpere Everyplace suite. This provides

ISPs the ability to create content in XML for use in all present

and future devices and enterprises a mobile extension of their

e-business foundations.

In the WAP scenario, IBM

is going in for an alliance proposition, whereby it will work

with leading wireless equipment providers like Motorola and

Nokia in providing WAP-based solutions to service providers and

enterprises. IBM is now eyeing the Indian market.

Clients: Japan Airlines, Vodafone,

BT Cellnet, Bank of Scotland, Swissair.

Rajiv Sachdev



Banking on its flagship product, Flexcube, and the popular
MicroBanker, iFlex has emerged as a global software solutions

provider to the financial services industry worldwide. In the

wireless space, iFlex intends to tap its deep domain knowledge

about the financial sector and extensive software skills to

enable banking and financial institutions to make their Web

content and commerce services accessible from a mobile phone.

Clients: HDFC






Delhi-based NextBrick is a technology service company focused on
providing services in the portal and B2B e-commerce space. On

the wireless front this company will focus on designing and

modeling mobile Internet sites, live launch of mobile Internet

services, and hosting, maintenance, and technical support for

mobile sites. Though it has focused largely on global projects,

NextBrick now wants to play a role in the Indian WAP rollout.

Clients: Go4i

Avanthi Shah



SA Global

Hyderabad-based SA Global is a software developer which offers
on-site and offshore development on Internet, Intranet, and

e-commerce. This company has a strong research team working on

new frontiers of software and one such area is WAP. Currently

mobile stock, portfolio management system, mobile banking

application, and mobile corporate application are being publicly

demonstrated to subscribers of Tata Cellular in Hyderabad.

Contact: AG