WAP stands for Wireless Application Protocol and is a popular type of mobile internet service which can be used on a handheld device, such as a mobile phone or PDA. It enables you to go online while out and about and is especially handy if you want to get the latest news updates, sports scores and travel updates.
Andrew Stucken | 9th September 2010
Ordinary web pages contain too much information to display properly on the small screens of mobile phones.
To get around this, the mobile phone industry invented WAP. It takes existing pages and rewrites them in a special, simplified language. You’ll need to use a micro browser to see them.
Using WAP on a mobile browser
WAP pages are more basic than those viewed on a full-sized computer screen but still allow you to get important information. You just need to enter the address in a mobile browser in the normal way, and you can bookmark pages if you wish.
You can navigate by moving up and down inside web pages on your WAP phone in the same way that you move around its menus to use text messages and other features.
Search engines including Ask, Google and Yahoo! are available over WAP, and you can search for both WAP and web content using them.
Not all websites have a WAP version. Despite that, you might still see something of the page. (Do bear in mind that WAP pages will load more slowly than they would on a broadband connection.)
The type of information available via WAP includes:
◾News flashes and stories
◾Sports scores and results
◾Train and flight times
◾Addresses and phone numbers
◾Traffic and travel news
You may also be able to check your email using webmail or applications supplied by some free email providers.
How do I get WAP?
To connect to the internet on your mobile you need:
◾A mobile phone, PDA or smartphone with a WAP micro-browser installed
◾A SIM card that supports data transfer
◾A connection to something called a ‘WAP access point’
On new phones, WAP will probably be set up for you. If it isn’t, your mobile phone operator can send you the settings as a text message. You simply need to open the message and the settings should install automatically.
If you have problems, you might need to contact your mobile phone operator – or you could take the phone to your mobile network’s local shop.
How much does WAP cost?
Some mobile networks will include a data usage allowance free, as part of a contract. Others sell a data allowance on a monthly basis, so you can use WAP whatever mobile deal you have.