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ARKIB : 29/06/2000

Celcom Unveils Most Comprehensive Wap Service

KUALA LUMPUR June 28 - Celcom, Malaysia's leading telco and mobile phone service provider, today launched its Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) facility, joining Maxis and Adam in offering mobile internet service via the handphone.

Named Celcom GSM WAP, the service is expected to reaffirm the company's position at the forefront of the rapidly evolving telecommunications industry.

Although it took a backseat while others got onto the WAP bandwagon some months ago, the wait proved to be worthwhile as Celcom GSM WAP has initial links to more than 1,000 WAP contents, making the service the most comprehensive in the country.

Celcom scored another first by not only making the WAP service available to its postpaid customers but to prepaid customers as well.

Existing Celcom GSM customers only need to procure a WAP-enabled phone to enjoy all the benefits of mobile internet.

As an added incentive, no additional registration and access fee would be levied on customers who wish to surf via Celcom GSM WAP.

Once connected, customers can access a wide selection of information ranging from breaking news and financial updates to technology bytes and lifestyle happenings.

Notably, it offers exclusive reports from leading global news providers such as CNN and Dow Jones, with the former being updated every half an hour to provide the latest information from around the world.

Bistamam Ramli, group executive vice president of TRI/Celcom, said Celcom did not invest heavily to set up WAP since it was riding on the company's current GSM infrastructure.

"This service is actually riding on our current GSM infrastructure, as such the investment for WAP alone is very minimal. We only have to invest in a few servers, the hardware and content. So far, we have invested less than RM10 million on Celcom GSM WAP," he said.

He added Celcom was also gearing up for General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) which was a platform capable of offering stunning full-blown mobile multimedia application, running at a speed of 170 kilo bytes per second (kbps) compared to the current WAP speed of 9.6 kbps.

Tentatively, Celcom would introduce WAP on GPRS in 2001, as by then, most telcos in the world would expect handphone manufacturers to produce GPRS-enabled phones.

However, Bistamam noted there was no cost indication for GPRS in Malaysia at present.

He added GPRS would also ride on the GSM infrastructure, making the capital expenditure for GPRS bearable for most telcos.

Bistamam expected Celcom GSM WAP to attract a customer base of 60,000 by year end in view of the strong consumer interest and uptake in its Short Messaging Service (SMS) platform.

The standard tariff for Celcom GSM WAP during peak hours is 15 sen for 30 seconds while off-peak use would cost 7.5 sen for 30 seconds.

Celcom is offering a promotional package with which customers would enjoy a flat rate of 10 sen for 60 seconds, valid from today to July 31.

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