The mobile Internet is a merger of two pervasive technologies: wireless networks and the Internet. As shown in Figure 1, growth in both areas is high, and estimates are that wireless usage—worldwide—will double to more than one billion people by 2003.
Internet and Wireless Growth (Source: IDC, June 1999 and Dataquest, October 1999)
The growth in digital mobile subscribers is driven, in part, by new uses for wireless networks. Messaging services and financial transactions have been common in Europe and Japan for years, and access to the Internet is already an accepted component of many mobile subscription packages. The U.S. has been slower to adopt these services, due in part to the large number of incompatible cellular network standards. This is changing, however, and by 2003, it is predicted that Internet-enabled mobile devices will dominate the conventional wireless phone by a large margin (see Figure 2). In fact, researchers at International Data Corp. estimate that by 2004, wireless access will be the primary type of Internet connection. Obviously, the stage is set for a new Internet revolution—a move to a truly worldwide Web with access from anywhere, to anywhere! WAP is one of the primary enablers in this new world, and you will want to know more about it.
Smart Versus Conventional Wireless Phone Usage (Source: DataComm Research)