Internet service provider Breathe has dropped its call charges for access to Wap services from mobile phones until the end of November.
This appears to be a truly free Wap service, at least until the trial ends, but only Orange and One2One users can really get it for free because it relies on callers using a freephone number.
Orange and One2One customers don’t have to pay for 0800 calls and their ilk, but BT Cellnet and Vodafone customers do.
“This is an education process,” said Philip May, Breathe’s commercial senior vice president, for which read ‘it’s a marketing stunt’.
The reason why Breathe has used the freephone number access method is because May says its targets, “modern urbanists” [sic], are allegedly mainly Orange and One2One customers.
“In focus groups we found people didn’t know about Wap but once they were shown it they said ‘that’s cool’,” said May.
The service will also be available to pay-as-you-go accounts. For those customers, this will be a significant saving on standard Wap calls.
But this does not mean people can make calls to collect their mail with Palms or other PDAs. The service is purely to push access to Wap sites and services.
PC Advisor tested the service on a couple of phones, and it appears the offer is for real.
This may well prove to be a more viable offering than the failed free internet access services offered by landline-based ISPs of late, as mobile phone users currently must disconnect from a Wap call to make voice calls. This should ensure Breathe doesn’t have to go down the Freeserve route of evicting heavy users.