StarHub launches WAP roaming in Malaysia, Hong Kong

Singapore telecommunications company StarHub will launch WAP roaming in Hong Kong and Malaysia for customers of its iPower WAP service on October 1.

Singapore telecommunications company StarHub will launch WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) roaming in Hong Kong and Malaysia for customers of its iPower WAP service on October 1. The WAP roaming offering will soon be extended to the UK and India, StarHub says.

The five-country project is being driven by British Telecom which has significant minority stakes in all the partners.

StarHub has entered into an arrangement with SmarTone Mobile Communications in Hong Kong and Maxis Mobile in Malaysia to provide its WAP roaming service, StarHub says.

BT holds 18 percent of StarHub, 33 percent of Maxis and 20 percent of SmarTone.

By using the local mobile switching network and local WAP gateway as an ISP (Internet service provider), StarHub subscribers can access the iPower WAP portal via the Internet.

Subscribers will therefore be able to retrieve their WAP-based information without having to make international calls, thereby reducing the cost of using WAP, StarHub says.

Under the agreement, the local operators will provide WAP roaming service to customers travelling from Singapore to these two countries. Similarly, SmarTone and Maxis customers will be able to access their respective WAP portals from Singapore, according to StarHub.

Maxis has said it expects that between 10 percent and 20 percent of its 700,000 subscribers will migrate to WAP services eventually.

StarHub is also currently conducting tests with BT Cellnet in the UK and will soon begin tests with AirTel in India.

BT holds 22.5 percent of AirTel's parent Bharti Cellular. BT Cellnet is a division of BT.

In July, rival Singapore operator Mobile One Asia (M1) and Hong Kong's Cable & Wireless HKT announced a WAP roaming service between the two countries, which they described at the time as the world's first such service.

StarHub, in Singapore, can be reached at http://www.starhub.com.sg/.

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