ICICI Launches WAP Technology in India

ICICI Limited (NYSE:IC) (NYSE:IC.d), the leading financial intermediary, has taken several initiatives in the field of high technology to bring world class convenience to Indian customers.

ICICI has now become the first organization in India to offer services based on Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), within months of the introduction of this technology world-wide.

ICICI has introduced the technology by offering real-time stock quotes to WAP phone users. Now a customer having a WAP-enabled phone can get live stock quotes while on the move and can also monitor the performance of his own equity portfolio online.

ICICI has also introduced an ATM and branch locating facility for the WAP phone users. This enables a WAP subscriber to locate the ICICI ATM nearest to the place where he is at that instant. All he has to do is select his current location on the menu-driven screen and he would get to view the nearest ATM address.

Apart from live stock quotes/portfolio information and ATM/Branch locator, ICICI will be launching several other services on its WAP server in the coming weeks. This will include online utility bills information and tracking, travel and ticketing information, etc. Eventually, the WAP technology will also be used for undertaking online transactions, making it a true mobile commerce.

For the WAP technology project, ICICI has partnered with ICICI Infotech Services Limited (a group company) which has provided the technology, design, software solution and implementation of the project. The WAP server was provided by wabot.com.

Essentially, Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) technology allows a user to access Web pages written in WML (Wireless Mark-up Language) format using mobile devices. The ICICI offering will be available to the customer regardless of whether he has an Internet account or whether his telecom service provider has a WAP Gateway.

As against this the SMS (short messaging service) technology, currently used for mobile banking/commerce, works on e-mail basis, which involves sending an inquiry by e-mail and receiving a response by return e-mail thereby involving a time lag.

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