Leading Bank in Sweden Moves to WAP

Handelsbanken has launched a test period for selected customers to try its wireless e-banking services based on the WAP
technology.


Handelsbanken is the largest commercial bank
in the Nordic region. IBM Sweden is one of several companies joining the test period for the WAP-based offerings.

Selected customers can use a WAP phone to receive general market
and personalized stock information over the Web. Beginning early next year, the
bank will roll out the interactive aspect of the service, which will allow
customers to access more information, such as account overviews and transactions, as well as money transfers and stock trading.

The new services will initially work on the new WAP phones from Ericsson
and Nokia. At a later stage, the services will be adapted to other types of phones as well.

“If you thought the Internet made an impact on the world, just wait until
WAP-services, like the one from Handelsbanken, become widespread. You can
only attract so many people to PCs, but wireless is regarded as almost
limitless,” said Lars O Gronstedt, vice president of Handelsbanken.


Handelsbanken thinks that WAP, the de-facto global standard for enabling
Internet communication and advanced telephony services on digital mobile
phones, pagers, personal digital assistants and other wireless devices, will
by year 2003 have around one billion subscribers around the world. They also
predict that more than half of mobile devices shipped between now and then
will be WAP-enabled.


If customers take to the WAP phone offerings, then banks may cut the costs of operating the current number of branch offices.


IBM Sweden is responsible for design, programming
and integration of the WAP application. IBM also delivers the development
tools and software for transforming data from the bank’s computer systems.
Nokia delivers the server that handles the
communication between the banking computer system and the customers mobile
phones.

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