The future's bright for WAP, Oftel attacked again and Vodafone's man on a mission

The Financial Times reports that Orange is set to launch a new mobile phone service next week that will offer location finding capabilities and be able to direct users to such useful amenities as the nearest cash point, hospital or cinema.

The Financial Times reports that Orange is set to launch a new mobile phone service next week that will offer location finding capabilities and be able to direct users to such useful amenities as the nearest cash point, hospital or cinema.

The service will be the first of its kind in the UK though it will most likely prove a forerunner to similar services being launched on other networks. The service, which also offers directions for drivers, will only be available on WAP phones and Orange will be hoping it injects some life into the WAP market which the FT remarks has been somewhat underachieving so far. A useful service tailored specifically to WAP phones may well prove to be what the technology has been waiting for... The FT also reports that Oftel has come under renewed attacks - this time from the European Commission - for not being proactive enough in its crackdown on BT's local loop monopoly. Oftel is not alone however, its equivalent regulators in Germany and the Netherlands were also accused of similar lethargy... Finally - also in the world of telecoms - Chris Gent, CEO of Vodafone, has flown out to Hong Kong to meet with the chairman of Hutchison Whampoa. The reason for Gent's visit is his hope to steady Vodafone's share price which has been rocked by uncertainty regarding Hutchison's 2.5 per cent stake in the mobile operator. Fears that Hutchison was looking to offload its shares have been depressing Vodafone's share price - and saw it toplled by Nokia as Europe's most valuable company - but the Financial Times reports that Gent has now received a personal assurance from Li Ka-Shing that Hutchison will retain its interest in the company...