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Apion & Sonera Launch The World's First Commercial WAP Services

At a prestigious official launch in Helsinki on 31st of August, the worlds first commercial release of a WAP services was announced, sending a strong signal to the wireless data industry that WAP is a 'now' technology.

For Apion, this commercial launch has meant that their already first-to-market WAP Gateway, Binnian , has gained further success by becoming the first WAP Gateway to be commercially deployed in a mobile network. Sonera will be utilising SMS-based technologies to deliver information and mobile e-commerce services to their GSM customers.

Binnian was selected by Sonera above all other Gateway vendors in the market on the basis that Apion had created a Gateway which offered the best personalization functionality, as well as superior billing and customer management features.

Commenting on the launch, Apion managing director Denis Murphy says, ' This is a significant milestone in Apion's vision to be the world-leading WAP infrastructure vendor. It has always been our vision to be first-to-market with Binnian , and it has given us great delight to partner with a world respected operator such as Sonera in introducing this first-to-market commercial service. The launch has sent a strong message to operators world-wide who are considering introducing a mobile Internet dimension to their service offering. Apion have always said, that the WAP microbrowser will do for the mobile Internet, what Netscape did for the Internet'.

The architecture of Binnian has enabled Sonera to bill their customers from transaction based data, thus allowing part of the service cost to be paid to the service provider for using the service. Richard McConnell, Apion's WAP Research & Development Director comments, 'we have built our Gateway with the view that operators world-wide are different in the way they conduct their business, introduce new services, bill customers , and so forth. This is why Binnian has proven to be the Gateway of choice for Sonera, and more recently Eircell. Binnian offers operators a highly distributable and scalable infrastructure product, with advanced billing and security functionality which allows us to tailor Binnian to individual customers' needs.

From Sonera, Mr Timo Ahomaki comments, 'Sonera is delighted with this world first announcement. Apion's Binnian Gateway has provided us with a robust platform for introducing new and more interactive services. However, WAP is only a technical interface for the production of services. Only time will tell what kinds of new services we can offer by means of WAP'.

NOTES TO EDITORS

WAP

Both Sonera and APiON are members of the WAP Forum, an industry consortium driving WAP viability and acceptance. The WAP Forum has established specifications for an advanced protocol that works across different wireless network technologies and devices internationally. For more information visit www.wapforum.org.

About APiON

APiON is well established as a world-leading provider of mobile Internet infrastructure software with significant expertise and competence in a range of network infrastructure technologies including Switching, Signaling, Wireless Data, Internet Integration, and Intelligent Networks. APiON is actively involved in WAP Forum activities, and is committed to being 'first-to-market' with new and innovative functionality as the WAP standards develop. For additional information on APiON, contact the Company on the World Wide Web at www.APiON-tss.co

About Sonera

Sonera is Finland's leading telecommunications company with subsidiaries and associated companies in 14 countries. Internationally, Sonera is a forerunner in the rapidly growing business areas of mobile, data and media communications. In 1998, Sonera's revenues amounted to USD 1.9 billion, and the profit before extraordinary items and taxes was USD 404 million. The Group employs approximately 9000 people. For more information see www.sonera.fi