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Cover Story
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By Daniel Cheung

E-commerce is said to be a revolutionary way of making commercial transactions.  Now, the new industry buzzword is "m-commerce".

M-commerce, or mobile commerce, is the new buzzword within forward-looking circles of business and public.  What it means is making commercial transactions using your mobile handset.  It is actually really an extension of the e-commerce phenomenon.  With the growth of mobile handsets expanding at a phenomenal rate, many experts are expecting m-commerce to actually become the most common form of e-commerce transaction in the world.


How Does M-Commerce Work?

M-commerce is enabled by using the mobile phone to access the Internet to surf for and make purchases - just like e-commerce.  This means that you need to use a WAP-enabled mobile phones.  WAP, of Wireless Application Protocol, is a technology  that allows mobile handsets to connect to the Internet and read specifically-coded pages (coded in wml, rather than the html of normal web pages).

M-commerce encompasses all the transactions of e-commerce (like purchases of goods and services, banking and so on).  The obvious benefit is that you can be anywhere and still make e-transactions.  However, due to the relative newness (to the public) of the technology, the number of WAP-enabled companies and their offerings are limited.  Furthermore, because of the narrow bandwidth of the digital network in Australia at present, WAP pages, although still part of the Internet, can only display text-based and very simple images in the WAP phone's screen.


An Example of M-Commerce Functionality:
The WAP mobile user surfs the Internet to the Cinema's website, and makes a purchase of movie tickets.

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