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In another blow to the WAP format, one of the main service providers in the field, UK company MobileFuture, has announced that it is to be wound up, Andrew McLindon writes.

The wireless service provider had been struggling for some time and on 27 June announced that unless it received additional funding by the end of that month, it would have to instigate insolvency proceedings, as it would be unable to meet commitments due at the time.

It failed to find this funding and, as a result, said on Wednesday that the company was to close down. Its listing on the London Stock Exchange has been temporarily suspended until the company's financial future has been resolved.

MobileFuture's board commented in a statement that having explored all its strategic options, it believed that there were no further opportunities available to the business that could lead to its survival. It has now called a shareholders' meeting within the next four weeks to seek approval to wind up the company.

The board added that if the company was placed into liquidation, it did not think it likely that there would be any remaining value available to distribute to shareholders.

Established in 1999, MobileFuture developed a platform that provided access and gateway solutions for text, WAP and mobile computing across 2G and 2.5G.

The company went public on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange in November 2000 in a float that raised STG4.7 million and gave it a market capitalisation of close to STG16 million.

A spokesman told ElectricNews.Net that in December of last year the company received an additional STG1.5 million from one of its institutional investors, but that it was not enough to save the business as it simply ran out of cash.

Among its customers was The Woolwich: MobileFuture provided the bank with a managed modem service for its Open Plan WAP banking service. At the time of the announcement in June 2001, the Woolwich said it had 17,500 customers registered to use WAP banking.

MobileFuture also developed, in conjunction with McAfee.com, what was claimed to be the UK's first anti-virus software solution for wireless handheld devices back in 2000.

Its most recent deal, which was announced in April, saw Sony Ericsson distribute MobileFuture's World Cup content application, People on the Pitch. The service offered users access to information on goals, stadiums and results and was provided in text, WAP and colour WAP formats. MobileFuture said at the time that it expected the deal to be immediately revenue generating.

At the time of its float, it was rumoured that the company was preparing to enter the Irish market, but the company did not set up operations there.

© ENN.

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