Pontis has announced that Partner Communications, operating the Orange brand in Israel, has deployed its marketing delivery platform to automate and improve the speed with which it can introduce personalised marketing offers for its customers. Using the new solution, Partner Communications says it plans to significantly improve the quality and increase the quantity of its marketing activity with its 2.7 million wireless subscribers.

Pontis' Marketing Delivery Platform (MDP) - a software solution which enables marketers to deliver real-time, personalised marketing offers - will play a central role in Partner Communication's marketing strategy. 

With 3G content and value added services now a key strategic tool for driving revenue, Partner needed a comprehensive system that would automate the process of launching personal marketing offers. The system will be used to promote a range of personalized offers, combining Partner Communication's full VAS portfolio: ringtones, games, wallpapers, screen savers, Live TV, video clips and full tracks downloads.

Erez Paz VP Marketing at Partner Communications, comments: "VAS is now one of the most strategic growth areas for operators, as well as being a key part of our brand. To this end, we are looking to drive additional revenue through higher levels of content consumption and customer satisfaction, which the Pontis system will enable us to do. Timing is critical for our campaigns and the system will increase the speed with which we are able to introduce marketing offers, enabling proactive and reactive, real-time offers to be delivered all the way to the end-user over our digital sales channels.  A key objective is to be able to offer appealing and highly targeted promotions to our subscribers".

The Pontis system will also enable a higher level of targeting using advanced lifestyle and usage based segmentation capabilities. A variety of Pontis modules will be used by the company including ‘cross-sell‘ promotions of related products, ‘Happy Hour' promotions and personal recommendations using an on-line recommendation engine.

The Pontis MDP will simplify and speed up the launch time of each new marketing offer, which, using traditional methods is a lengthy process that is heavily dependent on IT resources, billing and content departments. 

Alon Berman VP Technology at Partner Communications comments: "Deploying the Pontis system will significantly improve the flexibility and time to market of new marketing offers. Moreover we will be able to consolidate and enable full operational control of campaigns to the Marketers. This means reduced dependency on IT resources needed in order to plan and execute complex marketing campaigns. The advanced capabilities of the system also mean that we will be able to run many marketing offers in parallel, and the Pontis reporting tools will provide accurate analysis on the effectiveness of a campaign."

Michael Kerbis, CEO of Pontis comments;  "We are delighted that Partner Communications has selected Pontis' technology which will not only support their strategic marketing objectives but will also play a central role in improving their day to day marketing operations."   

GSA - the Global mobile Suppliers Association, has welcomed confirmation by 3GPP that the LTE Terrestrial Radio Access Network technology specifications have been approved and are now under change control, leading to their inclusion in the forthcoming 3GPP Release 8.

3GPP LTE is an evolution of the GSM/UMTS (comprising WCDMA, HSPA) systems family, and specifies the next generation mobile broadband access system.

LTE utilizes a new state-of-the-art radio air interface technology known as Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) to provide several key benefits including significantly increased peak data rates, increased cell edge performance, reduced latency, scalable bandwidth, co-existence with GSM/EDGE/UMTS systems, reduced CAPEX and OPEX.

GSA actively supports the work of 3GPP through its role since 1999 as a Market Representation Partner of 3GPP. Alan Hadden, President, GSA said: "LTE is firmly on track, and will deliver competitive capacity and data throughput enhancements, to build on the huge momentum and market success of mobile broadband services and applications enabled today by WCDMA-HSPA systems."

3GPP LTE radio technology is optimized to enhance networks by enabling significant new high capacity mobile broadband applications and services, whilst providing cost efficient ubiquitous mobile coverage. LTE is also scalable to allow operation in a wide range of spectrum bandwidths, from 1.4 - 20 MHz, using both Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and Time Division Duplex (TDD) modes of operation, thus providing flexibility to suit any operator's existing or future frequency allocation globally.

IMImobile, the provider of value-added services to mobile telecoms operators and content owners, has today announced that it has commenced pre-launch trials of its ‘Ad-Ring' mobile advertisement platform. Ad-Ring is said to be the industry's first fully integrated mobile advertising platform, and provides an environment in which multi-format ad campaigns can be created and delivered to consumers via a full range of mediums covering SMS, MMS, voice, WAP portal, caller ring back tone and video streaming. Furthermore Ad-Ring is delivered as a module within IMImobile's ‘DaVinci' service delivery platform (SDP) and is provided as a fully managed service. DaVinci has enabled 4 billion user interactions worldwide in 2007 alone.

Commenting on the development of Ad-Ring, IMImobile CEO, Vishwanath Alluri said, "Our advertising partners have increasingly complex needs that demand a highly flexible and intelligent platform. Ad-Ring is an open platform that not only meets those needs but also provides a user friendly and sophisticated interface that will allow our customers to initiate and manage consumer campaigns quickly and easily, taking full advantage of the highly targeted nature of mobile advertising."
The development of Ad-Ring, which is expected to launch commercially in the first quarter of 2008, is an evolutionary development of IMImobile's proven DaVinci managed service delivery platform which provides the tools to cost effectively deliver a range of services ‘off the shelf', a development architecture to develop and deliver new services and an environment in which operators and partners access detailed market and infrastructure intelligence.  The ‘open' architecture enables easy integration with VAS platforms including WAP, SMS, MMS, caller ring back tone, Voice and Video.
DaVinci incorporates a comprehensive management information system that enables IMImobile's customers to properly understand subscriber usage and behaviour to determine individual requirements and target services accordingly. The management information system is fully integrated with Ad-Ring to provide detailed subscriber segmentation and targeting data, together with campaign measurement and analysis.

The GSM Association (GSMA) has announced the finalists for the Mobile Innovation Global Awards, along with the headline keynotes for the Mobile Innovation Marketplace at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona between February 11th and 12th.

Jim Balsillie, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Research In Motion (RIM), and Charles Leadbeater, a leading authority on innovation and creativity and author of ‘We-think: the power of mass creativity', will be keynote speakers at the GSMA's Mobile Innovation Marketplace in Barcelona. The GSMA's Mobile Innovation Marketplace, launched in 2007, is designed to help the thousands of small and medium-sized companies developing innovative mobile products and services reach mobile operators and bring their innovations to end-users.

Mr. Balsillie, who has held the position of Co-CEO at RIM since 1992 and who's been a major force behind the success of the company and its flagship BlackBerryÒ wireless solution, and Charles Leadbeater, who has advised companies, cities and governments around the world on innovation strategy, will talk about how the mobile industry should encourage and leverage innovative ideas, solutions and products ahead of presentations by the top finalists at the Mobile Innovation Global Awards.

"With such high calibre and experienced business thought leaders kicking-off the Mobile Innovation Marketplace sessions in Barcelona, we hope to trigger lively discussions and debate focused on how new mobile products and services are developed and brought to market successfully," said Bill Gajda, Chief Commercial Officer of the GSMA. "The Marketplace also offers innovators with an opportunity to pitch their ideas to decision makers as well as get the level of exposure they need in front of senior executives within the mobile operator community."

The Mobile Innovation Marketplace, which is being sponsored by Ericsson and FierceWireless, will also include a ‘speed dating' session, whereby twenty-five shortlisted companies will have the opportunity to present their innovations to operators and potential investors. Other activity includes a panel session entitled ‘Breaking Down the Barriers - exploring the realities of bringing innovation to market', which will include speakers such as Dr. Yeon-Hak Kim, EVP & Chief Strategy Officer of KTF, and other representatives from leading industry innovators and global venture capitalists.

The Mobile Innovation Global Awards were created by the GSMA as part of the Mobile Innovation Marketplace to encourage breakthrough technology, applications and services in the mobile industry by bringing together smaller companies developing innovative mobile products, industry investors and mobile operators.

Ahead of the Mobile Innovation Marketplace in Barcelona, innovators were invited to submit an application in one of five categories, which were reviewed by senior executives from mobile operators and venture capitalists. Two finalists in each category have been chosen to pitch their products and services to an expert judging panel at the Marketplace on Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th February. A winner from each category will be presented at the event, with one Overall Mobile Innovation Global Award winner being presented at the Global Mobile Awards 2008 Gala Dinner at the National Palace in Barcelona on the evening of Tuesday February 12th. The ten finalists for the Mobile Innovation Global awards are:

Most Innovative Wireless Device-centric Technology
·        Inside Contactless, France

  • Vuzix Corporation, UK

Most Innovative Carrier Infrastructure or Platform
·        Flexenclosure, Sweden

  • Xtract, Finland

Most Innovative Mobile Application in a Vertical Market
·        GestureTek, Canada

  • Wyless, UK

Most innovative Consumer Application or Service
·        Tagattitude, France

  • Valimo Wireless, Finland

Most Innovative ‘True Mobile Start-Up'
·        Audience, USA

  • uLocate Communications, USA

Amobee Media Systems has announced its selection by Vodafone Italia to offer ad-funded mobile video content to the operator's 29.1 million Italian customers.
The service, called FreeVideo, allows Vodafone Italia UMTS users to access a wide range of high-quality, local and branded video content for free in return for receiving relevant commercial messages from major brands. Two of the first brands to sign up to the service are the charity group ActionAid and the global media company RCS Media Group.
Amobee is providing the centralised ad-server to seamlessly integrate relevant and dynamic commercial messages. This service closely follows Amobee's recent announcements with Vodafone in Spain, Greece and the Czech Republic, in which the company is enabling ad-funded peer-to-peer SMS and games as well as advertising on Vodafone Live!
Amobee and Vodafone Italia have brought together a set of partners to enable the launch of FreeVideo. QuickPlay Media, a world leader in the management and delivery of mobile TV and video services, is powering streaming video content with its OpenVideo service delivery platform. QuickPlay is also enabling dynamic real-time stitching of ads provided by the Amobee platform and FreeVideo content.
Dada's advertising agency Dada Ad is responsible for recruiting and managing the relationship with advertisers aiming to run rich-media, tactical campaigns on mobile. Dada Ad has been successfully selling mobile campaigns for Vodafone Italia since March 2007.
UMTS users with a video-enabled handset can opt-in to watch free news, sport, comedy and music clips from media brands such as e-Class, Dorna and Digital Magics. Amobee instantly processes the user's profile and contextual information and selects a relevant "pre-roll'" video ad, followed by the video content and then a "post-roll'" ad.
Zohar Levkovitz, CEO of Amobee commented, "We've been rolling out new and exciting mobile advertising deals with Vodafone across Europe. Vodafone Italy is the latest step in a very successful relationship. Ad-funded video services enable operators to develop a new revenue opportunity as brands make use of mobile as a channel to reach audiences. It also allows users to watch mobile video for free. Vodafone is really making great strides in maximising the potential of this."

Momail has announced the successful closure of its first round of funding, valued at SEK 35 million ($5.4 million). Investors are said to include institutions such as the Swedish 6th Pension Fund and Bonnier Invest, as well as individual investors from Sweden, England, Russia and South Africa.

"We are grateful and proud of our investor's confidence despite uncertainties in the financial markets. As mobile email is a quickly growing segment of the market, and Momail offers a unique and easy solution for this market with its patented in-house server-side technology, the company attracts many interested parties in the market," says Roger Grönberg, CEO of Momail.

"The new funding will enable Momail to expand into new markets as well as to further enhance product development to make Momail even easier to use for the delivery of email, pictures, documents and other digital content via mobile handsets. Not only do we continue to experience ever greater numbers of consumers becoming avid Momail users, but we have also received strong interest from, operators, ISP's and communities around the world for partnership opportunities so that they can also offer Momail's market leading mobile email solution to their customers," says Roger Grönberg.

Momail's MMOPE (Mobile Message Optimization and Protection Engine) technique optimizes all mobile data transmitted through its system, including attachments. This functionality speeds up data transmission, while also saving up to 99 percent of the data sent to the mobile device. Unlike most  mobile email solutions on the market today which use a special mobile client or complicated downloads, Momail leverages the built-in email support provided in most of today's mobile phones, in order to simplify the installation and use of mobile email. By using this unique approach Momail has quickly become the market leader in number of devices supported - today over 1000.

ArcSoft, CIeNET Technologies, fring, Google, i-skoot and Mobica are new partners in the UIQ Alliance Partner Program. The agreements basically mean that UIQ Technology will support the partner companies in their development of mobile applications and services on UIQ and Symbian OS for future product releases. The new partners are given access to UIQ roadmap updates, joint marketing, technical support and also have the option to receive early access to UIQ releases.
UIQ, an open user interface and application development software platform, makes it possible for mobile phone manufacturers to create different kinds of phones, all based on the same open software platform. Main customers are Sony Ericsson and Motorola. 
"The UIQ Alliance Partner Program expands the options for our customers to choose applications and services that work well with UIQ. This accelerates time to market when creating new mobile phones", says Elisabet Melin, VP Marketing at UIQ Technology. "We are very pleased to welcome our new partners into the UIQ Alliance Partner Program and look forward to a good cooperation."

AIRCOM International, the independent mobile network planning and optimisation consultancy, has added new features to its ASSETShare network planning tool.  The features will further help mobile network operators match their CAPEX and OPEX constraints against the network performance and design, whilst improving performance for those considering sharing their networks with other operators. 
Network sharing is a growing trend in the mobile industry as operators combine their network resources to to reduce OPEX and CAPEX cost by maximising their existing infrastructure investment.  With numorous possible ways of achieving network sharing, operators who are merging their networks need to find the best possible way of saving costs without compromising the performance or quality of service to their customers.
Each operator has different technical and network design criteria to consider. An optimised shared network has many possible design permutations, according to the parameters set down by the operator.  New features added to ASSETShare solve this 'multiple design' dilemma and help operators deal with and objectively assess each possible design outcome from an RF and transmission backhaul perspective. This would normally take entire departments months to work through the various "what if" scenarios; with the introduction of AIRCOM's ASSETShare, these complex cross-department permutations can be completed more accurately and with fewer people.
Commenting on the new ASSETShare features, Margaret Rice-Jones, CEO of AIRCOM said, "In discussions with our operator customers,  flexibility over network performance criteria and the ability to deliver cost savings emerged as key requirements for those who are looking at network sharing."
"With the updates to ASSETShare, we deliver these key requirements, which in turn deliver benefits in terms of cost-saving, greater flexibility and a faster decision-making process - benefits which the operator can pass to the subscriber, in terms of lower tariff costs and improved quality of service."
One of the often overlooked requirements in network sharing is the impact on the transmission network when considering which sites to share. ASSETShare's new transmission optimisation module allows the user to add the backhaul elements of both parties into the equation. This capability allows ASSETShare to evaluate the impact on backhaul as part of the overall site coverage equation, significantly improving the overall CAPEX and OPEX savings.
ASSETShare can now also accurately assess the costs for meeting a variety of different business requirements identified by the operators for their network - such as minimum coverage levels or a maximum cost figure for network overheads.
This improved flexibility allows operators to input specific criteria that they consider a priority for their network sharing arrangement. They can then use the results generated by ASSETShare to make an informed business decision for their shared network model, rather than simply being handed a single recommendation to follow.
ASSETShare already incorporates a range of advanced tools that provide valuable integrated support in the areas of network planning, optimisation, configuration and performance management.

Mobile instant messaging (IM) adoption in Europe will grow from 8 percent (26.7 million subscribers) in 2007 to 24 percent (80 million subscribers) by 2013, according to a new study by Forrester Research. Forrester's mobile IM forecast is based on a survey of 22,000 consumers across France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

Three years after the first mobile IM service launched, Forrester believes operators still lack a true commitment to backing the technology because of fears that mobile IM will cannibalize revenue from their highly profitable text messaging services (SMS). But mobile IM's growth is inevitable and operators' fears of revenue erosion are greatly overstated according to Forrester Research Analyst Niek van Veen.
"Young consumers' familiarity with PC-based instant messaging and the growing number of IM-capable phones entering the market will drive adoption," said van Veen. "Mobile IM and SMS are complementary services. Forward-thinking operators will embrace mobile IM as an opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition. They will integrate IM with their existing services to build their brand around an enhanced customer experience based on the allure of Social Computing."
Further findings from the Forrester report:
·       Sweden and the UK will lead in mobile IM adoption with 35% and 31% of subscribers using mobile IM respectively by 2013.
·       Mobile IM will displace 13 percent of SMS traffic by 2013. In Sweden, where SMS usage is low and mobile IM uptake high, mobile IM will replace 28 percent of SMS traffic; in Spain, where the opposite is true, it will replace just eight percent of SMS traffic.
·       Text messaging will continue to grow regardless of the increasingly popularity of mobile IM. Monthly Person-to-Person (P2P) SMS traffic in Western Europe will climb from 190 billion messages in 2007 to 233 billion by the end of 2013, despite the fact that some traffic will have moved to IM.

The nominations for the 13th Annual Global Mobile Awards were announced today by the GSMA in London. The winners will be presented at the gala awards dinner on Tuesday 12th February, during the world's biggest communications industry event, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (11-14th February 2008).

The GSMA also announced that International comedian Graham Norton will host this year's awards ceremony, which promises to be a highlight of the congress calendar, as well as the GSMA's celebrations of twenty years of global mobile communications.

With the most diverse range of entries in the 13 year history of the competition, the judging panel were faced with a challenging and demanding task in evaluating the submissions and electing the nominees. Categories range from best mobile handset to a host of mobile entertainment awards, for games, video, music, advertising and social networking services.

"Entries to the Global Mobile Awards this year demonstrate the social, business and economic impact that mobile communications is having in every corner of the world," said Rob Conway, GSMA CEO. "I congratulate the nominees on their achievement thus far, being nominated by our independent judging panel is no mean feat given the calibre of experts it comprises, and the quality and quantity of submissions received. We await the announcement of the winners at the Global Mobile Awards evening with keen interest."

WIN, a specialist in interactive mobile entertainment and information, has announced the acquisition of Pocket Group, a mobile entertainment company and mobile music specialist, providing content and marketing services to more than 50 operators across the world.

The move further strengthens WIN's entertainment portfolio. Pocket Group specialises in mobile music and video, working with leading record labels such as XL and Skint Records to help them implement a mobile music proposition and maximise their revenues from mobile distribution.
As a WIN company, Pocket Group will be a key driver in the company's global growth strategy by developing and distributing cutting edge, made for mobile, music, content, video and marketing services. The acquisition will extend WIN's reach internationally by growing new relationships and build on existing relationships with tier one operators in Europe and Asia such as Orange, O2, Vodafone, Smart and M1. WIN will also leverage Pocket Group's existing ties with handset manufacturers such as Samsung and leading brands like ITN and Carlton.
"WIN is committed to developing an industry leading portfolio of services, offering operators category management, global content solutions. The Pocket Group acquisition is a milestone on the road to realising this vision," said Graham Rivers, CEO of WIN plc. "By developing an exceptional range of services with global reach WIN offers unrivalled flexibility and scalability for mass market content delivery."
He added, "Along with an exciting library of musical content, WIN will benefit from Pocket Group's content merchandising abilities and a highly experienced management team. We also look forward to developing the relationships Pocket Group has established with tier-one mobile operators, handset manufacturers and brands."
Pocket Group is based in London with further operations in Kuala Lumpur and Moscow. It works directly with mobile operators through the provision of managed services. Pocket Group directly targets consumers, offering specialised media and entertainment "bundles", comprising music, wallpapers and videos.
Andrew Hull, Managing Director at Pocket Group said. "We are very excited at becoming a member of the WIN Group.  Pocket Group is one of the leading providers of mobile music and entertainment content to network operators and consumers. Combined with WIN's expertise across mobile networks and platforms, we can offer a world beating mobile solution."

Logia Group, a global provider of mobile internet services, has announced the international launch of Vidmo, said to be the first video multi-platform for the content sharing community. Vidmo is the first tool to enable users to upload, share and rate videos, pictures, and other content in parallel through the internent as well as mobile devices. Vidmo allows mobile operators and website owners to launch and manage web and mobile sites containing rich video channels with advanced community and sharing tools. Logia Group will be offering demonstrations of the Vidmo user experience at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The community of mobile content users has been constantly growing with more input and demand for newer applications and services. One of the leading trends today among the youth and young adult populations is to use internet-based social networking websites for content sharing activities, motivated by the desire to have their content viewed and rated by as many of their peers as possible. The ability to conduct the same activities via the cellular network, would provide the users with more freedom of movement and make these activities more fun and accessible, resulting with new revenue streams and increased user loyalty  for operators.

Logia Group has developed Vidmo, a WEB-WAP based multi-platform for content sharing, which offers content providers an easy way to distribute their content and enables website managers to automatically offer their content to mobile users. This advances the user expierence of viewing and sharing of videos and photographs, both on the PC and mobile phone. Vidmo offers full community synchronization between the internet and the cellular network allowing users to upload videos and other content and rate it on both environments. The platform  enables users to easily create and manage their content, e.g. send photographs from the cellphone to the Vidmo website, using MMS or the WAP service. In addition, through Vidmo's cellular and hyper-blogging service, subscribers can send updates to their friends via SMS or directly through the website.

"We are excited to bring the content sharing experience to the mobile wolrd", says Kobi Marenko, Logia Group's President & CEO, "We believe that Vidmo will attract significant numbers of new users and at the same time help leveraging the brands of operators, service providers and websites, enabling a cost effective solution to increase traffic and generate additional advertising revenue."

T-Mobile and Yahoo! have announced a strategic partnership which will see the first graphical advertising appear on T-Mobile's pioneering Internet service. Web'n'walk, which was the UK's first service to offer people unlimited access to the whole internet on a mobile phone,  is set to carry a variety of innovative graphical ads exclusively sold and  served by internet giant Yahoo!.
Mobile advertising is revolutionising the market by allowing advertisers to deliver more targeted messaging to consumers on their mobiles when on the move.   As pioneers of the Internet on your mobile, T-Mobile and Yahoo! will combine their expertise in the industry and knowledge of consumer habits, to enable advertisers to offer consumers targeted graphical ads when using the web'n'walk service.  Mobile advertising is unique in allowing consumers the ability to interact and respond directly to the messages that advertisers try to deliver to them, when they are out of the office or home.  T-Mobile and Yahoo! intend to roll out the first mobile advertisements on web'n'walk in the first half of 2008.
Phil Chapman, Director of Marketing at T-Mobile, said: "Mobile advertising is a key area of development for T-Mobile in 2008 and this partnership with Yahoo! shows our commitment to making this strategy succeed. With conventional mobile marketing tools limiting the levels of interaction, banner advertising through the Internet on your mobile creates many opportunities for potential advertisers to adopt innovative marketing campaigns. We regard Yahoo! as a leader in display advertising, and with its deep understanding of the mobile space and the potential that mobile advertising can offer clients, we're glad they are on board as our partners." 
"This partnership with T-Mobile demonstrates Yahoo!'s continued focus on mobile and extending our leadership in graphical advertising across multiple platforms," said Geraldine Wilson, VP of Connected Life, Yahoo! Europe. "Advertisers are fast recognising the value of mobile advertising as a core part of their digital campaigns, and we are excited to work with T-Mobile to create superior experiences that deliver great value to advertisers and mobile users alike."
Thomas Husson, Senior Analyst at JupiterResearch, said in a recent report: "The mobile channel enables advertisers to interact with consumers at different and unique peak times when they are relatively more difficult to reach through other media. More than any other medium, mobile can be leveraged to make the most of unique contextual, individual, and behavioural targeting."

Mobile media company Player X has been appointed by Virgin Mobile UK as its official aggregator for all its mobile games and video content.

This is one of the first times that a company has been able to offer operators both games and video aggregation in what is a unique deal for the industry. Player X will sign up all games as well as video partners on behalf of Virgin Mobile UK and execute all portal management including encoding, QA and deployment as well as promoting the content across all platforms.
Under the terms of the deal, Player X will source all entertainment and adult comedy mobile video content as well as choosing games content for the Virgin Mobile portal from its range of content suppliers.

"We searched high and low for a partner that could offer us definitive revenue streams in both games and video. With Player X we have found such a partner and look forward to expanding our relationship with them," said John Conlon, Head of Content at Virgin Mobile UK.

"Bringing together games and video is a first for the industry and the perfect outsourcing deal. Virgin can continue to focus its energy on what it does best - by attracting subscribers with fantastic content and we take all the pain out of it for them by using our new porting and QA facility in India to offer the perfect end-to-end solution," said Tony Pearce, Player X CEO. 
The news follows Player X's recent innovative moves in the mobile content market. Towards the end of 2007 the company announced it was bringing Knight Rider to mobile in the form of Retrosodes, signed up with Amobee to deliver ad-funded games and extended its deal with Turner Broadcasting.