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Alcatel-Lucent launches new mobile ad platform

London, April 13, 2010

Telecoms gear maker Alcatel-Lucent unveiled on Tuesday a new mobile advertising platform to compete with Google, Apple and Orange in an industry which is seen as on the cusp of taking off.

Alcatel, which like all equipment vendors is looking to get into services because they are less commoditised, plans to build on its existing relationships with operators to deliver targeted, relevant ads and new revenue streams.

Mobile advertising has long been touted as a new growth area for operators, although it is still in the early stages of development.

"We spent a lot of time with advertisers and their main message was that it needed to be easier for them to buy mobile media," Thomas Labarthe, vice president of Mobile Advertising at Alcatel-Lucent, told Reuters in an interview.

"They wanted simplicity and scale."

Alcatel-Lucent already provides some advertising services built around content offerings but this is a new platform designed to connect advertisers and operators.

Some operators such as France Telecom's Orange have launched their own platform to buy and sell online ads while Apple has also launched a new smartphone operating system with an advertising platform.

Google also owns the Admob network.

Alcatel said it hoped to make its hosted software offering attractive by making it relevant to consumers and easy to use for operators.

Alcatel-Lucent's digital media and advertising business is part of its applications software segment, which made revenues of 334 million euros ($454 million) in the fourth quarter of 2009, about 8 per cent of the company's total revenues.

The French-American group said its service would ask mobile users to opt in or out of the service and it would then ask the user questions about certain brands and topics, to make the ads more relevant.

By pulling together mobile ad space from operators, such as mobile Internet pages, Alcatel hopes to give media buyers and media agencies enough inventory to conduct targeted ad campaigns across different countries.

"(This) helps advertisers reach wider, yet more targeted audiences through highly responsive, permission and preference based mobile marketing that is aggregated across multiple mobile operators, a capability unique in the industry," Alcatel said.

The group, which has struggled to compete with larger European rivals Ericsson and Nokia-Siemens Networks, said its Optism Mobile Advertising Solution would have a media arm which would broker relationships between agencies and operators.

Alcatel said it would share the revenue from the deal, with the operator taking the larger share, but it did not give any further details. Labarthe said it had already signed up Orange Austria and was working with E-Plus in Germany. It said it would announce further operators shortly.

The group is also working with media agencies from WPP and media buyers. – Reuters

Tags: Google | London | Orange | Mobile advertising | Alcatel Lucent |

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