2012 – Review of the Year

As ever, we tried to keep this brief, and as ever, we failed miserably. Apologies, but 2012 was without a shadow of a doubt, the busiest, most exciting year in mobile marketing to date, so there’s a lot to summarise. So make yourself comfortable, put your phone, and yourself, on Do Not Disturb, and relive the highlights of an action-packed year.

If it was an annus horribilis for Nokia and RIM, that’s perhaps no great surprise. But who could have predicted that Facebook’s IPO would go so badly? Or that it would pay $1bn for a one-app, 13-person company? It was a year in which the UK finally got 4G, Apple finally released a mini iPad, and owning a smartphone became the norm. So what else happened in 2012? Read on to find out all you need to know…

Augmented Reality firm Blippar got off to a good start, securing seed funding from Qualcomm, acting through its venture investment arm, Qualcomm Ventures. The good times continued for Blippar through the rest of the year as it secured more big client wins, and picked up an Effective Mobile Marketing Award.

Companies were queuing up to release stats showing the levels of mobile activity over the Christmas period. Analytics firm Flurry revealed that 242m apps had been downloaded on Christmas Day 2011, with more than 1bn apps downloaded in a week for the first time ever, the week in question being the holiday week of 25-31 December.

Figures from IBM showed that mCommerce sales in the UK increased by 186.5 per cent per cent in December 2011 compared to December 2010. Mobile shoppers accounted for 12.9 of online sales, up from 5.6 per cent in December 2010.
The IBM Benchmark Christmas Season report also found that 15 per cent of all visits to retailers’ sites were initiated from a mobile device in December, up from 5.6 per cent a year previously.

And staying with the Christmas theme, research firm YouGov christened Christmas 2011 as ‘Kindle Christmas’, after releasing stats showing that 1.33m eReaders were gifted at Christmas, and that 92 per cent of these were Kindles.

In the first deal of real note in 2012, Synchronoss Technologies acquired mobile instant messaging and social networking firm Miyowa for $45.5m (£29.5m), with up to $13.5m in additional payments depending on an earn-out over the next four quarters. Velti was also on the acquisition trail, completing the purchase of CASEE, China’s largest mobile ad exchange and mobile ad network, as it bought the remaining 67 per cent equity in CASEE that it did not already own, for approximately $8.4m (£5.4m) in cash. Velti had previously acquired 33 per cent of CASEE in 2008.

A study from Arieso revealed that 1 per cent of mobile subscribers were responsible for half of all downloaded data. The study identified iPhone 4S owners are the heaviest data users, downloading three times as much data as iPhone 3G users, and twice as much as iPhone 4 users, who were identified as the most demanding in the 2010 study.

It was a bad month to be a big cheese, as first Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang resigned from the company’s board, and all other positions with the company, and then within days, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie stepped down from their roles as co-CEOs of BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM).

Despite this, in one of the year’s more surprising stats, figures from GfK revealed that  BlackBerry was the best-selling smartphone in the British market for the second year running. BlackBerry grabbed 26.3 per cent of December sales, and averaged a 27.7 per cent share during 2011. At the end of 2011, the BlackBerry subscriber base totalled just over 8.5m active subscribers in the UK, and 75m globally.

Not to be outdone, as ever, Apple posted record revenues of $46.3bn (£29.8bn), and record quarterly net profits of $13.1bn, for Q1 2012, covering the 14 weeks to 31 December 2011. Revenues were almost double the Q1, 2011 figure of $26.7bn, while profits were more than double the Q1, 2011 figure of $6bn. Apple sold 37m iPhones and 15.4m iPads in the quarter.

February kicked off with the news that Facebook was to float, in a move that was thought would see the company valued at $80bn – $100bn (£50bn – £62.5bn). Facebook said it was  seeking to raise $5bn through the IPO. Its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that it generated $1bn in revenues in 2011, almost all from advertising, 65 per cent up on the previous year, and that it had 845m users, and 443m daily users. It also revealed that founder Mark Zuckerberg owned 28.4 per cent of the company.

Figures from mobile ad firm Jumptap revealed that Boxing Day 2011 saw tablet network traffic jump 229 per cent, as new tablet owners started playing with, sorry using, their devices. You can expect to see that figure completely smashed when Boxing Day 2012’s stats are revealed…

Meanwhile, a report from Frost & Sullivan showed the extent to which tablets had penetrated the boardroom, revealing that 75 per cent of European CXOs (any C-level executive) owned at least one tablet device. Which, 12 months ago, let’s be honest, usually meant an iPad.

And it was revealed that the ads during the Super Bowl would be Shazam-enabled, with almost half of the TV advertisers – including Toyota, Best Buy, and Pepsi – making their ads interactive with Shazam. The Mobile Marketing team, in fact, was in New York for the SuperBowl, which coincided nicely with some Materclass events we were running there with our friends from Camerjam, though our phones stayed firmly in our pockets during the ads for fear of roaming data charges…

Staying with the sporting theme, as excitement mounted in London in anticipation of the forthcoming Olympic Games, the Government put a dampener on things, warning, in a Cabinet Office report of a drop in mobile network speeds during the Games. To be honest, we can’t say we noticed.

And in France, the enduring appeal and utility of SMS was showcased, as peer-to-peer car sharing network CityzenCar deployed an SMS-based communication solution from Netsize, enabling its 12,000 users to rent a vehicle, with no commission, from other members – supported by the Netsize SMS solution, notifying car owners of rental requests by SMS, and texting the renter details of the car and location, which can be unlocked using the CityzenBox telematic device. Neat.

Mobile payments were in the news. Telefónica Digital and Sybase 365 partnered to develop a mobile wallet service, enabling customers to make online payments and peer-to-peer transfers using stored prepaid, debit, credit and loyalty cards, and also supporting POS payments via NFC technology.

Later in the month, Vodafone and Visa announced a worldwide mobile payment partnership, saying they would work together to develop a Vodafone-branded proposition that would be offered  to consumers across Vodafone’s 398m customer base in more than 30 countries. And February was also the month in which Barclays launched its Pingit peer-to-peer payment app, which would go on to take the Mobile Payment award in the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards in November.

Meanwhile, a report from Magus and Investis revealed that only 20 per cent of FTSE100 corporate websites provided support for mobile devices. Of those that were optimised for mobile, 65 per cent had no device detection in place, meaning that their mobile content was effectively invisible to many users.

It wasn’t the best month for Apple. The UK Intellectual Property Office ruled in favour of Wapple, against opposition from Apple, to allow the company to keep the Wapple trademark. Since 2007, Apple had challenged Wapple’s trademark application of 2006, claiming that the company was trading off its brand and name, and that it led to confusion between the two brands. The name Wapple, derived from the acronym WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), was created by founders Rich Holdsworth and Anne Thomas in 2003. 

Also in February, Apple cut prices on its iAd mobile ad platform, shortly after Google had announced changes to AdMob prices. The cuts saw the minimum spend for an iAd campaign fall to $100,000, from the original launch figure of $1m. And staying with Apple, a report from madvertise and AppZapp revealed that 255,922 apps were launched on the UK App Store in 2011.

Browser company Opera Software was on the acquisition trail, snapping up mobile ad agencies 4th Screen Advertising and Mobile Theory for a combined fee of $26m. Opera paid an initial $18m for Mobile Theory, rising to a maximum $50m if earn-out targets are met; and $8m for 4th Screen, rising to a maximum $14.5m with earn-outs.

Everything Everywhere, parent company to T-Mobile and Orange, announced plans to begin the roll-out of a 4G network in the UK before the end of the year, subject to regulatory approval in the spring. Which, of course, it duly received, with the service going live at the end of October.

And at the end of the month, of course, the mobile industry decamped to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, where Nokia attempted to begin its comeback with a stand featuring, among other things, strangely-dressed people, and a 41-megapixel camera-equipped handset, the 808 PureView.

Staying with struggling handset makers, RIM declared in an interview with Mobile Marketing that 2011 had been an “unbelievably good year”. Wonder what they’ll say about 2012. Meanwhile, Millennial Media’s big announcement at the show was its mMedia self-service mobile advertising solution, designed to allow small or independent businesses to utilise mobile in their marketing, and gives app developers tools to monetise their apps. Just another quiet month in mobile then…

With Mobile World Congress stretching into March, Microsoft took to the stage to unveil Windows 8, with one analyst, Frost & Sullivan’s Craig Cartier, describing it as: “the next weapon in Microsoft’s mobile arsenal”.

Elsewhere, Google’s SVP of mobile and digital content, Andy Rubin, revealed that the number of Android device activations was running at 850,000 per day every day, pushing the total number of Android handsets in the market to over 300m. A few days later, Google relaunched and rebranded Android Market as Google Play, a cloud-based store which draws together its apps, books, films and music in one place – similar to the way iTunes functions on iOS. And Google wasn’t finished for the month, also launching GetMo, the UK version of its GoMo initiative in the US, which encourages businesses to move their sites onto mobile, by providing tools and resources to help them do so.

In the biggest deal of the year to date, Asian telco SingTel bought US mobile advertising firm Amobee for $321m, in order to help brands better reach their target audience and deliver relevant offers, rewards and promotions to its customers. In a news conference, Allen Lew, CEO Group Digital L!fe (designate) at SingTel, denied that SingTel was paying over the odds for Amobee, which, as of November 2011, had unaudited net assets of only $600,000. “The way we value this company is not based on the net tangible assets,” said Lew. “We value this company based on what we think it is eventually going to be worth.”

A few weeks later, another firm was snapped up for what some saw as an optimistic valuation, as social games company Zynga acquired OMGPOP, developer of the hit mobile game Draw Something, for $180m, only six weeks after the game was released on iOS and Android.

In Germany, BMW partnered with Vodafone to fit adapted mobile SIMs into its ConnectedDrive cars. The Vodafone SIM will provide customers with access to in-car services, including BMW Online Services; a personal concierge service for BMW drivers; and an automatic emergency call function.

On the mobile payments front, Visa Europe took a 15 per cent stake in mobile payments startup, The Mobile Money Network (MMN). Meanwhile, as part of its plans to rid itself of non-core businesses, Nokia announced the closure of Nokia Money, the mobile money business it had launched in India in 2010. And the problems continued at BlackBerry-maker RIM, where an executive shake-up saw former co-CEO Jim Balsillie, chief technology officer David Yach, and chief operating officer Jim Rowan, all leave the company. The changes came as RIM reported a net loss of $125m and a 25 per cent decline in sales from a year ago. BlackBerry shipments were also down to 11.1m, a 21 per cent fall from the previous quarter.

On a brighter note, figures from the latest IMRG Quarterly Benchmark revealed that sales through mobile devices in the UK had broken through the 5 per cent barrier of total eRetail sales. In Q4, 2011, mobile sales accounted for 5.3 per cent of e-retail sales, shooting up from 0.4 per cent in Q4, 2009. 

In the US, meanwhile, figures from comScore’s mobiLens service revealed that the number of US smartphone owners passed the 100m mark for the first time in January 2012, reaching 101.3m – a 13 per cent increase on October 2011’s figure.

Apple launched its latest iPad, but chose to call it “the new iPad”, rather than the iPad 3. By now we guess you have to call it the old new ipad… Whatever they called it, it was always likely to be a hit, and so it proved, with 3m units sold in the first weekend. 

Mobile advertising revealed itself to be in rude health in the UK, as the IAB and PwC released their annual report, which showed that UK mobile ad spend had risen to £203.2m in 2011, 157 per cent up on the previous year. The celebrations continued as mobile ad firm Millennial Media launched its IPO, pricing 10.2m shares of common stock at $13, the higher end of the projected range, and raising $132.6m in the process.

But in a sign of how quickly fortunes can change, daily deals firm Groupon, which not so long ago looked like the next big thing, was given three months to clean up its act by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in the UK. The OFT required Groupon to improve the way it operates, and implement changes to make sure information on discounts and availability are clear and honest. It was the start of a bad year for the firm, as retailers and restaurateurs grew weary of giving discounts to people who seemed likely to visit their outlet only if there was a discount on offer… 

A report from Canaccord Genuity revealed Apple’s talent for turning a profit. The report found that, among the top eight device makers, Apple accounted for 80 per cent of all handset-related profits during the fourth quarter of 2011, with only an 8.1 per cent global handset share. Samsung captured 15 per cent of the handset industry’s operating profits during same period, giving the two companies a staggering combined 95 per cent share of all profits.

There was more good news for Apple in a report from CCS Insight and Distimo, which revealed that Apple’s iPhone and iPad App Stores generated $5.4m worth of combined revenues every day in January 2012. By comparison, Google Play generated $679,000 daily in the same month.

That’s not to say that Google doesn’t know how to make money, of course, and it proved the point emphatically, as it posted $2.89bn in profits on $10.65bn in revenues for Q1, 2012. Profits were 38 per cent up on the previous quarter, revenues 24 per cent up. Google also took the wraps off Project Glass, its heads-up display concept, while mobile chip-maker Qualcomm posted even more impressive results, delivering profits of $2.23bn on just $4.94bn of revenues for the quarter. Not to be outdone, Apple posted profits of $11.6bn on $39.2bn in revenues, for the quarter ending 31 March, 2011. Apple sold 35.1m iPhones and 11.8m iPads in the quarter.

Meanwhile, comScore revealed that Android had gained a majority share of the US smartphone market, securing a 50.1 per cent share of the market in the three-month period up until the end of February 2011, up from 46.9 per cent for the previous quarter.

Nokia’s troubles continued as it posted a €929m (£760m) loss, on €7.35bn revenues in the first quarter of 2011. In the same period in 2010, the company had posted a net profit of €344m. Nokia’s stock hit a 15-year low on the back of the results. To rub salt in the wounds, Samsung overturned Nokia’s 14-year stint as the world’s largest mobile device vendor.

And in the standout deal of the year, Facebook paid $1bn to acquire Instagram, a company with one mobile app and 13 employees, though its 30m users (at the time) were also part of the equation. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed in September that by that point, the number was over 100m.

UK broadcaster ITV and Shazam announced a partnership which would see ITV become the exclusive UK distributor for Shazam functionality in UK broadcast advertising. Under the terms of the deal, ITV Commercial will act as the exclusive UK sales force, offering advertisers the chance to have their traditional 30 second TV spots Shazam-enabled for the first time. 

Global consumer spending on media content, apps and services for mobile phones broke through the $100bn barrier for the first time, to reach $121.8bn, according to Strategy Analytics. The analyst also forecast that the figure would rise to $138.2bn in 2012.

Vodafone struck a deal to buy cable operator, Cable & Wireless Worldwide, for £1.04bn, while O2 announced results from its UK 4G trial, which included 25 sites, and covered an area of 40sq km in London. O2 said that speeds of between 20 and 50Mbps have been regularly experienced – over 20 times faster than 3G. The fastest speed achieved was 150Mbps, which is comparable to the fastest home landline connections. Most active trial members had been clocking up 200GB of data per month using just a Samsung dongle or personal mi-fi hotspot, confirming the pent-up demand for high-speed services.

Meanwhile, the European Commission announced an in-depth investigation into Everything Everywhere, Vodafone and O2’s plans for their mCommerce joint venture in the UK. The EC said it was launching the investigation after a preliminary investigation revealed that the joint venture and its three parent companies may have the technical and commercial ability, and incentive, to block future competitors from offering their own mobile wallet services to customers in the UK, or to degrade the quality of these competing mobile wallets so that they become less attractive. The companies eventually got the all-clear later in the year.

The Financial Times followed up on its move the previous year to remove its news app from iTunes in favour of its HTML5 web app by removing the app from iOS completely, so that even users who had downloaded the app before it was removed from iTunes could no longer use it. The FT originally took the app down from iTunes to avoid giving Apple its 30 per cent share of app-related revenues.

A report from IBM revealed that mobile accounted for 13.3 per cent of all online retail sales in the US during Q1, 2011, while another study, this one from Placecast, found that 39m adult mobile phone users in the US had bought something online using their phone in the past year.

In the UK, meanwhile, figures from YouGov revealed that smartphone penetration in the UK had reached 47 per cent, and the charity, Sport Relief raised a record £7.9m via mobile donations, through 2.3m SMS donations of £1, £5 and £10. And PayPal launched in-store payments in the UK, with Aurora Fashions Group retail brands, Coast, Oasis Warehouse and Karen Millen, the first outlets to enable their customers to use their smartphones to pay in store using PayPal.

Meanwhile, a report from Informa Telecoms & Media revealed that 59 per cent of mobile operators were planning to launch 4G services in 2012 (33.7 per cent) or 2013 (24.9 per cent). And the European Commission approved legislation to cut data roaming charges. The cost of making a voice call would fall from 35 euro cents to 29 cents by 1 July 2012, to 24 cents a year later, and to 19 cents by 1 July 2014. The cost of receiving voice calls would fall from 1 cents to 8 cents, 7 cents and 5 cents over the same period, with the same charges applying to sending text messages. The price caps will stay in place until 30 June 2017.

Finally, after a 30-minute delay caused by a technical glitch, Facebook launched its IPO in the US. Facebook’s stock began trading at $42.02 and closed for the day at $38.23, parking its value near the initial $38 price set by the company a few days earlier.

In fact, the much-feted IPO turned out to be a bit of a disaster for Facebook. Not just the tanking share price (last time we looked, it was at $26.05), but to add to his troubles, just a few days after the IPO, company shareholders were making plans to sue Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook itself, and several banks, led by Morgan Stanley, accusing them of hiding the company’s weakened growth forecasts, ahead of the IPO. 



Google started the month in combative fashion, filing a complaint with the European Commission, accusing Microsoft and Nokia of colluding on mobile patents. Google accused the two companies of transferring 1,200 patents to a group called MOSAID, which Google labelled a “patent troll.” Microsoft responded by describing Google’s move a “desperate tactic”. Google also unveiled the Nexus 7 tablet, and revealed that new Android activations were running at the rate of more than 1m each day.

M2M (machine-to-machine ) was in the spotlight. 6 June saw the official World IPv6 Launch. The Internet Protocol opens up the number of available IP addresses to 2128 (that’s 340 trillion trillion trillion), in order to cater for the soaring number of internet-enabled devices – including smartphones, Tablets, and connected M2M devices, on the planet.

In the US, Verizon Communications put its faith in connected cars as it acquired Hughes Telematics in an all-cash deal for $612m. While in the UK, Telefónica partnered with Jasper Wireless to deploy a cloud-based management platform for M2M connections. Using the platform, Telefónica’s customers will be able to roll out connected devices, manage them in real time, and deliver global support.

And Everything Everywhere and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) announced a partnership to bring M2M connectivity to the vending machine market, including remote stock monitoring, increased customer interaction and multiple payment methods. Vending machines would be linked to NSN’s VendMe application and installed with Everything Everywhere SIM cards, connecting them to the UK’s largest 3G network and France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom’s international footprint.

They might just need those M2M revenues. A forecast from Informa Telecoms & Media predicted that operators’ mobile content and commerce revenues from services including messaging, location-based services, and mobile music, games and TV would fall from 44 per cent in 2011 to 31 per cent in 2016 as these services increasingly move to an OTT (Over The Top) model.

Finally on the operator front, Vodafone took a controlling stake in Invitation Digital Ltd (IDL), the parent company of mobile coupon provider, Vouchercloud. Having taken a 21 per cent stake in IDL in May 2011, Vodafone increased its holding to 57 per cent.

A report from the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence in the US, IAB Europe and IHS Screen Digest, put the value of the global mobile advertising market in 2011 at $5.3bn, with Asia-Pacific leading the way on 35.9 per cent ($1.9bn), followed by N. America on 31.4 per cent ($1.7bn), Europe on 25.9 per cent ($1.4bn), Latin America on 3.5 per cent ($200m) and the Middle East & Africa on 3.2 per cent (£170m).

In the UK, Debenhams became the latest high street brand to offer free in-store wi-fi, powered by O2, while RBS and NatWest launched GetCash, a service which enables the banks’ customers to withdraw money from ATMs without needing their debit card. The service is part of RBS and NatWest’s mobile banking app. It enables users to request an amount of cash using their mobile, which then generates a 6-digit PIN to be entered at an ATM.

The good news machine that is Nokia brought us June’s instalment, as it announced plans to cut up to 10,000 jobs – almost a fifth of its workforce – by the end of 2013, in an attempt to reduce its costs. It also revealed that Q2 losses from its Devices & Services unit would be greater than previously advised, and announced the departure of a number of senior executives. The news led one analyst to declare Nokia “dead”.

Not to be outdone, RIM announced that it was delaying the release of BlackBerry 10 until Q1, 2013, as it reported a net loss of $518m for Q1, 2012, on revenues of $2.8bn, down from $4.2bn a year earlier. It also confirmed plans to cut 5,000 jobs by the end of the fiscal year 2013.

Microsoft unveiled its Surface tablet range at a press event in Los Angeles. Two versions were shown – the high-powered Pro, which runs on Windows 8; and the RT, which, with its OS and low power ARM processors, more closely resembles a Windows Phone device.

Then a couple of days later, it revealed all about its Windows Phone 8 OS at its Windows Phone Summit in San Francisco, confirming that the OS would have a “shared core” with the Windows 8 desktop OS, meaning that the two would share the same kernel, multimedia and driver support. Microsoft also confirmed that Windows Phone 8 would support dual-core processors, which it said would mean faster performance, a greater choice in hardware, and a range of form factors and price points.

A Dutch court ordered Apple to pay damages to Samsung over a patent, held by Samsung, relating to the way phones and tablets connect to the internet. The exact amount of the damages was not revealed, but was based on sales of the iPhone and iPad in the Netherlands. Samsung had originally claimed that Apple had infringed four of its patents, but only one of these was deemed to have been breached.

WPP added to its mobile portfolio, paying a reported £350m for independent digital agency AKQA, which provides digital campaigns across social media, gaming, and mobile. The agency opened a mobile division in 2006.

And mobile industry veteran Mike Short, VP of Telefónica Europe, was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s annual Birthday Honours list. The honour recognised his 37-year career in electronics and telecommunications.



Sometimes it’s the little changes in life that make you stop and think and so it was on 2 July, when we reported that the Hotel Indigo in Newcastle, UK, had replaced its traditional bedside Gideon’s Bible for a Kindle eReader, preloaded with an electronic version. The times, as Bob Dylan once sang, they are a-changing.

Perhaps the folks at Fiksu had been saying their prayers, because just a day later, the app marketing specialist secured $10m in funding. The money came from the venture investment arm of Qualcomm, and existing investor, Charles River Ventures.

Another small but significant piece of news was the launch, by British Gas, of an app that enables users to control their central heating from their iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. Customers can use the app to adjust their heating, set a schedule for their home’s temperature, and even turn their boiler on and off via text message. People often talk about the mobile phone as a remote control for life, well at least now, it’s a remote control for your boiler…

Apple suffered another bad day in the courtroom, as a London high court judge ruled in HTC’s favour in a case in which Apple had claimed that HTC had infringed on four of its patents, relating to the slide-to-unlock gesturing system, multilingual keyboards, multi-touch interaction and interaction with images. Oh well, Apple’s real day in court was yet to come.

But not quite yet. A couple of weeks later, another UK court case went against Apple, as Judge Colin Birss ruled that Samsung had not copied the iPad when developing its Galaxy tablet. To add to Apple’s misery, the Judge ruled that notices to this effect would have to appear on Apple’s UK home page for six months, and in newspapers the Financial Times and the Daily Mail, and the Guardian’s Mobile magazine, as well as tech website T3.

Telefonica, which to our mind is one of the operators that take mobile marketing more seriously than most, announced a series of strategic partnerships, revealing that Telefonica Digital, its digital business unit, has signed global agreements with Facebook, Google, Microsoft and RIM to offer direct-to-bill payments for goods and services. The company also entered into a strategic mCommerce partnership with Visa Europe to cooperate on mobile wallet and NFC services, plus merchant offers. And it struck an agreement with Middle East operator, Etisalat, to collaborate in a number of areas, including M2M, financial services, cloud computing and video services.

Later in July, however, O2 (Telefonica’s UK brand) was hit by a severe reality check, as it suffered a network service outage that left tens of thousands of customers in the UK unable to make calls, send and receive texts, or access data services for 24 hours. The outage also took hundreds of London’s ‘Boris Bikes’ out of commission, as the docking stations use O2’s network to process transactions.

A report from the analyst, Forrester, forecast a healthy increase in European mCommerce revenues, from €1.7bn in 2011 to €19.2bn in 2017. The report predicted that mCommerce, which at the time accounted for 1 per cent of total web sales, would grow to 6.8 per cent over the next five years. Those figures began to look unreasonably cautious just a few days later, however, when eBay revealed that it expected sales over mobile to hit $10bn by the end of 2012, with PayPal (owned by eBay), transacting a similar amount. And UK telecoms regulator Ofcom did its bit to stoke the mCommerce fires by announcing details of its auction for 4G bandwidth, to take place towards the end of 2012. The auction was repeatedly delayed, but is ongoing as you read this.

Another report, from World Bank and infoDev, revealed that three quarters of the globe had access to mobile phones, with more than 6bn mobile subscriptions worldwide, while yet another, this time from UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, revealed what we all knew anyway, that people use their mobiles for texting, apps and browsing the mobile web, far more than they do for actually talking to each other. The average UK consumer, the report noted, sends 50 texts per week.

Another bad day at the office for RIM, which was ordered to pay $147.2m in damages to device management company Mformation Technologies.The US Federal District Court of Northern California found RIM guilty of infringing the patent on Mformation’s 1999 invention for managing wireless devices, with its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), used by corporate enterprise customers for security and to manage their devices.

Not to be outdone (haven’t we said that before – Ed), Nokia halved the price of its Lumia 900 handset in the US just three months after launch, in a bid to stimulate sales. People say the Lumia phones are great devices, but unfortunately for Nokia, it’s rare to see someone actually using one… Later in July, Nokia wrote off €220m in unsold handsets as it announced an operating loss of €827m for Q2, 2012.

It’s (relatively) new bedfellow Microsoft also announced disappointing results, posting a loss of $192m for Q2, 2012 – the company’s first quarterly loss since it first went public in 1986. The loss was primarily down to Microsoft writing down the value of ad business aQuantive – which it acquired in 2007 for $6.3bn, in an attempt to compete with Google – by $6.2bn. That’s pretty much all of it then. On a brighter note, revenues for the quarter were 4 per cent up, at $18.1bn.

But the biggest casualty in July was surely Poynt Corporation, the company behind the app of the same name, which had an installed user base of almost 17m people. It filed a Notice of Intention to file for bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada), after failing to secure additional funding, which left it unable to meet its commitments. The company declared itself bankrupt on 1 November.



Who says you can’t make money developing Apps? A report from Flurry revealed that Apple and Google paid out a cool $5.4bn to app developers by in 2011. Flurry also forecast that the figure would increase to $8.7bn in 2012. The report also revealed that in-app advertising accounted for $980m, or 18 per cent, of revenues in 2011. 

Shazam revealed that its users had used the Shazam app to interact with TV shows and advertisements more than 5bn times, less than a year after the launch of Shazam for TV. In that time, the company ran over 100 campaigns for brands including Pepsi, Sony and Toyota. And Nokia’s disposal of non-core assets continued as it sold its Qt software business to Finnish IT firm Digia, which had previously acquired the Qt Commercial licensing business from Nokia, in March 2011.

There was plenty of activity on the mobile payments front. Starbucks struck a square deal as it sunk a $25m investment into mobile payments startup Square, and announced that it would accept Square payments in its outlets from the autumn. McDonald’s and PayPal teamed up for a mobile payments trial in France. In the 30 fast food restaurants taking part in the pilot, customers could place their order online or using a McDonald’s app, and pay for it via PayPal.

Everything Everywhere entered into a 5-year partnership with MasterCard to develop mobile payment solutions for Everything Everywhere subscribers. The first fruits of the tie-up will be a co-branded NFC solution for pre-paid mobile payments, which will enable customers to make contactless payments with their handset at any retail location with a contactless POS payment system.

And in the US, retail giants Wal-Mart, Target and 7-Eleven announced that they were to team up to develop a mobile wallet, to be known as Merchant Customer Exchange – or more catchily, MCX. The wallet will use NFC technology for its payments.

The BBC revealed that it had seen 12m requests for Olympic Games video coverage from mobile devices during the Olympics – almost a quarter of the total number of viewers who watched the TV coverage. The broadcaster received 9.2m visits to its mobile site and app from smartphones over the period – and 2.3m from tablets.

A surprising stat from Gartner, which revealed that global sales of mobile handsets fell by 2.3 per cent in Q2, 2012, with the total number of sales worldwide dropping to 419m units. Gartner put the fall down to the challenging economic environment and users postponing upgrades to take advantage of high-profile device launches and promotions due later in the year. Looking purely at smartphones, however, the news was much brighter, with sales increasing by 42.7 per cent over the same period.

Car maker Volkswagen joined the in-store mCommerce revolution, rolling out more than 2,000 iPads to its showrooms in the UK. The iPads were preloaded with a customer engagement app developed by Tribal, which shows off Volkswagen’s product range and features.

In the US, meanwhile, BMW Group announced a mobile parking app, ParkNow, in San Francisco. The app, which launched in September, is designed to be used in conjunction with DriveNow, a car-sharing program launched in June, that offers drivers a chance to rent BMW’s electric BMW ActiveE. App users can get rates for parking, reserve parking spaces, and pay for parking in advance.

In other news, Everything Everywhere revealed plans to launch the UK’s first 4G network in September, following approval from telecoms regulator Ofcom. Somo completed a “multi-million dollar” funding round, raised through further support from the original business founders and a number of private investors, as well as several Somo employees. And a study from the IAB revealed that 40 of the top 100 brands had a mobile-optimised site, according to research from the IAB. The study also revealed that advertisers with a mobile-optimised websites saw increased engagement with consumers – with mobile-specific sites showing an average dwell time of five minutes, two minutes longer than the average for advertisers without a mobile web presence. Consumers visiting mobile-optimised sites looked at an average of 19 pages per person – 33 per cent more than if the site was not optimised.

Sony Mobile announced 1,000 job cuts – 15 per cent of its entire workforce – as part of a restructuring effort, as it moved its headquarters from Lund, Sweden, to Tokyo. Sony Mobile was also one of 22 companies – others included Samsung, Qualcomm and Nokia – who teamed up to found the In-Location Alliance, which is intended to drive the development and market adoption of high-accuracy indoor positioning services, which could provide consumers with real-time navigation within buildings. This could be used to direct them to other people or products, and could help improve customer identification and product placement for brands. The Alliance said it would work on pilot solutions in 2012, with an eye to deploying handset-based implementations in 2013.

And Apple finally got the better of Samsung in the latest legal dispute between the two companies, as a judge ruled in Apple’s favour in a case in which both companies were suing each other. Apple had accused Samsung of stealing its handset and tablet designs, while Samsung accused Apple of using US patent laws to try to dominate the smartphone market. Apple had sought $2.5bn in damages, while Samsung sought $519m. Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $1.05bn in damages.



September Fresh from its victory in the courtroom, Apple announced its intention to push for US sales bans on Samsung’s Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note smartphones, as well as its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.

App marketing platform Trademob lifted the lid on mobile advertising clickfraud, as it released the results of a study that showed that 40 per cent of clicks on ads from a mobile device are useless for marketers. According to Trademob, accidental clicks account for 22 per cent of all mobile ad clicks, while 18 per cent of Mobile ad clicks are overtly fraudulent. The study was based on analysis of 6m clicks during June 2012, across 10 top mobile ad networks.

The European Commission gave the green light to Project Oscar, the mCommerce joint venture between Vodafone, O2, and Everything Everywhere. Project Oscar, now known as Weve, consists of a mobile wallet, which uses NFC for payments, as well as a mobile marketing element.

Everything Everywhere launched its 4G network, and a new 4G brand – EE – to boot. The network launched initially in four UK cities – London, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Bristol, on a trial basis, with the network due to go live at the end of the trial period in those cities, with 12 more – Edinburgh, Belfast, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Newcastle, Southampton, Hull, Nottingham and Derby – promised by Christmas.

In the US, Toys R Us jumped on the tablet bandwagon as it unveiled its own tabeo 7-inch Android tablet, which it said would go on sale in Toys R Us stores in the US from 21 October, for $149.99. The tabeo allows for multiple user accounts, and has parental controls with customisable levels of internet access to limit what children are able to access. It also has a colourful protective bumper to shield it from sticky hands, and comes with 50 free pre-installed apps aimed at a younger audience.

Apple unveiled the iPhone 5, a 4G-ready handset that is 18 per cent thinner and 20 per cent lighter than the iPhone 4S. But for all it had, the most significant point about the iPhone 5 was that it doesn’t have NFC. And on the day that the iPhone 5 launched in the UK and US, BlackBerry users in EMEA suffered another network outage. Not as serious or prolonged as the one in October 2011, but unwelcome nonetheless.

A report from Deloitte Digital revealed that 46 per cent of smartphone owners have used their phone to research products while on a shopping trip, with a 74 per cent conversion rate after visiting a retailer’s mobile site or app. As a result, the report found, around 6 per cent of in-store retail sales are being influenced by smartphone use, equivalent to £15.2bn of sales in 2012.

IPC Media, publisher of magazines including NME, Pick Me Up and Yachting World, revealed that mobile now makes up 30 per cent of its total digital traffic. And eBay revealed that it had clocked up 100m downloads of its various apps, which include the eBay Motors app, the eBay Fashion app, and the RedLaser price-checking app. The apps are available in eight languages in just short of 200 countries, and were downloaded 25m times in the five months between April and August 2011.

Research from Celtra revealed that rich media mobile ads see an average engagement rate of 12.8 per cent, across all devices types, platforms and ad placements. Expandable banners are the most popular rich media ad format, making up 67 per cent of ads. Interstitials are second (21 per cent), followed by banners (12 per cent).

Bango completed the integration of its billing platform with Facebook, providing Facebook with mobile web carrier billing in the UK, the US and Germany, with the service due to be expanded to other countries during the remainder of 2012.The service enables Facebook’s mobile web users to easily buy digital content via operator billing, as opposed to using a credit card or premium SMS.

And Domino’s Pizza announced a 46.9 per cent rise in mobile sales in the UK during Q3, 2012, adding up to £11.6m. mCommerce, across Domino’s mobile site and apps, accounted for 18.5 per cent of its total online sales during the period, and helped push total online revenues up 39.3 per cent.



October saw us making some news of our own as we opened the doors to Mobile Marketing Live, our new event for the global mobile marketing business. Feedback to the event was extremely positive, and we’ll be doing it all again in 2013. There were lots of revelations at the show, not least the one from Betfair’s global head of online marketing, Ben Carter, who told delegates that the volume of bets placed on mobile with Betfair in 2012 would double to almost £2bn. That’s a serious amount of mobile wagers.

Everything Everywhere confirmed 30 October as the official launch date for its new customer brand, EE, and its mobile 4G and fibre broadband service in the UK.10 cities went live on that day – London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield – with six more – Belfast, Newcastle, Southampton, Hull, Nottingham and Derby –live by Christmas. Later in the month, EE revealed the cost of 4G, with the entry-level tariff starting at £36 per month for a 500MB allowance, rising to £56 per month for an 8GB allowance, with unlimited voice calls and texts, and BT wi-fi thrown in on all plans.

comScore released its latest smartphone numbers from the US, revealing that Android had increased its market share to 52.6 per cent for the three months to the end of August. Apple also increased its market share, from 33.4 per cent to 34.3 per cent, while RIM trailed way behind in third place, having suffered another drop in market share, from 9.5 per cent to 8.3 per cent.

In the UK, meanwhile, IAB UK CEO Guy Phillipson, giving his opening address at the IAB’s Engage event in London, announced that smartphone ownership in the UK would hit 75 per cent in 2013. He didn’t quote a source for the stat, but said the IAB had “trended the line” to arrive at the figure.

Staying with stats, the IAB and PwC revealed their latest advertising expenditure report, which revealed that the UK mobile advertising market was worth £181.5m in the first half of 2012, just £22m shy of the total UK mobile ad spend for the whole of 2011 (£203.2m). The figures meant that mobile accounted for 7 per cent of digital ad spend, after posting a 132 per cent year-on-year increase.

Sounds impressive, but those figures were dwarfed when the equivalent US figures were released. The source, once again, was the IAB and PwC (US branches), and they revealed that the US mobile advertising market was worth $1.24bn for the first half of 2012, a huge increase on the figure of $636m for the first half of 2011.   

Facebook began trialling its ‘want’ button in a pilot with seven US retailers, including Victoria’s Secret, Wayfair, and Pottery Barn. During the trial, Facebook tested three different terms – while some users saw a ‘want’ button on the participating retailers’ items, others saw a ‘collect’ button, or even simply a ‘like’ button. These products – whether wanted, collected, or liked – then appeared on the user’s Timeline, encouraging their friends to buy the items through a direct link to their online stores.

We all know that mobile search is an incredibly powerful tool, even if under-utilised by the vast majority of brands. So it was something of a surprise that it took until October 2012 for someone to come up with the idea of a search engine dedicated to delivering mobile-optimised content to people searching on mobile devices. But that’s exactly what Mazoom.mobi does, only returning results that link to mobile websites. Neat.

On 12 October, we revealed the shortlist for the 2012 Effective Mobile Marketing Awards, with the original 200+ entries whittled down to less than half that number, and some huge brands – McDonalds, Audi, Barclays, Pizza Hut to name a few – making the cut. They would have to wait another month and a half to find out if they had won though…

We’ve all heard horror stories about data roaming charges, but this one surely tops the lot. Solenne San Jose, a subscriber to French network Bouygues Telecom received a bill for €11,721,000,000,000,000. That’s nearly 12 quadrillion, or 12 million billion Euros – nearly 6,000 times France’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2011. After a bit of toing and froing, including a suggestion that the customer pay off the bill in instalments – a billion Euros a month for the next million years should cover it – the operator conceded that it had made a mistake, that the actual amount was €117.21, and that, by way of apology, it would not be collecting the amount.

Japanese internet giant Softbank showed its commitment to the mobile business, paying $20.1bn to take a controlling 70 per cent stake in US carrier Sprint. In September 2011, Softbank had invested $200m in mobile ad network, InMobi.

Most experts agree that it makes sense to treat smartphones and tablets as separate devices, given the different form factors and the way people use them. Mojiva took this idea to its logical conclusion with the launch of a dedicated tablet-only ad network. Using the network, advertisers can target any tablet device across premium audience channels, including luxury goods, entertainment, news, parenting, tech enthusiasts and sports enthusiasts.

Staying with mobile advertising, mobile ad network Adfonic launched an automated mobile demand-side (Real Time Bidding) platform called Madison, which gives large-spending agencies and brands access to real-time inventory and analytics across multiple publishers.

There was good news for anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of SMS spam, as UK telecoms regulator Ofcom issued a £300,000 fine to Amazecell for breaching the PhonePayPlus Code of Practice on pricing, fair and equitable treatment and providing misleading information. The regulator received 127 complaints in relation to the Amazecell Trivia service, which sent six trivia questions to consumers charged at £5 per text, with the promise of a chance to win an iPhone or iPad. Another company, mBill Pty, was issued with a £150,000 fine in relation to its prizeKing service, which offered a range of subscription and non-subscription quizzes charged at £4.50 per week or one-off payments of between £9 and £18.

Nokia posted an operating loss of €576m (£468m) for Q3, 2012. No surprise there perhaps, but there was something of a shock at Google, which inadvertently revealed a 20 per cent year-on-year quarterly profit drop, reporting Q3 profits of $2.18bn, which was below analysts’ expectations. Trading in Google shares was suspended for two-and-a-half hours after the company released the results early by mistake. Google attempted to apportion part of the blame to foreign exchange rates, saying that if these had been unchanged, its revenues would have been $136m higher.

The mobile taxi-booking service, Hailo, which started out in London, made its US debut as it launched in Boston, with New York and Chicago next on the list. The Hailo service consists of two apps – one for customers, one for licensed cab drivers – and enables passengers to find and hail nearby taxis via the app, with payment made automatically, and a receipt issued via email.

Apple finally succumbed to consumer sentiment and launched a 7-inch – 7.9-inch to be precise – iPad. Not sure what Steve Job would have made of that. Apple also took pundits by surprise at the launch event for the device by announcing the iPad 4, to go on sale on 2 November, to the chagrin of everyone who had shelled out for an iPad 3 (aka the new iPad) just a few months earlier.

And finally, Facebook stuck two fingers up at all those who say it doesn’t know how to make money from  mobile, as it announced Q3 revenues of $1.26bn, almost 7 per cent up on its Q2 revenues of £1.18bn. Significantly, Facebook also revealed that its mobile ad revenues had more than tripled in the previous three months, from around $45m in Q2, to around $150m in Q3. In a conference call with analysts, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t resist it, saying: “I want to dispel this myth that Facebook can’t make money on mobile. This may have seemed true earlier this year because we hadn’t started trying yet.”


Apple revealed in its annual 10-K filing with the US SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission), that its spending on R&D had increased to $3.4bn over the past 12 months. That’s $1bn up on the previous year, and perhaps helps to explain why it keeps coming up with products people love to own.  

And in a slightly surprising move, Apple reached a global settlement on patents with HTC, ending 32 months of litigation in Europe and the US, dismissing all current lawsuits, and agreeing a 10-year licence on existing and future patents. The deal allows both companies to use each other’s patented products, but the agreement looked to be weighted in Apple’s favour, as it holds many thousands more patents than the Taiwanese manufacturer and was rumoured to have asked for a per-device payment.

Netmarketshare released a report revealing that mobile accounted for 10.3 per cent of total web traffic in October. This was almost double the 5.6 per cent share seen at the same time the previous year, and the first time mobile had broken through the 10 per cent barrier.

And in the UK, bus operator Arriva reached a milestone of its own, announcing that passengers using mobile tickets on its buses had racked up 3m journeys. It took 18 months to reach 1m journeys, but just five months to go from 2m to 3m, and Arriva said it expected to break the 5m mark by the end of 2012.

Android’s dominance of the smartphone market was revealed in figures from IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, which revealed that in Q3, 2012, worldwide Android shipments totalled 136m units, or for 75 per cent of the total 181.1m smartphones shipped. iOS accounted for 14.9 per cent of the market, followed by RIM on 4.3 per cent, down from 9.5 per cent the previous year. Symbian collapsed, from 14.6 per cent to just 2.3 per cent, while Windows Phone grew from 1.2 per cent to 2 per cent.

More stats from IDC revealed that while Apple still accounts for half of all tablets shipped (50.4 per cent), its share of the market had fallen by 10 per cent between 2011 and 2012. With all the low-cost Android tablets in this year’s Christmas stockings, it will be interesting to see how much of that Apple can hang on to in 2013.  

RIM made its own play for some of those tablet revenues, as it launched its PlayBook 3G+ in the UK. It’s the first version of the device that has been able to connect to mobile networks, and is compatible with HSPA+ 3G connections. Perhaps more significantly, RIM announced the launch date for the long-awaited BB10 OS. 30 January is the day when RIM will unveil the first two BB10 smartphones. Many see BB10 as RIM’s last chance of a comeback.

A couple of companies got an early Christmas present in the form of funding. App measurement and ad platform Flurry secured $25m in an oversubscribed funding round, bringing the company’s total funding to $51.6m, and sparking rumours that it might be heading for an IPO. Flurry said it would use the funds to accelerate adoption of its Flurry AppSpot and Ad Analytics platforms, as well as growing its team and expanding internationally.

And Trademob, the app marketing-focused ad network, secured $15m (£9.3m) with the funding led by technology growth equity investor Kennet Partners. Existing German investors Tengelmann Ventures and High-Tech Gründerfonds also participated in the funding round. Trademob said the investment would be used for the Berlin-based company’s continued expansion, with offices already in London, Madrid, Paris and New York, with further investment also in Trademob’s app advertising technology. 

The winners of the 2012 Effective Mobile Marketing Awards were revealed at the Awards Ceremony in London. Among the winners were MacDonald’s, Barclays, Unilever, O2 and a host of other big brands. The standard of entries this year was higher than ever. We can’t wait to see what next year’s Awards bring.

Google launched its called Free Zone service, which aims to help bring the next billion internet users online. It will enable mobile phone users in developing countries, whose handsets have an internet connection but limited functionality, to access Google search, email and Google+ for free. More web browsing means more lucrative ad dollars for the search giant. Free Zone launched initially in the Philippines in a partnership with local carrier, Globe Telecom, but Google plans to roll the service out to other countries.

Shop Direct Group issued its full-year results, revealing in the process that 20 per cent of its online orders now come from mobile devices. It also revealed that mobile traffic increased by 260 per cent over the previous year, now accounting for 30 per cent of all site visits.

And retailers began to gear up for a Merry Mobile Christmas, as IMRG and Capgemini issued a forecast predicting that mCommerce would account for £920m of the £4.6bn spent online over the two peak shopping weeks in the run-up to Christmas – 15 per cent up on the same period in 2011. In Q1, 2012, 8.2 per cent of all eCommerce sales were made through a mobile device. By the end of Q4, the companies said they anticipated that figure reaching around 20 per cent.

Meanwhile, fashion retailer New Look gave its London Marble Arch store a mobile makeover, introducing POS tablets, intended to help customers track down and purchase product they have viewed online; mannequins with iPad faces around the store, dressed in online-exclusive products, intended to drive traffic to New Look’s mCommerce site; and a Bodymetrics scanner in the store’s denim section, which determines the customer’s body shape to help advise them on which style of jeans they should buy. New Look also introduced a ‘Blippable’ window display for Kelly Brook’s New Look make-up range.

We saw several examples of Augmented Reality used in print publications in 2012, but Marie Claire scored a notable first as publisher IPC Media teamed with Nuffield Health to run the first NFC-embedded print ad in a UK magazine. Readers with an NFC-enabled smartphone could hold it next to the page to launch a web page offering a free two-day gym pass. For phones without NFC capabilities, users could text in to a shortcode. The NFC technology for the campaign was provided by Kyp.

And finally, Shopitize launched its mobile couponing service with a twist in the UK, with Kellogg’s and United Biscuits as launch partners. Consumers who download the Shopitize app get offers sent to their phone, which they redeem by taking a photo of their till receipt and uploading via the app. Once they have redeemed £5 worth of offers, they can cash out via PayPal, cheque or BACS. What’s unique about the platform is the retailer plays no part in the redemption process. An interesting take on mobile coupons, it will be interesting to see if consumers can be bothered to snap their till receipts in order to redeem the offers.



And so to December, in which the humble text message celebrated its 20th birthday. What a lot of people don’t realise is that the first text message was not, in fact, sent from a phone, but from a PC, since mobiles at that time did not have alphanumeric keyboards. It was sent by telecoms engineer Neil Papworth, who was working at the time for Sema Group Telecoms, as part of the team developing a Short Message Service Centre (SMSC) for Vodafone UK, to a man called Richard Jarvis who was working at Vodafone, and it read simply ‘Happy Christmas’. Will SMS still be around in another 20 years? No comment…

Isis, the mobile wallet joint venture between US operators AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, partnered with USA Technologies to deploy 7,500 NFC-enabled vending machines. The vending machines, powered by USA Technology’s ePort tech will enable residents of Austin, Texas, and Salt Lake City, Utah – the two cities currently piloting the Isis wallet – to pay via NFC on their mobile.

Desperation or common sense? Nokia revealed that it was in the process of selling its headquarters in Espoo, Finland, for €170m, in order to raise extra capital. After the sale, which is due to complete by the end of the year, Nokia will continue to operate out of the building, paying rent to the new owner, Finnish investment company Exilion.

Mobile payments company Monitise bought Mobile Money Network (MMN), the company behind the SimplyTap mobile checkout app, for £15m. Monitise already held a 50 per cent stake in MMN. The deal will enable Monitise to integrate MMN’s technology into its own mCommerce platform.

Yahoo! UK released details of the most searched terms on Yahoo! UK on mobile devices in 2012. Perhaps not surprisingly, ‘Olympics’ was the most searched term, followed by ‘iPhone 5’, ‘Premier League’, ‘Liverpool FC’, and ‘Manchester United’.

The likely impact of Apple’s decision not to include NFC on the iPhone 5 was revealed, as Juniper Research adjusted its NFC growth forecast for N. America and Europe downwards, from $180bn to $110bn, purely based on the omission of the technology from the device. Juniper said that Apple’s lack of commitment to NFC had reduced retailer and brand confidence, leading to fewer point-of-sale roll-outs and NFC-enabled campaigns. This means that many consumers are still unaware of the potentials of the technology, all contributing to a ‘two year lag’ on previous transaction estimates. Juniper’s downsizing of the potential NFC market was backed up later in December by a study from ICM Research, which found that half of the sales assistants in stores which offer contactless payment as an option knew that it was an option.

Inovative Turkish mobile operator, Turkcell, which is also the sponsor of the national football team, partnered with the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) to introduce mobile ticketing for international matches. The Smart Ticket service, which uses Neomobile’s Onebip mobile payments service, enables users to purchase tickets via SMS, by texting “BiLET” to a shortcode. The cost of the ticket is then charged directly to their mobile phone bill.

A report from Futuresource Consulting revealed that 32m tablets were shipped globally in Q3, 2012, a 75 per cent increase on Q3, 2011. By the end of the year, Futuresource said it expected 137m units to have been shipped, and that it expected the tablet market to grow almost threefold over the next five years, to reach 352m units shipped by 2016, driven largely by falling prices. An estimated 6.4m tablets will be sold in the UK alone by the end of the year, almost double the number sold last year.

And research from Canalys revealed that 50 per cent of app revenues in the US are generated by just 25 developers. The App Interrogator survey found that these companies made $60m from paid-for downloads and in-app purchases over the first 20 days of November. 24 of the apps were gaming apps. Pandora Radio was the only non-gaming app to make the list of top grossing apps.

Bango announced its first integration of operator billing on Google Play with the Telstra mobile network in Australia. The integration means that Telstra subscribers can buy digital content from the Google Play store and have the money charged to their mobile phone bill, without sending an SMS or registering credit or debit cards. And staying with app stores, Amazon revealed that app downloads from the Amazon Appstore had increased by more than 500 per cent year-on-year.

Digital media and tech firm 24/7 Media partnered with mobile advertising company Jumptap to launch a solution that will enable advertisers to reach their desired audience across mobile and PC-based online display in a single buy. The solution is being tested by a select number of beta advertisers, with full roll-out due in Q1, 2013. The companies said that the offering opens up new levels of scale and transparency in mobile advertising, by allowing advertisers to deliver their message to users across screens including tablets and smartphones, adding that it will help advertisers reduce the inefficiencies and waste associated with campaigns running across mobile and online display.

Staying with mobile advertising, Activision became the first advertiser to use Millennial Media’s ‘Photo Shoot’ rich media feature, which uses the handset’s camera functionality, in its mobile ad campaign to promote the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.The ad presents the user with an animated image of a soldier. Using the Photo Shoot feature, they can then take a picture of their own face and superimpose it onto the soldier’s head. This image can then be downloaded or shared via social media.

And Trademob launched a click fraud protection offering. The solution is a heavily data-driven algorithm that identifies the sources of fraudulent clicks and eliminates further investment in those publishers. The Trademob platform integrates the click fraud protection solution with its optimization engine to identify the most effective targeting settings for mobile app marketing campaigns. Trademob launched the solution after conducting a study that found that, on average, 40 per cent of mobile ad clicks were the result of accidental or fraudulent clicks.

Digital music platform 7digital revealed that mobile accounted for 67 per cent of its music sales in 2012, up from 50 per cent at the end of last year. 7digital’s Android app was also downloaded 1m times over Q4, 2012, bringing the running total to 4.3m.

EE announced plans to widen its 4G network, bringing a further 17 UK towns and cities online by March 2013, by which time, the number will stand at 35. The 17 new 4G towns include Bradford, Coventry, Leicester, Luton, Sunderland, Watford and Wolverhampton.

And the bidders for the remaining 4G licences were revealed. The seven companies seeking a piece of the 4G action included some usual suspects – Everything Everywhere; Telefónica UK; Vodafone; and Hutchison 3G UK – plus some less likely ones, including HKT UK (a subsidiary of PCCW); MLL Telecom; and Niche Spectrum Ventures (a subsidiary of BT Group).

Ofcom’s seventh annual International Communications Market Report revealed that 16 per cent of all website traffic in the UK is on a mobile device, including smartphones, tablets and other connected devices. The figure is higher than for any other country in Europe. The UK also has one of the highest penetrations for smartphones, at 58 per cent, while 19 cent of the population owns a tablet – though that figure will inevitably be higher post-Christmas Day.

Finally, to end the year on a positive note, two healthy forecasts for the future of mobile advertising. First, Informa Telecoms & Media issued a forecast that the global mobile advertising market would grow by more than 50 per cent over the next year. According to Informa, the market will be worth $8bn in 2012, rising to $12.8bn in 2013.

Next up, Berg Insight predicted that the total value of the global mobile marketing and advertising market would grow from €3.8bn in 2011 to €19.7bn in 2017, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31 per cent. This will then correspond to 15.5 per cent of the total online advertising market, or 4.4 per cent of the total global ad spend for all media. OK, the figures don’t quite tally, but at least they are both heading the same, right way.

So that, is that. We hope you’ve enjoyed this whistlestop(ish) tour of the mobile marketing landscape in 2012. We’ll be back with our usual coverage on Wednesday morning. We’ll leave this post at the top of the page for the first couple of hours, but from 10am onwards, normal service will be resumed.

A very Happy New Year to all our readers, advertisers, sponsors, suppliers, friends and hangers-on. Here’s to the next 12 months.

David Murphy

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