What You (may have) Missed - Part 3

David Murphy

Regular readers should be getting the hang of this by now. At the end of each month, we look back on the standout events in the mobile marketing stratosphere, and round them all up in once place so you don't have to waste your time scouring a dozen different sites from scratch to stay up to speed. So sit back, put those mince pies away, and enjoy our 2-minute guide to mobile marketing in December...

By far the biggest news this month was the 40,000 fine handed out to  mBlox for its role in the Crazy Frog phenomenon/debacle, as the service provider to content provider Jamba. The story made the national news in print, radio and TV, though to our knowledge, virtually no-one picked up on the fact that while Jamba appeared to have got off scot free, the 40,000 fine will appear somewhere on a future mBlox invoice to Jamba, thanks to a contractual arrangement that mBlox makes with all its clients to cover such eventualities. Why telecoms regulator ICSTIS  seems to be more interested in shooting, or at least fining, the messenger, rather than the company responsible for the message, is a moot point.
Elsewhere, the UK's first Mobile Marketing awards, staged as part of the Mobile Marketing 2005 Conference, saw Archibald Ingall Stretton take the Grand Prix award for its '10%' campaign for 02. Other awards went to The Light Agency, Flytxt, YooMedia, and Poke London/Naked Communications.
It was a good month for mobile marketing agency Incentivated,  which was handed a global SMS brief by British Airways, and got straight down to business, alerting more than 3,000 BA passengers in 59 country/language combinations about the disruption caused to flights by the Buncefield oil depot fire, and a combination of fog and ice.
A bad month, though, for the mobile network operators, who learned via a report from Group 1 Software (if they didn't already know it) that their customers are churning at twice the rate now that they were two years ago. Customer defection rates in the mobile telecoms sector stand at 33.4% in 2005, compared to 15.5% in 2003.
Another report from Informa Telecoms & Media  predicted that SMS would remain a key revenue driver for the messaging market globally for the next five years. Figures released by the Mobile Data Association (MDA), predicting that 100 million text messages per day will be delivered in 2006 seem to back this up.
Some, however, are clearly looking beyond text. In the US, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) released guidelines on mobile web banner ads, including graphic banners, text banners and a combination of the two.
Elsewhere, Videogame publisher Electronic Arts (EA), which has been 'mobilising' many of its games over the past couple of years, moved to strengthen its position, paying $680 million to acquire the leading mobile games company Jamdat Mobile.
And Orange made it easier for its customers to access WLAN hotspots via a roaming agreement with Swiss WLAN wholesale broker WeRoam, which gives Orange customers wireless access by texting a keyword to a shortcode. Communications costs, charged at the standard WeRoam rate of 6 per hour, appear on the user's next Orange bill.