What You (may have) Missed – Part 47

Another month, and another deluge of news. We reckon we’ve filed over 150 stories over the past 30 days – not bad when you consider what we refuse steadfastly to look at anything that smells like work at the weekend, and a sure sign that the mobile marketing business is in full throttle. Better still, none of the stories were about SMSCs, network infrastructure, or the other impenetrable stuff we have to cover when there’s nothing more exciting going on.
In September, it was all about the networks. First, Orange and T-Mobile announced that they were planning to merge, with the two brands co-existing for 18 months after the merger, slated for the first half of 2010, if it goes through, before a decision is made on what to call the combined company.
For O2, it was a case of two steps forwards, two steps back, as the firm revealed that it had secured the exclusive rights to sell the Palm Pre in the UK, from 16 October, and then announced the launch of its MVNO, giffgaff, the mobile phone network which will be run by its customers, in return for which they will get texts and talk time. Can members of the public can make a worse job of running a network than the network operators? Discuss…
Less welcome for O2 was the news that it had lost the exclusive rights to the iPhone in the UK. First Orange announced that it would start selling the iPhone 3G and 3GS later this year, followed a day later by Vodafone, which will introduce the same handsets in 2010. Other handset makers must be delighted. Or not. 
It was a busy month, in fact, for Vodafone, which also found time to launch Vodafone 360, a new suite of Internet services that brings together all a customer's contacts, status updates and messaging services in one place; and to unveil a competition to find the most innovative and useful mobile widgets, giving two victorious developers the chance to bank up to €100,000 (£92,000) each in prize money. 
Elsewhere, UK-based mobile marketing firm Sendster launched a low-cost text message-based marketing tool of the same name, designed specifically to help the 4 million UK businesses employing 10 people or less to drum up some custom.
Mfuse partnered with IPC Ignite to supply its recently-launched Litebet service to men’s lifestyle brand, Nuts. The service will enable Nuts to provide its mobile users with a white label betting portal containing a variety of mobile sports betting offerings.
Netbiscuits unveiled a mobile couponing solution, imaginatively named, the ‘Messaging and Couponing Tool’, which goes live this month. And Samsung opened an on-device application store for Samsung Smartphone users. The store is accessible initially to Omnia and I8910 HD users, and will roll out later to owners of other models, such as the Omnia II and Omnia Lite. 
There were plenty of mobile advertising deals in the offing. YOC secured a contract to sell advertising on 3 UK’s highly used pre-loaded ‘Favourites’ application’, while 4th Screen Advertising struck a deal with  messaging service eBuddy to integrate and roll out a range of mobile ad formats within the eBuddy mobile platform.
Phonevalley announced a strategic agreement to create customised mobile advertising solutions, technology and metrics that will run across Microsoft’s mobile web properties, and Sofialys was appointed to monetise Spanish mobile content provider Arena Mobile’s mobile properties on a global basis.
See, we told you we’d been busy, and those are only a few of the highlights. Stay tuned for all the news throughout October.

David Murphy