What You (may have) Missed – Part 53

Its 1 April, a day for tomfoolery and practical jokes, but unfortunately, the weather here in the UK is for real. But forget about the rain and the snow for a few minutes as we whizz you through the highlights of the last few months in the hectic world of mobile marketing.
At the start of the month, T-Mobile and Orange were cleared to go ahead with their merger by the European Commission, after the operators agreed to give up some of their spectrum. The company will have a combined customer base of around 29.5 million.
There were plenty more deals in the offing too. Mobile marketing firm Inside Mobile was bought by ad agency M&C Saatchi. Inside Mobile will trade as M&C Saatchi Mobile. Its clients include Reebok International, Yahoo! Europe, AB-InBev-Becks and Sky.
Nokia announced that it was to acquire Novarra, which provides a mobile browser and service platform. Nokia says it will use Novarra's platform to deliver enhanced Internet experiences on Nokia mobile devices. And Amdocs, which provides customer experience systems, snapped up MX Telecom for $104 million (69 million) in cash. MX Telecom is a mobile payments and messaging aggregator with operations in Europe, the US and Australia. MX Telecom will become part of Amdocs OpenMarket business, which operates a mobile transaction hub.
There was lots happening on the Augmented Reality (AR) front. AR firm kooaba unveiled its prototype AR app that integrates real-time image recognition technology to augment both stationary objects such as building and statues, and non-stationary objects such as products, newspapers and billboards. Another AR firm, metaio launched an updated version of its open AR iPhone app and mobile web browser junaio, and also revealed that it had partnered with Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco to integrate transit data, such as station locations and estimated arrival times, into a BART channel on its junaio platform.
And directory service Yell added AR to its iPhone app. The app enables iPhone 3GS users to see local shops, offices, restaurants and other useful services through the iPhones camera viewer.
With all this AR activity, it was no real surprise when the analyst Juniper Research released its report, Mobile Location Based Services: Applications, Forecasts & Opportunities 2009-2014, in which it predicted that revenues from Mobile Location-based Services (MLBS) are expected to exceed $12.7 billion (8.3 billion) by 2014.
Another Juniper report, this one on Mobile Ticketing, forecast that nearly 15 billion tickets will be delivered to subscribers mobile devices worldwide by 2014, compared to just over 2 billion this year. Adding credence to these figures, mobile ticketing, couponing and marketing firm Trinity Mobile revealed a 1200% year-on-year increase in the delivery of mobile boarding passes to airline passengers in 2009, with 600,000 passes sent out via text message in 2009, compared to just 50,000 in 2008.
Research firm comScore published the latest data from its MobiLens service, reporting key trends in the US mobile industry during the three month period between October 2009 and January 2010. In an average month during the November through January 2010 time period, 63.5% of US mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, up 1.5% compared to the previous three-month period. Browsers were used by 28.6% of subscribers (up 1.8%), while 21.7% of subscribers played games (up 0.4%). Access of social networking sites or blogs experienced grew 3.3% to 17.1% of mobile subscribers.
Another study, this one from BuzzCity, looked at attitudes towards, and use of, mobile payments. It found that 90% of respondents had used their mobile to directly purchase products or services, and while most related to mobile phone use, such as mobile content and prepaid airtime, 23% had bought from online stores, paid a bill, bought prepaid utilities and made bookings through their mobile.
And if you havent had your fill of stats yet, independent app store GetJar produced a report predicting that the global mobile applications market will be worth $17.5 billion (11.5 billion) by 2012, a fourfold increase from its value of $4.1 billion in 2009. The report also predicted that the total number of mobile app downloads would increase from over 7 billion in 2009 to almost 50 billion in 2012.
Finally on the stats front, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) revealed the results of research that showed that mobile and online advertising, used in combination can significantly increase brand awareness and purchase consideration. The IAB found that among respondents exposed to ads across online and mobile, recognition was 43% greater than among those exposed just to the online component.
Mobile ad network InMobi launched what it claimed was the mobile advertising industrys most ambitious local targeting capability for advertisers to date. The program, which is available in the UK, France, Indonesia, S. Africa, US, and India to over 15,000 cities and regions, will continue to expand during 2010. The program also includes the ability to target iPhone consumers with new, optimised creative, specific to the iPhone experience.
And Target Digital brokered a campaign between Unanimis, who exclusively represent Oranges Shots opt-in mobile advertising service, and Optimum Releasing, which thus became the first film distributor to use Oranges mobile advertising service for a campaign for the movie, Leap Year.
Mobile Interactive Group (MIG) announced its expansion into America and Canada with its digital agency, Jigsaw, opening two new offices in Chicago and Toronto. MIG said the move had been driven by growing client demand for the agencys integrated approach to delivering and implementing multichannel digital campaigns that
pull on the groups expertise across a broad range of online, mobile, and digital marketing and technology disciplines. 
And finally, Barclaycard revealed that contactless mobile payments would become a reality in the UK by the end of 2010 through its partnership with mobile operator Orange. It's been a long time coming; let's hope NFC (Near Field Communications) on a phone can live up to the hype when it does arrive.
Another busy month then. Stay tuned throughout April for all the latest news, and our new-look site, coming very soon.

David Murphy