Mobile commerce

AlcaLu Targets Egypt With Mobile Ads

Egyptian wireless operator Mobinil is announcing today that it's among the first to use Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s Optism mobile marketing platform to target its subscribers with permission-based interactive ads, personalized to their interests. (See AlcaLu Unveils Mobile Ad Platform.)

In the initial soft launch, Mobinil blasted an SMS invitation for Optism to a small percentage of its 30 million subscribers, who then had the opportunity to opt into the service and set their preferences in terms of what kinds of ads and promotions they wanted to receive and from whom. The carrier had 200,000 subscribers elect to receive ads from its initial launch partners, Adidas and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), and none have since opted out, says Hani Ramzi, director of business development for Optism.

According to Ramzi, ad response rates have been as high as 35 percent. Orange Austria, Germany's E-Plus Service GmbH & Co. KG , and Etisalat in the UAE are AlcaLu's other Optism customers. (See Etisalat to Offer Permission-Based Ads.)

Why this matters
The mobile marketing opportunity is quickly being snatched up by Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), and a host of independent players. Of course, wireless operators want a piece of the potentially lucrative market too, and AlcaLu's managed solution and revenue-sharing model provides one route -- a route that Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is also taking. (See JumpTap Lures Developers From Apple, Google, Apple: Ads Get the i Treatment, Quattro Confirms Apple Acquisition, and Ericsson Launches AdMarket.)

What makes Optism different, Ramzi says, is that it's coming from a reliable, strategic partner -- AlcaLu -- with an already strong relationship to the ad industry, and it's focused on putting together an ad ecosystem that places wireless operators at the core.

For more
For more on carriers, their partners, and their competitors' mobile marketing plays, check out these other stories:

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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