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Mobile commerce

Neustar Takes New Tack on Mobile Apps

Neustar Inc. (NYSE: NSR), a company mostly known for processing local-number portability (LNP) transactions, is now expanding into support for mobile applications, hoping to become the neutral third party that links mobile service providers with content providers, applications developers and enterprises. (See Neustar Launches Cloud, Targets Mobile.)

This is not NeuStar's first major initiative beyond running the massive database operation that supports LNP. The Virginia-based company is already providing the Digital Rights Locker that powers the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem LLC (DECE) . That's the industry consortium that includes major motion picture studios, retailers such as BestBuy and Walmart and cable operators in an effort to let consumers buy content once and access it securely on multiple platforms. (See Cox, CableLabs Give DECE More Cable Cred and UltraViolet Targets Mid-2011 Launch.)

Nor is it the company's first venture into mobility -- NeuStar runs the common short-code registry for the CTIA used in things such as text-message voting -- but it is a significant new initiative.

NeuStar wants to become a central repository for subscriber information such as location, device type and more, and make that information available to retailers, applications developers and others to use in mobile marketing campaigns. Jean Foster, vice president of marketing, carrier services, for NeuStar, says mobile operators would be paid by NeuStar for their participation and NeuStar would collect from the third parties conducting the campaigns.

Why this matters
The idea is to simplify the mobile marketing process for everyone involved in order to speed it up, Foster says. Here's one example of how it could work: A consumer, already signed up to the BestBuy rewards program, receives a coupon from BestBuy when location data shows he is close to a store.

"This is a way for mobile operators to monetize their [subscriber] data," Foster says. Consumer privacy would be protected by a double opt-in procedure and service providers would be guaranteed privacy of their data records as well.

NeuStar, which will offer the cloud-based service using a multi-tenant version of Aepona Ltd. software, will be running demos of two applications -- one involving a mobile workforce and another centering on making charitable donations via mobile phone -- at next week's Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona.

For more For more on NeuStar's new strategy:



— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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