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Weve readies location-based display advertising services for marketers

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By Jessica Davies | News Editor

January 18, 2013 | 3 min read

Weve, the mobile marketing and wallet joint venture between EE, O2 and Vodafone, is gearing up to launch location-based display advertising services, meaning marketers can run targeted mobile display campaigns via a standardised platform across the three networks.

The B2B joint venture, unveiled in 2011, has integrated EE and O2 and is in the final stages of incorporating the final shareholder Vodafone. Once it has it will have a combined customer opt-in database of 15 million.

However, Weve is viewing this figure as a starting point and is already in talks with other operators over joining the joint venture, which would increase the customer database giving advertisers even greater scale to run mobile campaigns.

Weve’s marketing director Tony Moretta told The Drum the consortium has sparked interest from other operators which understand the need for collaboration if they are to provide the necessary scale and technical capabilities to bring both mobile marketing and payments to the mainstream.

“Any other mobile operators like 3 or Virgin Mobile and Tesco Mobile for example, are welcome to join. With the current shareholders we have a combined reach of about 80 per cent but it would be even better to push that higher. We are hopeful we will have others joining by next year,” he said.

Any companies that do join will be given access to the same services as the three shareholders on the same commercial terms, according to Moretta.

The basic resource for Weve is the customer relationship and information held by the mobile groups, which can include stated preferences, contact lists, browsing history and location, with all data given on an opt-in basis and anonymous when passed through Weve’s platform.

This data can be used to offer customers more relevant marketing services including location-based SMS messaging, which has already rolled out to EE and O2’s networks with Vodafone to follow in the coming weeks. Once this has happened it will turn its focus to mobile display advertising services.

The other major part of Weve’s business will be to offer a standardised mobile payment platform through which banks and payment firms can more easily integrate to offer mobile wallets to consumers across multiple handsets.

This will launch after the marketing services have been more fully developed, requiring more lead time to integrate with the banks along with near-field communications (NFC), according to Moretta.

The aim is to create a “virtuous circle” to marketing, bringing offline and online activity together in a way that benefits the consumer with more relevant messages, according to Moretta.

“These companies are fierce competitors and they will continue to compete but they recognise there needs to be a common technical platform to make the true potential of mobile a reality,” said Moretta.

It is rolling out location-based messaging across the three networks and once that is fully up and running it will turn its attention to providing display targeting further down the line.

Weve was given the green light to proceed by the European Commission last September. It has since been recruiting heavily and currently has a headcount of 86 people.

Yesterday EE, the amalgamation of Orange and T-Mobile, revealed cost-cutting measures which will result in the closure of 78 shops across the UK. The brand is the latest in a string of high street closures revealed in the last few weeks including Blockbusters, HMV and Jessops.

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