17 million UK mobile users to be bombarded with adverts

10th June 2013

This summer, the joint venture between Vodafone, o2 and EE – known as Weve – is to begin a huge marketing campaign, as it targets the 17 million customers the companies have between them with paid-for advertising.

These tailored app ads are supposed to also provide the single set of technical standards for use on all devices and networks to member operators.  This would remove the confusing mix of standards that supposedly stunts the growth of the mobile advertising market currently.

A simpler and singular set of standards should (according to Weve) accelerate the growth of UK mobile advertising, and allow companies to “deliver intelligent, targeted messages” that “meet business objectives across the board”.

Weve offers a wide range of solutions for mobile advertising, including standard SMS messaging, video messaging, app-based messaging, location-based messaging and “performance” messaging.  Weve also aims to offer an e-wallet service that it hopes will become the “heart of the m-commerce” revolution.

Whilst it all seems very big talk from a venture with access to over 80% of the UK’s mobile consumers, Weve has already been hit by setbacks before, such as failing to provide widespread mobile payments in time for the London 2012 Olympics due to red tape and competition concerns.

Delays such as this lead to the CEO of Weve – Nancy Cruikshank – stepping down in February 2013.  Speculation suggests that Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao, who was less than happy with the speed of progress, pushed her out.  Cruikshank expects the business to make £1 billion over five years.  The other 2 major UK networks – Three and Virgin Mobile – are also apparently set to join the venture.

Mobile money has been slow to reach the UK mainstream, and Vodafone is also focusing some efforts on the other side of the pond, with America’s top mobile operators having a joint venture of their own.  AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon launched their own scheme – Isis – last October.  Consumers in America have been able to make payments at tills simply by waving their mobile phones (or cells as they like to call them).

With an agreement between Weve and Britain’s major banks in the works, the project hopes to consolidate an otherwise fragmented market place, giving it a much clearer direction and toolkit for growth.


Robin James