STOCKHOLM (03/02/2000) - Advertisers will soon be able to target their pitches at users of Internet-enabled mobile phones, courtesy of mobile phone and network equipment vendor L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co.
In this year's third quarter, Ericsson will start shipping Mobile Internet Advertiser, a network-based advertising software tool aimed at network operators and ISPs (Internet service providers), a U.S. executive with the Stockholm-based company said today.
Trying to put a positive spin on the announcement, Ericsson said the advertising tool will give mobile service providers the ability to deliver free or low-cost Internet services funded by advertising to users of mobile phones and other wireless communication devices.
Users would find advertising blurbs appearing periodically on their screens at intervals determined by the mobile service provider, Barbara Boyle, Ericsson global marketing manager for Internet communications, said today in a telephone interview.
In practice, service providers using the advertising software will set up a list of preferences that users would fill out, Boyle said. The preferences list would determine what kind of ads would be directed to user devices, she added.
"If you say you like sports, an ad on your screen might say there is a pay-per-view boxing match that night on ESPN (U.S.-based television sports network)," Boyle said.
The advertising tool can also be used by ad brokers who would target users for the service providers, Boyle said.
The small size of screens on the present generation of mobile devices limits the scope of advertisements, but product advances will usher in larger and more detailed ads, Boyle said. "Right now, the ad might say 'Eat at Joe's,'" she said. "In the future, it might be, 'Eat at Joe's, Enjoy the Roast Beef and Pecan Pie Special, Priced at US$5.''' The ad services will initially be delivered through WAP (wireless application protocol) and other current wireless standards and networks, Ericsson said.
With future higher bandwidth wireless network technologies on the horizon, the ads will eventually be similar to today's television commercials, incorporating rich media, full-motion video and animation, the company added.
The Mobile Internet Advertiser is based on the same server technology as Ericsson's current Internet Advertiser for fixed-line networks, the company said.
Ericsson, in Stockholm, can be reached via the Web at http://www.ericsson.com/.