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Etisalat mobilises brands, advertising agencies and media houses throughout the UAE

by david.nunes

Launches permission-based mobile advertising

Paris, October 21, 2010 – Etisalat and Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU), have joined together in a strategic partnership to launch the first permission-based mobile advertising service in the UAE. Etisalat’s customers in the UAE will be able to opt-in to receive ads and offers that match their interests from their favorite brands on their mobile phones.

Advertisers are becoming more and more conscious of the opportunities that Mobile advertising offers. Mobile advertising remains one of the most exciting developments in the mobile market today, enabling marketers to better target customers from a wider base more directly, through an entirely new channel. The rise of mobile as a means of advertising supports the ongoing shift of ad budgets from traditional marketing media, such as TV and radio, to more direct “below-the-line” forms, such as direct mail, E-mail and the Internet. Mobile advertising promises to provide the next phase in this development, offering marketers even higher levels of advertising effectiveness and impact.

Khalifa Al Shamsi, Etisalat’s senior vice president Marketing stated, “In today’s wireless world, mobile advertising is now essential to the foundation of any successful marketing campaign. Prospective customers are using their mobile phones at anytime and from anywhere, hence giving mobile advertising compelling influence over consumer decisions in real-time by feeding them an ad at the most influential moment”.

By covering all the aspects needed to run the mobile advertising service, Alcatel-Lucent removes the complexity of entering a new business by creating an ecosystem in the UAE market made up of key players of the advertising value chain.

“We are very enthusiastic about working with Etisalat to bring a more personalized and compelling experience to their customers,” said Amr El-Leithy, head of Alcatel-Lucent’s business in the Middle East & Africa.

The Etisalat approach to the market will be based on customer permission and preferences, i.e. customers will have to opt-in to the service and share their interests in order to enjoy these promotions and discounts. “Etisalat has always been extremely attentive towards the needs of our valued customers and it is our responsibility to ensure them maximum flexibility in the way they use and enjoy Etisalat’s services. The opt-in feature of this service gives them the power to decide what advertisements they wish to receive as per their interests and preferences and protects them from receiving undesired promotional messages.”

The mobile advertising model that Etisalat has chosen to penetrate the market with, is interactive “Dialogue” ads along with the other messaging service that is available on Etisalat’s nation-wide network.

“Etisalat has chosen interactive and rich “Dialogues” model in order to penetrate the market faster and to open up the ability for brands to reinforce client relations by creating personalized dialogue messages between them and their customers”, said Al Shamsi.

Referring to a global survey titled ‘Unlocking the Power of Mobile’, conducted in 2010 by UAE’s media agency – Initiative UAE, Ramzy Abouchacra, general manager of Initiative UAE, said: “Brands in every segment now need a mobile strategy because mobile touches everyone, everywhere. Mobile Internet boosts total media usage as it is often accessed in conjunction with other media usage. As mobile has increased the media landscape, marketers now have more opportunities to engage their target audiences at relevant times of the day, in places and at times that other media channels don’t serve as effectively, efficiently or personally. Marketers that can create an app that delivers a fulfilling consumer experience can expect high returns. Apps provide a useful and engaging brand experience for consumers.”

Etisalat will work hand in hand to educate the market, engaging with brands, advertising agencies and media houses/sales on various mobile advertising opportunities and digital advertising mix that Etisalat and Alcatel-Lucent will offer via their top of the line advertising solution Optism™.

Optism™ is the permission based mobile marketing solution from Alcatel-Lucent that bridges the gap between operators and advertisers. Optism™ is a unique offering that enables mobile operators to create highly responsive, permission and preference-based mobile inventory providing advertisers with easy access to willing and highly targeted audiences.

“A very important note that we need to convey is that all parties within the eco system of mobile advertising i.e. service operator, media Agencies/media houses/media sellers, solution provider and customers, have to work closely together to ensure that mobile advertising does not morph into another spam machine much in the same way that e-mail advertising has evolved. We, at Etisalat believe that all parties involved are equally important and hence we are keen to find the right balance between capitalizing on the benefits of mobile advertising and protecting our customers from any spam and therefore make mobile advertising a successful story” added Al Shamsi.

About Alcatel-Lucent

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is the trusted transformation partner of service providers, enterprises, strategic industries such as defense, energy, healthcare, transportation, and governments worldwide, providing solutions to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users. A leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband networking, IP and optics technologies, applications and services, Alcatel-Lucent leverages the unrivalled technical and scientific expertise of Bell Labs, one of the largest innovation powerhouses in the communications industry. With operations in more than 130 countries and the most experienced global services organization in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with a global reach. Alcatel-Lucent achieved revenues of Euro 15.2 billion in 2009 and is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on the Internet: http://www.alcatel-lucent.com, read the latest posts on the Alcatel-Lucent blog http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/blog and follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Alcatel_Lucent.

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