Lucent, Profilium Test Wireless Ads in Canada

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Lucent Technologies and Profilium, a provider of wireless content, are teaming to test location-based wireless advertising.

Working with Canada's largest ad agency, Cossette Communications, Montreal-based Profilium plans to work with an unnamed wireless phone carrier and advertisers to deliver opt-in ads to cell phones. The trials will start in Toronto and Montreal by this summer and will likely expand to select U.S. cities this year, said Geena Scott, director of marketing for Profilium.

Lucent is providing its Mobile Internet Gateway technology, which can extract the location of the user, "through the cell and sector of the phone," said Sandip Mukerjee, director of product management and marketing-Mobile Internet for Lucent.

"By linking with Profilium, we will be able to provide service providers a ready-made solution for realizing new revenues derived from highly customizable m-advertising," he said.

Alexandre G. Legendre, president of Profilium, said the two companies' efforts will "accelerate the adoption of network-based solutions for the growing mobile advertising market."

Ichiro Kawasaki, media relations manager for Lucent, stressed the privacy features of Profilium's service. Users who opt-in for the ads set up a profile with their interests and choose the type of information they would like to receive. However, the users are never disclosed to the advertisers or Profilium. Only wireless providers will have access to information on their customers.

"Lucent and the industry are supporting an opt-in service [for wireless ads], and we have a lot of security at the network level," Kawasaki said. Lucent's Mobile Internet Gateway sits between the network application and the provider and provides an extra layer of security, Kawasaki added.

Although Profilium and Lucent decline to name the advertisers that will be involved in the trial, Cossette represents major global brands such as Nike and Coca-Cola.

Kawasaki expects this trial to be successful, after testing a similar program with wireless provider Clearnet Communications and other companies in Canada late last year. Two hundred wireless phone users received information that allowed them to locate the most convenient ATM machines and receive traffic updates and warnings.

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