GSMA Forms Committee to Set Mobile Ad Standards

The GSM Association (GSMA), a global trade group representing mobile phone carriers, has formed a steering group to tackle standards and best practices for entertainment and mobile advertising delivery over mobile phones. The committee will involve carriers, service providers, advertisers and agencies, and other industry stakeholders.

“We need common definitions of advertising inventory,” GSM Association CMO Bill Gajda told ClickZ News. “We want to make it easy for advertisers and advertising agencies to figure out what is real estate in mobile.”

The committee plans to address several initiatives. On its agenda is a scheme to define standards of measurement and metrics which are recognized by the advertising community. The committee will establish a code of conduct or “rules of the road,” with consideration given to the operators. The issue of user profiles is high on the committee’s priorities. “Mobile is unique in terms of customer profiling and segmentation,” said Gajda.

Also on the agenda is the creation of a single, cross-operator campaign planning and buying system like DoubleClick’s Dart or Aquantive’s Atlas. “People want to buy across operators with a common tool or interface,” Gajda said. If created, the interface will handle planning and buying across ad-serving systems.

With the formation of the committee, the GSMA said it plans to become more active in the U.S. Until recently the group has been admittedly “benignly indifferent” toward its U.S.-based GSM contingent. “It’s clear that the U.S. is going to be a key center for innovation in the space,” said Gajda.

The GSMA acts as a global trade organization for the mobile standard Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) (define), which includes carriers like T-Mobile, Cingular and AT&T in the U.S. The competing mobile standard, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) (define) is represented by the CDMA Development Group which includes U.S. carriers Verizon, Sprint and Alltel.

Gajda said the GSMA expected to include CDMA groups into the working group. “It’s not about radio access technology; Verizon has exactly the same issues. I think we can work closely with them,” he said.

The steering committee is in its early formation stages and counts about 10 operators globally as its members to date. Its initial objectives are to develop a timeline and determine the scope of the committee and determine deliverables. The next step is to invite other industry stakeholders like mobile service companies, advertisers and agencies, and complementary organizations like the MMA.

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