ICO puts global phone account up for grabs

Satellite mobile phone company ICO Global Communications is preparing to put its worldwide ad account out for pitch as it ramps up its marketing department.

ICO is one of three companies – alongside Iridium and Globalstar – intending to offer a mobile phone network that can be accessed anywhere in the world, by satellite.

Vice-president of brand communication Chris Moss, former Lloyds TSB brands director and Orange’s launch marketing director, says the company will significantly increase its marketing department over the next four months. Thirty marketers are employed at present.

He says ICO has “ambitious plans” for a global advertising campaign and will launch a pitch to find an agency with global direct marketing and loyalty programme capabilities within the next six months.

Young & Rubicam works for the company on a project basis, along with a handful of design agencies.

Moss refused to name the size of the account, but industry estimates place ICO around 100m, reputedly the same budget as its rival Iridium.

London-based ICO employs 340 staff. This figure will rise to 400 by the year end – double the number of staff employed last autumn. The company is backed by 60 telecoms and IT companies worldwide. ICO’s product will go live in August 2000.

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