BT Cellnet offers advertisers SMS

BT Cellnet, which is to be rebranded as O2 next year, is to sell advertisers the right to send text messages to its database of customers for the first time. It has appointed wireless media sales house Enpocket to handle the business exclusively.

The company, which has a customer base of 11 million, claims to be the first network to have taken this step. Advertisers will only be able to text message those customers who have opted to receive content, information or offers from third parties.

The cost to advertisers has yet to be determined, but a ratecard will be published before the service goes live on October 31. Limits on the frequency of messages sent to customers have also to be decided.

Enpocket pitched against five other sales houses to win the contract to develop BT Cellnet’s SMS, GPRS (“2.5G”) and UMTS (“3G”) wireless media sales.

BT Cellnet head of wireless media Kevin Piper says: “The development of wireless media sales… is one of the most challenging briefs in media today.”

Enpocket has been formed as a spin-off from US-based online media technology company Engage, and is headed by co-founders Jeremy Wright, Jonathon Linner and Rob Lawson, formerly the core management team at Engage Media Europe.

The agency will also be working with BT Cellnet on a research project looking at how consumers react to receiving commercial messages, from simple text to audio and video content, on personal devices (MW August 16).

Analysts claim that the UK wireless media market is set to increase in value from up to £45m next year to up to £600m by 2005.

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