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3/30/2009
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Operators Agree To Standardize Marketing

AT&T's, Sprint's, T-Mobile's, and Verizon Wireless' marketing practices could deliver a more consistent experience for the end user.

The four largest U.S. mobile carriers have agreed to a set of marketing guidelines that could save them up to $200 million a year.

AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless have agreed to abide by the "best practices" guidelines of the Mobile Marketing Association. The association said this deal will enable the wireless operators to reduce costs for mobile marketing ecosystems, enhance the efficiency of running short code programs, and accelerate the time to market for campaigns.

Under the agreement, the carriers will incorporate their mobile marketing guidelines into a single document that will be maintained by the MMA. The first draft of this unified document is expected in early April, and the finalized product is expected to be released at the end of June.

For wireless subscribers, the deal should lead to a consistent user experience, as well as standardized disclosure agreements, the MMA said.

"AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless together serve the vast majority of all U.S. wireless customers," MMA president and CEO Mike Wehrs said in a statement. "By working with the MMA to create an industry-standard set of guidelines, these four carriers are playing a pivotal role in enabling the mobile marketing opportunity for years to come. The cost reduction of $200 million or more clearly proves beneficial to the entire industry, especially given today's economic challenges."

The cost savings is especially appealing to the carriers at the moment, as the economic slowdown has nearly every industry watcher predicting a decline of 5% to 10% in the mobile market. Reports suggest that consumers aren't willing to give up cellular service entirely, but are willing to cut back on features like text messaging, mobile e-mail, and mobile Web access.


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