Sadly the watcher in not at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, although from London it would seem that the volume of announcements is best perhaps filtered through the lens of distance. In any event through the magic of twitter #mwc hashtags it seems possible to get live commentary on almost any session without needing to be there.
MWC is generating a lot of press and my eye was caught by this piece in the FT this morning flagging the increasing interest of the mobile operators in advertising. I can attest to this from personal experience having helped one of the UK mobile operators with a deal in this space in 2009.
What is even more interesting is to speculate on the end-game.
The success of Google has been driven by many things, but to my mind perhaps the single biggest contributor has been its ability to connect advertising spend to results. Even before the era of Mad Men there was a famous quote – “Half of all advertising is wasted – the only problem is I don’t know which half!”. Google’s insight was to connect payment for ads with results.
If you connect location-based advertising with the means to pay suddenly the mobile operators can take on Google in the advertising space. That for me is the real story behind the mobile operators’ move into both advertising and payment.