The Mobile Entertainment Forum wants to raise the amount of Arabic content on mobiles by getting telecoms operators and advertisers to work together.
Mobile trade group seeks more Arabic content
A global mobile media trade association wants to boost the amount of Arabic content on handheld devices by getting telecommunications operators and advertisers to work together.
After opening a regional office in Doha three months ago, the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) held its inaugural event this month, showcasing initiatives under consideration including improved mobile commerce in the Middle East.
The not-for-profit trade association has more than 160 members from around the world but only a handful of regional partners, including Qtel, Etisalat, du and Info2Cell.
Over the next year, however, MEF will try to boost its regional membership and is working on guidelines that it hopes will help advertisers to develop promotions with telecoms operators, said George Daaboul, the Middle East manager of member relations and marketing at the MEF.
"What we do is we bring companies together, they speak about their cases and their experience in the field and we write these guides that help drive the industry forward," Mr Daaboul said.
He said it is often difficult for companies in the telecoms sector to agree on a set of standards.
The association recently brokered an agreement in Brazil between the telecoms regulator and mobile operators setting rules for how applications can be offered to consumers.
"If we come and be the moderators of such a group, we can lead the industry by bringing the players together and working on a set of solutions that everyone can agree on," Mr Daaboul said.
The MEF also plans to address what it sees as a gap in data available on the mobile industry in the Middle East, providing valuable information for the region's telecoms operators.
"We're trying to fill this gap," Mr Daaboul said. "We're working with other companies, our members, who provide such things in Europe, and we're trying to bring them here to the region." The MEF also hopes to give the region's advertisers and content creators a better understanding of how to work with telecoms operators.
The concept, described as "smart enabling", is being examined as a way for operators to generate a return on billion-dollar investments in building high-speed mobile networks.
"[Operators] have access to the network. They know what handset you're using, what you're interested in and how you're using your phone," Mr Daaboul said. "It's a way to target these users personally."