News Scan: Yahoo's Apple plan not yet ripe; For mobile ads, think audio; more

>> Yahoo wants to use Apple to challenge Google in mobile search

Yahoo is working to convince Apple to make its search engine, rather than Google's, the default selection for the iPhone and iPad, according to a report by Re/Code, citing internal Yahoo sources. Yahoo has "prepared detailed decks, including images of what such a search product would look like, and hopes to present them to Apple execs," the report says. No word yet on whether Apple has an interest in the proposal. Read more

[More on Yahoo: Yahoo ditches banner ads, others may follow suit | Another work-from-home program bites the dust]

>> Telefonica, Blackstone set up first telco-based mobile ad exchange platform

Spanish operator Telefonica and Blackstone's GSO Capital Partners are creating Axonix, the first telco-backed mobile ad exchange platform, the companies announced on Wednesday. London-based Axonix will run independently of Telefonica and be headed by Simon Birkenhead. Supported by technology acquired from MobClix, Axonix will enable advertisers and publishers to buy and sell mobile ad space globally. Read more

[More on Telefonica: Competitive advantage is top driver for enterprises to adopt M2M, survey finds | Monitise, Telefónica ink mobile money pact]

>> Audio quality more important than video for mobile ads, says study

Mobile marketers should focus on better audio rather than video, according to a study by audio tech firm DTS and Neuro-Insight. The research found that improvements in audio quality drove higher engagement than video quality for mobile users, notes a report by Mobile Marketer on the study. Because of mobile bandwidth constraints, mobile marketers need to make trade-offs between audio and video quality. "If you have great audio the engagement with your ad is going to be better. If you have compromises to make, make them in the video and not in the audio," advises Kevin Doohan, chief marketing officer at DTS. Read more

[More on mobile advertising: Marketers need to adopt mobile-unique approach to mobile ads | Mobile is fastest growing advertising area]

>> Oil and gas use of M2M devices to surge, says Berg Insights

The number of machine-to-machine (M2M) devices with cellular or satellite connectivity deployed in the oil and gas industry is forecast to increase at a 21.4 percent compound annual growth rate, reaching 1.12 million by 2018, according to the latest forecast from Berg Insight. Around 244,000 of those M2M devices will be satellite based, with the remainder being cellular based. The research firm said the number of M2M devices in the oil and gas industry last year totaled 423,000 units. "The oil and gas industry is characterized by remote and inaccessible facilities where wireless communication in many cases is the only viable option for transferring M2M data," explains Berg. Read more

[More on M2M: Internet of Things will be a key enabler of the digital business of the future | M2M, predictive analytics to fuel strong growth in maintenance analytics market]

>> Despite political turmoil, Eastern Europe invests in 4G LTE networks

While Eastern Europe is watching the political conflict between Russia and Ukraine closely, the region is also focused on beefing up the speeds of its mobile networks. In fact, a jump in the number of 4G LTE subscribers fueled a 4.3 percent year-over-year service revenue increase in the fourth quarter for Eastern European mobile operators, according to ABI Research. At the end of 2013, there were 9.84 million LTE subscriptions in the region, an impressive 410 percent year-over-year jump. Read more

[More on LTE: 4G LTE competition shifts from coverage to higher data speeds, more capacity | T-Mobile LTE rollout coming soon]