Telecom operators are developing their own (mobile) advertising system

Vodafone, Telefonica, Orange and Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile) believe that mobile consumers are not yet bombarded enough with advertisements. That is why the four telecom providers are going to develop a new advertising system together. The initiative comes from Vodafone, and the three other providers wanted to join in. Last week, the European Commission gave permission for the establishment of a joint venture for this purpose. Each provider will own 25 percent of the shares of the new company, which will be based in Belgium.

Better mobile advertising system

Many consumers will believe that the only good system for serving ads on a smartphone is NOT serving ads. Nevertheless, the four providers want to take a shot at developing a better and more user-friendly mobile advertising system that will benefit both consumers and the advertising providers.

At the moment, advertisements, both online and mobile, are mainly served based on cookie settings. Companies like Meta and Alphabet happily scatter those ‘cookie permissions’ among dozens of other ‘partners’. By accepting the terms and conditions, you as a consumer often also give permission for this, without actually being aware of it. Hardly anyone reads all the conditions, often dozens of pages of text, down to the last letter. As a result, and you often hear that complaint, it can happen that a cookie that you have accepted can lead to you being bombarded with advertisements from companies you have never had contact with.

Alternative to cookies

Because cookie legislation is becoming stricter, mobile providers see opportunities for a new advertising system based on the telephone number and IP address of users. Users must give permission via an opt-in system for the creation of a token that may be used to serve (personalised) advertisements.

The tokens that are generated are linked to a specific user, but are anonymized. As a result, they could not be traced back to an individual. They also do not contain a user’s location or browsing data and cannot be aggregated to create so-called super profiles.

The platform is specifically designed to provide consumers with a step change in the control, transparency and protection of their data, which is currently widely collected, distributed and stored by major, non-European players.

In other words, the providers want to position themselves as parties that deal more neatly with the provision and serving of advertisements. Of course we should not lose sight of the fact that they are still primarily concerned with raking in money with advertising sales. Because of the privacy regulations, especially in Europe. becomes increasingly strict, companies that serve (personalized) advertisements have to come up with new ways to get customers to agree with the advertising models.

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