Vodafone looks to sponsored content offering

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Vodafone looks to sponsored content offering

Vodafone is looking at offering sponsored data to its customers. The move would see customers agreeing to receive sponsored data on their devices in return for lower data bills.

CEO Vittorio Colao (pictured) revealed Vodafone's interest in sponsored dat this week. The CEO said he is closely watching US operator AT&T’s recent move to allow sponsored data.

Colao said Vodafone is open to offering sponsored or paid-for data that would not count towards a subscriber’s monthly data plan.

Speaking at a media roundtable in New York, ahead of the sale of its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless, Colao added that mobile operators should be able to reach special arrangements with content providers and other companies provided they do not discriminate between two companies in the same market segment.

‘We cannot say ‘yes’ to this social network, and ‘no’ to that one,’ he said.

Colao made the comments after revealing that Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, had asked him to ‘zero rate’ its content in certain emerging markets.

He said he had declined her request because, ‘it does not make any sense . . . [there] is no reason why I should give my network capacity for free’. 

 AT&T announced its decision to move into sponsored data at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year.

The decision will make the operator the first US mobile operator to allow companies to offer sponsored content and other free services to its subscribers.

Colao said Vodafone Group will have a warchest of $30 billion to $40 billion to spend on acquisitions, following the Verizon deal. He added that no deal would be too big if it makes strategic sense. 

'We are looking at acquisitions that are sizeable and could transform the company,' he added.

Colao said Vodafone is keen to build up its fixed-line assets in Europe, its enterprise business around the world and its mobile business in emerging markets.

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