Government officials have slammed mobile operators for not signing up to its data hub project Midata.
Three is the only telecoms firm to have signed up to the scheme, which aims to help consumers make more informed choices and manage their lives more efficiently. It joins 25 other companies from the financial and utilities industries including npower, Google, RBS and Visa.
Consumer affairs minister Edward Davey had wanted all the operators to sign up to the voluntary scheme to ‘further assist consumers in getting the best deal on their mobile phone contract’. However, sources close to the project say interest to date from the mobile industry has been ‘lacklustre and unconvincing’.
One senior aide at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: ‘Instead of supporting the Government’s vision of endorsing the key principle that data should be released back to consumers, all of the UK’s main operators have shunned the proposals and are delaying signing up. It’s great we have Three on board, but the fact is we need all of the firms involved to really be credible.’
The Government claims its scheme is the first global Government-backed initiative to empower individuals with so much control over the use of their own data.
Mobile understands that Vodafone, Everything Everywhere and O2 have had discussions about the Midata project, but are in no hurry to add their support, with the first releases not due until the first half of 2012.
A Vodafone UK spokesperson said: ‘We are currently talking to the Government about Midata and seeking more information about how the initiative would function in practice. We take our customers’ privacy very seriously and we need more information in order to carry out a detailed privacy impact assessment that would allow us to make an informed decision about getting more fully involved.’
But the BIS aide added: ‘Consumers should be able to access, retrieve and store their data securely and mobile operators should not think themselves immune from this.’