Vodafone Rings YouTube, Internet brands

Vodafone’s got Internet brands on its mind this week, and announced today that the company will offer YouTube content to its mobile subscribers over Vodafone live. Like the Verizon Wireless-YouTube deal, it looks like another one of those services where the companies will provide the user with what they call “a daily selection of new videos” — i.e. a truncated lame version of the online service. Ah, well, it’s still a little closer to what we want from the mobile web.

And, it’s the third partnership between Vodafone and a major Internet brand this week! Thursday it was a deal with eBay to provide a mobile eBay application that enables users to browse and bid on stuff and buy fixed price products from cell phones. Earlier this week it was a mobile application for MySpace.

We guess Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin wasn’t kidding when he professed his company’s newfound interest in mobile social networks, mobile video, mobile advertising and advanced mobile applications. The company announced a mobile advertising deal with Yahoo last year. And he told Business Week that he expects all these mobile content services to generate 10% of the company’s revenue within three or four years.

Yowsers — that’s a huge amount of revenues. But the company needs to do something. The carrier reported an operating loss for the six months ending in September 2006. Voice revenues just aren’t growing like they used to. Like Om says here, a mobile operator facing the prospect of slowing growth does a lot of strange things.