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On the back of its announcement of still somewhat measely cheaper data tariffs last week, Vodafone UK has begun a new push in the mobile internet space, claiming compression technology at its end will reduce the size of web page downloads by up to 10 times. The company said it is now allowing subscribers to browse any regular web page on the internet, it will be adapted for the small screen, and that it had struck partnerships with Google, eBay, MSN, YouTube, MySpace, PriceRunner, AOL and Yahoo Mail to ensure prominence for their mobile services. The branding is now “Vodafone Mobile Internet”, while the live! portal now beefs up advertising and includes more prominence for Google’s search.
Ovum analyst John Delaney today wrote in favor of the strategy: We believe the strategy underlying Vodafone’s Mobile Internet announcements is sound, because it focuses on maximizing Vodafone’s benefit from advertising. The corollary of that is that data traffic revenues will be less prevalent, and thus we see Vodafone moving away from usage-related tariffing and towards flat-rate subscriptions.”
Vodafone’s tariff reforms have come behind other carriers’ and its mobile internet branding trails T-Mobile in particular. But, having worked to get earlier European exclusivity on mobile offerings from MySpace and YouTube, Vodafone could find itself sitting prettier when the marketing kicks in.