The European Commission has approved unconditionally, under the EU Merger Regulation, the creation of a joint venture (JV) by Deutsche Telekom AG Orange SA, Telefónica S.A. and Vodafone Group plc.
The joint venture will offer a platform to support brands and publishers’ digital marketing and advertising activities in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.
Still under trial, the JV will outline its vision and strategy in due course, including its plans for adopting the trial technology commercially.
A cookiless marketing and advertising platform identifying people with a secure digital token
Subject to the user’s consent, the joint venture’s marketing and advertising platform will generate a unique digital code (digital token) derived from the user’s mobile or fixed network subscription.
Such code will allow brands and publishers to recognize users on their websites or applications on a pseudonymous basis, group them under different categories and tailor their content to specific users’ groups.
The only data that is shared, the pseudo-anonymous digital token, cannot be reverse-engineered. Consumers are free to opt in or deny consent with a single click, as well as revoke any other consents given either on the brand’s or publisher’s website, or via a dedicated, easily accessible privacy portal.
The platform is specifically designed to offer consumers a step change in the control, transparency and protection of their data, which is currently collected, distributed and stored at scale by major, non-European players.
The telecoms involved in this project assure that the platform has been designed from the outset to be compliant with European data protection policy such as GDPR and the ePrivacy Directive.
The partners have already initiated a trial in Germany. Other trials are being considered in France and Spain to further develop the platform and it is intended to make it available to any operator within Europe.
The trial run by Vodafone last year successfully tested the platform on Vodafone’s and Deutsche Telekom’s networks in Germany, together with online publishers and advertisers. This enabled the four operators to evaluate the platform’s ease-of-use in providing consumers with greater control and transparency over how brands communicate with them. Furthermore, the jv shareholders assure, the initiative has examined how consumers’ personal data is used and their privacy protected in the online advertising ecosystem, while upholding the principles of a free Internet.
Multinational JV headquartered in Belgium with shareholders already operating in the mobile and Digital TV markets worldwide
The four companies will have equal 25% stakes in the newly created company, which will be based in Belgium and managed by independent directors under the supervision of a shareholder-appointed supervisory board.
Almost all the giant telecom shareholders operate in the TV and Mobile phone markets.
Headquartered in Germany, Deutsche Telekom is a multinational telecommunications operator with activities in more than 50 countries worldwide, including Germany. It provides mobile and/or fixed telecommunications services as well as internet access, television and technology products.
Orange is a multinational telecoms operatior headquartered in France with activities in 27 countries worldwide, including France and Spain. It provides a wide range of electronic communications services mainly in the area of fixed and mobile telecommunications and internet access as well as telecommunications services to multinational companies.
Telefónica, headquartered in Spain, is a multinational telecommunications operator and mobile network provider with activities mainly in Europe, including Germany and Spain, the UK and South America providing mobile, fixed, internet and television services.
Headquartered in the UK, Vodafone is a multinational telecommunications operator with activities in 21 countries predominantly in Europe, including Germany, Italy and Spain, and Africa. It provides mobile telecommunication services, fixed telephony services and retail television and technology services.