Telecom giants Vodafone, Orange, Telefónica and Deutsche Telekom’s are said to be gearing up to take on Big Tech with their own advertising joint venture for which the expect unconditional EU antitrust approval.
The joint venture marks the telecoms sector’s first attempt to take on Meta Platforms and Google in the lucrative online advertising sector and diversify their revenue streams.
Google is the world’s leading seller of online advertising, well ahead of Meta, with the business generating about 80% of its revenue.
The European Commission, which is scheduled to decide on the deal by 10 February after its preliminary review, and Vodafone declined to comment. Telefonica referred to the joint filing with the EU antitrust watchdog. Deutsche Telekom and Orange did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The EU competition enforcer describes the joint venture as a privacy-led, digital identification solution to support the digital marketing and advertising activities of brands and publishers.
Earlier this week, pan-European consumer lobbying group BEUC voiced concerns over how data would be collected by the joint venture and how the partners aim to get users’ consent.
It urged EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager to ensure that the joint venture complies with the bloc’s privacy rules and the companies do not thwart rivals that may offer a more privacy-friendly product.