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Consumers call out for sponsored mobile phone bills

Caroline Baldwin

Almost half of smartphone users would be happy to have commercially-funded mobile phone bills.

The big data analytics company, Guavus, announced that smartphone users were keen to pay their phone bills as part of a Spotify-type commercial agreement, where adverts would be delivered to the user’s device in exchange for free or reduced line-rental charges.

“According to eMarketer, advertisers spend more per user on mobile advertising in the UK than any other country," said Louis Brun, senior vice president of Guavus. 

"The latest IAB (Internet Advertisers Bureau) figures shows mobile advertising in the UK grew by 148%; with total digital ad spend reaching £5bn in 2012. 

"If operators can find a way to tap into this market, the rewards will be very compelling.” 

The survey of 2,545 UK smartphone users also revealed that 43% of customers would be open to selling their data to third parties to help fund network upgrades to avoid tariff prices increasing.

The research states that it is the younger generation of smartphone users who are comfortable with sharing data, with over half of 16-24 year olds willing to do so, opposed to 26% of 55-64 year olds.

The research also stated that 84% of users think that operators should be using customer data to offer phone packages tailored to individual usage. 

Over half of users would welcome special offer schemes like O2 More, where companies text discounts as long as the operator ensured messages were relevant to the individual.

“Over time, the market for data-led services will only grow; and mobile operators have the distinct advantage to be at the centre of this revolution,” said Brun. 

“But they need to act now and change the way they view and interact with their data. Not only will this help with customer acquisition, retention and increased revenues in the short-term, it will also provide a model for data-led marketing that will enable operators to carve a position for themselves – not as ‘dumb pipes’, but as innovative market-leaders in a data-rich economy.”


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