In-house Vodafone MVNO pitches to youth market

Vodafone targets under-25s with a free social data MVNO concept called Voxi

Vodafone has launched an in-house mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) called Voxi to target the youth market by making selected social apps exempt from data allowances.

With data usage spiking across all four of the UK’s mobile networks and all generations, Vodafone is the latest operator to adopt a free-to-use model for data-hungry apps.

Rival Three has already launched a similar offering called Go Binge, which makes a number of music and video streaming apps exempt from data limits, although users must be consuming more than 4GB of data every month to be able to use it.

“Why should young people make do with the same mobile plans as everyone else when they use their phones differently and often can’t access the best deals?” said Voxi head Dan Lambrou. “Voxi [is] a transparent new mobile service that gives our audience a platform to connect to the things that matter to them.”

At launch, Vodafone has made Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, Viber and WhatsApp free to use on Voxi, and said others will be listed in time through an online partner portal.

The operator has worked with a number of under-25s to create the MVNO concept, and hopes to establish a community of young artists, filmmakers and designers to support its marketing campaign – including boxer Anthony Joshua and DJ Snoochie Shy.

“Vodafone has been working hard to understand the specific needs of our customers. We know today’s young generation use their phones in a completely different way, with social media at the very centre of their lives,” said Vdoafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery.

“They want services that put their needs fist. Voxi gives young people just that: access to the content and channels they love, simple and cost-effective price plans, and a mobile network they can count on.”

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Voxi’s data packages will start from £10 per month for a 2GB plan, rising to £20 for 15GB, with unlimited calling and texting and full European Union roaming included as standard.

Although the practice of making certain apps zero-rated for data is becoming more common, it is not without controversy. In Sweden, operator Telia came in for criticism last year by guaranteeing access to social media even when users had used up their allowance, which others claimed violated Brussels’ guidelines on net neutrality.

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