A collaboration between Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, and Vodafone Group is in the works to establish a privacy-focused digital marketing technology platform in Europe. The platform is designed with a privacy-by-design approach and has the potential to benefit consumers, advertisers, and publishers. This joint venture has been approved by the European Commission, pursuant to the European Union Merger Regulation.
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JV to be based in Belgium
The joint venture is the outcome of a Vodafone project run by all four telecom operators - Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, and Vodafone - to create a technological solution for digital advertising in Europe. From the outset, the platform was designed to align with European data protection policies, such as GDPR and the ePrivacy directive.
A new joint venture holding company will be established in Belgium, with the four companies each holding equal 25% stakes. The company will be operated by independent management and overseen by a supervisory board appointed by the shareholders.
Trials in Germany
The partners have launched a trial of the platform in Germany, with plans to conduct additional trials in France and Spain to enhance its development. The platform is intended to be accessible to any operator throughout Europe.
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Customers' Opt-in Consent Required
In the trial platform, consumers must give affirmative opt-in consent in order to receive communications from brands via publishers. The only information shared is a pseudo-anonymous digital token that cannot be traced back to the individual. Consumers have the freedom to easily opt in or out with a single click and can also revoke any previously granted consent on the brand's or publisher's website or through a dedicated privacy portal. The platform aims to provide consumers with greater control, transparency, and protection over their data, which is currently collected, distributed, and stored at a large scale by non-European players.
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Platform Trial Conducted Last Year
Last year, Vodafone conducted a trial that effectively tested the platform on both Vodafone's and Deutsche Telekom's networks in Germany, as well as with online publishers and advertisers. This allowed the four operators to assess the platform's user-friendliness in providing consumers with more control and transparency over how brands communicate with them.
Additionally, the initiative examined how consumers' personal data is utilized, and their privacy is safeguarded in the online advertising ecosystem while preserving the principles of free internet.