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Mobile commerce

MWC 2010: Vodafone CEO Calls for Policy Review on Search

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress -- Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) CEO Vittorio Colao kicked off the verbal fisticuffs in the opening keynote session at the Mobile World Congress today, with a challenge to regulators to investigate the dominance of Internet search providers, like Google (Nasdaq: GOOG).

Google CEO Eric Schmidt will take the stage here later today and his response, if he makes one, should be worth hearing. Colao said that there needs to be competition across the entire value chain of mobile service delivery. He presented a slide showing several different elements in this value chain from the content and application development to the mobile operators. Each area listed many different providers, except "search and advertising management," which listed only Google and Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) as suppliers.

"In search and advertising management, there is 70 percent to 80 percent, maybe more, concentration [of players]," said Colao. "From a policy perspective, this should be looked into. We need to ensure choice and avoid concentration before it's too late."

We're open
And when it comes to being open, Colao said Vodafone is already there.

"Our networks have always been open… open to all platforms," he said. "Our billing systems are open now to applications developers and content owners [to] let them monetize their applications.

"At Vodafone, on openness we have done our part."

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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