The chief executive of one of the world’s largest mobile phone operators told an audience at a telecommunications industry conference in Spain yesterday that regulators should pay close attention to competition in the mobile telephone industry, and suggested that Google should be a focus of heightened scrutiny, according to news reports about the event.
Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao, according to a story in Business Week, urged regulators to “look at Google’s hold over search advertising on mobile phones,” and to “boost competition in the industry ‘before it’s too late.’”
In his speech, Vodafone’s Colao drew attention to the idea that ”80 percent of the advertising online goes down one funnel,” according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.
In his speech, according to the reports, Colao discussed providers in different parts of the mobile industry, and singled out search advertising as an area that lacked competition.
According to the reports, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who also was in attendance at the Barcelona gathering, said he would privately discuss the issue with Colao. Schmidt did tell reporters, according to Business Week: “As long as we’re pro-consumer we’ll be fine.”
Vodafone is the world’s second largest wireless carrier. Google is trying to bulk up its mobile advertising capability with a $750 million bid for Ad Mob. The deal is currently being reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission.
Google is also making inroads into other parts of the mobile industry, with its own operating system, Android, and its own phone, Nexus One.