Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange SA, Telefónica SA and Vodafone Group Plc are to form a joint venture
for the implementation of a privacy-by-design digital marketing technology platform in Europe that
could benefit consumers, advertisers and publishers alike.
The creation of this new entity has been approved today by the European Commission, pursuant to
the European Union Merger Regulation.
The four companies will take equal 25% stakes in a newly-formed joint venture holding company, to
be based in Belgium and run by independent management under the oversight of a shareholderappointed supervisory board.
The joint venture is the outcome of a project launched by Vodafone and run by the four operators to
develop a technological solution for digital advertising in Europe. The platform has been designed
from the outset to be compliant with European data protection policy such as GDPR and the
ePrivacy directive. The partners have already initiated a trial in Germany. Other trials are being
considered in France and Spain to further develop the platform and it is intended to make it
available to any operator within Europe.
The trial platform requires affirmative opt-in consent by the consumer to activate communications
from brands via publishers. The only data that is shared is a pseudo-anonymous digital token that
cannot be reverse-engineered. Consumers are free to opt in or deny consent with a single click, as
well as revoke any other consents given either on the brand’s or publisher’s website, or via a
dedicated, easily accessible privacy portal.
The platform is specifically designed to offer consumers a step change in the control, transparency
and protection of their data, which is currently collected, distributed and stored at scale by major,
The trial run by Vodafone last year successfully tested the platform on Vodafone’s and Deutsche
Telekom’s networks in Germany, together with online publishers and advertisers. This enabled the
four operators to evaluate the platform’s ease-of-use in providing consumers with greater control
and transparency over how brands communicate with them. Furthermore, the initiative has
examined how consumers’ personal data is used and their privacy protected in the online advertising
ecosystem, while upholding the principles of a free Internet.
The joint venture will outline its vision and strategy in due course, including its plans for adopting the
trial technology commercially.