Vodafone rethinks mobile ad strategy; but slapped for misleading femto poster

Having stated earlier this year that it was considering the disbanding of its mobile advertising unit, Vodafone has now backtracked and said that it will maintain and even enhance the service.

Vodafone had been offering its mobile advertising services in 18 markets and was said to be looking to expand into other markets by using affiliates and partners. However, a strategic review of its Marketing Solutions unit--part of a company-wide restructuring--was said to have recommended closing down the service.

This latest move to resurrect the unit has promoted speculation that the company needed to strengthen its mobile advertising arm given Apple's recently announced iAd scheme.

Separately, the company has been rapped by the UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) over a poster advert that claimed Vodafone was the only operator that could guarantee coverage indoors.

T-Mobile and O2, among others, lodged a complaint with the ASA that a 3G handset and broadband connection were required for the Sure Signal femtocell to be used, and that Vodafone could not actually "guarantee" a signal.

The ASA found that readers could misinterpret the poster as being a general statement about Vodafone's superior coverage, as against the performance of the Sure Signal femto.

The ASA also stated that Vodafone could not substantiate claims that the service would work for 99 per cent of the population because it was unclear whether such a high percentage of homes could receive high enough bandwidth speeds to run the femtocell service.

For more on this story:
- read Marketing Week & The Guardian

Related stories:
Future of Vodafone's mobile ad unit in doubt
Vodafone slashes femtocell price by 70%
Vodafone's femto service goes intermittent
Leading ad agencies agree on common mobile apps platform

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