According to an unsourced report in the Sunday Telegraph, a consortium of European carriers and Cingular are planning to get together during the 3GSM conference next week to discuss the creation of a mobile phone search engine that could challenge the U.S. search giants. Cingular had no comment on the report. The Telegraph article follows a year's worth of mobile search hype and an announcement from Google last week that it plans to focus on maximizing revenues from mobile search and advertising over the next two years. The report claims the consortium will have a combined user base of 600 million mobile phone users. They will supposedly put their weight behind one existing search engine--leveraging their size to keep the lion's share of the revenue.
The report also quotes an unnamed U.K. executive at one of the companies involved: saying "There is a big play in mobile search that we need to be part of, and we are exploring those options at a very high level."
Google has already inked deals for mobile search with Vodafone and T-Mobile as well as Hutchison's 3. Yahoo has inked deals with Vodafone and 3 as well. If true, the report indicates that a massive payday could be underway for one of the formidable mobile search startups and that Google should look for suitors elsewhere.
For more on the mobile search consortium:
- see this article from Telegraph.co.uk