“Spotify” Mobile Plans – The Future?

29th May 2013

The UK smartphone market may not be too far away from introducing “Spotify-like” ad-supported service plans for mobile phones.  In exchange for reduced mobile tariffs, 47% of UK mobile consumers would welcome “commercially funded bills”, whereby they have adverts delivered straight to their phones in exchange for partially or fully funded line rental/packages – very similar to how paid-by-advertising services such as Spotify operate.

43% of these same mobile phone customers said they even wouldn’t mind their service provider selling their personal details to third parties in order to fund network upgrades if it meant they didn’t have a bill increase.

Whilst this commercially funded tariffs are not on the immediate agenda for UK mobile service providers, the research that shows a substantial demand for them certainly leaves the door very much open for their development and introduction in the near future.

With advertisers spending more on mobile advertising in the UK than any other country, the funding is also definitely there to make it commercially viable. Mobile advertising grew 148% in 2012, with total digital advertising spending topping a cool £5 billion.

In terms of how these adverts would be delivered to customers, the idea of telemarketing was universally rejected.  Text message adverts (which some of us might argue we already receive on a too frequent basis without any discount to our mobile phone bills) proved to be the most popular idea.

The concept is also much more popular amongst younger mobile users, which is hardly surprising given that they are already turning to free-to-use apps such as FaceTime, Whatsapp and Snapchat to reduce their spendage.

What is certain about this, is that mobile service providers are sitting on a giant golden nest egg of information.  Whether they choose to sell it for their own benefit or for their customer’s benefit, remains to be seen.