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Vodafone chief gripes at Google dominance in online ad market

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Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao today bitched to his peers about Google's growing power in the online ad and search market, claiming such dominance could stymie the flow of cash through the mobile telecoms system.

Colao, who was speaking at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, told mobile phone execs that the industry needed to come up with new biz models to deal more effectively with the demand for data services and phone apps, reports Reuters.

The Vodafone chief didn't name Google, or indeed Yahoo!, in his speech. Instead he showed the audience a slide that detailed the two firms' 70 or 80 per cent dominance over online advertising and search.

Colao didn't call on regulatory action to bring an end to that power, however.

Instead he warned consumer choice could be under fire and said it needed to be "looked at". He urged watchdogs to give the industry breathing space to experiment with new business models.

He added that not enough competition existed in several fixed line markets in Europe, claiming the lack of rivalry in those regions could hamper the supply of faster data speeds.

Colao said operators could consider charging punters more for higher or guaranteed bandwidth. He also said applications should be compatible across a range of smartphone devices.

"Let us work together to deliver truly competitive, truly open and truly sustainable technology," he said. ®

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