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Wireless operators turn an eye to the personal data business

Mark Sullivan | March 4, 2013
Just like social networks, phone carriers will walk the line between selling valuable data and compromising their subscribers' privacy.

This might be the wireless companies' next big business. Both Sprint and Verizon have already started divisions that offer clients this sort of data. The carriers are taking a very measured approach to offering this sort of data, similar to what Web companies like Facebook and Google have done. They want to offer marketers meaningful and actionable data, but they don't want to violate the privacy of their customers. So they sell data in an aggregated form that never identifies individual users by name, email address or IP address.

The carriers may need a new revenue line in the future. In the US, only the largest carriers are making large profits selling wireless broadband contracts and subsidized phones, but over-the-top voice, video and text service may eventually threaten those margins. These pressures increase the possibility that Big Data could be the next big thing for wireless companies.


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