Exclusive-European telecoms' advertising venture set for EU approval -sources

FILE PHOTO: Deutsche Telekom signs are pictured on the headquarters of the German telecoms giant in Bonn, Germany, March 20, 2022. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone's plan to take on Big Tech with their own advertising joint venture is set to win unconditional EU antitrust approval, people familiar with the matter said.

The joint venture marks the telecoms sector's first attempt to take on Meta and Alphabet'S Google in the lucrative online advertising sector and diversify their revenue streams.

Google is the world's leading seller of online advertising, well ahead of Meta, with the business generating about 80% of its revenue.

The European Commission, which is scheduled to decide on the deal by Feb. 10 after its preliminary review, and Vodafone declined to comment.

Telefonica referred to the joint filing with the EU antitrust watchdog. Deutsche Telekom and Orange did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The EU competition enforcer describes the joint venture as a privacy-led, digital identification solution to support the digital marketing and advertising activities of brands and publishers.

Earlier this week, pan-European consumer lobbying group BEUC voiced concerns over how data would be collected by the joint venture and how the partners aim to get users' consent.

It urged EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager to ensure that the joint venture complies with the bloc's privacy rules and the companies do not thwart rivals which may offer a more privacy friendly product.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, Editing by Louise Heavens and Elaine Hardcastle)

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