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Vodafone Rejected Appeals from Facebook for Free Mobile Data Traffic

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Vodafone has rejected requests from the social networking website, Facebook to offer free mobile data access to its website in selected countries.

A number of mobile networks offer free mobile data access to some of the more popular social networking services, such as Twitter or Facebook as a marketing incentive to sign up new customers.

Vodafone does not.

That the company has been approached by Facebook to do so was revealed by the Group's CEO, Vittorio Colao who was speaking at a Vodafone shareholders meeting in New York.

He said that he had been directly approached by Facebook's COO, Sheryl Sandberg but declined to their proposal saying that it didn't make sense.

"There is no reason why I should give my network capacity for free." he stated.

There lies the issue, for some mobile networks, offering free access to the services is a marketing tool, whereas Vodafone does not see it as a sensible use of its marketing budget to subsidise a 3rd party application.

Colao added: "Every content provider in the world would like mobile operators to exclude their content from data plans - it's a great opportunity to push data usage up - but that would be conceptually wrong for our business model."

Facebook may come under more pressure in the future from other mobile networks who are not just rejecting the idea of free mobile data access, but actively expecting content providers to pay for access themselves.

Colao confirmed that the company would be open to offers from content providers to subsidise the mobile data access costs themselves.

Facebook has declined to comment on Colao's remarks.

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Tags: vodafone  facebook