Apparently so, according to a report published by AdAge. The story is that the biggest wireless carrier in the United States is offering to install mobile apps from top American brands on its subscribers’ home screens for $1 to $2 each handset. As reported by AdAge, Verizon Wireless quietly first started this marketing ploy late in 2015, pitching the idea to certain retail and financial entities. The arrangement works only on devices powered by Google’s Android mobile operating system, due to the fact that Android can be routinely tweaked by phone makers and wireless carriers according to their specific needs, unlike Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, which is less readily customizable.
It is safe to say that if Verizon Wireless has its way, this type of marketing scheme would be a first in the US wireless industry. For the Big Red, this bold move would come with plenty of risks, but the rewards are really promising. Bloatware is generally frowned upon by virtually all mobile subscribers (not just Verizon’s), and being the carrier with the largest customer base, Verizon would definitely rile up quite a number of customers if it decides to walk this path. And as pointed out by AdAge, you can not always target a specific audience when preinstalling mobile apps, which means that for advertisers with specific demographics in mind, Verizon’s offer may not be that enticing.
But the upside is that owners of branded apps will definitely experience a substantial spike in download figures if they take Verizon’s offer, and the Big Red will certainly rack up some revenues in the process. Moreover, a $1 or $2 per device rate is pretty competitive, especially when compared to app install offers by Google or Facebook, which could average $5 a device. Still, preinstalled mobile apps are not guaranteed to be actually used by customers. There is a big possibility that mobile users just proceed to deleting any unwanted app on their device anyway, even if they are preinstalled.
Verizon Wireless has been busy the past few weeks and months trying to expand its business. Last month, it agreed to acquire Yahoo’s core Internet business for a sum of $4.83 billion. And last year, it completed its acquisition of AOL for $4.4 billion. The industry leader also has purchased Millennial Media (a mobile advertising company), and with the launch of its Go90 service, continue to expand its mobile video and advertising business.
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