Advertising technology joint venture Utiq revealed plans to expand its privacy‑first, consent‑based business model into a greater number of European markets and conduct a proof-of-concept (PoC) trial in Canada later this year.

Established by Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone Group in March 2023, Utiq is already active in France, Germany and Spain, and is launching in Italy and the UK in June. It has also agreed to extend its German activities into the Austrian market.

CEO Marc Bresseel (pictured) says Utiq has so far signed up around 55 publishers in its first three markets and covers more than 160 domains. “We need to scale that up massively in the next six-to-twelve months.”

Although Utiq is a European-focused operation with its headquarters in Brussels, it is also planning a PoC to test the waters in Canada, where major operators “are really interested; two of the big telco operators are also the biggest publishers, so they have a vested interest in using it on their own business services”.

He also indicated Canada is currently preparing privacy rules which will be roughly in line with Europe’s GDPR.

In fact, Boris Weiss, head of strategy and telco partnerships at Utiq, said it has broad ambitions to bring as many publishers on board as possible and is open to working with all operators in addition to the four founding telcos.

“And we want to do more. We want to create a de facto standard…and that requires scale on the telco side, the brand and publisher side, and the ad-tech side,” Weiss said.

Consistent ID
Bresseel noted Utiq was a multi-platform play that ultimately aims to provide a consistent ID across mobile, fixed and connected TV.

The JV currently has ad-tech partnerships with Adform and Equativ, and plans to form agreements with other technology players.

“It’s just a question of time,” Bresseel said, noting Utiq talks to all demand-side and supply-side platforms as well as to customer development, data and management platforms”.

“There are basically four or five streams there. Again, we haven’t met any partners that don’t want it, it’s just a question of time,” Bresseel commented, adding: “It’s not easy to change an industry alone.”