Germany’s third-placed mobile operator E-Plus says it is shifting its business model in order to generate the majority of its revenues from advertisers and third-parties rather than subscribers. In an interview with Financial Times Deutschland, cited by Telecompaper, E-Plus CEO Thorsten Dirks said he saw advertising as the new growth area for the industry as revenue margins from users decline, adding that the operator was currently testing a number of mobile advertising services in order to find the right business model. He added that Simyo, E-plus’s discount mobile brand in Germany, was already testing free mobile games downloads supported by advertising.

According to Wireless Intelligence data, monthly revenue from users (ARPU) among Germany’s four main networks is the lowest in Western Europe, averaging just €17.66 at the end of last year. E-Plus was the third-largest mobile operator in the market (after market-leader T-Mobile and second-placed Vodafone) with 15.4 million connections by end of first-quarter 2008.