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Mobile operators’ consumer mobile security strategies

front cover of Mobile operators consumer mobile security strategies

Market Study
Published: January 2014
Pages: For full details, please email
Research from: Ovum (was Informa Telecoms and Media)
Sector: Mobile

From: GBP 995.00
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"The increasing penetration of smartphones brings risks as well as benefits for mobile consumers. The potential for the compromise of applications and personal data on smartphones is one risk that mobile operators are moving to address".
Pamela Clark-Dickson, Senoir Analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media

As the penetration of smartphones within their customer bases increases, mobile operators are starting to offer their mobile subscribers a range of consumer mobile security and privacy services.

Tier-1 operators Vodafone, Telefonica and Orange are among those operators with well-advanced strategies.


Informa's report on mobile operators' consumer security strategies comprises a set of case studies linked by an executive briefing. The report seeks to provide an overview of the challenges facing mobile subscribers and mobile operators with regards to the security of the applications and personal data on subscribers’ smartphones; it will also detail the consumer mobile security strategies being pursued by the Tier-1 mobile operators Vodafone, Telefonica and Orange.

Smartphone penetration continues to increase. Informa forecasts that there will be 816.1 million smartphones sold globally in 2013, almost half (49.7%) of all devices sold during the year. Of these, Android-based devices will comprise the largest share, 573.4 million (70% share) of them are forecast to be sold in 2013.

Smartphones are mobile computing platforms, which means that these devices have become a target for viruses, malware and the other kinds of attacks that are common in the desktop computing environment. However, mobile subscribers associate their devices more closely with their mobile operator than do PC users with their provider of fixed-broadband services.

Consequently, mobile operators feel that it is incumbent upon them to proactively address their customers’ concerns about the security of the applications and personal data on their devices. In doing so, mobile operators may also be able to reduce customer churn and add to their revenues.

How will this research help you

> Identify enablers and inhibitors for consumer mobile security services.
> Learn how Tier-1 mobile operators are providing consumer mobile security services.
> Track key vendors in the consumer mobile security market.

Executive Summary:

> Global

Countries/regions covered:

> Western Europe
> Eastern Europe
> Latin America

Case studies:

> Vodafone
> Telefonica Moviles
> Orange

New report format:
New Report format - designed for sharing - This research is available from our online store either as a hardcopy report or electronic format, featuring a series of PPT and PDF files, each designed to provide you with business critical intelligence which is easy to share with your colleagues.

Executive Summary: Consumer mobile security: Vodafone focuses on Android-based smartphones for app-based security, parental controls

25 February 2013  by  Pamela Clark-Dickson

Key points
> Vodafone Group has embarked on a multifaceted consumer mobile security and privacy strategy in multiple markets, as it seeks to provide services aimed at safeguarding its growing smartphone user base.
> The operator is offering two consumer mobile security services: Vodafone Protect and Vodafone Guardian, application-based services targeting Android devices. Vodafone Protect is also available on the BlackBerry.
> Vodafone Group has teamed up with recognized PC-security-software vendor McAfee to provide Vodafone Protect as a co-branded service, which is available in five European countries and South Africa. Meanwhile, Vodafone Guardian is a free inhouse-developed application that is available in 17 countries.
> Vodafone Group says mobile operators are well-positioned to provide security services to their subscribers, because mobile users tend to question their operator – as opposed to their handset manufacturer – if they have a problem with their device.
> Corporate social responsibility and customer retention are two other key goals for Vodafone Group regarding its mobile security and privacy offerings.
> Vodafone Protect is offered under a “freemium” model: some features are provided free, and an upgrade that includes antivirus protection is available for a monthly subscription fee. Vodafone Guardian is completely free.
> Vodafone Group’s partnership with McAfee is designed to build on the software company’s brand recognition in the PC-security market. But the operator says it can differentiate itself from McAfee’s stand-alone offering by reducing barriers to entry regarding authentication and charging.
> The operator has disclosed no metrics for Vodafone Protect or Vodafone Guardian.

However, according to Google Play, in the 30 days to Feb. 4 Vodafone Protect had been downloaded 100,000-500,000 times and Vodafone Guardian had been downloaded 10,000-50,000 times.


Vodafone Group’s consumer mobile security and privacy strategy has been formulated in response to the operator’s recognition that its mobile subscribers – especially smartphone users – are increasingly aware of the potential for unauthorized third parties to access either their devices or services and applications on their devices, and to cause them harm by so doing.

Vodafone Group’s consumer mobile security and privacy products comprise two main services: Vodafone Protect and Vodafone Guardian (see figs. 1 and 2). Both services are application-based and have been launched in a number of European countries in the past year.

Vodafone Protect was also launched in South Africa in December 2012, and Vodafone plans to increase availability of the service to 11 countries by March 2013.

Vodafone Protect is a downloadable mobile application that includes both a free and a paid-for version. The free version of Vodafone Protect includes remote locate, lock and wipe, while the premium version adds antivirus (see fig. 3). Vodafone Group has teamed up with global PC and mobile-security provider McAfee to provide the co-branded service, which is available on Android devices in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain, in addition to South Africa.

Vodafone Guardian is also a downloadable application, but it is completely free. Parents and guardians can install Vodafone Guardian on their children’s mobile devices, enabling them to apply filters governing who can contact the child (voice and SMS) and during what time of day. Parents and guardians can also use the application to restrict or block the child’s access to smartphone features, such as Internet access, Bluetooth, camera and video. In addition, the application enables carers to block the child’s access to certain applications and to be informed if the child uninstalls the Guardian application (see fig. 4).

Both applications are distributed via Google Play, both on the generic version of the app store and on the Vodafone-branded Google Play channel, Vodafone AppSelect. In addition, Vodafone uses its Updates channel to notify those customers with Vodafone-branded devices of relevant applications, which have been vetted by the operator. In some markets, Vodafone is also enabling the mobile subscribers of other networks to download and use Vodafone Guardian.

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