Some of Europe's biggest telecoms groups are to hold talks next week about creating a mobile phone search engine which could challenge US giants Google and Yahoo!.
Vodafone, France Telecom, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Hutchison Whampoa, Telecom Italia and American network Cingular will come together for talks at the industry's annual trade show in Barcelona, Spain, Britain's Sunday Telegraph reported.
The operators believe that creating their own search engine could help them to "retain a greater share of advertising revenues", it added.
"There is a big play in mobile search that we need to be part of, and we are exploring those options at a very high level," an unnamed British executive at one of the companies involved told the paper.
The initiative will come as a surprise to Google and Yahoo!, which have lost no time in striking deals with mobile operators and handset makers. But the mobile industry believes it can retain a greater share of advertising revenues by developing its own service.
The implications for existing deals between the networks and the US search companies are not clear -- Google has signed up Vodafone, Hut