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Report: Verizon wants to auto-install 'brandware' on your next phone

It looks like Verizon wants to introduce the wireless industry to brandware, the art of auto-installing branded apps during first-time installations.

Published onAugust 17, 2016


If Verizon’s use of supercookies left your stomach unsettled, you might find its alleged plans for “brandware” just as repulsive. It’s said to be like a form of branded bloatware, and it could arrive on your next mobile from Verizon, that’s if an AdvertisingAge report holds true.

Citing ad industry executives who were allegedly approached by the wireless carrier, the report states that Verizon, last fall, began offering space on the home screens of its branded mobile devices. For $1 or $2 per device impacted, advertisers could have Verizon install branded apps on the devices it sells. The brandware program would only work with Android, because walls restricting access to iOS, and the apps would automatically install for first-time activations.

The report couldn’t confirm that Verizon has already secured suitors for the brandware program. We reached out to the carrier, but a Verizon spokesperson declined to comment on this story. If any of this is true, it’s just another reason why your next phone shouldn’t be purchased through a carrier.

Why your next phone shouldn’t be purchased through a carrier

While such a program would spark a huge uptick in the download of branded apps, the downside of it is that it would be difficult to target customers with relevant apps. Verizon’s past use of so-called “supercookies” might have made that a good deal easier, but the surreptitious network-level system of tracking users browsing history may have only been of use for customers returning to the carrier for upgrades.

This past spring, Verizon settled with the FCC and accepted a $1.35 million fine because the carrier didn’t initially allow users to opt out of being tracked by supercookies.

What are your thoughts on this “brandware” plan, if it is in fact something Verizon is preparing to do? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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