Britain's Vodafone Group Plc, the world's biggest mobile phone operator by sales, said on Tuesday it has signed a deal with Google to offer search capabilities on its Vodafone live! 3G service.
Users will be able to use Google's search engine to find content within the Vodafone live multimedia portal and on the wider Web.
Vodafone hopes that the deal with Google, which for many users is synonymous with the Internet, will help it increase Internet usage by customers and help it raise data revenues.
Mobile operators have sunk in billion of euros to set up third generation networks and now need to increase data usage on their networks to recoup costs, with core voice revenues threatened by intense competition and falling prices.
The deal with Google will also see the mobile phone giant get a share of advertising revenues from the Internet search leader.
For Google, the alliance with an operator of Vodafone's scale will help it expand its reach into the world of mobile devices.
Google already has a deal with Vodafone rival T-Mobile under which users of its 3G mobile services have the Google web page as their default home page.
However, Vodafone's Chief Executive Arun Sarin told reporters at the 3GSM mobile industry gathering in Barcelona that Google would not be the home page on Vodafone Live, but users could get to it through just a few clicks.
"We have Vodafone Live. It is a terrific experience for a very large number of our customers who can't be bothered with a navigation tool," said Sarin.