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What Your Wireless Carrier Knows About You

Posted at 11:02 AM, Dec 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-16 11:02:15-05
File Photo

File Photo

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Data collected from your smartphone is shaping the future of marketing — and cell phone companies are cashing in.

What your phone knows about you — where you are, what you’re searching for and what you like — is mouthwatering for advertisers. Combined with other third-party data, including your age and salary range, marketers are using cell phone customers’ information to make decisions about how they advertise.

Though all four major carriers sell their customers’ smartphone data, Verizon’s(VZFortune 500) year-old Precision Market Insights program is the farthest-reaching. Here’s how the Precision program works, according to Verizon spokeswoman Debi Lewis:

When you sign up for Verizon service, you agree to let the company use your location, Web searches, app usage and other data for its Precision Marketing Insights program (you can later opt out). Verizon sends that data to an internal database, matching it up with a deep trove of demographic information about you from companies including data giant Experian. The data are stripped of any personally identifying information, aggregated into categories and are placed into reports for Precision customers to use.

The one-two combination of phone activity and personal demographic information paint a revealing portrait of subscribers’ habits for marketers.

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