Telefonica looks to create global Facebook community
Published: 13 October, 2008
Many cellcos are focusing on social networking as a likely route to win more subscribers and boost their mobile internet usage. Since the popular application is particularly suited to mobile devices, as it can be integrated with location and presence facilities, it is expected to be the biggest driver of consumer mobile web services in the coming year, after email and search. Telefonica is the latest operator to try to seize the initiative and put itself in the center of the mobile social networking world.
The Spanish multinational is following a lead set by T-Mobile, which was the first major to launch an integrated dashboard covering many social networking programs, as part of its Web 'n' Walk offering. Telefonica is extending a deal it pioneered through its UK arm O2, allowing access to Facebook from any of its networks worldwide.
The expanded agreement calls for a phased roll-out of the new services, with the first stage O2's operations in Ireland and Germany; Telefonica's homeland of Spain; and some of its Latin American territories - Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia. The second phase will include Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Central American countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Every participating country can include a link in the browsing menu of its handsets to Facebook's mobile service, allowing customers to send photos and videos through integrated MMS services. Currently, more than 24m pictures are uploaded to Facebook each day and the service has 100m registered users. Telefonica has 171m mobile subscribers worldwide, a base that could create a major social networking community.