O2 releases TU Me app for free calls, texts

O2 releases TU Me app for free calls, texts

Summary: A look at Telefonica's app, which will work for customers of any operator and is a direct response to the threat posed by services such as Skype, WhatsApp and Viber

TOPICS: Mobility, Apps

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  • Telefonica's TU app call

    Telefónica developed TU Me in-house, using technology and expertise gained from its 2009 acquisition of Jajah, a VoIP firm. According to the company, the app's development was also informed by internal trials O2 ran last year with a service called O2 Connect.

    "This is the first product you're seeing on the back of some of those learnings," Telefónica's spokesman said.

    TU Me is the first product that Telefónica has launched worldwide in one go.

    Although the app is free to use and will remain so, the operator said that, "over the coming months, it will also use the TU brand to launch a number of enhanced communications services which its O2, Movistar and Vivo businesses will make available to customers as part of their bundles".

    Image credit: Telefónica

  • Telefónica's TU app text

    Telefónica is not the first operator to release an OTT communications app — T-Mobile USA launched the Bobsled VoIP app for smartphones last October — but TU Me is the most comprehensive package yet to come from a cellular carrier.

    The app draws its contacts from the user's phone address book. Telefónica's spokesman said there are no plans as yet to link it to social networks such as Facebook, but pointed out that users could invite their address book contacts to also download the app.

    Disruptive Analysis's Dean Bubley, who has long been advising operators to create their own OTT services, reacted favourably to the app's release.

    "I definitely like the OTT aspect and the potential virality," Bubley told ZDNet UK in an email. "It looks 'designed' as much as 'engineered', which is a good thing."

    However, the analyst expressed concern about the way in which the app bundles many communication types.

    "I'm less certain about the idea of putting all comms in a single app," he said. "I think there's value in fragmentation into multiple services, as it allow individuals to better segregate their personal comms 'universe' much better."

    Image credit: Telefónica

Topics: Mobility, Apps

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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