Telefonica teams up with Spanish banks for mobile wallet push

Spain's biggest telco has joined forces with CaixaBank and Santander, with development of mobile wallet on the agenda.
Written by Steve Evans, Contributor

Telefonica has announced a joint venture with two of Spain's biggest banks, CaixaBank and Santander, to develop a variety of digital services.

One of the first jointly developed products is likely to be a what Telefonica calls an "online community" aimed at helping retailers better connect with customers through offers, discounts, promotions and so on.

A mobile wallet is also in development. As well as enabling online and in-store payments using cards stored on it, the mobile wallet will act as a P2P mobile payment service, meaning users can send money to each other with just a mobile phone number.

Other products the joint venture will look to create include business intelligence tools that can analyse a retailer's key metrics and services to help boost customer retention.

Although the venture will be focused just on the Spanish market to begin with, it will be expanded internationally if the joint venture is deemed a success, the companies said. Other businesses may join the company to extend its product portfolio.

"We are at a crucial moment in the market that offers excellent opportunities to develop innovation projects. Uniting the efforts and the experience of three leading companies, we will be able to contribute to making the search of offers, selection of products and purchases more beneficial to both retailers and consumers," Enrique García Candelas, SVP of Santander retail banking in Spain, said in a statement.

In other news, Telefonica has also announced an agreement with Russian mobile operator MegaFon that could mean cheaper international roaming costs for corporate customers.

In a statement Telefonica said the deal will see MegaFon join its partners programme, meaning the two companies will be aiming to cut equipment costs through joint procurement of parts and the "exchange technical know-how".

There is also a potential for multinational business customers to see changes off the back of the deal, as a shared services agreement means customers will have access to both Telefonica and MegaFon networks when abroad - potentially meaning lower international roaming costs for businesses, the company added.

In addition to possible lower roaming costs the deal will also look to develop machine-to-machine (M2M) and cloud computing services, although the company has not yet revealed any specific details about those possible products.

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