Telefonica partners with banks to further ‘digital wallet’ mobile service

O2-owner Telefonica aims to stimulate m-commerce across Europe with the planned formation of a joint venture company with Spanish banking giants CaixaBank and Santander in a pact aimed at bringing digital purchases in-store.  


CaixaBank, Santander and Telefonica initially plan to create an online community offering discounts to consumers which retailers can access to promote their latest offers and deals that can then be redeemed in-store or online via a “digital wallet”.    

The proposed entity also plans to offer businesses a range of products, including customer acquisition and retention tools, as well as analysis of key trends using ‘big data’, like location-based sales, in order to improve efficiencies. 

The proposition also involves a peer-to-peer payment function for consumers meaning they can send money to another person without having to know their bank details.

The three partners aim to kick off the joint venture in Spain in what they are calling a “first of a kind” partnership to bring digital wallet services to mobile phones. There are eventual plans to export the model across the globe, subject to approval from regulators, although none of the three potential shareholders have publicly discussed planned dates for a UK launch. 

The proposed entity has not been publicly named yet although a release discussing the plans does note the potential for the inclusion of new partners. The three shareholders have submitted plans to Spanish and EU competition authorities.  

José María Álvarez-Pallete, Telefonica CEO, says: “Digital technologies are transforming how consumers research products and then identify the best prices, promotions or discounts.  

“This joint venture combines the partners’ technical and financial services expertise to create an ecosystem for the benefit of both retailers and consumers.”

The UK’s three major mobile phone operators – including Telefonica – have already announced plans to offer a similar mobile wallet services in the UK via their joint entity Weve and are currently trialling services in a small-scale in North London. 

Weve, which also has fellow mobile operators EE and Vodafone as partners, has been offering mobile advertising services to marketers since the end of last year.   

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