According to reports, the operator will provide calls at a cost of US$0.05 a minute between its customers and US$0.10 a minute for calls to all other operators. Virtual mobile network operators provide cell phone services without having their own network and the new service, which will be called Tuentimovil, will use Telefonica’s network.
Telefonica bought 86% of Tuenti, a Spanish social networking site similar to Facebook which has nearly eight million members, mostly between the ages of 14 and 20, in August for around US$102 million.
The launch of the service marks Telefonica’s effort to tap into the exponential growth of the social media phenomenon at a time when its revenues from its mobile services in Spain, which is struggling with an unemployment rate of about 20% , are falling.
Telefonica’s sales in its domestic market Spain fell 3.6% to US$6.45 billion in the third quarter over the same time last year. Domestic wireless service revenue slumped 7.9%, compared with a 5.7% decline in the second quarter.