Telefonica and China Mobile partnering for big data joint venture

China Unicom has formed a joint venture with Telefonica to offer big data services in its home market.

The companies have stated that the new Smart Steps Digital Technology initiative will leverage “China Unicom’s stable and extensive basic telecommunication network and rich and market experience, as well as Telefonica’s mature technology in big data services such as Smart Steps”.

The Chinese operator will hold a 55% stake in the new entity – which will operate based on a “market-oriented mechanism” - while Telefonica will take the remaining 45%. The venture marks the first time that Telefonica has deployed Smart Steps outside of its own footprint. The tech is used to extrapolate and aggregate network data anonymously in order to deliver location-based insights.

Location and movement insight technology has many potential applications in China, including urban planning, public security, transport, risk management, retail analysis and business consultancy. China Unicom noted that it hopes the venture will “further improve [its] deployment in the big data market”.

Telefonica meanwhile has stated its intent to “access to the tremendous potential of the big data market of China”. The European/Latin American operator group formed a strategic alliance with China Unicom in 2009 that has since seen the firms partner in several areas, including M2M and handset procurement.

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