BlueVia, part of Telefónica's Digital operation, was formed in early 2011 to engage with the global applications developer community and encourage that community to develop new services, using the operator's network APIs, that could be offered to Telefónica's customer base of about 310 million users. (See Telefonica Shows Developers the Money .)
Now, developers engaging with BlueVia will also have easy access to Telenor's APIs and be able to build apps that could reach the operator's international mobile user base of about 150 million customers in 11 countries across Europe and Asia/Pacific.
Initially, BlueVia is focused on exposing mobile payment APIs that would enable mobile users to pay for apps and content through their mobile bill, a hot trend right now and one that Telefónica Digital is pushing hard, having struck global "Direct to Bill" agreements with Facebook , Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and BlackBerry earlier this year. (See Telefónica Bangs Its Digital Drum, MACH Launches Direct Operator Billing in UK, Bango Brings Carrier Billing to Facebook and Skype's Big Billing Break .)
Now the BlueVia partners are looking for other operators to sign up. According to Jose Valles, head of BlueVia, the aim has always been to extend beyond Telefónica's footprint and open "our vision to a pure global ecosystem. Telenor is leading the industry embracing this vision," states Valles in a prepared statement.
Rolv-Erik Spilling, senior VP and deputy head at Telenor Digital Services, adds: "We want our fellow telcos to understand the benefits of joining BlueVia in helping to monetize assets while simultaneously making it easier for customers to purchase content and application."
Why this matters
Any initiative that expands the range of applications available to a broad range of users can only be good for all parties, as long as the developers are compensated for their efforts (which they are under the BlueVia model).
There are also undoubted benefits to developing "direct to bill" capabilities, as these will encourage customer loyalty and, as long as the process works as it should, boost customer satisfaction levels.
With Telenor on board, other operators will now also be tempted to look at how BlueVia might help them engage with the external developers that can provide innovative applications.
But this isn't the first industry effort to create a global API platform. The Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) had the same vision and had 60 companies of various types on board before it folded only a few months ago. (See Wave Goodbye to WAC.)
WAC's technology assets were acquired by Apigee, which is now working with BlueVia on its API platform.
So it now seems that BlueVia has taken up where WAC left off: Telefónica and Telenor will need to learn from WAC's mistakes if it is to become the de facto platform that links telcos and developers.
- Alcatel-Lucent Nurtures Its API Grove
- Telefonica Partners With Apigee
- Apigee Unleashes an API Free-for-All
- Vodafone Leads Open Global App-Store Push
- BlueVia Tackles the App Gap
- MWC 2012: BlueVia's Apps Appeal
- BlueVia Appeals to App Developers
- Microsoft Gives Telefónica an Apps Edge
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading