Foursquare checks-in with Vodafone UK

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[UK] The location-based social networking space is about as competitive as they get right now – though it’s still relatively early days – but Foursquare appears to be executing particularly well.

It certainly has the mind share of the press, which should trickle down to end-users, and today the New York-based startup has announced a tie-in with Vodafone UK, currently the number two mobile network in the UK, behind O2 and ahead of Orange (although that’s about to change once Orange completes its merger with T-Mobile).

The result of which is that the service will be placed ‘on-deck’, meaning that the mobile carrier is giving Foursquare a push through its own portal/app store – Vodafone MyWeb or Vodafone Live! on older handsets – as well as providing a short code to receive a link via SMS (text “FOURSQUARE” to 97886).

Now, obviously, in the past there’s been nothing stopping Vodafone customers in the UK downloading and installing the Foursquare app on their handsets or accessing the service via the mobile browser-based version – and either way, any data charges still apply – so this is purely about shelf-space or getting the service in front of Vodafone customers, but it’s still potentially significant. The mobile carrier has chosen to promote Foursquare over its many competitors (e.g. Gowalla), including ones closer to home (Rummble), possibly betting that it’s the one that going to take off here in Britain.

In fact, Vodafone made a similar bet last week when it chose to give mobile video streaming service Qik a push over rivals such as European startup Bambuser.

Here’s a video of a Vodafone UK customer service rep explaining the virtues of Foursquare:

  • Anonymous

    I have to confess seeing this it isnt suprising European start-ups struggle to get exposure and engagement when home companies wont even support home start-ups.

    The U.S. often staunchly supports U.S. brands and start-ups, although is not vocal about doing so – they just get on with it.

    Brits seemingly would often rather go stateside that support their own home grown companies because through their corporate distortion spectacles the U.S. start-ups look shinier, cooler and they feel ‘flattered’ to do business with them.

    It’s like 1943 every day in the UK.

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  • Pat Phelan

    I am not sure I understand your point here.
    Vodafone should choose partners based on where they come from?
    The world is flat bud

    • Steve O'Hear

      I didn’t say that. My point was that it’s early days in this LBS space and that Vodafone appeared to be betting on Foursquare, that’s all. Noting that the Euro startups weren’t faring too well. Not arguing for special favors.

      Maybe I didn’t make that clear enough?


      P.S. The earth is round ;-)

  • Robert L

    From what I see of the demonstration by the Vodafone employee I don’t see a killer hook that will enable users to become passionate about this app.
    There is still time for European developers to get into this space – think value!

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