Foursquare checks-in with Vodafone UK

[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: