Telefónica turns mobile number into portable identity with TU Go launch

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Following the launch last summer of TU Me, Telefónica’s answer to free over-the-top voice and messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Europe’s largest operator has unveiled a new service called TU Go.

Available to all O2 post-paid customers in the UK, cloud-based TU Go aims to turn existing O2 mobile numbers into a portable identity that can be accessed on any supported device.

Users can log in to the TU Go app from up to five authorised devices to make and receive phone calls, text messages and voicemail to and from anyone on any network, even if the recipient doesn’t have the app installed.

The calls and texts made while using the app come out of customers’ existing contract bundles of call time and text messages.

When a call is received the app will ring across all devices the app is installed on and users will be able to access their address book and view call history and conversations, synced across all their devices.

TU Go uses a combination of VoIP and the O2 mobile network.

Telefónica’s Director of Communications Products Jamie Finn said in a statement: “To date a customer’s phone number has been fixed to one particular device. TU Go changes this, turning the mobile phone into an app and making it possible for customers to enjoy their phone services across a wide range of devices.

“It not only allows customers to communicate via their tablet or PC, but it also means that they can have phone conversations in places with Wi-Fi coverage but no mobile reception.”

The TU Go app can be supported on Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS5 and above, Android smartphones and tablets running Gingerbread 2.3.1 and above, as well as PCs and Mac computers.

“[The service] delivers tangible differentiation for Telefónica and is a lesson for its peers in integration with carrier telephony services,” said Ovum analyst Jeremy Green.

“Significantly, the integration with native communications services (telephony and SMS) means that users are not restricted to communicating just with other adopters.

“TU Go can be used regardless of physical location over Wi-Fi using the user’s home contract. This also makes it an FMC solution, because it will work indoors on Wi-Fi at places where mobile coverage is poor.”

There are plans to roll out TU Go to other Telefónica markets in 2013.