Deal with Telefonica enables digital cash issues at phone kiosks

Convenience cash voucher provider Ukash has inked a deal with Spanish telecommunications giant Telefónica which will see the digital money outfit's vouchers available 24 hours a day from 70 000 telephone kiosks across the Spain, a burgeoning online and land gambling market.

To buy digital cash at the phone kiosks, users follow simple prompts on-screen and deposit coins for the voucher's value. Customers then receive a unique and security-safe 19-digit code via SMS text message, which can be used to buy goods and services online.

Social networking site Habbo is already piloting the service and will accept Ukash vouchers from Telefónica kiosks with initial values of Euro 5 and 10, and online gambling operators are expected to use the service as well.

With mobile penetration at 111 percent in Spain, Telefónica has been seeking to add new features to its public phone terminals. The company first upgraded the booths to send SMS to mobiles and e-mails in 2003 and turned them into points of sale for small payments the following year.

Juan Utande Ramiro, marketing director, Telefónica Telecomunicaciones Públicas, says: "Kiosks are hugely widespread, present in the great majority of communities, including rural areas. They allow services such as Ukash to conveniently reach audiences which would be almost impossible to reach otherwise."

Ukash spokesmen said a joint marketing and outdoor advertising campaign is imminent to promote the new scheme to Habbo users in Spain.

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