Telefónica has signed a new deal that will see companies such as Coca-Cola sponsoring free data for its customers worldwide.

The operator has teamed up with US-based sponsored data specialist Aquto to offer free data to customers in exchange for tasks such as completing surveys, watching videos and signing up for subscriptions.

Mexico is the first Telefónica market to make use of Aquto’s platform, with Latin America and other regions to follow.

Alongside Coca-Cola, Banco Azteca, EasyTaxi and Mondelēz International have signed up to target Movistar Mexico’s subscribers.

Aquto, which also counts the likes of Disney, Expedia and Toyota as customers, has worked with Vodafone Portugal and AT&T.

"Telefonica has long recognised there is a tremendous opportunity for mobile network operators (MNOs) to extend their capabilities into the realm of mobile advertising and marketing,” said Jose Luis Casas, Telefónica’s recently appointed Global Director of Advertising.

“Aquto's innovations in sponsored data rewards takes our MNO monetisation strategy to the next level.

“In a world where users have smartphones and everybody relies on cellular connectivity, Aquto's platform gives us the ability to use data rewards as a universal currency."

The Aquto deal follows a similar agreement Telefónica signed with Datami in February, which again focused on Latin America.

Having trialled the offering in Brazil, the two companies said in April it was expanding to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama.

Casas told European Communications last week that sponsored data initiatives are performing well in South America but that the operator is “cautious” about bringing them to Europe.

Sponsored data is one of the three main pillars of Telefónica’s advertising strategy, which also includes programmatic advertising and A2P messaging.

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