Tuenti, sometimes referred to as Spain’s answer to Facebook, says it will continue shutting down its social network – a process begun in 2012 – and will increasingly focus on internet-based cellular phone services in conjunction with its owner, former state telecoms giant Telefónica.
The network was set up in Madrid in 2006 and soon became hugely popular with teenagers. It still has millions of registered users, although most of them are now inactive and have moved to other social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram.
The company’s future plans include expanding into international markets as a virtual cellphone operator
As a result, the company has more than five billion photographs stored on its servers, which it intends to allow users to remove via an update to its mobile app that will be released in the coming days.
The company is also going to give away 50 minutes of its internet phone service VozDigital in a bid to attract lapsed subscribers to its new services.
“With this new version of the application, we will be able to return to former users of the social network what has always been theirs, making it easier to download their photos. This doesn’t mean users cannot continue to share photos, conversations, etc, because the application and tuenti.com will always be open,” says CEO Sebastián Muriel on the company’s corporate blog.
The company admits that its social network is no longer making money. “In 2011, most of our revenue came from advertising on the social network, and in 2013, three quarters came from its activities as a telephone operator, while at present, all revenue comes from this service,” says Muriel.
In 2014, after its first two years as phone service provider, Tuenti’s results improved considerably, with turnover growing by 25 percent to €21.1 million (98 percent of revenue comes from mobile phone services) and losses down by 33 percent to €16 million. Bearing in mind the wholesale cost of paying Telefónica to use its network, the company is no longer having a negative impact on the group.
The company’s future plans include expanding into international markets as a virtual cellphone operator through Telefónica, which provides the financing and the network. As well as Spain, Tuenti also has a presence in Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Mexico, and plans to move into another, as yet unnamed, Latin American country, with a view to tripling its customer base to one million users.