Telefónica began the international roll-out of its Tuenti social network yesterday, opening up registrations to users outside Spain — a new Tuenti Social Messenger app is now live in Google's Play Store, with iOS and Windows Phone equivalents arriving "in the coming weeks." Often described as a cross between Twitter and Facebook, the service limits users to 140 characters but uses a "friends" model rather than relying on asymmetric "following."
Acquired by Telefónica in 2010, Tuenti currently has 13 million users, generating more than 40 billion page views per month. A Semiocast report in January found that Twitter had less than 10 million users in Spain, but the number is likely to have increased significantly since then.
It is not yet clear how the service plans to make money, but Tuenti's users may be worth more per head than either Twitter's or Facebook's because new signups are required to verify their cell phone number via SMS, giving Telefónica a large database of contact details. The service does not currently display any advertising, either in the mobile app or on the desktop site.