Telefonica, the Spanish mobile phone operator and owner of O2, is launching a new division to sell information about its customers.
Telefonica Dynamic Insights, is a new global business unit
dedicated to identifying and unlocking the potential opportunities for creating value from 'big data'.
Telefónica Dynamic Insights will provide companies and public sector organisations around the world with analytical insights that enable them to become more effective. It will develop a range of products and services using different data sets, including machine to machine data, and anonymised and aggregated mobile network data.
The first product,
'Smart Steps', will use fully anonymised and aggregated mobile network data to enable companies and public sector organisations to measure, compare, and understand what factors influence the number of people visiting a location at any time.
Smart Steps will provide retailers with location "heat maps" of mobile phone users' movements throughout the day.
It hopes that exploiting such "big data" will help revive its flagging fortunes after falling sales.
"Retailers are quite good at measuring footfall inside their stores, but this data will tell them where people go once they are outside, as well as their age and gender."
But doubts remain about how accurate and useful such insights will be.
Retailers already buy footfall data from specialised companies, such as Springboard and Experian, so it remains unclear how Telefonica will add value to existing services.