Around a year after becoming the first operator in the world to offer a carrier billing service with Epic Games, Spanish operator Telefonica has partnered with Microsoft to give its customers preferential access to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate streaming service. Under the deal, subscribers to the operator’s Movistar Fusion convergent rates and mobile-only postpaid plans will be able to sign up to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for €12.99 (US $15.42) a month, the standard Microsoft rate, but with 20 GB of bonus mobile data added free.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes more than 100 video game titles, including bestselling games from both Xbox and Bethesda as well as access to Xbox Live Gold, EA Play and the Xbox Cloud Gaming service. As a result, subscribers can play games from the cloud on their Windows PC, smartphone or tablet, with new titles added regularly.
In addition to the free 20 GB of data per Movistar mobile line, subscribers will also be offered the first month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for free. Telefonica said it is currently the only operator in Spain to offer such a service and that eligible customers can sign up to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate now from the Movistar app, customer desktop area, by phone or at any Movistar store.
With the explosion in the popularity of internet-based gaming, mobile operators are looking for ways to get a piece of the action—and finding them. Not content to remain “dumb pipes” for gaming data, operators are partnering with gaming companies to provide special access and other deals to enhance their relevance and strength within this fast-growing industry.
Telefonica’s partnership with Microsoft enables it to offer its subscribers easy, convenient access to the Xbox ecosystem of games with initial discount and cloud-based access to a large number of games. The free-data offer of 20 GB should have the effect of stimulating users to play more and become habituated to playing more, which leads in time to more spending on gaming data.
With this exclusive on Microsoft Xbox gaming, Telefonica gains first-mover advantage. The gaming deal stands to increase the operator’s appeal to gamers and to add some luster to its already strong brand.