Twitter is now a strategic partner of the German carrier group Deutsche Telekom, proprietor of the T-Mobile brand, the companies announced on Thursday.
This is an unusual deal for both parties. Twitter has partnered with many telcos before, but they tend to be in the developing world – there, Twitter basically subsidizes data access that is used for its service, making it affordable for the average person to use.
Deutsche Telekom, meanwhile, has strategic partnerships with service providers such as Evernote and Spotify, but in those cases the idea is to give Deutsche Telekom subscribers free access to those apps’ premium tier, as a sweetener. Twitter doesn’t have a premium tier.
So what will this partnership entail? According to a statement:
“In collaboration with Deutsche Telekom, Twitter will create a unique experience for Deutsche Telekom devices. This experience will include a way for people to keep up with Twitter right from their homescreen, and Deutsche Telekom will make it available on selected Android smartphones starting next year. Deutsche Telekom customers will have instant access to what’s happening in the world in real time, right out-of-the-box.
“Deutsche Telekom will be a preferred partner for Twitter when it comes to innovative marketing, advertising and customer services opportunities on Twitter.”
In other words, T-Mobile Android users will get a preloaded Twitter widget on their homescreen – this will roll out first in Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, Greece and Croatia. It’s not hard to see how this is good for Twitter. In particular, the platform has desperately low penetration in Germany, Europe’s most vibrant economy, and T-Mobile is the country’s biggest mobile carrier.
The benefit for Deutsche Telekom is a bit more opaque. A widget is hardly a premium service, so I suspect it won’t be a great draw for prospective customers, but a spokeswoman for the company told me Twitter’s strong brand would prove attractive.
More importantly, though, it seems Deutsche Telekom will get its hands on certain new Twitter features before others. “We will get early access to new tools and innovations on the technical side,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the partnership will also help the carrier to better integrate Twitter into its marketing campaigns.