* New platform designed to answer questions about growth
* "Aura" allows users to decide whether to share data
* Due for launch in key markets in coming year
(Adds details of "Aura" app, background)
BARCELONA, Spain, Feb 26 Spanish telecoms giant
Telefonica announced a new strategy on Sunday promising
to give customers back control of their own data with the help
of a new digital personal assistant.
The so-called "fourth platform", unveiled in Barcelona ahead
of the industry's largest annual trade fair, is Telefonica's
answer to questions about its growth strategy after it cut its
dividend and announced asset disposals to repay debt last year.
The new app called "Aura", which was developed using
Microsoft's artificial-intelligence expertise, allows
users to decide whether or not to share insights generated by
their data with third parties such as Facebook or Google
It can also answer questions about Telefonica services,
create and track a request or manage access to the customer's
"It's a new way of empowering customers," Chief Executive
Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete told a news conference ahead of the
Mobile World Congress fair. "We are offering that the network
belongs to them."
Aura can be used as a phone app and also interacts with
Amazon's smart speaker, Echo. It is due to be launched
in key markets in the coming 12 months, Telefonica said.
(Reporting by Sophie Sassard; Editing by Georgina Prodhan)