Vodafone has announced today that it is increasing its shareholding in the parent company of Vouchercloud, a mobile coupon provider. This points to the telecoms company taking a real interest in the trend for social, local and mobile commerce.

Vodafone is raising its stake in Invitation Digital Limited (IDL) to 57%, in May 2011 it had 21%. In addition to the transaction today, Vodafone has the first option to increase its direct shareholding in the future.

Vouchercloud itself has news this morning that it is launching in Ireland. The service offers discounts, vouchers and codes for daily shopping and encompasses a number of high street shops, restaurant and leisure companies.

Last year the coupon company saw interesting growth and movement, teaming up with Orange and hitting two million downloads on Android and iOS,

As you might expect from a mobile voucher service, Vouchercloud uses GPS to locate discounting retailers that are near the customer, it also guides the user in with the help of a digital mapping application.

vouchercloud Vodafone ups its stake in Vouchercloud to 57%, as the couponing company rolls out in Ireland

Future development with Vodafone

Vodafone intends to work with IDL to extend Vouchercloud beyond the UK and Ireland over the coming months as part of the global communications company’s broader mobile commerce strategy. So far though, neither company has revealed the direction it will take for the next geographical locations for release.

Vodafone Group Commercial Development Director Tobin Ireland said: “Mobile couponing is set to grow rapidly across Vodafone’s businesses as cost-conscious consumers increasingly turn to their smartphones to hunt for bargains and collect loyalty points. We look forward to working more closely with Vouchercloud in future as m-commerce services become ever more central to consumers’ daily lives.”

It’s interesting to see operators get into the battle for the mCommerce space a little more. Hopefully alignments like this will mean that funding from giants like Vodafone can really push innovation for smaller services. The battle for your eyes on mobile is truly heating up.