Facebook has announced the arrival of Facebook Deals in the UK, a new mobile phone discounting system that rewards those who regularly check-in to shops and restaurants, through Facebook Places, in the UK.

The location-based application is stepping on the toes of other services in the mobile world, most notably discount site Groupon.

There are a number of retail partners who have signed up to offer discounts if you use the service in their shop.

The type of deals differ from shop to shop but you can expect 'buy one get one offers' and the like.

Partners include: Starbucks, Yo! Sus, Argos, Debenhams, O2 and Mazda.

There's some pretty big deals to begin Facebook Places. Mazda is offering five free cars for five months, Starbucks is coughing up free coffees and O2 is giving away PS3s and Xbox 360s to select people at select stores who upgrade their phones this weekend.

All discounts will be shown on Facebook Places as a yellow (golden) ticket icon.

European launch

The launch is across Europe, with the UK being the first to launch.

Joanna Shields from Facebook said: "Facebook Deals represents the power of word of mouth marketing and personal recommendation.

"By checking in and taking the deal, this is shown on your news feed so your friends can also see what deals are taking place.

"Borders are fading away and a new global social fabric is appearing in front of our lives.

"Over 200 million people use Facebook on their mobile phone. We are now offering businesses the oppurtunity to connect with people in an entirely new way."

There are a number of deals you can get through Facebook Deals. These include charity deals, so shops will give money to a charity on your behalf. You will also get discounts and there is also a friends deal system.

Facebook has stressed that it is not getting any revenue share for the deals on offer and is very different from Groupon as it uses Facebook's "innovative" platform.

To find out more about Facebook Deals, go to www.facebook.com/deals.

The app is curently available only to iOS and Android devices - though all smartphone users can log on through the touch.facebook service.