Latin America and Europe operator giant Telefonica has entered into a partnership with venture firm Coral Group to form a potential $1 billion investment platform which will “discover, create and deliver innovative products and solutions to accelerate and enhance the digital experience” of its customers across the continents.
To kick things off, Telefonica’s Open Future initiative is leading Coral’s so-called Communications Investment Platform (CIP) by committing $200 million, with hopes of “establishing itself as a front runner in forming ‘innovation factories’ to accelerate the creation of new and disruptive technologies to benefit Telefonica’s 320 million customers.”
Telefonica and Coral said they want to attract another four communication service providers into the initiative, through which the CIP is expected to have up to $1 billion to invest in new technologies and services that will reach around 1 to 2 billion customers.
The move is the latest effort by Telefonica to transform itself into “a major market player in areas such as next generation networks, big data and machine learning, and the Internet of Things.”
Telefonica’s open innovation programme, present in 17 countries, is designed to connect entrepreneurs, start-ups, investors and public and private organisations worldwide. It has so far committed €310 million across 550 companies.
In March, Open Future signed a partnership agreement with Korea Telecom and the G-CEIC, a public body responsible for promoting ICT innovation in South Korea, to “the mutual sharing of entrepreneurial, investment and external innovation expertise”.