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Telefónica invests $200m to establish new $1bn innovation platform

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Distrito Telefonica © Telefonica

One of the most innovative telcos out there is at it again; Telefónica has announced that it has entered into a partnership with US-based VC firm Coral Group to form an investment platform to discover, create and deliver innovative products and solutions “to accelerate and enhance the digital experience of its customers in Europe and Latin America”.

Telefónica already has numerous open innovation initiatives in play – including the openfuture.org online platform, Open Future crowdworking spaces, Wayra acceleration academies, Amerigo Funds and Telefónica Ventures – but it obviously wants more. Through its Open Future_ programme (Ed: yes, the _ symbol is part of the brand, how very Perfect Curve, for viewers of the BBC’s W1A comedy), Telefónica is investing $200m to lead Coral’s Communications Investment Platform (CIP). By doing so, it says it intends to establish itself as “a front runner in forming innovation factories to accelerate the creation of new and disruptive technologies to benefit Telefónica’s 320m customers”.

The telco will eventually be joined by up to four additional telecoms operators to work with Coral on the CIP, which is expected to have up to $1bn to invest in new technologies and services that will reach up to 2bn customers. Telefónica will combine its R&D&I work with CIP in order to improve the return on its future capital investments, which came to more than $7.5bn in 2014. It wants to use the work to help in its transformation into “a major market player in areas such as next generation networks, big data and machine learning, and the Internet of Things.”

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