Telefónica upped its R&D spend last year to €1.1 billion, the most it has ever spent, as it looks to focus on the IoT, big data and next generation networks.

The figure represents growth of six percent on 2013; the company cut investment between 2012 and 2013.

The Spain-based operator said the increase reflected its desire to stay at the “cutting edge” of technology, increasing investments in the IoT, big data and next-generation network technologies.

When “innovation” spending is added – Telefónica said this included money going to its digital services division – investment increased by 13.5 percent to almost €7 billion.

The operator cited its IoT product Thinking Things, launched last year, and Firefox Hello, a service for making free video calls, as examples of “ground-breaking products” it has developed.

[Read more: Operators seek to be all things to all people in search of start-ups]

It also highlighted its NFV Reference Lab and Data Transparency Lab.

At Mobile World Congress last month, Telefónica’s advertising chief told European Communications that he plans to boost the amount of revenue the it makes from selling customer data to big business.

[Read more: Internal reorganisation sees Telefónica refocus key big data project on transport]

In February, the operator said it expected revenues to grow seven percent this year.

However, revenues were down 11.7 percent last year while profits fell by almost 35 percent.

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