Telefónica has committed $200 million (€175 million) to a new funding platform after partnering with venture capital firm Coral Group.
The Spain-based operator’s Open Future programme, which includes its Wayra accelerator as well as its own VC funds, joins Coral’s Communications Investment Platform (CIP) as a limited partner.
Telefónica said it wanted to create “innovation factories” that would allow it to deliver “new and disruptive” technologies for its 320 million customers in Europe and Latin America.
The two companies said they plan to sign up to four additional service providers to create a $1 billion fund that would serve 1-2 billion customers around the world.
Coral, which has offices in the US and Israel, has invested in a number companies in the telecoms space, including Fon and Infinera.
Telefónica said that its investment in the CIP would enhance its returns on future capex and allow it to further position itself as a leader in areas such as IoT, big data and machine learning.
In April, it revealed it had upped its R&D spend to €1.1 billion in 2014 - the most it has ever spent.
The operator said: “The investments in the CIP further supplements Telefónica Open Future’s open innovation initiatives and strong support to global tech entrepreneurs and startups through its 310 million euros pre-existing commitments to the Open Future global online acceleration platform and crowdworking spaces.
“Telefónica Open Future and CIP will seek to further accelerate and expand Telefónica’s global transformation into a digital telco, being at the cutting edge of technology and smart investments.”
Following a financial turnaround in Q4 2014, Telefónica saw revenues grow 12.6 percent to €11.5 billion in the first quarter.