Telefonica becomes Tesla's major European connectivity partner

Spain’s Telefonica has won a major connected-cars deal to provide services for electric vehicles being sold by Tesla in Europe.

The partnership will see the operator provide connectivity services for the Tesla Model S in the UK, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

To support the service, Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) is also drawing on its partnerships with other operators and M2M platform provider Jasper Wireless (Mountain View, CA, USA) through the M2M World Alliance, an association formed to spur the development of M2M services worldwide.

Telefonica will use its own network facilities in the UK and Spain, but in the Netherlands and Belgium make use of infrastructure owned by M2M World Alliance member KPN (The Hague, Netherlands).

The Spanish operator said that by working locally with KPN it would be able to rely on a smaller pool of suppliers and maintain “a common M2M service”.

“This is a great example of how the M2M World Alliance delivers simple and effective solutions to major multinational customers,” said Jimmy Wind, managing director of M2M for KPN. “We’re delighted to work with Telefonica supporting such a prestigious company as Tesla.”

Separately, Telefonica is still hoping to complete a merger between its German business and E-Plus, a German operator owned by KPN, with European regulatory authorities still considering the effect any transaction will have on competition.

Telefonica also said that Jasper Wireless would provide the platform used in Tesla (Palo Alto, CA, USA) vehicles, supporting a range of infotainment services, including navigation, online music, internet browsing and remote vehicle diagnostics.

The deal establishes Telefonica as Tesla’s major connectivity partner in Europe.

“As we accelerate our transformation into a digital telco we see lots of opportunities to empower consumers,” said Jose Luis Gamo, the chief executive of Telefonica Multinational Solutions. “Connected cars that provide drivers with more information and a better and safer driving experience is a perfect example of this.”

Telefonica expects the number of vehicles with in-built connectivity to increase from 10% of the overall market today to 90% by 2020.

Tesla, meanwhile, has put the development of connectivity services at the heart of its growth strategy.