Telefónica said more than 250 companies including device manufacturers, solution providers and distributors in Europe and the U.S. have now joined its machine-to-machine (M2M) programme, meaning that the Spanish operator has reached its target for the end of 2014 six months ahead of schedule.
The operator added that this new milestone in the number of partners joining its M2M Global Partner Programme has also come six months after the programme expanded outside the U.S. and into Europe. The programme was originally launched in the U.S. in 2013 as part of Telefónica's efforts to extend the commercial reach of its M2M activities by seeking partners from all areas of this nascent, but growing, business area.
According to Rafael García Meiro, director of B2B global partners sales at Telefónica, the next objective will be to extend the programme into new regions, to expand membership and develop new services and products.
Machina Research, which specialises in areas such as M2M and mobile broadband connectivity, lists Telefónica among the four major global players dominating the global M2M market.
Like many operators, Telefónica is seeking new opportunities in the M2M field and has highlighted connected cars and smart metering as major areas of focus. In April, Telefónica became carmaker Tesla's largest connectivity provider in Europe, with a deal to provide M2M communications for the car company's Model S car. Last year, the operator was awarded a £1.5 billion (€1.9 billion/$2.56 billion) contract to provide smart meter communications services in the UK.
Telefónica also recently published a report on connected cars that claimed more than 70 per cent of drivers surveyed said they are interested in using, or are already using, connected car services. Increased safety, early warning systems and smarter navigation were cited as the most popular features such services could provide.
Machina Research also named Vodafone as the world's number one operator for M2M. The UK-based operator is currently in the process of buying Italy-based telematics and security specialist Cobra Automotive Technologies and recently teamed with UK-based Cyan Holdings to address the smart metering market in India.
In late June, Vodafone published its second annual 'M2M Adoption Barometer', a global survey of the M2M market carried out by Circle Research. The survey found that M2M adoption has increased by more than 80 per cent in the past year, with over a fifth of companies now actively using the technology.
In February this year, Juniper Research forecast that M2M service revenues would reach $20 billion (€14.8 billion) globally in 2015.
- see this Telefónica release
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