Telefónica became car maker Tesla's largest connectivity provider in Europe, with a deal to provide machine-to-machine (M2M) communications for the auto company's Model S car.
The Spanish incumbent is teaming with M2M World Alliance partners to offer Tesla connectivity throughout Europe. Telefónica's local O2 businesses in Germany and the UK will provide the connections in those countries, with Movistar the provider in Spain. Connections in the Netherlands and Belgium will be provided by M2M World Alliance partner KPN.
Tesla's electric Model S saloon car features remote driver support and a connected infotainment control console that drivers access via a 17-inch touchscreen. Telefónica is using an M2M platform from Jasper Wireless to provide connectivity for the vehicle's telematics and entertainment systems, including navigation, music, and web browsing. The operator is also providing connectivity for remote vehicle diagnostics, a service that relays information about the car's safety, security and performance directly to Tesla.
Jose Luis Gamo, CEO at Telefónica Multinational Solutions, said connected cars "that provide drivers with more information and a better and safer driving experience", are an important area as the operator transforms "into a digital telco".
KPN m2m and new business managing director, Jimmy Wind, said the collaboration is a "great example of how the M2M World Alliance delivers simple and effective solutions to major multinational customers."
Telefónica and Tesla demonstrated in-car connectivity in a Model S at the Mobile World Congress trade show in February. In a recent report on connected cars, Telefónica predicted the sector will achieve mass market penetration in a matter of years, and the number of vehicles with connectivity built in will hit 90 per cent of the overall market by 2020, compared to 10 per cent today.
Automotive research company SBD predicts the value of the connected car market will grow from €13 billion ($17.9 billion) in 2012 to €39 billion in 2018.
Vodafone recently announced a new agreement to supply embedded SIM cards to Volkswagen and Audi from 2015, and Apple is also making a play for a slice of the emerging M2M sector with CarPlay, an in-car user interface that was demonstrated by auto manufacturers including Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo during the Geneva International Motor Show.
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