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January 9, 2017updated 16 Feb 2017 3:19pm

What is Telefonica?

Telefonica is based in Spain but its reach extends across Europe and the world.

By Ellie Burns

Telefonica is a broadband and telecommunications operator in Spain, operating since 1924 and most commonly known through brands such as O2 and Vivo.

The company owns significant telecoms assets outside of Spain, including the O2 network in UK and Ireland, the Telefonica Germany network in Germany and a joint venture with Bouygues Telecom in France.

Telefonica attempted to sell off the UK-based O2 network to Hong Kong-based telecoms conglomerate Hutchinson Whampoa. This would have combined the O2 and Three networks to create the largets UK operator by subscribers.

Why could Telefonica not sell O2?

However, the deal was blocked by European competition authorities, which argued that the deal would reduce competition too much in the UK.

Telefonica is now said to be exploring other options for O2 such as a float on the stock market.

As well as operating mobile and fixed line networks such as fibre, Telefonica is also active in the emerging Internet of Things space.

The company is headed up by Cesar Alierta and worth $39.93 billion.

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