Earlier this week, General Motors’ telematics subsidiary OnStar launched its suite of services in Mexico. In doing so, it opened a new call center in the country and partnered with telecom giant Telefónica to provide its 2014 model year vehicles with the service.
While largely unknown in North America, Telefónica is actually quite the global company. Here are five facts you might not know about GM-OnStar’s newest partner.
1. It’s Actually Spanish
Telefónica is a broadband and telecom firm headquartered in the Distrito Telefónica in Madrid, Spain. It operates in Latin America, Europe, and Asia and is the fifth-largest mobile network provider in the world (by subscriber base).
2. It’s A “Movistar”
Telefónica operates the Movistar cellar and wired networks in Spain and Latin America. It is a distant second in Mexico (to América Móvil). However, it is the largest (by subscriber base) in Chile, Venezuela, Brazil, and Peru — lending a clue about which carrier OnStar will use in its (ensuing) expansion to Latin America.
3. It Also Likes O2
Telefónica operates the O2 carrier in most of Europe. The company, known as Telefónica Europe in the continent, provides both fixed and mobile telephony operations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.
Given the proliferation of O2 in Europe, OnStar will utilize the Telefónica network in its eventual expansion to European markets — having already partnered with the company.
And this makes turns us to the fact that Telefónica will likely play a substantial role in GM’s goal of equipping its vehicles with high-speed 4G LTE technology. To note, Telefónica is already rolling out 4G LTE in certain markets that it serves, so it’s likely that it will be the carrier of choice for GM in Mexico, Latin America, and parts of Europe.