Telefonica invests in m-payment venture

The Digital arm of Telefónica demonstrated commitment to the mobile payments space on Thursday, announcing investment in, and a strategic agreement with, m-payment firm Boku.

The move is set against the background of Telefónica’s plans to introduce an m-wallet service and the carrier has labelled the investment in Boku as a “significant development”. The partnership opens up access for Boku to Telefónica’s global footprint of 25 markets and 300 million customers.

In return, Telefónica gets access to Boku’s network of merchants, specialist knowledge in mobile payments, and carrier billing functionality for virtual goods.

Under the terms of the agreement, Boku will become Telefónica’s preferred mobile payments partner both online and offline.

“Payments are going mobile and we want to be at the forefront of this trend,” said Matthew Key, chairman and CEO of Telefónica Digital. “Working with Boku will allow us to both enhance our operator billing capabilities and the overall payment experience through our future mobile wallet services.”

Telefónica did not reveal how much it has invested in Boku, but the firm joins other investors including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures in raising funding totalling $35m.

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