Wireless Carrier Review: Telefónica

Headquartered in Madrid, Spain, Telefónica is one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies. The company operates in 13 countries and provides mobile services to more than 345 million users. 

Telefónica was established in 1924 in Madrid as Compañía Telefónica Nacional de España (CTNE). The company was essentially formed to play the role of the national telephone provider and functioned much like a utility monopoly for many years.

In 1945, Spain acquired a share of nearly 80% of the company, which was diluted by a capital increase in 1967. Still, Telefónica remained the only telephone operator in Spain until 1997 and still holds significant dominance, providing phone services to 75% of Spanish residents.

The company has emerged as a leader in the mobile market. Today, Telefonica’s mobile services serve the vast majority of Spanish residents who contract with mobile providers. Telefónica also ranks among the top five providers in several other countries where it has a presence. Telefonica reports that it employs around 113,000 workers across the globe. 

This profile provides insights on all of Telefónica, including information on its mobile solutions, target markets, partnerships, user opinion, industry recognition and financial position. 

Telefonica logo.

Courtesy Telefónica.

Mobile solutions

Telefónica offers several key mobile solutions for enterprises:

  • Internet of Things (IoT): Telefónica's IoT solutions help organizations manage assets and improve supply chain operations.

  • Enterprise managed mobility: The company offers a managed solutions for enterprise mobility that allows companies to partner with Telefonica to provide oversight and management of employees’ mobile devices.

  • A2P: SMS capabilities across the data network, regardless of country borders, for direct delivery of content and marketing messages. 

  • Mobile voice and data: Telefónica offers a broad range of mobile voice and data solutions customized to specific business needs.

Target markets

Telefónica operates in 14 countries:

  • Spain

  • Germany

  • Brazil

  • United Kingdom

  • Costa Rica

  • Argentina

  • Chile

  • Colombia

  • Ecuador

  • Mexico

  • Peru

  • Uruguay

  • Venezuela

  • El Salvador

Revenues in Spain make up 29% of Telefónica's total revenue, with Germany, Brazil and the United Kingdom comprising another 50%. The remaining revenue is raised among the Central and South American countries where the brand has a presence. 

Spain is the operational headquarters and the country where Telefónica has the most reach. More than 80% of Spanish households use Telefónica's fiber services and 78% use 5G services through the company, according to the most recent integrated report

Telefónica operates under four brand names: Telefónica, Movistar, Vivo and O2. 

In his annual speech to shareholders, Telefónica President Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete indicated that in 2021 and beyond, the company will continue building on its success in Spain and other European countries, while making a bigger push to build networks throughout South America. 


Telefónica partners with a wide array of other network providers and companies to work on shared projects, such as:

  • Microsoft

  • Google

  • IBM

  • AWS

  • Siemens

User opinion

As a sizable company that serves as a parent to many subsidiaries, user rankings related to targeted Telefónica services and operations are useful when considering user perceptions about the brand. 

For example, Gartner Peer Insights users give Telefónica Managed Mobility Services a score of 4.2 out of 5.0. Users give high marks to three key areas:

  • Service Capabilities

  • Delivery & Execution

  • Evaluation & Contracting

Here are a few aggregated scores for Telefonica from prominent user review sites:

Review Site




Gartner (Telefonica Global)


Local perception favors Telefónica throughout the regions where the company has a significant presence. This is especially true across Spain, where Telefónica's Movistar and Yoigo, a lower-cost Movistar option, are by the far the most popular choices for wireless service. This overview of mobile carrier options on the website Spain Expat ranks Movistar as the top choice for Video Experience, Game Experience, Voice App Experience, Download and Upload Speed Experiences and 4G availability. The review also mentions that Spanish customers are anticipating more widespread 5G coverage, primarily across Telefónica's network.

Industry recognition

Recent industry recognition includes:

  • 2020 Global Carrier Awards, Best Anti-Fraud Innovation Award

  • 2021 Stevie Awards, Award for Innovation in Customer Service

  • GLOTEL Awards, Leading AI Company

  • 2019 Mobile Industry Awards, Best Repair Service (O2)

  • 2021 FutureNet Awards, Operator Award

  • TV Connect Industry Awards, Best Multiscreen TV Service

  • Frost & Sullivan’s Best Practice Awards, 2020 European Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award for Hosted IP Telephony and UCaaS

Financial position

Telefónica reported earnings of $43 million euros for Q4 2020 and an increase of 38.5% in net profit. In its annual report, the company attributes a small dip in profitability in the first half of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend seems to hold, as Q3 and Q4 2020 earnings were stronger than Q1 and Q2 2020. 

The pending $44 billion merger of Telefónica's O2 brand and Virgin Media in the U.K. will create new growth opportunities for the company. Industry analysts predict the newly formed venture will lead to improvements in 5G services and an expansion of gigabit fiber broadband availability.  


Telefónica is a global telecommunication provider with a focus on Spain, where the company is headquartered. Since its inception nearly 100 years ago, Telefónica has enjoyed steady growth and stability, expanding its operations both geographically and technologically. 

The company invests in newer technologies like 5G and fiber broadband and brings those innovations to customers as quickly as possible, giving Telefónica an edge over less progressive mobile providers. 

Potential clients and partners can feel confident when considering Telefónica for enterprise mobility needs in the regions where the company has a leading presence. There’s no sign this industry leader is slowing down.

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