2010s: fibre overtakes ADSL

Wayra, EnlightED, Movistar +, the Podium scholarships, 42,... The past decade has brought numerous new developments to Telefónica on the eve of its centenary in years marked by technological advances that were unthinkable just a short time ago.

Communication Team

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In a world with growing concern about the risks of climate change that led to the 2015 Paris Agreement and in which the European Union saw the departure of one of its members for the first time in its history, technological progress was more than remarkable.

The proliferation of smartphones with ever-increasing capabilities and the popularisation of the Internet together with the emergence of social networks and instant messaging marked a path towards a totally different society to the one we had previously had.

2010: Movistar, commercial brand for all services

Movistar became the brand name for all services, both mobile and landline, both in Spain and Latin America, with the exception of Vivo in Brazil. In Europe, the commercial brand is O2, with Telefónica becoming the flagship and institutional brand.

In the same year, Ferran Adrià, owner of the prestigious El Bulli restaurant and renowned international chef, became a brand ambassador.

2011: Wayra is born

As our centenary website states, “in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship, Wayra was born in 2011, a global startup accelerator. Wayra means an open view of the world and talent, a commitment to collaboration. The term Wayra comes from Quechua, a language native to the Peruvian Andes, and means “wind”. In 2021 it celebrated its tenth birthday, a decade of uninterrupted investment in 800 startups in cutting-edge projects in all fields”.

That same year, the company began operating in the mobile telephony business in Costa Rica, after being awarded two spectrum slots.

2012: the Espacio Fundación Telefónica, Fusión and Talentum were born

2012 saw a number of new developments on various fronts, from commercial to cultural and training.

In the cultural sphere, the Espacio Fundación Telefónica was born in May. A place where art, technology and new forms of communication come together for debate, reflection, communication and meeting.

That same year, Movistar Fusión represented a change of model in Spain, a new integrated offer that marked a turning point thanks to its simplification. In just three months it reached its first million users.

Similarly, in 2012 Talentum, the scholarship programme to attract young talent, was born. When the programme celebrated its first ten years in 2022, the balance was more than 100,000 candidates, 6,000 scholarships awarded and 2,600 hires.

2013: towards a digital telco

The new strategic plan ‘Be more’ served to see, feel and act towards a digital telco focused on technology and helping to improve people’s lives.

In 2013 Eleven Paths became the new digital security subsidiary in a year that also saw the inauguration of the Alcalá Data Center (located in Alcalá de Henares), one of the most innovative data processing centres on the planet. To give us an idea of its magnitude, it would be equivalent to having the same power as 35 million desktop computers, some 20 petabytes.

2014: Rafa Nadal joins the ‘telefonica’ family

In 2014, someone who needs no introduction joined as a new ambassador: Rafa Nadal. It was an important year in the field of sport because it also saw the launch of the Podium scholarship programme to promote the talent of promising young athletes, which helped 22 athletes to reach the Rio Olympics, a figure that rose to 57 for the Tokyo Games.

Also in 2014, Telefónica’s first Digital Manifesto was born, which set out the operator’s vision to make the digital world and the Internet a safe place, with the protection of privacy and the creation of a trustworthy environment from the design of services as its objectives.

2015: Movistar + is born

Telefónica’s purchase of Canal+ in Spain led to the birth of Movistar+ (currently Movistar Plus+), an entertainment, fiction, sports and in-house production platform that represents a differential value for Movistar’s integrated offer.

That same year Telefónica “switched off” its first two copper exchanges with the ambition of reaching the centenary year with a 100% fibre optic network.

2016: José María Álvarez-Pallete, new president

April 2016 saw the last change in the presidency of Telefónica, a position to which José María Álvarez-Pallete, until then CEO of the company, took over.

A year that was the year of fibre optics in Spain, since in November of that year a milestone was reached: Movistar had more fibre optic customers than ADSL customers in this country. And, for those who still do not know, there is more fibre in Spain than in the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Germany combined.

This year also saw the birth of ProFuturo and Telxius. The former is a digital education programme that seeks to reduce the educational gap in the world, created by Fundación Telefónica and Fundación “la Caixa”. So far it has helped train almost 1.5 million teachers, improving the education of 28 million children in 45 different countries.

Telxius was created with the aim of bringing together infrastructure assets such as 16,000 communications towers and 65,000 kilometres of submarine cable.

2017: pioneering backpacks

In 2017 we presented a backpack weighing less than three kilos that generates a private and portable 4G network by itself, a miniature “base station” capable of providing voice and data coverage to a group of people in a specific area. As we often repeat at Telefónica, technology must always be at the service of people.

2018: enlightED is born

In a context clearly influenced by the technological revolution and technological modifications and accumulation, EnlightED was born in 2018, a conference on education, technology and innovation promoted by our Foundation, IE University and South Summit. An annual event with the most relevant figures with presentations, workshops and experiences both in person and via streaming.

2018 also saw the launch of Aura, Telefónica’s Artificial Intelligence, in a year in which we welcomed Movistar Team cyclist Alejandro Valverde to the Telefónica District as soon as he was crowned road cycling world champion.

2019: we bring 42 to Spain

Fundación Telefónica has brought 42 to Spain, one of the most innovative programming campuses in the world: no classes, no books, no age limit, free and open 24/7. In addition to the space located in Madrid (specifically in Distrito Telefónica), there are also sites in Urduliz-Bizkaia (from 2020), Barcelona (from 2021) and Malaga (from 2022).

The end of 2019 saw the birth of the ‘new Telefónica’, a new action plan to grow with a sustainable model, in which Telefónica Infra and Telefónica Tech were born.

2010s images

Telefónica’s centenary

Don’t miss all the information about Telefónica’s history on our centenary website, https:///www.telefonica100.com/.

You can also take a closer look at the series by decades that we are publishing on our blog. Don’t miss what happened in the previous decade, the 2000s.


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