Telefónica gets €200m for spending spree to help prop up BlackBerry

Canada's export credit agency is lending European mobile giant Telefonica hundreds of millions of euros to spend on BlackBerry devices and services.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Spanish mobile giant Telefónica is getting a €200m loan from Canada's export credit agency to help it buy BlackBerry smartphones and services.

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The working capital facility from Export Development Canada (EDC) is meant to help the Canadian handset maker grow its market share within Telefónica, which operates in 24 countries and has 315 million subscribers, according to a statement by EDC.

EDC said it had provided financing to Telefónica, which owns the O2 mobile brand in countries including the UK, since 2006 to support its various Canadian procurement needs.

One possible reason for the loan is that Telefónica is currently missing from BlackBerry's list of operators that distribute the device in Spain. BlackBerry only lists Orange, Vodafone and TeliaSonera's Yoigo as distributors in the country — Telefonica's brand Movistar only sells the older BlackBerry Curve 9380 but not the newer BlackBerry 10 powered Z10.

BlackBerry last week reported better than expected financial results for the fourth quarter of 2012, when it shipped six million smartphones, including one million BlackBerry 10s.

Meanwhile, it was revealed last month that wireless distribution company Brightstar was to purchase one million units BlackBerry 10s, after BlackBerry announced a deal with an anonymous buyer a few weeks ago. Brightstar delivers supply chain services to mobile carriers in the US, such as Verizon.

Smartphone sales figures by Kantar World Panel last week show that the release of BlackBerry's high-end Z10 has not resulted in an immediate turn around in the UK, where budget devices such as the Curve 8520 and 9320 were popular amongst young consumers. BlackBerry's share of sales fell from 16.8 percent in the quarter to the end of February 2012 to 5.1 percent in the same period this year. In the US, BlackBerry's share of sales during that three months was just 0.7 percent.

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