BOKU's Secret New Carrier Investor: Telefonica

By Greg Kumparak , written on February 27, 2012

From The News Desk

When Boku announced their shiny new NFC payments platform last week, the company kept noting that they would soon be announcing funding from a new carrier investor. Which carrier that might be, however, was kept a mystery.

As Pando's resident phone geek (and general disliker of secrets I'm not in on), I couldn't help but be curious. AT&T/T-Mobile/Verizon are all still dumping a ton of money into ISIS, and Sprint seems to be in a rather exclusive relationship with Google Wallet. Who was about to mix things up by throwing money at the little guy?

Turns out I was thinking too close to home. According to my sources, their new carrier investor is Europe's many-headed mega carrier, Telefónica.

While the exact terms of the investment are still being kept under wraps even within the company, my source calls it "sizable". To date, Boku has raised around $38M.

A deal with Telefónica would be huge for a company like BOKU. As the world's fourth largest operator, Telefónica has more subscribers (231M) than Verizon Wireless (106M) and AT&T (100.7M) combined.

I'm told the announcement is expected sometime this week (timed around Mobile World Congress), possibly as early as tomorrow.