Telefonica will create a new business development unit in London which will be headed by Matthew Key, the executive who won the iPhone deal in the UK for O2.

The Telefonica Digital unit will comprise of a 2,500-strong staff with Key responsible for enhancing "Telefonica's ability to operate in the digital environment, thereby increasing the company's growth potential."

In a Telefonica statement released on September 5 it was announced Telefonica Digital would focus on "developing and globally exploiting businesses like, among others, video and entertainment, e-advertising, e-health, financial services, cloud and M2M."

It will also look to develop hardware and software and software in the digitial environment as well as investing in new digital businesses.

The Guardian suggested Key may focus on exploring Near Field Communications in his new role, where phones are swiped on readers to make small purchases.

Key was the UK chief executive of O2 in 2007 when they made the 'gamble' of securing the two-year exclusivity deal to launch the iPhone, which was released in November the following year.