Monday 4 June 2018

Internet para todos: Telefonica and Parallel Wireless on a mission to connect 100 Million Unconnected

According to GSMA Intelligence report, 'The Mobile Economy Latin America and the Caribbean 2017':

Latin America has seen rapid growth in the number of mobile internet subscribers over recent years, with a total of nearly 350 million, registering growth of almost 10% since the start of 2016. Of these subscribers, more than two thirds connect to the internet via mobile broadband (3G or 4G) networks. As the importance of digital access and engagement increases, so this figure will continue to grow strongly, to reach about 420 million by 2020.

Despite the growth to date, only slightly more than half of the population currently ha0ve a mobile internet subscription, well below the developed market average of two thirds – though some lowerincome groups may connect using Wi-Fi only.

As a result, around 300 million people are digitally excluded and unable to enjoy the socioeconomic benefits that mobile internet can bring. By 2020, nearly two thirds of the population will be connected, still well behind the developed market average but in line with the global average. However, nearly 250 million people across the region will still be digitally excluded. There remain significant barriers to adoption, particularly for underserved population groups (rural, women, low income and youth).

Mobile internet penetration also varies significantly across the region. Chile had the highest penetration as at the end of 2016, with Argentina only slightly behind. In contrast, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Haiti have mobile internet penetration rates of one third or less (Cuba has among the lowest levels of mobile internet penetration globally, at 3% of the population). 

At MWC 2018, Telef贸nica announced “Internet para todos”, a collaborative project to connect the unconnected in Latin America. The Initiative is aimed at connecting the more than 100 million people in Latin America with no internet access. Telef贸nica also expanded its collaboration with Facebook on key technological and commercial innovations and collaboration with multiple stakeholders: rural operators, technology firms and regulators.

For those who are wondering what “Internet para todos” means, it means “Internet for all. Here is a good video on the initiative.

You can read all about it here. One of the vendors mentioned in this press release is Parallel Wireless (*). Their announcement on this is available here.

Embedded below is an indepth presentation on this topic by Patrick Lopez, VP, networks innovation at Telef贸nica.

And here is the video of above for anyone interested:

In the recent Small Cell Forum awards, 'Internet Para Todos' won the Social Impact award – Promoting Small Cells for Social/Economic/Environmental Development.

Hopefully we will see many more similar initiatives from other operators and TIP to connect the unconnected.

*Full Disclosure: I work for Parallel Wireless as a Senior Director in Strategic Marketing. This blog is maintained in my personal capacity and expresses my own views, not the views of my employer or anyone else. Anyone who knows me well would know this.

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