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Seven reasons why Mexico is ripe to become a global leader in mAgri initiatives

By José Luis Amaya and Nicolas Demeilliers

 

mAgri projects have a high potential to increase farmers’ revenue and productivity. But unlike many developing countries, Mexico seems to have been left out by mAgri initiatives. According to GSMA’s mAgri Deployment Tracker, there have been only two of these projects in Mexico: MásAgro Móvil and DigitalICS (now closed). At Esoko México, we strongly believe in mAgri to help farmers improve their quality of life and we trust that Mexico should be a global leader of mAgri initiatives. Here are our top reasons why:

1. The needs of Mexican farmers are huge

Of the 5.3 million farmers in Mexico, 3.9 million earn an income of less than USD 1,000 annually. 61 per cent of Mexican farmers live in poverty[1]. Despite efforts and investment in rural areas by the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture (SAGARPA), poverty has only marginally been reduced: between 2003 and 2013, the budget for rural areas increased by 170 per cent, but poverty was only reduced by four per cent[2].

Like many other developing countries, the reasons for the lack of competitiveness in Mexican agriculture and the low income of its farmers are the insufficient linkages with markets, low productivity and limited access to financing. The lack of access to specific information (market prices, locations of buyers, reliable weather forecasts etc.), and quality knowledge (best farming practices, how to get rid of pests etc.) can partly explains farmers’ poverty.

2. Recognition at all levels that farmers should have access to quality information and knowledge

As SAGARPA puts it, “Knowledge, research and technological development have not been fully translated into innovations to increase productivity in the food industry because they are not linked effectively with the demands and needs of the farmers. […] The challenge is to promote the development of viable programs and projects with high social impact in order to stimulate the productive and creative capacities of farmers, thereby joining efforts to help those facing extreme poverty and severe food shortages”[3].

3. The impacts of mAgri have been proven!

In a world increasingly more connected, Mexican farmers should be able to have access to key information and knowledge. Timely access to information could help them sell at a higher price, find new buyers, know when rain is coming, or how to get a small loan. Knowledge also means access to new farming techniques to increase their productivity and improve the quality of their produce – and a way out of poverty.

A well deployed mobile for agriculture (mAgri) initiative such as Esoko has shown to increase farmers’ revenue by nine per cent[4] and their productivity by 11 per cent[5] – even using basic cellphones! Esoko has operated in Africa for over eight years improving farmers’ quality of life by sending market prices, weather alerts and agricultural best practices – amongst other information – to farmers’ mobiles by SMS and through a call center. SMS? Call center? Yes, neither of those are the latest technology, but they do work in rural areas provided they are used to disseminate high quality content.

4. Good, ‘basic’ connections in rural areas

One might say that if farmers do not have access to such information and knowledge, it is because they are disconnected from the world. Although that may be true in other regions of the world, 60 per cent of people living in rural areas have access to a mobile phone in Mexico[6], most of them being basic mobile phones.

It is probably too early for an app-based mAgri initiative in Mexico. According to the GSMA Intelligence report ‘Country overview Mexico – Mobile driving growth, innovation and opportunity’, by the end of 2015, 36 per cent of the Mexican population had subscribed to mobile broadband services (3G and above), up from seven per cent in 2010. There are still around six million people not covered by a mobile broadband network, most of whom live in remote or poor areas. Most importantly however, 59 per cent of the population, or over 70 million people, are covered by a mobile broadband network but don´t subscribe. These people are most likely to be in lower income groups for whom affordability is still an impediment, but lack of digital skills and absence of locally relevant content are considered the main barriers for digital inclusion, and mAgri projects can help close that gap. A focus on mAgri technologies that work in rural areas (such as SMS, IVR and call centers) should be favoured and will allow for farmers to take advantage of the benefits of mobile connectivity.

5. High literacy

Mexico has a literacy rate of 93 per cent[7] and the great majority of Mexican people speak and read Spanish, making it favourable to deploy SMS-based mAgri projects at a national level. And for those that cannot read well or only speak one of the 68 distinct indigenous languages in Mexico, there is the possibility to deploy tailored-made IVR and call centers like Esoko has done in Africa.

6. Available quality research for content development

Mexico is a world leader in terms of climate and ecosystem diversity and has been recognised by the U.N. Environment Program as one of the 17 ‘megadiverse’ countries. This could be perceived as a high challenge to develop precise and quality content for farmers at a national level. The good news is that Mexico also enjoys renowned universities and research centers such as Chapingo Autonoma University or CIMMYT which can be of great help with the development of high quality content for farmers.

7. A nascent and active ‘ICT for agri’ community

It is not impossible to develop mAgri in Mexico as MásAgro Móvil and DigitalICS have already proven it. If one looks deeper into the Mexican tech and agriculture ecosystems, there are several other ICT initiatives that have emerged to provide quality information and knowledge to farmers. For example, SI-Agro by Compu Campo is a high-end geographical service of agricultural information in the cloud for the capture, processing, and analysis of technical and economic information at plot level. SAGARPA and the Ministry of Economy have set up a phone number to give farmers access to market price information. Also, SAGARPA recently released three mobile apps for farmers: Sagarpa Apoyos, Sagarpa Produce and Sagarpa Mercados, whose objectives are to connect farmers with buyers, help them with their crops, and provide information about SAGARPA programs.

The Esoko platform from Africa was also launched in Mexico in 2015 under the brand ‘Esoko México’ to provide high value content to Mexican farmers through SMS, a call center and an app; Esoko is now the technology platform linking the MásAgro Móvil program to farmers. And there are many more actors – including Maxi Terra, SIAFESON, and SIAFEG – that aim to improve Mexican farmers’ quality of life using high-quality content and technology.

Farmers’ needs are huge and the positive impacts of mAgri are proven. Despite the many challenges and barriers, the context has been increasingly favourable for the deployment of mAgri in Mexico. We cannot wait for the conditions to improve on their own before developing quality content and information technologies for farmers in Mexico. Collaboration amongst all current and potential actors will be key if we want farmers to improve their lives and we at Esoko México are happy to lead these efforts.

[1] Source: SAGARPA: Diagnóstico del sector rural y pesquero de México 2012
[2] Source: subsidiosalcampo.org.mx
[3] Source: Translated from SAGARPA: Diagnóstico del sector rural y pesquero de México 2012
[4] Source: Hildebrandt et al. (March 2016), “Price Information: Inter-village networks, and bargaining spillovers”: Experimental Evidence from Ghana,
[5] Source: Kremer et al. (March 2014), Harnessing ICT to Increase Agricultural Production: Evidence From Kenya
[6] Source: Elaborated with information from INEGI based on ENIGH, 2014
[7] Source: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SE.ADT.LITR.ZS

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GSMA announces first details for Mobile 360 Series – Latin America 2016

The GSMA today outlined the first details of the 2016 Mobile 360 Series – Latin America conference, which will take place 20-22 September at the Hyatt Regency in Mexico City. The thought leadership conference, which forms part of the 2016 GSMA Mobile 360 Series of events, will highlight the latest innovations in the region and will feature experts from leading mobile operators, ecosystem players and companies in adjacent industry sectors.

“Mobile is making a vital contribution to economic growth in Latin America, as well as tackling a range of social challenges, such as closing the digital divide and bringing financial inclusion to previously underserved populations,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “However, the rapid adoption of more advanced devices and higher speed network coverage means that mobile technology has the potential to play a much more significant role in the future. Mobile 360 – Latin America will convene decision makers from across the industry to discuss how mobile will support future innovation”.

Mobile 360 – Latin America will address the main opportunities and challenges facing the mobile industry today. Delegates will have the opportunity to explore and discuss key drivers of innovation in the region, including the Internet of Things, connected cars, mobile identity, mobile money, 5G, media and advertising, among others.

Conference Programme

The Mobile 360 – Latin America conference programme will offer perspectives from across the mobile and technology landscape. The first two days will feature a series of high-level presentations and panel discussions on the most pressing trends and issues in mobile, while day three will incorporate the GSMA Latin America Plenary No. 44 for GSMA members, with a series of themed workshops presented by GSMA Latin America Working Groups. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss more in-depth technical, regulatory and commercial aspects of new and existing services.

Confirmed speakers to date include:

  • Daniel Hajj Aboumrad, CEO, América Móvil
  • Alejandro Magaña, CEO of Transfer, América Móvil
  • Sergio Collazo, Value Added Services Engineering Manager for Mexico and América Móvil
  • Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO, AT&T Mexico
  • Jordi Botifoll, President, Latin America Theater, Cisco
  • Jeffery McElfresh, President, DirecTV Latin America
  • Jaime Aparicio, Regional Managing Director, Easy Taxi
  • Sergio Quiroga da Cunha, Head of Region Latin America, Ericsson
  • Laila Robak, Vice President, Latin America and Caribbean, GlobalSign
  • Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA
  • Sebastian Cabello, Head of Latin America, GSMA
  • Alex Sayago, Director, Sales and Marketing Latin America, John Deere
  • Gustavo Mansur, Business Development, Skype, Bing and Office, Microsoft
  • Mauricio Ramos, CEO, Millicom
  • David Gilarranz, Vice President, Digital and Innovation, Millicom
  • Dimitri Diliani, Head of Latin America, Nokia
  • Martin Wessel, Head of Technology Evolution, Personal Argentina
  • Salvador Blasco, Vice President, Country Head, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Mexico
  • Mary Clark, Chief Marketing Officer, Syniverse
  • Matías Botbol, CEO, Taringa!
  • Oscar Mancebo Ortiz, Head of Mobile Connect, Telefónica
  • Carlos Alberto Morales, CEO, Telefónica Mexico
  • Daniel Barrientos, Vice President, Digital and Mobile Financial Services, Tigo El Salvador (Millicom)
  • Luis Minoru, Chief Strategy Officer, TIM Brasil
  • Daniel Fuchs, Chief Innovation Officer, Vodafone Brazil
  • Mariano Amartino, Global CEO, Wayra

Calling All Start-Ups!

Underlining this year’s focus on innovation, the conference will feature the “Innovation Showcase” with a panel discussion of venture capitalists, investors and industry experts sharing their views on what makes a successful telecommunications venture today. A number of Latin American start-ups will get the chance to pitch their companies to the expert panel and audience, with the winner being granted the exciting opportunity to speak at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona.

Mobile 360 – Latin America Event Sponsors and Media Partners

América Móvil and Telcel have been confirmed as Host Sponsors for the event, AT&T as Platinum Sponsor, Ericsson and Telefonica as Gold Sponsors and BICS, Digital Turbine, Planetary Power and Syniverse as Silver Sponsors. Huawei is the Global Industry Supporter for the full Mobile 360 Series of conferences taking place throughout 2016. Media partners for the conference include BIT Magazine, Grupo Eletrolar, Mediatelecom and Silicon Week.

Registration for Mobile 360 – Latin America

Registration for Mobile 360 – Latin America is now open; individuals wishing to attend should visit www.mobile360series.com/latin-america/#register. For a limited period, attendees can purchase a conference pass at a 25 per cent discount.

Get Involved at Mobile 360 – Latin America

The 2016 GSMA Mobile 360 Series – Latin America is the fourth in a series of seven industry-focused events held in major cities across the world. For more information, including how to attend or exhibit, visit http://www.mobile360series.com/latin-america/. Follow the latest developments and updates on Mobile 360 – Latin America on Twitter, using the #m360LatAm hashtag or following @GSMA, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Mobile360Series and LinkedIn on www.linkedin.com/company/gsma-mobile-360-series.

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Regulatory modernisation necessary to understand Latin American digital ecosystem key topic at CLT 2016

The successful fourth Latin American Telecommunications Congress (CLT) 2016, held in Cancún, brought together senior executives in the Latin American digital ecosystem during four days of activities, as they interacted with key ICT ministers and representatives of telecommunications regulatory bodies from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Uruguay. More than 450 participants from 31 countries addressed the future regulation of the digital ecosystem as the central topic of the event in Cancún, at a time when the pace of regulatory changes is not keeping up with the speed of change in the digital world.

The CLT16 plenary session began on Monday 20 June with a keynote by Serafino Abate,CTL16 01 Director of Competition Economics, GSMA, on the “New regulatory framework for the digital ecosystem” and its competitive dynamics. According to Abate, “The future regulatory framework should reduce regulatory asymmetries, promote innovation in the context of dynamic competition and allow the objectives of policy public and governments to be achieved in the most effective way possible for the mobile industry”. View the full presentation here.

The talk by Abate was an introduction for the panel “Challenges for future regulation”, where the participants were Carlos López Blanco, General Director of Public Affairs and Regulation, Telefónica; Héctor Huici, Secretary of ICT, Argentina; Daniel Bernal, Director of Regulatory Affairs, América Móvil; Pedro Huichalaf, Undersecretary of Telecommunications, Chile; and Ernesto Nemer Álvarez, Attorney, Office of the Federal Attorney for Consumer Protection, Mexico. See a summary of the keynote here.

The first day of the CLT16 plenary session also included a keynote by Dr Mohamed CTL16 03Madkour, Global Vice President of wireless network marketing, Huawei, on how to achieve a better connected Latin America, and a discussion panel on the internet in the next five years, with participants Kathy Brown, ISOC; FTI commissioner Mario Fromow; Executive Secretary of CITEL, Oscar León; and representatives from LACNIC, ICANN, Google and Telefónica. See a summary of the first day of CLT here.

Challenges for the digital development of Latin America

 

On the second day of CLT16, public-private debate continued with panels on “Investments CTL16 02in telecommunications to close the digital divide”, the potential for the development of a single digital market in Latin America, and the impact of WRC15 on mobile services and broadcasting. Mobile industry representatives taking part in the debate included Sebastián Kaplan, Director of Regulatory Affairs for Latin America, Millicom; Alejandro Cantú, General Counsel, América Móvil; Daniel Rios, Director of Public Policy, AT&T; and José Juan Haro, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Telefónica.

The CLT16 plenary session ended with a high level session on the “Challenges for the digital development of Latin America”, moderated by Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America. The participants were Mónica Aspe, Undersecretary of Communications, Secretariat of Communications and Transport, Mexico; David Luna, ICT Minister, Colombia; Augusto Espín, Telecommunications and Information Society Minister, Ecuador; Eduardo Caride, President, Telefónica Hispanoamérica; Carlos Slim Domit, Chairman of the Board of Directors, América Móvil; Germán Darío Arias Pimienta, President of Regulatel and Executive Director of CRC Colombia; Gabriel Contreras, President of FTI; and Mario Cimoli, CEPAL.

“Investment in telecommunications is top out of various activities, but it’s the second highest tax generating industry and in some countries smartphones are still considered a luxury item and are subject to special taxes,” said Caride.

According to Slim Domit, “The demand for data doubles every year and therefore the industry needs sufficient spectrum, productive investments and flexible regulatory conditions”. See the summary of the second day of CLT here.

OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy

 

Held alongside CLT16, the 2016 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was attended by the 34 OECD member countries, as well as invited countries, industry stakeholders and international civil organisations. On Tuesday 21, a launch was held for the document “Broadband Policies for Latin America and the Caribbean: A Digital Economy Toolkit”, where Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America, was one of the speakers representing the industry.

Contribution of the mobile ecosystem to Mexico’s economy

 

Mexico took centre stage on the third day of CLT16, which included a seminar organised by SCT to evaluate the country’s telecommunications reform. The participants were Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, Secretary of Communications and Transport, Mexico; Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of the ITU; and Mónica Aspe, Undersecretary of Communications, Secretariat of Communications and Transport, Mexico.

During the seminar a new report by the GSMA, “Country Overview Mexico: Mobile driving growth, innovation and opportunity”, was launched. The report highlights how Mexico’s mobile market is boosting productivity and economic growth. In 2015, the overall contribution of mobile was more than $40 billion, accounting for almost 3.5 per cent of the country’s total GDP. This percentage includes direct and indirect contributions, as well as productivity and efficiency gains through the use of mobile technology. The mobile ecosystem also created some 335,000 jobs.

Organisers and regional forums

 

The organisers of CLT16 were the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Secretariat of Communications and Transport of Mexico (SCT), CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, the GSMA (the global association of the mobile ecosystem) and the Inter-American Association of Telecommunications Companies (ASIET).

The regional meeting hosted other activities on Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 June, such as the workshop on Competition Policy in the Digital Age by the Digital Ecosystem Capacity Building programme, the Annual Conference of CPR Latam (the cross-disciplinary network of research centres uniting the leading ICT academics in the region) and the Board of the Regional Technical Commission of Telecommunications (Comtelca). The meeting of REGULATEL, the Latin American Forum of Telecommunications Regulators, was also held alongside CLT.

 

Recursos

 

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Digital Ecosystem Capacity Building launches new e-learning platform for Latin American regulators

The Digital Ecosystem Capacity Building (CE-Digital) programme took the opportunity on 22 June at the Latin American Telecommunication Congress 2016 (CLT 2016) in Cancun, Mexico, to host the workshop “Competition Policy in the Digital Age”, delivered by telecommunications expert Ernesto Flores-Roux. The workshop was attended by more than 60 participants including regulatory bodies members, policy makers and digital ecosystem players from El Salvador, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Panama, Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Guatemala.

postimg-cedigital_img3To reach a larger number of participants, CE-Digital recently launched the programme’s new e-learning portal. The free online courses provided for Information and Communications (ITC) regulators and policymakers through this platform will cover the latest developments in the telecommunication industry and its public policy and regulatory frameworks.

CE-Digital is an initiative organised by CAF – Development Bank of Latin America, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in its role as technical secretariat of eLAC, and the GSMA. The programme aims to provide training opportunities to ICT regulators and policymakers from countries in the region.

postimg-cedigital_img1Participants in the launch of the e-learning portal included Sandra Conde, Director of Analysis and Sectoral Programming, CAF; Mauricio Agudelo, Senior Specialist Telecom, CAF; Sebastian Cabello, GSMA Head of Latin America; and Alejandro Patiño, Coordinator of the Regional Broadband Observatory, eLAC. All of them highlighted the significant contribution of this initiative, which will allow regulators and policymakers across the region to receive training in the most important topics of the industry from their desktops.

The first online course available will be “Internet Governance Principles”, from 18 July to 14 August. Registration for this course is now open at www.cedigital.org. Courses are free of charge and the only requirement is that participants must be representatives from government or regulatory entities. In addition, participants will receive a certificate of accreditation on completion of their course.

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GSMA and CRC agree to implement Device Check service in Colombia

The Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) of Colombia and GSMA Latin America have agreed to strengthen joint efforts to tackle handset theft in Colombia by providing mobile users with a tool to check whether a device they are about to buy has been reported stolen.

The institutional agreement was signed during Latin American Telecommunications Congress (CLT) 2016 between Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America; German Darío Arias, Executive Director, CRC; Juan Manuel Wilches, Expert Commissioner, CRC; and Lucas Gallitto, Technology and Policy Adviser, GSMA. The agreement included the following points:

  • Device Check service: The GSMA IMEI Device Check service will allow Colombian users to check on the CRC website to see whether a device they are about to buy has been reported stolen anywhere in the world by consulting the GSMA’s IMEI database. The CRC will start implementing the service in the next few days and it is expected to be operative in 60 days.
  • List of type allocation codes: The Colombian government will now have access to the list of type allocation codes (TACs) of mobile devices that have been through the GSMA’s IMEI allocation process. This will give the Colombian government an overview of approved mobile phones in accordance with recent regulations passed by the CRC. Access to the TAC list has been implemented with immediate effect after the signing of the agreement.

These actions have been possible because mobile operators in Colombia are connected to the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) global database of the GSMA, allowing them to exchange information about stolen mobile devices so a cell phone can be blocked or disabled on other networks. The blacklist – GSMA IMEI database – is updated every day through reports from more than 106 operators around the world, including 53 operators in 17 Latin American countries.

“Device Check is a key tool to empower mobile users in Colombia so they can now avoid aiding crime, as they can find out in real time if a mobile they are about to buy has been stolen,” said Cabello. This tool has been implemented with enormous success in Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina and Brazil, and will soon be implemented in other countries in the region.

“Mobile phone theft is a plague that can be fought only by joint collaboration actions between operators, consumers, government and manufacturers,” said the Head of GSMA Latin America.

At the beginning of 2016, mobile operators and the GSMA launched the “We Care Colombia” campaign, which included a pledge by the industry to work with the National Police of Colombia in the fight against device theft by sharing technical, administrative, operational, financial and human resources.

Handset theft has grown considerably in Colombia in recent years, with more than one million terminals stolen in 2014. However, only 45,783 thefts were reported to the National Police, making it important to raise awareness so the public will report stolen or lost mobile devices. Colombia’s Ministry of ICT has also launched the campaign NoMásCelusRobados (NoMoreStolenHandsets).

 

Recursos

For more information about handset theft in Latin America, please visit our website section.

 

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Mobile ecosystem adds $40 billion in value to Mexico economy, finds new GSMA study

Mobile Powering Wave of Innovation and Digital Investment in Mexico, Driving Economic Growth and Productivity

The mobile industry in Mexico generated $40 billion in value-added terms last year, accounting for almost 3.5 per cent of the country’s GDP, according to a new GSMA report. ‘Country Overview: Mexico – Mobile Driving Growth, Innovation and Opportunity’, authored by GSMA Intelligence, was published today at the Congreso Latinoamericano de Telecomunicaciones 2016 (CLT16), being held 20-23 June 2016 in Cancun, Mexico.

The study finds that recent market reforms in Mexico have served to increase mobile affordability, competition and investment. This has resulted in rising subscriber penetration levels and accelerated uptake of advanced mobile services and smartphones.

GSMA Intelligence forecasts that the total contribution of the mobile sector to the Mexico economy will increase from $40 billion in 2015 (3.5 per cent of GDP) to $52 billion by 2020, representing 3.8 per cent of projected GDP by this point. This GDP impact includes both direct and indirect contributions, and the productivity gains made possible by mobile technology and services. Approximately 335,000 jobs were supported by Mexico’s mobile industry last year, including 170,000 directly by the mobile ecosystem and approximately 165,000 indirectly in other sectors of the economy.

postimg-mexico2016-EN

“Mexico’s mobile ecosystem has expanded rapidly over recent years, helping to create an environment of investment and innovation,” said Sebastian Cabello, Head of Latin America at the GSMA. “Mobile drives significant improvements in productivity and efficiency for workers and firms, providing faster and easier access to information, saving money and time, and facilitating the increased digitisation of businesses across many sectors of the Mexican economy.”

Rapid Subscriber Growth and 4G Momentum Out to 2020

Mexico is the second-largest mobile market in Latin America after Brazil. There were 88 million unique mobile subscribers [1] in Mexico at the end of 2015, representing 69 per cent of the population. There were 104 million total mobile connections [2] in Mexico by this point – with smartphones accounting for half of connections. Smartphones are forecast to account for 70 per cent of the 129 million connections expected by 2020.

Mexico’s mobile operators are expected to invest $11 billion between 2016 and 2020, focusing particularly on building-out 4G network coverage. It is forecast that national 4G coverage (as a percentage of the population) will rise from 52 per cent in 2015 to 85 per cent by 2020.

Mobile Driving Mexico’s Start-Up and M2M Sectors

Mexico is considered to have one of the most dynamic start-up scenes in Latin America, attracting a high share of risk capital relative to its regional peers. The report highlights that in the last two years, Mexico received more than $1.7 billion in venture capital (VC) funding, the second-highest investment in Latin America (behind Brazil) and representing about a third of all VC funding in the region. Mobile is considered the key technology in helping Mexico realise its innovation potential, supporting the development of entrepreneurs and start-ups. Almost 70 per cent of VC investment in Mexico over the last two years concerned deals in the internet and mobile sectors.

Mexico’s mobile operators are increasingly becoming involved in emerging areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M), digital commerce, mobile security and all-IP communications. M2M technology is being introduced into several sectors, for example in smart meters, digital signage, telecare, remote monitoring, mobile payments and connected cars. The number of cellular M2M connections in Mexico is forecast to more than triple over the next five years, increasing from 4 million in 2015 to 13 million by 2020.

Download full report here
cover-mexico2016-EN

 

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1: A unique mobile subscriber represents an individual that can account for multiple mobile connections (SIM cards).
2: A mobile connection refers to an active SIM card registered with a mobile network, excluding M2M connections.

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SEGF meeting in Colombia: Vulnerabilities in the signalling system and complexities associated with user privacy among key topics

About 71 high level executives representing 13 national mobile operators and 12 global companies in the mobile ecosystem attended the meeting of the GSMA Latin America Security & Fraud Working Group (SEGF) held on 18 and 19 March in Bogotá, Colombia. Hosted by Araxxe, Syniverse and Xura and attended by representatives from 13 countries, the meeting addressed collaboration and the common agenda of the industry to strengthen cyber security, focusing on users and fraud prevention in mobile networks.

Persistent threats, advanced malware and handset theft were some of the topics on which information was exchanged and preventive actions for the ecosystem were recommended. “Since the security holes in the SS7 protocol were exposed, the GSMA has been carrying out joint actions in high level forums such as the SEGF in Latin America to coordinate monitoring of our members’ networks, looking for intrusions or abuse in the signalling system,” said James Moran, Global Security Director of the GSMA.

During the SEGF meeting, the combined actions of the Latin American mobile industry to fight the plague of handset theft in the region were highlighted. It was agreed to continue strengthening the GSMA IMEI database and reinforcing information exchange through the database and collaboration with the justice and security agencies of the region’s governments.

The SEGF meeting began with extensive discussion about the main security matters on the mobile ecosystem agenda among representatives from mobile operators in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. Discussion was led by Luis Miguel Hurtado, Fraud Prevention Manager, Telefónica, and José Gilberto Fragoso, Fraud Prevention and IT Security Manager, América Móvil, chair and deputy chair of the SEGF Working Group.

Other items on the SEGF working agenda included the use of security intelligence tools and internal fraud, IoT security, SIM card security and bank fraud, and mobile money security.

The Bogotá meeting was the first this year for the SEGF working group, which brings together security experts from the Latin American telecommunications industry. The GSMA has four working groups, headed by the executives of GSMA member companies. The SEGF will meet again at Mobile 360 Latin America, in Mexico City, from 20 to 22 September 2016.

Resources

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Eletrobras partners with Telefonica Vivo to improve energy management in Brazil

Tackling Brazil’s energy challenge through smart metering

Brazil is a champion when it comes to electrification in the region, with almost 99% grid coverage across urban and rural areas. The specific energy challenge that Brazil faces is ensuring that utilities distribution networks are efficient where utilities suffer from high non-technical losses of up to 20% , mainly due to theft of electricity, vandalism and inefficient billing.

Conscious of these inefficiencies and the resulting revenue losses, distribution companies are adopting smart mobile technologies to tackle the country’s energy access challenges. This is the case of Eletrobras – Brazil’s utility company. In 2012, Eletrobras launched the project Energia +, in partnership with the World Bank, to improve their performance in the six Northern states with the highest non-technical losses (10% to 20%): Amazonas, Alagoas, Acre, Piauí, Rondônia and Roraima.

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Utility-MNO partnership

As part of the project, in 2014, Eletrobras contracted a consortium formed of Siemens, Itron and Telemont to manage their Advanced Metering Infrastructure bid, aimed at upgrading the network. The Mobile Network Operator (MNOs) Telefonica Vivo was selected out of a pool of tenders to provide machine-to-machine (M2M) cellular connectivity as well as the operation and maintenance management platform for Eletrobras’ smart grid roll-out.

 

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Figure 1: MNO smart solution business offering


Benefits for Eletrobras of this partnership

Some of the main benefits for Eletrobras from their partnership with Vivo are:

• Energy loss reduction
• Improved quality of service
• Institutional strengthening

(Source: Telefonica, M2M case study)


Looking ahead: a broader MNO offering for utilities

As Figure 1 highlights, MNOs can provide a full suite of enabling services targeted for smart solutions that can be leveraged by electricity utilities. Data management, providing service delivery and customer relationship management platforms are some of the core competences of MNOs, beyond connectivity.

Further benefits for utilities

Mobile enabling services can tackle utilities’ main inefficiencies, notably billing and collection of payments as well as improving communication between the utility and its customers.

Upgrading billing systems and improving revenue recovery

In Brazil, collection of energy consumption data is still manual – which is a low cost option given the inexpensive labour – and bills are sent via the post. In this context, distribution companies are reluctant to change and invest in more efficient, smart solutions. However, mobile services such as mobile payments or M2M technology, could help upgrade and optimize these inefficient and often inaccurate systems and in turn, improve revenue recovery.

Strengthening customer relationship management and encouraging better repayment rates

There is also a need to improve the relationship between the customer and the distribution company, which could be achieved through better information sharing and participation of the customer using mobile services as simple as SMS. While a simple service, better communication with the customer can strengthen the quality of the service, improve overall customer satisfaction and encourage customers to pay for their electricity bills.

While MNOs continue to focus on their core competency – connectivity – there is an opportunity to offer other enabling services, building on connectivity. MNOs, such as Vivo, can provide best in class services based on strong partnerships, deep expertise in data management and efficient service delivery, beyond providing its technology.

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Colombia will have more than 44 million mobile broadband connections by 2020

The mobile phone market in Colombia, one of the region’s fastest-growing major markets, is set to register strong growth in mobile broadband and M2M over the remainder of the decade.

According to GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA, Colombia had more than 3.8 million 4G connections at the end of 2015, a figure forecast to exceed 20 million by 2020. In percentage terms, 4G accounted for 8 per cent of Colombia’s 51 million mobile connections (excluding M2M) in 2015. It is forecast that 4G will account for 32 per cent of the expected 64 million total connections in Colombia by 2020.

Mobile broadband, which includes 3G and 4G, reached more than 24 million connections in 2015 – roughly 47 per cent of the total. GSMA Intelligence forecasts that by 2020, mobile broadband connections will reach 45 million, accounting for 70 per cent of total connections.

“Mobile broadband is the primary method of delivering affordable internet access across the Latin America and Caribbean region,” said Sebastian Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America. “Digital inclusion can deliver a range of social and economic benefits by bringing communications services to previously unconnected populations. The GSMA is actively working with mobile operators, governments and the wider international development community to design and implement commercially sustainable and scalable initiatives that can unlock the key supply-side and demand-side barriers to adoption of mobile internet services”.

This growth trend is common to most Latin American countries, although the speed of adoption in Colombia is remarkable. As in other countries across the region, mobile broadband growth corresponds to rising smartphone adoption. Smartphones represented 37 per cent of total Colombia mobile connections in 2015 and are forecast to represent over two thirds of the total by 2020.

The GSMA Intelligence data also points to strong growth in Colombia’s M2M market. The number of cellular M2M connections in the country are forecast to more than double over the next five years, increasing from 1.5 million today to 3.7 million by 2020.

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Mobile operators report on progress in We Care Mexico commitments and launch new initiatives

AT&T, Telcel and Telefónica Movistar have ratified the principles of collaboration with the campaign coordinated by the GSMA and ANATEL to protect mobile users with the support of the Federal Telecommunications Institute

Mexico’s mobile operators and the GSMA, the global association of the mobile ecosystem, have summarised the outcomes of the programmes in the We Care Mexico campaign, launched just over a year ago:

  • Reducing handset theft: Theft of mobile handsets remains one of Mexico’s most common crimes: in 2015 users reported 609,547 lost or stolen handsets, an increase of 37.8% on 2014. As part of the We Care Mexico campaign, the GSMA’s IMEI Device Check system was implemented. This system enables mobile phone users to check the IFT website to see if a handset has been included on the global list of stolen mobile devices. From May 2015 to March 2016, more than 816,000 checks were made. This figure rose from little more than 10,000 a month initially to 101,000 in March 2016
  • Promoting children’s rights: Mexico’s mobile operators are working with the Citizens Council of Mexico City to help protect children by facilitating access to important information and providing a way for them to report abuse and receive guidance from the appropriate authorities. The free helpline *5533 was set up for this purpose. The Council has received 5,389 calls reporting bullying, 673 of them in 2015 alone, and 396 calls about child abuse and human trafficking involving children were registered in 2015.
  • Supporting people with disabilities: ANATEL and mobile operators signed an agreement with the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) to facilitate access from its websites to the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative. This system enables users to look up and identify mobile devices in their region that offer functions designed to assist people with some kind of disability. The FTI joined the programme, launching the Catalogue of Accessible Mobile Devices. Mobile operators continue to work to ensure the necessary information and access to qualified personnel are available through their main customer service centres, and in particular on their websites and by electronic means, for users who require assistance to subscribe to services.
  • Protecting the environment: From 2013 to the end of 2015, the Green Programme and the “Give Your Old Cell Phone a New Purpose” campaign recycled more than 1.8 million mobile handsets and 558 tonnes of accessories, such as batteries and chargers. To continue reinforcing this effort, the first free mobile app will be launched to enable users to locate the 479 collection boxes made available throughout the country by mobile operators and equipment manufacturers.

photo-wc_mx2-01Today’s announcement at the Centre for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE) was attended by Gabriel Contreras, President of the FTI, Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America, Enrique Leiva, President of ANATEL, Judith Mariscal, Director of the Telecom-CIDE Programme, and Gabriel Székely, Director General of ANATEL.

 

 

The GSMA’s We Care Mexico campaign was launched in February 2015. AT&T, Movistar and Telcel, working together under the National Association of Telecommunications, Mexico, today announced new programmes:

Preventing and responding to natural disasters

 

Every year, Mexico suffers the impact of cyclones and hurricanes in the Pacific and the Caribbean Sea and on the Atlantic coast. Dozens of seismic movements are recorded in the enormous mountain ranges that cross the country. To mitigate the impact of these phenomena, Mexico’s mobile operates will work with the authorities to:

  • Collaborate with the competent authorities to take preventive actions to mitigate the impact of disturbing natural phenomena for mobile phone users and reinforce coordination during the stages of prevention, response and recovery in affected areas to save lives, reduce risks and provide an effective response to the population. This will involve defining procedures for the mobile sector to give priority to communications and messages in emergency or disaster situations during these stages.
  • Standardise messages from operators during emergencies to position the hashtag #NosImportaMéxico as a reference to provide efficient guidelines for the population.
  • Offer the federal authorities the opportunity to include a link on ANATEL and mobile operator websites to a list of shelters made available during natural phenomena so the population can locate them.

Implementation of national emergency number 911

 

photo-wc_mx2-03The Guidelines for Collaboration on Security and Justice Matters state that telecommunications companies and government entities will work together to unify and simplify user communications in emergencies. Several numbers for police, fire services, roadside assistance and other bodies will now be combined in a single number, 911.

In the mobile phone sector we are working on coordination and combined efforts with the security authorities to bring the 911 national emergency number into service. This initiative will be conducted with the Executive Secretariat of the National System of Public Security (SESNSP) and the FTI, and 911 is expected to be operating on mobile handsets soon. ANATEL and mobile operator websites will include detailed information about progress on their combined work and the implementation of initiatives throughout the country.

Gabriel Contreras, Comisionado Presidente del IFT, closing speech

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Launch of the CE-Digital programme for Latin America

In the city of Santiago, Chile, the CE-Digital programme for training in the Digital Ecosystem was launched in the last week of April. This initiative is jointly organized by CAF –Development Bank of Latin America-, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in its role as technical secretariat of eLAC and GSMA. The objective of this programme is to offer telecommunications training opportunities to regulators and policy makers in Latin America.

With the participation of the Undersecretary of Communications of Chile, Pedro Huichalaf, the launch of the CE-Digital programme took place on 25 April.

In the opening participated Fernando Rojas, Coordinator of the regional broadband observatory of ECLAC, Mauricio Agudelo, Senior telecommunications specialist of CAF and Sebastián Cabello, Head of Latin America of GSMA. The Undersecretariat of Chile, Pedro Huichalaf, provided an overview of the telecommunications sector in the country.

In his welcome address, Fernando Rojas highlighted the important role played by new technologies in the economic and social development of the region and in increasing inclusion and equity. “Promoting the development of ICTs in the region is critical and presents constant challenges to reduce the divide with developed countries; therefore, public policy and regulation must evolve along with these challenges, and it is in this context that CE-Digital is presented as a tool to promote the development of these technologies”.

Mauricio Agudelo emphasized that “the programme will be a tool to strengthen the skills of policymakers and regulators in the region thanks to the courses which offer the most updated knowledge on telecommunications”. Sebastian Cabello highlighted the relevance of a programme such as CE-Digital to “promote better regulatory understanding, which helps connect everything and everyone to a better future”.

During this week two training courses were also delivered: “Competition Policy in the Digital Age”, by the telecommunications expert Ernesto Flores-Roux, and “Internet of Things” by Stefano Nicoletti, M2M Regulatory Manager of the GSMA.

More than 50 participants attended the courses from ministries, undersecretariats and universities of the region.

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Mobile operators in Argentina launch mobile phone theft and child protection campaigns in partnership with GSMA

Claro, Telecom Personal and Telefonica Movistar Back GSMA’s Consumer Protection Initiatives; Argentina’s Mobile Ecosystem Contributes $21 Billion to National GDP

Argentina’s leading mobile operators are backing a new GSMA initiative focused on mobile consumer protection. Mobile operators Claro, Telecom Personal and Telefónica Movistar will work to tackle mobile device theft and promote protection against child sexual exploitation, the first time such a joint campaign has been undertaken in Argentina. The launch is backed by Argentina’s Ministry of Communications, the National Communications Agency (ENACOM), and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.

cover-argentina_ecosystem-ESThe launch of the consumer protection campaign coincides with a new report by GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA, which highlights the impact of Argentina’s mobile ecosystem on national GDP, jobs and socio-economic development. According to this report, it is calculated that Argentina’s mobile ecosystem contributed $21 billion to the country’s economy in 2015, equivalent to 3.7 per cent of national GDP. This contribution is forecast to reach $26 billion by 2020 (4.6 per cent of projected national GDP by this point) on the back of ongoing investments in mobile broadband networks and services. In addition, Argentina’s mobile ecosystem provides direct employment to approximately 65,000 people across the country.

“Our future challenge is to harness the scale and ubiquity of mobile in Argentina to continue delivering major economic and social benefits to the country, and provide a platform for business innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America. “Argentina’s small and medium enterprises now have an opportunity to build on this ecosystem in areas such as software, apps and local content, adding value and creating jobs.”

The new GSMA Intelligence report, Argentina: Impact of the Mobile Ecosystem: Perspectives and Opportunities, will be a resource for discussion for the new regulatory framework on communications. By working within a supportive regulatory environment that encourages investment, mobile operators in Argentina are set to invest almost $9 billion in building and expanding mobile broadband networks over the next five years. The number of 4G connections in Argentina is forecast to rise from 3 million in 2015 to 23 million by 2020.

Consumer protection campaign in Argentina
A cooperation agreement for the national launch of the GSMA’s We Care campaign in Argentina is being signed today by representatives from Claro, Telecom Personal and Telefónica Movistar. Representatives from ENACOM, the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights will act as witnesses of honour. The We Care campaign includes the following initiatives:

Reducing handset theft
Handset theft is a common crime in Argentina. Since 2013, Argentina’s mobile operators have been connected to the GSMA International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) global database, exchanging information about stolen mobile devices. ENACOM today agreed to implement the GSMA’s IMEI Device Check service, reinforcing measures underway to fight device theft. This system will allow Argentinean mobile users to check the ENACOM website in real time when buying a handset to check if it is on the global list of stolen mobile devices. The service will be available in the next 30 days.

“IMEI Device Check is essential to empower consumers so they are not aiding crime by buying a stolen mobile phone,” said Sebastián Cabello. “It has been implemented with enormous success in Mexico and will soon be implemented in other countries in the region. Mobile phone theft is a problem that can be fought only by joint collaboration actions between operators, consumers, government and manufacturers.”

Child protection
Argentina’s mobile operators will launch an information and awareness campaign to support the work of ‘Equipo Niñ@s (Child Team) against Sexual Exploitation and Grooming’, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights free national helpline available on 0800-222-1717 (137 in Buenos Aires), as part of the ‘Victims against Violence’ programme. Equipo Niñ@s includes professionals in psychology and social work that provide advice and assist people reporting abuse 24/7 throughout the country. The 0800-222-1717 helpline allows anyone to report instances of child or adolescent sexual exploitation or abuse in any form (e.g. grooming, child abuse images and prostitution, and child sexual tourism). Companies will support Equipo Niñ@s by implementing awareness-raising activities via their retail points of sale and websites to publicise the free helpline and the need to report abuse.

Evento Nos Importa Argentina

Representatives from the operators involved in the initiative offered the following comments at today’s launch:

“Claro considers it very important to jointly work with the GSMA on the implementation of the We Care campaign, which will translate into actions that will provide a more secure and reliable environment for children, and deliver the tools necessary to identify and control the commercialisation and use of stolen mobile devices”.
Julio Carlos Porras Zadik, Director General, Claro Argentina

“At Personal we are proud to be part of this joint industry initiative, which has its focus on the public-private cooperation to build a better service environment, increasingly safe and reliable for users. We are aware of the fundamental role that our industry plays in the daily life of society, and that is why, with the GSMA, we provide to our customers robust tools that contribute to the safe use of our services. Our main goal is to be close to our customers, delivering the services they need and facilitating their interaction with the world.”
Elisabetta Ripa, Executive Director General, Telecom Group

“In addition to supporting the development of businesses with innovative services, Telefónica, as a socially responsible company, is committed to the welfare of society. For many years we have been working towards the protection and defence of children’s rights via public welfare initiatives, both independently and collaboratively. We are committed to finding solutions to specific social problems that violate these rights by providing our technological capabilities to contribute to an environment that promotes the healthy development of children and adolescents, in conditions of freedom and dignity.”
Federico Rava, President, Telefonica Argentina

The GSMA’s We Care campaign is an initiative backed by leading mobile operators in Latin America in a bid to ensure all their users can enjoy the life-changing benefits of mobile technology in a safe and secure environment. Operators have decided to join forces as an industry and take on a series of commitments in every country in the region where mobile phones and networks can provide solutions to social problems. We Care has already been launched with several initiatives in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua, and will continue to expand throughout the region.

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REGU meeting in Buenos Aires discusses new regulatory framework for Latin American digital ecosystem

The competitive dynamics of the digital ecosystem and the design of a new regulatory framework were the key topics of discussion and analysis at the first meeting for the year of GSMA Latin America’s Regulatory Working Group (REGU), held on 5 and 6 April in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Attendees at the REGU meeting included 33 leading executives from 17 mobile operators in 13 Latin American countries responsible for regulatory, legal and public affairs matters.

“The rise of new players in the digital ecosystem, delivering services previously provided by telecommunications companies, has made us rethink the regulatory framework in which these competitive services coexist. Regulation must be dynamic so it can adapt to these changes in services and technologies and avoid becoming rapidly out of date. The key also lies in establishing predictable rules of the game that encourage companies to intensify investments, innovate, and keep connecting people,” said Matías Fernández Díaz, GSMA Latin America Regulatory Manager, at the meeting.

According to the recent report “A new regulatory framework for the digital ecosystem” by NERA Economic Consulting, one of the main challenges faced by regulation of the digital ecosystem is the difficulty that prescriptive, ex ante regulatory regimes have in keeping pace with the dynamism of digital products and markets, resulting in excessive and inefficient regulation.

The REGU meeting began with extensive discussion about the most important regulatory matters on the mobile ecosystem agenda among representatives of mobile operators from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. The discussion was led by REGU working group Chair Cristian Sepúlveda, Institutional and Strategic Relations Manager at Entel Chile, and Deputy Chair Andrea López Salloun, Regulatory Manager with Telecom Argentina Group.

Other items on the REGU working agenda were mobile money regulation; privacy and security in the mobile ecosystem; digital inclusion; investment, competition and the impact on quality of service; and innovation and new business models in the era of convergence.

The REGU meeting was held alongside the seminar “Mobile ecosystem in Argentina: impact, innovation and collaboration effort”, where the GSMA Intelligence report on Argentina was presented. The report reveals that Argentina’s mobile ecosystem contributed $21 billion to the economy in 2015, accounting for 3.7% of GDP. The meeting included the launch of the We Care Argentina, campaign, where mobile operators Claro, Telecom Personal and Telefónica Movistar announced initiatives against mobile phone theft and in favour of child protection, in collaboration with Argentina’s Ministry of Communications, the National Communications Agency (ENACOM) and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.

The Buenos Aires meeting was the first this year for the REGU working group, which brings together Latin American experts in regulating the telecommunications industry. The GSMA has four working groups, headed by the executives of GSMA member companies. The REGU will meet again at Mobile 360 Latin America, in Mexico City, from 20 to 22 September 2016.

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BARG LA meeting in Chile focuses on innovation of the mobile ecosystem towards VoLTE roaming

About 145 high level executives representing 21 Chilean mobile operators and 21 global companies in the mobile ecosystem attended the meeting of the GSMA Latin America Billing & Roaming Working Group (BARG LA), held on 28 and 29 March in Santiago de Chile. Hosted by Entel and Telefónica Chile the meeting brought together attendees from 17 countries who focused on the innovations needed to keep improving roaming both technologically and commercially.

The BARG LA meeting was opened by the Undersecretary for Telecommunications of Chile, Pedro Huichalaf Roa, who spoke about the state of telecommunications in Chile and highlighted the importance of public-private collaboration. Also at the opening were Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America, Manuel Araya, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs Manager at Entel, and Fernando Saiz, Director of Strategic Planning and Regulatory Affairs at Telefónica Chile.

VoLTE Roaming was the main technology discussed at the meeting, where the focus was on global standards, interconnection requirements and Cloud VoLTE solutions. Among the future benefits of VoLTE Roaming are: more efficient use of spectrum than in traditional voice services and lower CAPEX; better call experience and improved connection time; can be deployed with video calls over LTE and RCS multimedia services; increases battery life by 40 per cent (compared with VoIP).

Claudio Reyes, from Antel Uruguay and Agustín Barría from Telefónica Chile, Chair and Deputy Chair of BARG LA, led the group during these two days of work, covering an extensive agenda that also addressed the following topics:

• Quality of service in Roaming: Tests, GSMA’s LTE GRQ Project
• Roam like at home: implementations in Latin America and Europe
• Grey routes and fraud
• Lessons learned from World Cup Brazil 2014 – the case of VIVO
• The future of the SIM Card: eSIM prospects
• Business cases: optimising A2P SMS and marketing strategies

Another key topic, wholesale services, was discussed by a panel of operators who addressed the present and future of international traffic. The members of the panel were Alfredo Fernandez, Head of Telefónica International Wholesale Services, Alan Ward, Head of Wholesale Services at Entel Chile, and Chris Bannister, CEO of WOM. The panel stressed that obtaining fair roaming rates in Latin America for consumers, based on adjustments in the wholesale market, is a strategic issue for the industry. It also concluded that reaching goals of this kind requires increasing attention from the highest levels among operators.

The BARG LA meeting was the first gathering for 2016 of this group of Latin American experts from mobile operators and service providers. The GSMA has four working groups, headed by the executives of GSMA member companies. The BARG LA working group will meet again at Mobile 360 Latin America, in Mexico City, from 20 to 22 September 2016.

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TECT meeting in Brazil: working together to bring the GSMA’s Vision 2020 strategy to Latin America

The GSMA Latin America Technical and Terminals Working Group met on 15 and 16 March in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, providing a catalyst to continue updating mobile operators on the technical topics the GSMA is promoting globally. The meeting brought together more than 60 executives in the technology areas from operators and the main manufacturers in the Latin American mobile ecosystem, including Huawei, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Gemalto and Nokia.

Held alongside the first Small Cell Forum in Latin America, the TECT meeting was attended by representatives from Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The main topics addressed at the meeting were the specific technological needs of Latin America for access network development and antenna deployment. Attendees were brought up to date on the key concepts of the GSMA’s Vision 2020 strategy with an explanation of the real opportunities in implementing these new technologies in the region.

The TECT meeting included seminars and debates on the topics of access networks, the internet of things, the future of mobile networks, mobile identity services and solutions, and mobile financial services, such as:

Access Network Seminar: TECT Chair and Head of Technology at Telecom Argentina Martín Wessel reached an agreement among various operators and the main manufacturers from the region to work together on a guide to help GSMA members identify problems and possible solutions associated with access network deployment. This line of action will be supported by Small Cell Forum, which will make its experience and studies available to the TECT for preparation of the guide.

During the seminar the GSMA went over the measures that mobile operators can take to protect their networks from the potential vulnerabilities of SS7 signalling. Other topics at the seminar included new access network trends, with an in-depth look at LTE broadcast services and the main features of MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services).

Connected Living Seminar: During this session on machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, discussion focused on the security challenges for deploying and scaling Internet of Things (IoT) services in the region. The session included a presentation of the GSMA’s Mobile IoT initiative, designed to accelerate the commercial availability of Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) solutions in licensed spectrum, providing security and extending battery lifetimes. The seminar focused on LTE for Machines (LTE-M), Extended Coverage GSM (EC-GSM) and narrow band IoT technologies (NB-IoT). International experts gave keynote presentations about Embedded SIM and how it will contribute to the growth of M2M communications, and the main features of the new Customer Device connection model.

The discussion addressed the benefits of a common architecture for Big Data and standardisation of IoT information sources, as well as the new use cases to be taken into account in the region to encourage Smart Cities, in particular the importance of security for connected cars.

Vodafone Brasil presented the regional success case of its project to develop new technologies for M2M and determine how to combine voice, mobile data and M2M architectures.

Network Evolution Seminar: At this session experts discussed progress made in the initiatives and activities of the GSMA Network 2020 Programme focusing on building mobile networks with All-IP technology. One of the main items addressed was VoLTE and the work carried out by the GSMA to facilitate local interoperability of VoLTE among operators, and the example of Korea. Attendees were informed about the collaboration tool for resolution of incidents on IP communications (RCS, VoLTE, ViLTE, VoWiFi), in which the GSMA is working on almost 500 incidents that affect these services. Representatives from Oi group (Brazil) presented the results of their Voice over WiFi launching trials and international experts spoke about what can be expected from the new 5G technology, not only at the services level but also in changes to 4G that will gradually be introduced, such as Carrier Aggregation, MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output), Virtualisation (NFV), Slicing, Edge Computing and broadcast technologies.

Identity Services Seminar: Mobile Connect is an authentication service launched by operators worldwide as an alternative to the multiple usernames and passwords of the digital world. This service has reached Latin America, allowing operators to provide user authentication on websites through individual telephone numbers. During this session, the TECT was joined by the global head of Mobile Connect at Telefónica, who talked about the launch of this service in Peru, Argentina and Mexico and the start of work to implement it in Brazil and other countries. Key presentations were given by Telecom Argentina, which shared its experience in implementing Mobile Connect, and service provider representatives interested in implementing Mobile Connect to deliver higher levels of security. The evolution of Mobile Connect to provide services for authorisation, attributes, payment and identity was reviewed.

Mobile Money Seminar: This seminar included regional experts in mobile money, who highlighted the importance of this service in Latin America, where Paraguay, El Salvador and Honduras are among the world’s 15 leading mobile money markets. They also highlighted the importance of interoperability and the development of the mobile money ecosystem in Brazil, Mexico and Panama. The account of Brazilian experts about developing mobile payments in their country was particularly interesting. Attendees at the TECT meeting had the opportunity to learn about the technological concepts behind what is known as “tokenisation” in mobile financial services, which delivers the additional security necessary for the growth of mobile payments and even their extension to IoT in the region.

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Latin American Summit at MWC16: social innovation to connect the unconnected

Mobile World Congress 2016 once again beat all previous records, receiving more than 100,000 visitors from 204 countries, including 55% C-Level representatives and 5,000 CEOs. The Latin Americans played a major role at the 2016 Ministerial Programme, which was attended by 74 delegates from 17 countries of the region, with the Governments of Mexico and Colombia taking the Government Leadership Awards and the Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award, respectively. The MWC Ministerial Programme, a key meeting point for discussion among the leaders of the global and Latin American digital ecosystem, brings together ministers, regulatory authorities, international organisations and leading executives of mobile operators.

The Latin American Summit, held on Tuesday 23 February as part of the 2016 Ministerial Programme (the only event at MWC16 conducted in Spanish and Portuguese), focused on how to encourage social innovation through greater connectivity in the region. At the Summit opening, Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA for Latin America, said the region had experienced the world’s largest growth in LTE deployment in 2015, adding more than 2.5 million 4G connections a month despite the complicated economic climate. By the end of 2016, connections are expected to hit the 80 million mark. However, Cabello also mentioned the ongoing challenges to continue promoting greater digital inclusion, with reference to the report launched that same day by GSMA Intelligence: Digital Inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Amos Genish, President and CEO of Telefónica Brasil, made the first keynote presentation of the seminar, explaining the opportunities and challenges of the mobile market in Brazil. “The economic moment is very challenging, and over-regulation and excessive taxation mean that the mobile industry sees the return on its investments and the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem as complicated issues. But we want to face these challenges by improving user experience while we expand our capacity and innovative in the product,” he said.

The second presentation of the Latin American Summit was given by Gabriel Contreras Saldivar, President of Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute (FTI). Contreras discussed topics on the FTI regulatory agenda, such as spectrum, quality of service, network neutrality and asymmetric regulation, highlighting the regulatory approach of FTI in promoting efficient regulations, encouraging competition and providing certainty for investment. He commented on the challenge for infrastructure deployment throughout the region and announced that federal public sites will be available for mobile operators. “We need efficient, standard deployment all over the country that will encourage sharing mechanisms,” he added.

The event also included in-depth discussion on the barriers and incentives for connecting the unconnected in Latin America, in a panel moderated by Antonio García Zaballos, Lead Specialist in Telecommunications at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The participants in the discussion panel were Pedro Huichalaf Roa, Vice Minister of Telecommunications, Chile; Andrés Maz, Executive Director of Public Policy, Cisco Systems; Maryleana Méndez Jiménez, President of the Board, Sutel, Costa Rica; Alejandro Quiroga López, Legal and Regulatory Affairs Director, Telecom Argentina; and Leonardo Saunero, Vice President of Regulation and International Relations, Nuevatel Bolivia.

To close the Latin American Summit 2016, a final discussion panel was held to analyse how to promote improved digital social innovation solutions. Moderated by social entrepreneur and Singularity University graduate Leonardo Valente, President of GenTecnológico, the discussion focused on how to stimulate value creation locally through new apps and services that help to address the needs of the communities in the region. The panel members were Pelayo Covarrubias Correa, President of Fundación País Digital, Chile; Sergio González Guzmán, CEO of Asomóvil Colombia; Javier Placer Mendoza, Head of Telefónica Open Future; Rachel Samren, Executive Vice President of External Affairs, Millicom; and Jorge Vargas, Head of Strategic Partnerships in LATAM, Wikimedia Foundation.

At MWC 2016, the GSMA’s Ministerial Programme also beat its attendance record during four days of seminars, activities and bilateral meetings, with delegations representing 137 countries and 31 international organisations from around the world.

Resources

• Presentation Opportunities & challenges in the Brazilian Telecom market – Amos Genish
• Presentation La industria móvil en México y Latinoamérica: prospectiva de crecimiento y retos regulatorios – Gabriel Contreras Saldívar
Attendee biographies
Image gallery
Mobile World Congress 2016 wrap-up by GSMA Intelligence
MWC16 Highlights video by Mobile World Live

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Mexico and Colombia receive awards at Mobile World Summit during MWC 2016

The governments of Mexico and Colombia were key figures at the 2016 Ministerial Programme after winning the Government Excellence Award (Mexico) and the Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award (Colombia) made at Mobile World Summit, the highest-level meeting held during Mobile World Congress Barcelona.

The awards recognise “the global leadership in the establishment of regulatory policies for telecommunications based on clear principles that encourage long term investment and provide a regulatory environment of transparency and fair competition that maximises the socioeconomic value of the sector”. The awards were given to the governments of Mexico and Colombia on Monday 22 February by the GSMA’s new Director General, Mats Granryd.

 

Government Leadership Award – Federal Government of the United Mexican States

 

premios_mwc_2016_mxThe 2016 Government Leadership Award recognises the importance of the Telecommunications Reform carried out by the Federal Government of the United Mexican States leading to significant sector investment in the country’s economy, increased competition in the market, spectrum licensing and faster adoption of 4G.

The Government of Mexico demonstrated good practices in transparency, public consultation and regulatory independence, with the creation of a new independent regulator (FTI) and specialised law courts to resolve disputes on telecommunications issues. Mexico has also excelled in spectrum management: it was the first country in Latin America to auction the extended AWS band, and will boost mobile broadband speeds even further by licensing the 2.6GHz band later this year.

The award was received by Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, Mexico’s Secretary of Communications and Transport, who highlighted how the telecommunications sector has boosted the growth of the country, as it has grown at four times the rate of the economy. The Mexican delegation at MWC 2016 also included Gabriel Contreras Saldivar, President of FTI, and Mónica Aspe Bernal, Mexico’s Under Secretary of Communications.

 

Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award – Government of the Republic of Colombia

 

premios_mwc_2016-coThe Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award 2016 was given to the Government of Colombia in recognition of its vital role in making sufficient mobile spectrum available, in a transparent manner, to the benefit of its people and the economy. This was made possible through Colombia’s national and international leadership during negotiations at WRC-15 in November.

By leading the use of spectrum from the digital dividend, Colombia is greatly expanding LTE services. At the same time, by supporting the 2.6GHz and 3.3-3.7GHz bands, Colombia will be well positioned to sustain growth and meet the future demand for faster mobile services.

Martha Suárez, Director of the Colombian National Spectrum Agency (NSA), was at the 2016 Ministerial Programme to receive the award. “The task that the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications has been working on proactively with the NSA is aimed at ensuring our country is ready for the new scenarios brought by the digital revolution. Proper spectrum management will enable us to respond to a higher demand for connectivity and services, which in turn will result in benefits for our people. This recognition confirms we are performing this task the way it should be done”, said David Luna Sánchez, Minister of Information Technologies and Communications, commenting from Colombia on the award made in Barcelona.

 

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New GSMA studies highlight barriers to mobile broadband adoption in Latin America and the Caribbean

Locally Relevant Content and Digital Literacy Skills Key to Digital Inclusion in the Region

Tackling digital literacy and ensuring that locally relevant content and services are available will be key to connecting the estimated 363 million citizens in Latin America and the Caribbean that are covered by mobile broadband networks but not yet connected. According to a series of new reports commissioned by GSMA’s Connected Society and produced by GSMA Intelligence, further collaboration between mobile operators and governments will be key to extending mobile connectivity and internet services to millions of citizens across the region. Affordability and network coverage are identified as the other main barriers to digital inclusion in the region.

“Mobile broadband is the primary method of delivering affordable internet access across the Latin America and Caribbean region, delivering a range of economic and social benefits and supporting the UN Social Development Goals,” said Sebastian Cabello, the GSMA’s Head of Latin America. “But there is also the danger of a widening ‘digital divide’ in the region due to millions being either unable or unwilling to use mobile broadband services. We therefore urge governments to work with the mobile industry to address the barriers to adoption and ensure that the mobile internet is more accessible, useful and understandable for everyone.”

“The mobile industry is committed to playing a key role in connecting unconnected populations in Latin America and around the world,” said Matthew Bloxham, Head of the GSMA’s Connected Society programme. “The GSMA is actively working with mobile operators, governments and the wider international development community to design and implement commercially sustainable and scalable initiatives that can unlock the key supply-side and demand-side barriers to adoption of mobile internet services.”

Measuring the Mobile Broadband Demand Gap

The Latin America and Caribbean region is home to 634 million people. According to the latest research, the mobile broadband coverage gap in the region is relatively small, with only about 10 per cent of the population – or 64 million people – living outside the footprint of a 3G or 4G network. A further 33 per cent (207 million) of the population live within range and subscribe to mobile broadband services. This leaves 57 per cent (363 million) of the total population that are covered by mobile broadband networks but not yet connected.

More than 100 million people in this latter category reside in Brazil, the region’s largest market. The demand gap also varies widely across the region, ranging from countries such as Chile and Costa Rica, where the proportion of citizens subscribing to mobile broadband is relatively high, to markets such as Guatemala and Ecuador, where there are significant gaps between mobile broadband availability and adoption.

Understanding the Barriers to Digital Inclusion
Insights from the GSMA Intelligence Consumer Survey 2015 and various national household surveys from across the region highlight four primary barriers that need to be addressed to increase mobile broadband adoption:

  • Absence of locally relevant content: Research points to a limited supply of attractive content – both in terms of local language and local relevance. Analysis of web traffic data shows that less than 30 per cent of content accessed in Latin America and the Caribbean is in local languages – despite the prevalence of Spanish and Portuguese languages in the region. Moreover, the content available on app stores and mobile operator websites is largely entertainment-related, creating a misconception among non-users that the internet is just an entertainment tool and masking the relevance and lifestyle-changing potential of the mobile internet. Locally relevant content is highlighted by the consumer survey to be a more important factor than cost or other considerations in most markets.
  • Lack of digital skills: Although basic literacy rates in the region are higher than the global average, there remains a gap in digital literacy and skills. The research shows that insufficient ICT infrastructure and teaching support for digital education prevents many mobile users from exploring the benefits of the internet.
  • Affordability: The Latin America and Caribbean region has the highest regional level of income inequality in the world. Affordability is a significant barrier to internet adoption for people at the bottom of the economic pyramid. For the bottom 40 per cent of the population, the cost of mobile ownership is on average 17 per cent of income, compared to just 2 per cent of income for the top 20 per cent of the population. One of the key barriers to affordability is the taxation of mobile services, particularly in countries such as Brazil and Argentina where consumer taxes account for over 30 per cent of the total cost of mobile ownership. A reduction in sector-specific taxes, fees and levies applied to both consumers and operators could therefore help to improve affordability.
  • Network coverage: Providing mobile broadband coverage to 90 per cent of the region’s population has been a significant achievement. However, covering the remaining, sparsely populated areas (such as mountain ranges, rainforests and islands), may not be commercially viable without collaboration and some form of public partnership.

Three studies have been commissioned by the GSMA’s Connected Society programme and the GSMA Latin America office and produced by GSMA Intelligence. Each report outlines potential areas of collaboration for operators, governments and development organisations, featuring case studies of existing initiatives that have been successful in tackling the various barriers to adoption. The reports are available below:

“Digital inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean” – English | Español
“Content in Latin America: Shift to local, shift to mobile” – English | Español
“Closing the coverage gap in Latin America” – English | Español

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GSMA and Costa Rican operators commit to a safer mobile environment

Supported by the GSMA, Sutel and the Deputy Ministry of Telecommunications, Claro, ICE and Telefónica Pledge to Tackle Mobile Phone Theft and Promote Greater User Accessibility

3 February 2016, San José: Mobile operators today announced a series of new initiatives as part of the WeCare Costa Rica campaign run by the GSMA to provide a safer and more reliable environment for all mobile users. Operators Claro, ICE and Telefónica will work together to fight mobile phone theft as well as facilitate greater accessibility for consumers with disabilities with the support of Costa Rica’s telecoms regulator, Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel), and the Deputy Ministry of Telecommunications.

There are currently more than 7.6 million mobile connections in Costa Rica, of which almost 37 per cent are smartphone connections [1]. 4G deployment is also rapidly expanding and is forecast to leap from 126,000 connections at the end of 2015 to more than two million by 2020.

“Strong growth in the Costa Rican mobile market demonstrates how mobile technology can be put to good use by working proactively to help solve some of the country’s social problems,” said Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America.

Today in San José, a letter of commitment was signed between Carlos Ríos Briceño, Country Manager at Claro Costa Rica; Jaime Palermo Quesada, Head of Telecommunications at ICE; Jorge Abadía, Country Manager at Telefónica Costa Rica; Gilbert Camacho Mora, President of the Board at Sutel; Emilio Arias Rodríguez, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications of Costa Rica; and Sebastián Cabello on behalf of the GSMA.

The latest initiatives to form part of the WeCare Costa Rica campaign include:

 

Reducing Handset Theft

 

Handset theft is one of the most common crimes in Costa Rica; in March 2012 it became the first country in Latin America to connect all its mobile operators to the GSMA’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) database [2], which shares information about stolen mobile phones globally.

In the latest move to tackle mobile device theft and trafficking between countries, Sutel today agreed to implement GSMA’s IMEI Device Check. This system will enable Costa Rican consumers to check the Sutel website in real time when buying a handset, to see whether it appears on the global list of stolen mobile devices. The blacklist on the GSMA IMEI database is updated every day through reports from more than 100 operators around the world, including 45 operators in 16 Latin American countries.

 

Supporting Disabled Consumers

 

According to data from 2011 [3], almost 11 per cent (452,859) of the Costa Rican population has some kind of disability and requires support to improve their quality of life. Claro, ICE and Telefónica signed an agreement with the Mobile Manufacturers Forum to improve access from their websites to the data system of the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI)4. The system enables users to identify mobile handsets in their area that offer services designed to assist users with disabilities.

The three mobile operators also agreed to continue exploring further activities of common interest that could help to improve citizens’ quality of life, as a second phase of the WeCare Costa Rica campaign. In 2014, mobile operators waived call charges to the 1147 child helpline, run by Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (National Child Welfare Institute – PANI).

 

Supporting Statements

 

Emilio Arias Rodriguez, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications of Costa Rica: “Mobile penetration has reached 151 per cent in Costa Rica, and this trend is set to continue. In this context, and as we work to build an integrated, inclusive and caring society, it is essential to keep taking action to enable every citizen, without exception, to have access to affordable, quality telecommunications services through the development of infrastructure that supports sustainable, efficient, secure and robust mobile networks. These networks will also be key to enabling people to develop their skills and knowledge, in particular those people who are the most vulnerable, through productive, safe and meaningful use of these tools.”

Jaime Palermo, Telecommunications Manager, ICE: “These initiatives reaffirm our commitment with actions to help support the efforts of the Costa Rican government to ensure better security and increased accessibility of services for the entire population. In ICE we believe that technology is key to economic and social development and should contribute to the protection of the rights of Costa Ricans.”

Carlos Rios Briceño, Country Director, Claro Costa Rica: “Claro’s philosophy is to be part of the solutions to the needs of our customers. We care about the lives of Costa Ricans, which is why we are celebrating this agreement for WeCare Costa Rica. We trust that this will be the start of many steps towards improving the quality of life of mobile users.”

José Pablo Rivera, Regulatory Manager, Telefónica Movistar Costa Rica: “Telefónica Movistar joined the WeCare Costa Rica campaign because we strongly believe that ICTs are key to improving people’s quality of life. For past three years, we have worked closely with 800 operators worldwide to block stolen mobile phones and to discourage these types of crimes from being committed. This agreement allows us to support Costa Rica through Telefónica Group’s various initiatives in the area of disability and which aim to promote social inclusion.”

Gilbert Camacho, President, Sutel: “One of Sutel’s objectives is the protection of users’ rights. This led to us signing an agreement with the GSMA in 2012 to discourage the theft of mobile phones; in fact Costa Rica was the first Latin American country to implement the initiative. Today we are taking a further step to provide new tools for users to combat this problem. We believe that through initiatives like WeCare Costa Rica, we can build a better country.”

 

About WeCare
The GSMA’s WeCare campaign was launched by Latin American operators to ensure all consumers can enjoy the transformational benefits of mobile technology in a safe and secure environment. To achieve this, operators joined forces to make a series of commitments in every country in the region where mobile phones and networks can provide solutions to social problems. The WeCare campaign has already been launched in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua, and will continue to expand throughout the region.

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1 Source: GSMA Intelligence, December 2015
2 To access the latest information about handset theft in Latin America and the GSMA IMEI database please visit http://www.gsma.com/latinamerica/handset-theft-imei-database
3 Data from the report “Approach to the situation of children and adolescents with disabilities in Costa Rica” by the Second Vice Presidency of the Republic of Costa Rica, Nationality Council of Rehabilitation and Special Education (CNREE) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Costa Rica, July 2014. http://www.unicef.org/costarica/20140801_discapacidad_cr.pdf
4 More information about the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI) is available at http://gari.info/index.cfm?lang=eng

 

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Mobile operators in Honduras launch We Care campaign to promote mobile user protection

Claro, Hondutel and Tigo Have Signed a Cooperation Agreement with the GSMA and CONATEL to Fight Mobile Phone Theft, Promote Digital Inclusion in Schools
and Support the Honduran Red Cross

1 February 2016, Tegucigalpa: Mobile operators in Honduras and the GSMA (the association representing mobile operators worldwide) today announced the launch of the “We Care Honduras” campaign, which aims to provide a safer and more reliable mobile environment for all of the country’s mobile phone users. Backed by the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL), telecom companies Claro, Hondutel and Tigo will work together to fight handset theft, promote digital inclusion in public education centres, and support awareness campaigns by the Honduran Red Cross about road safety and voluntary blood donation.

The Honduran mobile market is rapidly expanding. Honduras now has more than 8 million mobile connections, almost 30 per cent of them via smartphones [1]. 4G deployment is expected to skyrocket from 88,000 connections at the end of 2015 to 1.4 million in 2020.

“The enormous growth in the adoption and extent of mobile services means this can be a very important tool for communications, education and interaction for social purposes,” said Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America. “The We Care Honduras campaign stems from the commitment of the country’s mobile operators, who have put aside commercial competition in a joint effort to provide tangible benefits to Honduran mobile users.”

The cooperation agreement signed today by senior representatives of Claro, Hondutel and Tigo, with the GSMA and CONATEL as witnesses of honour, includes the following points:

Reducing Handset Theft

Handset theft is one of the most common crimes in Honduras. Following the commitment signed by mobile operators in March 2014 before Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández to connect to the GSMA’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) database [2], CONATEL today agreed to implement the GSMA’s Device Check system, reinforcing measures underway to fight terminal theft and device trafficking between countries. This system will allow Honduran mobile users to check the CONATEL website in real time when buying a handset, to see whether it appears on the global list of stolen mobile devices. The so-called blacklist – the GSMA IMEI database – is updated every day through reports from more than 100 operators around the world, including 45 operators in 16 Latin American countries.

Announcement by the Government of Honduras

Digital Inclusion

Mobile operators will work with the IT heads of CONATEL and the Department of Education to design a project to develop and implement a Digital Educational Content platform accessible by pupils in the Honduran public education system. The project will boost digital inclusion of children in public schools by giving them access to structured virtual content certified in line with the approved curriculums in Honduras.

Traffic Accident Prevention and Blood Donation

Honduran mobile operators will launch an information and awareness campaign to support local Red Cross initiatives “Awareness and prevention of traffic accidents” and “Promotion of voluntary blood donation”. One of the aims is to reduce the road toll by promoting a culture of respect on the road. At the same time, operators will work to raise awareness about the need for readily available blood banks to meet the demand of state hospitals and provide care to patients. The companies will support the national awareness campaigns through various channels to ensure the messages of the Honduran Red Cross are well publicised.

During the launch event of the initiative materialized today, Froylán Ayon, General Manager of Claro Honduras, said: “In Claro we wish that, working as a committed team for the welfare of our users, we can get more and more Hondurans to have access to mobile technology in a safe and secure environment, ensuring that in the near future handset theft is a thing of the past. Moreover, we are focused on promoting more innovative activities and educational support for digital learning spaces for our youth.”

“Tigo is pleased to be part of this cooperation with operators and the GSMA to improve the lives of Hondurans by supporting initiatives to democratize access to information and reducing the digital divide,” said Otto Pineda, General Manager, Tigo.

For his part, Jesús Arturo Mejía Arita, General Manager, Hondutel, said: “These initiatives are very important and function as a complement of the actions that the Government of Honduras is implementing to achieve a safer country, and promote a youth most likely to succeed through better education.”

Finally, the lawyer Ebal Diaz, Special Minister of CONATEL, added: “For the government of President Juan Orlando Hernández, safety is a priority, as well as digital inclusion and social protection. So the initiatives announced today with friendly institutions are of great importance for the development of our country. Honduras will continue moving forward and breaking trends.”

The GSMA’s We Care campaign is an initiative of the leading mobile operators in Latin America in a bid to ensure all their users can enjoy the life-changing benefits of mobile technology in a safe and secure environment. To achieve this, operators have decided to join forces as an industry and take on a series of commitments in every country in the region where mobile phones and networks can provide solutions to social problems. We Care has already been launched with several initiatives in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic, and will continue to expand throughout the region.

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1. Data from GSMA Intelligence, Q4 2015.
2. To access the latest information about handset theft in Latin America and the GSMA IMEI database, please visit http://www.gsma.com/latinamerica/handset-theft-imei-database.

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By José Luis Amaya and Nicolas Demeilliers

 

mAgri projects have a high potential to increase farmers’ revenue and productivity. But unlike many developing countries, Mexico seems to have been left out by mAgri initiatives. According to GSMA’s mAgri Deployment Tracker, there have been only two of these projects in Mexico: MásAgro Móvil and DigitalICS (now closed). At Esoko México, we strongly believe in mAgri to help farmers improve their quality of life and we trust that Mexico should be a global leader of mAgri initiatives. Here are our top reasons why:

1. The needs of Mexican farmers are huge

Of the 5.3 million farmers in Mexico, 3.9 million earn an income of less than USD 1,000 annually. 61 per cent of Mexican farmers live in poverty[1]. Despite efforts and investment in rural areas by the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture (SAGARPA), poverty has only marginally been reduced: between 2003 and 2013, the budget for rural areas increased by 170 per cent, but poverty was only reduced by four per cent[2].

Like many other developing countries, the reasons for the lack of competitiveness in Mexican agriculture and the low income of its farmers are the insufficient linkages with markets, low productivity and limited access to financing. The lack of access to specific information (market prices, locations of buyers, reliable weather forecasts etc.), and quality knowledge (best farming practices, how to get rid of pests etc.) can partly explains farmers’ poverty.

2. Recognition at all levels that farmers should have access to quality information and knowledge

As SAGARPA puts it, “Knowledge, research and technological development have not been fully translated into innovations to increase productivity in the food industry because they are not linked effectively with the demands and needs of the farmers. […] The challenge is to promote the development of viable programs and projects with high social impact in order to stimulate the productive and creative capacities of farmers, thereby joining efforts to help those facing extreme poverty and severe food shortages”[3].

3. The impacts of mAgri have been proven!

In a world increasingly more connected, Mexican farmers should be able to have access to key information and knowledge. Timely access to information could help them sell at a higher price, find new buyers, know when rain is coming, or how to get a small loan. Knowledge also means access to new farming techniques to increase their productivity and improve the quality of their produce – and a way out of poverty.

A well deployed mobile for agriculture (mAgri) initiative such as Esoko has shown to increase farmers’ revenue by nine per cent[4] and their productivity by 11 per cent[5] – even using basic cellphones! Esoko has operated in Africa for over eight years improving farmers’ quality of life by sending market prices, weather alerts and agricultural best practices – amongst other information – to farmers’ mobiles by SMS and through a call center. SMS? Call center? Yes, neither of those are the latest technology, but they do work in rural areas provided they are used to disseminate high quality content.

4. Good, ‘basic’ connections in rural areas

One might say that if farmers do not have access to such information and knowledge, it is because they are disconnected from the world. Although that may be true in other regions of the world, 60 per cent of people living in rural areas have access to a mobile phone in Mexico[6], most of them being basic mobile phones.

It is probably too early for an app-based mAgri initiative in Mexico. According to the GSMA Intelligence report ‘Country overview Mexico – Mobile driving growth, innovation and opportunity’, by the end of 2015, 36 per cent of the Mexican population had subscribed to mobile broadband services (3G and above), up from seven per cent in 2010. There are still around six million people not covered by a mobile broadband network, most of whom live in remote or poor areas. Most importantly however, 59 per cent of the population, or over 70 million people, are covered by a mobile broadband network but don´t subscribe. These people are most likely to be in lower income groups for whom affordability is still an impediment, but lack of digital skills and absence of locally relevant content are considered the main barriers for digital inclusion, and mAgri projects can help close that gap. A focus on mAgri technologies that work in rural areas (such as SMS, IVR and call centers) should be favoured and will allow for farmers to take advantage of the benefits of mobile connectivity.

5. High literacy

Mexico has a literacy rate of 93 per cent[7] and the great majority of Mexican people speak and read Spanish, making it favourable to deploy SMS-based mAgri projects at a national level. And for those that cannot read well or only speak one of the 68 distinct indigenous languages in Mexico, there is the possibility to deploy tailored-made IVR and call centers like Esoko has done in Africa.

6. Available quality research for content development

Mexico is a world leader in terms of climate and ecosystem diversity and has been recognised by the U.N. Environment Program as one of the 17 ‘megadiverse’ countries. This could be perceived as a high challenge to develop precise and quality content for farmers at a national level. The good news is that Mexico also enjoys renowned universities and research centers such as Chapingo Autonoma University or CIMMYT which can be of great help with the development of high quality content for farmers.

7. A nascent and active ‘ICT for agri’ community

It is not impossible to develop mAgri in Mexico as MásAgro Móvil and DigitalICS have already proven it. If one looks deeper into the Mexican tech and agriculture ecosystems, there are several other ICT initiatives that have emerged to provide quality information and knowledge to farmers. For example, SI-Agro by Compu Campo is a high-end geographical service of agricultural information in the cloud for the capture, processing, and analysis of technical and economic information at plot level. SAGARPA and the Ministry of Economy have set up a phone number to give farmers access to market price information. Also, SAGARPA recently released three mobile apps for farmers: Sagarpa Apoyos, Sagarpa Produce and Sagarpa Mercados, whose objectives are to connect farmers with buyers, help them with their crops, and provide information about SAGARPA programs.

The Esoko platform from Africa was also launched in Mexico in 2015 under the brand ‘Esoko México’ to provide high value content to Mexican farmers through SMS, a call center and an app; Esoko is now the technology platform linking the MásAgro Móvil program to farmers. And there are many more actors – including Maxi Terra, SIAFESON, and SIAFEG – that aim to improve Mexican farmers’ quality of life using high-quality content and technology.

Farmers’ needs are huge and the positive impacts of mAgri are proven. Despite the many challenges and barriers, the context has been increasingly favourable for the deployment of mAgri in Mexico. We cannot wait for the conditions to improve on their own before developing quality content and information technologies for farmers in Mexico. Collaboration amongst all current and potential actors will be key if we want farmers to improve their lives and we at Esoko México are happy to lead these efforts.

[1] Source: SAGARPA: Diagnóstico del sector rural y pesquero de México 2012
[2] Source: subsidiosalcampo.org.mx
[3] Source: Translated from SAGARPA: Diagnóstico del sector rural y pesquero de México 2012
[4] Source: Hildebrandt et al. (March 2016), “Price Information: Inter-village networks, and bargaining spillovers”: Experimental Evidence from Ghana,
[5] Source: Kremer et al. (March 2014), Harnessing ICT to Increase Agricultural Production: Evidence From Kenya
[6] Source: Elaborated with information from INEGI based on ENIGH, 2014
[7] Source: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SE.ADT.LITR.ZS

The GSMA today outlined the first details of the 2016 Mobile 360 Series – Latin America conference, which will take place 20-22 September at the Hyatt Regency in Mexico City. The thought leadership conference, which forms part of the 2016 GSMA Mobile 360 Series of events, will highlight the latest innovations in the region and will feature experts from leading mobile operators, ecosystem players and companies in adjacent industry sectors.

“Mobile is making a vital contribution to economic growth in Latin America, as well as tackling a range of social challenges, such as closing the digital divide and bringing financial inclusion to previously underserved populations,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “However, the rapid adoption of more advanced devices and higher speed network coverage means that mobile technology has the potential to play a much more significant role in the future. Mobile 360 – Latin America will convene decision makers from across the industry to discuss how mobile will support future innovation”.

Mobile 360 – Latin America will address the main opportunities and challenges facing the mobile industry today. Delegates will have the opportunity to explore and discuss key drivers of innovation in the region, including the Internet of Things, connected cars, mobile identity, mobile money, 5G, media and advertising, among others.

Conference Programme

The Mobile 360 – Latin America conference programme will offer perspectives from across the mobile and technology landscape. The first two days will feature a series of high-level presentations and panel discussions on the most pressing trends and issues in mobile, while day three will incorporate the GSMA Latin America Plenary No. 44 for GSMA members, with a series of themed workshops presented by GSMA Latin America Working Groups. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss more in-depth technical, regulatory and commercial aspects of new and existing services.

Confirmed speakers to date include:

  • Daniel Hajj Aboumrad, CEO, América Móvil
  • Alejandro Magaña, CEO of Transfer, América Móvil
  • Sergio Collazo, Value Added Services Engineering Manager for Mexico and América Móvil
  • Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO, AT&T Mexico
  • Jordi Botifoll, President, Latin America Theater, Cisco
  • Jeffery McElfresh, President, DirecTV Latin America
  • Jaime Aparicio, Regional Managing Director, Easy Taxi
  • Sergio Quiroga da Cunha, Head of Region Latin America, Ericsson
  • Laila Robak, Vice President, Latin America and Caribbean, GlobalSign
  • Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA
  • Sebastian Cabello, Head of Latin America, GSMA
  • Alex Sayago, Director, Sales and Marketing Latin America, John Deere
  • Gustavo Mansur, Business Development, Skype, Bing and Office, Microsoft
  • Mauricio Ramos, CEO, Millicom
  • David Gilarranz, Vice President, Digital and Innovation, Millicom
  • Dimitri Diliani, Head of Latin America, Nokia
  • Martin Wessel, Head of Technology Evolution, Personal Argentina
  • Salvador Blasco, Vice President, Country Head, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Mexico
  • Mary Clark, Chief Marketing Officer, Syniverse
  • Matías Botbol, CEO, Taringa!
  • Oscar Mancebo Ortiz, Head of Mobile Connect, Telefónica
  • Carlos Alberto Morales, CEO, Telefónica Mexico
  • Daniel Barrientos, Vice President, Digital and Mobile Financial Services, Tigo El Salvador (Millicom)
  • Luis Minoru, Chief Strategy Officer, TIM Brasil
  • Daniel Fuchs, Chief Innovation Officer, Vodafone Brazil
  • Mariano Amartino, Global CEO, Wayra

Calling All Start-Ups!

Underlining this year’s focus on innovation, the conference will feature the “Innovation Showcase” with a panel discussion of venture capitalists, investors and industry experts sharing their views on what makes a successful telecommunications venture today. A number of Latin American start-ups will get the chance to pitch their companies to the expert panel and audience, with the winner being granted the exciting opportunity to speak at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona.

Mobile 360 – Latin America Event Sponsors and Media Partners

América Móvil and Telcel have been confirmed as Host Sponsors for the event, AT&T as Platinum Sponsor, Ericsson and Telefonica as Gold Sponsors and BICS, Digital Turbine, Planetary Power and Syniverse as Silver Sponsors. Huawei is the Global Industry Supporter for the full Mobile 360 Series of conferences taking place throughout 2016. Media partners for the conference include BIT Magazine, Grupo Eletrolar, Mediatelecom and Silicon Week.

Registration for Mobile 360 – Latin America

Registration for Mobile 360 – Latin America is now open; individuals wishing to attend should visit www.mobile360series.com/latin-america/#register. For a limited period, attendees can purchase a conference pass at a 25 per cent discount.

Get Involved at Mobile 360 – Latin America

The 2016 GSMA Mobile 360 Series – Latin America is the fourth in a series of seven industry-focused events held in major cities across the world. For more information, including how to attend or exhibit, visit http://www.mobile360series.com/latin-america/. Follow the latest developments and updates on Mobile 360 – Latin America on Twitter, using the #m360LatAm hashtag or following @GSMA, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Mobile360Series and LinkedIn on www.linkedin.com/company/gsma-mobile-360-series.

The successful fourth Latin American Telecommunications Congress (CLT) 2016, held in Cancún, brought together senior executives in the Latin American digital ecosystem during four days of activities, as they interacted with key ICT ministers and representatives of telecommunications regulatory bodies from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Uruguay. More than 450 participants from 31 countries addressed the future regulation of the digital ecosystem as the central topic of the event in Cancún, at a time when the pace of regulatory changes is not keeping up with the speed of change in the digital world.

The CLT16 plenary session began on Monday 20 June with a keynote by Serafino Abate,CTL16 01 Director of Competition Economics, GSMA, on the “New regulatory framework for the digital ecosystem” and its competitive dynamics. According to Abate, “The future regulatory framework should reduce regulatory asymmetries, promote innovation in the context of dynamic competition and allow the objectives of policy public and governments to be achieved in the most effective way possible for the mobile industry”. View the full presentation here.

The talk by Abate was an introduction for the panel “Challenges for future regulation”, where the participants were Carlos López Blanco, General Director of Public Affairs and Regulation, Telefónica; Héctor Huici, Secretary of ICT, Argentina; Daniel Bernal, Director of Regulatory Affairs, América Móvil; Pedro Huichalaf, Undersecretary of Telecommunications, Chile; and Ernesto Nemer Álvarez, Attorney, Office of the Federal Attorney for Consumer Protection, Mexico. See a summary of the keynote here.

The first day of the CLT16 plenary session also included a keynote by Dr Mohamed CTL16 03Madkour, Global Vice President of wireless network marketing, Huawei, on how to achieve a better connected Latin America, and a discussion panel on the internet in the next five years, with participants Kathy Brown, ISOC; FTI commissioner Mario Fromow; Executive Secretary of CITEL, Oscar León; and representatives from LACNIC, ICANN, Google and Telefónica. See a summary of the first day of CLT here.

Challenges for the digital development of Latin America

 

On the second day of CLT16, public-private debate continued with panels on “Investments CTL16 02in telecommunications to close the digital divide”, the potential for the development of a single digital market in Latin America, and the impact of WRC15 on mobile services and broadcasting. Mobile industry representatives taking part in the debate included Sebastián Kaplan, Director of Regulatory Affairs for Latin America, Millicom; Alejandro Cantú, General Counsel, América Móvil; Daniel Rios, Director of Public Policy, AT&T; and José Juan Haro, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Telefónica.

The CLT16 plenary session ended with a high level session on the “Challenges for the digital development of Latin America”, moderated by Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America. The participants were Mónica Aspe, Undersecretary of Communications, Secretariat of Communications and Transport, Mexico; David Luna, ICT Minister, Colombia; Augusto Espín, Telecommunications and Information Society Minister, Ecuador; Eduardo Caride, President, Telefónica Hispanoamérica; Carlos Slim Domit, Chairman of the Board of Directors, América Móvil; Germán Darío Arias Pimienta, President of Regulatel and Executive Director of CRC Colombia; Gabriel Contreras, President of FTI; and Mario Cimoli, CEPAL.

“Investment in telecommunications is top out of various activities, but it’s the second highest tax generating industry and in some countries smartphones are still considered a luxury item and are subject to special taxes,” said Caride.

According to Slim Domit, “The demand for data doubles every year and therefore the industry needs sufficient spectrum, productive investments and flexible regulatory conditions”. See the summary of the second day of CLT here.

OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy

 

Held alongside CLT16, the 2016 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was attended by the 34 OECD member countries, as well as invited countries, industry stakeholders and international civil organisations. On Tuesday 21, a launch was held for the document “Broadband Policies for Latin America and the Caribbean: A Digital Economy Toolkit”, where Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America, was one of the speakers representing the industry.

Contribution of the mobile ecosystem to Mexico’s economy

 

Mexico took centre stage on the third day of CLT16, which included a seminar organised by SCT to evaluate the country’s telecommunications reform. The participants were Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, Secretary of Communications and Transport, Mexico; Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of the ITU; and Mónica Aspe, Undersecretary of Communications, Secretariat of Communications and Transport, Mexico.

During the seminar a new report by the GSMA, “Country Overview Mexico: Mobile driving growth, innovation and opportunity”, was launched. The report highlights how Mexico’s mobile market is boosting productivity and economic growth. In 2015, the overall contribution of mobile was more than $40 billion, accounting for almost 3.5 per cent of the country’s total GDP. This percentage includes direct and indirect contributions, as well as productivity and efficiency gains through the use of mobile technology. The mobile ecosystem also created some 335,000 jobs.

Organisers and regional forums

 

The organisers of CLT16 were the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Secretariat of Communications and Transport of Mexico (SCT), CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, the GSMA (the global association of the mobile ecosystem) and the Inter-American Association of Telecommunications Companies (ASIET).

The regional meeting hosted other activities on Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 June, such as the workshop on Competition Policy in the Digital Age by the Digital Ecosystem Capacity Building programme, the Annual Conference of CPR Latam (the cross-disciplinary network of research centres uniting the leading ICT academics in the region) and the Board of the Regional Technical Commission of Telecommunications (Comtelca). The meeting of REGULATEL, the Latin American Forum of Telecommunications Regulators, was also held alongside CLT.

 

Recursos

 

The Digital Ecosystem Capacity Building (CE-Digital) programme took the opportunity on 22 June at the Latin American Telecommunication Congress 2016 (CLT 2016) in Cancun, Mexico, to host the workshop “Competition Policy in the Digital Age”, delivered by telecommunications expert Ernesto Flores-Roux. The workshop was attended by more than 60 participants including regulatory bodies members, policy makers and digital ecosystem players from El Salvador, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Panama, Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Guatemala.

postimg-cedigital_img3To reach a larger number of participants, CE-Digital recently launched the programme’s new e-learning portal. The free online courses provided for Information and Communications (ITC) regulators and policymakers through this platform will cover the latest developments in the telecommunication industry and its public policy and regulatory frameworks.

CE-Digital is an initiative organised by CAF – Development Bank of Latin America, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in its role as technical secretariat of eLAC, and the GSMA. The programme aims to provide training opportunities to ICT regulators and policymakers from countries in the region.

postimg-cedigital_img1Participants in the launch of the e-learning portal included Sandra Conde, Director of Analysis and Sectoral Programming, CAF; Mauricio Agudelo, Senior Specialist Telecom, CAF; Sebastian Cabello, GSMA Head of Latin America; and Alejandro Patiño, Coordinator of the Regional Broadband Observatory, eLAC. All of them highlighted the significant contribution of this initiative, which will allow regulators and policymakers across the region to receive training in the most important topics of the industry from their desktops.

The first online course available will be “Internet Governance Principles”, from 18 July to 14 August. Registration for this course is now open at www.cedigital.org. Courses are free of charge and the only requirement is that participants must be representatives from government or regulatory entities. In addition, participants will receive a certificate of accreditation on completion of their course.

The Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) of Colombia and GSMA Latin America have agreed to strengthen joint efforts to tackle handset theft in Colombia by providing mobile users with a tool to check whether a device they are about to buy has been reported stolen.

The institutional agreement was signed during Latin American Telecommunications Congress (CLT) 2016 between Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America; German Darío Arias, Executive Director, CRC; Juan Manuel Wilches, Expert Commissioner, CRC; and Lucas Gallitto, Technology and Policy Adviser, GSMA. The agreement included the following points:

  • Device Check service: The GSMA IMEI Device Check service will allow Colombian users to check on the CRC website to see whether a device they are about to buy has been reported stolen anywhere in the world by consulting the GSMA’s IMEI database. The CRC will start implementing the service in the next few days and it is expected to be operative in 60 days.
  • List of type allocation codes: The Colombian government will now have access to the list of type allocation codes (TACs) of mobile devices that have been through the GSMA’s IMEI allocation process. This will give the Colombian government an overview of approved mobile phones in accordance with recent regulations passed by the CRC. Access to the TAC list has been implemented with immediate effect after the signing of the agreement.

These actions have been possible because mobile operators in Colombia are connected to the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) global database of the GSMA, allowing them to exchange information about stolen mobile devices so a cell phone can be blocked or disabled on other networks. The blacklist – GSMA IMEI database – is updated every day through reports from more than 106 operators around the world, including 53 operators in 17 Latin American countries.

“Device Check is a key tool to empower mobile users in Colombia so they can now avoid aiding crime, as they can find out in real time if a mobile they are about to buy has been stolen,” said Cabello. This tool has been implemented with enormous success in Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina and Brazil, and will soon be implemented in other countries in the region.

“Mobile phone theft is a plague that can be fought only by joint collaboration actions between operators, consumers, government and manufacturers,” said the Head of GSMA Latin America.

At the beginning of 2016, mobile operators and the GSMA launched the “We Care Colombia” campaign, which included a pledge by the industry to work with the National Police of Colombia in the fight against device theft by sharing technical, administrative, operational, financial and human resources.

Handset theft has grown considerably in Colombia in recent years, with more than one million terminals stolen in 2014. However, only 45,783 thefts were reported to the National Police, making it important to raise awareness so the public will report stolen or lost mobile devices. Colombia’s Ministry of ICT has also launched the campaign NoMásCelusRobados (NoMoreStolenHandsets).

 

Recursos

For more information about handset theft in Latin America, please visit our website section.

 

Mobile Powering Wave of Innovation and Digital Investment in Mexico, Driving Economic Growth and Productivity

The mobile industry in Mexico generated $40 billion in value-added terms last year, accounting for almost 3.5 per cent of the country’s GDP, according to a new GSMA report. ‘Country Overview: Mexico – Mobile Driving Growth, Innovation and Opportunity’, authored by GSMA Intelligence, was published today at the Congreso Latinoamericano de Telecomunicaciones 2016 (CLT16), being held 20-23 June 2016 in Cancun, Mexico.

The study finds that recent market reforms in Mexico have served to increase mobile affordability, competition and investment. This has resulted in rising subscriber penetration levels and accelerated uptake of advanced mobile services and smartphones.

GSMA Intelligence forecasts that the total contribution of the mobile sector to the Mexico economy will increase from $40 billion in 2015 (3.5 per cent of GDP) to $52 billion by 2020, representing 3.8 per cent of projected GDP by this point. This GDP impact includes both direct and indirect contributions, and the productivity gains made possible by mobile technology and services. Approximately 335,000 jobs were supported by Mexico’s mobile industry last year, including 170,000 directly by the mobile ecosystem and approximately 165,000 indirectly in other sectors of the economy.

postimg-mexico2016-EN

“Mexico’s mobile ecosystem has expanded rapidly over recent years, helping to create an environment of investment and innovation,” said Sebastian Cabello, Head of Latin America at the GSMA. “Mobile drives significant improvements in productivity and efficiency for workers and firms, providing faster and easier access to information, saving money and time, and facilitating the increased digitisation of businesses across many sectors of the Mexican economy.”

Rapid Subscriber Growth and 4G Momentum Out to 2020

Mexico is the second-largest mobile market in Latin America after Brazil. There were 88 million unique mobile subscribers [1] in Mexico at the end of 2015, representing 69 per cent of the population. There were 104 million total mobile connections [2] in Mexico by this point – with smartphones accounting for half of connections. Smartphones are forecast to account for 70 per cent of the 129 million connections expected by 2020.

Mexico’s mobile operators are expected to invest $11 billion between 2016 and 2020, focusing particularly on building-out 4G network coverage. It is forecast that national 4G coverage (as a percentage of the population) will rise from 52 per cent in 2015 to 85 per cent by 2020.

Mobile Driving Mexico’s Start-Up and M2M Sectors

Mexico is considered to have one of the most dynamic start-up scenes in Latin America, attracting a high share of risk capital relative to its regional peers. The report highlights that in the last two years, Mexico received more than $1.7 billion in venture capital (VC) funding, the second-highest investment in Latin America (behind Brazil) and representing about a third of all VC funding in the region. Mobile is considered the key technology in helping Mexico realise its innovation potential, supporting the development of entrepreneurs and start-ups. Almost 70 per cent of VC investment in Mexico over the last two years concerned deals in the internet and mobile sectors.

Mexico’s mobile operators are increasingly becoming involved in emerging areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M), digital commerce, mobile security and all-IP communications. M2M technology is being introduced into several sectors, for example in smart meters, digital signage, telecare, remote monitoring, mobile payments and connected cars. The number of cellular M2M connections in Mexico is forecast to more than triple over the next five years, increasing from 4 million in 2015 to 13 million by 2020.

Download full report here
cover-mexico2016-EN

 

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1: A unique mobile subscriber represents an individual that can account for multiple mobile connections (SIM cards).
2: A mobile connection refers to an active SIM card registered with a mobile network, excluding M2M connections.

About 71 high level executives representing 13 national mobile operators and 12 global companies in the mobile ecosystem attended the meeting of the GSMA Latin America Security & Fraud Working Group (SEGF) held on 18 and 19 March in Bogotá, Colombia. Hosted by Araxxe, Syniverse and Xura and attended by representatives from 13 countries, the meeting addressed collaboration and the common agenda of the industry to strengthen cyber security, focusing on users and fraud prevention in mobile networks.

Persistent threats, advanced malware and handset theft were some of the topics on which information was exchanged and preventive actions for the ecosystem were recommended. “Since the security holes in the SS7 protocol were exposed, the GSMA has been carrying out joint actions in high level forums such as the SEGF in Latin America to coordinate monitoring of our members’ networks, looking for intrusions or abuse in the signalling system,” said James Moran, Global Security Director of the GSMA.

During the SEGF meeting, the combined actions of the Latin American mobile industry to fight the plague of handset theft in the region were highlighted. It was agreed to continue strengthening the GSMA IMEI database and reinforcing information exchange through the database and collaboration with the justice and security agencies of the region’s governments.

The SEGF meeting began with extensive discussion about the main security matters on the mobile ecosystem agenda among representatives from mobile operators in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. Discussion was led by Luis Miguel Hurtado, Fraud Prevention Manager, Telefónica, and José Gilberto Fragoso, Fraud Prevention and IT Security Manager, América Móvil, chair and deputy chair of the SEGF Working Group.

Other items on the SEGF working agenda included the use of security intelligence tools and internal fraud, IoT security, SIM card security and bank fraud, and mobile money security.

The Bogotá meeting was the first this year for the SEGF working group, which brings together security experts from the Latin American telecommunications industry. The GSMA has four working groups, headed by the executives of GSMA member companies. The SEGF will meet again at Mobile 360 Latin America, in Mexico City, from 20 to 22 September 2016.

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Tackling Brazil’s energy challenge through smart metering

Brazil is a champion when it comes to electrification in the region, with almost 99% grid coverage across urban and rural areas. The specific energy challenge that Brazil faces is ensuring that utilities distribution networks are efficient where utilities suffer from high non-technical losses of up to 20% , mainly due to theft of electricity, vandalism and inefficient billing.

Conscious of these inefficiencies and the resulting revenue losses, distribution companies are adopting smart mobile technologies to tackle the country’s energy access challenges. This is the case of Eletrobras – Brazil’s utility company. In 2012, Eletrobras launched the project Energia +, in partnership with the World Bank, to improve their performance in the six Northern states with the highest non-technical losses (10% to 20%): Amazonas, Alagoas, Acre, Piauí, Rondônia and Roraima.

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Utility-MNO partnership

As part of the project, in 2014, Eletrobras contracted a consortium formed of Siemens, Itron and Telemont to manage their Advanced Metering Infrastructure bid, aimed at upgrading the network. The Mobile Network Operator (MNOs) Telefonica Vivo was selected out of a pool of tenders to provide machine-to-machine (M2M) cellular connectivity as well as the operation and maintenance management platform for Eletrobras’ smart grid roll-out.

 

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Figure 1: MNO smart solution business offering


Benefits for Eletrobras of this partnership

Some of the main benefits for Eletrobras from their partnership with Vivo are:

• Energy loss reduction
• Improved quality of service
• Institutional strengthening

(Source: Telefonica, M2M case study)


Looking ahead: a broader MNO offering for utilities

As Figure 1 highlights, MNOs can provide a full suite of enabling services targeted for smart solutions that can be leveraged by electricity utilities. Data management, providing service delivery and customer relationship management platforms are some of the core competences of MNOs, beyond connectivity.

Further benefits for utilities

Mobile enabling services can tackle utilities’ main inefficiencies, notably billing and collection of payments as well as improving communication between the utility and its customers.

Upgrading billing systems and improving revenue recovery

In Brazil, collection of energy consumption data is still manual – which is a low cost option given the inexpensive labour – and bills are sent via the post. In this context, distribution companies are reluctant to change and invest in more efficient, smart solutions. However, mobile services such as mobile payments or M2M technology, could help upgrade and optimize these inefficient and often inaccurate systems and in turn, improve revenue recovery.

Strengthening customer relationship management and encouraging better repayment rates

There is also a need to improve the relationship between the customer and the distribution company, which could be achieved through better information sharing and participation of the customer using mobile services as simple as SMS. While a simple service, better communication with the customer can strengthen the quality of the service, improve overall customer satisfaction and encourage customers to pay for their electricity bills.

While MNOs continue to focus on their core competency – connectivity – there is an opportunity to offer other enabling services, building on connectivity. MNOs, such as Vivo, can provide best in class services based on strong partnerships, deep expertise in data management and efficient service delivery, beyond providing its technology.

The mobile phone market in Colombia, one of the region’s fastest-growing major markets, is set to register strong growth in mobile broadband and M2M over the remainder of the decade.

According to GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA, Colombia had more than 3.8 million 4G connections at the end of 2015, a figure forecast to exceed 20 million by 2020. In percentage terms, 4G accounted for 8 per cent of Colombia’s 51 million mobile connections (excluding M2M) in 2015. It is forecast that 4G will account for 32 per cent of the expected 64 million total connections in Colombia by 2020.

Mobile broadband, which includes 3G and 4G, reached more than 24 million connections in 2015 – roughly 47 per cent of the total. GSMA Intelligence forecasts that by 2020, mobile broadband connections will reach 45 million, accounting for 70 per cent of total connections.

“Mobile broadband is the primary method of delivering affordable internet access across the Latin America and Caribbean region,” said Sebastian Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America. “Digital inclusion can deliver a range of social and economic benefits by bringing communications services to previously unconnected populations. The GSMA is actively working with mobile operators, governments and the wider international development community to design and implement commercially sustainable and scalable initiatives that can unlock the key supply-side and demand-side barriers to adoption of mobile internet services”.

This growth trend is common to most Latin American countries, although the speed of adoption in Colombia is remarkable. As in other countries across the region, mobile broadband growth corresponds to rising smartphone adoption. Smartphones represented 37 per cent of total Colombia mobile connections in 2015 and are forecast to represent over two thirds of the total by 2020.

The GSMA Intelligence data also points to strong growth in Colombia’s M2M market. The number of cellular M2M connections in the country are forecast to more than double over the next five years, increasing from 1.5 million today to 3.7 million by 2020.

AT&T, Telcel and Telefónica Movistar have ratified the principles of collaboration with the campaign coordinated by the GSMA and ANATEL to protect mobile users with the support of the Federal Telecommunications Institute

Mexico’s mobile operators and the GSMA, the global association of the mobile ecosystem, have summarised the outcomes of the programmes in the We Care Mexico campaign, launched just over a year ago:

  • Reducing handset theft: Theft of mobile handsets remains one of Mexico’s most common crimes: in 2015 users reported 609,547 lost or stolen handsets, an increase of 37.8% on 2014. As part of the We Care Mexico campaign, the GSMA’s IMEI Device Check system was implemented. This system enables mobile phone users to check the IFT website to see if a handset has been included on the global list of stolen mobile devices. From May 2015 to March 2016, more than 816,000 checks were made. This figure rose from little more than 10,000 a month initially to 101,000 in March 2016
  • Promoting children’s rights: Mexico’s mobile operators are working with the Citizens Council of Mexico City to help protect children by facilitating access to important information and providing a way for them to report abuse and receive guidance from the appropriate authorities. The free helpline *5533 was set up for this purpose. The Council has received 5,389 calls reporting bullying, 673 of them in 2015 alone, and 396 calls about child abuse and human trafficking involving children were registered in 2015.
  • Supporting people with disabilities: ANATEL and mobile operators signed an agreement with the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) to facilitate access from its websites to the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative. This system enables users to look up and identify mobile devices in their region that offer functions designed to assist people with some kind of disability. The FTI joined the programme, launching the Catalogue of Accessible Mobile Devices. Mobile operators continue to work to ensure the necessary information and access to qualified personnel are available through their main customer service centres, and in particular on their websites and by electronic means, for users who require assistance to subscribe to services.
  • Protecting the environment: From 2013 to the end of 2015, the Green Programme and the “Give Your Old Cell Phone a New Purpose” campaign recycled more than 1.8 million mobile handsets and 558 tonnes of accessories, such as batteries and chargers. To continue reinforcing this effort, the first free mobile app will be launched to enable users to locate the 479 collection boxes made available throughout the country by mobile operators and equipment manufacturers.

photo-wc_mx2-01Today’s announcement at the Centre for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE) was attended by Gabriel Contreras, President of the FTI, Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America, Enrique Leiva, President of ANATEL, Judith Mariscal, Director of the Telecom-CIDE Programme, and Gabriel Székely, Director General of ANATEL.

 

 

The GSMA’s We Care Mexico campaign was launched in February 2015. AT&T, Movistar and Telcel, working together under the National Association of Telecommunications, Mexico, today announced new programmes:

Preventing and responding to natural disasters

 

Every year, Mexico suffers the impact of cyclones and hurricanes in the Pacific and the Caribbean Sea and on the Atlantic coast. Dozens of seismic movements are recorded in the enormous mountain ranges that cross the country. To mitigate the impact of these phenomena, Mexico’s mobile operates will work with the authorities to:

  • Collaborate with the competent authorities to take preventive actions to mitigate the impact of disturbing natural phenomena for mobile phone users and reinforce coordination during the stages of prevention, response and recovery in affected areas to save lives, reduce risks and provide an effective response to the population. This will involve defining procedures for the mobile sector to give priority to communications and messages in emergency or disaster situations during these stages.
  • Standardise messages from operators during emergencies to position the hashtag #NosImportaMéxico as a reference to provide efficient guidelines for the population.
  • Offer the federal authorities the opportunity to include a link on ANATEL and mobile operator websites to a list of shelters made available during natural phenomena so the population can locate them.

Implementation of national emergency number 911

 

photo-wc_mx2-03The Guidelines for Collaboration on Security and Justice Matters state that telecommunications companies and government entities will work together to unify and simplify user communications in emergencies. Several numbers for police, fire services, roadside assistance and other bodies will now be combined in a single number, 911.

In the mobile phone sector we are working on coordination and combined efforts with the security authorities to bring the 911 national emergency number into service. This initiative will be conducted with the Executive Secretariat of the National System of Public Security (SESNSP) and the FTI, and 911 is expected to be operating on mobile handsets soon. ANATEL and mobile operator websites will include detailed information about progress on their combined work and the implementation of initiatives throughout the country.

Gabriel Contreras, Comisionado Presidente del IFT, closing speech

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In the city of Santiago, Chile, the CE-Digital programme for training in the Digital Ecosystem was launched in the last week of April. This initiative is jointly organized by CAF –Development Bank of Latin America-, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in its role as technical secretariat of eLAC and GSMA. The objective of this programme is to offer telecommunications training opportunities to regulators and policy makers in Latin America.

With the participation of the Undersecretary of Communications of Chile, Pedro Huichalaf, the launch of the CE-Digital programme took place on 25 April.

In the opening participated Fernando Rojas, Coordinator of the regional broadband observatory of ECLAC, Mauricio Agudelo, Senior telecommunications specialist of CAF and Sebastián Cabello, Head of Latin America of GSMA. The Undersecretariat of Chile, Pedro Huichalaf, provided an overview of the telecommunications sector in the country.

In his welcome address, Fernando Rojas highlighted the important role played by new technologies in the economic and social development of the region and in increasing inclusion and equity. “Promoting the development of ICTs in the region is critical and presents constant challenges to reduce the divide with developed countries; therefore, public policy and regulation must evolve along with these challenges, and it is in this context that CE-Digital is presented as a tool to promote the development of these technologies”.

Mauricio Agudelo emphasized that “the programme will be a tool to strengthen the skills of policymakers and regulators in the region thanks to the courses which offer the most updated knowledge on telecommunications”. Sebastian Cabello highlighted the relevance of a programme such as CE-Digital to “promote better regulatory understanding, which helps connect everything and everyone to a better future”.

During this week two training courses were also delivered: “Competition Policy in the Digital Age”, by the telecommunications expert Ernesto Flores-Roux, and “Internet of Things” by Stefano Nicoletti, M2M Regulatory Manager of the GSMA.

More than 50 participants attended the courses from ministries, undersecretariats and universities of the region.

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Claro, Telecom Personal and Telefonica Movistar Back GSMA’s Consumer Protection Initiatives; Argentina’s Mobile Ecosystem Contributes $21 Billion to National GDP

Argentina’s leading mobile operators are backing a new GSMA initiative focused on mobile consumer protection. Mobile operators Claro, Telecom Personal and Telefónica Movistar will work to tackle mobile device theft and promote protection against child sexual exploitation, the first time such a joint campaign has been undertaken in Argentina. The launch is backed by Argentina’s Ministry of Communications, the National Communications Agency (ENACOM), and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.

cover-argentina_ecosystem-ESThe launch of the consumer protection campaign coincides with a new report by GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA, which highlights the impact of Argentina’s mobile ecosystem on national GDP, jobs and socio-economic development. According to this report, it is calculated that Argentina’s mobile ecosystem contributed $21 billion to the country’s economy in 2015, equivalent to 3.7 per cent of national GDP. This contribution is forecast to reach $26 billion by 2020 (4.6 per cent of projected national GDP by this point) on the back of ongoing investments in mobile broadband networks and services. In addition, Argentina’s mobile ecosystem provides direct employment to approximately 65,000 people across the country.

“Our future challenge is to harness the scale and ubiquity of mobile in Argentina to continue delivering major economic and social benefits to the country, and provide a platform for business innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America. “Argentina’s small and medium enterprises now have an opportunity to build on this ecosystem in areas such as software, apps and local content, adding value and creating jobs.”

The new GSMA Intelligence report, Argentina: Impact of the Mobile Ecosystem: Perspectives and Opportunities, will be a resource for discussion for the new regulatory framework on communications. By working within a supportive regulatory environment that encourages investment, mobile operators in Argentina are set to invest almost $9 billion in building and expanding mobile broadband networks over the next five years. The number of 4G connections in Argentina is forecast to rise from 3 million in 2015 to 23 million by 2020.

Consumer protection campaign in Argentina
A cooperation agreement for the national launch of the GSMA’s We Care campaign in Argentina is being signed today by representatives from Claro, Telecom Personal and Telefónica Movistar. Representatives from ENACOM, the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights will act as witnesses of honour. The We Care campaign includes the following initiatives:

Reducing handset theft
Handset theft is a common crime in Argentina. Since 2013, Argentina’s mobile operators have been connected to the GSMA International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) global database, exchanging information about stolen mobile devices. ENACOM today agreed to implement the GSMA’s IMEI Device Check service, reinforcing measures underway to fight device theft. This system will allow Argentinean mobile users to check the ENACOM website in real time when buying a handset to check if it is on the global list of stolen mobile devices. The service will be available in the next 30 days.

“IMEI Device Check is essential to empower consumers so they are not aiding crime by buying a stolen mobile phone,” said Sebastián Cabello. “It has been implemented with enormous success in Mexico and will soon be implemented in other countries in the region. Mobile phone theft is a problem that can be fought only by joint collaboration actions between operators, consumers, government and manufacturers.”

Child protection
Argentina’s mobile operators will launch an information and awareness campaign to support the work of ‘Equipo Niñ@s (Child Team) against Sexual Exploitation and Grooming’, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights free national helpline available on 0800-222-1717 (137 in Buenos Aires), as part of the ‘Victims against Violence’ programme. Equipo Niñ@s includes professionals in psychology and social work that provide advice and assist people reporting abuse 24/7 throughout the country. The 0800-222-1717 helpline allows anyone to report instances of child or adolescent sexual exploitation or abuse in any form (e.g. grooming, child abuse images and prostitution, and child sexual tourism). Companies will support Equipo Niñ@s by implementing awareness-raising activities via their retail points of sale and websites to publicise the free helpline and the need to report abuse.

Evento Nos Importa Argentina

Representatives from the operators involved in the initiative offered the following comments at today’s launch:

“Claro considers it very important to jointly work with the GSMA on the implementation of the We Care campaign, which will translate into actions that will provide a more secure and reliable environment for children, and deliver the tools necessary to identify and control the commercialisation and use of stolen mobile devices”.
Julio Carlos Porras Zadik, Director General, Claro Argentina

“At Personal we are proud to be part of this joint industry initiative, which has its focus on the public-private cooperation to build a better service environment, increasingly safe and reliable for users. We are aware of the fundamental role that our industry plays in the daily life of society, and that is why, with the GSMA, we provide to our customers robust tools that contribute to the safe use of our services. Our main goal is to be close to our customers, delivering the services they need and facilitating their interaction with the world.”
Elisabetta Ripa, Executive Director General, Telecom Group

“In addition to supporting the development of businesses with innovative services, Telefónica, as a socially responsible company, is committed to the welfare of society. For many years we have been working towards the protection and defence of children’s rights via public welfare initiatives, both independently and collaboratively. We are committed to finding solutions to specific social problems that violate these rights by providing our technological capabilities to contribute to an environment that promotes the healthy development of children and adolescents, in conditions of freedom and dignity.”
Federico Rava, President, Telefonica Argentina

The GSMA’s We Care campaign is an initiative backed by leading mobile operators in Latin America in a bid to ensure all their users can enjoy the life-changing benefits of mobile technology in a safe and secure environment. Operators have decided to join forces as an industry and take on a series of commitments in every country in the region where mobile phones and networks can provide solutions to social problems. We Care has already been launched with several initiatives in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua, and will continue to expand throughout the region.

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The competitive dynamics of the digital ecosystem and the design of a new regulatory framework were the key topics of discussion and analysis at the first meeting for the year of GSMA Latin America’s Regulatory Working Group (REGU), held on 5 and 6 April in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Attendees at the REGU meeting included 33 leading executives from 17 mobile operators in 13 Latin American countries responsible for regulatory, legal and public affairs matters.

“The rise of new players in the digital ecosystem, delivering services previously provided by telecommunications companies, has made us rethink the regulatory framework in which these competitive services coexist. Regulation must be dynamic so it can adapt to these changes in services and technologies and avoid becoming rapidly out of date. The key also lies in establishing predictable rules of the game that encourage companies to intensify investments, innovate, and keep connecting people,” said Matías Fernández Díaz, GSMA Latin America Regulatory Manager, at the meeting.

According to the recent report “A new regulatory framework for the digital ecosystem” by NERA Economic Consulting, one of the main challenges faced by regulation of the digital ecosystem is the difficulty that prescriptive, ex ante regulatory regimes have in keeping pace with the dynamism of digital products and markets, resulting in excessive and inefficient regulation.

The REGU meeting began with extensive discussion about the most important regulatory matters on the mobile ecosystem agenda among representatives of mobile operators from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. The discussion was led by REGU working group Chair Cristian Sepúlveda, Institutional and Strategic Relations Manager at Entel Chile, and Deputy Chair Andrea López Salloun, Regulatory Manager with Telecom Argentina Group.

Other items on the REGU working agenda were mobile money regulation; privacy and security in the mobile ecosystem; digital inclusion; investment, competition and the impact on quality of service; and innovation and new business models in the era of convergence.

The REGU meeting was held alongside the seminar “Mobile ecosystem in Argentina: impact, innovation and collaboration effort”, where the GSMA Intelligence report on Argentina was presented. The report reveals that Argentina’s mobile ecosystem contributed $21 billion to the economy in 2015, accounting for 3.7% of GDP. The meeting included the launch of the We Care Argentina, campaign, where mobile operators Claro, Telecom Personal and Telefónica Movistar announced initiatives against mobile phone theft and in favour of child protection, in collaboration with Argentina’s Ministry of Communications, the National Communications Agency (ENACOM) and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.

The Buenos Aires meeting was the first this year for the REGU working group, which brings together Latin American experts in regulating the telecommunications industry. The GSMA has four working groups, headed by the executives of GSMA member companies. The REGU will meet again at Mobile 360 Latin America, in Mexico City, from 20 to 22 September 2016.

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About 145 high level executives representing 21 Chilean mobile operators and 21 global companies in the mobile ecosystem attended the meeting of the GSMA Latin America Billing & Roaming Working Group (BARG LA), held on 28 and 29 March in Santiago de Chile. Hosted by Entel and Telefónica Chile the meeting brought together attendees from 17 countries who focused on the innovations needed to keep improving roaming both technologically and commercially.

The BARG LA meeting was opened by the Undersecretary for Telecommunications of Chile, Pedro Huichalaf Roa, who spoke about the state of telecommunications in Chile and highlighted the importance of public-private collaboration. Also at the opening were Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America, Manuel Araya, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs Manager at Entel, and Fernando Saiz, Director of Strategic Planning and Regulatory Affairs at Telefónica Chile.

VoLTE Roaming was the main technology discussed at the meeting, where the focus was on global standards, interconnection requirements and Cloud VoLTE solutions. Among the future benefits of VoLTE Roaming are: more efficient use of spectrum than in traditional voice services and lower CAPEX; better call experience and improved connection time; can be deployed with video calls over LTE and RCS multimedia services; increases battery life by 40 per cent (compared with VoIP).

Claudio Reyes, from Antel Uruguay and Agustín Barría from Telefónica Chile, Chair and Deputy Chair of BARG LA, led the group during these two days of work, covering an extensive agenda that also addressed the following topics:

• Quality of service in Roaming: Tests, GSMA’s LTE GRQ Project
• Roam like at home: implementations in Latin America and Europe
• Grey routes and fraud
• Lessons learned from World Cup Brazil 2014 – the case of VIVO
• The future of the SIM Card: eSIM prospects
• Business cases: optimising A2P SMS and marketing strategies

Another key topic, wholesale services, was discussed by a panel of operators who addressed the present and future of international traffic. The members of the panel were Alfredo Fernandez, Head of Telefónica International Wholesale Services, Alan Ward, Head of Wholesale Services at Entel Chile, and Chris Bannister, CEO of WOM. The panel stressed that obtaining fair roaming rates in Latin America for consumers, based on adjustments in the wholesale market, is a strategic issue for the industry. It also concluded that reaching goals of this kind requires increasing attention from the highest levels among operators.

The BARG LA meeting was the first gathering for 2016 of this group of Latin American experts from mobile operators and service providers. The GSMA has four working groups, headed by the executives of GSMA member companies. The BARG LA working group will meet again at Mobile 360 Latin America, in Mexico City, from 20 to 22 September 2016.

Resources

The GSMA Latin America Technical and Terminals Working Group met on 15 and 16 March in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, providing a catalyst to continue updating mobile operators on the technical topics the GSMA is promoting globally. The meeting brought together more than 60 executives in the technology areas from operators and the main manufacturers in the Latin American mobile ecosystem, including Huawei, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Gemalto and Nokia.

Held alongside the first Small Cell Forum in Latin America, the TECT meeting was attended by representatives from Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The main topics addressed at the meeting were the specific technological needs of Latin America for access network development and antenna deployment. Attendees were brought up to date on the key concepts of the GSMA’s Vision 2020 strategy with an explanation of the real opportunities in implementing these new technologies in the region.

The TECT meeting included seminars and debates on the topics of access networks, the internet of things, the future of mobile networks, mobile identity services and solutions, and mobile financial services, such as:

Access Network Seminar: TECT Chair and Head of Technology at Telecom Argentina Martín Wessel reached an agreement among various operators and the main manufacturers from the region to work together on a guide to help GSMA members identify problems and possible solutions associated with access network deployment. This line of action will be supported by Small Cell Forum, which will make its experience and studies available to the TECT for preparation of the guide.

During the seminar the GSMA went over the measures that mobile operators can take to protect their networks from the potential vulnerabilities of SS7 signalling. Other topics at the seminar included new access network trends, with an in-depth look at LTE broadcast services and the main features of MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services).

Connected Living Seminar: During this session on machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, discussion focused on the security challenges for deploying and scaling Internet of Things (IoT) services in the region. The session included a presentation of the GSMA’s Mobile IoT initiative, designed to accelerate the commercial availability of Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) solutions in licensed spectrum, providing security and extending battery lifetimes. The seminar focused on LTE for Machines (LTE-M), Extended Coverage GSM (EC-GSM) and narrow band IoT technologies (NB-IoT). International experts gave keynote presentations about Embedded SIM and how it will contribute to the growth of M2M communications, and the main features of the new Customer Device connection model.

The discussion addressed the benefits of a common architecture for Big Data and standardisation of IoT information sources, as well as the new use cases to be taken into account in the region to encourage Smart Cities, in particular the importance of security for connected cars.

Vodafone Brasil presented the regional success case of its project to develop new technologies for M2M and determine how to combine voice, mobile data and M2M architectures.

Network Evolution Seminar: At this session experts discussed progress made in the initiatives and activities of the GSMA Network 2020 Programme focusing on building mobile networks with All-IP technology. One of the main items addressed was VoLTE and the work carried out by the GSMA to facilitate local interoperability of VoLTE among operators, and the example of Korea. Attendees were informed about the collaboration tool for resolution of incidents on IP communications (RCS, VoLTE, ViLTE, VoWiFi), in which the GSMA is working on almost 500 incidents that affect these services. Representatives from Oi group (Brazil) presented the results of their Voice over WiFi launching trials and international experts spoke about what can be expected from the new 5G technology, not only at the services level but also in changes to 4G that will gradually be introduced, such as Carrier Aggregation, MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output), Virtualisation (NFV), Slicing, Edge Computing and broadcast technologies.

Identity Services Seminar: Mobile Connect is an authentication service launched by operators worldwide as an alternative to the multiple usernames and passwords of the digital world. This service has reached Latin America, allowing operators to provide user authentication on websites through individual telephone numbers. During this session, the TECT was joined by the global head of Mobile Connect at Telefónica, who talked about the launch of this service in Peru, Argentina and Mexico and the start of work to implement it in Brazil and other countries. Key presentations were given by Telecom Argentina, which shared its experience in implementing Mobile Connect, and service provider representatives interested in implementing Mobile Connect to deliver higher levels of security. The evolution of Mobile Connect to provide services for authorisation, attributes, payment and identity was reviewed.

Mobile Money Seminar: This seminar included regional experts in mobile money, who highlighted the importance of this service in Latin America, where Paraguay, El Salvador and Honduras are among the world’s 15 leading mobile money markets. They also highlighted the importance of interoperability and the development of the mobile money ecosystem in Brazil, Mexico and Panama. The account of Brazilian experts about developing mobile payments in their country was particularly interesting. Attendees at the TECT meeting had the opportunity to learn about the technological concepts behind what is known as “tokenisation” in mobile financial services, which delivers the additional security necessary for the growth of mobile payments and even their extension to IoT in the region.

Resources

Mobile World Congress 2016 once again beat all previous records, receiving more than 100,000 visitors from 204 countries, including 55% C-Level representatives and 5,000 CEOs. The Latin Americans played a major role at the 2016 Ministerial Programme, which was attended by 74 delegates from 17 countries of the region, with the Governments of Mexico and Colombia taking the Government Leadership Awards and the Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award, respectively. The MWC Ministerial Programme, a key meeting point for discussion among the leaders of the global and Latin American digital ecosystem, brings together ministers, regulatory authorities, international organisations and leading executives of mobile operators.

The Latin American Summit, held on Tuesday 23 February as part of the 2016 Ministerial Programme (the only event at MWC16 conducted in Spanish and Portuguese), focused on how to encourage social innovation through greater connectivity in the region. At the Summit opening, Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA for Latin America, said the region had experienced the world’s largest growth in LTE deployment in 2015, adding more than 2.5 million 4G connections a month despite the complicated economic climate. By the end of 2016, connections are expected to hit the 80 million mark. However, Cabello also mentioned the ongoing challenges to continue promoting greater digital inclusion, with reference to the report launched that same day by GSMA Intelligence: Digital Inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Amos Genish, President and CEO of Telefónica Brasil, made the first keynote presentation of the seminar, explaining the opportunities and challenges of the mobile market in Brazil. “The economic moment is very challenging, and over-regulation and excessive taxation mean that the mobile industry sees the return on its investments and the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem as complicated issues. But we want to face these challenges by improving user experience while we expand our capacity and innovative in the product,” he said.

The second presentation of the Latin American Summit was given by Gabriel Contreras Saldivar, President of Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute (FTI). Contreras discussed topics on the FTI regulatory agenda, such as spectrum, quality of service, network neutrality and asymmetric regulation, highlighting the regulatory approach of FTI in promoting efficient regulations, encouraging competition and providing certainty for investment. He commented on the challenge for infrastructure deployment throughout the region and announced that federal public sites will be available for mobile operators. “We need efficient, standard deployment all over the country that will encourage sharing mechanisms,” he added.

The event also included in-depth discussion on the barriers and incentives for connecting the unconnected in Latin America, in a panel moderated by Antonio García Zaballos, Lead Specialist in Telecommunications at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The participants in the discussion panel were Pedro Huichalaf Roa, Vice Minister of Telecommunications, Chile; Andrés Maz, Executive Director of Public Policy, Cisco Systems; Maryleana Méndez Jiménez, President of the Board, Sutel, Costa Rica; Alejandro Quiroga López, Legal and Regulatory Affairs Director, Telecom Argentina; and Leonardo Saunero, Vice President of Regulation and International Relations, Nuevatel Bolivia.

To close the Latin American Summit 2016, a final discussion panel was held to analyse how to promote improved digital social innovation solutions. Moderated by social entrepreneur and Singularity University graduate Leonardo Valente, President of GenTecnológico, the discussion focused on how to stimulate value creation locally through new apps and services that help to address the needs of the communities in the region. The panel members were Pelayo Covarrubias Correa, President of Fundación País Digital, Chile; Sergio González Guzmán, CEO of Asomóvil Colombia; Javier Placer Mendoza, Head of Telefónica Open Future; Rachel Samren, Executive Vice President of External Affairs, Millicom; and Jorge Vargas, Head of Strategic Partnerships in LATAM, Wikimedia Foundation.

At MWC 2016, the GSMA’s Ministerial Programme also beat its attendance record during four days of seminars, activities and bilateral meetings, with delegations representing 137 countries and 31 international organisations from around the world.

Resources

• Presentation Opportunities & challenges in the Brazilian Telecom market – Amos Genish
• Presentation La industria móvil en México y Latinoamérica: prospectiva de crecimiento y retos regulatorios – Gabriel Contreras Saldívar
Attendee biographies
Image gallery
Mobile World Congress 2016 wrap-up by GSMA Intelligence
MWC16 Highlights video by Mobile World Live

The governments of Mexico and Colombia were key figures at the 2016 Ministerial Programme after winning the Government Excellence Award (Mexico) and the Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award (Colombia) made at Mobile World Summit, the highest-level meeting held during Mobile World Congress Barcelona.

The awards recognise “the global leadership in the establishment of regulatory policies for telecommunications based on clear principles that encourage long term investment and provide a regulatory environment of transparency and fair competition that maximises the socioeconomic value of the sector”. The awards were given to the governments of Mexico and Colombia on Monday 22 February by the GSMA’s new Director General, Mats Granryd.

 

Government Leadership Award – Federal Government of the United Mexican States

 

premios_mwc_2016_mxThe 2016 Government Leadership Award recognises the importance of the Telecommunications Reform carried out by the Federal Government of the United Mexican States leading to significant sector investment in the country’s economy, increased competition in the market, spectrum licensing and faster adoption of 4G.

The Government of Mexico demonstrated good practices in transparency, public consultation and regulatory independence, with the creation of a new independent regulator (FTI) and specialised law courts to resolve disputes on telecommunications issues. Mexico has also excelled in spectrum management: it was the first country in Latin America to auction the extended AWS band, and will boost mobile broadband speeds even further by licensing the 2.6GHz band later this year.

The award was received by Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, Mexico’s Secretary of Communications and Transport, who highlighted how the telecommunications sector has boosted the growth of the country, as it has grown at four times the rate of the economy. The Mexican delegation at MWC 2016 also included Gabriel Contreras Saldivar, President of FTI, and Mónica Aspe Bernal, Mexico’s Under Secretary of Communications.

 

Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award – Government of the Republic of Colombia

 

premios_mwc_2016-coThe Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award 2016 was given to the Government of Colombia in recognition of its vital role in making sufficient mobile spectrum available, in a transparent manner, to the benefit of its people and the economy. This was made possible through Colombia’s national and international leadership during negotiations at WRC-15 in November.

By leading the use of spectrum from the digital dividend, Colombia is greatly expanding LTE services. At the same time, by supporting the 2.6GHz and 3.3-3.7GHz bands, Colombia will be well positioned to sustain growth and meet the future demand for faster mobile services.

Martha Suárez, Director of the Colombian National Spectrum Agency (NSA), was at the 2016 Ministerial Programme to receive the award. “The task that the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications has been working on proactively with the NSA is aimed at ensuring our country is ready for the new scenarios brought by the digital revolution. Proper spectrum management will enable us to respond to a higher demand for connectivity and services, which in turn will result in benefits for our people. This recognition confirms we are performing this task the way it should be done”, said David Luna Sánchez, Minister of Information Technologies and Communications, commenting from Colombia on the award made in Barcelona.

 

Locally Relevant Content and Digital Literacy Skills Key to Digital Inclusion in the Region

Tackling digital literacy and ensuring that locally relevant content and services are available will be key to connecting the estimated 363 million citizens in Latin America and the Caribbean that are covered by mobile broadband networks but not yet connected. According to a series of new reports commissioned by GSMA’s Connected Society and produced by GSMA Intelligence, further collaboration between mobile operators and governments will be key to extending mobile connectivity and internet services to millions of citizens across the region. Affordability and network coverage are identified as the other main barriers to digital inclusion in the region.

“Mobile broadband is the primary method of delivering affordable internet access across the Latin America and Caribbean region, delivering a range of economic and social benefits and supporting the UN Social Development Goals,” said Sebastian Cabello, the GSMA’s Head of Latin America. “But there is also the danger of a widening ‘digital divide’ in the region due to millions being either unable or unwilling to use mobile broadband services. We therefore urge governments to work with the mobile industry to address the barriers to adoption and ensure that the mobile internet is more accessible, useful and understandable for everyone.”

“The mobile industry is committed to playing a key role in connecting unconnected populations in Latin America and around the world,” said Matthew Bloxham, Head of the GSMA’s Connected Society programme. “The GSMA is actively working with mobile operators, governments and the wider international development community to design and implement commercially sustainable and scalable initiatives that can unlock the key supply-side and demand-side barriers to adoption of mobile internet services.”

Measuring the Mobile Broadband Demand Gap

The Latin America and Caribbean region is home to 634 million people. According to the latest research, the mobile broadband coverage gap in the region is relatively small, with only about 10 per cent of the population – or 64 million people – living outside the footprint of a 3G or 4G network. A further 33 per cent (207 million) of the population live within range and subscribe to mobile broadband services. This leaves 57 per cent (363 million) of the total population that are covered by mobile broadband networks but not yet connected.

More than 100 million people in this latter category reside in Brazil, the region’s largest market. The demand gap also varies widely across the region, ranging from countries such as Chile and Costa Rica, where the proportion of citizens subscribing to mobile broadband is relatively high, to markets such as Guatemala and Ecuador, where there are significant gaps between mobile broadband availability and adoption.

Understanding the Barriers to Digital Inclusion
Insights from the GSMA Intelligence Consumer Survey 2015 and various national household surveys from across the region highlight four primary barriers that need to be addressed to increase mobile broadband adoption:

  • Absence of locally relevant content: Research points to a limited supply of attractive content – both in terms of local language and local relevance. Analysis of web traffic data shows that less than 30 per cent of content accessed in Latin America and the Caribbean is in local languages – despite the prevalence of Spanish and Portuguese languages in the region. Moreover, the content available on app stores and mobile operator websites is largely entertainment-related, creating a misconception among non-users that the internet is just an entertainment tool and masking the relevance and lifestyle-changing potential of the mobile internet. Locally relevant content is highlighted by the consumer survey to be a more important factor than cost or other considerations in most markets.
  • Lack of digital skills: Although basic literacy rates in the region are higher than the global average, there remains a gap in digital literacy and skills. The research shows that insufficient ICT infrastructure and teaching support for digital education prevents many mobile users from exploring the benefits of the internet.
  • Affordability: The Latin America and Caribbean region has the highest regional level of income inequality in the world. Affordability is a significant barrier to internet adoption for people at the bottom of the economic pyramid. For the bottom 40 per cent of the population, the cost of mobile ownership is on average 17 per cent of income, compared to just 2 per cent of income for the top 20 per cent of the population. One of the key barriers to affordability is the taxation of mobile services, particularly in countries such as Brazil and Argentina where consumer taxes account for over 30 per cent of the total cost of mobile ownership. A reduction in sector-specific taxes, fees and levies applied to both consumers and operators could therefore help to improve affordability.
  • Network coverage: Providing mobile broadband coverage to 90 per cent of the region’s population has been a significant achievement. However, covering the remaining, sparsely populated areas (such as mountain ranges, rainforests and islands), may not be commercially viable without collaboration and some form of public partnership.

Three studies have been commissioned by the GSMA’s Connected Society programme and the GSMA Latin America office and produced by GSMA Intelligence. Each report outlines potential areas of collaboration for operators, governments and development organisations, featuring case studies of existing initiatives that have been successful in tackling the various barriers to adoption. The reports are available below:

“Digital inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean” – English | Español
“Content in Latin America: Shift to local, shift to mobile” – English | Español
“Closing the coverage gap in Latin America” – English | Español

Supported by the GSMA, Sutel and the Deputy Ministry of Telecommunications, Claro, ICE and Telefónica Pledge to Tackle Mobile Phone Theft and Promote Greater User Accessibility

3 February 2016, San José: Mobile operators today announced a series of new initiatives as part of the WeCare Costa Rica campaign run by the GSMA to provide a safer and more reliable environment for all mobile users. Operators Claro, ICE and Telefónica will work together to fight mobile phone theft as well as facilitate greater accessibility for consumers with disabilities with the support of Costa Rica’s telecoms regulator, Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel), and the Deputy Ministry of Telecommunications.

There are currently more than 7.6 million mobile connections in Costa Rica, of which almost 37 per cent are smartphone connections [1]. 4G deployment is also rapidly expanding and is forecast to leap from 126,000 connections at the end of 2015 to more than two million by 2020.

“Strong growth in the Costa Rican mobile market demonstrates how mobile technology can be put to good use by working proactively to help solve some of the country’s social problems,” said Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America.

Today in San José, a letter of commitment was signed between Carlos Ríos Briceño, Country Manager at Claro Costa Rica; Jaime Palermo Quesada, Head of Telecommunications at ICE; Jorge Abadía, Country Manager at Telefónica Costa Rica; Gilbert Camacho Mora, President of the Board at Sutel; Emilio Arias Rodríguez, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications of Costa Rica; and Sebastián Cabello on behalf of the GSMA.

The latest initiatives to form part of the WeCare Costa Rica campaign include:

 

Reducing Handset Theft

 

Handset theft is one of the most common crimes in Costa Rica; in March 2012 it became the first country in Latin America to connect all its mobile operators to the GSMA’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) database [2], which shares information about stolen mobile phones globally.

In the latest move to tackle mobile device theft and trafficking between countries, Sutel today agreed to implement GSMA’s IMEI Device Check. This system will enable Costa Rican consumers to check the Sutel website in real time when buying a handset, to see whether it appears on the global list of stolen mobile devices. The blacklist on the GSMA IMEI database is updated every day through reports from more than 100 operators around the world, including 45 operators in 16 Latin American countries.

 

Supporting Disabled Consumers

 

According to data from 2011 [3], almost 11 per cent (452,859) of the Costa Rican population has some kind of disability and requires support to improve their quality of life. Claro, ICE and Telefónica signed an agreement with the Mobile Manufacturers Forum to improve access from their websites to the data system of the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI)4. The system enables users to identify mobile handsets in their area that offer services designed to assist users with disabilities.

The three mobile operators also agreed to continue exploring further activities of common interest that could help to improve citizens’ quality of life, as a second phase of the WeCare Costa Rica campaign. In 2014, mobile operators waived call charges to the 1147 child helpline, run by Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (National Child Welfare Institute – PANI).

 

Supporting Statements

 

Emilio Arias Rodriguez, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications of Costa Rica: “Mobile penetration has reached 151 per cent in Costa Rica, and this trend is set to continue. In this context, and as we work to build an integrated, inclusive and caring society, it is essential to keep taking action to enable every citizen, without exception, to have access to affordable, quality telecommunications services through the development of infrastructure that supports sustainable, efficient, secure and robust mobile networks. These networks will also be key to enabling people to develop their skills and knowledge, in particular those people who are the most vulnerable, through productive, safe and meaningful use of these tools.”

Jaime Palermo, Telecommunications Manager, ICE: “These initiatives reaffirm our commitment with actions to help support the efforts of the Costa Rican government to ensure better security and increased accessibility of services for the entire population. In ICE we believe that technology is key to economic and social development and should contribute to the protection of the rights of Costa Ricans.”

Carlos Rios Briceño, Country Director, Claro Costa Rica: “Claro’s philosophy is to be part of the solutions to the needs of our customers. We care about the lives of Costa Ricans, which is why we are celebrating this agreement for WeCare Costa Rica. We trust that this will be the start of many steps towards improving the quality of life of mobile users.”

José Pablo Rivera, Regulatory Manager, Telefónica Movistar Costa Rica: “Telefónica Movistar joined the WeCare Costa Rica campaign because we strongly believe that ICTs are key to improving people’s quality of life. For past three years, we have worked closely with 800 operators worldwide to block stolen mobile phones and to discourage these types of crimes from being committed. This agreement allows us to support Costa Rica through Telefónica Group’s various initiatives in the area of disability and which aim to promote social inclusion.”

Gilbert Camacho, President, Sutel: “One of Sutel’s objectives is the protection of users’ rights. This led to us signing an agreement with the GSMA in 2012 to discourage the theft of mobile phones; in fact Costa Rica was the first Latin American country to implement the initiative. Today we are taking a further step to provide new tools for users to combat this problem. We believe that through initiatives like WeCare Costa Rica, we can build a better country.”

 

About WeCare
The GSMA’s WeCare campaign was launched by Latin American operators to ensure all consumers can enjoy the transformational benefits of mobile technology in a safe and secure environment. To achieve this, operators joined forces to make a series of commitments in every country in the region where mobile phones and networks can provide solutions to social problems. The WeCare campaign has already been launched in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua, and will continue to expand throughout the region.

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1 Source: GSMA Intelligence, December 2015
2 To access the latest information about handset theft in Latin America and the GSMA IMEI database please visit http://www.gsma.com/latinamerica/handset-theft-imei-database
3 Data from the report “Approach to the situation of children and adolescents with disabilities in Costa Rica” by the Second Vice Presidency of the Republic of Costa Rica, Nationality Council of Rehabilitation and Special Education (CNREE) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Costa Rica, July 2014. http://www.unicef.org/costarica/20140801_discapacidad_cr.pdf
4 More information about the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI) is available at http://gari.info/index.cfm?lang=eng

 

Claro, Hondutel and Tigo Have Signed a Cooperation Agreement with the GSMA and CONATEL to Fight Mobile Phone Theft, Promote Digital Inclusion in Schools
and Support the Honduran Red Cross

1 February 2016, Tegucigalpa: Mobile operators in Honduras and the GSMA (the association representing mobile operators worldwide) today announced the launch of the “We Care Honduras” campaign, which aims to provide a safer and more reliable mobile environment for all of the country’s mobile phone users. Backed by the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL), telecom companies Claro, Hondutel and Tigo will work together to fight handset theft, promote digital inclusion in public education centres, and support awareness campaigns by the Honduran Red Cross about road safety and voluntary blood donation.

The Honduran mobile market is rapidly expanding. Honduras now has more than 8 million mobile connections, almost 30 per cent of them via smartphones [1]. 4G deployment is expected to skyrocket from 88,000 connections at the end of 2015 to 1.4 million in 2020.

“The enormous growth in the adoption and extent of mobile services means this can be a very important tool for communications, education and interaction for social purposes,” said Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America. “The We Care Honduras campaign stems from the commitment of the country’s mobile operators, who have put aside commercial competition in a joint effort to provide tangible benefits to Honduran mobile users.”

The cooperation agreement signed today by senior representatives of Claro, Hondutel and Tigo, with the GSMA and CONATEL as witnesses of honour, includes the following points:

Reducing Handset Theft

Handset theft is one of the most common crimes in Honduras. Following the commitment signed by mobile operators in March 2014 before Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández to connect to the GSMA’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) database [2], CONATEL today agreed to implement the GSMA’s Device Check system, reinforcing measures underway to fight terminal theft and device trafficking between countries. This system will allow Honduran mobile users to check the CONATEL website in real time when buying a handset, to see whether it appears on the global list of stolen mobile devices. The so-called blacklist – the GSMA IMEI database – is updated every day through reports from more than 100 operators around the world, including 45 operators in 16 Latin American countries.

Announcement by the Government of Honduras

Digital Inclusion

Mobile operators will work with the IT heads of CONATEL and the Department of Education to design a project to develop and implement a Digital Educational Content platform accessible by pupils in the Honduran public education system. The project will boost digital inclusion of children in public schools by giving them access to structured virtual content certified in line with the approved curriculums in Honduras.

Traffic Accident Prevention and Blood Donation

Honduran mobile operators will launch an information and awareness campaign to support local Red Cross initiatives “Awareness and prevention of traffic accidents” and “Promotion of voluntary blood donation”. One of the aims is to reduce the road toll by promoting a culture of respect on the road. At the same time, operators will work to raise awareness about the need for readily available blood banks to meet the demand of state hospitals and provide care to patients. The companies will support the national awareness campaigns through various channels to ensure the messages of the Honduran Red Cross are well publicised.

During the launch event of the initiative materialized today, Froylán Ayon, General Manager of Claro Honduras, said: “In Claro we wish that, working as a committed team for the welfare of our users, we can get more and more Hondurans to have access to mobile technology in a safe and secure environment, ensuring that in the near future handset theft is a thing of the past. Moreover, we are focused on promoting more innovative activities and educational support for digital learning spaces for our youth.”

“Tigo is pleased to be part of this cooperation with operators and the GSMA to improve the lives of Hondurans by supporting initiatives to democratize access to information and reducing the digital divide,” said Otto Pineda, General Manager, Tigo.

For his part, Jesús Arturo Mejía Arita, General Manager, Hondutel, said: “These initiatives are very important and function as a complement of the actions that the Government of Honduras is implementing to achieve a safer country, and promote a youth most likely to succeed through better education.”

Finally, the lawyer Ebal Diaz, Special Minister of CONATEL, added: “For the government of President Juan Orlando Hernández, safety is a priority, as well as digital inclusion and social protection. So the initiatives announced today with friendly institutions are of great importance for the development of our country. Honduras will continue moving forward and breaking trends.”

The GSMA’s We Care campaign is an initiative of the leading mobile operators in Latin America in a bid to ensure all their users can enjoy the life-changing benefits of mobile technology in a safe and secure environment. To achieve this, operators have decided to join forces as an industry and take on a series of commitments in every country in the region where mobile phones and networks can provide solutions to social problems. We Care has already been launched with several initiatives in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic, and will continue to expand throughout the region.

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1. Data from GSMA Intelligence, Q4 2015.
2. To access the latest information about handset theft in Latin America and the GSMA IMEI database, please visit http://www.gsma.com/latinamerica/handset-theft-imei-database.