GSMA We Care Ecuador: mobile operators join forces to work on natural disaster response and tackle handset theft

September 26, 2017

National Telecommunication Corporation (CNT EP), Claro and Telefónica Movistar support United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through We Care Initiative.

26 September 2017, Quito, Ecuador: Ecuador’s mobile industry today launched the “We Care Ecuador” campaign, an initiative of the GSMA in Latin America to set up local actions that will help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Operators Claro, CNT EP and Telefónica Movistar signed the GSMA Humanitarian Connectivity Charter, pledging to work together on a coordinated awareness campaign via social networks, digital media and websites to help create a culture of prevention in vulnerable areas and reinforce good practices during emergencies.

As part of this joint initiative, the GSMA and Ecuador’s Telecommunications Regulation and Control Agency (ARCOTEL) will also work together to step up the fight against handset theft. They will support the ARCOTEL initiative Tu Celular Legal by exchanging regional good practices and the global experience of the GSMA IMEI database.

“As a mobile ecosystem, we’re focusing on supporting communities during crises or natural disasters and tackling the daily scourge of mobile phone theft, continually aiming to help reach the SDGs by fully leveraging mobile technology,” said Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America.

Mobile industry support is essential to aid communities, consumers and humanitarian institutions during crises and emergencies. The Humanitarian Connectivity Charter outlines shared principles of commitment and a series of collaborative actions, including:

  • To enhance coordination within and among mobile network operators before, during and after a disaster
  • To scale and standardise preparedness and response activities across the industry to enable a more predictable response; and
  • To strengthen partnerships between the mobile industry, government and the humanitarian sector.

The mobile industry in Ecuador will jontly work with authorities to improve the disaster preparedness and response. During the earthquake in April 2016, the country’s mobile operators mobilised technicians and vehicles to provide satellite phones, water, phone chargers and internet service to affected areas. They also installed temporary base stations, provided power generators and offered discounts and free calls and texting, among other actions to facilitate communications access to users in affected areas. Ecuador’s Secretary of Risk Management said that by 22 April 2016 (six days after the earthquake), 84 per cent of telecommunications had been reestablished in Manabí, and in Esmeraldas and Guayas, they were fully restored.

“Joining We Care Ecuador reaffirms our willingness to collaborate and encourage a culture of preparedness and response for situations that can put lives at risk. The mobile industry contribution to improving people’s quality of life is even more evident in actions that help to improve public safety, both in times of natural disaster and in working with the authorities to tackle handset theft,” said Victor García, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Claro.

“For the National Telecommunications Corporation, it’s important to be part of alliances like this that benefit the people of Ecuador. By signing the Humanitarian Connectivity Charter and joining the We Care campaign, we’re confirming our pledge to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals in a responsible manner,” said Andrés Moreno, General Manager of CNT.

“I reiterate my gratitude and my pride in the work of everyone at Telefónica and the pledge to the country. In record time we set up vital telecommunications services, sent out vehicles that covered the worst hit areas, provided free calls and built seven Proniño centres to teach, entertain and support children affected by the tragedy. This shows what we’re capable of. If we’re united and focused, we’ll achieve our objectives, fully in line with the SDGs,” said José Manuel Casas, CEO of Telefónica Ecuador.

“Global Compact Ecuador, in its pledge to promote application of the Global Goals in the business sector, supports the campaign and a nationwide union of the telecommunications sector to achieve the goals and indicators of the UN Agenda 2030 in Ecuador,” said Mauricio Morillo, President of Global Compact Ecuador. Mr Morillo also highlighted the importance of aligning business practices with sustainable development, supporting the competitiveness, equality and sustainability of industries and the planet.

During the launch event of the We Care Ecuador campaign, a discussion panel was held on the national mobile ecosystem and its regulatory challenges. The participants were Jorge Cevallos, Executive Director, ASETEL; Diego Salazar, Technical Director of Radio Spectrum Regulation, ARCOTEL; Juan Córdoba, Interconnection Manager, CNT; Victor García, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Claro Ecuador; and Carolina Turín, Regulatory Strategy and Public Affairs Manager, Telefónica Ecuador. Moderated by Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America, the panel addressed the topics of security, privacy and infrastructure deployment, barriers to digital inclusion and competition policy in the new digital ecosystem.

Underscoring the mobile industry commitment to the SDGs , the GSMA We Care campaign is an initiative of the region’s leading mobile operators 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 joined forces as an industry and taken on a series of commitments in every country in the region where mobile phones and networks can provide solutions to social problems. The initiative has been launched in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and the Dominican Republic, and will continue to expand across the region.

 

Launched in 2015, the Humanitarian Connectivity Charter currently includes more than 146 signatory operators covering more than 106 countries.

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