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.
The 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.”
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.
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.