Telefonica, Facebook bid to boost LatAm rural coverage - Mobile World Live

Telefonica, Facebook bid to boost LatAm rural coverage

09 NOV 2017

Facebook and Telefonica are set to collaborate on projects across Latin America in a bid to tackle issues for people on the continent without reliable connectivity.

The two companies – which are both members of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) group – are already working together in rural Peru, where there are more than eight million unconnected or underconnected people in rural and semi-urban areas. Their findings will now be used to export the model to other markets.

In a statement, Telefonica said the two would continue to investigate the use of new network technologies and operating models involving a wider number of players. This includes the use of opensource systems and new access platforms.

The pair announced the move at a summit hosted by TIP. TIP is an engineering focussed drive involving operators, infrastructure providers, system integrators and other technology companies, to develop more flexible ways of constructing telecoms networks, and was launched by Facebook last year.

TIP operator members in addition to Telefonica include Orange and Zain. At Mobile World Congress last February the initiative announced a member and funding boost.

Vodafone support
Meanwhile the initiative received a further boost yesterday when Vodafone announced it will launch a new network project group within TIP aimed at reducing the costs associated with building mobile networks and enabling easier market entry for smaller vendors. The Open RAN GPP (General Purpose Processor) Optimisation and Software Group will be co-chaired by Vodafone and Intel.

Vodafone said it’s already contributing to the development of a number of other TIP project groups focused on lowering the cost of mobile network radios and backhaul. The operator also said it will work with Facebook during 2018 to evaluate how OpenCellular can be used to deliver low cost rural coverage in Africa.

OpenCellular is an open source, software-defined mobile access platform created by Facebook aiming to improve connectivity in remote areas of the world.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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