Telefonica teamed up with Alphabet subsidiary Loon to extend mobile connectivity deeper into rural regions of Peru in 2020, as part of its Internet Para Todos (IpT) initiative.
Loon, which uses high-altitude balloons as floating cell towers, will specifically focus on reaching “remote populations where conventional telecom infrastructure deployment is not yet economically feasible”. Initial rollouts will cover around 200,000 people residing in a small pocket of Peru’s Loreto Region, which includes large swaths of Amazon rainforest.
IpT, which is jointly owned by Telefonica, Facebook, and Latin American banks IDB Invest and CAF Bank, already connected more than 450,000 people living across 3,500 communities with its initial 4G rollouts in Peru. Loon’s deployment will complement IpT’s existing terrestrial network.
Though Loon worked with Telefonica in Peru since 2014, it noted in a blog the deployment will make Peru the first country in Latin America to use its technology on a “sustained, non-emergency basis”. It added the deal makes Peru the second country where it has signed a contract to extend an MNO’s network using its technology, the other being Kenya.
However, Loon added it must secure regulatory approval for deployments in both countries before moving forward.