Telefónica, Facebook launch IpT wholesale operator in Latam

26 February 2019 | Jason McGee-Abe

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Telefónica and Facebook have teamed up with IDB Invest and CAF (Development Bank of Latin America) to launch Internet para Todos (IpT) Peru to expand internet connectivity in Latin America.

Around 100 million people, 20% of the Latin American population, do not yet have widespread access to mobile broadband and, therefore, to the benefits offered by the digital economy. IpT Peru is an open access wholesale mobile infrastructure operator, which aims to help boost rural connectivity.

"Our new approach will leverage our network as a service to bridge the digital divide as fast as possible while providing any mobile network operator access to rural markets,” said Teresa Gomes, managing director of Internet para Todos.

“Our goal now is to launch and scale the project in Peru and prove what's possible to the rest of Latin America and the world.”

IpT Peru's mission is to bridge that digital divide and connect rural communities throughout Peru by enabling any mobile network operator to use IpT's 3G and 4G infrastructure to deliver high quality retail mobile communication services.

Telefónica del Peru is contributing and opening its existing rural business to IpT Peru. Bernardo Quinn, CEO of Hispam South at Telefónica, said: "At Telefónica, we think that people are the ones who give meaning to technology and not vice versa. Internet para Todos is an example of how Telefónica is addressing new challenges to the sector and how it takes advantage of opportunities to promote open models of collaboration with other partners.”

Facebook, IDB Invest and CAF are investing in IpT Peru, with the goal of upgrading existing voice services and building new sites to deliver fast mobile internet coverage in a wholesale Network-as-a-Service model (NaaS).

IpT Peru will help demonstrate that new business models which embrace open access principles and cooperation, new technologies, and the right policies can transform infrastructure into a NaaS to connect diverse communities across a challenging landscape while providing reasonable financial returns and time to market, while serving as a model for other areas of the world.

Dan Rabinovitsj, Facebook's vice president of connectivity, added: “Delivering scalable, efficient and high-quality connectivity to rural communities is key to closing the digital divide. Through Internet Para Todos in Peru, we're investing in a new way of expanding rural access to mobile broadband, paving the way for the new approaches that the industry needs in order to ensure everyone has access to the benefits of the internet.”

IpT will offer wholesale access to its rural broadband infrastructure through a revenue share model that would enable mobile operators to deliver communication services to individuals, businesses, and other organisations in rural communities.

The company says that if IpT in Peru is a success it will pave the way for the company to replicate this type of business model in other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Internet para Todos represents a pioneer, transformative and innovative business model for rural connectivity in Peru and throughout the Latin American and the Caribbean region, and its success could be the solution to offer digital connectivity in rural areas, one of the main development challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said James Scriven, CEO of IDB Invest.

IpT will achieve economic sustainability through partnerships with local communities and by using open technologies that will reduce the cost of deployment in areas where current technologies are cost prohibitive. IpT will take advantage of cloud architectures, automated network planning, open radio access solutions (Open RAN) and a combination of optimised fibre and microwave networks.