● Telefónica customer coverage extended in Mexico City and Oaxaca by offloading mobile data to the Helium Mobile Network.
● Telefónica and Nova Labs pioneering solution enables Telefónica customers to connect to the Helium Mobile Network in a secure and controlled manner using their existing SIM.
Mexico City (Mexico) and Los Angeles (California), January 24, 2024. – Telefónica (NYSE: TEF), the world's leading telecommunications services provider, and Nova Labs, a pioneer in decentralized wireless communication technologies, have partnered to launch Helium Mobile Hotspots in Mexico. The solution, implemented with select customers in Mexico City and Oaxaca, will extend Telefónica's coverage and enable offloading of mobile data to the Helium Mobile Network and improve overall mobile coverage service for customers.
Telefónica and Nova Labs have built a solution based on the OpenWifi standard developed by the Telecom Infra Project (TIP). This solution enables select Movistar customers in Mexico to access the Helium Mobile Network using their Movistar SIM cards for authentication.
Helium Mobile Hotspots are connected to a proprietary management system developed by Telefónica, which controls its customers’ automatic access to the Helium Mobile Network for mobile data sessions. Telefónica maintains full control of the customer experience and monitors hotspot status before allowing access and downloading data over the Helium Mobile Network. This innovative solution combines the core cellular network with Helium Mobile Network coverage and is designed to be deployed globally and leveraged by any operator.
An innovative solution that connects the WiFi and mobile worlds via the SIM card
The use of Helium Mobile Hotspots reduces telecommunications infrastructure costs significantly, with lower capex and opex costs and minimal environmental impact. In addition, it enables a community of individuals and small business owners to deploy Helium Mobile Hotspots and enable Telefónica to accelerate coverage growth while continuing to provide a quality service to its customers.
The Helium Mobile Network allows Telefónica to direct and access new coverage where it is most needed. Helium Mobile Hotspots are compact, discrete, easy to install and can be deployed in small spaces, increasing mobile coverage and allowing mobile data to be offloaded from the core network to the Helium Mobile Network. This people-powered solution increases mobile data coverage and is based on a transparent and immutable economic system managed by the Helium Network's blockchain-based technology.
“Telefónica is exploring ways to expand coverage through innovative, lower-cost, cooperative-based solutions. This program in Mexico is critical to evaluate performance and customer satisfaction of this solution and its associated costs. Our expectation, if successful, is to incorporate this into our portfolio of mobile networks in the different countries of the region”.
José Juan Haro, Chief Wholesale and Public Affairs Officer at Telefónica
"We are excited to partner with Telefonica to integrate our Helium Mobile Hotspot technology and expand coverage for their customers. Alongside Telefónica, Nova Labs has solved one of the main challenges for telecommunications and pioneered a solution that supports secure data offload that can be implemented globally. This is a major advancement for the telco industry and will significantly reduce infrastructure cost while maintaining high quality service”.
Amir Haleem, CEO of Nova Labs
Telefónica is one of the largest telecommunications service providers in the world. The company offers fixed and mobile connectivity as well as a wide range of digital services for residential and business customers.
With 383 million customers, the company operates in Europe and Latin America.
Telefónica is a 100% listed company and its shares are traded on the Spanish Stock Market and on those in New York and Lima.
About Nova Labs/Helium Mobile
Founded in 2013, Nova Labs, is a pioneer in decentralized wireless communications and the founding team behind the open-source Helium Network. Helium Mobile, a Nova Labs business, has a mission to solve the unnecessary fragmentation that plagues connectivity and enable its customers to reduce costs while maintaining high-quality service.
Telefonica + Nova FAQ
Nova Labs partnered with Telefonica to launch Helium Mobile Hotspots in Mexico City and Oaxaca.
Helium Mobile Hotspots enable data offload to the Helium Mobile Network, which allows Telefónica to direct and access new coverage where it is most needed. As José Juan Haro, Chief Wholesale and Public Affairs Officer at Telefónica states “Telefónica is exploring ways to expand coverage through innovative, lower-cost, cooperative-based solutions. This program in Mexico is critical to evaluate performance and customer satisfaction of this solution and its associated costs. Our expectation, if successful, is to incorporate this into our portfolio of mobile networks in the different countries of the region”.
Our teams worked to create an integrated solution that supports Telefonica’s proprietary management system. This system enables handsets with Movistar SIMs to connect to Helium Mobile Hotspots and route data through Movistar’s core network. In parallel, select community members deployed Wi-Fi-enabled access points in sites across a few different regions of Mexico City and Oaxaca.
Now existing Movistar customers will be able to access Helium Mobile Hotspot data offload. The deployment includes Outdoor Helium Mobile Hotspots and offloads mobile traffic coming from Movistar customers. Like all other Mobile Hotspots, any data sent through these hotspots will require Data Credits for payment (meaning HNT will be burned) and Hotspots will be rewarded in MOBILE for their work.
Q: I want to deploy Hotspots in Mexico as part of this. Can I help?
Yes! Only Outdoor Helium Mobile Hotspots that have been approved by the Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (IFT) are eligible for deployment as part of this. Indoors Helium Mobile Hotspots and CBRS radios are not eligible. If you’re interested in helping Nova Labs and Telefonica expand coverage in Mexico as this deployment grows, please email [email protected].
Note: Until a formal approval and vote by the Helium Community, no MOBILE POC rewards will be available to deployers in Mexico outside of the set of locations preselected specifically for this deployment.
Q: How will proof of coverage rewards be calculated in Mexico?
Proof of Coverage (POC) rewards in Mexico will only be available at locations boosted by Nova in compliance with HIP84. Coverage for outdoor hotspots in such locations will be calculated using templated coverage model, as outlined in HIP93.
Q: Are these standard Helium Mobile Hotspots? Do they earn MOBILE?
They are standard Outdoor Helium Mobile Hotspots that have been approved by the IFT. They will earn MOBILE for POC and Data Transfer, and they will appear on our public coverage maps.
Q: Will these Movistar Subscribers earn MOBILE tokens for mapping?
No. They are not eligible to earn MOBILE tokens for mapping at this point.
Q: Will there be Hex Boosting in Mexico for this deployment?
Yes. We have substantial subscriber and footfall data that will inform Hex Boosting in a few regions to kickstart the deployment. Once HIP84 is fully implemented, and network governance explicitly allows for a region like Mexico to earn POC rewards, we will work with the community to transition to standard Hex Boosting.
Q: Does this mean Helium Mobile is available in Mexico? Can the coverage be used by Helium Mobile Subscribers traveling to Mexico?
This is a partnership with Telefonica and supports their customers in a secure and controlled manner using their existing SIM. However, building coverage is the first step to potentially making this coverage available to Helium Mobile subscribers.
Q: Is Telefonica now a Service Provider?
Not yet. During this phase of the rollout, Telefonica has contracted with Nova Labs to authenticate connections to Helium Mobile Hotspots deployed in Mexico and pay the blockchain for traffic on Telefonica’s behalf.
Q: The press release refers to “a proprietary management system” developed by Telefonica that controls access to Helium Network. What is this system?
The project involves Telefonica customers sending production traffic to Helium Mobile Hotspots. As such, it is critical for Telefonica to be able to control which of its customers can connect to the Helium Mobile Network and in which locations. For that reason, Telefonica has built a network control function that will be tested during the deployment.
Q: Is this sort of deployment repeatable with other carriers?
Yes. Nova is committed to exploring this approach with other MNOs to continue expanding and adding value to the Helium Mobile Network coverage inside and outside of the US.