Another day, another technology and infrastructure giant is turning to blockchain. Telefónica, the main telecommunications service provider in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries, announced a new partnership with Nova Labs’ Helium Network. The partnership aims to expand mobile coverage in Mexico through the utilization of Helium Mobile Hotspots. The partnership was announced on January 24, 2024.

Blockchain in Action in Mexico

The adoption of decentralized technologies has already been considered a major step toward solving real-world problems and this partnership will be a prime example of the long-awaited “real-use cases of blockchain.” The reason behind Telefónica’s partnering up with a blockchain network is to achieve lower infrastructure costs and more coverage across Mexico. 

Helium Network will provide hotspots, which are essentially nodes, to provide wireless network coverage. Telefónica will be able to get more coverage, even in remote areas. The hotspots also enable individual users and small business owners to deploy new Helium Mobile Hotspots. 

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.

José Juan Haro, Chief Wholesale and Public Affairs Officer at Telefónica. Source: Telefónica

Mexican users will enjoy better connectivity, even during peak usage times, thanks to Telefónica’s plans to offload data traffic to the Helium ecosystem. So, if there is overwhelming traffic, Helium hotspots will take over some of that traffic from Telefónica’s cellular network to help with the congestion. The only thing needed is that the user’s cellphone must be within close proximity to one of the hotspots, and given the ease of establishing a hotspot, this will be quite accessible. 

Telefónica maintains full control of the customer experience and monitors hotspot status before allowing access and downloading data over the Helium Mobile Network. 

The Potential Future Impact

In Mexico, the telecommunications company known as Movistar is a brand operated by Telefónica. According to Statista’s 2022 data, Movistar held a substantial 18.3% share of the mobile market in the country. Telefónica, headquartered in Spain, extends its operations to more than 17 countries across Europe, Central America, and South America. As of 2017, Telefónica reported serving an extensive customer base of over 272 million mobile users worldwide.

Blockchain is capable of doing more than hosting the crypto sphere. The underlying tech is too good to be reduced to be considered as only a digital ledger that keeps track of crypto transactions. Decentralization is actually the key value here. As seen in the partnership of Nova Labs and Telefónica, this decentralization, which can be only achieved by a blockchain network, promises a lot of great real-world benefits.

It’s a perfect example of a win-win-win partnership. Users get to enjoy stronger signals on their phones, Telefónica expands its coverage while establishing trust and strengthening its brand identity in a major market, and Nova Labs demonstrates what is achievable with its network.  

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Another aspect of this partnership is that it creates more competition. To keep up with the extra coverage of Telefónica, more service providers competing for the same market will have to explore blockchain, and what they’ll find there will benefit people nonetheless. 

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