One of the potential applications of Web3 is the decentralised deployment of networks. With the evolution of radio technologies powered by the use of Web3 technologies, new incentives can be set up for individuals to participate in deployments of this kind. Blockchain technologies provide immutable, transparent and traceable mechanisms for the settlement and distribution of incentives.
Connectivity services like mobile data are at the core of Telefónica’s business. In order to keep up with customer needs, Telefónica is constantly investing in improving our mobile data services to bring more speed and capacity to our networks and customers. Technologies like FTTH, 4G, 5G, and soon 6G, are continuously being deployed and upgraded by Telefónica and its partners. To keep up with this challenge, we are seeing increasing cooperation so that network transformation and network deployment projects can accelerate.
Web3 decentralized networks based on Helium blockchain technology
Nova Labs is a company that runs Web3 decentralised networks based on Helium blockchain technology to create a structure of incentives (crypto-tokens) for individuals to buy and deploy network hotspots (small antennas). The first network that was launched using Helium technology, an IoT network, rapidly grew to 1 million hotspots worldwide due to individuals making money deploying them. Helium is now moving to Wi-Fi and 5G.
Decentralised network creation can be a new competitive approach to reduce network OpEx and improve OIBDA margin. Enabling Telefónica mobile customers to seamlessly access a decentralised network of Helium Mobile hotspots can bring more coverage and capacity faster to Telefónica networks.
Telefónica and Novalabs partner in México to boost connectivity
Telefónica has the opportunity to test this approach in Mexico, while keeping a good customer service controlled by Telefónica at all times. We have partnered with Nova Labs to develop a solution based on the open standard led by the OpenWiFi group of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP). A pilot has been set up in Mexico City and Oaxaca that will re-route part of the Telefónica Movistar data traffic to a new network of Helium Mobile hotspots. If successful, it could be expanded regionally.
Nova Labs, through Helium Mobile Hotspots with Wi-Fi technology, incentivised by tokens, will deploy, operate, and maintain a Wi-Fi 6 network in selected areas. It will be the first ever Helium Wi-Fi deployment outside the US. This network will be accessible for selected Movistar customers that will be easily onboard using their existing SIM cards. It will provide data connectivity, mainly outdoor coverage.
The pilot seeks to extend Telefónica’s coverage and enable offloading of mobile data traffic over the Helium network, improving the overall mobile coverage service for customers.
Telefónica Ventures investor in Nova Labs
Telefónica’s open innovation area is the nexus between the company and the entrepreneurial ecosystem to attract innovation developed by third parties and integrate it into Telefónica, to innovate better and faster, generate business opportunities and generate impact.
In this context, Telefónica, through Telefónica Ventures, invested in Nova Labs and joined its portfolio of companies that seeks to boost its scale globally. The result of this relationship is the mobile hotspot pilot project to explore the expansion of Telefónica’s network capabilities in Mexico.