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GSMA launches “we care” consumer protection initiatives in Colombia with nation’s mobile operators

we-care-colombiaBogotá: The GSMA, together with Colombian mobile operators Claro, Telefónica Movistar and Tigo and trade association Asomóvil, announced this month a series of joint initiatives to enhance mobile users’ experiences throughout Colombia. These initiatives are supported by the Colombian Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies (MinTIC) and Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. As part of the GSMA’s wider “We Care” campaign in Latin America, they focus on tackling the key challenges of improving network coverage, managing electronic waste, reducing handset theft, as well as the use of mobile for disaster response in Colombia.

 

“With 26 million unique mobile subscribers and 51 million mobile connections, Colombia is one of the fastest growing mobile markets in Latin America,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “We are delighted to see the private sector working together to support the Government of Colombia and provide collaborative solutions for a better, safer and more sustainable mobile experience for all Colombian citizens.”

 

Diego Molano Vega, Minister of Information and Communications Technologies for Colombia, commented: "It is essential to take advantage of mobile technology to help improve the lives of Colombians. We are delighted to form this partnership with the GSMA and mobile operators in Colombia to work together to tackle electronic waste management, handset theft, infrastructure deployment and disaster response."

 

Esteban Iriarte, CEO of Tigo, commented: "Tigo is delighted to support the We Care campaign in Colombia and make a difference on important socio-economic issues such as mobile network roll-out, electronic waste, handset theft and disaster response. We look forward to playing our part in protecting and supporting all mobile users while continuing to introduce new and exciting mobile innovations to this country."

 

The GSMA’s We Care campaign initiatives in Colombia focus on the following key areas:

 

Developing Mobile Infrastructure

 

To support the Government of Colombia’s efforts to further expand the roll-out of mobile networks included in its Vive Digital Plan, national mobile operators today signed an official agreement with MinTIC to work together to:

 

Launch a major public awareness campaign to highlight the importance of network deployment in Colombia and the need for expanded mobile connectivity to services in areas such as education, health, transport and business; and

 

Establish forums among national and local authorities targeting local community leaders to explain how digital connectivity works and the need to meet public health parameters established by Colombian law and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) guidelines and share the results of ongoing monitoring of mobile antennas by the National Spectrum Agency (ANE) with these forums.

 

Protecting the Environment

 

Electronic waste is a growing issue throughout the world and will increase by 17.5 per cent in Latin America3 and 19.1 per cent in Colombia between 2012 and 2015. The GSMA today released a new study4 with the latest national data on efforts to recycle mobile phones, batteries and accessories by the mobile industry. This work will support strategies for the Government’s Green Agenda for Recycling in Colombia.

 

National mobile operators today committed to support e-waste initiatives from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and MinTIC by launching a public awareness campaign through traditional and digital media platforms, encouraging citizens to support the separation and collection of e-waste.

 

Tackling Handset Theft

 

Mobile handset theft has surged in Colombia over the last few years with more than one million devices stolen last year – but crucially only 45,783 were reported to the police. The Colombian Government has introduced a series of initiatives to discourage the purchase and activation of stolen mobile phones, dismantle criminal operations behind handset theft and encourage citizens to file complaints for lost or stolen mobile devices.

 

The local mobile operators today signed an agreement with the National Police of Colombia to work together to combat handset theft by sharing technical, administrative, operational, financial and human resources. The agreement includes their intention to deploy the GSMA’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) Device Check5 system through which Colombian mobile users will be able to check in real time if a handset is included in the global list of stolen mobile phones. The GSMA IMEI blacklist database is updated on a daily basis via reports from over 120 operators around the world, including 38 operators from 15 countries in Latin America.

 

Improving Disaster Response

 

Colombia has geographical characteristics that put it at high risk for natural disasters.

 

National mobile operators have committed to help meet the objectives of the National System for Emergency Telecommunications (SNTE) established by MinTIC in its Vive Digital Plan to ensure the continued provision of communication services during critical events.

 

Colombia’s operators have agreed to participate in a working group led by MinTIC and the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (UNGRD) to undertake a number of measures including:

  • Locating users contacting emergency phone line 123 through geolocation systems;
  • Activate early SMS alerts to inform and warn the public about natural disasters before they occur; and
  • Prioritise voice traffic over mobile networks for users of UNGRD.

 

This Press Release has originally been published on the GSMA’s newsroom.

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Chief Data Officer, Telefonica.