Amazon Connection wins 2013 Global Mobile Award
(Thomson Reuters ONE Via Acquire Media NewsEdge)
* New vitality and opportunities grasped during four years of development made
possible by broadband connectivity
* Telefonica Vivo Foundation and Ericsson installed the first radio base
station in 2009 in the remote town of Belterra, Pará, Brazil, providing
30,000 people in 175 communities with 3G voice and data services
* In 2010, 3G coverage was extended to a connected riverboat that provides
health and education services to people living along the Tapajós River
* Expansion reached remote village of Suracá in 2011 and Connect To Learn was
launched there in 2012
Amazon Connection - a digital inclusion program initiated by Telefonica Vivo
Foundation and Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) - has won the 2013 Global Mobile Award
for Best Mobile Product, Initiative or Service for Emerging Markets.
In 2009, Vivo and Ericsson - in collaboration with Brazilian non-governmental
agency Saúde & Alegria - initiated a project to enable communications and
improved access to health, education and economic growth in a remote part of the
world. The technology and expertise in the community eventually led to expanding
applications, raising the spirit of entrepreneurship and possibility for
A survey conducted by an independent party, the Agency for Support of
Entrepreneurs and Small Businessmen, finds that 92% of respondents believe that
mobile telephony and internet services have played a major role in the
development of the region. 53% of respondents believe that telephony services
contributed to the creation of companies and jobs.
The first radio base station was installed in 2009 in the town of Belterra,
Pará, Brazil. As planned, the base station provided an initial 20,000 people
with 3G voice and data services in an area that previously had no mobile
connectivity. This in itself was a remarkable feat, but technicians noticed that
something unexpected was happening: the nearby Tapajós River was acting like a
mirror, magnifying the range of the 3G signal. This allowed the Abaré Hospital
boat, which navigates along the river, to be connected via broadband in 2010.
The expansion to Suruacá, on the other bank of the Tapajós River was unique in
the deployment itself, which was difficult due to dense vegetation, lack of
infrastructure and unpredictable weather. There was no source of energy in the
village so Ericsson built an innovative hybrid system (solar and wind), which
enabled a fully functional mobile network in the Amazon.
During the four years of the project, the public-private partnership supported
the creation of a number of initiatives improving conditions for people in the
For example, Saúde & Alegria uses the Abaré, a large boat, to provide health-
care services to the inhabitants of the more than 70 communities along the
Tapajós River. Telefonica Vivo installed an antenna on the boat, ensuring that
the 3G signal that was being magnified naturally by the river would be boosted
even further. As a result, anyone aboard the Abaré now has access to a reliable
mobile broadband connection. Doctors aboard the Abaré can consult with their
peers around the world and send X-rays and other images for expert diagnoses. As
a result, thousands of people who live in the Amazon now benefit from high-
quality medical care.
In addition, the Abaré is using its mobile broadband connection to offer the
Tapajós River communities educational training programs with the support of
In 2011, connectivity was extended to the community of Suruacá, and Connect To
Learn, Ericsson's program that brings cloud-based education to secondary
schools, was launched.
Françoise Trapenard, president of Telefonica Vivo Foundation, said: "The region,
until signal arrival of Vivo, lived the challenges of isolation imposed by the
geography of the Amazon region, is now a place for people connected. The
original motivation of this project had a focus on education and health in order
to provide, through new connectivity technologies, learning opportunities for
young riparian and streamline the activities of medical care to the population
carried aboard the hospital ship Abaré."
Caetano Scannavino, Coordinator and Founder of Saúde Alegria, said: "Most of the
world thinks that the Amazon is just the jungle, with trees and rivers - that
it's like a vacuum. But the Brazilian Amazon is 25 million people. My dream is
that all communities in the whole of the Amazon can be connected because the
world should know the ability, the beauty, and the intelligence of these
Elaine Weidman-Grünewald, Head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility,
Ericsson, says: "We're honored that the GSMA has recognized our efforts but even
more honored to have been part of something as powerful as Amazon Connection.
This is what technology for good is all about."
Recognizing the important social benefits of the hospital boat initiative, the
Brazilian government has initiated a program to launch 100 additional hospital
boats. Funding for 32 of them has already been approved, ensuring they will be
operational in the near future.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Technology for Good
Global Mobile Awards
Flickr collection about Amazon Connection
Download high-resolution photos and broadcast-quality video at
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Amazon Connection wins 2013 Global Mobile Award:
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