Telefónica has partnered with Nova Labs to deploy Helium-powered 5G hotspots across Mexico City and Oaxaca. The companies announced the rollout on Wednesday as part of an initiative to expand Telefónica’s network coverage in the country through innovative and cost-effective solutions.
The Helium network is powered by the Solana blockchain. Hotspot operators earn tokens on the Solana-based network as incentives for providing connectivity through decentralised nodes.
The Helium hotspots will allow Telefónica to offload data traffic from its traditional cellular networks onto the Helium 5G network. Customers will connect to the hotspots using their existing Telefónica SIM cards, with a proprietary management system controlling access and monitoring hotspot status.
Helium Mobile is a wireless service created by Nova Labs, the startup founded by the creators of the decentralised Helium network.
While Helium Mobile utilises T-Mobile’s 5G network for nationwide coverage in the US, this marks the first major carrier deployment of Helium hotspots. Telefónica serves over 383 million mobile and broadband customers across Europe and Latin America.
“This program in Mexico is critical to evaluate performance and customer satisfaction of this solution and its associated costs,” said José Juan Haro, Telefónica’s Chief Wholesale and Public Affairs Officer. “Our expectation, if successful, is to incorporate this into our portfolio of mobile networks across the region.”
Nova Labs claims the community-based model significantly reduces infrastructure costs compared to traditional cell towers. The companies said the compact Solana-powered hotspots can expand coverage to targeted areas.
“We are thrilled to work with innovative carriers like Telefónica,” said Nova Labs CEO Chuck Cook. “This collective approach represents an evolution in how carriers can deploy resilient, high-quality connectivity.”
The Telefónica rollout marks a significant milestone for scaling the Helium network across Latin America, and decentralised 5G networks in general.
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