Future Tech & InnovationCategory3 min read

Building Digital Highways

Jecoby CarterMarch 4, 2021
Maintaining connections is more important today than ever before. Tigo’s innovative tech‑for‑good programs bring people and communities together across Latin America.

Tigo has ambitious goals: The company builds digital highways that connect people, improve lives and develop communities.

In 2018, the telecommunications company refreshed its corporate responsibility framework. To support its mission, Tigo launched new flagship programs aimed at empowering people and promoting social good. The programs aim to:

  • Empower women: The Conectadas program provides women with tools for improving their lives, sparking entrepreneurship and increasing their income.
  • Protect children: Conéctate Segur@ helps ensure children can safely explore, learn and grow using digital resources.
  • Connect communities: Tigo Comidades delivers the digital technology and education communities need to prosper.

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Latin America, Tigo’s tech-for-good programs helped ease some of the strain.

When the physical world shut down, our digital highways were a lifeline to our customers and our communities. People were able to continue their lives safely and in a healthy way at home. They were able to continue working from home. They were able to pay for their basic necessities from home. And most importantly, they were able to maintain their human connections.

SILVIA GARRIGO, GLOBAL DIRECTOR FOR CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY, TIGO

Rising to the Challenge

Tigo’s social programs have real, tangible benefits for individuals and communities. And volunteerism is vital to program success. Protecting children online, for example, relies entirely on Tigo volunteers.

“We have tens and hundreds of volunteers, who go out to schools and community centers to engage students, to engage teachers, to engage the community and connect with them as we help them to connect to the digital world,” said Garrigo.

Through these programs, Tigo changes hundreds of thousands of lives for the better. However, the pandemic drove significant program changes.

“When schools shut down, we were not able to reach children, families, and teachers for our child online protection program,” said Garrigo. “So, we had to find innovative ways to work with UNICEF to communicate guidelines and provide families with tools, so that children can learn and play safely at home…while they were having increased screen time.”

The pandemic also spurred Tigo to build a new program to support teachers, who were suddenly educating students in their homes.

“We found there was a very serious gap in capabilities for teachers in terms of providing online education,” Garrigo said. “Through our program, we reached more than 150,000 teachers to train them in online education. In addition to providing students with their core curriculum online, the teachers provide the online protection curriculum.”

During the pandemic, Tigo also expanded training to its small- and medium business customers, who needed help surviving under extreme economic stress.

“We provided training to small-to-medium enterprises to allow them to move from a brick-and-mortar business model to a digital model,” Garrigo said. “We provided them with e-commerce capabilities not only to transform their businesses but to help them recover economically.”

Preparing for the 5G Future

5G is way more than a change in the way people access network technology. It requires a lot of capability from the core of the network to move workloads around. We need to deliver a service level depending on the expectation of the clients. And to be able to do that, the network—from the inside—has to be different. Telco cloud is a fundamental enabler.

XAVIER ROCOPLAN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION OFFICER, TIGO

Consumers today expect a lot from their telecom providers, such as: 

  • Reliable mobile phone services.
  • Blazing-fast internet connectivity.
  • Personalized cable TV experiences.
  • Instant access to music.

Modern technology innovations, like telco cloud, help Tigo achieve outstanding performance and exceptional availability. It also provides agile scalability to support new offerings.

“The telco cloud journey started a few years back,” said Rocoplan. “Our first goal is to serve our B2B clients better, faster and with more scale. Secondly, we want to deliver better services for our B2C clients. And third, we want to standardize and tighten security.”

“We have seen the need for more agility and scalability as the traffic actually exploded in a very short period of time. And more importantly, it moved across the networks. This is where the technologies that VMware can bring to us will be critical in the future, so we can achieve this agility and scalability more efficiently,” he continued.

And of course, modern infrastructure also helps prepare Tigo for the future.

Tigo is gradually rolling out 5G and will expand its network to the edge in the years to come. These infrastructure investments will deliver richer, more responsive experiences to all customers. And in support of Tigo corporate responsibility programs, 5G and edge technologies could also help provide a better interactive experience for participants, while reaching people across wider geographic regions.

Digital Highways for a More Connected, Vibrant Future

Achieving its goal of building digital highways is not simple, especially in emerging Latin American and African markets. And fulfilling its mission is not only about technology.

“At the core of our purpose is our passion for giving back to communities,” said Garrigo.

That passion leads the company to develop programs to educate and train customers, providing them with the skills to safely navigate the digital world and fully capitalize on opportunities. And with hundreds of thousands enrolled, Tigo’s flagship social responsibility programs produce impressive large-scale, long-term benefits.

With a robust, flexible telco cloud infrastructure, Tigo will further enhance the programs and establish additional digital highways. The result? People and communities who are connected, productive and safer in an increasingly digital world.

Learn more about Tigo’s corporate responsibility programs.