Within the framework of the World Telecommunication Day and World Internet Day , celebrated every May 17 , the Government released figures on progress in the field of information technology and communication ( ICT ), to through the Ecuador Digital policy .
As of December 2019, the country had 54% mobile internet penetration , 7.25 percentage points more compared to May 2017 (45.75%). The fixed internet service , as of December 2019, had a penetration of 46.06% at the household level, increasing 8.21 percentage points compared to the data reported in March 2017 (37.85%).
In addition, operators invest in more fiber optic networks , so that Ecuador will have better speeds and quality of fixed internet service , today essential for the health emergency .
As of March 2020, the country had 15,779,221 active Advanced Mobile Service (SMA) lines, with a population density of 91.06%; In May 2017, there were 15,061,858 active lines, with a population density of 90.56%, reported the Ministry of Telecommunications (Mintel).
During 2019, cell coverage in 107 parishes in the country increased, through coordinated work with the three mobile operators in the sector, with which the inhabitants of these populations can access 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services . “The national goal is to achieve 98% coverage of mobile services (2G and 3G) until the end of 2020,” Mintel said in a statement.
The ministry indicates as an achievement of the sector the issuance of public policy to administer and manage the radio spectrum , which allows promoting new radio spectrum assignments to allocate the available bands in the frequency ranges of 700 MHz, 2.5GHz and 3.5GHz , until the end of 2020, to spread 4G services to the population .
This policy, according to Mintel, promotes the allocation of new bands for international mobile telecommunications (IMT) for 5G networks . The measures will reduce the digital divide .
“With these decisions and the collaboration of private and public companies, 4G technology coverage is expected to increase from 50 to 80% , and the use of the radio spectrum will grow from 26 to 65%,” the statement stressed.
Another point that stands out is the implementation of at least 1000 WiFi points nationwide . The planning of CNT EP proposes the installation of 1200 points , distributed in 600 fixed WiFi points and 600 mobile WiFi points, in buses , until the end of 2020 . As a result, until last March, 475 fixed WiFi points were installed in public accesses and 117 WiFi points were installed in buses, democratizing telecommunications.
In order for the country to access more technological equipment, the Mintel and the Foreign Trade Committee eliminated , in October 2019 , the technological equipment tariffs , which allows a reduction in cell phone prices by 37% on average and 13% in computers .
As an international achievement, Decision 854 , approved by the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), on February 18, 2020 , stands out, which establishes that from July to December 2021 , international roaming rates will drop and will be less than or equal to the lowest rate offered in each CAN country.
From January 2022 , international roaming will have the same rates applied in each member country to local outgoing voice and SMS and data services, that is, the additional surcharge will be eliminated . This will benefit 111 million citizens of the Community .
43% of procedures are done online
The Mintel also highlights that online procedures went from 21% in 2017 to 43% in 2020 . Citizens can access the portal www.gob.ec 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere , “reducing time and saving money”.
Regarding the implementation of electronic signature in public institutions , between 2018 and March 2020, FirmaEC software facilitated this process of more than 11 million documents .
Digitization in times of crisis
In the face of the health emergency caused by the covid-19, the supply of food, supplies, medicines and personal hygiene goods was guaranteed in the main cities of the country, through technology-based companies such as home delivery platforms , courier services ; as well as with logistics for supermarket chains and pharmacies.
The 09-2020 Ministerial Agreement no. , Of the March 22, 2020, establishes mandatory guidelines for provision and access to telecommunications services during the health emergency declared by Executive Decree 1017.
Among others, it was arranged that SMA, fixed telephony and Internet access providers should not suspend the service due to non-payment by customers , especially those who make payments physically. “This latest decision ensures that 2 million homes and 4.3 million users have fixed internet and mobile services uninterrupted during the emergency,” the statement stressed.
Telecommunications providers were also ordered to guarantee the quality of the service and technical stability , improving the speeds of access to the fixed internet, especially in homes, by the application of telework and virtual education.
It prepared the free use of applications developed by the Integrated Security Service ECU 911 , the National Secretariat for Risk Management and the mobile application SaludEc . “These measures allow 11.57 million prepaid SMA users to increase their megabytes in top-ups and access to emergency and health applications,” says Mintel.
The ministry stressed that promoted the digitalization in times of crisis , through the platform www.gob.ec . The issuance of safe-conducts for the emergency is done online ; The physical pass was replaced by a digital one , with a verification QR code. This mechanism was shared at the regional level. From March 17 to May 16, 2020 , 8 million were requested and 4,700,000 passports were issued online .
In addition, teleworking of public officials was facilitated , through the cooperation of the CISCO firm , which enabled the Webex videoconferencing platform in 121 public institutions of the Central Administration with access in each entity to 1,000 users. So far 7,802 users have been created , generating an average of 4,400 weekly virtual meetings.
There was also the automation of the covid-19 Test Systems , which improved the determination of confirmed cases of the pandemic , facilitating the diagnosis of more than 18,000 citizens , using artificial intelligence tools provided by the Huawei company , implemented in the Hospital of the IESS Quito Sur and IESS de los Ceibos Hospital , in Guayaquil.
Regarding platform 171 and the dating.med.ec portal , for citizens to access timely care, in the event of possible coronavirus cases, with uninterrupted availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As of May 15, 1,529,544 calls were received , of which 618,483 were related to covid-19.
The SaludEc mobile application complements line 171, for evaluation of symptoms that may be from covid-19. Until May 15 , through this App , 81,244 citizens were registered and 70,023 triages were carried out.
Finally, the Mintel points out that the Minister Andrés Michelena, on September 19, 2019, delivered to the National Assembly the Draft Law on the Protection of Personal Data . Its approval is pending. (I)