Mobile phone co-op transforms rural Mexican community

Indigenous Communities Telecommunications (TIC) last month won a long battle with the government to become the world’s first not-for-profit group to be granted a mobile phone concession.

The social cooperative has licence to install and operate mobile phone networks in 356 marginalised municipalities in five of the country’s poorest states: Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla and Veracruz.

It means couples like Pérez and Martinez will be able to talk and text on their mobiles for a fraction of the cost currently charged by phone booth operators.

“I am so excited, I’ll be able to talk to my husband in private when I want, and the children can have proper conversations with their dad. The calls are so much cheaper that it feels like a gift,” said Pérez, clutching her mobile phone as she queued with excited neighbours to register for the new service.

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