In the first partnership of its kind, mobile telecommunications operator Orange and the Wikimedia Foundation will provide more than 70 million Orange customers in Africa and the Middle East (AMEA) with mobile access to Wikipedia – without incurring data usage charges.
Orange and the Wikimedia Foundation today announced a major partnership designed to make knowledge more easily available to Orange mobile customers throughout Africa and the Middle East.
In the partnership Orange and the Wikimedia Foundation will provide customers in both remote and urban areas of AMEA with access to Wikipedia.
“Wikipedia is an important service, a public good — and so we want people to be able to access it for free, regardless of what device they’re using,” said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation.
“This partnership with Orange will enable millions of people to read Wikipedia, who previously couldn’t. We’re thrilled to be Orange’s partner in this important endeavour.”
In 2009, Orange and the Wikimedia Foundation formed the world’s first mobile and Internet partnership to expand the reach of Wikimedia’s projects through channels on Orange mobile and web portals in Europe.
“In countries where access to information is not always readily available, we are making it simple and easy for our customers to use the world’s most comprehensive online encyclopaedia. It is the first partnership of this kind in the world where we are enabling customers to access Wikipedia without incurring any data charges; and shows Orange’s ability, once again, to innovate in Africa and the Middle East, and bring more value to our customers,” added Marc Rennard, Group Executive Vice President of Orange, Africa, the Middle-East and Asia.
This new partnership will be gradually launched throughout 2012 across 20 African and Middle Eastern countries where Orange operates, with the first markets launching early in the year.