Orange and the Wikimedia Foundation partner to offer Wikipedia in Africa and the Middle East at no extra cost

Internet

In the first partnership of its kind, 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 last week announced a major partnership designed to make knowledge more easily available to Orange mobile customers throughout Africa and the Middle East. In the first partnership of its kind for Wikipedia, Orange and the Wikimedia Foundation will provide customers in both remote and urban areas of AMEA with access to Wikipedia.

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. 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. The initiative is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's mobile strategy that aims to reach the billions of people around the world who access the Internet solely through mobile devices.

Any customer with an Orange SIM and mobile internet enabled phone will be able to access the Wikipedia site either through their browser or an Orange widget. They can access the Wikipedia encyclopedia services for as many times as they like at no extra charge as long as they stay within Wikipedia’s pages.

"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."