Orange and the Wikimedia Foundation partner to offer Wikipedia in Africa and the Middle East at no extra cost
PARIS, France, January 24, 2012/ — 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 today 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 encyclopaedia 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.”
Marc Rennard, Group Executive Vice President of Orange, Africa, the Middle-East and Asia, commented, “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.”
Stephanie Hospital, Executive Vice President, Orange Audience & Advertising division, commented, “Since we first partnered with the Wikimedia Foundation two years ago, we have remained committed to helping them spread knowledge to as many people in the world as possible. We’re proud to once again be the Wikimedia Foundation’s first partner in Africa and the Middle East.”
France Telecom-Orange (http://www.orange.com) is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with 170,000 employees worldwide, including 102,000 employees in France, and sales of 33.8 billion euros in the first nine months of 2011. Present in 35 countries, the Group had a customer base of 221 million customers at 30 September 2011, including 145 million customers under the Orange brand, the Group’s single brand for internet, television and mobile services in the majority of countries where the company operates. At 30 September 2011, the Group had 162 million mobile customers and 14 million broadband internet (ADSL, fibre) customers worldwide. Orange is one of the main European operators for mobile and broadband internet services and, under the brand Orange Business Services, is one of the world leaders in providing telecommunication services to multinational companies.
Conquests 2015 is Orange’s new corporate initiative to simultaneously addressing its employees, customers and shareholders, as well as the society in which the company operates, through a concrete set of action plans. These commitments are expressed through a new vision of human resources for employees; through the deployment of a network infrastructure upon which the Group will build its future growth; through the Group’s ambition to offer a superior customer experience thanks in particular to improved quality of service; and through the acceleration of international development
France Telecom (NYSE:FTE) is listed on Euronext Paris (compartment A) and on the New York Stock Exchange.
About the Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix, Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive more than 470 million unique visitors per month, making them the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, November 2011). Available in more than 280 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 20 million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of more than 100,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.
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