Written by Henry Neondo
Orange is now offering mobile phone access to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia at no connectivity cost.
Any customer with an Orange SIM and mobile internet enabled phone will be able to access Wikipedia, the largest online encyclopaedia in the world, through their mobile browser. 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.
According to Telkom Kenya – Chief Executive Mickael Ghossein, Orange is keen on creating and raising awareness on the benefits of Wikipedia to the more than 70 million Orange customers in Africa and the Middle East (the AMEA region).
This move is the result of a major partnership signed in January this year between the Orange Group and the Wikimedia Foundation.
The partnership will see Orange customers in the Group’s affiliate countries easily access information from the world’s most comprehensive online encyclopaedia with nearly 500 million monthly unique visitors.
“Our subscribers can access Wikipedia services for as many times as they like at no extra charge, as long as they stay within Wikipedia’s pages,” said Ghossein, adding that the mobile phone remains the most preferred and convenient means of accessing the internet while in transit.
Users of this innovative service will also freely browse the millions of articles available on Wikipedia in the languages most widely used in Africa.
“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 in both Kiswahili and English”, Said Mickael Ghossein.
By sponsoring the cost of data for its customers, Orange is supporting the Wikimedia Foundation's initiative of spreading free knowledge to the billions of people around the world, whose primary opportunity to access the internet is via a mobile device, as the global brand bolsters its image through value added service as its strong differentiator.
Kenya becomes the second country in Africa after Uganda to benefit from this major partnership signed in January between the Orange Group and the Wikimedia Foundation. Wikipedia also plans to enable a functionality soon that will notify users when they log on to the paid up pages.