Telenor Group and the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, today announced
Myanmar as the latest country to be included in their existing agreement to bring
Wikipedia Zero to Telenor customers in Asia and Europe.
Telenor is supporting the country's ambition of connecting its 60 million people.
Through this agreement, Telenor's future subscribers in Myanmar will be able to
access Wikipedia's vast knowledge base free of mobile data traffic charges when
Telenor begins services in the country.
"The Wikimedia Foundation imagines a world in which every single person has free
access to the sum of human knowledge. By working with Telenor, we are able to put
this knowledge in the hands of the masses, helping to close the knowledge gap between
developed and developing countries. Today's announcement will pave the way for Telenor
to offer all the knowledge that comes with Wikipedia Zero to its customers in Myanmar,"
said Carolynne Schloeder, Director of Mobile Programs at the Wikimedia Foundation.
The partnership between Telenor and the Wikimedia Foundation was established in
February 2012, and was founded on a shared commitment to bring Wikipedia to Telenor
customers free of data charges. The initiative is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's
mobile strategy, which focuses on reaching the billions of people around the world
whose primary opportunity to access the Internet is via a mobile device. Following
the agreement, special versions of Wikipedia for mobile phones were launched in
Thailand, Malaysia and Montenegro. In addition, Telenor aims to launch Wikipedia
Zero in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Serbia in 2014.
"Access to high quality telecommunications tools and affordable services plays a
substantial role in developing societies. To Telenor, this partnership enables us
to provide a strong support to local communities by promoting the exchange and sharing
of open knowledge. Offering Wikipedia free of traffic charges also helps introduce
internet to mobile users, often for the first time. I am satisfied that our cooperation
with the Wikimedia Foundation will now include Myanmar," said Jon Fredrik Baksaas,
President and CEO of Telenor Group.
On 27 June 2013 Telenor was announced as one of the successful applicants for a
telecommunications license in Myanmar. Following the process described in the auction
guidelines, the company is now in discussions with the Myanmar authorities regarding
the final terms and conditions of the license agreement. Telenor aims to launch
services in Myanmar within eight months after the final license agreement is signed.
The extension of this partnership was celebrated today in Oslo when Jimmy Wales,
the founder of Wikipedia, met with Jon Fredrik Baksaas and Rolv-Erik Spilling, Head
of Telenor Digital to participate in an event announcing the expansion of service.
Mr. Jimmy Wales was also a keynote speaker at the "Digital Winners" conference hosted
today by Telenor Digital at Telenor Headquarters, where he shared his views on crowdsourcing
for the common good.
View photos from signing at Fornebu
(Photo credit: Peer Dahl, Telenor Group)
About 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 500 million unique visitors
per month, making them the fifth-most popular web property worldwide (comScore,
September 2013). Available in 287 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 29 million
articles contributed by a global volunteer community of roughly 80,000 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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