Free mobile internet access to Wikipedia in Africa

On my recent trip to Kampala, the vibrant capital of Uganda, I saw an advertisement by Vodacom promoting reduced roaming rates when travelling in South Africa, DRC, Mozambique, Lesotho and the 5 East African Community member states. This is good news for regional business.

Even more excited I am about a deal between Orange Uganda and Wikipedia allowing subscribers to access Wikipedia for free. “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 without incurring any charges.” (The EastAfrican, April, 16-22, 2012).

I would like to see such an initiative in Mozambique. Especially, since I am aware about the “Technology Plan for Education” presented by Vice-Minister Augusto Jone Luis this month in Aveiro, Portugal (O Autarca, 17/04/2012). The plan foresees to connect 4000 schools to the internet by 2014. As mentioned in my previous blog posts, pin-pointing that “many people do have internet at their hand, but not in the mind”, it is not in first place a question about access, but rather an educational one. This understanding is crucial to turn improved internet connectivity into an opportunity for local use and solutions. Free access to information for thousands of pupils, students, and teachers is a right step in that sense.

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