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No MTN data charges for Wikipedia

MTN has signed an agreement with the Wikimedia Foundation that allows its South African customers to access Wikipedia without paying for data charges.

As part of its strategy to bridge the digital divide and provide access to education, MTN South Africa said it has signed a partnership agreement with the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organisation that oversees Wikipedia, to offer its customers free access to Wikipedia. MTN will be the first operator in South Africa to offer this important public service to mobile users.

MTN is the first operator to heed the call by learners from the Sinenjongo High School in Joe Slovo Park in Milnerton, Cape Town who last year, in an open letter to operators, asked that they provide free access to Wikipedia for their customers.

“MTN is passionate about education and enhancing the learning environment. Given the pervasiveness of mobile phones in the country, it only makes sense for us to allow for a free access to this much needed resource. Through our products and services we continue to do good for South Africans,”” says Brian Gouldie, Chief Marketing Officer at MTN South Africa.

‚””MTN’s response to the students is an awesome example of the leadership role mobile operators can take in education and societal development,‚”” said Carolynne Schloeder, Wikimedia Foundation’s head of Mobile Programs & Partnerships. ‚””We’re thrilled to welcome MTN to Wikipedia Zero and to expand the free knowledge movement.‚””

No data charges will apply when MTN customers browse the Wikipedia encyclopaedia using Opera Mini internet browser. Wikipedia is a collaboratively edited, multilingual, and free internet encyclopaedia.

“”Customers will need to download the Opera Mini browser application for them to get the zero-rated benefit. Access to Wikipedia will enable learners to do research for projects and assignments as easily as they browse the internet. This benefits customers who need constant access to education but do not always have the means to buy airtime or data for their mobile devices,”” adds Gouldie.

In addition, access to the Nokia Momaths platform is zero rated.

The Nokia Momaths platform allows for revision and additional practice, teachers can keep track of learners who are using the service and learners can use the platform to practice mathematical exercises and compare their progress with other learners.

MTN is a first where it counts most, says Gouldie. ‚””We were first in developing and offering prepaid services globally and we were the first to offer the lowest all day per second call rates. It is through MTN’s innovation that we have been recognised as the best African and overall brand in Africa in a ranking of the continent’s most admired and valuable brands by Brand Africa.‚””

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