Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), a unit of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., is partnering with Wikimedia Foundation to provide “unlimited” access to Wikipedia, an Internet-based encyclopedia.
The move, part of the global Wikipedia Zero program, covers about 69 million subscribers of Smart, Talk ‘N Text and Sun Cellular, the company said in a statement yesterday.
Wikipedia is the world’s largest online encyclopedia, visited by 500 million people each month, according to Comscore. It contains more than 30 million articles in 287 languages, contributed by a global community of 80,000 volunteers.
“Wikipedia Zero is relevant in a country where access to both computer terminals and Internet connectivity is still relatively low, but where almost everyone owns a cellphone,” Ramon R. Isberto, head of Public Affairs at Smart, said in the statement.
“We are excited to bring Wikipedia Zero to the country and help create a way to make learning more accessible to millions of Filipinos,” he said.
Starting on Sept. 5 until Feb. 3, all Smart, Talk ‘N Text, and Sun Cellular subscribers who will access m.wikipedia.org, zero.wikipedia.org, the Wikipedia apps (available for iOS and Android devices), or any other Wikimedia sites on their mobile phone, can do so without incurring data charges.
“Smart has been a terrific supporter of Wikimedia, and now we’re very happy to formalize our relationship with Wikipedia Zero,” said Carolynne Schloeder, head of global mobile partnerships at the Wikimedia Foundation. “Smart’s emphasis on education is aligned with Wikimedia’s global mission, driven locally by Wikimedia Philippines.”
In addition to the free use of Wikipedia by Smart subscribers, Filipino Wikipedia editors are also participating in Smart’s “Tap&Learn: Tablets for Education,” the telco leader’s latest initiative in the mobile education space, where mobile technologies are utilized to enhance the learning experience of partner communities.
Smart noted that Wikipedia Philippines representatives are helping train educators from public elementary and secondary schools across the country on how to use Wikipedia to enhance the learning experience of their students, and for their own professional development.
“With the Tap&Learn program, Wikimedia Philippines is very excited to partner with Smart in training teachers in using Wikipedia as one of the tools they can use in their profession,” said Eugene Alvin Villar, chair of the board of trustees, Wikimedia Philippines.
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