Wikimedia Foundation/Annual Report/2010-2011/Mobilization

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The Revolution Will Be Mobilized[edit]

Cellphone repair kiosk, Colaba, Mumbai- retouch for WMF annual report 2010-11 (RGB).jpg

Mobile moves forward

The mobile web is growing faster than the desktop Internet around the world, and most new users from the Global South will come online via cell phones.

Currently users can read Wikipedia on their phones, but a major development effort is under way to ensure they will be able to edit it in on mobile devices as well.

Wikipedia is perhaps one of the few truly global endeavors that really brings together people from all races, religions, nationalities, points of view...Wikipedia will continue working and has established a new way because deep down, deep inside of us, we want to share. Deep inside we are all generous persons and deep inside we want the best for the human race.

— Alfonso Luna
Caracas, Venezuela, Donor

In India alone, there are an estimated 500–600 million mobile users, a population roughly seven times larger than the number of people there who have any sort of Internet access (81 million).

At the current pace, research indicates the mobile web will overtake the desktop web in 2014, i.e., more users will access the Internet globally using a mobile phone rather than a PC by that time. By 2015, it is projected that fully 87 percent of the world’s population will have cell phone subscriptions, which translates to about 6.35 billion people. It’s expected that about a third of them, some 2 billion people, will be accessing the Internet on mobile phones.

But there is a deep disparity between those in the more developed world who have access to high-speed mobile networks (3G or higher), and those in the poorer, rural parts of the planet whose only access to the mobile Internet is over slower-speed networks.

As part of our commitment to help everyone gain free access to knowledge, the Foundation is reworking our mobile platform to enable both an enhanced experience on fast 3G and 4G networks, as well as allow for usage on lower bandwidth networks by simplifying the experience where needed. The redesign of our mobile platform creates a base for new feature development and, because the new platform is integrated into our free and open MediaWiki software, organizations that use MediaWiki now have access to a convenient mobile web capability.

We are starting to explore solutions for short message service (SMS) and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) communications that would provide Wikimedia’s free knowledge to billions more people in an accessible form.

Also, we are striving to develop partnerships with network providers in key regions of the Global South to provide their customers with no or low-cost access to Wikipedia on a range of devices.