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Submissions/Reaching the Next Billion Users: Wikipedia on mobile

From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no.


Title of the submission

Reaching the Next Billion Users: Wikipedia on mobile

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)


Author of the submission

Kul Takanao Wadhwa

E-mail address




Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)

Wikimedia Foundation

Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

Extending access to Wikipedia via Mobile is a key strategic objective of the Wikimedia Foundation because most people, especially in the developing world, use mobile devices as the primary (if not only) way to access information. Therefore, eliminating barriers and increasing ways to access Wikipedia on mobile has been a cross-departmental initiative at WMF. We are doing this by lowering and/or eliminating data charges to access Wikipedia on mobile through partnerships with mobile carriers, making WAP and J2ME apps available for people that only have low end features phones, and creating solutions such as USSS and SMS delivery channels for people that don't even have access to data plans on mobile. We need to address the needs of all people (cost, devices, infrastructure, UX) if we really want to give people access to free knowledge.

As a panel, we will discuss what we've learned over the past year and give different perspectives from various mobile users such as those in developed countries vs those in the developing world (smartphones). We will discuss the partnerships (mobile operators and solutions providers) and delivery mechanisms we've used (apps, mobile web, WAP, USSD/SMS) to reduce the barriers and increase the ease of accessing Wikipedia on mobile.

Some questions to be answered include:

  • Is Wikipedia Zero working? What results are we getting from this?
  • Wikipedia on USSD/SMS involved partnerships with mobile operators, collaboration with the Praekelt Foundation, and project management from WMF. How did we get this to work?

Panelists from the Wikimedia Foundation will include staff from Global Development and Technology that cover the following areas:

  • Strategy
  • Partnerships
  • Research
  • Operations
  • Technology

We will also talk about where we think we're headed and love to get your input on how we can do this better. Are there other partnerships we pursue to reach more people? What do you think we can do to enable people to contribute on low tech phones? What's the future hold for Wikipedia on tablets and what should we do about it?

Length of presentation/talk

60 minutes

Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?


Slides or further information (optional)

Will show some slides but keep it to less than 10 minutes. This is only to give background so it gives more time to panel discussion and questions.

Special request as to time of presentations

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with four tildes. (~~~~).

  1. MetalBrasil (talk) 20:25, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
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