Orange Does Deal With Wikimedia

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Orange, the key brand of France Telecom, one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators, has formed the world’s first mobile and Internet partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation, which will expand the reach of Wikimedia content through co-branded channels on Orange’s mobile and Web portals.

The two partners will work together to develop new services and features around content from Wikipedia, the flagship project of the Wikimedia Foundation. The strategic partnership is designed to mutually benefit each organization’s users by extending the way people can access free knowledge.

Orange, the European telco leader in Internet audience ranking, with 55 million unique visitors per month, will initially provide customers in France, the UK, Spain and Poland with quick and simple access to co-branded content from the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization behind the web encyclopedia Wikipedia.

A joint announcement from the companies says that the partnership activities include:

  • creating specific Wikipedia channels on Orange mobile and Web portals;
  • enriching sections of the Orange Web and mobile portals with links to relevant Wikipedia information;
  • developing mobile and Web-based widgets which enable customers to access Wikipedia content directly from their Orange mobile or Web homepage.

Phase two of the agreement will see the two organizations cooperate to create a range of simple but innovative new services drawing on Orange’s skills as a total communications provider across mobile, Internet and television. In addition, the partnership will be rolled out across the rest of Orange’s European footprint.

Paul-François Fournier, executive vice-president, Audience Line of Business, Orange, said: “At Orange, we are committed to giving people maximum access to the widest range of digital technologies and to simplifying the way people use these technologies to access information. By bringing our customers a new way to access content from Wikipedia, one of the world’s most recognized and popular Internet brands, we are delivering on this commitment.”

“The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to spreading knowledge to as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible,” said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Orange’s leadership in mobile and focus on innovation makes them an ideal partner to help us extend our reach. The Foundation welcomes partnerships that help us carry out our mission and that respect the valuable contributions of the Wikimedia community.”

This partnership is part of Orange’s strategy to provide the most popular and compelling content to its customers and will increase the reach of Wikimedia services, particularly in the European mobile market and at a time when mobile Internet usage is soaring. Through this partnership Orange is also supporting the Wikimedia Foundation’s core mission of enhancing and expanding the reach of Wikipedia and other collaborative knowledge projects to new users.

With 123 million customers, the Orange brand now covers Internet, television and mobile services in the majority of countries where the Group operates. At the end of 2008, France Telecom had consolidated sales of 53.5 billion euros and a customer base of more than 182 million customers in 30 countries, including 122 million mobile customers worldwide and 13 million broadband Internet customers in Europe. Orange is the number three mobile operator and the number one provider of broadband Internet services in Europe.

Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive more than 300 million unique visitors per month, making them the 4th most popular web property world-wide. (comScore Media Metrix)

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