MTN has started providing free Wikipedia access to all its subscribers.
This follows a campaign by learners from the Sinenjongo High School, Joe Slovo Park, Milnerton, Cape Town.
In an open letter to Cell C, MTN, Vodacom and 8ta (Telkom Mobile), the learners urged South African mobile providers to offer their customers free access to Wikipedia.
“We think this is a wonderful idea and would really like to encourage you also to make the same offer here in South Africa. It would be totally amazing to be able to access information on our cell phones which would be affordable to us,” the learners said.
The learners do not have open access to a library or computers at school, but most of them have cell phones.
“90% of us have cell phones but it is expensive for us to buy airtime so if we could get free access to Wikipedia it would make a huge difference to us,” they said.
MTN first to respond
MTN has now, through a #NekNomination, heeded the call and started to provide free access to Wikipedia to all its subscribers.
“We know that many school children in this country don’t have access to research material, which can make excelling at school so much more difficult,” MTN said.
“That’s why MTN is proud to be the first South African cellular network to make Wikipedia free. Free Wikipedia means access to a wealth of knowledge on just about every topic, giving a boost not only to school children, but to the whole education system of South Africa.”