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Mobile reach

From Strategic Planning

One study suggests that there will be more than 1 billion mobile web users by 2010[1].

Mobile user, no Internet access

  • Mobile subscriber base expected to grow by ~8% CAGR from 2008 to 2015, reaching 6.5 billion
    • This is driven by prepaid billing, affordable handsets and the liberalization of telecom markets
  • Services on mobile devices provide health, social and economic benefits to users without mobile Internet
    • Example: One-way text alerts, sent to everyone in a particular area, can be used to raise awareness of HIV
    • Example: Nokia Life Tools is an application running on entry level mobile phones to get updates on agricultural market prices, educational information, career tips and news. The application is designed and offered only in the emerging markets.

Suggested strategies

  • WMF should focus on facilitating third-party application development and reuse of Wikipedia content
    • Improve accessibility of Wikipedia content available through data dumps
  • WMF should identify promising partnerships with cell phone manufacturers and providers who can incorporate Wikipedia content into their product offerings

Mobile user, with Internet access

  • Internet capable handset (WCDMA/HSDPA) shipments expected to grow by ~29% CAGR from 2008 to 2015, reach 880 million
    • Smartphone subscriber base expected to grow by ~20% CAGR from 2008 to 2015
  • ~30% of consumers in North America willing to pay for e-mail and mobile Internet access
    • This willingness is driven by the new social expectation that one is nearly always connected and reachable via e-mail, facebook, etc.

Suggested strategies

  • WMF must allocate staff resources to develop a clear mobile strategy focused on:
    • Developing mobile friendly content
    • Systematically identifying and responding to future mobile trends
    • Identifying mechanisms to encourage participation on Wikipedia via mobile
    • Ensuring that Wikipedia content is accessible on a wide range of mobile platforms
  • Implementing strategy will require working effectively with partners and developers throughout the Wikimedia mobile ecosystem

Broad access is an opportunity

  • With the rise in mobile, companies have found ways to reach users without Internet access
    • Example: Google SMS provides users with extensive information, from local business listings to stock quotes, via text
  • As the mobile subscriber base grows, WMF can find new ways of reaching the population via cellphones
    • Off-line task force has set a goal to: “Give 3 billion people with no Internet connection access to the Wikimedia content via cellphones”
  • They recommend the following steps:
    • Convince network providers and/or manufacturers to have Wikipedia content pre-installed on new cellphones
    • Support third party developers/providers of open offline storage standards (such as OpenZim), readers which use them (such as Linterweb), and proprietary offline solutions (such as WikiPock)
    • Encourage development of non-Internet distribution systems, eg. SMS article requests

Mobile share of Internet traffic

Smartphone prices

See Also


  1. study