Ericsson, Facebook, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung launch, an initiative to offer internet to 5 billion people

Ericsson, Facebook, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung launched, an initiative to offer internet to 5 billion people.

The other founding members of the global partnership include MediaTek and Opera.

Interestingly, telecom operators like Verizon, AT&T, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, etc. are not part of this initiative at present.

Also, several top IT equipment vendors such as Huawei, Cisco, HP, IBM, etc are not part of the initial founders list.

The initiative is significant for a country like India which is yet to encourage investments in broadband.

“As a world leader in mobile solutions for emerging markets having powered more than 300 million smart devices within 2 years, MediaTek whole heartedly supports the initiative,” said MK Tsai, chairman of MediaTek.
 MK Tsai

India’s broadband subscriber base has increased from 15.09 million at the end of April 2013 to 15.13 million at the end of May 2013, showing a monthly growth of 0.23 percent, TRAI said. Yearly growth in broadband subscribers is 5.75 percent during the last one year (May 2012 to May 2013).

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of

“There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy. brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it,” Zuckerberg said.

At present, 2.7 billion people — over one-third of the world’s population — have access to the internet. Internet adoption is growing by less than 9 percent each year.

“Today, more than 300 million people use Opera every month to access the internet. Tomorrow, we have a chance to serve the next 5 billion people connecting on mobile devices in developing countries,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO Opera Software.

The objective of is to make internet access available to the two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected.

“We are committed to shaping the Networked Society – where everyone and everything will be connected in real time; creating the freedom, empowerment and opportunity to transform society,” said Hans Vestberg, president and CEO of Ericsson.
 Foto och copyright: Stefan Borgius Tel: +46 70 579 20 12 Ericsson, Torshamnsgatan 23, Kista. 20 maj 2011.

The founding members of will develop joint projects, share knowledge, and mobilize industry and governments to bring the world online. will focus on three key challenges in developing countries:

Making access affordable

Partners will collaborate to develop and adopt technologies that make mobile connectivity more affordable and decrease the cost of delivering data to people worldwide.

“Over the years, Nokia has connected well over a billion people. Our industry is now at an exciting inflection point where internet connectivity is becoming more affordable and efficient for consumers while still offering them great experiences. Universal internet access will be the next great industrial revolution,” said Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop.

Potential projects include collaborations to develop lower-cost, higher-quality smartphones and partnerships to more broadly deploy internet access in underserved communities. Mobile operators will play a central role in this effort by driving initiatives that benefit the entire ecosystem.

“We’re focused on delivering high quality mobile devices to ensure that the next five billion people have great mobile internet experiences,” said JK Shin, CEO and president of the IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics.

Using data more efficiently

Partners will invest in tools that reduce the amount of data required to use most apps and internet experiences.

Potential projects include developing data compression tools, enhancing network capabilities to more efficiently handle data, building systems to cache data efficiently and creating frameworks for apps to reduce data usage.

Helping businesses drive access

Partners will support development of sustainable new business models and services that make it easier for people to access the internet.

“Having shipped more than 11 billion chips, Qualcomm is a market leader that is committed to the goal of bridging the digital divide,” said said Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm.

This includes testing new models that align incentives for mobile operators, device manufacturers, developers and other businesses to provide more affordable access than has previously been possible. Other efforts will focus on localizing services – working with operating system providers and other partners to enable more languages on mobile devices.

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