Wikipedia Articles Via SMS In Kenya Brought To You By Wikimedia And Airtel

Airtel has teamed with Wikimedia Foundation to bring Wikipedia articles to its customers for free in Kenya via SMS. Airtel customers residing in Kenya have to use the USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) on their feature phones to access the service. To initiate the search users have to dial *515# on their mobile phones and they shall receive a text message asking them to enter the name of the topic they want to search. Next they will receive the ‘Disambiguation’ menu in a numbered format listing all Wikipedia pages associated with the search term. After the user replies back with the topic number it shall then send the Wikipedia article section headers in the same numbered format and the user has the choice to choose any part of the topic. A summary will be sent to the user in SMS format and the user can continue reading by replying back. To obtain a more clear idea on the entire procedure have a look at the photos below.


2 3 4

To develop the technology for this SMS based service Wikimedia took the help of a South African non-profit mobile technology provider Praekelt Foundation which developed the interactive menus for the service. Apart from the SMS service, people who have access to mobile internet on their phones will also be able to browse the mobile version of Wikipedia for free as a part of its Wikipedia Zero initiative. The pilot project will last for three months and will help Wikipedia to obtain feedback from users before they roll out the service in rest of Africa. We had heard about the Get Wikipedia Articles Via SMS at the beginning of the year in February and we hope that the project finds telecom partners in other under-developed countries to make sure that more people are gain free access to information.

Feature Phone

To continue reading on this development visit the following links: #-Link-Snipped-#, #-Link-Snipped-# & Wikipedia pilots articles-via-SMS service aimed at Africans - BBC News.


  • micheal john
    micheal john
    awesome intiation.👍
  • pratz016
    its gr8 plz go to yhe link

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