Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced today that he will become co-chair of a mobile network called The People’s Operator (TPO), which gives a significant chunk of its profits to charity,.
TPO operates in the same way as any other mobile network, offering a variety of call, text and data packages. However, unlike other operators, TPO donates 10 percent of a customer's bill to a charity or organisation of their choice.
The company also donates 25 percent of its own profits to charities, community groups and other good causes, claiming that its able to stay competitive by spending next to nothing on marketing and relying almost entirely on word of mouth.
Launched in November 2012 on EE's infrastructure, TPO operates from an office in East London and sells its network as something that could be used to change people's lives for the better.
Speaking at DLD14 in Munich today, Wales said: “TPO puts customers and the causes they care about first. With over four billion mobile phone subscribers forecast for 2016 worldwide, TPO has huge potential for viral growth and the more it grows, the more money will pass to the people and communities that need it.
“Only a small percentage in global take up will make a massive difference to people’s lives. Just as Wikipedia grew virally as communities wanted to work together to liberate knowledge, so I believe TPO will grow in a similar way as communities work together to support good causes across the globe.”
Wales, who has previously advised the UK government on technology policy, will play a role across all aspects of the business, with a particular focus on driving the growth of a global community, as TPO looks to move beyond the United Kingdom.
Andrew Rosenfeld, founder and co-chair of TPO, added: “The TPO philosophy is to share its success with those who really need it. Donating to good causes through commercial success, and empowering the customer is an idea whose time has now come.
“This is why I'm so excited that Jimmy, who used the power of communities to change the world, is taking the lead at TPO to do the same again.”