The Mozilla Foundation and the GSMA want to ensure that as mobile phone use continues to grow around the world, particularly in developing nations, there is plenty of intriguing content available in people's native languages so that the growth isn't halted.
Such content will be required in a myriad of languages so that the 4 billion people on Earth who still don't have access to the Internet and mobile devices will find information that is valuable to them personally when they get there, Mozilla and the GSMA argue. To accomplish that, the two groups have formed a new partnership, which was unveiled on Nov. 4 in a post on The Mozilla Blog. The GSMA is a trade group that represents nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators in some 220 nations.
Making sure there is access to cheaper, affordable cell phones isn't enough, the groups argue.
That's where the new partnership will come in over the next six to 12 months as Mozilla and GSMA explore projects focusing on low-cost smartphones, digital literacy training and the creation of local content in native languages with easily available software and platform tools so that all the needs of the next 4 billion users can be filled, the groups said.
"Initial field tests in Bangladesh, Kenya, Brazil and India are currently underway. We are looking to build a coalition of mobile operators, device manufacturers, educators, international development donors, and NGOs [non-governmental organizations] who are interested in positively shaping the future of the mobile Web," the blog post stated.
The initiative is being started because at the present time "there's a shortage of digital content that has a sufficient understanding of specific cultural contexts, local conditions and the needs of local populations," according to Mozilla and the GSMA. "It's one of the reasons Mozilla is teaming up with the GSMA to explore ways to catalyze the creation of locally relevant content and unlock the promise of the Web for the next wave of users."
The groups created a white paper that dives more deeply into their plans.
"As a global community of technologists, thinkers and builders, Mozilla is working to keep the Web open and accessible," the post continued. "Both Mozilla and the GSMA—who represent 800 operators in 220 countries—recognize how the mobile Web can shape the industry's future. Collectively, we recognize the role that locally relevant content has to play in improving social and economic outcomes around the world."