Virtual mobile network The People’s Operator, which launched in 2012 and passes 25% of its profits to charity, has appointed Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales as a board member and co-chair of the company.
The London-based MVNO says the main role of Mr Wales will be “to drive the growth of a global community that connects as a force for good”. It currently offers SIM-only ‘pay monthly’ and ‘pay as you go’ services in the UK. Expansion into the USA is planned next.
10% of each customer’s bill goes directly to causes chosen by the customer, with the company giving 25% of its profits to the TPO Foundation for onward distribution. Charity partners at the moment include ChildLine, Emerge Poverty Free, Trinity Hospice, the NSPCC and The Big Issue Foundation.
Jimmy Wales said “TPO puts customers and the causes they care about first. With over 4 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.”
The People’s Operator was founded by entrepreneur Andrew Rosenfeld, who is now the company’s co-chair with Mr Wales. It operates via mobile virtual network aggregator Transatel on the 3G EE network in the UK.