Wikipedia co-founder picks up big stake in London mobile provider

By VCPOST Staff Reporter

Jan 21, 2014 01:51 AM EST

Jimmy Wales, co-founder of free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, has bought a large stake in London-based mobile provider The People's Operator (TPO). The financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed. Wales aims to take TPO to the US and other international markets, according to Business Spectator.

TPO is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that donates 10% of its revenue to a charity chosen by the customer. The company itself commits to pay 25% of its profits to good cause. In November 2012, the operator launched a pay-as-you-go operation for its service. In April 2013, the mobile firm followed up with an unlimited voice, data, mobile, and data contract that charges $24.61 per month, the report detailed.

At present, TPO is not yet profitable, and it does not spend a large amount on marketing. According to chief executive and co-founder Mark Epstein, TPO relies on word-of-mouth and the promotion it gets from their chosen charities, the report explained.

Wales, who started Wikipedia 13 years ago, will become TPO's co-chairman. He said he would help direct the international expansion of the mobile operator and will begin with the US, Business Spectator reported.

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