Vodafone UK has launched a national partnership with the not-for-profit organisation Tinder Foundation to build consumer confidence in the mobile internet.
The new tie-up will see Vodafone providing Tinder Foundation with a number of practical solutions to support it in enabling more people to benefit from being online.
Tinder Foundation supports 5,000 local community partners in the use of digital technology. As a result, the Foundation has helped more than one million people gain skills in using the internet.
A number of initiatives will be launched around the UK later this year. Vodafone will provide smartphones, tablets, SIMs and mobile Wi-Fi hotspots to 20 Tinder centres.
The company will also distribute 10,000 copies of its new Smartphone Guide, via Tinder Foundation, to online centres around the UK. Targeted at people who are new to or are investigating smartphones, the publication will help them to better understand a range of issues involving the devices; online versions of the guide will also be available.
Sponsored by Vodafone, a new course will be launched on Tinder Foundation’s Learn My Way website. It will promote the benefits of using mobile devices and how to access the internet.
Vodafone will also release a second report detailing consumer experience at UK online centres towards the end of 2014.
An independent report, funded by Vodafone UK, called 'Mobile: A powerful tool for Digital Inclusion' has also been published. The study highlights how 6.7 million people across the UK – accounting for 13.8% of the population - have never used the internet. Four million of those who are online may even lack the basic digital skills to make the most of internet access.
Almost 60% of those offline said that they were not interested in using the internet or do not need to be online. Around two-thirds of non-users said that not having a computer or lack of skills were the main reasons why they were not online.
Commissioned by Vodafone and written by Rob Kenny and Claire Milne from Communications Chambers, the report makes a number of recommendations to mobile operators, retailers, the Government and community groups.
These recommendations include wider availability and greater prominence of mobile handsets and software interfaces designed specifically for the elderly, those with disabilities or those seeking a less complex interface, online centres providing mobile training and the Government funding a study to compare the efficiency of fixed and mobile solutions in helping different groups of people to go online.
‘This report highlights that the digital world can seem quite daunting to those who don’t use it on a regular basis,’ said Jeroen Hoencamp, chief executive of Vodafone UK.
He added that the company was looking forward to working with Tinder Foundation teams across the country to ‘show the benefits mobile brings in bridging the digital divide, in terms of ease, cost and availability’.
Technology is well placed to make significant improvements to the way we live, said Helen Milner, CEO of Tinder Foundation, adding that it is at its most effective when it’s put to use in communities every day.
‘We believe mobile technology, due to its ubiquity, is an excellent way to achieve this aim.’