Mobile technology for social change at the Mobile World Congress


Many of us at Opera are now preparing for Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world’s largest mobile-tech conference to be held in Barcelona February 22–25.

Mobile-technology companies that can make a difference globally come together for discussions, forums and to present a sneak peek of what’s to come.


This year, we expect to see lively discussions about how we can help drive social change with mobile technology, from free access to books to making sure everyone is connected to the web even in bad network conditions. Here are a few topics that will be discussed at Opera’s booth and around MWC.

The rise of e-learning and democratizing access to knowledge

The availability and affordability of learning online have made it simple and affordable for people to get education. From coding to design to math, online learning helps us to be students for a lifetime.

For some regions, e-learning also means access to knowledge without having having to build or travel to schools, when resources are scarce. This year, we’re  happy to welcome Worldreader to our booth to talk about how, together, we gave 5 million users in Africa a digital library right from their Opera Mini browser.

Fighting censorship and winning free access to the web

As many of us enjoy the web’s limitless possibilities, some political bodies still censor it. Earlier this year, the government of Bangladesh blocked access to social media. Today, China still blocks many sites, although it looks like Facebook is trying to challenge that.


SurfEasy, part of the Opera family, allows you to direct your web traffic through our virtual private network (VPN), giving you better security and privacy online. It also helps you break through censorship and skirt some of the barriers set up by unblocking content from other regions in the world. Check out SurfEasy’s stance on the freedom to browse on their blog and be sure to come by our booth at MWC to talk to them directly. 🙂

Connecting the unconnected and bringing the next billion online

At MWC, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg will have a keynote address on Internet.org. Together with WIRED journalist Jessi Hempel, Zuckerberg will discuss their plans to use solar-powered planes, satellites and lasers to connect the world.

At our booth, we will be showing Opera Mini’s compression technology that helps shrink webpages to up to 90%. Also on show is Opera Max, the app for saving and managing data across your entire device. Our data-saving apps are still key to countries where data costs will be high in the years to come.


Crowdsourcing experts: How startups proactively solve social problems

The past year’s social unrest stories showed us that connectivity can be a tool for addressing important challenges. In Europe, startups are the key initiatives in helping the migration wave from Syria, including allocating resources, establishing coding schools for refugee children and more.

At MWC, a sub-group called 4YFN (4 Years From Now) will be the place for startups to come showcase and share ideas.

Follow us on Twitter for live tweets from MWC. If you are in Barcelona, come to our booth in Hall 8.1!

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