GSMA has honoured Asiacell, Deutsche Telekom, Turkcell, Vodafone and Zain with the “Outstanding Contribution to the Mobile Industry Award” for 2017. The joint honorees were recognised for their work in supporting millions of Syrian refugees who have been displaced by the conflict in their home country.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman, GSMA and founder and chairman, Bharti Enterprises said: “In coordination with many international NGOs, relief agencies, partners and suppliers, they have worked tirelessly to provide a diverse array of critical communications initiatives, extending lifelines to millions of people who otherwise would have nowhere to turn for help.”
Mittal added: “The collective response of the five organisations recognised today tells a remarkable story of the difference that our industry can make when the world is faced with an overwhelming disaster.”
The awarded operators have undertaken a range of initiatives to support the Syrian refugees, including:establishment of dedicated call centres ;deployment of infrastructure, including instant networks, to enable connectivity in the refugee camps and introduction of mobile broadband in some of the larger camps;
development of customised apps for services; provision of toll-free services, SIM cards, short codes and devices; creation of online resources for contacts and work to help Syrian refugees settle in their new homes; and entrepreneurial competitions to develop innovative solutions, such as mobile money services for financial inclusion.