Innovation That Matters

Unused mobile data can be turned into monetary donations


Three Sweden is inviting customers to donate the monetary equivalent of their leftover 4G data to UNHCR to help to their work in Syria.

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At the end of each month huge amounts of unused, prepaid mobile data goes to waste. Now, Swedish mobile operator Three is enabling their customers to donate the monetary equivalent of their leftover 4G data to UNHCR, to contribute to their work in Syria, through its #datadonate scheme.

The venture is reminiscent of the 4G #4Good campaign, started by StarHub in 2014, which invited customers to donate their unused talktime, SMS and mobile data to charities such as Cerebral Palsy Singapore.

To begin, Three customers log into their account and decide how much of their remaining data they don’t need. They can donate up to SEK 50 — GBP 4.22 — to UNHCR. The money will then be used to provide food, clean water and temporary lodging for displaced Syrian refugees. The scheme is currently only available to Three’s Swedish customers, but the company hopes to expand into other regions if this initial trial is successful. Three has also published its open-source solution, in order to encourage other providers to come onboard.

We have already seen a scheme where users can donate Twitter followers. Could any other digital capital be donated to charity?



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