GSMA Award for Outstanding Contribution

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Asiacell, Deutsche Telekom, Turkcell, Vodafone and Zain recognised for exceptional efforts in supporting Syrian refugees.


For Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges (2.f.r.) received the award - presented by the Spanish King Felipe VI. (3.f.l.).

At Mobile World Congress, the GSMA announced that Asiacell, Deutsche Telekom, Turkcell, Vodafone and Zain are the winners of the GSMA’s “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. The award was presented to the five operators at a special ceremony.

“Humanitarian crises are only increasing in their complexity and consequence, and as a global community, we must come together to address suffering – whether from natural or human cause – and this must be a dedicated and united effort,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, GSMA and Founder and Chairman, Bharti Enterprises. “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.”

From the countries on Syria’s borders – Turkey, Iraq and Jordan – to further afield in Germany, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia – the five operators have undertaken a range of initiatives to support the Syrian refugees, including:

  • The deployment of infrastructure, including instant networks, to enable connectivity in the refugee camps in Greece, Iraq, Jordan, Macedonia and Serbia, and the introduction of mobile broadband in some of the larger camps;
  • The development of customised apps for services such as education, locating and reuniting families, and text and audio translation services;
  • The provision of toll-free services, SIM cards, short codes and devices;
  • The establishment of dedicated call centres providing legal assistance, human rights guidance, community advice and emergency response

It is estimated that 11 million Syrians have fled their homes since the civil war began in 2011. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, estimates that nearly 3 million people fled to Turkey, 1 million to Lebanon, 240,000 to Iraq, 650,000 to Jordan and some 1 million to Germany, with many more displaced across Europe and beyond.

The most prestigious accolade in the GSMA’s annual Global Mobile (Glomo) Awards, the  “Outstanding Contribution to the Mobile Industry Award” recognises outstanding achievement in the mobile industry. The Award honours personal or company contributions, as well as achievements that span entire organisations, over a sustained period of time, or for technology advancements that have helped, and are helping, to shape the mobile sector as we know it today.


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