On 16 April the deed was drawn up for the constitution of the Telecel Vodafone Foundation for the Development of the Information Society. This institution, with an initial capital of one billion escudos, is the result of commitments made by Telecel Vodafone when it obtained the license to operate a UMTS network. Mr. António Carrapatoso, CEO of Telecel Vodafone will chair the Foundation, and the Chairman of its Executive Commission will be Professor João Borges de Assunção.
The new Foundation will have the main goals of promoting scientific and technological research that will contribute towards the development of the Information Society and the promotion of training and professional qualification in the telecommunications and information technology sector. Furthermore, it aims to fund the undertaking of special social integration projects, the promotion and development of content and initiatives that promote Portuguese culture and language on the Internet and support for the creation and development of Portuguese companies in the information or telecommunications sector. With regard to the UMTS proposal, Telecel Vodafone has presented projects in these areas, with the sum involved expected to reach 25 billion escudos.
In order to achieve its aims the Telecel Vodafone Foundation will make agreements with universities and companies and support master’s and doctorate dissertations and end of course projects. It is also looking towards granting training placements to final year telecommunications or computer students, in addition to post-graduate scholarships on themes linked to the development of the Information Society. It will contribute towards equipping laboratories or other departments at universities and will participate in the publication of books and technical manuals that will contribute towards the creation of skills needed in new technologies and to the diffusion of relevant knowledge.
One of the important aspects of the Foundation is related to incentives for the development of equipment and services related to the UMTS network and adapted to citizens with special needs. The Foundation intends to create support programmes for telephone services at charity institutions and develop systems for discounts on UMTS call rates and equipment for Portuguese citizens receiving Unemployment Benefit. The Foundation’s activity will include the creation of Internet portals accessible by computer or by mobile telephone and other products and services that allow new forms of interaction between the citizen and the State at Central and Local Administration level. It will also develop solutions for public service areas, health, safety and environmental services.