Wikimedia Foundation has announced a partnership with Indian mobile operator, Aircel, to offer free access to Wikipedia on mobile phones. This essentially means that the operator would not levy any data charges when its customers access Wikipedia's mobile websites.
It's the first Wikipedia Zero rollout in the Indian market, and as per the Wikimedia Foundation, this partnership will help provide Wikipedia to 60 million new users in the Indian region.
Following the rollout, Aircel customers will be able to access versions of Wikipedia in English, Hindi, Tamil, and 17 other Indic languages on their mobile phones.
Customers will be able to access m.wikipedia.org, Wikipedia's mobile site for free, in addition to zero.wikipedia.org, which is a text-only version of Wikipedia's mobile site, optimized for slower connections.
Anupam Vasudev, Chief Marketing Officer for Aircel, said, "Through our alliance with the Wikimedia Foundation, Aircel is not only making internet services reach a wider audience, but also helping to encourage and enrich the lives of our customers by offering access to knowledge and information free of cost. We are excited about this partnership and hope this initiative will benefit all our customers from various age groups."
"We hail Aircel's commitment to enhancing and expanding access to free knowledge for their mobile customers. With the partnership, we extend our program to India where we potentially reach millions of people for the first time." said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Head of Mobile with the Wikimedia Foundation. "Aircel is one of the operators across the globe that has contributed towards expanding free access to Wikipedia Zero to 470 mn mobile users."
Wikimedia Foundation's partnership with Aircel is valid for a period of 3 years. Wikipedia Zero was first rolled out in Uganda in April 2012 with mobile operator, Orange.
Image courtesy: Wikimedia Foundation