Sometimes, the best things in life are free. Axiata Group Berhad and Wikimedia Foundation recently announced that all carriers in the group will provide free mobile Wikipedia access through the Wikipedia Zero program. This free access will be given for Wikipedia’s local and English version.
Currently, Wikipedia has partnerships with Orange, Telenor, STC, VimpelCom, and now Axiata joins the club. Some of Axiata Group members that are in support of this program are Dialog Axiata (Sri Lanka), Smart Axiata (Cambodia), Celcom Axiata (Malaysia), Robi Axiata (Bangladesh) and XL Axiata (Indonesia). It has been reported that this program will be implemented in all operators starting this March 2013.
“We applaud Axiata for joining us in removing a major barrier to accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones,” said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Head of Mobile with the Wikimedia Foundation. “This partnership is an important step forward in our mission to enable everyone on the planet to access free knowledge. With Axiata, one of the largest Asian telecommunication providers, we’re now able to expand free access to Wikipedia in more countries. With this partnership, Wikipedia Zero is now available to 410 million mobile users around the world.” Free access bridges the information gap for people who need access to modern knowledge sources, such as Wikipedia. This program has been promoted through social media products such as Facebook and Twitter.
One of Wikimedia Foundation’s major goals is to reach 1 billion people by 2015, and in November 2012, they have reached 483 million so far. In order to reach out to people and introduce Wikipedia via mobile devices, they need to lower the barrier to entry, and that is where mobile operators come in. Their primary goal with the mobile partnership program is to work with mobile operators to offer access without incurring data charges. The “zero” part of Wikipedia Zero means “zero” cost to the user. According to Wikimedia Foundation, the partnerships do not produce revenue for the Wikimedia Foundation, and the Wikimedia Foundation is not paying partners.
Looks like free access to knowledge is finally here. Do you personally find Wikipedia helpful?
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