Aircel, the telecom operator, on 25 July 2013 announced that it partnered with Wikimedia Foundation for offering the free mobile access of Wikipedia to its customers.
The aim of the partnership is to make the Wikipedia knowledge accessible to the Aircel customers in not just urban areas, but also the rural areas. The initiative of Aircel is a part of the Wikipedia Zero programme which is aimed at reaching the mobile Internet users all over the world. The Aircel-Wikimedia partnership will provide access of Wikipedia to the 60 million users.
The Aircel customers will have access to versions of Wikipedia in various languages such as English, Hindi, Tamil as well as 17 other Indic languages. The Wikimedia Foundation explained that through this partnership, they have extended the Wikipedia Zero programme to India, which has the potential of millions of people.
It is important to note that Wikipedia is the fifth most-visited website across the world. All the pages of Wikipedia will be made accessible to 470 million users absolutely free of cost. With this partnership, India joined Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Russia as well as other countries in West Asia, Southeast Asia as well as Africa under the Wikipedia Zero programme, which aims at reducing the obstacles of accessing information.
The Aircel-Wikipedia partnership will ensure free access of global online encyclopedia, which contains 25 million articles that are contributed by around 80000 volunteers around the world. These articles are available in English, Hindi as well as other 18 Indic languages.
It is worth noticing that India is the market of second largest mobile user base in the entire world. India has more than 867 million subscribers, out of which 77 million subscribers have access to the Internet.
When: 25 July 2013