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Airtel, Wikimedia pilot free internet service

29 October 2013, 09:35Henry Ifeanyi

Lagos – Airtel and Wikimedia are running a pilot programme to determine the sustainability of a project that aims to offer unlimited access to Wikimedia services by local clients.

The free pilot program will run for three months.

The test is part of a project undertaken by Wikimedia Zero programme under the Wikimedia Foundation.

The exercise seeks to provide Wikipedia services to an estimated 70 million new users in the region.

“Not only are we making it freely available on mobile web but we are also launching our first Wikimedia via text service that will allow people without data enabled phones to access Wikipedia,” said Head of Mobile, Wikimedia Foundation, Kul Takanao Wadhwa.

He also praised Airtel for its support in eliminating major barriers towards accessing Wikipedia on mobile handsets.

Airtel subscribers will access the service by dialing *515# which will automatically send them an SMS directing them on the articles they intend to search.

Airtel Africa Chief Marketing Officer, Andre Beyers, reiterated that Airtel was committed to using the service to empower locals.

During the course of the pilot programme, Airtel subscribers with internet-enabled phones can access Wikipedia mobile site (m.wikipedia.org) at no cost. This move comes as a boost to the majority of Kenyans who in the past relied on cyber cafes to access such services.

– CAJ News



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