Lagos - The Wikimedia Foundation, the operators of Wikipedia, has announced a strategic partnership to provide Airtels customers access to access Wikipedia services through their mobile phones free of data charges.
The foundation said the partnership was part of Wikipedia Zero programme, which focused on empowering billions of people around the world to access the internet via mobile devices.
The Wikimedia Foundation also said the partnership with Airtel would provide Wikipedia to 70 million new users in the continent.
It said that Airtel customers with Internet-enabled handsets can now access the Wikipedia mobile site on their mobile browsers without incurring data charges by logging to m.wikipedia.org
For customers who do not have internet enabled handsets, Airtel said it would offer Wikipedia by text message as a pilot program.
The unique service would allow customers to search Wikipedia using a plain text menu, without the need for a mobile browser.
“We are thrilled that Airtel has joined us in removing two major barriers to accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones. Not only are we making it freely available on the mobile web but we are also launching our first Wikipedia via text service that will allow people without data enabled phones to access Wikipedia,” said Kul Takanao
“Improving access to the Wadhwa, Head of Mobile, Wikimedia Foundation.Wikimedia projects in Sub-Saharan Africa is a strategic priority for the Foundation and this partnership is another step forward in our mission to enable everyone on the planet to access free knowledge,” he added – CAJ News
Andre Beyers, Chief Marketing Officer, Airtel Africa said, “Airtel is committed to using its infrastructure to expand knowledge across the countries that it operates in. Due to the fact that most of the population has access to a cell phone, it is the best way to reach out and educate our communities. We will offer this service free of charge to our customers to enable access to all.”
- CAJ News