Telenor to make Wikipedia available to 135 million customers
Telenor Group and the Wikimedia Foundation announced a new partnership to offer Wikipedia free of data charges on mobile devices by making versions of Wikipedia available to 135 million mobile customers of Telenor Group in Asia and Europe.
This was announced at the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, Spain on February 28. According to a Telenor statement, the company involves millions in Asia through the I-Genius project, which has already reached out to 300,000 Bangladeshi students and school-children with a call to explore open knowledge on the internet.
It said customers with a Telenor SIM will be able to access a version of the encyclopedia for as many times as they like in a given period free of charge, as long as they stay within Wikipedia's pages.
The initiative is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's mobile strategy, which focuses on reaching the billions of people around the world whose primary opportunity to access the internet is via a mobile device, the statement read.
Barry Newstead, chief global development officer of Wikimedia said, "The Wikimedia Foundation is working to remove barriers to free knowledge, and for most people around the world right now, cost and accessibility are the two biggest hurdles. We applaud Telenor for joining us to deliver free access to Wikipedia for their customers."
This partnership supports Telenor's commitment to bring more value to its mobile customers. Especially, the company has pioneered the development of value-adding services to rural and underserved communities in Asia.
Kristin Skogen Lund, executive vice president and head of digital services at Telenor Group said, "We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Wikimedia Foundation."
The 3-year partnership between Telenor Group and the Wikimedia Foundation will cover 135 million users. The agreement is signed by seven countries: Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Montenegro, and Serbia. By the end of the year, more markets are expected to join. The agreement will be implemented step by step throughout 2012, with the first markets launching during the second quarter.