VimpelCom to offer free access to Wikipedia on mobile devices

Russian telecom company VimpelCom has announced a partnership with Wikimedia to provide its mobile subscribers with free Wikipedia through Wikipedia Zero, the online publisher’s initiative to enable mobile access of its content in developing countries.

This means that over 330 million people across the globe will be able to access the service through the world’s sixth largest telecom operator.

Mikhail Gerchuk, VimpelCom’s Group Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer, said: “The world’s sixth largest telecommunications company and fifth largest website globally are coming together to offer our customers a better mobile experience and greater access to free knowledge, particularly in emerging markets.”

The partnership will also target emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.

“We’re very happy VimpelCom is joining us in removing a major barrier to accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones. This partnership is an important step forward in our mission to bring free knowledge to everyone on the planet,” said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Wikimedia Foundation’s head of mobile .

“In conjunction with VimpelCom, one of the largest telecommunication providers in the world, we’re now able to expand free access to Wikipedia in more countries. With this partnership, Wikipedia Zero is now available to 330 million mobile users around the world.”

Gerchuk said that this is a win-win partnership that helps them promote mobile Internet to their customers while contributing to Wikipedia’s mission to bring free access to the entire world’s knowledge.

The company had previously partnered with Opera Mini to bring an optimised mobile Web browser to basic phones. This is part of its strategy to provide its customers with the best mobile experience.

VimpelCom has operations in Burundi, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic and Algeria.

Posted in: Mobile

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