Telenor Group and the Wikimedia Foundation today announced a new partnership to offer Wikipedia free of traffic charges on mobile devices to Telenor customers in Asia and Southeastern Europe. This 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 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," says Barry Newstead, Wikimedia Chief Global Development Officer. "We applaud Telenor for joining us to deliver free access to Wikipedia for their customers. Through this partnership, we move a step closer to providing the sum of all knowledge to everyone in the world."
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.
"We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Wikimedia Foundation. Telenor have pioneered affordable, mobile communications across much of Asia, and we have built a track record of offering vital services with a significant outreach" says Kristin Skogen Lund, Executive Vice President and Head of Digital Services at Telenor Group. "With this agreement, we are first in Asia to bring a vast knowledge source to the millions in underserved communities across the region."
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, at no charge, as long as they stay within Wikipedia’s pages.
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