Logging on to Wikimedia projects seems routine for many of us, but we can forget that for much of the world accessing the free information on Wikipedia is a financial burden. For the billions of people whose primary opportunity to access the Internet is via a mobile device, data charges for sites like Wikipedia are too prohibitive and prevent them from enjoying the educational benefits of the largest repository of knowledge in history.
So we are proud to announce a new partnership today between the Wikimedia Foundation and Telenor Group to provide access to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia sites free of traffic charges on mobile devices to Telenor customers in Asia and Southeastern Europe. The partnership, an important piece of the Wikimedia Foundation’s mobile strategy and the first deal like this in Asia, will potentially reach 135 million mobile users through Telenor affiliates in Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Montenegro, and Serbia.
Telenor is the second mobile carrier to join with the Wikimedia Foundation to increase access to the free and open knowledge available on Wikipedia, following an announcement with Orange in January. The 3-year partnership with Telenor will be implemented throughout 2012, with the first markets launching in the spring. Each local Telenor affiliate will establish technical solutions together with the Wikimedia Foundation. 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.
Our mobile team has been working tirelessly to forge new partnerships with mobile carriers throughout the world. I would like to offer my thanks to all the Foundation staff members who have dedicated their time to this endeavor. We’d also like to thank the dozens of volunteers from around the world who have contributed to making this partnership successful.
Please join me in thanking Telenor for demonstrating their shared commitment to making access to Wikipedia available to their customers for free. We’re happy to support this partnership and we look forward to similar announcements in the future.
Kul Takanao Wadhwa
Head of Mobile Development
For more information, please read our Q&A here.