We are proud to announce our newest Wikipedia Zero partnership, which moves us another step closer to giving every person on the planet access to the free knowledge on Wikipedia. On Sunday, Saudi Telecom Company (STC) joined with the Wikimedia Foundation to offer free access to Wikipedia on mobile for STC customers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain.
The partnership is part of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Wikipedia Zero program, which focuses on reaching billions of people around the world whose primary opportunity to access the Internet is via a mobile device. 25 million STC subscribers can now access Wikipedia, in both Arabic and English, without incurring data fees by pointing their mobile browsers to m.wikipedia.org. A lightweight, text-only version optimized for slower connections is also available at zero.wikipedia.org.
Improving access to the Wikimedia projects in the Arabic speaking world is a strategic priority for the Wikimedia Foundation, and Saudi Arabia is a central part of that. The most edits to Arabic Wikipedia come from within Saudi Arabia and 43 percent of Wikipedia page views within Saudi Arabia are to the Arabic version. More significantly, 29.5 percent of Wikipedia page views in Saudi Arabia are from mobile devices as of September. That’s the second-highest of any large readership country (defined as greater than 5 million page views per month) in the world, and more than twice the rate of Europe. Therefore, with STC removing the cost barrier, millions more people will have access to free knowledge, not only English, but in their native language.
STC is the third parent company to join Wikipedia Zero, which altogether allows 230 million mobile users in 31 countries to access Wikipedia free of data charges. Ten of those countries have already launched the program.
For more information about this partnership and Wikipedia Zero, please read the Q&A: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mobile_partnerships#STC
Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Head of Mobile
1. Nigeria has the highest rate of mobile penetration, with 59 percent of its 12.5 million Wikipedia page views coming from mobile devices. Europe’s combined rate is 13 percent. http://stats.wikimedia.org/archive/squid_reports/2012-09/SquidReportCountryData.htm