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Axiata to offer free Wikipedia for mobiles

Axiata to offer free Wikipedia for mobiles

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Axiata customers throughout Asia will be able to use Wikipedia service for free. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

AXIATA Group Berhad, parent company of local telecommunications provider Smart, and Wikipedia operator the Wikimedia Foundation announced a partnership to offer Wikipedia on mobile devices free of data charges to Axiata customers throughout Asia, a press release said.

“Wikipedia is free as such already, but notwithstanding the customers are charged for the data volume they consume while accessing Wikipedia through their mobile device,” Smart CEO Thomas Hundt told the Post.

“Upon implementation, Smart subscribers, and the subscribers of other Axiata networks across Asia likewise, will not be charged for the data volume consumption while browsing Wikipedia pages.

In late January, VimpelCom, parent company of local telco provider Beeline, and the Wikimedia Foundation also announced a partnership for free Wikipedia access for VimpelCom customers.

The partnership is part of the non-profit organisation’s Wikipedia Zero program, targeting those whose primary opportunity to go online are mobile devices.

“This partnership is an important step forward in our mission to enable everyone on the planet to access free knowledge,” said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, head of mobile with the Wikimedia Foundation in the release published on Tuesday.

“With Axiata, one of the largest Asian telecommunication providers, we’re now able to expand free access to Wikipedia in more countries. With this partnership, Wikipedia Zero is now available to 410 million mobile users around the world,” he said.

According to data from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, sales of SIM cards in Cambodia reached 19.7 million last year, a 21 per cent increase to 2011. The number of internet users increased 60 per cent, reaching 2.7 million last year.

Wikipedia is available in 285 languages and contains more than 24 million articles.

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