Wikipedia has emerged as one of the iconic phenomenon of freedom of information in this digital age. The website, with its tons of data, is certainly the one-stop site for most of our queries and searches. Wikimedia Foundation has been working on ensuring free mobile access to Wikipedia in developing countries. And to that end, it has just signed a successful deal with Saudi Telecom Company (STC).
Wikimedia has been pushing for the deal under its “Wikipedia Zero Program.” This program envisions access to Wikipedia by millions of mobile users in developing nations absolutely free of charge.
In the past, Wikimedia has also signed successful deals with a number of other carriers including Orange and Telenor. However, most of these carriers allow only the text-only zero.wikipedia.org version of the crowd-sourced encyclopedia to be accessed free of charge.
What is significant about this new deal with STC is that the carrier not only allows the free use of the text-only version, it also allows the users to access m.wikipedia.org. The carrier has a total of 25 million subscribers. Count that in and the total number of mobile users who are now able to access Wikipedia completely free of charge has reached 230 million!
While sealing the deal with Wikimedia, STC’s Vice President for Personal Services stated, “One of the principles that STC adheres to is the commitment to spreading social awareness and the fostering of a knowledge-sharing culture that accomplishes the aspirations of all segments of our customer-base. Wikipedia Zero is considered an additional cornerstone that supports the continuous efforts of STC in the field of social awareness.”