Wikipedia Zero has expanded into Asia, recently. Under the project, Wikimedia Foundation offers free mobile access to Wikipedia. The purpose of the project is to reduce obstacles to accessing knowledge by eliminating the two major barriers – one is the cost of data usage and another is network speed. Wikimedia Foundation has expanded this service into Asia for the first time through a partnership with Malaysian mobile operator Digi. Before this the service has been launched in Uganda and Tunisia.
The Wikipedia Zero service began operations in Malaysia from May 21. By using Internet enabled phones, Digi customers can access Wikipedia through the Opera Mini browser for free. The free browsing is only available via the zero.wikipedia.org URL.
Including Malaysia, Wikipedia Zero service is now available in three countries.
Because of Wikipedia’s lightweight footprint and huge number of users, Digi has made an agreement that Malaysian users have to access Wikipedia Zero via Opera Mini. Digi’s parent company Telenor Group has signed a deal with Wikipedia to extend the free service in 2012 in countries where the mobile operator does business – such as Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Serbia, Montenegro, and India.