Indian telecom player Uninor has partnered with Wikimedia Foundation to offer free Wikipedia access to its subscribers for a period of three months. All the 45 million Uninor subscribers will be eligible for free Wikipedia access, under ‘Internet for all’ intiative launched by telecom major. This move may be seen as deliberate attempt by the company to garner more internet subscribers. Chennai based telecom company Aircel recently entered into a similar three year partnership with Wikipedia.
“By giving free access toWikipedia, Uninor will be able to put this repository of knowledge in the hands of the masses and empower the society,” Uninor’s chief executive Vivek Sood said in a statement. He also expected that 50% of Uninor’s subscriber will become internet subscribers by 2017.
He also emphasized free Wikipedia offering by Uninor will aid in cost-free learning. Company’s employees will reach out to students and teachers, to make them aware about digital mode of learning and its benefits over traditional mode of learning. Uninor has no plans to stop here and wants to go for further, in order to launch more such services in future.
Telenor-owned company offers free Wikipedia in other countries like Bangladesh, Montenegro, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar as well. “By promoting free access to Wikipedia, Uninor is spreading awareness and opening doors to information to people who might otherwise not have access to it,” said Carolynne Schloeder, director of Mobile Partnerships at the Wikimedia Foundation.
Uninor is known to be a cheaper alternative in India, and offered unlimited Facebook and WhatsApp for as low as Rs. 15/month till last year. Surprisingly, Uninor didn’t participate in recently held spectrum auction. It later said that, it will compensate for the spectrum by means of sharing, trading or buying fresh spectrum in next round of auctions.
The non-profit Wikimedia foundation has partnered with various telecom service providers across the world to reach out to under privileged sections of society and help them educate. The free Wikipedia access for Uninor subscribers starts from 1st April, 2015 onward, for a period of three months.