If you’re in the Middle East you can now use Wikipedia without incurring data charges on your mobile phone. Wikipedia has teamed up with the Saudi telecom company Saudi Telecom to offer free access to all users across the Middle East. This project has been dubbed Wikipedia Zero and the purpose behind the initiative is to help more and more people gain easier access to information via Wikipedia. A lot of people in the Middle East tend to surf the web via their mobile phones and as Wikipedia is one of the leading places to get information, this seems like a logical step for Wikipedia to take.
This is all done via the Wikimedia Foundation which attempts to work with local carriers to eliminate the barriers that stop people accessing information and also to stop them incurring data charges when they browse via their phone. The foundation itself is giving the priority of this project to Arabic speaking countries but the foundation is working with countries around the world to offer this initiative to everyone and anyone with a mobile phone.
The head of the Wikimedia Foundation said in a statement “We are thrilled that STC has joined us in removing a major barrier to accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones.” He also added that Improving access to the Wikimedia projects in the Arabic speaking world is a strategic priority for the Foundation, and this partnership is a step forward in our mission to enable everyone on the planet to access free knowledge.
For those that are using Saudi Telecom you can utilize this free service by simply going to the Wikipedia mobile site and learn all the information you could ever need to learn.
What do you think about this initiative? Is it a good use of Wikipedia’s time or is it just a PR stunt on Wikipedia’s behalf? Let us know below.