Airtel and Wikipedia Foundation in strategic partnership

New Update

NAIROBI, KENYA: The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization, and is the operator of Wikipedia. The foundation and Airtel, a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, announced a strategic partnership that focuses on providing Airtel's customers access to the knowledge and information available on Wikipedia through their mobile phones with no data charges.


As a part of the Wikimedia Foundation's Wikipedia Zero program, the partnership will help provide Wikipedia to 70 million new users in the region, starting in Kenya. Airtel customers with Internet-enabled handsets can now access the Wikipedia mobile site on their mobile browsers without incurring data charges by going to

Airtel will offer Wikipedia by text message as a pilot program in Kenya for customers who do not have Internet-enabled handsets, which means that it will allow customers to search Wikipedia using a plain text menu, without the need for a mobile browser. For GSM subscribers, the service uses Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) technology. Users can dial *515# to search Wikipedia and will recieve article summaries through an SMS.

Kul Takanao Wadhwa, head of mobile, Wikimedia Foundation said: "Improving access to the Wikimedia projects in Sub-Saharan Africa is a strategic priority for the Wikimedia Foundation and this partnership is another step forward in our mission to enable everyone on the planet to access free knowledge."