[Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East

Jay Walsh jwalsh at wikimedia.org
Sun Oct 14 17:25:35 UTC 2012

(This press release is also posted on the WMF wiki at

'''The Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide
access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East'''

''Service available immediately to STC customers in Saudi Arabia''

San Francisco, California and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -- October 14, 2012
-- Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and the Wikimedia Foundation announced
a new partnership today to offer Wikipedia free of data charges on
mobile devices to STC customers in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait.
By making Wikipedia available to its 25 million mobile customers, STC
and the Wikimedia Foundation commit to increasing access to the free
and open knowledge available on Wikipedia. Wikipedia Zero enables
customers to browse the website for free and with high flexibility on
all mobile phones.

This partnership is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's mobile
strategy, which focuses on reaching billions of people around the
world whose primary opportunity to access the Internet is via a mobile
device. This initiative is particularly important, given that the
Foundation has made Arabic language countries a special priority in
its strategic planning.

“We are thrilled that STC has joined us in removing a major barrier to
accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones. 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,” said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Head of Mobile, Wikimedia
Foundation. “With Wikipedia Zero, the Wikimedia Foundation is able to
provide free Wikipedia access to almost 230 million mobile users
around the world. We’re very excited that STC is joining us in this

In collaboration with “Intigral”, a company specialized in providing
digital media solutions to telecom operators, STC subscribers can now
access the free service in both Arabic and English by pointing their
mobile browser to m.wikipedia.org.  A lightweight, text-only version
optimized for slower connections is also available at
zero.wikipedia.org. The move comes as STC continues to consolidate its
leadership in various fields, especially in social awareness and the
fostering of a knowledge-sharing culture. Wikipedia Zero will also be
available through the mobile browser, and features high browsing
speeds despite being a free service.

Eng. Ibrahim Al Omar, Vice President for Personal Services, said “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.” He
then added, “Wikipedia Zero is considered an additional cornerstone
that supports the continuous efforts of STC in the field of social

The launch of Wikipedia Zero comes in line with STC’s strategy to
prioritize customer needs, and is an affirmation of the company’s
commitment to fulfilling customer expectations while meeting their
demands, and to continuously develop its services to satisfy their
aspirations and give them a variety of unrestricted options and

For more information, please refer to the partnership Q&A at:

'''About Saudi Telecom'''

Saudi Telecom Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides
telecommunications services to individuals and businesses primarily in
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its GSM segment primarily offers mobile,
prepaid cards, international roaming, and messaging services. The
company’s Landline segment principally provides fixed line, card
telephones, interconnect, and international call services. Its DATA
segment primarily offers leased data transmission circuits, DSL, and
Internet services. The company also engages in the operation of
communications projects; transmission and processing of information;
wholesale and retail trade of recharge card services,
telecommunication equipment and devices, and computer services; sale
and re-sale of various landlines and mobiles telecommunication
services; and maintenance and operation of commercial centers. In
addition, it provides mobile services, international
telecommunications, broad band, and other related services in Bahrain;
and operates third generation mobile network in Indonesia. The company
was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

'''About Wikimedia Foundation'''

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix,
Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation
receive more than 456 million unique visitors per month, making them
the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, August
2012). Available in 285 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 22
million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of
roughly 100,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the
Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded
primarily through donations and grants.

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