[Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] [Press Release] VimpelCom partners with the Wikimedia Foundation to offer free mobile Wikipedia access through Wikipedia Zero

Jay Walsh jwalsh at wikimedia.org
Fri Jan 25 05:16:33 UTC 2013

(this press release can also be found online at

* VimpelCom partners with the Wikimedia Foundation to offer free
mobile Wikipedia access through Wikipedia Zero

San Francisco, California and Amsterdam, The Netherlands -- January
25, 2013 -- VimpelCom Ltd. and the Wikimedia Foundation today
announced a partnership to offer Wikipedia on mobile devices free of
data charges to VimpelCom customers. By making Wikipedia available at
no data charge to its customers, VimpelCom is removing barriers to
information while joining the Wikimedia Foundation to increase access
to the free and open knowledge available on Wikipedia.

This partnership is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's Wikipedia Zero
program, which focuses on reaching the billions of people around the
world whose primary opportunity to access the internet is via a mobile

"We're very happy VimpelCom is joining us in removing a major barrier
to accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones. This partnership is an
important step forward in our mission to bring free knowledge to
everyone on the planet," said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Head of Mobile with
the Wikimedia Foundation. "In conjunction with VimpelCom, one of the
largest telecommunication providers in the world, we're now able to
expand free access to Wikipedia in more countries. With this
partnership, Wikipedia Zero is now available to 330 million mobile
users around the world."

VimpelCom customers will be able to access free Wikipedia knowledge by
pointing their mobile browser to m.wikipedia.org. Customers in each
VimpelCom market will be able to access local language versions of
Wikipedia along with the English version.

"The world's sixth largest telecommunications company and fifth
largest website globally are coming together to offer our customers a
better mobile experience and greater access to free knowledge,
particularly in emerging markets," said Mikhail Gerchuk, VimpelCom
Group's Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer. "This is a win-win
partnership that helps us promote mobile internet to our customers
while contributing to Wikipedia's mission to bring free access to all
the world's knowledge."

Wikipedia Zero will be rolled out in VimpelCom operations across the
globe starting this year, with focus on emerging markets in Eastern
Europe, Asia and Africa. While Wikipedia Zero will be the first
initiative of the partnership to launch, both partners are also
expected to jointly develop additional Wikimedia services to target
emerging markets in the future.

Questions and answers about the partnership and Wikipedia Zero can be found at:


* About VimpelCom


VimpelCom is one of the world's largest integrated telecommunications
services operators providing voice and data services through a range
of traditional and broadband mobile and fixed technologies in Russia,
Italy, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia,
Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, Laos, Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burundi,
Zimbabwe, Central African Republic and Canada. VimpelCom's operations
around the globe cover territory with a total population of
approximately 780 million people. VimpelCom provides services under
the "Beeline", "Kyivstar", "djuice", "Wind", "Infostrada" "Mobilink",
"Leo", "banglalink", "Telecel", and "Djezzy" brands. As of September
30, 2012 VimpelCom had 212 million mobile subscribers on a combined
basis. VimpelCom is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the
symbol (VIP).

VimpelCom Media Contact
    Bobby Leach
    +31 20 79 77 200 (Amsterdam)
    pr at vimpelcom.com

* About the 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 483 million unique visitors per month, making them
the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, November
2012). Available in 280 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 23
million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of
roughly 80,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the
Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded
primarily through donations and grants.

Wikimedia Foundation media contact
    Matthew Roth
    +1 415-839-6885 ext 6635 (San Francisco)
    mroth at wikimedia.org

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