Wikipedia Now Available for Free to 230 Million People on Their Phones

The site has signed another partnership with a carrier to offer free access

Wikimedia, the foundation behind Wikipedia, is continuing to expand the reach of the site. Wikipedia's goal is to make as much information as widely available as possible. While it's safe to say Wikipedia holds quite a lot of info at this point.

In fact, the bigger problem is reaching as many people as it can. While internet access may be considered a basic human right in some places, it's hardly universal.

Mobile phones are changing that; it's getting close to the point where more people access the web via their phones, smart or not, than via desktops.

This is why Wikimedia's Zero program is important. Through it, it partners with mobile carriers around the world to offer access to Wikipedia for free.

Data costs are one of the big hurdles of getting people to use the web on their phones in many places. By making Wikipedia free, people get accustomed with using their phones to browse the web, so carriers benefit as well.

Wikipedia Zero serves a special, text-only version of the site, but it's still enough for most users. The Wikimedia Foundation has now partnered with the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) to offer free access to its users.

This is the latest in a long string of partnerships, making the site available to 25 million more people. In total, some 230 million people now have free access to Wikipedia via the Zero program.

"We are thrilled that STC has joined us in removing a major barrier to accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones," said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, head of mobile at the Wikimedia Foundation, said.

"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," he added.

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