Google has announced free web access to mobile phone subscribers in South Africa that cannot afford data costs. Google has entered an agreement with South Africa’s telecoms provider, Telkom.
The plan called “Free Zone,” will allow subscribers to Telkom’s 8ta mobile phone service to access the web and versions of Gmail and Google+ without paying for data charges, as long as they have data-enabled handsets.
Google South Africa Manager, Luke Mckend, revealed that “Around 80% of South Africans have a cell phone, and much of this mobile resource is untapped due to data charges that many cannot afford. Our goal is to make more of the mobile web affordable for everyone, in order to enrich their lives with information at their fingertips.”
Amith Maharaj, Senior Managing Executive at 8ta, said, “Breaking down the barriers to Internet adoption is critical for South Africa to keep up with the rest of the world in terms of socio-economic development. Now 8ta subscribers can enjoy a free value added service to explore the Internet, check emails and connect with friends, ultimately boosting internet adoption in South Africa.”
The deal is on trial until the end of May next year.