Bharti Airtel and Google today announced the launch of Free Zone powered by Google, which will give Airtel mobile customers access to mobile web search and feature-phone-friendly versions of Gmail and Google+ in India.
The first page of a website linked from search results is provided at no data cost.
Free Zone aims to put the web in the hands of more people and empower first time internet users with several useful services of the Internet. Airtel mobile customers can access the service by visiting www.airtel.in/freezone and simply start using the internet without having to sign in to the service. Any user can create a Gmail account instantly on the Free Zone homepage and enjoy a multitude of connectivity and social media services from Google, shared an official release.
Rajan Anandan, VP and Managing Director, Google India said, “The mobile internet user base is growing really fast in India. Working with Airtel on this exciting trial means that we can offer internet services at no cost to anyone with a phone. This gives people easier access to information in a way that benefits everyone, whether it’s an individual or a small business that wants to reach more people on the web. We hope this initiative will encourage more Indians to experience the value of the internet and gain from it. Students can easily look up for facts to work on their assignments, housewives will be able to easily check on recipes and connect with their friends and family from their mobile phones.”
Free Zone aims to make the web accessible and affordable to all mobile users. The expansive set of powerful internet services available via Airtel includes Google Search – which will take Free Zone users to websites matching their search query, Gmail, and Google+ which enables users to share photos and messages with social groupings of family, friends and business or work associates.
While Airtel subscribers will not incur any data charges to access these services on Free Zone powered by Google, access to more advanced services such as attachment download or browse through to websites from the ones accessed in the Free Zone would be enabled through the subscription to a standard data package.
“As the country’s leading telecom services provider, we at Airtel are constantly looking for new ways of exciting more and more of our 200 million plus customers in India about the data experience. In this market, where feature phones predominate, our association with Google to bring Free Zone to India will encourage millions of users to discover the power of mobile internet for the very first time and leverage the amazing world of information search, email and social collaboration – at no incremental cost,” said N Rajaram, Chief Marketing Officer – Consumer Business, Bharti Airtel.
When users leave the Free Zone to navigate deeper into a website or download an attachment, they are informed about the data charges and given the option to purchase an appropriate data package.