Emerging markets operator group Airtel has teamed up with the Wikimedia foundation to provide free access to Wikipedia via mobile devices. Wikipedia Zero will provide Wikipedia access to 70 million new users in sub-saharan Africa, starting in Kenya.
The Facebook-backed Internet.org initiative, which aims to bring internet connectivity to the poor and underserved, announced a partnership with emerging markets carrier Airtel on Thursday that will see the Internet.org app provide free basic services to users in Zambia.
As operators globally begin to place more emphasis on the opportunities in the M2M sector, 11 Asia Pacific carriers have joined an alliance to offer their customers a ‘one-stop-shop’ for M2M services.
The African arm of Indian operator Bharti Airtel has begun deployment of HD voice services, beginning in Rwanda, Kenya and Malawi. The firm said that these deployments are the “first step” in its ambition to roll the technology out across its entire African footprint.
The African subsidiary of Indian operator group Bharti Airtel has extended its mobile money transfer service across the 17 African markets it operates in. Airtel Africa’s subscribers will be able to send and receive money transfers over the operator’s network, which will be connected to a community of mobile network operators, and money transfer organisations, through the HomeSend hub.
Indian operator Airtel, which operators in 20 markets across Africa and Asia has extended its One Network on-net charging policy to its Asian markets. The One Network policy of charging domestic rates to subscribers while on Airtel networks irrespective of country was already established in Africa. Airtel inherited the policy from Zain when it acquired Zain’s African portfolio in 2010.
Indian state-owned telco BSNL still has not restored all points of interconnections, despite a clear direction from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), according to reports in the country. Earlier this month, BSNL cut off connectivity to Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular numbers in several states, over a dispute regarding non-payment of fees for providing interconnection between fixed lines and mobiles. BSNL is claiming that it is owed $550,000 by the three operators.
A project in Madagascar is offering communications services in rural areas with technology that allows individuals to share mobile telephone handsets while maintaining private phone numbers and accounts. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is carrying out the project in partnership with Movirtu and Airtel Madagascar, which allows individuals in the country to log into any handset to access their account for a small fee.
The stand-off between India’s state-owned telco BSNL and several private operators shows no signs of abating, with even emergency services remaining unavailable to non-BSNL users in parts of the country.
Indian operator Bharti Airtel will rely on Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) to expand, plan and operate its mobile networks in seven African countries. The operator, which provides services in 19 countries across Asia and Africa, will rely on NSN to expand its 2G (GSM/EDGE) networks and deploy 3G networks in the countries.
With a deal between two emerging markets giants thought to be in the closing stages, the acquisition of Zain’s sub Saharan African assets represents a landmark deal for both Bharti Airtel and Zain, and for the African region itself.