The internet search engine giant (Google) has combined powers with Airtel Nigeria to provide a unique Internet service tagged Free Zone powered by Google.
This service allows customers within Nigeria to access mobile web search and other feature-phone-friendly versions of Gmail and Google+ without getting billed. The first page of any website linked from the search results is also provided at no charges.
Free Zone aims to put the web in the hands of more people. First time Internet users who haven’t purchased data bundles often find basic services like email, mobile web browsing and social applications to be very expensive. With Free Zone, phone users can take advantage of the web to grow their businesses or keep in touch with friends and family without the fear of unknown data costs and also make more informed choices about their next data device.
To enjoy the array of free Internet mobile services on Free Zone, customers are to text “Free Zone” to 881 or go to http://g.co/freezone from their phone browser.
Juliet Ehimuan, Country Manager, Google Nigeria, said: “We are excited to be working with Airtel to introduce Free Zone powered by Google to Nigeria. We believe in the power of the Internet to create better opportunities, and working with Airtel on this makes it possible for anyone with a phone to get Internet services at little or no cost.
Just like our other access projects, this gives people easier access to information in a way that benefits not just themselves, but their businesses, and by extension Nigeria’s economy.”
Deepak Srivastava, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director, Airtel Nigeria, stated: “Breaking down the barriers to Internet adoption is critical for Nigeria to keep up with the rest of world in terms of social and economic development. It is through key initiatives like these that these barriers can be reduced.
“We are, therefore, really proud to bring this spectacular innovation to Nigerians especially our customers who will now have seamless access to Google Search, Gmail and Google+ by simply using Airtel SIM card on any data enabled handset free of charge. This is indeed another good reason to remain an Airtel customer or to joint Airtel if you are not yet a customer.”
Airtel customers who access Free Zone will enjoy unlimited access to Gmail; share photos and messages with circles of family, friends and associates as well as follow updates on the things they are passionate about – from football to photography, music to news and follow people they’re interested in via Google+.
Also, customers will be able to search the entire Internet and access the first page of websites from the results for free using Google Search.
When Airtel customers 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.
The service is available immediately to all new and existing Airtel customers from their mobile phones. Customers without a Google account can sign up for free.