In what can be termed as a unique tie-up, Airtel and Google have joined hands to offer what they term as ‘free zone’. The free zone service from the two giants will allow Airtel users to access Google’s services including mobile web search and feature-phone-friendly Gmail and Google+.
The first page of a website linked from search results is provided at no data cost. But, 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.
With this, the two companies aim to introduce more and more mobile users to the world of internet. The free zone will empower first time Internet users with several useful services of the Internet. Airtel customers can access the service by visiting http://www.airtel.in/freezone and get started using the Internet at zero data charge. Users can create their Gmail accounts on the Free Zone homepage and enjoy a multitude of connectivity and social media services from Google.
Speaking about the service, Rajan Anandan, vice president 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.”
Adding to it, N Rajaram, chief marketing officer – consumer business, Bharti Airtel, said, “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.”
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 web sites from the ones accessed in the Free Zone would be enabled through the subscription to a standard data package.
Airtel mobile customers will be able to access the following services from mobile phone browsers through Free Zone powered by Google:
Gmail: Users have unlimited access to Gmail from their mobile browser. If users click on a link or attachment within the email they are directed to a page where they can purchase a data package.
Google+: Users can share online photos and messages with circles of family, selected friends or the public; follow updates on the things they are passionate about – from cricket to photography, music to news; and follow people they’re interested in.
Google Search: Users can search the entire Internet and access the first page of websites from the results for free. If they click further into a website after that, they are directed to a page where they can purchase a data package.