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Bharti Airtel & Google Join Hands To Bring Internet Services Free To Mobile Users

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Telecom Operators in India are going all out to increase the popularity of Mobile Internet. There have been many such instances previously where operators have tied up with popular internet messaging & social media companies to bring free access to their users. The most recent one being Idea’s tie-up with Facebook to offer free facebook messenger to its users.

Now, Bharti Airtel has gone a step ahead and has announced tie-up with Google that will allow user free access to various Google services and browsing.

This new initiative called “Free Zone” will give Airtel mobile customers access to Google web search, Gmail and Google+ in India. In addition to this, users will also be allowed to access a first page of a website linked from search results at no data cost.

Airtel Google Free Zone

The services will be available on smartphones as well as feature phones as well. For the latter, Google will be providing email and search services optimized for feature phones.

Among all the previous announcements by telecom operators (to offer limited free internet services) this one is probably the most significant, because apart from services like Email and Google+, “Free Zone” also offers free browsing (for one page linked to search).

This enables students to find more information on their project, a housewife to look up recipes, professionals to look for various news/information among many other things without incurring any data costs. Also, with Google search getting more richer by the day, the users do not need to leave Google search at all for many of the services.

What Free Zone Offers:

  • 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. Everything at no data costs.
  • 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.
Airtel, being the biggest telecom provider in India can make a real difference by bringing near-free internet experience to over 200 million mobile users across India. The best part is that to avail “Free Zone” services, users need not have a smartphone. A feature phone is enough to experience free mobile internet.

This is a win-win initiative for both Google as well as Airtel. Former will be benefitted by addition of millions of new first time subscribers. While Airtel will benefit from mobile users getting hooked on to mobile internet and probably subscribing to their data packages at later stage when they need extra services!

Kudos to Google and Airtel for coming up with this!

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About Arun Prabhudesai

Arun Prabhudesai is founder / chief editor at trak.in. He jumped the Entrepreneurship bandwagon in early 2008 after a long 13 year stint in I.T Industry. You can follow him on twitter @trakin and Facebook. Arun’s Google+ Profile

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