Free Wikipedia access to 11 million Asiacell subscribers in Iraq

28 Feb 2017 | By Jayasri Viswanathan

Access to Wikipedia will not incur mobile data charges to subscribers of Asiacell, the largest telecom service provider in Iraq.

This initiative is part of the Wikipedia Zero scheme that has operated in 59 countries around the world since 2012.

The announcement for the free access, starting today, was revealed by the Wikimedia Foundation at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

In context: Mobile World Congress 2017

EventWhat is the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 in Barcelona?

MWC is the world's largest exhibition for new smartphones, wearables, computing devices and innovative concepts. Last year, it had more than 100,000 visitors.

This year, it is being held from February 27 to March 3; attracting most influential minds in mobile, technology, automotive, finance, and even healthcare companies worldwide.

LG, Huawei and Sony unveiled their new flagship smartphones, while Nokia relaunched the 3310.

28 Feb 2017Free Wikipedia access to 11 million Asiacell subscribers in Iraq

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Free access against the principles of net neutrality

The European Digital Rights group argues that such projects go against the principles of net neutrality. "Net neutrality is the principle that all data are treated equally in the network," executive director of the group Joe McNamee said.
What were the prominent launches of MWC this year?

DetailsWhat were the prominent launches of MWC this year?

Nokia relaunched iconic 3310 that had originally sold 126 million units, making it one of the world's best-selling mobile phones.

LG launched the much-awaited G6 as a surprise and Huawei launched P10. Blackberry came up with KEYOne that has a physical keypad.

Sony launched the Xperia XZ Premium that captures videos at up to 960 fps, allowing the best slow-motion footage in the market.

Growth of mobile phone users in Asia

Asia is an important market for MWC participants, with the continent's population, notably in India, on the rise. Mobile phone users globally will surpass five billion by mid-2017 and Asia will account for 50% growth. India alone will offer 310 million new subscribers by 2020.