Google and 8ta announce Free Zone
Google and 8ta have announced a new initiative which gives people free access to mobile web search and feature-phone-friendly versions of Gmail and Google+.
The first page linked from Google search results will also be free of data costs.
The initiative, called the Free Zone, aims to reduce costs for mobile phone users who haven't purchased data bundles, but still want to access basic services like email, mobile web browsing and social applications.
Amith Maharaj, 8ta Senior Managing Executive, said; “Effectively it means that all South Africans can have access to Google Search, Google email and Google social networking by simply using any 8ta SIM card on any data enabled handset, no matter how old, free of charge.”
Luke Mckend, Country Manager, Google South Africa, said;“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.”
The service will be available immediately to all 8ta subscribers at reezone.google.com. Users who don't have a gmail account can sing up for free. When you navigate away from the free zone, or try to download an attachment you will be told about the data charges involved and given the option of buying a data package. The service is going to be on trial until 31 May 2013.