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Google Free Zone was a global initiative undertaken by the Internet company Google in collaboration with mobile phone-based Internet providers, whereby the providers waive data (bandwidth) charges (also known as zero-rate) for accessing select Google products such as Google Search, Gmail, and Google+.[1] In order to use this service, users are required to have a Google account and a phone that has access to an internet connection.[2]

HistoryEdit

  • November 2012: Google Free Zone was announced by Google on November 8, 2012, with a launch in the Philippines in partnership with Globe Telecom, with the experimental round scheduled to run until March 31, 2013.[3][4][5] Telkom Mobile in South Africa, then branded as 8ta, offered Google Free Zone 3 from 13 November 2012 but discontinued the service on 31 May 2013.[6]
  • April 2013: launch in Sri Lanka on the Dialog mobile network.[7]
  • June 2013: Google launched Google Free Zone in India in partnership with mobile Internet provider Airtel,[8][9][10][11] and in Thailand on the AIS network.
  • December 2013: Airtel extended Google Free Zone to its services in Nigeria.[12]
  • March 2014: Safaricom in Kenya had launched 60 day promotional Free Zone.[13][14]

Reception and impactEdit

A number of Internet commentators viewed Google Free Zone as both inspired by and a potential competitor to Facebook Zero.[15][16][17][18]

The Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones of Chile ruled that Zero-rating services like Wikipedia Zero, Facebook Zero, and Google Free Zone, that subsidize mobile data usage, violate net neutrality laws and had to end the practice by June 1, 2014.[19][20]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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