Press releases/VimpelCom partners with the Wikimedia Foundation

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VimpelCom partners with the Wikimedia Foundation to offer free mobile Wikipedia access through Wikipedia Zero

San Francisco, California and Amsterdam, The Netherlands -- January 25, 2013 -- VimpelCom Ltd. and the Wikimedia Foundation today announced a partnership to offer Wikipedia on mobile devices free of data charges to VimpelCom customers. By making Wikipedia available at no data charge to its customers, VimpelCom is removing barriers to information while joining the Wikimedia Foundation to increase access to the free and open knowledge available on Wikipedia.

This partnership is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's Wikipedia Zero program, which focuses on reaching the billions of people around the world whose primary opportunity to access the internet is via a mobile device.

"We're very happy VimpelCom is joining us in removing a major barrier to accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones. This partnership is an important step forward in our mission to bring free knowledge to everyone on the planet," said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Head of Mobile with the Wikimedia Foundation. "In conjunction with VimpelCom, one of the largest telecommunication providers in the world, we're now able to expand free access to Wikipedia in more countries. With this partnership, Wikipedia Zero is now available to 330 million mobile users around the world."

VimpelCom customers will be able to access free Wikipedia knowledge by pointing their mobile browser to m.wikipedia.org. Customers in each VimpelCom market will be able to access local language versions of Wikipedia along with the English version.

"The world's sixth largest telecommunications company and fifth largest website globally are coming together to offer our customers a better mobile experience and greater access to free knowledge, particularly in emerging markets," said Mikhail Gerchuk, VimpelCom Group's Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer. "This is a win-win partnership that helps us promote mobile internet to our customers while contributing to Wikipedia's mission to bring free access to all the world's knowledge."

Wikipedia Zero will be rolled out in VimpelCom operations across the globe starting this year, with focus on emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. While Wikipedia Zero will be the first initiative of the partnership to launch, both partners are also expected to jointly develop additional Wikimedia services to target emerging markets in the future.

Questions and answers about the partnership and Wikipedia Zero can be found at:

http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mobile_partnerships#VimpelCom
About VimpelCom

VimpelCom is one of the world's largest integrated telecommunications services operators providing voice and data services through a range of traditional and broadband mobile and fixed technologies in Russia, Italy, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, Laos, Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic and Canada. VimpelCom's operations around the globe cover territory with a total population of approximately 780 million people. VimpelCom provides services under the "Beeline", "Kyivstar", "djuice", "Wind", "Infostrada", "Mobilink", "Leo", "banglalink", "Telecel", and "Djezzy" brands. As of September 30, 2012 VimpelCom had 212 million mobile subscribers on a combined basis. VimpelCom is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol (VIP).

VimpelCom media contact
Bobby Leach
+31 20 79 77 200 (Amsterdam)
pr(at)vimpelcom.com
About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix, Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive more than 483 million unique visitors per month, making them the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, November 2012). Available in 280 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 23 million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of roughly 80,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

Wikimedia Foundation media contact
Matthew Roth
Communications
+1 415-839-6885 ext 6635 (San Francisco)
mroth(at)wikimedia.org