Google Free Zone

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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 were required to have a Google account and a phone that had access to an internet connection.[2]


  • 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 impact[edit]

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 also[edit]


  1. ^ "Free Zone powered by Google". Google. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  2. ^ "GOOGLE FREE ZONE FAQs -". Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  3. ^ "Google and Globe Launched Free Zone in the Philippines". Filsupport. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  4. ^ Lloyd, Craig (November 8, 2012). "Google launches Free Zone, aims to bring Google services to feature phones". SlashGear. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  5. ^ Wagstaff, Jeremy (November 8, 2012). "Free Zone, Google For The Developing World, Launched For 'Next Billion Users' Of Internet". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  6. ^ "Free Zone powered by Google is no more". mybroadband. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  7. ^ "Dialog and Google team up to launch Free Zone". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ "With Airtel and Google's Free Zone, access Web pages free". June 26, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  9. ^ Rana, Gogi (June 27, 2013). "How to use Airtel Free Zone and access Google services for free". Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  10. ^ Matuloko, Muyiwa (December 20, 2013). "Google Offers Airtel Customers Free Internet". Tech Cabal. Retrieved January 15, 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  11. ^ "airtel free zone". AirTel. June 26, 2013. Archived from the original on January 16, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^ "airtel Free Zone". December 17, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  13. ^ "Safaricom offers free Google". Biztech Africa. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  14. ^ "Staying ahead of the curve" (PDF).
  15. ^ "Google Free Zone". Google Operating System blog (not affiliated with Google). October 25, 2012. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  16. ^ Knowles, Jamillah (November 8, 2012). "The Philippines gets Facebook Zero-style free mobile access to Google services via Globe Telecom". Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  17. ^ "Google Free Zone: Google's Challenge to Facebook Zero". Jana Mobile Inc. December 3, 2012. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  18. ^ Deibert, April (February 19, 2013). "Google 'Free Zone' and Facebook 'Zero': Products Targeting Developing Populations". Innovation Series. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  19. ^ Mirani, Leo (May 30, 2014). "Less than zero – When net neutrality backfires: Chile just killed free access to Wikipedia and Facebook". Quartz. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  20. ^ McKenzie, Jessica (June 2, 2014). "Face Off in Chile: Net Neutrality v. Human Right to Facebook & Wikipedia". Retrieved July 2, 2014.