Free Zone from Google now available through Airtel Mobile

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Airtel mobile customers will now be able access web search and feature-phone-friendly versions of Gmail and Google+ in India without paying for data services.

The first page of a Web site linked from search results will be provided at no data cost.

The scheme, called Free Zone, aims to put the web in the hands of more people and empower first time Internet users with several useful services of the Internet. Airtel mobile customers can access the service by visiting and simply start using the Internet without having to sign in to the service. Any user can create a Gmail account instantly on the Free Zone homepage and enjoy a multitude of connectivity and social media services from Google.

Rajan Anandan, V-P and Managing Director, Google India, said, “The mobile Internet user base is growing really fast in India. Working with Airtel on this exciting trial means that we can offer Internet services at no cost to anyone with a phone."

“In this market, where feature phones predominate, our association with Google to bring Free Zone to India will encourage millions of users to discover the power of mobile internet for the very first time and leverage the amazing world of information search, email and social collaboration - at no incremental cost,” said N. Rajaram, Chief Marketing Officer – Consumer Business, Bharti Airtel.

While Airtel subscribers will not incur any data charges to access these services on Free Zone, access to more advanced services such as Attachment Download or browse through to web sites from the ones accessed in the Free Zone would be enabled through the subscription to a standard data package.

Airtel mobile customers will be able to access the following services from mobile phone browsers:

Gmail: Users have unlimited access to Gmail from their mobile browser. If users click on a link or attachment within the email they are directed to a page where they can purchase a data package.

Google+: Users can share online photos and messages with circles of family, selected friends or the public; follow updates on the things they are passionate about - from cricket to photography, music to news; and follow people they’re interested in.

Google Search: Users can search the entire Internet and access the first page of web sites from the results for free. If they click further into a Web site after that, they are directed to a page where they can purchase a data package.

When users leave the Free Zone to navigate deeper into a website or download an attachment they are informed about the data charges and given the option to purchase an appropriate data package.
lol. Airtel charged for Facebook Zero which was supposed to be totally free for access. I smell another scam.
No way, its !!
Btw those 1 Re Videos is also crap, they are not talking about the data consumed to view those videos. That i suppose is different from the Re 1 per video right ?
Well if i remember correctly, it was craptel who was vocal that google and facebook should be paying them to allow users on craptel to use these service 😛
So well... They are now getting paid!
I am not sure how this would work. Especially the 'they are directed to a page where they can purchase a data package' part. If you are not on a data package, Airtel would charge you per KB of usage. I am not sure how they are going to track your visits once you have exited the Google search result page.
I feel that they will make the links provided on the particular google search that we make for free and then rest of the links are chargeable. @chromanic thats the way they gonna earn. At this time they are saying that user will be redirected to a page to buy data package. But in reality they will just silently charge user 1p/10Kb. New business model 😛

Alright. Played with it. All the data is processed indirectly through domain. So you get crappy version of the web content.