The users, however, have to pay for advanced services such as attachment downloads, the company said in a statement.
“Free Zone powered by Google, will give Airtel mobile customers access to mobile web search and feature phone friendly versions of Gmail and Google+ in India. The first page of a website linked from search results is provided at no data cost,” Airtel said.
The company added 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.
“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,” Bharti Airtel Chief Marketing Officer (Consumer Business) N Rajaram said.
Users can have unlimited access to Gmail from their mobile browser but if they click on a link or attachment within the email they are directed to a page where they can purchase a data package.
In the same way, subscribers can search Internet and access the first page of websites from the results for free.
If they click further into a website after that, they are directed to a page where they can purchase a data package, it added.
“The mobile Internet user base is growing really fast in India. We hope this initiative will encourage more Indians to experience the value of the Internet and gain from it,” Google India VP and Managing Director Rajan Anandan said.