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BBC World Service has announced a partnership with Zain, by virtue of which the telecom operator will provide access to BBC World Service from 9 of its (on deck) mobile portals. These, it appears, will essentially be banner based link-outs to BBC’s mobile site. The deal covers portals in Nigeria, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Chad, Congo, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Uganda. The revenue share model between the two have not been disclosed by the companies. Recently BBC created a scare among newspaper owners in UK with plans to launch a news application for smartphones as well.

Indian telco Bharti Airtel has inked a deal for acquiring Zain Africa, covering 15 markets: Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Co-incidentally, the BBC also  has a tie-up with Airtel in India to provide news updates for its newly launched voice blogging service powered by Bubble Motion. In Bangladesh BBC runs Janala, a learn English service via mobile phones. These are essentially voice based services, but from what we’re told by VAS companies, Africa just isn’t a voice market, and data rules.


Airtel Acquires Zain Africa At $254.76 Per Customer; Regulatory Approvals Required
BBC Janala Delivers 1M English Lessons To Mobile In Bangladesh
BBC News Launches Premium Voice Blog On Airtel; How Will It Become Viral?