Opera has partnered with Mexican mobile carrier Telcel on Opera Mini, the companies announced today. Following the deal, Telcel’s 67 million subscribers will get access to a customized version of the mobile browser.

As you may know, Opera Mini’s compression capacities means that it is very light on data usage, which makes it a good fit for emerging countries. As we noted last July, it has over 183 million active users and is growing fast in Africa.

Latin America is also a strategic region for Opera, and Mexico is only a start. As a matter of fact, its partnership with Telcel is part of a larger agreement with the operator’s parent company, America Movil, which belongs to Carlos Slim. Announced earlier this year, the deal will bring Opera Mini to the 246 million subscribers of the subsidiaries it owns in 18 countries across Latin America.

Still, today’s announcement is an important step for Opera Mini. As we reported, Telcel controls 70% of Mexico’s mobile market, which means that the browser will now reach millions of new users in the country. As for those who were already using it, they will get an automatic upgrade to Telcel’s customized version, which also includes quick access to the operator’s data plans and other services. Here’s what it looks like:

opera mini telcel 520x406 Opera Mini starts Latin American rollout, offers custom version to Telcels 67m Mexican mobile users

One of the key characteristics of Opera Mini is its speed, Opera Software’s CEO Lars Boilesen explains:

“Designed for speed and ease of use, Opera Mini provides insanely fast browsing – up to six times faster than other browsers on both 2G and 3G networks. Giving this capability to Telcel users is very exciting for us.”

According to Telcel’s VAS Deputy Director, Alejandro Magaña, Opera Mini will help democratize the mobile web in Mexico:

“We are thrilled to make Opera Mini part of our offerings to our customers, who need a fast and cost-effective solution to browsing the internet on their mobile devices. The best part about Opera Mini is it provides a consistent and smartphone-like user experience across a broad range of handsets, including basic phones, which is very useful to our customer base.”

Opera Mini’s cost-effectiveness is good news for Mexican consumers; as we noted in a previous article, a recent OECD study pointed out that Mexicans are blatantly overcharged for phone services due to the country’s highly inefficient telecommunications market.

Image credit: Johan Larsson