Bharti Airtel has inked a deal with Opera Software to offer a customized and co-branded version of the Opera Mini mobile browser, available to Airtel's 253 million subscribers across 20 operations in Asia and Africa.

"With this deal, over 253 million Airtel customers across countries including India, South Asia and Africa will now be able to leverage Opera Mini's unique proxy-server-based technology to compress data by up to 90 percent and decrease their data transfer costs," a release from Opera reads in part.

Designed for speed and ease of use, Opera Mini is designed to provide fast browsing on nearly any mobile phone. Opera Mini can make browsing up to nine times as fast as client-only mobile browsers on both 2/2.5G and 3/3.75G networks, according to the company.

With its small footprint and high level of usability, Opera Mini is designed to provide a consistent user experience across a broad range of handsets.

Data services are quickly becoming as important to users as voice services in Africa, where Airtel has 17 operations, said Andre Beyers, the chief marketing officer Airtel Africa.

"Our primary drive is to provide the best user experience, no matter what device people use," Beyers said.

There are millions of users with basic mobile phones and Opera Mini gives even low-end devices a smartphone-like Web experience, said Lars Boilesen, Opera's CEO, in a statement.

"Airtel's strong presence in emerging markets, combined with Opera Mini's technology, will make the mobile web available to millions of new users," Boilesen said.

Opera Software has agreements with 13 out of the top 30 operators globally. In Africa, it has an agreement with the MTN Group. With more than 168 million users, Opera Mini is the world's most popular Web browser on mobile phones. Airtel subscribers can download the browser from m.opera.com or visit the Airtel App store.