Facebook is well aware that growth lies in developing markets and keeping this in mind started its free internet service Internet.org last year, which offers free access to essential services like weather reports, job updates, health information, as well as to bare bone version of Facebook.
But the social networking giant now wants its pet program to spread wings further by addition of new mobile operators ready to offer free data to its subscribers under this program. Facebook has opened a portal which will allow any mobile operator participate in Internet.org program.
Facebook’s free internet initiative is currently active on over dozen mobile networks in 17 countries, offering stripped down versions of essential services to mobile users mainly in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
As per Facebook, subscribers which use Internet.org app for free internet access quickly become paying customers. This will definitely pull more mobile operators towards Internet.org, as they know data is future of telecom business.
“Internet.org brings new users onto mobile networks on average over 50 percent faster after launching free basic services, and more than half of the people who come online through Internet.org are paying for data and accessing the Internet within the first 30 days,” Facebook said.
No doubt Facebook’s Internet.org program has brought hordes of people online in last 1 year, however, it has also faced flak over net neutrality concerns especially in India where it has partnered with leading mobile operator Reliance Communications to offer free internet services.
“I would say India is unique in that respect and very much an outlier. In other markets, Internet.org has been embraced as a pro-connectivity initiative that has garnered a lot of support,” Chris Daniels, vice president of product for Internet.org, told Reuters on Monday.