Facebook has set up partnerships with a number of mobile network operators to provide customers with free or cut-price data access to Facebook messaging. The reduced prices - described as a ‘promotion’ by Facebook - will be available via the Facebook Messenger iOS and Android applications as well as the Facebook for Every Phone app for Java-enabled handsets.
At the moment the discounted data offer isn’t available in the UK but is offered by networks including TMN in Portugal, Three in Ireland, Airtel and Reliance in India, Vivacom in Bulgaria, Backcell in Azerbaijan, Indosat, Smartfren, AXIS and XL Axiata in Indonesia, SMART in the Philippines, DiGi in Malaysia, DTAC in Thailand, Viva in Bahrain, STC in Saudi Arabia, Oi in Brazil, Etisalat in Egypt, and Tre in Italy.
Three out of every four Facebook users send a message on the platform each month.
Pamela Clark-Dickson, senior analyst at research company Informa Telecoms & Media, said “Facebook’s partnership with 18 mobile operators in 14 countries has the potential to deliver benefits to both the operators and to Facebook. Both parties will likely be able to use the promotion to boost customer acquisition and retention, and also to increase their revenue from mobile data and mobile advertising, respectively. The promotion has the potential to drive existing smartphone users to download and use the Facebook application/s, and it may also help the mobile operators to gain new smart-phone and mobile data customers, whether they are new customers or customers that have been up-sold from feature-phones.”