Telenor is planning to enable access to Facebook on feature phones without internet connectivity.
The telco is partnering with U2opia Mobile to offer the service, which will utilize unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) and launch in India, Malaysia and Bangladesh by the year end. USSD is a low bandwidth data service that allows information to be carried on a 2G network, so removing the need for Internet connectivity.
Telenor’s Indian operator, Uninor, rolled out a beta version of U2opia Mobile’s service, named Facebook by Fonetwish, in September this year, charging $0.39 (€0.30) per month for unlimited access.
The firm also plans to offer access to online encyclopedia Wikipedia via USSD, a move Rolv-Erik Spilling, deputy had of Telenor Digital Services, says brings digital inclusion for all a step closer. "We are now entering a phase in which we can give all of our customers, regardless of their phone, subscription, connection, etc. a means to engage and connect with friends and family via Facebook, as well as access to a vast pool of knowledge on Wikipedia.”
This is innovation at its best and a true step towards greater digital inclusion in our markets," said