Vodafone subscribers in the U.K. and Germany will be the first to be able to install a specific Facebook application on their phones which will let them receive newsfeeds, messages, status updates, 'pokes' and other features from the site. Users will now be able to click directly on an icon in the phone menu to access the service.
While the lure of mobile advertising revenues is the ultimate motivation behind this partnership, the two firms have agreed upfront to share revenue resulting from subscribers accessing Facebook on their phones. Vodafone subscribers will be able to access the site as part of a £7.50 'mobile Internet bundle' which gives them 120Mb of data a month.
According to Jed Stremel, Facebook's director of mobile division, there are already six million users of Facebook Mobile, an unsupported mobile version of the website that will now get full support.
The platform involves giving operators a set of technical specifications intended to resolve some of frustrating hang-ups when using Facebook on a mobile phone rather than a PC, such as smoothing out login problems and opening up other features, Stremel said. He also confirmed that Vodafone will soon expand the program to Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland and Portugal.