Facebook partners with mobile operators for free or discounted messaging

Network Tineka Smith

10:22, February 25 2013

The social network is partnering with mobile operators to allow free data access for consumers to use Facebook messaging.

Facebook first opened its messenger app up to non-members in December 2012 in efforts to rival similar services like Whatsapp.

Users can simply create a messenger account with just a name and phone number. The messaging service will then allow users to message their mobile contacts.

The new promotion for free or discounted data access will be available in the next few months on Android, iOS and Facebook for Every Phone.

Facebook messenger

The promotion will be available from over 18 operators in 14 countries including TMN, Three, Airtel, Vivacom, Backcell, Smartfren, AXIS, XL Axiata, SMART, DiGi, DTAC, Viva, STC, Oi, Indosat, Reliance, Etisalat and Tre.

Through this promotion, free or discounted data access will be available in the coming months on Messenger for Android, Messenger for iOS and Facebook for Every Phone, which is now optimized for chat.

"Messaging on Facebook lets people connect with friends and contacts on the go, regardless of what device they are using," said the company in a statement." Three out of every four people on Facebook send a message on the platform each month, making messaging one of the most popular activities on Facebook.

Facebook messaging and chat can currently be accessed from more than 6,000 mobile phones.
The company's new offering further promotes its aim to get ahead in mobile; an area that Facebook had once said was a weak spot for the company.

Zuckerberg announced last year that Facebook would be shifting its focus to mobile development.

"It is really clear from the stats and my own personal intuition that a lot of energy in the ecosystem is going to mobile, not desktop," said Zuckerberg.

"Now we are all a mobile company and all the code is being written in mobile, Zuckerberg added. "We will make more money on mobile than we make on desktop."

More than half of the social network's 1 billion users prefer to access their accounts through mobile.

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