The GSMA and Facebook have announced a joint initiative designed to connect the billions of men and women globally that currently have no access to internet-based communications services.
The announcement came as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered a keynote address at Mobile World Congress that was focused on connecting the next billion people.
The partnership will operate via Facebook’s internet.org initiative and will focus on reducing the total cost of ownership of mobile services.
The activities undertaken by the GSMA and Facebook will entail working with governments in developing markets to address key factors that have an impact on affordability and availability.
The partnership will focus on creating a sustainable environment to incentivize mobile infrastructure investment and usage, as well as eliminating or reducing existing mobile-specific taxation or refraining from imposing new such tax regimes.
A recent research conducted by GSMA indicates that taxes on mobile restrict the growth of the sector, as well as consumer uptake of mobile services.
Findings of a recent Facebook report suggest that if developing countries could bridge the gap in internet penetration to reach levels that developed economies enjoy today, they would experience large increases in GDP growth and productivity and improvements in health conditions and education opportunities. This would provide a clear potential to reduce poverty and promote long-term economic and social development.