Internet.org, the Facebook-led initiative that aims to improve access to basic mobile internet services in underserved areas, has an unveiled a mobile app in the Philippines that would allow users to browse useful websites without data charges.
Launched in partnership with wireless services provider Smart Communications Inc., the project is the first in Southeast Asia.
Internet.org has previously launched the service in six countries, including Colombia, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, India and Zambia.
Napoleon Nazareno, President and CEO of PLDT and Smart, said the service would allow over 70 million mobile subscribers in the Philippines free access to 24 websites that matter to people’s lives like news, education, healthcare, and entrepreneurship as well as basic Facebook and messenger services.
“This initiative is certainly relevant to the Philippines where internet penetration is low. Given the beneficial impact on people’s livelihood, education and welfare, this is an urgent task,” Nazareno said.
The Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines estimates that only 38% of the country’s population of over 100 million had internet access in mid-2014.
Nazareno said the partnership with Internet.org is a welcome boost to the company’s “Internet for All” campaign.