Telenor to offer Facebook for dumbphones

Don Sambandaraksa
telecomasia.net
Telenor has announced a new service that enables access to Facebook on feature phones without internet connectivity.
 
The service will allow users to use USSD codes to post status updates, check newsfeeds or like a comment on Facebook, for as low as $0.39 a month.
 
The deal with U2opia Mobile will be launched first in India, followed by Malaysia and Bangladesh before the end of the year.
 
Any old phone with 2G connectivity and without a data plan will be able to use USSD to access the social media network.
 
Telenor's Indian operator, Uninor, rolled out a beta version of Facebook by Fonetwish in September this year, charging 20 rupees per month ($0.39) for unlimited access.
 
This opens up new business opportunities for Telenor as a mobile operator, allowing them to provide an Internet service to a new group of people who do not actually have access to the Internet.
 
Starting in 2013, Telenor plans to expand their partnership with Wikimedia, making Wikipedia available via USSD as well. Telenor and Wikimedia Foundation first announced their collaboration in February 2012 to bring Wikipedia to Telenor customers at no cost for data usage.
 
"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 Rolv-Erik Spilling, Deputy Head of Telenor Digital Services.

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