RCom teams up with Facebook to launch internet.org in India

Facebook and Reliance Communications (Rcom) are teaming up to launch the social network’s internet.org app in India for the first time.

The internet.org initiative is a Facebook project that aims to provide internet access to the entire planet’s population. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has expressed the belief that operators in emerging markets should offer free basic internet connectivity as part of a wider business model.

The idea goes that if operators ‘zero rate’ certain services – i.e. they don’t charge for accessing them – then users will be able to familiarise themselves with the benefits of mobile broadband without any barriers to entry. This in theory should make them more willing to pay for mobile data.

Reliance customers in 6 Indian states - Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Mahararashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana) - will have access to the internet.org app, which will provide them with services covering news and communication through to employment, health and government information.

Available in numerous languages - including English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati and Marathi – the services can be accessed via the popular mobile web browser Opera Mini, which should allow them to gain further traction.

A Facebook statement read: “This is a big step forward in our efforts to connect everyone to the internet, and to help people share their ideas and creativity with the entire world. We’ll continue to improve the experience and roll it out to other parts of the world.”

The app made its Latin American debut in Colombia in January this year, while previous launches were all in Africa.


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