Facebook rolls out free basic mobile Internet service
Social media giant Facebook rolled out in the Philippines this week its Internet.org app offering free basic mobile Internet services for education, news, health, messaging and communication.
The app was launched in partnership with Smart Communications Inc.’s value brand Talk ‘N Text, a statement from the telco showed. Smart is a unit of Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.
For its initial phase, Internet.org app allows Filipinos free access to a selection of 24 websites including Inquirer.net as well as Facebook and Messenger on their mobile phones.
“Smart’s partnership with Facebook is a big boost to our ‘Internet for All’ campaign, an advocacy we have been strongly pushing for. By launching Internet.org app with Facebook in the Philippines, we are making useful information within reach of millions of Filipinos,” PLDT president and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno said in the statement.
Internet.org is a Facebook-led initiative that aims to make mobile Internet services available to two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected. Smart is the first telco to launch with Internet.org app in the Philippines, it said.
Since 2014, Internet.org has been rolled out in six countries – Colombia, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, India and Zambia – enabling people to browse useful information and websites with zero data charges.
The services can be accessed from the Internet.org Android app or by visiting www.internet.org from a mobile browser.
“We are excited to bring the Internet.org app to the Philippines and give people access to Internet services and tools that can help create new ideas and opportunities,” said Markku Makelainen, director of global operator partnerships at Facebook.
The Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines estimates that only 38 percent of the country’s population had Internet access in mid-2014.
Subscribers may download the Internet.org app on Google Play Store. They may also text INTERNET to 9999 to enjoy the services.
With the Internet.org app on their mobile phones, TNT, Smart and Sun subscribers nationwide may now access general information on Ask.com, Bing, Dictionary.com, wikiHow and Wikipedia; get news updates on Inquirer, PhilStar, Interaksyon, and Rappler; stay updated on sports through ESPN and SPIN.PH; check out the weather and climate through Accuweather and RainCheckPH; and enjoy stories via Wattpad.
They may also check out free programs and training on the official website of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority at TESDA.gov.ph; check employment opportunities on Jobstreet; sell items on OLX.ph; gain financial literacy via PesosandSense and YourMoney.com; learn about women’s issues in sites like BabyCenter & MAMA and Girl Effect; and access health information on UNICEF’s Facts for Life. Miguel R. Camus
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