Post a tie up with Facebook, Bharti Airtel, an India telecom service, announced that it shall offer free Facebook access in nine regional Indian languages to its prepaid customers across India.
Airtel users who access Facebook through their mobile devices either through the Facebook mobile app or browser will be able to view or upload photos, post status updates, comment, write on walls and message others in their language of convenience. The service, which comes with a cap of 30 MB/month is currently available in Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.
Facebook launched its messenger service in regional languages in India in mid 2012. The messenger was made available in Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Bengali and Marathi. Also, ‘Facebook for every mobile phone’ application was launched that supported Hindi, Malay and Vietnamese.
Airtel will be the first mobile operator to enable customers to use internet in their choice of language as its interface is compatible with Feature, Java, Android, iPhone & Windows devices alike.
Existing mobile internet customers on Airtel can immediately start accessing Facebook mobile site m.facebook.com. Customers accessing the mobile internet for the first time shall need to register first.
Facebook initiated its discounted data access to messaging on mobile in early 2013, when mobile messenger market was at its peak. Facebook tied up with 18 operators across 14 countries to offer free or discounted data access.
The social media giant partnered with telecom players such as TMN in Portugal, Oi in Brazil, SMART in Philippines, DiGi in Malaysia, DTAC in Thailand and Viva in Bahrain.
Prior to reaching out to smart phones, Facebook targeted feature phone users with Facebook Zero, a text only version of the social networking site that users of registered carrier services could use free of cost.
Prior to Airtel, Facebook had partnered with Reliance to offers its GSM subscribers unlimited Facebook usage at a nominal fee. In a limited offer Airtel shall allow its users to access Facebook free of cost.