In a move that we think could add a whole new dimension to mobile social networking, Airtel has announced that its subscribers can access the mobile website of Facebook on their handsets without paying a penny until Augist 31. And this ain’t some half-baked proposition to let you access a few features or a few pages, but the full monty itself. Readeth the release that has just landed in our mailboxes: “Airtel customers who are Facebook users will be able to post status updates, comment and write on walls, message others, and also be able to view or upload photos – all without any data charges!” And that is not all, users will be able to access the Facebook Mobile site not just in English but also in Hindi, and in five other Indian languages (Punjabi, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam), by July 15 – evidently the first time this has ever happened anywhere.
Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile Business, Facebook, was justifiably delighted. “Today, more than 100 million Facebook users around the world access the site through their mobile devices,” he said. “As mobile connectivity in India continues to grow, Airtel’s free offering of our full mobile site enables millions of people – whether they’re currently using Facebook or setting up their profiles for the first time – to connect with their Facebook friends wherever they are.” Shireesh Joshi, Chief Marketing Officer- Mobile Services, Bharti Airtel, was no less pleased. “We are pleased to bring an industry-leading offer to our 130 million plus customers by announcing this long-term partnership with Facebook – the popular social media service,” he said. “Our mobile customers will also be the first in the world to enjoy Facebook on their Airtel mobile in five vernacular languages”
Airtel users with GPRS connections can log in free of cost to http://m.facebook.com, while those who have never used the mobile Internet can SMS ‘Facebook’ to 54321 to get connected. Mobile Facebook users have reason to celebrate. Now we are waiting for the service provider who will let us tweet free of cost.