Reliance Communications (RCom) could be Facebook’s India partner to launch its Internet.org app that gives free Internet to access some pre-selected services. The carrier has sent out invites for a joint press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday, February 10. The invite doesn’t mention Internet.org but has enough hints to suggest the launch.
The social media giant and India’s fourth largest mobile operator have called a joint press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday for, what the invite says, “one launch that will make a billion dreams take off “.
The people quoted above said it’s for the launch of internet.org mobile application exclusively for Reliance Communications (RCom) users, providing basic internet services in categories such as health, education, communication, jobs and local information free of cost.
The companies declined to comment. The Anil Ambani-owned company , which has around 60 million subscribers who don’t use data services, is hopeful that many such customers will opt for data services once introduced to the internet through the free-of-charge experience.
Internet.org– a partnership between Facebook and six mobile and technology companies, namely, Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia, MediaTek, Qualcomm and Opera Software, launched in August 2013 — has already connected Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Colombia and Ghana, according to its website. Interestingly, Facebook partnered Airtel, India’s top mobile operator, to launch internet.org app in Zambia, Kenya and Ghana.
For Facebook, India is the third largest market after the US and Canada, with 112 million monthly active subscribers, and among the fastest growing. As India’s internet user base increases, thanks to a surge in smartphone sales, the potential subscriber base for the social networking giant also increases manifold.
The internet.org project has three parts: internet.org app that provides free basic Internet services to mobile users and nudges them to embrace data; innovation lab that replicates network conditions in remote areas for app developers to test whether their solutions would work in areas with low bandwidth; and, connectivity lab to help increase connectivity for unconnected populations through high-altitude drones, lasers and satellites.