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Facebook’s Internet.org brings free mobile data to India
Today, Facebook and Reliance Communications have launched the Internet.org app in India, bringing free basic mobile internet to a huge group of new users. The service had previously been released in a selection of countries in Africa, as well as in Colombia.
Internet.org provides access to 38 websites and services, including Facebook, weather and various news sources, most of which are available in English and six other local languages. These are accessed through a dedicated Android app, the start screen on Opera’s Mini browser or the UC Browser.
However, the service is not available across the whole country yet. Instead, the project has initially gone live in Tamil Nadu, Mahararashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, and Telangana, and is limited to customers using the Reliance network.
The project is part of a noble plan to “provide internet access to more than a billion people in India who aren’t yet connected”. Along with the Internet.org project, Facebook recently released a Lite version of its app, which is specifically designed for low-end smartphones and slow data connections. The side benefit for Facebook, and other mobile players involved in the Internet.org project, is that more users online using its service will help setup the brand in emerging markets, produce additional advertising revenue, and could lead to more users eventually making the move over to smartphones.
You can check out a full list of free services on the official Facebook blog post.