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Facebook teams with mobile carriers for zero data mobile site

Sections: Cellphones, Communications, Mobile, Web, Web 2.0 / Social Networking

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0.facebook.com

Facebook might have a slew of privacy complaints against it right now, but that’s not stopping it from announcing some interesting new deals. According to Facebook, about 100 million out of its 400 million users access the site from their mobile devices. It seems that isn’t enough, however, as the company wants those without smartphones to experience Facebook on their cell phones.

The plan to bring in more mobile users comes in the form of 0.facebook.com, or Facebook 0. The site is available in many “emerging economies” such as Brazil, India and Greece among others, along with the UK, Finland and Hong Kong. The idea is that Facebook struck a deal with mobile carriers to make 0.facebook.com free of data charge for users. In exchange, users get a text-only version of the social networking site. If the user is linked to a photo, video or other website then they are charged with data fees. The users will also see a small note at the top of the page saying that they have free access thanks to their mobile carrier.

The amazing part about this is that Facebook accomplished the feat without having to pay for the data usage of those who choose to use it. That, along with the ubiquity of mobile Internet for many could explain it’s absence in the US. If US carriers were to sign onto the plan, it may end up making customers happier, and could possibly even lead to more data plans being sold once people realize the allure of mobile Internet. There is also the chance, however, that many will not want data plans if 0.facebook.com was available because that could be all they want from the web. Either way, the first company to implement it would certainly win the hearts of teens whose parents refuse to pay for data plans.

Read [Reuters] and [TechCrunch]

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