Bharti Airtel Africa, a leading telecommunication services provider with operation in 17 African countries has announced today its partnership with Facebook to launch the Free basics in Africa. It's launch in all markets is expected to be completed by March 2016.
Free Basics is a set of basic websites and services to introduce people to the internet and demonstrate how it adds value to their lives.
It is expected to provide access to services like health, educations, jobs, communication, local content and finance-related information to people in developing countries at no additional cost, so that they can make informed choices and decisions to improve their lives. The above free services that customers can access perhaps explains why the name free Basics is adopted.
The first phase of Free Basics will be launched in Airtel Nigeria, Congo Democratic Republic, Gabon and Niger, then followed by other Airtel Africa markets. Customers with an Airtel mobile connection will be able to access all the services that form part of Free Basics without paying extra for data charges or rental.
Commenting on the latest partnership with Facebook, Christian de Faria MD and CEO of Airtel Africa said,
“With Africa’s widest 3G network, Airtel has been at the forefront of the data revolution in Africa. We are cognizant of the power of internet in changing lives of communities and this partnership with Facebook will aid in bringing more people online and reduce the digital divide.”
Chris Daniels, VP of Internet.org also had this to say concerning the launch, “We are excited to continue our partnership with Airtel in bringing more people online. More than one billion people have access to Internet.org’s Free Basic services across Asia, Africa and Latin America today. Our intention is to help the people in Africa access relevant basic services that will help them improve their lives and also lead to more adoption of the internet.”
Mr. Daniels added “I am especially pleased to note that the platform encourages developers to create local content which helps customer’s access services in a language they understand and also keeping them connected online,"
Airtel customers currently using the app will be able to continue using the Android app, though it will now be called Free Basics by Facebook in Google Play, while the mobile web version, which will redirect from the previous URL, can be accessed at FreeBasics.com.
This certainly would have Airtel customers smiling.