Nokia has joined hands with Facebook to provide free access to the social networking website through its latest offering, the Nokia Asha 501.
Facebook always strives to offer access to information, connectedness and to provide access to people and being able to reach anyone you want. Today, Facebook has become the primary reason that people want to upgrade their phones and add data.
Commenting on the alliance, Vaughan Smith, Vice-President, Mobility & Corporate Development Facebook said,
Connectivity is empowering. When people and communities have access to the internet, they can connect with new knowledge, new relationships and new opportunities. But there are nearly 5 billion who are not online. Enabling connections in today’s mobile world requires three things: a device, access to data and applications to connect with people and information.
Devices, like the new Nokia Asha phone which is preloaded with Facebook, are proof that great and more affordable devices are coming to these markets now. And with low price points these devices are becoming the first Internet connected device many people will own. But we know that for the vast majority of consumers mobile data affordability remains a substantial challenge, and want to help remove that hurdle.
That’s why we’ve been working with operators to enable free access to Facebook and recently we’ve been working with device partners to launch phones with “Free Facebook” data packages.
Free data access helps everyone. Consumers can spend more time online without worrying about cost, OEM’s sell more web ready devices and operators gain first time data subscribers. They have also built a Facebook messaging platform for Asha devices that lets you see which of your friends are online so that you can start messaging with them right away, no matter where they are or what device they’re using on mobile or on the desktop.
To be launched in June this year, the phone weighs only 98 grams and its features include a three-inch touchscreen, a single ‘back’ button, a durable, removable casing and a choice of six striking colours, Nokia Asha 501 makes makes high-end design and quality accessible to more people.
Nokia is already doing well in the affordable smartphone category. With this initiative Nokia is staying true to its ‘Connecting People’ philosophy, by providing free Facebook access to Airtel and MTNL subscribers. However, it is unclear as to how long it will remain free.
In the past, Nokia has entered into similar partnerships. Here is a quick recap of the recent announcements related to Software update & partnership with operators, handset players for affordable data plan:
Facebook For Every Phone app launch
Facebook invested in building “Facebook for Every Phone” app, which delivers Smartphone-like Facebook experience on feature phones. In India, the app is available in Hindi and seven other local Indian languages including Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Bengali and Marathi.
Messenger for Android
In developing countries, SMS is one of the most popular mobile phone features, yet it doesn’t take advantage of the capabilities of today’s devices and networks. With the new Messenger For android app, the reach of the new messenger will spread out not just to people on Facebook, but to everyone. Launched first in India, Australia, Indonesia, Venezuela and SA, with other countries following shortly after. The new messenger app helps more people connect on mobile by giving them the ability to send and receive messages to and from anyone with a phone number without having a Facebook account.
Nokia Asha 205 phone launch
Facebook has worked with telephone providers such as Nokia to introduce handsets with FB pre-installed on the devices. Nokia’s Asha line of smartphones has been designed to give the user a smartphone like experience at ultra-low price points. Nokia Asha 205 is the first Nokia phone that includes a dedicated Facebook button, designed for people who want the fastest, one-click access to popular Facebook features. This new device enables people to easily access the Facebook for Every Phone app.
Free Facebook surfing for Airtel, Reliance, Aircel and Idea subscribers
Facebook announced that Airtel, Reliance, Aircel and Idea subscribers were allowed to surf Facebook for free by just downloading the (new) Facebook application. The application was supported on all java phones and the offer was only for 90 days from downloaded date. (Source)
Mobile World Congress carrier partnership announcement
Facebook announced partnerships with more than 18 mobile operators in 14 countries to provide free or discounted data access to Facebook messaging for their subscribers. Through this promotion, free or discounted data access was made available on Messenger for Android, Messenger for iOS and Facebook for every Phone, which was now optimized for chat. Operators committed to special pricing for Facebook messaging include, TMN in Portugal, Three in Ireland, Aritel and Reliance in India, Vivacom in Bulgaria, Backcell in Azerbaydzhan, Indosat, Smartfren, AXIS and XL Axiata in Indonesia, SMART inPhilippines, DiGi in Malaysia, DTAC in Thailand, Viva in Bahrain, STC in Saudi Arabia, Oi in Brazil, Etisalat in Egypt, and Tre in Italy.
This partnership is mutually beneficial for both Nokia and Facebook. Nokia relies on its Asha range of smartphones to take on low cost Android smartphones and free access to a social media website is an added bonus for the consumer. For Facebook, it is an opportunity to expand its already huge network of 750 million active users out of a total of 1.1 billion monthly active users.
Facebook has worked hard to build a great experience for mobile devices and today more than 6000 different phones have access to rich Facebook experiences, including the ability to find friends from your phone’s contacts.
It has made messaging a priority, focusing on building a seamless cross platform messaging experience across PC’s, tablets and mobile phones. With three of every four people on Facebook using their messaging products each month, it’s among the most popular activities for their users.
Overall, it seems to be a win-win for both brands.