Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the support provided by mobile operators worldwide in pursuing the goal of internet.org to enhance global internet access.
Globe is the first telecommunications company in the world to provide Free Facebook access to its customers, introducing mobile browsing to many Filipinos. The offer, which allowed its customers free access to world’s leading social networking site Facebook at zero data charges, began in October 2013 and ran for about six months. The company’s registered mobile Facebook users surged by 65% following the telco’s Free Facebook promo offer from November 2013 to April 2014.
In October last year, Globe re-launched its Free Facebook promo for its 44 million customers at the time, meant as a response to clamor from customers to bring back the promotion. Concluding the offer in November last year, mobile Facebook users jumped 36% while average monthly mobile data and browsing revenue growth increased 14% from pre-offer levels. As a result, mobile browsing and other data revenues increased 23% to P14.4 billion in 2014 from P11.6 billion in the year earlier. In addition to product innovations and ground-breaking offers such as the Free Facebook promo that Globe introduced in the market, the impressive growth in mobile data revenues was also driven by increase in variety and affordability of smartphones in the market as well as improved pervasiveness of the company’s 4G network.
“Our partnership with Facebook definitely enabled more Filipinos to gain internet connectivity, which is in line with the vision of internet.org to allow more and more people to have free access to internet services or at the very least gain internet connectivity at affordable rates,” Globe President & CEO Ernest Cu said. Internet.org is a global collaboration among technology leaders, nonprofit organizations, local communities and experts working together to bring the internet to the vast majority of the world’s population.
Zuckerberg told delegates at Mobile World Congress (MWC) that offering free basic internet services can help mobile operators grow their businesses faster in emerging markets. A Facebook-led initiative, internet.org has set a goal of connecting a good majority of world population. To achieve this objective, Zuckerberg wants to raise awareness of the internet. Such awareness will be enhanced if mobile operators offer services for free, he said, emphasizing that once users get a free taste of the internet, they’ll be more inclined to pay for mobile data. “We’re proud of the work we do with these operators, and we’re excited to do more,” Zuckerberg said.
Meanwhile, the United States’ Federal Communications Commission recently voted to implement new net neutrality rules designed to make sure Internet service providers treat all legal content equally. Net neutrality, also called open Internet, is a principle that Internet networks are equally available to all types of legal content generators. This means that internet service providers (ISPs), mostly large cable or telephone companies, would be prohibited from discriminating against content by blocking or slowing transmission speeds and seeking payments in exchange for faster lanes of their Internet networks, a practice called “paid prioritization.”