According to Mashable, starting October 31, Facebook has been offering its service access for free to Philippine smartphone users.
Facebook has partnered with Philippine network provider Globe Telecom, where its subscribers will be able to access and use Facebook for free through their mobile browsers and its designated Facebook native app for a period of three months. No data charges will be applied to subscribers accessing Facebook.
“We think Asia represents an enormous opportunity for growth. Two billion people are not connected to the Internet in Asia, which is a huge market. We started the program in the Philippines because 30 million people access the Internet on a monthly basis. In the coming years, there’s going to be a shift in smartphone usage and data usage, and we’d like to bridge that gap on getting online,” said Chris Daniels, Facebook’s vice president of partnerships.
Of course, this is not the first time the public company offer free mobile access to users. Back in 2010, Facebook launches Facebook Zero, a Facebook mobile site that includes all of the key features of Facebook but is optimized for speed. It initially was available through more than 50 mobile operators in 45 countries and territories with zero data charges. Users had to log in from 0.Facebook.com to avoid incurring data charges.
It is unclear if Facebook is paying Globe for the incurred charges, or if Globe is absorbing all the cost.
Through the free access to Facebook for smartphone and feature phones, Facebook and Globe look to tap the other 65 million people in the Philippines who are not yet online.
There’s also a popular saying which goes: if you are not paying, you are the product. Search Engine Watch recently found that Philippine is among the top 10 countries which control 50 percent of entire Facebook’s paid advertising.
With a low mobile broadband penetration in Philippines, extending free access to Facebook without any charges to Globe Telecom (the largest mobile operator in Philippine), could be a move by Facebook to boost its mobile advertising revenue from the 100 million populated nation.
As part of its recent third quarter financial performance, Facebook today reported that 49 percent of its advertising revenue in the period came from mobile usage. That figure is up 8 percent from the second quarter, in which Facebook reported 41 percent of its advertising revenue came from mobile usage.