Zambia mobile service provider, Airtel, has partnered with Facebook to introduce an app that will provide mobile phone subscribers in Zambia with access to free basic mobile data services.
The internet.org app will provide access to local health, employment and information services in addition to global sites including Facebook, Wikipedia, Google search and AccuWeather without requiring subscribers to pay data charges.
“By providing free basic services via the app, we hope to bring more people online and help them discover valuable services they might not have otherwise,” explained Guy Rosen, Facebook product management director, in a released statement from Facebook.
In 2013, the founding members of internet.org, Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung, partnered together with the shared objective of developing joint projects and sharing industry knowledge to mobilize the telecomm industry and governments to bring the world online.
With plans to continue improving the user experience and eventually expanding the availability of the Internet.org app, Zambia is currently the first and only country with access to the newly launched app.
“Right now, only 15% of people in Zambia have access to the internet,” wrote Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, “Soon, everyone will be able to use the internet for free to find jobs, get help with reproductive health and other aspects of health, and use tools like Facebook to stay connected with the people they love.”