Facebook and Airtel launch Free Basics in Nigeria
At an event in Lagos on Tuesday (May 10), Facebook announced its deal with Airtel Africa, the parent company of Airtel Nigeria to debut Free Basics in Nigeria. The service allows Nigerians access to up to 83 basic mobile websites and services on their mobile devices for free on the Airtel network.
Services and websites accessible to Nigerians include – OLX, VConnect, Jobberman, Goal.com, Nairaland, Pass.ng, BBC, Super Sport, Nigeria Galleria, Naij.com, matchup.ng, Guardian Newspaper, Yuzah, Wikipedia and WikiHow. To get started with Free Basics in Nigeria, Dial *141# on any connected Airtel SIM to get access to free and basic services.
Although Free Basics has drawn controversies from Net Neutrality advocates and National Regulators around the world, the grand welcoming it gets in Africa suggests it is not all doom for the service. The continent currently have more than half of the 40 Free Basics countries in the world.
FACT: Airtel Africa worked with Facebook in 2014 to launch Free Basics in Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Ghana, Seychelles and Rwanda.
Previously called Internet.org, Free Basics by Facebook is a service dedicated to improving lives and bringing more people online. This is done by giving people around the world access to basic services cutting across different sectors such as jobs, health, education and finance.
This also saw Airtel Africa launch Facebook Flex in Nigeria. The service allows users access a version of Facebook without incurring data charges. This initiative, also accessible by dialing *141#, is part of Facebook’s effort to bring more people online and reducing affordability barriers.
PS: Facebook Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg gave the founders of Jobberman and Nigeria shout-out on his official account. You might be interested in checking that here.