Cell C to offer free Facebook access

2015-06-24 11:22 - Gareth van Zyl
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Cell C is pushing to grow market share in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Johannesburg - South Africa’s third largest mobile network Cell C has inked a deal to provide zero-rated access to social network Facebook from July 1 while also bringing Internet.org to the country.

Cell C in a statement said that from July 1, “Facebook usage will be free to all existing and new postpaid, top up and pre-paid customers and will continue until 31 August 2015”.

Explaining the offer, Cell said customers can use Facebook Messenger, post comments and pictures, view and share posts and pictures and view News Feed and profiles at no charge.

However, the company says that “breakout internet browsing, VOIP (voice over internet protocol) calling, Facebook videos, YouTube and Instagram will be charged at standard data rates or will deplete data bundles available”.

“We were the first and only mobile player in SA to offer zero-rated access to WhatsApp and now we are building on that with this Facebook offering,” said Cell C chief executive officer Jose Dos Santos in a statement.

Cell C is currently offering free WhatsApp usage until June 30 2015 on its network.

Cell C also added that when its free Facebook access promotion ends on September 1, for a period of 12 months thereafter customers can access Facebook for free on the Internet.org application, which is also being launched in South Africa.

Internet.org comes to SA

Cell C announced on Wednesday that it is bringing Facebook’s free internet services offering, Internet.org, to South Africa.

Internet.org has already been launched in developing markets in Africa, Latin America and Asia and it provides free access to some websites such as Wikipedia.

The project aims to bring affordable internet access to under-served parts of the world.

In South Africa, websites such as News24, Bing and Wikipedia can be accessed for free on the Internet.org offering.

"We are excited to bring Internet.org free basic services to Cell C customers in South Africa,” said Markku Makelainen, director of global operator partnerships at Facebook in a statement.

“With Internet.org free basic services, more people in South Africa will have access to resources and information that can create new opportunities and ideas, and help improve their lives," said Makelainen.

Cell C is South Africa's third largest mobile network with 20 million subscribers.

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