airtel launches USSD-based Facebook access service in India

New Delhi : Do you miss keeping in touch with family and friends on Facebook, simply because you don’t access internet on your mobile phone? Your favourite social network is all set to be just the press of a button away. India’s leading telecommunications company, bharti airtel announced that starting today, its 150 million plus customers in India can now simply dial *325# (and “*fbk#” for non-qwerty mobile handsets) to access Facebook – without subscribing to data plans. To deliver this, airtel has launched the world’s first USSD-based service innovation that will allow its mobile customers to update their Facebook status messages, view / comment on / ‘Like’ news feed, post on friends’ walls, find / add friends, confirm friend requests, view notifications and much more without using the internet or activating GPRS capabilities.

Based on Fonetwish developed by U2opia Mobile, a social and mobile applications provider, this unique and affordable service is available first exclusively for airtel customers in India and is set to empower more and more people across the country to stay connected with their loved ones through Facebook.

Commenting on the service, Shireesh Joshi, Director – Marketing, Mobile Services, bharti airtel said, “In the Indian market scenario, where the penetration of smart phones is relatively low and use of internet on mobile is primarily limited to key cities, many users are excluded from accessing their Facebook accounts via mobile phones. The need for a ubiquitous access mechanism is a growing necessity – and that’s exactly what airtel’s USSD service for Facebook will help deliver. Facebook is seeing exponential growth in India and the popularity of this platform runs across demographics. We look forward to bringing millions of Facebook users in India closer to their love for social networking – by allowing them to access it anytime, anywhere on their airtel powered mobile phones.” What can airtel customers do using USSD-based Facebook access service?

“At Facebook, we are always exploring ways to enable people to easily connect and share with friends on Facebook wherever they are, whenever they want,” said Mr. Henri Moissinac, Head “At Facebook, we are always exploring ways to enable people to easily connect and share with friends on Facebook wherever they are, whenever they want,” said Mr. Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile Business, Facebook. “This innovative USSD-based Facebook access service that will be offered by airtel is another affordable and easy way for people to stay connected with their friends and family through Facebook.”

While airtel customers can update their Facebook status through this USSD service free of cost, Rs. 1/day will be applicable for accessing the full feature application that includes viewing news feeds, commenting on or liking news feed stories, posting on friends’ walls, confirming friend requests, viewing notifications, and finding as well as adding friends.

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