Millicom has announced Tigo mobile customers in Tanzania will be the first in East Africa to enjoy free access to Facebook on their handsets, with the service also including the launch of a Facebook service in Swahilií.
Millicom and Facebook have extended their partnership with the launch in Tanzania following a successful launch in Latin America in December 2013.
Millicom president and CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht said: “Facebook has been a real driver of data on mobile networks. By extending this unique partnership to Africa, we are giving people another reason to connect through Tigo and providing many customers with their first taste of the internet and social media, including in Kiswahili. This reinforces our strategy to encourage more customers to use data as part of their daily communications activity and takes further the digital lifestyle.”
Facebook said the move is part of its efforts to make internet access available to the two-thirds of the world not yet connected.
“We’re excited to be working with Tigo again to bring more people online, giving them exposure to the many benefits of connectivity. We think that widespread access to free basic services will help accelerate the adoption of the internet and we’re committed to working with partners like Tigo on new models that grow subscribers and revenue,” said Chris Daniels, Internet.org’s vice president of product.
Facebook chief executive officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg highlighted the partnership with Tigo Paraguay at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.
“We’ve been working with Tigo and they’ve seen the number of people who were using data in the internet grow by 50 per cent over the course of the partnership and the number of people who are using data on a daily basis is growing even more,” he said.