South Africa’s Cell C and Facebook have partnered to bring paid data services and Internet access to consumers through the launch of Internet.org free basic services in South Africa.
Internet.org was developed by Facebook and its technology partners to create a way to bring affordable Internet access to under-served communities.
Through network operator partnerships, that have the drive to bring these basic services to customers for free, Facebook has launched this service in many under-serviced countries in Africa and around the world, including India, Ghana and Kenya. And now, through Cell C, South Africa is the next country to realise Facebook’s plan to help connect the unconnected.
“We are proud to be partnering with an organisation that shares our vision of bringing much-needed services to communities and in doing so, positively changing lives,” says Dos Santos.
“We are excited to bring Internet.org free basic services to Cell C customers in South Africa,” says Markku Makelainen, Director of Global Operator Partnerships at Facebook. “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.”
Bringing access to those that need it most has become a national imperative, with only 10,9% of South African households having access to the Internet at home. And the growth of access is slow, showing a mere 0.9% increase year-on-year according to Stats SA’s 2014 General Household Survey.
“Cell C understands that some South Africans, specifically those in rural areas, need to travel exceptionally long distances to find work, or information on healthcare or education. The launch of Internet.org will make the world a little smaller and information far more accessible to them,” says Dos Santos.
Time and again, access to information and ICT has proven to incorporate people into the formal economy and driven top line improvements for those that participate. “South Africans in both the private and public sector need to continue to drive initiatives in this space to ensure that the country can compete on a global stage,” adds Dos Santos.
The Internet.org free basic services initiative will provide Cell C customers with access to free services like healthcare information, education sites and job searches. A full list of sites is included below.
From 1 September for a period of 12 months, customers who want to continue using Messenger, post comments, view and share posts and view News Feed and profiles free of charge, can do so by accessing Facebook through the Internet.org application or website. Viewing and posting pictures, as well as, breakout Internet browsing, VOIP calling, Facebook videos, YouTube and Instagram will be charged at standard data rates or will deplete data bundles where available. Customers will also have the option to buy Cell C data bundles while on Facebook or Internet.org.
During the 12-month period, all the sites available through Internet.org on the Cell C network will remain free when accessing links through the application.