Facebook has partnered with Airtel to introduce Free Basic into Nigeria. The deal allows subscribers of Airtel Nigeria to access basic and free internet services on their mobile devices, without additional paying extra for their data.
Free basic launched in Nigeria with about more 85 free services dedicated to health, education, jobs, and finance being made available on the platform. It is expected that initiative would bring much needed information to the poor people who may not be able to pay for internet access.
The Chief Executive of Airtel Africa, Christian de Faria, said: “We are pleased to take this big step forward in our partnership with Facebook, bringing more people online in Africa’s most populous country and helping to further narrow the digital divide.”
Ime Archibong of Facebook said: “We have spent time with the developer community in Nigeria to understand how we can help people in the country build and create for their communities, and by bringing Free Basics to Nigeria we hope to provide another platform for developers to bring relevant services to people free of charge. At launch, we have more than 85 services included in Free Basics and hope to spur more development to bring relevant, basic services to Nigerians.”
However the introduction of Free Basic did not go so well in India, and in fact such services have been banned by India Telecom regulatory body.
This was due to strong opposition from India tech start community who argued that the service was against net neutrality as if offered Facebook authority on which app is available, therefore picking winners and losers. They also argued that Facebook was using Free Basics to collect users data, which would then be used for targeted advertising in the coming years.
Have you tried the Free Basic? We would like to hear from you.