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.
What can Airtel customers do using USSD-based Facebook® access service?
- Update Facebook status for free
- View / comment on / ‘Like’ news feeds, post on friends’ walls, confirm friend requests, view notifications, find and add friends – at Re 1 / day per use
USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) is a menu-based system that enables interfacing with content based services. Instead of a browser, which requires an internet / GPRS connection), the USSD menu acts as browser to pull content to the phone.
Commenting on the service, Mr. 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.”