Internet for all, with Facebook for SIM

Last updated: 20 March 2014

In a world where millions of people rely on the Internet for daily tasks, it’s easy to forget that not everyone has instant and reliable access to the World Wide Web. Today, the Internet isn’t accessible for two thirds of the world.

Unfortunately, given the low spread of connectivity projected for years to come, it’s easy to predict that the ‘Internet population’ will remain low as long as the Personal Computer (PC) is considered as the main and only way to access the Internet.

According to ongoing research carried out by the Oxford Internet Institute, Internet population and penetration are still very low in areas of Africa and South East Asia, which is why Facebook recently launched, formalizing the company’s commitment to improving access to the internet across the world.

To add some context, Facebook’s monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.19 billion as of September 30, 2013, while mobile MAUs were 874 million, an increase of 45% year-over-year. These figures seem large but, for those with Internet, it’s hard to avoid Facebook, for the other six billion people on the planet, it’s a different proposition altogether.

This is exactly what has driven Gemalto to establish a partnership with Facebook to develop Facebook for SIM. Since 2011, the primary objective has been to offer access to Facebook from any mobile phone – even the most basic ones without Internet browser or data subscription – simply by using the Dynamic SIM Tool Kit technology available on any mobile GSM phone. As a result of this, an increasing number of mobile operators have leveraged Facebook for SIM to enhance Internet access from a basic phone (Personal Argentina, Entel Chile, Tigo Colombia).

By positioning Facebook on the mobile as the main way to access the Internet, emerging & developing economies like those in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia are benefiting greatly from ‘PC free’ connectivity. Recently Facebook Messenger was added to the service to meet the increasing demand from Facebook users to access Facebook Messenger from any mobile phone.

As Rebecca Rosen highlights in a recent article for The Atlantic; “The Internet largely exists for and is created by the people who are on it,” which exposes the fact that “The Internet we each see every day is an infinitesimally tiny sliver of the whole.” Now, with Facebook for SIM, the world’s most popular social network isn’t just for the connected.