Digital security company Gemalto has recently expanded its LinqUs Facebook for SIM software application to include Facebook Messenger. This means that non-smartphones will have Facebook Messenger compatibility — and Facebook’s messaging service will be available to a much wider group of mobile subscribers with any type of handset.
With instant chat applications becoming more and more competitive over the last few years, the new solution enables users to message and chat with their friends straight from any SIM-based mobile phone, even though Facebook’s official dedicated messaging app is only available for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone.
It’s not an app users can download though — mobile operators offering the service will have the LinqUs Facebook pre-installed on the SIM cards given to customers. This means that also doesn’t require a data subscription for users to get started (which is needed for users of the official Facebook for Every Phone app), helping to grow the number of people using Facebook on mobile, which already numbers over 800-million monthly active users.
“Facebook for SIM is achieving proven user engagement – on average six times higher than other mobile apps for non-data phones,” said Jean-François Schreiber, senior vice president of mobile solutions and services at Gemalto. “The addition of Facebook Messenger will further strengthen its appeal, particularly to the younger generation in rapidly developing markets where people who have a mobile phone widely outnumber those who have internet access.”
Africa has an estimated 650-million mobile phone subscribers of which most are feature phones. At the same time the smartphone market in emerging markets is increasing by the day. According to Business Day, in key markets like South Africa, the smartphone user base increased from 11.5-million in December 2012 to 14-million by the end of June 2013 with Samsung and Huawei making great strides in the region.