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Facebook’s Internet.org app rolls-out to Tanzania

Multinational telecommunications company Tigo has announced that it has teamed up with Facebook to provide millions of Tanzanians with affordable internet and free access to basic online services. This will be done through the Internet.org app. The app launched to Airtel subscribers in Zambia in July and now in Tanzania.

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The Internet.org app will be available starting from the 29 October 2014. Through the app, Tigo subscribers will have access to AccuWeather; BabyCenter & MAMA; BBC News & BBC Swahili; BrighterMonday; The Citizen; Facebook; Facts for Life (a UNICEF Product); Girl Effect; Messenger; Mwananchi; Mwanaspoti; OLX; Shule Direct; SuperSport; Tanzania Today and Wikipedia.

The partnership should help boost Tanzania’s rapidly growing online population.

A recent report from the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) shows that the number of internet users in Tanzania increased from 7.5-million in 2012 to 9.3 million in June this year. Although growth is steady, it still only represents an internet penetration rate of 18%.

Facebook’s Internet.org app makes the internet more accessible through a set of free basic services — enabling people to browse useful content and websites without incurring data charges.

Tigo’s Head of Data and Devices David Zacharia said: “Through our partnership with Facebook we aim to increase digital inclusion by encouraging even more Tanzanians to go online.”

Zacharia further explained that this partnership will not only accelerate internet penetration in Tanzania but it will also open new socio-economic opportunities to the users in the fields of education, technology and commerce.

Commenting on the deal Internet.org product manager Andrew Bocking notes the significance of this recent partnership:

“Today we are expanding our program with Tigo in Tanzania beyond just free Facebook to include access to a suite of basic services in health, education, communication, finance, jobs and local information. By providing more people with affordable access to technology and tools we can accelerate the process of connecting everyone,”

Tigo customers in Tanzania can access Internet.org app through the Google Play Store, visiting the website on a mobile browser, via the Tigo portal or through a bookmark on Pera Mini. The service is currently available both on both smartphones and feature phones.

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