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Bharti Airtel Africa, a leading telecommunications service provider, has announced that it has partnered with Facebook and to launch Free Basics in Nigeria. In 2015, Facebook promised to bring Free Basics to 17 African countries.
Free Basics is a service that gives users free access to a number of platforms where users can access information about health, education, jobs, communications and local content services at no cost. Facebook estimates that it has, through the project, brought more than 25 million people online.
Chris Daniels, Vice President of Internet.org at Facebook, said: “Bharti Airtel Africa has been an important partner in bringing connectivity and access to people across Africa. Our partnership has played a key role in helping bring digital content and services to people and communities in growing countries.”
Customers with an Airtel mobile connection will be able to access 85 free services dedicated to health, education, jobs and finance through Free Basics without forking out the expensive data costs. In addition to these services, Airtel promises that it will be offering Facebook Flex, an option that allows its customers access to a version of Facebook that requires no data.
“We’re 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,” Christian de Faria, MD and CEO of Airtel Africa said.
According to Ime Archibong, Director of Global Product Partnerships at Facebook, added that this is not simply a launch in Nigeria but about building a community.
“We’ve spent time with the developer community here in Nigeria to understand how we can help people here 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.”