Facebook drives 3G growth in Indian mobile market: Kevin D’Souza

Telecom Lead Asia: Facebook’s substantial growth in Indian mobile market is driving 3G driven Internet access, according to Kevin D’Souza, country growth manager, Facebook.

Three out of every four people on Facebook send a message on the mobile platform each month; making messaging one of the most popular activities on Facebook.

With 3G adoption across India, users have more options to faster internet access; video calls which will further make Facebook experience a delight.

Falling 3G smartphone and tablet prices in the telecom market mean that an ever-increasing number of people around the globe are getting their hands on more capable mobile devices.

More and more people are accessing internet through their mobile devices for data-heavy tasks such as uploading and sharing photos and consuming videos. The increasing popularity of instant messengers that allow quick files sharing is also a significant contributor.

According to IMRB, the number of mobile internet users in India increased to 87.1 million in December 2012 from 78.7 million users in October 2012, who accessed Internet through dongles and tablet PCs.

“Connectivity is empowering. When people and communities have access to the Internet, they can connect with new knowledge, new relationships and new opportunities,” said Facebook’s India head.

“Mobile is the perfect platform for Facebook as both were built for connecting, a constant companion that can capture and share moments anywhere, anytime. We’re leveraging the power and portability of today’s devices to help people better capture and share moments anywhere, anytime,” he added.

The company’s new products such as Facebook messenger, chat heads are designed to allow consumers to be just one tap away from chatting with his friends. Chat Heads make the texting experience quick and easy; it allows the user to switch between friends without having to go on the friend list again and again.

Globally, over 751million monthly active users use Facebook on mobile. The number of active users checking the site on mobile devices has surpassed the number of people checking the site on desktops.

With increasing data consumption, we have introduced many new features such as a mobile-friendly redesign of News Feed, Facebook Home on Android and Facebook Messenger.

Home is the first example of a new and different Facebook experience built leveraging the openness of Android. Home demonstrates what is possible with an app that is deeply integrated with the OS and brings friends to the center of your phone.

Private sharing and connecting is a big part of the Facebook experience and Facebook Messenger will be a driver of growth for Facebook with people connecting across platforms with features including chat, messaging, email, SMS, and Groups.

Facebook made a fundamental shift last year to make mobile phones the first product to access the site.

Recently, Facebook partnered with Nokia wherein the Nokia Asha 501 provides free access to Facebook to Airtel users in India.

“We are collaborating with device manufacturers to preload the Facebook mobile application not only in smartphones but also on feature phones. We have partnerships with global brands as well as local brands like Nokia, Micromax and Lava to make sure that the right Facebook experience is preloaded on their devices,” D’Souza added.

Indian mobile customers are shifting to a plan that allows mobile data access. Facebook today, has become the primary reason for people to upgrade their phones and data plans. Telecom operators and handset manufacturers have the opportunity to acquire/ retain customers by offering Facebook experience in a relevant and integrated way.

Facebook, at the Mobile World Congress 2013, announced partnerships with mobile operators to provide free or discounted data access to Facebook messaging for their subscribers. It tied up with more than 18 operators in 14 countries including Airtel and Reliance in India.

In 2012, Facebook retooled the company to focus on developing for “mobile first,” and in 2013 the social media platform focused on building products that are “mobile best”.

Facebook for Every Phone app delivers smartphone-like Facebook experience on feature phones in Hindi and other Indian languages including Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Bengali and Marathi.

For Facebook, messaging is a priority, focusing on building a seamless cross platform messaging experience across PCs, tablets and mobile phones.

Facebook recognizes that in India, mobile phones will be the first window of Internet access for millions. Today, Facebook has become the primary reason that people want to upgrade their phones and add data.

Baburajan K
editor@telecomlead.com