Facebook has unveiled a new mobile web site that will allow people in more than 45 countries, who aren’t accustomed to paying for data plans on the phone, to access its site quickly and for free.
According to a company blog post, the deal has been inked with more than 50 mobile operators around the world, ranging from carriers in Barbados to Indonesia to Madagascar. Facebook says more countries are on the way.
The web site, which is accessible at 0.facebook.com, has all the same key features as Facebook’s regular mobile web site, like posting status updates and viewing the news feed. There’s just one catch: the photos are not viewable from the main page, and to view them, regular data fees will apply.
The deal is still pretty good since usually carriers start charging from the moment a web browser is opened on the phone. With 0.facebook.com, users will only get charged to view photos or to browse to another mobile site. A notification page will appear to confirm that they will be charged if they want to leave 0.facebook.com. Because of this special arrangement, the light-weight version of the Facebook is only available on the certain networks. Other users will still have to access Facebook’s typical mobile site at m.Facebook.com and pay data fees.
While the obvious target market for a service like this is emerging countries where data plans have not become common, like Rwanda, Sudan and Bolivia, there’s also developed nations on the list, such as Finland. Australia, France and New Zealand are coming soon.