In a bid to expand its user base even further, Idea Cellular has launched free Facebook Messenger service for all its prepaid subscribers. The partnership will let users send messages, share pictures, locations and start group conversations for free. The free Facebook Messenger service will be available for all Idea prepaid users who use any Android device and iOS for a period of 3 months from the date of activation.
Announcing the launch of the new service, Sashi Shankar, Chief Marketing Officer – Idea Cellular said,
“With the increasing mobile broadband penetration in India, the mobile phone is becoming the most important device for accessing Internet and social networking platforms. Nearly 50% of data users on the Idea network access Facebook on their mobile phones. The free Facebook Messenger service will enhance their social networking experience and enable Facebook users to chat with their contacts while on the move.”
Last week Idea slashed 2G mobile data rates following other telecom operators. The new tariff is 2 paise/10 kb compared to the previous 2 paise/kb rate. The slashed rates are valid for both prepaid and postpaid customers. This is not the first time Facebook has targeted telcos for its Facebook Messenger plan. In February this year, Facebook offered discounted data plans to access its Facebook Messenger by tying up with Airtel and Reliance in India and with mobile carriers from 13 other countries. India and Brazil helped Facebook reach 1.1 billion users in May.
Kevin D’souza, Country Growth Manager, Facebook said,
“Messaging is a fun and useful way to share privately and connect with friends in smaller personal groups. We are happy that Idea subscribers can now enjoy free access to Facebook Messenger and experience new features such as Chat Heads and Stickers. This partnership allows us to connect people in new areas and offer them the Facebook experience on the Idea network.”
Earlier in January, Facebook Messenger added voice messaging capability on both the iPhone and Android. Messaging apps have became immensely popular among emerging countries like India. Reliance also partnered WhatsApp to offer a plan for its GSM users. The growing number of free messenger apps & services associated with them are costing telecom companies. Also, in April mobile instant messaging services took over the age old SMS.
The new Idea offer is available for all Idea 2G and 3G prepaid subscribers for a period of 3 months from the date of activation. The offer on Idea network will be available for activation until July 31st, 2013.