To cash in on the popularity of Facebook, Bharti airtel has announced that starting from May 17, its customers in India can simply dial *325# (and “*fbk#” for non-qwerty mobile handsets) to access Facebook, without even subscribing to data plans.
While Airtel customers can update their Facebook status through this service free of cost, Rs 1 per day will be applicable for accessing the full feature application that includes viewing news feeds, commenting on or liking news feed stories, posting on friends’ walls, confirming friend requests, viewing notifications, and finding as well as adding friends.
Commenting on the service, Shireesh Joshi, director marketing, Mobile Services, Bharti airtel, said, “Facebook is seeing exponential growth in India and the popularity of this platform runs across demographics. We look forward to bringing millions of Facebook users in India closer to their love for social networking — by allowing them to access it anytime, anywhere on their Airtel powered mobile phones.”
This is the first USSD-based Facebook access service in the world, Airtel has claimed in a press release.
USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) is a menu-based system that enables interfacing with content based services. Instead of a browser, which requires an internet (GPRS connection), the USSD menu acts as browser to pull content to the phone.
Henri Moissinac, head of mobile business, Facebook, said, “This innovative USSD-based Facebook access service that will be offered by Airtel is another affordable and easy way for people to stay connected with their friends and family through Facebook.”