Facebook is partnering with telcos worldwide to provide “free or discounted data access to Facebook messaging for their subscribers”. With version 2.1.1 of the Messenger app, Facebook users can have voice chat with other Facebook friends straight from the app (US-only) and also send audio messages to their friends. This new partnership will bolster their presence in the midst of heavy competition from other messaging apps like WhatsApp, Line and Viber.
Through this promotion, free or discounted data access will be available in the coming months on Messenger for Android, Messenger for iOS and Facebook for Every Phone, which is now optimized for chat.
This promotion will be available from more than 18 operators in 14 countries. Operators committed to special pricing for Facebook messaging include TMN in Portugal, Three in Ireland, Airtel and Reliance in India, Vivacom in Bulgaria, Backcell in Azerbaydzhan, Indosat, Smartfren, AXIS and XL Axiata in Indonesia, SMART in Philippines, DiGi in Malaysia, DTAC in Thailand, Viva in Bahrain, STC in Saudi Arabia, Oi in Brazil, Etisalat in Egypt, and Tre in Italy.
None of the 18 operators are from Singapore and I doubt this will1 happen as local Telcos (SingTel and Starhub) are more interested in developing their own platforms to counter declining use of the more traditional SMS messaging.
StarHub, for example, is working with its alliance partner Vodafone to launch a new, interoperable service in the second half of this year. Using just one platform, users can make video calls, share photos or music on one single platform, without the need to download different applications.
SingTel is also looking to launch its own apps in the coming months, as it seeks to “shape the app market”. “This requires a total strategy in terms of apps and content, handsets, network enhancements, price plans and customer experience,” Mr Johan Buse, SingTel’s Vice-President of Consumer Marketing, said.
To be honest, their money will be more well spent if they invest on improving their existing 3G/4G network and such services are almost saturated with customers already entrenched with their favorite messaging platform. It will take much more than a miracle for them to switch.
As for M1 customers, there is a glimmer of hope this Facebook-collaboration might happen:
A spokesman said: “Rather than telcos developing their own Internet-based messaging apps to compete, we believe app developers and owners will work with the telcos in future to ensure that their users have access to their applications in an efficient and affordable manner.
What is your primary app/platform for messaging with your friends – SMS, FaceBook, MSN, WhatsApp?