Globe Telecom, a pioneer in zero-rating access partnerships with internet players, said two campaigns offering free Facebook to all mobile customers boosted its data users by 110 per cent.
Daniel Horan, Globe’s senior adviser for its consumer business, said zero-rating deals have been an effective tool in enhancing internet adoption in the Philippines.
“Our partnership with Facebook enabled more Filipinos to gain internet connectivity and is an example that is being followed by other telcos locally and globally,” Horan said.
He said the free offer supports the objective of Internet.org, a Facebook-led initiative to provide data connectivity to two-thirds of the global population. Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook founder and CEO – has said he believes there is an attractive business model to be had for operators, in emerging markets, to offer basic internet for free.
In early October Globe opted to re-introduce the free access to Facebook and the internet (which if first launched in October of 2013) in response to a similar initiative by rival PLDT.
Horan noted that the campaign has significantly changed the landscape of the mobile internet space in the country.
A recent whitepaper published by Globe and Facebook outlined the long-term impact of the partnership. After the first campaign, the company said the number of data users on its network doubled, and the percentage of prepaid subscribers using mobile data grew from 14 per cent to 25 per cent.
Even after the first promotion was withdrawn and access to Facebook was no longer free, he said Globe continued to acquire twice the number of new mobile data users compared to previous levels. The campaign helped increase the number of Filipinos actively using the mobile internet during the period by six million.
“The partnership does not end there. Globe and Facebook will be launching new and exciting offers to make mobile internet further accessible via Internet.org, aiming to make more subscribers connected by providing a safe environment for browsing without incurring unexpected charges,” Horan said.
Globe’s findings should help allay any fears operators may have that the free Facebook offers will cannibalise data revenue. The subject was a major talking point at this month’s Mobile World Congress, where operators had mixed thoughts on the matter.