Indosat, Indonesia’s second largest operator, has joined the crowd partnering with Facebook to offer its prepaid and postpaid customers free internet access through Internet.org.
The operator, which is 65 per cent owned by Ooredoo, has 63 million mobile connections and almost a 20 per cent market share, according to GSMA Intelligence.
The company said customers will have free access to a variety of news, general information and social media sites via www.internet.org or by downloading the Internet.org app from the Android Play Store. The service, which include access to sites such as Ask.com, Wikipedia, Accuweather and Jobstreet, will be available in English and Bahasa.
The Facebook-led initiative’s stated aim is to make the internet more accessible for the two-thirds of the world’s population who are not connected.
Alexander Rusli, president director and CEO of Indosat, said: ”Indonesia’s government has clear targets to bring more of our nation’s people online. With this partnership, Indosat has taken the first step to help our industry in driving this forward.”
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg last week was forced to defend Internet.org after a number of prominent Indian firms withdrew from the initiative over net neutrality concerns.
An official with India’s telecoms regulator has stated that Bharti Airtel’s sponsored content data service, as well as other operators’ zero-rating access deals with Facebook, including the Internet.org tie-up with Reliance Communcations, may violate the principles of net neutrality.
Internet.org’s experience in the Philippines has been very different. 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.