Myanmar’s largest operator MPT has launched Free Basics and Facebook Flex to give subscribers free access to basic information and resources on the the internet.

The operator said Free Basics offers access to more than 35 sites dedicated to health, education, jobs and finance. Facebook Flex has two modes – free mode and data mode. Free mode allows people to post, comment and chat for free, however, they can’t view images and videos.

MPT COO Koichi Kawase said the partnership with Facebook aims to make the internet more accessible for people in Myanmar.

Markku Makelainen, Facebook’s director of global operator partnerships, said “we hope to bring more people in Myanmar online by reducing the affordability and awareness barrier”.

Facebook estimates that its initiative, which includes Free Basics, has brought more than 25 million people online who wouldn’t be otherwise. But its offer for free access to the internet has faced strong criticism from net neutrality advocates, particularly in India. Critics say Free Basics gives users a limited view of the internet and preferential treatment to certain web services.

MPT, which has a 47 per cent market share, said its ‘Swe Tharhar’ customers can use Free Basics and Facebook Flex without any data charges.