Its no secret that Facebook has been in bed with a few telcos in the developing world about possibilities of breaking barriers to using its services in these respective countries. Such barriers include no access to internet services. Its Internet.org initiative is primarily aimed at achieving this together with other efforts like the solar powered drones to beam internet to the remotest of areas among others.
Amongst the various Internet.org initiatives is the Free Basics service that allows users to access Wikipedia, health and weather services not forgetting Facebook among others at zero cost. Also included is the Express Wifi service originally launched in India but found its way to Nigeria and now reports say it is already live in Nairobi.
Facebook has partnered with a local ISP Fuse, to pilot the project before it is extended to other parts of the capital or possibly the country. Users of Express Wifi enjoy 100MB everyday for the first 10 days and will only be charged after they elapse. They’ve set up recharge centers with bundles priced according to a specific duration like; a day, week or month. By the look of things, these data bundles are priced cheaper than average data prices we’re accustomed to for example 40MB for an equivalent of UgShs 350 and 100MB for a paltry of UgShs 700
Similarly, Facebook struck a partnership with Airtel and BCS recently that will see the trio digging up earth around Kampala to lay fiber cables. Whether these backhaul pipes will be used to power base stations from which wifi hotspots will be installed poses a question though it’s likely they will instead be used by Airtel to power its rumoured 4G services and subsidised by Facebook to allow many at the bottom of the social ladder to enjoy blistering internet services like Facebook. So Express Wifi maybe on its way to Kampala in the near future.
It should be noted that Facebook usage grows exponentially in the developing world like Uganda given the developed world is almost saturated. These raw areas provide avenues for Facebook to grow its Ad driven business by connecting thousands if not millions of people on the internet which it uses to serve them Ads.