Johannesburg – Mobile network Vodacom won’t bill data-usage for a free basic version of Facebook, joining the likes of Cell C in offering zero-rated social networks.
Once signed up to the service, Vodacom customers can update their Facebook status and comment on posts even when they do not have data.
Should users wish to view pictures or videos, they can switch from the free version to data mode to access the full Facebook service.
To use Facebook Flex customers can log on to Facebook.com or dial *111*32#.
Nyimpini Mabunda, chief officer of Vodacom’s consumer business unit, said that Vodacom’s Siyakha initiative is an important part of the mobile network’s effort to ensure digital inclusion for all its customers.
“Network operators like ourselves have a role to play in reducing the digital divide, particularly between those in urban and rural areas,” he said.
“In all our efforts we are mindful of the immense pressures that consumers face which are largely associated with the cost to communicate” he added.
“The popularity and the extensive use of social media services such as Facebook as a means of communication has made it a necessity rather than a luxury,” Mabunda said.
Vodacom told Fin24 that it plans to expand the offering of Siyakha in the near future.
In 2015, Cell C announced that its users would be able to access Facebook for free through Free Basics.
Since then the company expanded their offering allowing for Facebook Messenger usage and access to websites such as Health24, Wikipedia, Careers24, Gumtree, News24 and SuperSport.