The leading technology company launched the Free Basics service yesterday in Nigeria, a platform that will provide access to mobile websites and services to internet users for free. Unlike most parts of the world, Free Basics will rely on the capacity of Telecom services operators in Nigeria to offer more than 85 free services dedicated to health, education, jobs, and finance to users.
This include Facebook Flex by Airtel Nigeria, which will allow people to access a version of Facebook without data charges.
Meanwhile, Facebook has announced that it is presently working on improving the Terragraph code of the free WiFi project in order to make it faster and more efficient. These efforts aims at making 7 Giga Byte Per Seconds (GBPS) data signal stronger and equally efficient in different parts of the world. This follows the discovery that the connection degrades when there’s a nearby object blocking its path.
Industry observers are of the opinion that the free internet platform is capable of improving the data usage experience of Nigerians especially in the areas of network quality, pricing and coverage. This follows the incessant cries by customers that value for money is not given by the present service providers in the country.
However, there are fears that the development may cripple the economy of Mobile Network Service Operators whose business model is gradually migrating from voice calls to data usage in an increasingly data-driven market. What is left to be seen is if regulators will kill the project with restrictions to the benefit of operators or allow it unfettered access to their detriment. Already, Airtel allows free viewing of Facebook, with restrictions to images, which you can only view when you switch to the data mode.