Grameenphone, in partnership with Meta, launched text-only Facebook and Discover to enable Grameenphone customers to stay connected more consistently, even when they run out of data. With these products, Grameenphone will help promote digital inclusion in Bangladesh through supporting connectivity, ensuring accessibility, and advancing the country’s digital aspirations.
Text-only Facebook enables Grameenphone customers to stay connected with a text-only version of Facebook and Messenger when they run out of data until they can top up their data balance again. And Discover, a mobile web and Android app, allows Grameenphone customers to browse the internet using a daily balance of 15MB without data charges. In addition, discover only supports low-bandwidth features such as text and icons when using free data. With these products, Grameenphone customers will have more consistent access to essential resources such as education sites, health resources, and job information.
At a launch event earlier today at BTRC, Mustafa Jabbar, Minister, Post & Telecommunication Division, he formally inaugurated text-only Facebook and Discover.
Shyam Sunder Sikder, Chairman, BTRC; Md Khalilur Rahman, Secretary, Post & Telecommunication Division and officials from Meta and mobile operators were present.
Speaking on the occasion, Mustafa Jabbar, Minister, Post & Telecommunication Division said “I have seen that during the Corona period, mobile service providers stepped out of their business purposes and stood collectively beside the people of the society. They are helping to keep socio-economic activities moving by ensuring connectivity. My appreciations go to everyone. Allowing the use of Facebook without the internet is a great initiative. This shall help reduce the digital divide by ensuring information sharing and connectivity of marginalized people.”
BTRC Chairman Shyam Sunder Sikder appreciated the arrangement, commenting – “The government has been emphasizing bringing maximum people under the umbrella of digital connectivity. But to turn it into a reality, we need the private sectors, especially the MNOs in this case, to step forward proactively. It is a good move by Grameenphone to improve access to social media and other important resources on the internet – this shall help more people who are not necessarily privileged to high-speed internet access important virtual channels like the Facebook pages of our ministries and other online resources such as national education and health sites. These services shall help the Bangladesh Government’s aspirations to ensure affordable connectivity to all.”
Grameenphone CEO Yasir Azman said, “The pandemic has accelerated the journey towards a digitally connected society and economy, resulting in tremendous growth in digital inclusion, especially in countries like us. GP has been playing a pivotal role through its innovation and investment to maximize the benefit of digital solutions for people from all walks of life. Today’s launch is a testimony of co-creation with Meta & Regulator to best utilize digital solutions for ensuring access to vital information in need for one of the largest Facebook user bases in the world.”
“I’d like to further express my gratitude to the regulators for enabling us to launch such a timely initiative where everyone has access to information even without data in this era”, said Azman.
Paul Kim, Director of International Business Development and Operator Partnerships, APAC at Meta, said: “Helping people stay connected and ensuring they have consistent access to important resources on the internet such as education and health resources is critical. We are grateful to support these programs to enable better connectivity and access for people in Bangladesh.”