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Airtel partners U2opia Mobile to allow its users access Facebook on handsets without GPRS

Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel has partnered Singapore-based
software applications developer U2opia Mobile to launch an application for
mobile phones that will allow users to access Facebook on all kind of handsets
without paying data connectivity charges. Airtel customers can update their
Facebook status through this USSD service free of cost whereas Re 1 per day
will be applicable for accessing the full-feature application. Airtel users can

Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel has partnered Singapore-based
software applications developer U2opia Mobile to launch an application for
mobile phones that will allow users to access Facebook on all kind of handsets
without paying data connectivity charges. Airtel customers can update their
Facebook status through this USSD service free of cost whereas Re 1 per day
will be applicable for accessing the full-feature application. Airtel users can
dial *325# and *fbk# for non-qwerty mobile handsets to access the app.

U2opia is using Unstructured Supplementary Data (USSD) technology
which is used by telecom players to send alerts to their users informing them about
their balance at the end of call or for sending miss call alerts. “It is
like SMS and hence, the load on the network is negligible. We have built some
commands through which a user can receive alerts on activity happening on his
wall as well post an update,” Sumesh Menon, co-founder and CEO, U2Opia Mobile
has said.

“In the Indian market scenario, where the
penetration of smart phones is relatively low and the use of internet on
mobiles is primarily limited to key cities, many users are excluded from
accessing their Facebook accounts via mobile phones. We look forward to
bringing millions of Facebook users in India closer to their love for social
networking by allowing them to access it anytime, anywhere on their
Airtel-powered mobile phones,” Joshi added ” Shireesh Joshi, director,
marketing, mobile services, Airtel has said.

“At Facebook, we are always exploring ways to enable people to easily connect and share with friends on Facebook wherever they are, whenever they want. This innovative USSD-based Facebook access service that will be offered by Airtel is another affordable and easy way for people to stay connected with their friends and family through Facebook,” ,” Henri Moissinac, head, Mobile Business, Facebook had said.

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