Facebook today announced that it will, in partnership with a select few mobile carriers, offer a free or discounted data plan to access its Facebook Messenger. Facebook has partnered with Airtel and RCom in India, apart from other carriers in 13 more countries. This is a major move by Facebook to establish itself as a mobile messaging service, untangling its Messenger from Facebook – the social network.
Facebook Messenger is a mobile messaging app that lets users send messages to their friends without having to join social networking site or even register using an email id. Much like the popular WhatsApp which has taken over SMS as the preferred way to communicate with friends and family alike, this app only uses the phone numbers for registration.
Facebook has already accepted that more than a social networking service it has become more of a mobile company recently with increasing focus now on the mobile platform. In India majority of its 71 million monthly users access the website on their mobiles, it is not surprising why Facebook is so serious about promoting its Messenger app as the default way to communicate. Over time Facebook has tried similar promotional stunts, one of which was offering Rs 50 worth of talktime to every new user who signed up on Facebook using a mobile phone.