Indian public sector telecom operator BSNL today announced launch of Facebook access to users on their network which will not need any internet connectivity. The service will be offered based on USSD (Unstructured supplementary service data) technology.
To offer this service, BSNL has tied up with Gurgaon and Singapore based a Singapore-based mobile applications provider, U2opia Mobile. Last year, U2opia started offering similar USSD based Twitter access, where users could access Twitter without any internet connectivity on their mobile phones.
If you are not aware of USSD technology, it is basically fixed text based commands that are sent to the telecom operator (similar to a SMS shortcode service), based on which textual content is sent back to users. USSD can be used for many purposes including pre-paid call-back service, location-based content services and menu-based information services.
With this service, BSNL users can access their facebook accounts, view or post status updates, respond to friend requests, write on friends wall and even view birthday reminders and send back Birthday wishes to their friends.
The service is immediately available to BSNL users in East and South zones and will soon be launched for users in West and North zones.
As far as the pricing goes, BSNL users can avail time based plans. It will cost Rs. 4 for three days, Rs. 10 for week and Rs. 20 for a month.
BSNL Director Anupam Shrivastava said in regards to this offering, “Companies today are looking at enhancing the portfolio of offerings to voice and SMS customers and we are really excited to offer Facebook on USSD, given the rising popularity of social media”.
This service can be availed through even the most basic features thereby enabling millions of users who do not have smartphones to access Facebook without any internet connectivity on their phones.