PARIS, France, February 17, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Orange is launching an innovative service making Facebook accessible on any phone across the Orange footprint in Africa.
Orange is the first operator in the region to use USSD technology, a low-bandwidth data service that is accessible from even the most basic phones, to create access to social networking.
With Facebook via USSD, Orange is providing mobile access to the service to millions of customers in Africa, many potentially for the first time.
Orange (http://www.orange.com) is launching a new service to provide swift, simple, and cost effective mobile access to Facebook for an even wider range of customers.
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Facebook via USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) allows all Orange customers to access the service, regardless of the phone that they are using. Even users with older or very basic handsets without an internet connection or data plan will be able to stay in touch with their family and friends on Facebook through a simple and affordable text-based service.
USSD is a technology used by all GSM mobile devices to send information across a 2G network, and is already used widely in Africa for services such account information and callback services. As USSD is familiar in the region, and as there is no barrier in terms of handset requirements, Orange expects that over one million customers will use the service in the first year.
Orange launched this service at the end of 2011 for Mobinil customers in Egypt, and over 350,000 customers have connected Facebook via USSD in the first month. Today Orange is announcing the launch of the service in Orange Côte d’Ivoire this month, and that further markets in Orange’s African footprint will launch throughout 2012.
This new service forms part of Orange’s strategy to help customers get more from their digital lives and provide access to mobile services such as Facebook to the widest possible range of customers. This is the latest in a series of services designed to open up access to digital services in emerging markets such Google SMS chat and email via SMS, and the exclusive Alcatel One Touch range of phones with deep Facebook integration.
“Social networks such as Facebook have completely changed how people stay in contact with their family and friends, and it’s important that our customers, regardless of the phone they have, are able to access and participate in these services,” said Xavier Perret, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Orange. “We feel that it is our role to help our customers enjoy a digitally rich, connected life, and services such as Facebook via USSD this make that possible for even more of our customers.”
No special applications are required to use Facebook via USSD. Customers only need to type a specific code into their phone to open a Facebook via USSD session and enter a PIN code to access the service securely. If the customer is using Facebook via USSD for the first time, they will have to register by providing their Facebook login, Facebook password and by creating a PIN code.
Once connected to Facebook via USSD, customers can search for friends, invite friends, accept or deny friend requests, update their status and comment/like/unlike their friend’s status’. Customers will have the choice between four types of pricing: per session (10 to 20 minutes), daily, weekly and monthly. Exact bundles and tariffs will be confirmed by each country as the service comes to market.
Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of Orange.
Discover the presentation of Facebook via USSD: http://www.orange-innovation.tv/facebook-ussd.
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France Telecom-Orange (http://www.orange.com) is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with 170,000 employees worldwide, including 102,000 employees in France, and sales of 33.8 billion euros in the first nine months of 2011. Present in 35 countries, the Group had a customer base of 221 million customers at 30 September 2011, including 145 million customers under the Orange brand, the Group’s single brand for internet, television and mobile services in the majority of countries where the company operates. At 30 September 2011, the Group had 162 million mobile customers and 14 million broadband internet (ADSL, fibre) customers worldwide. Orange is one of the main European operators for mobile and broadband internet services and, under the brand Orange Business Services, is one of the world leaders in providing telecommunication services to multinational companies.
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