Telecel Zimbabwe is set to announce the launch of a new service for its subscribers, Facebook Zero which enables subscribers free access to the social network. This zero rate does not include videos and images but the data cost to access these will be at a reduced rates. This is according to anonymous sources within the organisation. We were unable to get an official comment regarding the product and its launch.
According to the visuals we managed to catch a glimpse of, to access this service a mobile subscriber has to log into Facebook via zero.facebook.com or o.facebook.com. The usual Facebook features are enabled (poking, liking, browsing timelines etc) including chat messages. This IM functionality will probably make it a run away hit as it offers a free chat platform.
This is the first move made by Telecel regarding Over The Top (OTT) services such as Facebook, as most people anticipated an offering similar to the Facebook bundles being offered by Econet Wireless.
It would appear though that Telecel has taken a page from other operations like Banglalink, the Bangladesh telecoms subsidiary of Vimpelcom. Vimpelcom has a stake in Telecel Zimbabwe. Perhaps we might see other OTT partnerships with Whatsapp and Wikipedia from Telecel as has been the case with Banglalink.