Feeds

India gets any-phone mobile Facebook for a penny a day

GSM text-menu tech takes the fight downstairs to Orkut

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

For a rupee a day Indians can now get onto Facebook, assuming all their mates aren't on Google's Orkut network and they don't mind missing all the graphics.

The new service comes from Bharti Airtel and uses the USSD service, a little-known part of the GSM standard which provides text-menu interactivity more akin to Gopher than the web. But USSD is supported on all GSM handsets, which means Bharti Airtel can offer Facebook on any mobile phone for a rupee a day (a bit more than 1 UK penny or two US cents).

Interactivity is limited to status updates, "friend" requests and posting (text) on walls. The user is expected to have access to a PC for everything else, but Bharti Airtel does provide mobile access to the service, which is one in the eye for Google, whose Orkut network still dominates social networking in the subcontinent.

Facebook has around 25 million users in India, compared to Orkut's 40 million or so. Worldwide Facebook dominates, with five times the total number of users, and Zuckerberg's empire hasn't been slow to take advantage of that position.

It's the markets where cheaper devices dominate where Facebook doesn't: India, Brazil and China (though the latter is mainly down to its government blocking the Facebook site). Many people in those countries have the latest smartphones and desktop computers, but more of them do not. If Facebook can get a foothold into the technically-less-equipped demographic it could be very important in the upcoming fights with Google, Tencent (owners of QQ) or anyone else.

We've seen a Facebook client squeezed onto a SIM card, and now carried over USSD, now the question becomes how quickly the competition can adopt similar strategies – or if Facebook can work its way up the demographic ladder to supplant them. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.