GSMA and Facebook initiative aims to make mobile internet affordable
The GSMA and Facebook have launched a joint initiative aimed at reducing the total costs of ownership of mobile, in an attempt to connect more people in emerging markets.
The move forms part of Facebook’s Internet.org partnership, which aims to make access to the internet more affordable.
By working with governments in emerging markets, the GSMA and Facebook hope to incentivise mobile infrastructure investment and usage in order to increase affordability and availability. In particular, they will focus on eliminating or reducing existing mobile-specific taxation or preventing new tax regimes.
“Mobile will offer many around the world, particularly in emerging markets, their only access to the internet and the information and communications services it enables. Connecting the next billion is a major goal of the GSMA and we are pleased to be working with Facebook and Internet.org to make this a reality,” said Tom Phillips, chief regulatory officer, GSMA.
Other areas the initiative will focus on include: maximising the availability of harmonised spectrum to drive mobile broadband adoption; evaluating the establishment of local Internet Exchange Points (IXPs); fostering the development of local Internet content; and examining the effectiveness of Universal Service Funds.
The announcement was made at Mobile World Congress 2014, where Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered a keynote address in which he defended his company’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp last week.