Facebook Buys Pryte To Connect Emerging Countries
Facebook, which is constantly focusing on consumers in emerging markets, and also seems to be in an acquisition spree has recently acquired Finnish company, Pryte, a mobile data firm, in order to make it easier for mobile phone users in emerging countries to use wireless Internet apps. While Facebook did not disclose financial terms of the deal, a company spokeswoman Vanessa Chan told Reuters, it is expected to close later this month.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has said that connecting the “next five billion people” to the Internet is one of the company’s top priorities in the coming days. The company also strongly believes that more users will use mobile devices as their primary route to getting online. The deal marks Facebook’s latest effort to advance its mission of connecting people in emerging world to the mobile Internet.
Pryte’s services make it easier for consumers without wireless data plans to use online services by selling short-term passes that would provide access to particular mobile apps, such as Facebook or Foursquare.
Needless to say, company helped spearhead the non-profit Internet.org initiative last year, working with local organizations to give online access to ordinary people. Facebook has already partnered with wireless operators in certain countries to offer free access to its social network and the company is building drones and satellites that will beam Internet access to remote regions of the world. For example, it has set up a Connectivity Lab that is working on things like drone-based internet access, in areas with little or no access.
Terming the association as a bit like an acquihire, Tech Crunch reports, a lot of consumers are not taking data services on them because they are too expensive. Solutions like the kind that Pryte is developing are one step to bridging that device/usage gap a bit more.
Although its not clear, how much of Pryte’s service will be rolled into Facebook’s existing offerings, in any case this is also a sign of how Facebook is looking for more technology and people that can help it forge better relationships with carriers, it says.
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