Be Clear: Nobody Gets Paid for Anything When is Used

Some of you likely have been wondering about business policies--including the matter of who might pay for mobile bandwidth consumed as part of the inititive--might exist.

Perhaps surprisingly, according to Chris Daniels, VP, nobody is getting paid for anything as part of the inititive.

App providers to not pay anybody to be part of the program, does not pay any mobile service providers who participate, mobile service providers do not pay, and the apps are available for no incremental cost to end users.

“Facebook or the developers aren't paying the operators for the data,” said Daniels. “And developers aren't paying us to be part of this program. It's free.”

“For an operator, this is a customer-acquisition tool,” said Daniels. “ It's an expense that they will take in order to bring more people onto the Internet.”

And Daniels insists the amount of incremental data usage is quite light. “The data that flows is very very light and not expensive for Reliance Communications or any of our partners,” said Daniels of its India operations.

Basically, mobile service providers and app providers are acting here on clear assumptions that everybody wins if costs do not get in the way. Over time, people who do not use the Internet will come to see the value, and eventually pay for mobile Internet access.

App providers will win as hundreds of millions of regular new users for their apps are created. People get all the benefits of the Internet one normally would expect.

And still, people complain.

Among the complaints is the limitation on bandwidth-intensive app features such as video or images.

But that just makes sense. “It needs to work for, be financially sustainable for, operators,” said Daniels. “And so, the basic services are more text-based.”

Keeping end user costs quite low is an essential requirement for bringing Internet access to hundreds of millions of new users on a sustainable basis. helps do that, in a significant way.

Naysayers can say all they want. helps get hundreds of millions of people exposed to the Internet, and will lead to sustainable use over time.

"When people use free basic services, more of them then decide to pay to access the broader Internet and this enables operators to keep offering these basic services for free. It is not sustainable to offer the whole Internet for free," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO.
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