A new technology developed by digital security firm Gemalto will soon see Facebook, the world’s most popular social network, coming to any mobile phone handset, regardless of whether it has a data connection or subscription.
Facebook integration comes by way of its Facebook for SIM service, which embeds the Facebook software application into the SIM card. This means that the client will be 100% compatible with any mobile phone that uses a SIM card for its carrier connectivity.
The experience won’t be as visually aesthetic as it would be if you were accessing the social network on your smartphone but Gemalto’s solution will still be able to deliver friend requests, status updates, wall posts and messages. Users can sign up for the service and log into their accounts directly from the SIM application and notifications can be delivered to the phone’s screen to display any messages, events or posts shared on their friends’ walls.
The Facebook client can also search the contacts on their SIM card and match them to Facebook friends, sending them requests in the process.
“Increasingly people want to be able to stay connected and communicate with their friends on Facebook anytime, anywhere,” said Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile Business, Facebook. “Gemalto has developed a creative solution in Facebook for SIM that enables people without mobile data plans to stay connected to their friends on Facebook in an affordable way.”
The application doesn’t need a data-plan because it utilises SMS technology. This means that both pay-as-you-go and pay-monthly customers are able to use the application. To encourage consumers to use the service, Gemalto is offering Facebook for SIM on a limited free trial period but will then operate on a subscription model.
It is not known whether the SMS messages will be charged to the user, it could prove a barrier to entry in emerging markets if the messages are debited from a customers balance on-top of a monthly charge.
That said, the service could be of enormous use to countries where mobile infrastructures are still developing, giving them access to the social network regardless of whether there is an internet connection or not.