Money Matters - Simplified

Now, stay connected on Facebook without internet

This application works without the GPRS connection via the menu-based Unstructured Supplementary Data (USSD) technology which is normally used by GSM cellular telephones to send alerts to the mobile phone users about their balance at the end of call.

Want to chat with your friends on Facebook without spending money on internet usage? A Singapore-based software applications developer U2opia Mobile has made it possible to access Facebook on all kind of handsets without connecting to internet.

According to multiple online published media reports, U2Opia Mobile has developed a new application for mobile phones that will allow phone users to access Facebook on all kind of handsets without paying for a data connection.

Access Facebook without internet
Based on Fonetwish, which was jointly developed by U2opia Mobile and Facebook, this application was launched on Tuesday by U2opia with Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel.

This application works without the GPRS connection via the menu-based Unstructured Supplementary Data (USSD) technology which is normally used by GSM cellular telephones to send alerts to the mobile phone users about their balance at the end of call.

"We are using USSD technology, which will enable users to access Facebook without having a GPRS connection on their phones," said Sumesh Menon, the co-founder and CEO of U2Opia Mobile.

According to multiple online published media reports, U2Opia Mobile has developed a new application for mobile phones that will allow phone users to access Facebook on all kind of handsets without paying for a data connection.

USSD acts as browser
Instead of using a regular browser, the USSD menu acts as browser to extract content to the phone, helping users send and view updates on their friends’ Facebook walls.

"It is like sms and hence, the load on the network is negligible. We have built some commands through which a user can receive alerts on activity happening on his wall as well post an update," said Menon.

The technology will help a user receive alerts, post updates and know activities around with the application, however, it will not provide access to graphics, he said.

Limitations of the technology
While updating posts on Facebook through this USSD service is free of cost for Airtel customers, Rs 1 per day will be applicable to avail all other features, which enable viewing news feeds, commenting on or liking news feed stories, posting on friends' walls, confirming friend requests, viewing notifications and finding as well as adding friends.

Charges for accessing the full-feature application will be deducted from their phone balance.

"In the Indian market scenario, where the penetration of smart phones is relatively low and the use of internet on mobiles is primarily limited to key cities, many users are excluded from accessing their Facebook accounts via mobile phones," said Shireesh Joshi, Bharti Airtel Director - Marketing, Mobile Services, in a statement.

"We look forward to bringing millions of Facebook users in India closer to their love for social networking by allowing them to access it anytime, anywhere on their Airtel-powered mobile phones," he added.

Airtel users can dial *325# to access Facebook without subscribing to data plans, while non-qwerty mobile handset users can dial *fbk# for the service.

Facebook is the dominant social networking website globally, but it is still in second place in India with around 25 million users behind Google's Orkut, which is still in leading comfortably with 40 million users.