East African buyers of the Nokia Asha 501 will receive free Facebook on the Airtel network, as the operator seeks to exploit the social network’s popularity.
Nokia said through the partnership it wants to grow its Asha customer base, while Airtel targets data users.
According to the agreement, those purchasing the Asha at a cost of KSh8,000 (US$91) will enjoy free Facebook for three months.
“The growth of Facebook in East Africa continues to be significant, especially amongst the youth. As a company we see the enormous opportunity in the youth market and we are committed to providing innovative products and added value in this space,” said Bruce Howe, general manager for East Africa.
According to projections there are 2.2 million Facebook users in Kenya, making it the most popular social media platform ahead of Twitter with 500,000.
A statement from both companies said: “The growth in mobile data consumption can largely be attributed to the popularity of social media. This craze, particularly amongst the youth market, is encouraging companies to enter strategic partnerships to offer attractive packages and incentives to consumers as they strive to stay ahead of the game.”
Andre Beyers, Airtel chief marketing officer, said the partnership will increase access to the internet
“By providing free access to Facebook on the new Nokia Asha 501, we are combining a beautifully designed smartphone, new UI with a simple swipe action and the value add for access to the most popular social network,” said Beyers.
“This highlights Airtel and Nokia’s commitment to deliver great mobile products and services to our valued consumers.”