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After learning valuable lessons from initiatives with telecoms operators in recent years, Facebook is partnering with mobile carriers to offer Free Basics (formerly also called, a free mobile data/Internet service that provides “light” versions of Facebook and other digital services.


  • Africa has the largest number of mobile operators offering the Free Basics service (15) followed by Asia (11) and Latin America (5). The operators in Africa have a combined 95 million subscription base compared with 24 million in Latin America and 380 million in Asia.
  • There were 15 million people using Free Basics at the end of September, which represents 10% of the total combined 3G and 4G subscriber base of operators offering the service and 3% of the total number of subscriptions across these operators.
  • Facebook claims that its first wave of partners is characterized by operators that are “data leaders” and “data-centric.” However, Facebook’s own data suggests that market leaders experience faster growth in their mobile data customer base after launching Free Basics than challenger operators.

Features and Benefits

  • Understand the Free Basics value proposition
  • Learn how Facebook helps operators to market Free Basics and upsell users to a full data plan
  • Assess the risk of cannibalization from offering Free Basics

Key questions answered

  • How is Facebook’s Free Basics service being viewed by mobile operators?
  • What types of operators are offering Free Basics?
  • What is the impact of Free Basics on mobile operators’ data revenues?
  • How are operators positioning the Free Basics service?

Table of contents


  • In brief
  • Ovum view


  • Recommendations for Facebook
  • Recommendations for mobile network operators

Market status

  • How Free Basics differs from other zero-rating initiatives
  • 31 operators, 29 countries, and 15 million users

Market dynamics

  • Building the business case for partnering with

Market development

  • Transitioning from market challengers to market leaders
  • Facebook and the Internet

Results and ROI

  • Modeling the impact of offering


  • Further reading
  • Author

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