A new contract between Facebook and T-Mobile subsidiary GoSmart will help provide prepaid users with free data access. There’s one catch, though: you can only use the data to access Facebook. The new service launches in January, offering unlimited access to status updates, event invitations and embedded videos, though if you follow a link off the social network’s website you’re on your own data-wise.
The program may be new to the U.S., but in select regions around the world Facebook already offers free data as a way to get consumers who can’t afford a data plan onto its mobile app. The new service will likely also provide a boost for GoSmart, which offers multiple plans, including one that costs $30 month and provides unlimited talk and text, one for $35 per month with unlimited talk, text and 2G web surfing, and a $45 monthly plan with unlimited talk, text and “high speed” web. GoSmart only operates on a 3G network, however,
“Facebook is the most important online communication tool we’ve seen come around,” T-Mobile’s vice president of partner brands Gavin Dillon told AllThingsD, implying that the social network may be more than just a fun way to waste time. The move may help transition Facebook from just another app to a core mobile service on par with phones calls and text messages, giving it an additional edge over competition from companies such as Twitter, Google and Snapchat.