Vodacom launches free Facebook Flex service

Vodacom has launched Facebook Flex, which will allow Vodacom customers free access to Facebook. It is the “first of many products to launch under the Vodacom Siyakha platform.”

Vodacom explains: “Facebook Flex will give customers on the Vodacom network an opportunity to connect with friends and family using the basic version of Facebook for free.”

Once signed up, Vodacom users will be able to update their Facebook status and comment on posts without using data. They can easily switch from the free version of Facebook to data mode in order to access the service in its entirety.

According to Vodacom, Siyakha, which means “we are building” in isiZulu, is a platform that will offer free (zero-rated) and lower priced products and services to the emerging prepaid segment of Vodacom’s customer base. This includes a range of Vodacom insurance products, free health content from the TV series Hello Doctor, as well as Vodacom’s infotainment platform Video Play.

For example, for just 99 cents Siyakha customers can view the latest music content and the local soapies. In terms of access to other free content, Siyakha will house Vodacom’s existing educational portals, and careers and jobs websites.

Nyimpini Mabunda, chief officer of the consumer business unit, says that Vodacom’s Siyakha initiative is an important part of Vodacom’s effort to ensure digital inclusion for all its customers.

Mabunda adds: “Network operators like ourselves have a role to play in reducing the digital divide, particularly between those in urban and rural areas. In all our efforts we are mindful of the immense pressures that consumers face which are largely associated with the cost to communicate. The popularity and the extensive use of social media services, such as Facebook, as a means of communication has made it a necessity rather than a luxury.”

To use Facebook Flex, customers can log onto Facebook.com or dial #111*32#.