Any phone can now be a Facebook phone, thanks to Gemalto, which has managed to embed a Facebook app into the SIM card.
Users can access friend requests, status updates, wall posts and messages, even without a data connection, as the software uses SMS technology. It therefore works for prepaid as well as for pay-monthly customers.
Facebook for SIM lets people sign up for the service and log in directly from the SIM application. Interactive Facebook messages pop up on the phone’s screen so people can share posts and events immediately. Users can also automatically search their SIM phonebook for other friends and send them requests.
“Increasingly people want to be able to stay connected and communicate with their friends on Facebook anytime, anywhere,” said Henri Moissinac, head of mobile business for Facebook.
“Gemalto has developed a creative solution in Facebook for SIM that enables people without mobile data plans to stay connected to their friends on Facebook in an affordable way.”
Following an initial limited free trial period, Facebook for SIM will be avaiable as a subscription allowing unlimited access for certain periods of time – there’s no word on the actual pricing yet. But if it’s not overly high, the application could prove a huge hit in developing countries such as India where ‘dumb phones’ are still widespread.
“Facebook for SIM enables operators to leverage two of their main assets: the SMS to communicate with the web application and the SIM for application distribution to the masses,” said Philippe Vallée, executive vice president of Gemalto.
“Over 200 million people already use Facebook on handsets and those are twice as active as non-mobile users. By providing anytime, anywhere availability to the social network, Gemalto delivers on the growing demand for mobile connectivity all over the world.”