India is one of the few countries that boasts of first time Internet users getting introduced to Internet via smartphones. The plummeting smartphone prices and the increased set of features in entry-level phones have helped people get connected. Whatsapp is another such phenomena that lured people to start using Internet-enabled phones.
What is internet.org and how does it work?
Telcos like Reliance have come up with something that they call Free Internet which is a service wherein users will get free unlimited access to a preselected list of services. Internet.org is a joint effort of social networking companies like Facebook along with other OEMs and Telcos to facilitate affordable and efficient Internet access to everybody.
Reliance users for instance can just login to internet.org and use all the services listed without depleting their data balance or even opting for a data pack. This service will be highly beneficial for first time Internet users as they will be able to move around freely and explore the online world without worrying about the data bills. Another aspect of Internet.org is the fact that it will be easy for the new Internet users to access most of the essential stuff at a single place.
At the time of launch, there are a total of 33 web services which are being offered free of charge to the users of internet.org on Rcom network.
Most of these services have links to apps outside of internet.org and the user will be shown a popup notification saying that they are now leaving internet.org and basic data charges will apply if they choose to continue. The current list of free services is shown below.
We found the app to load pretty smoothly, On the second screen, we were presented with the option of buying app specific short duration data packs for popular services like Facebook and WhatsApp.
How helpful will it be for the first time Internet users?
The Internet.org can spearhead a revolution especially in the rural areas and try to bring them at par with the urban Internet users. Senior smartphone users can also be benefited from this scheme as they can start using services like Facebook and can also experience other contents.
The fact that internet.org is free of cost will ignite a curiosity in the minds of users who have been staying away from mobile Internet due to the cost factor. The free Internet, on the other hand, will help the service provider to observe the customers closely and also monetize accordingly.
Internet.org will open up an entirely new platforms even for Government organisations to list their own services in a bid to help the farmers and the rural folks, in general. The velocity of information flow will be greater and even the remote places will get to experience free mobile Internet.
Internet.org is currently introduced by Reliance in just 6 circles and in due course of time it will be made available on PAN India basis. It is a win-win situation for FB and Rcom, for the subscriber it can be beneficial if used tactfully and within the ecosystem of internet.org itself.