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Facebook joins GSMA as an associate member

Facebook has joined the GSM Association, giving a boost to its involvement in the mobile industry in terms of partnerships with carriers and its Internet.org effort.

Facebook mobile

Facebook has signed on as a member of the GSM Association, the worldwide trade organization of mobile carriers and other stakeholders in the mobile ecosystem that advocates the standardization, deployment and promotion of digital wireless technologies.

This move is seen as a commitment on the social networking company’s part to become more deeply involved not only in mobile devices, but also in mobile standards, as well as policy issues that relate to mobility and mobile technology.

Facebook is considered as a ” significant player in the mobile ecosystem,” said GSMA spokeswoman Claire Cranton to Fierce Wireless, adding that the organization has actually had a relationship with the social networking company for several years.

The GSMA has actually worked with other social networking companies before, in presenting keynote addresses at the annual Mobile World Congress. These include location-based social network Foursquare, for instance. However, Facebook is the first social networking firm to actually join the group. However, because Facebook does not own any wireless spectrum or cellular towers at this time, it is not yet eligible for a full membership.

Still, this move is seen as an affirmation that Facebook is serious about its efforts to expand social media access to emerging markets. For one, the company’s Facebook for Every Phone app, based on Java, currently runs on 100 million feature phones across the world. Facebook has also partnered with local carriers to provide subsidized or free access to both smartphone and feature phone users.

Facebook has grappled with becoming a relevant brand and community in the mobile scene, amid the rise of mobile devices as the preferred means of accessing the Internet in both developed and emerging economies. The company has seen some success to date, as revenues from mobile ads  have exceeded its target as of 3Q 2013. During this period, 49 percent of Facebook’s $1.8 billion revenue was from mobile, higher than its 41 percent mobile coverage from second quarter of the year, and drastically higher than the 14 percent as of 3Q 2012.

With its membership in the GSMA, carriers, app developers and mobile users can perhaps expect Facebook to be a more active player in the industry.

Source: Fierce Wireless

J. Angelo Racoma
J. Angelo Racoma has written extensively about mobile, social media, enterprise apps and startups. Angelo develops business case studies for Microsoft enterprise applications and services. He is also co-founder at WorkSmartr, a small outsourcing team.

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