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GSMA And Facebook Announce Joint Initiative To Connect The Unconnected

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Facebook has announced an initiative with the GSMA to reduce the cost of mobile services in developing countries in order to expand internet access, and hence the reach of its own services.

The activities undertaken by the GSMA and Facebook will entail working with governments in developing markets to address key factors that have an impact on affordability and availability.

"While there are nearly 7 billion mobile connections worldwide, there are only 3.4 billion people that currently have mobile phones," said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. "Connecting the next billion is a major goal of the GSMA and we are pleased to be working with Facebook and Internet.org to make this a reality."

The partnership will focus on creating a sustainable environment to incentivise mobile infrastructure investment and usage, as well as eliminating or reducing existing mobile-specific taxation or refraining from imposing new such tax regimes. The GSMA and Facebook recently issued reports elaborating on these issues.

Together, the GSMA and Facebook will also address a range of other issues that will improve affordability and help to connect the world's population to the Internet, such as: maximising the availability of harmonised spectrum to drive mobile broadband adoption; evaluating the establishment of local Internet Exchange Points (IXPs); fostering the development of local Internet content; and examining the effectiveness of Universal Service Funds.

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