On Wednesday, operator giant Vodafone introduced the world’s first ‘official’ Facebook phone targeted specifically at the prepay market. The new device is known as the 555 Blue. It will be a group wide offering, specifically aimed at the youth.
Vodafone’s group terminals director, Patrick Chomet, explained that the device which is manufactured by Alcatel and runs a proprietary OS, took an in house team a year to develop. In dedicating this level of resource to the programme, the operator clearly expects a strong return on its investment. Vodafone’s second quarter results, announced last week, a revenue growth by 24.5 % per year on year to £1.5bn, representing 13.7 per cent of group service revenue.
The Facebook phone will be used to capitalise on the opportunity in the prepay sector, by integrating the popular social networking experience with the device. Upon activation, users are presented with the option to either sign up or sign into a Facebook account. The user’s Facebook friends list subsequently becomes integrated with the phonebook. Automatic updating is user definable allowing users to keep costs down, which for Vodafone delivers an opportunity to cash in on data usage. For Facebook it opens up the opportunity to increase its user base in rural and emerging markets where fixed line internet is nonexistent.