Social media is no longer a term that only the privileged boys and girls utter with a lusty smile. It is fast reaching out across all socio-economic barriers to bridge the rural-urban chasms that pretended to be invincible. We are in times when even your friendly auto-driver would have his loyal customers in a special Facebook group and be sending out early morning messages to all!

So yes, Facebook is real. But Aircel is out to prove that free Facebook is real! Their ‘Facebook for all’ service is now launched and Aircel enables its customers – ‘both new and existing, to network and be socially active on Facebook in nine different languages’!

‘But how can you possibly have access to Facebook free,’ asked Specky, my wife giving me her special quizzical expression.

I told her that access would be free so long as Aircel users went on Facebook through the Facebook App, Facebook messenger, and their mobile versions. This free Facebook wasn’t the one you access through the browser.

Specky said, ‘Ah! Now it makes sense. But don’t tell me no other service provider has thought of this?’

‘Well, Airtel did think of it but their Facebook packs are three times the cost that Aircel proposes,’ I said, and then told her that besides the pack advantage, new customers get 50 MB data on Facebook for 60 days after activation. Even existing customers get the same advantage for 30 days. Aircel customers then can opt to either pay 2p/10KB for internet access and access their Facebook or simply go for any of the the special tariff packs for Facebook which is as low as Rs 14 for 100 MB valid for 28 days. Aircel also has a 5 day pack for Rs 5… after all we live in times when even shampoo sells in sachets!

To start with, this ‘Facebook for all’ pack is going to be available in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, and Maharashtra and will be there in other circles soon enough.

The reaching out of the social media is more like the power of mass creativity being unleashed… and we get as much as we share is the philosophy of the modern man. No wonder then that we have tons of updates trolling the online highways and millions of people grasp little nuggets that help them in some little way. Information is something that has always been sought… but this has become more obvious since the revolution of wireless telecommunication.

The first generation of wireless telecommunications operated on analog radio signals and supported only voice transmission. We called them 1G. The 2G world of enhanced communication networks offer us improved voice services, basic data transmission of SMS/MMS/email, the benefits of digital encryption so that privacy is improved, and less battery consumption. The 3G wireless technology brings in high speed internet, allows streaming videos, video conferencing is possible, video IVR is there, high-definition gaming is enabled, large files can be uploaded and downloaded, and TV streaming as well as Mobile TV support is activated.

Specky was reading all that I had been writing and suddenly asked, ‘So do you think Aircel will make even their 3G access packs available at a cost that wouldn’t pinch my pocket?’

I thought for a while and said, ‘Yes, why just Facebook? Why not twitter and other social media platforms as well?’

Well, one advantage is there with us. Let us wait for better online moments to roll in soon.



Arvind Passey
01 April 2014


This article was published in ‘The Education Post’ dated 31 March 2014…

2014_03_31_The Page Review_The Education Post_Free Facebook is Real

2014_03_31_The Page Review_The Education Post_Free Facebook is Real