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Facebook gives Internet.org a boost with Pryte purchase

Pryte makes mobile data more affordable by selling it on a need-to and per app basis

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
June 3, 2014 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/374d

Facebook's big goal these days is to connect the rest of the world with the Internet. That does not just mean giving people access, though that is a major part of it, but also making it affordable. I would venture that the second part of that equation might actually be harder than the first.

That is why it picked up Pryte, a yet to be released service that was was working on a way to give people a way to access specific apps in small packages, even if they did not have a data plan, to make their Internet more affordable. Pryte revealed the news in a blog post on Tuesday. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed. 

Facebook's mission, the company said, is "to connect the world by partnering with operators to bring people online in a profitable way aligns closely with our team’s goals."

"We are excited to get started, and make an even greater impact by advancing the work we are doing in collaboration with Facebook’s great team working to further Internet.org’s goal of making affordable Internet access available to everyone in the world."

Founded in 2013, Pryte was attempting to make Internet affordable for developing markets by having people only pay for what they use. That makes it easier, and cheaper, for both the operators and the users.

The company allows single-click buying of mobile data on a "need-to and per app basis," something that it says, "users love while having full control over the costs."

There was no indication of whether or not Pryte will remain in operation, or if members of the team will be coming to work at Facebook, but it is not surprising that the team will be working on Facebook's Internet.org project.

The Internet.org project was first announced in August of last year, with the stated goals of making access more affordable, making the use of data more efficient and helping businesses drive access. The end result of the project being that it would connect the next five billion people on the planet to the Internet.

So far, it seems its efforts seem to be going well, as Zuckerberg has revealed that, through Internet.org's work in the Philippines and Paraguay alone has given internet access to 3 million new people. 

In February, Internet.org announced partnerships with Rwandan government, Nokia, edX and Airtel for a a pilot project called SocialEDU, which will help provide students in Rwanda with free access to a collaborative online education experience.

It also with teamed up with Ericsson to create the Internet.org Innovation Lab, which will give developers the ability to test their apps in real world environments at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters. And, lastly, it entered into a partnership with with Unilever, with the goal of bringing Internet access to the millions of people who live in rural India.

In March, it was also revealed that Facebook had started a Connectivity Lab, which the company was going to use build drones to help get the entire world online. With the drones, Facebook can give the Internet to the people. With Pryte, it can make it affordable.

“The Pryte team will be an exciting addition to Facebook. Their deep industry experience working with mobile operators aligns closely with the initiatives we pursue with Internet.org, to partner with operators to bring affordable internet access to the next 5 billion people, in a profitable way," a Facebook spokesperson told VatorNews.

This is Facebook's sixth acquisition this year following the purchase of Indian startup Little Eye Labs, which provides performance analysis and monitoring tools for Android developers, and then the acquisition of social sharing service Branch Media, both in January.

In February, Facebook bought mobile messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion, and in March it picked up immersive virtual reality technology company Oculus for $2 billion. In April the company bought Moves, an all-day activity diary for smartphones.

(Image source: pryte.com)

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