Facebook has acquired Pryte, a one-year-old Finnish mobile data firm which is yet to launch publicly. The firm based out of Helsinki provides internet access on a ‘need-to’ and ‘per-app’ basis. The team has developed the technology to serve the developing markets, where people have limited access to and low affordability with mobile data. Think of their service as a short-term coupon to access Facebook or Twitter, without paying for a mobile data plan for a full month.
Pryte’s technology enables the selling of mobile data packages inside or on top of any app’s user flow without changes to the apps. It can handle complex apps, including multimedia, like YouTube and mashups like Foursquare without problems.
The financial terms of the deal are unknown, but Facebook spokeswoman Vanessa Chan said that it would be clear when the deal closes later this month.
The Pryte team which comprises of no more than 30 employees shared an announcement for the same.
“Today, we are delighted to announce that our team will be joining Facebook. Since we launched Pryte we have worked to reimagine the way mobile data works in an app-driven world, by enabling partnerships between app and content providers, and mobile operators.
Now, we’re joining Facebook, whose mission 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.
We want to express appreciation to our investors, who believed in us and in our vision from the early days. Thank you to everyone who has joined us on this journey.”
This looks like an acqui-hire, as Facebook is primarily interested in the Pryte team, led by Chief Executive Markku Makelainen. Pryte has valuable experience and relationships working with wireless operators, particularly in emerging markets.
The deal is a step ahead in Facebook’s latest effort to further its mission of bringing internet to people in under-developed and developing markets. It launched Internet.org in August last year. The social giant has already partnered with wireless operators in many countries and offers ‘free access bundles’ as ‘lucrative’ add-ons. The company is in the process of building drones and satellites that will beam Internet access to remote regions of the world.
Mark Zuckerberg has said several times that connecting the next five billion people to the Internet is one of the company’s top priorities going forward.