HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

Facebook acquires Pryte to connect less developed markets

Reuters  San Francisco, June 03, 2014
First Published: 23:54 IST(3/6/2014) | Last Updated: 01:45 IST(4/6/2014)

In yet another move to connect people in under-developed parts of the world, Facebook Inc announced that it will acquire Finnish mobile data plan firm Pryte.

Pryte’s service, which has not publicly launched yet, seeks to make it easier for consumers without wireless data plans to use online services by selling short-term passes that would provide access to particular mobile apps, such as Facebook or Foursquare.

Facebook did not disclose financial terms of the deal, which  spokeswoman Vanessa Chan said is expected to close later this month.

Facebook is primarily interested in the team behind Pryte, led by Chief Executive Markku Makelainen. “The year old company has valuable experience and relationships working with wireless operators, particularly in emerging markets,” Chan said. The company has fewer than 30 employees, though it’s not clear how many will join Facebook.

Facebook has partnered with wireless operators in certain countries to offer free access to its social network. The company is also building drones and satellites that will beam Internet access to remote regions of the world.

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