A lot of Facebook’s future subscriber growth hinges on how well it does in markets outside of the U.S., and on non-smartphone devices; and today a deal was announced that looks like it could help the social network take a big step in that direction. The Myriad Group, which develops services for feature phones, says it has teamed up with Facebook to extend its service on mobile devices in the Middle East, Indonesia and Malaysia — specifically in deals involving the mobile carriers Celcom in Malaysia, Indosat in Indonesia and Mobily in Saudi Arabia. The company says that deal adds 70 million mobile subscribers to Facebook’s addressable base.
Under the terms of the agreement Myriad will deliver social mobile messaging services — SMS to most people — to people with feature devices. The company has already been working on enabling Facebook connectivity in other emerging markets. It already provides such services in Africa in partnership with the mobile operator Orange.
Myriad calls this latest news a collaboration with Facebook. It’s a text-based social mobile messaging service that effectively helps Facebook get used by the millions of mobile users out there that do not have smartphones or fast data connections.
Myriad estimates that there are some 3 billion users of low-end devices worldwide today — a large market that Facebook needs to tackle if it wants to keep growing. The company says that its solutions cover some 2.5 billion users.
“Our successful partnerships with Tier 1 carriers such as Telefónica in Latin America, Vodafone in India and Orange in Africa, combined with recent operator wins across Asia and the Middle East, as well as our innovative teamwork with Facebook, all mark yet another key milestone for Myriad as we continue to aggressively grow our global footprint and reinforce our market dominance as a mobile social powerhouse,” Simon Wilkinson, CEO of Myriad Group, said in a statement.