Facebook has acquired a Finnish company called Pryte, an outfit that is set to specialise in “…single-click buying of mobile data on a need-to and per app basis”. The weird thing is that Pryte has yet to officially start doing business, so someone at Facebook HQ seems to have a crystal ball in hand for this one.
The terms of the deal have not been disclosed to anyone other than the company that has merged with the social network as yet so we have no way of knowing what value Facebook has placed on the technology that they will (presumably) be incorporating in the future. Pryte’s announcement said that ” 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.”
The whole idea behind Pryte is to allow mobile internet users to buy small bits of data for specific apps or websites on an as-needed basis – something that could come in useful for developing countries, where the initiative was to be focused, where internet users only need access to one or two specific online locations or functions.
Facebook hasn’t given any indications what they will be doing with the company but it’s not a stretch to believe that they’re looking at introducing much cheaper, targeted internet access to developing countries. They’ll have their work cut out convincing South Africans to make use of the service but other African countries may jump at the chance to surf the mobile web on their own terms.