Facebook Buys Finnish Mobile Data Firm

Facebook is acquiring Pryte, a Finnish start-up that makes it easier for people in emerging markets to access mobile applications inexpensively.

Facebook did not disclose terms of the deal, which is expected to close later this month.

Pryte’s service allows consumers without wireless data plans to use apps like Facebook or Google Maps by selling “bite-sized data packages” for specific apps.

“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,” the company said in an announcement posted on its Web site Tuesday.

As part of Facebook, it plans to further the goal of Facebook’s Internet.org project “of making affordable Internet access available to everyone in the world.” Facebook launched the nonprofit initiative last year with partners including Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia and Samsung. The aim is to expand Internet access in developing countries partly by making data use more efficient.



Facebook is also working with operators in some countries to provide free access to its service. More recently, it has begun building drones and satellites that will provide Internet access to remote parts of the world.

According to a Reuters report, 1-year-old Pryte has 30 employees, though it isn’t clear how many will be heading to Facebook. A company spokesperson said key members of the Pryte team would join Facebook's offices in London and Singapore. 

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