Internet.org vice president Chris Evans told reporters at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, this week:
The ambitious goal this year is to roll it out to 100 (countries). We don’t want to focus so much on the number, but we want this to spread to additional countries, operator groups and … see more people coming online, buying data and voice and SMS bundles. The number is indicative of our ambitious goal.
We prioritize all of the countries around the globe in terms of unconnected population, and you get to the usual suspects on the list. We also look for forward-leaning partners that are willing to experiment with us. We still need to look for willing partners that are ready to go … and are aligned with our vision.
Evans told Mashable more than 7 million people have accessed vital Internet services free-of-charge via the Internet.org app to date, and Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared the following statistics earlier in the week:
- Nearly 7 million people used mobile data for the first time during this past year as a result of Internet.org and its partnerships.
- The rate of acquisition for mobile carriers in countries where the Internet.org app has been launched rose by at least 40 percent.
- Tigo has seen its data subscribers in Colombia rise by 50 percent since the launch of the Internet.org app in that country, while in Tanzania, Tigo reported that monthly smartphone sales rose tenfold since the app’s launch there.
- In Zambia, Kenya and Ghana, Airtel saw the number of people using data and data usage increase, and both voice and SMS activity grew across Africa.
Readers: Do you think Internet.org can achieve its goal of getting its app into 100 countries by the end of the year?