Facebook’s Talktime program in India pays new mobile users in calling credit

Facebook has launched a program in India called Talktime, which gives 50 Rupees (almost $1) in calling credits to users who sign up for Facebook on their mobile devices. Users also get an additional 50 Rupees for every user they refer who signs up to Facebook with a mobile device.

An Inside Facebook reader first tipped us to a story about Talktime posted on Machine Happy. A Facebook spokesperson has since confirmed the program to TechCrunch with the following statment:

“We partner with a number of telecoms companies around the world, many of whom offer incentives for their customers to use Facebook, such as zero rating mobile Internet access to the service. This test is another such initiative.”

Facebook’s Talktime initiative in India is in line with the social network’s strategy in territories where most users are likely to access Facebook through their phones. The company says it had 59 million MAU in India in June, an increase of 84 percent compared to the same period in 2011.

Facebook Head of Mobile Partnerships Emily White said in June that 30 percent of users in India are now registering for the site through mobile phones. It’s likely these users are among those who never visit Facebook on desktop. Most are using the Facebook for Every Phone App, a native mobile app compatible with more than 3,600 different Java-enabled feature phones. An analysis using the Facebook ad tool suggests that about 35 percent of India’s active users are feature phone users and about 17 percent are smartphone or tablet users.