Facebook, MPT to Offer Text-Only Version of Facebook During Health Crisis

21 Apr 2020

Yangon, Myanmar, April 21, 2020 – Today, Facebook and Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), shared that they will provide people in Myanmar access to a text-only version of Facebook, without data charges.

During this COVID-19 health crisis, it’s important to ensure that people have access to reliable information and that they can connect with their loved ones. This allows people in Myanmar to have more consistent access to information, including Facebook’s Coronavirus Information Center, without being charged for data on their phones.

How does it work?

Starting today, customers of MPT will be able to choose to access text-only Facebook and Messenger without data charges.

“Facebook is one of the main ways people in Myanmar communicate and it’s important that, particularly during this global health crisis, people are able to access reliable health information about COVID-19, without data charges, and stay in touch with loved ones. We realize the importance of connecting people at this crucial time and are pleased to be playing our part to help give people access to reliable sources of information,” said Tom Chottayil Varghese, Public Policy Manager, Connectivity and Access Policy, Facebook.

“At MPT, our top priority is to keep Myanmar connected during this difficult time. We also understand that reliable connectivity is crucial for our customers to stay connected with their loved ones and get the most important health information accurately and in real-time. Through this partnership with Facebook, our customers can access a version of Facebook without any data charges. We’re also working closely with respective government agencies in the fight against COVID-19,” said Tetsunori Nagashima, Chief Commercial Officer of MPT-KSGM JO.

“The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) has encouraged Myanmar’s mobile operators to provide more affordable services to people during this COVID-19 health crisis. We are pleased to see this initiative by Facebook and Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) to provide access to a zero-rated version of Facebook, which will allow people to stay connected and to access reliable health information during this time of crisis,” said U Soe Thein, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Connecting people to reliable health information

Since COVID-19 was declared a health emergency, Facebook has been working closely with global and national health authorities to promote credible health information and to support the work of national health organizations. The Coronavirus Information Center, which launched in Myanmar earlier this month, is a centralized place for people to find information and resources from trusted health authorities. In Myanmar, we are connecting people to health resources and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF Myanmar and the Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS).

This information center has been translated into more than 40 languages around the world.

MPT has also joined countrywide efforts to respond to COVID-19 by providing special telecom offers including a “5 Mins in 1 Hour” promotion for its customers to keep Myanmar connected during this time. Additionally, MPT offers free and unlimited access to websites of the Ministry of Health and Sport, Myanmar Medical Association and four well-known news sites.

MPT is also supporting 40 quarantine locations across the country with fiber internet. The operator has also donated over 15,450 SIM cards with mobile data to people at quarantine centers in Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw, Mon, Thanintharyi and Kayin State to keep them connected  with their families and officials.