By 23 August 2011 | Categories: news


Vodacom this week launched its Vodafone 555 Blue phone, which features integrated Facebook functionality, to Vodacom customers in South Africa.

The Vodafone 555 Blue, which was developed in collaboration with Facebook, has a 2.4” display and QWERTY keypad. In a bid to offer an integrated Facebook experience, the phone incorporates typical social networking functions such as status updates and photo sharing. Additionally, Facebook is built into the core of the phone, and runs when the phone is switched on. The phone further integrates Facebook messages alongside texts and email, and updates one’s Facebook account regularly in the background, flagging new items on the homescreen.

Similarly to HTC’s ChaCha, the Vodafone 555 Blue has a dedicated Facebook button, which can be customised with a variety of tasks, such as posting a status update with photos from the gallery or with links from the browser. However, unlike the ChaCha, the Vodafone 555 Blue, which was launched in the UK, was developed in collaboration with Facebook.

Vodacom’s managing executive of marketing, Enzo Scarcella, explained that social networking using mobile phones is becoming increasingly important amongst customers who want to stay connected regardless of the time or place. “This global trend is relevant to South Africa too. There are currently over 4.1 million Facebook users in South Africa. The Vodafone 555 Blue will provide more South Africans in the emerging market with an affordable way to access the world’s largest social networking site,” he continued.

“Facebook wants to make every phone social and Vodafone has taken the integration of Facebook to the next stage for an affordable mobile device with the Vodafone 555 Blue,” added Jonathan Labin, client partner, Central Eastern Europe Middle East and Africa  of Facebook. “We’re really happy that Vodafone will distribute this phone globally and we hope to do much more with them to bring the mobile, social internet to people everywhere,” he said. 

The device is available in participating Vodacom outlets, and has a RRP of R749 on Prepaid or for R99 per month on a Top Up 99 Vodacom 4 Less contract. Both deals will include free 30 MB of data which should provide for a month of Facebook browsing. 

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