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Facebook finds a new telecom friend in the TM Forum

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The TM Forum has arguably made a significant step forward in signing up none other than Facebook and timing the announcement to coincide with the start of its TM Forum Live shindig in Nice, France.

The OSS/BSS standards body is making a concerted push to broaden its appeal beyond the narrow confines of the ‘pure’ telecoms industry, reckoning that its now mature and well-tested body of standards and frameworks for connectivity should be of great use to players in the broader online community. No doubt Facebook was a prime target for TM Forum's new President and CEO, Peter Sany (see our interview: TM Forum goes for a name (and mission) changeas he looks to fold leading players from non-telco verticals into the Forum’s programmes.

Facebook is expected to contribute to the Forum’s Catalyst Programme which solves common connectivity problems by mashing together participants from different vendors and operators and getting them to come up with demonstrable proofs of concept.

Facebook, too, has been looking for new friends in telecoms with a view to furthering its internet.org initiative, launched in 2014, which seeks to offer free basic Internet services  through partnerships with network operators.

This programme has brought Facebook into conflict with public interest groups around the globe who see it as a brazenly ‘non-neutral’ attempt to plant the Facebook flag in emerging and developing countries to get a head start on home-grown social networks.

So far (just a few months) internet.org claims to have brought more than 9 million people online, leaving just 4 billion yet to connect, but then... every little helps.

View what Facebook’s Director of Global Operator Partnerships, Markku Mäkeläinen, had to say in his opening keynote at TM Forum Live!  

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