Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Facebook launch 'Zero' site for mobile phones

Rory Cellan-Jones uncovers the software battle at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress.

The world's biggest social network has revealed details of a stripped-down, text-only version of its mobile site called Facebook Zero.

The low-bandwidth site is aimed at people viewing Facebook on their mobile and will launch "in the coming weeks".

The social network recently said that more than 100 million people now access Facebook from their phone.

Analysts at CCS Insight said that the new site could help operators free-up critical bandwidth on their networks.

Data from industry body the GSM Association recently revealed that Facebook accounts for nearly half of all the time people in the UK spend going online using their phones.

The data showed that people in the UK spent around 2.2bn minutes browsing the social network during December alone.

Facebook said the new site "omits data intensive applications like photos".

"We are discussing it... as an option to make Facebook on the mobile web available to everyone, anywhere and allow operators to encourage more mobile internet usage," said a spokesperson for the firm.

Facebook already offers a slimmed down version of the version of its site - called Facebook Lite - for people with slow or poor internet connections. It is aimed at users in the developing world.

The site was announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which runs from 15-18 February.

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