Last month, Cell C announced it had partnered with Facebook’s Internet.org to launch the free service for South African customers on the mobile network at the beginning of this month, bringing with it free access to Facebook and a host of other content.

So, how exactly does internet.org work and what are its benefits? Read on and we’ll take you through it.

Internet.org is free for all Cell C contract customers, while those on prepaid must keep their line active by recharging at least once every 30 days to keep accessing the service.

Before getting into all the details, an important factor we picked up when we first tried internet.org out is that it’s won’t work when connected to WiFi, even if you are a Cell C customer. Upon further testing, we saw that if you switch to your mobile connection, visit the site on your browser (it should definitely let you in by now) and switch back to WiFi, you should be able to carry on from there.

On the internet.org home page, you’ll see a list of all the free services available. We’ve summarised description of what you can do on them:Screenshot_2015-07-07-14-48-34

Facebook

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The main service that’s punted on Internet.org is Facebook. Here you can post and view and status updates, comments, see their News Feed, timeline and profiles of other users and use Facebook Messenger for text chat. Standard data rates will apply for all other Facebook-related activities such as posting and viewing videos and voice calling on Messenger.

It doesn’t look as sophisticated as the Facebook app, but you shouldn’t have any hassles with navigating it.

Information Channels

Bing, Cell C, wikiHow and Wikipedia

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You can use the Bing search engine to look up information and images. Visit the Cell C mobisite, look up a bunch of “how tos” on wikiHow and browse the Wikipedia online encyclopaedia.

Education Channels

BeSmart, LoveWords, FunDza, Scholars4Dev, Wattpad, WorldReader and D-Siders

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BeSmart helps with tips, quizzes, games and information on a number of topics from job interviews, history, news, English grammar maths and science.

LoveWors is for all the wordsmiths who enjoy reading and writing poetry and short stories and polishing their English skills through quizzes and tests.

FunDza contains themed stories, essays and poems written by ordinary young people on the portal. If you fancy yourself a future author, you can also submit your own stories to be published on FunDza.

Scholars4Dev helps South African youth find scholarships to study at certain tertiary institutions abroad.

Wattpad and WorldReader are other story and book reading apps you can use to read stories upcoming authors. You can also save a book for offline reading and comment and rate it once you’re done.

D-Siders is a life orientation-esque daily mobile soapie design to teach youth about pressings social issues. Users can also discuss some of the topics addressed in each episode.

Women Channels

Intel She Will Connect, Girl Effect, iLearn

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Intel She Will Connect educates girls and women about how they can get connected to and use the internet and what the benefits of being connected are.

Girl Effect is a movement aimed at reaching out to girls in Africa and offering them life tips and advice and giving them a platform to share about their life stories, struggles and triumphs.

iLearn is a financial education platform that seeks to teach women about handling their money, starting their own company and offers inspirational stories from other women who have become successful entrepreneurs.

Health Channels

Health24, BabyCentre and MAMA, HIV360 and Facts for Life

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Health24 is 24.com’s general health information portal where you can read up on the latest health news.

BabyCentre and MAMA – which was developed in South Africa – helps expectant mothers and moms with a baby from 0 to 12 months learn all they need to know about pregnancy, taking care of yourself and your baby and a baby’s milestones. Moms can also connect with each other and exchange advice and tips.

HIV360 teaches users all about HIV or AIDS, how to prevent either one and how to live positively with it.

Facts for Life helps mothers  take care of their unborn baby, newborn, infant or toddlers by provding them with health information on a range of illnesses common among children.

Marketplace

Gumtree and OLX

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Get access to two of South Africa’s biggest online classifieds where you can buy or sell anything from electronics, cars, appliances and property for rent or sale.

News Channels

BBC News, News24 and SuperSport

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Read up on international, continental and local news stories from the BBC, News24 and Supersport.

Finance and jobs Channels

Careers24, SmartBusiness and Money Matters

Screenshot_2015-07-07-16-10-05Careers24 allows you to browse available job posts and upload your CV to apply for them.

For those who prefer being their own boss, SmartBusiness will give you information and advice on how to go about doing so, while Money Matters will teach consumers how to budget and handle their money well.

[Main image – CC by mkhmarketing]