Users of the free mobile service in 17 countries have accessed health services, one of the most featured content channels, over a million times in the last month. is marking its first anniversary this week since launching in Zambia on 31st July.

To date it has partnered with mobile services to spread to Colombia, Bolivia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Guatemala, India, Philippines, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Senegal, Ghana, Angola and Malawi and is available to more than one billion people.

The service’s health channels feature sites for expecting mothers, those living with HIV and AIDS, women and teenagers among others, providing helpful information, tips, advice, communication platforms and links to relevant health centres.

“ brings new users onto mobile networks on average over 50% faster after launching free basic services, and more than half of the people who come online through are paying for data and accessing the internet within the first 30 days,” said Chris Daniels, Vice President of

Up until now, Facebook has been exclusively partnering with mobile network operators in each country to carry the service, but the company has announced the opening of an online portal where operators can easily sign up to partner with

“Our goal is to work with as many mobile operators and developers as possible to extend the benefits of connectivity to diverse, local communities across Africa,” Daniels said.

Anniversary celebrations are currently underway at a developers’ day that’s being hosted at the iHub in Kenya.