Social Network Facebook is launching its mobile site in Indic languages, starting with Hindi now, and subsequently in Punjabi, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam after July 15th, 2010. Additionally, Facebook has partnered with Indian telecom operator Bharti Airtel to offer free access to Facebook mobile sites to Airtel customers until August 31st 2010. This announcement follows shortly after Facebook launched with Reliance Communications and Videocon. Note to Facebook & Airtel: Looks like it’s just an announcement so far. I logged on to, and looked up language preferences (in “Settings”), and Hindi isn’t live yet.

Facebook had previously launched SMS updates in India, powered by group SMS company SMSGupShup, but as Facebook’s Alsion Rosenthal had said at a Mobile Monday event in Delhi, SMS updates didn’t quite take off. Bharti Airtel had previously launched Twitter update alerts, exclusively for two months, but no other telecom operator followed suit after exclusivity lapsed. Looks like social network SMS alerts are good for PR, and not much else. Free access to social networks push for incremental data usage, and competitors Tata Docomo, Uninor, among others have focused offered free access to data.

Read: Facebook Mobile Seeks Operator Partnerships, App Developers In India

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