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Swedish mobile giant starts free social media surfing

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Swedish mobile giant starts free social media surfing
Some social networking sites you probably use a lot. Photo: Patrick Sison/AP/TT
11:40 CEST+02:00
Telia is becoming the first network provider in Sweden to allow customers to chat on social media without eating into their data packages, however users must promise not to abuse the privilege by posting hateful comments.
The mobile giant announced on Monday that users on regular payment plans will effectively be able to use social media including Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp for free, without going into their monthly data plans. 
 
"Social networks are an important part of the communication pattern today, they are the glue of the family life puzzle and one of the most important things we deliver to our customers is communication with family and close friends," Jonas Hasselberg, head of Telia's Consumer Business unit, told the TT news agency on Monday.
 
Various recent studies have suggested that social networks now account for between 15 and 30 percent of mobile data traffic. However Hasselberg insisted that his company still intends to make money from data packages.
 
"This does not mean that we are changing our fundamental business model, which is all about mobile data. We will still have different data bundle sizes," he added.
 
However while Telia is clearly hoping to win new customers with its freebie, it's asking all its users to "promise to be cool" and avoid abusing the perk to spread hatred.
 
The company already collaborates with Swedish anti-bullying organization Friends and is part of a campaign called #hatahat (hate hate) designed to promote "a more loving internet".
 
"Although everyone loves social networks, there is a negative side, with hate posting and bullying that's not okay," said Hasselberg.
 
Telia's push for new users comes amid an increasingly competitive battle between the major networks in tech-savvy Sweden. Last year Tre introduced free music streaming for customers and it will soon start switching users on to its Wi-Fi network if they are experiencing mobile signal problems.
 
Meanwhile TeliaSonera announced in January that it planned to improve its user experience by rolling out 5G wireless mobile technology from 2018. 5G offers faster speeds then 4G, making it easier for customers to download, stream and share photos and videos.
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