October 16, 2013, 2:53 PM

Facebook acquires a wireless data app developer

Onavo offers apps that help consumers get the most out of wireless data plans.

Lead Photo

Social network Facebook Inc. has agreed to acquire mobile technology provider Onavo, the mobile company has announced in a post on its official blog. Onavo offers consumer apps that compress wireless data to help consumers get more out of their data plans, monitor data usage to help smartphone users manage their monthly data plans and secure mobile web connections, the company says. As part of the deal, the Israeli startup will house Facebook’s new headquarters in Israel, Onavo says.

Further details and terms of the deal were not disclosed. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Guy Rosen, Onavo co-founder and CEO, and Roy Tiger, co-founder and chief technology officer, write in the blog post that they’re eager to contribute to Facebook’s Internet.org project, a global partnership between large web and mobile companies aimed at making the Internet accessible to more of the world’s population. The group has said it aims to develop new technologies that can deliver web access with decreased costs and data usage, including by designing new data-compression methods. The Onavo Extend app directly addresses mobile data compression.

“Three years ago, we started Onavo with the goal of helping today’s technology consumers and companies work more efficiently in a mobile world,” they write. “We’re excited to join [Facebook’s] team and hope to play a critical role in reaching one of Internet.org’s most significant goals—using data more efficiently, so that more people around the world can connect and share.”

Facebook, which analysts criticized for being slow to respond to the proliferation of mobile devices, has been busy in mobile of late. The company has been testing a mobile checkout tool called Autofill in which shoppers store with Facebook their payment data for quickly making mobile app purchases. It has also been testing a mobile ad network and experimenting with how consumers respond to videos that play automatically on mobile devices.

Market research firm eMarketer Inc. predicts the social network’s mobile ad revenue will grow five-fold this year, to $2.63 billion from $471.34 million in 2012. In the second quarter ended June 30, Facebook reported mobile ads accounted for 41% of its total advertising revenue, up from 30% in Q1. Its mobile revenue in Q2 was $655.6 million, up 75.5% from $373.5 million in Q1.

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