Integrations Journal



Facebook Launches Free Voice Calling On iOS App

Written by  Harpreet | 17 January 2013
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Facebook Voice CallingSpeculations were sky high recently, when Facebook announced a press event, that the company might announce a phone. While a real Facebook phone may still be a fantasy, the company today launched free voice calling for iPhone users in US. The service was earlier available to users in Canada only. Users can now use the Facebook Messenger apps to place free voice calls via WiFi or mobile data.

The updated Facebook Messenger app includes a "Free Call" button alongside contacts on the iOS. Users are reporting that the call quality is fairly good, at times even at par with major VoIP providers. Facebook already has video calling functionality on its website along with a regular text based Instant Messenger. The company hasn't confirmed neither denied that the functionality would travel internationally in the coming time. We don't find a reason for Facebook to not do so, except where there may be legal tangles.

The service can be handy to users. Facebook's new free voice call feature will compete with apps like Skype (an existing partner), Viber, Tango and a few other free voice calling apps. The obvious advantage Facebook has is the sheer number of users and their contact information already in their databases. Users won't need to jump ships to cross connect. The feature can be useful for those with weak cell phone signals at certain locations but strong WiFi connectivity.

Facebook may have video calling on the web but its Messenger app still lacks a video calling functionality. You don't need an analyst to tell you it'll come in the near future but if Facebook is looking at grabbing regular users who make use of these services - voice and video calling, text chatting etc. it needs to offer complete services under one roof sooner rather than later.

The company currently is in a partnership with Skype to provide video calling services on its website. The new feature would directly compete with Skype’s iOS app, for now, until it arrives on other platforms as well. Facebook hasn’t yet confirmed anything about the free voice call functionality arriving on other platforms apart from iOS.



Harpreet is a technology journalist based in India. He currently writes on Mobile, Technology and Startups. He is an avid reader and a passionate writer. Prior to ToolsJournal, Harpreet used to write for a major English news daily.

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