The Facebook Messenger app on iOS has been updated so that UK users can now access the free VoIP service it currently offers in the US and Canada.
Available without installing a Facebook Messenger upgrade, the VoIP service now includes a “Free Call” options between online Facebook contacts.
Separate from the main Facebook app, the Facebook Messenger app is now able to offer its users a variety of communication options, including free voice calling. To see the new feature, both contacts must be online in the Facebook Messenger app and then the user must press the information icon in the top right hand corner of the messaging screen. Within this menu, there is now a “free call” option as well as the potential to access that contact’s Facebook timeline.
The calling feature works over 3G and Wi-Fi connections, which means the Facebook VoIP service is set to rival Skype and mobile network providers as well. As Facebook has such a high number of users, somewhere around the one billion marker, letting users directly call each other from within the app is a huge addition to the Facebook service.
Of course, whilst the actual Facebook VoIP service is free, anyone making these free calls over a 3G connection will still incur data charges rather than eating into in a monthly tariff’s inclusive minutes, which means that the network providers aren’t missing out entirely by the VoIP feature.
If the contact isn’t available, the Facebook Messenger user can also leave them a voicemail message to listen to later when they open the app.
Technically the VoIP feature is still in a testing phase, so could still wield a few bugs and glitches, but has been used in the US and Canada for a couple of months now.
The Facebook Messenger app can be downloaded for free from the iOS App Store. It is also available for BlackBerry and Android operating systems, but both of these versions still lack the free calling functionality.
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