Facebook rolls out free calling over iPhone for US users

Remember how Facebook was trying out the free calls and voice messaging service via its Messenger app in some countries? The test seems to have gone well enough for the social networking giant to allow users in the US with iPhones to make free calls through the Facebook Messenger.

The feature that has already begun rolling out for all iPhone users in the US requires no update from the App Store. To make a call using Messenger for iPhone, all a user needs to do is hit the ‘i’ button from within a conversation with the person and tap ‘Free Call’.

Facebook members who use the Messenger on their iPhones in the US can now place free calls over Wi-Fi or the phone’s data connection on the go. It could be a pretty useful feature if a user needs to save on talk-time. This service essentially eliminates the need to possess the phone number of a Facebook friend too.

Facebook Messenger takes in non Facebook users into the fold

Coming soon to the rest of the world?

Effectively, Facebook is trying to go one level above being an iMessage or SMS challenger by introducing free calling over data connection and Wi-Fi, to challenge even mobile carriers now. Since the free calling feature extends to the iOS family, users who have even an iPod Touch will now be able to make calls – using a Wi-Fi connection, of course.

Facebook has partnered with Skype since 2011 to instill an in-browser video calling service which seems to be going pretty well while the Messenger had seemed to be bereft of most of the features from the website till very recently. But now, with Facebook making rapid changes to its Messenger app on both iOS and Android, it looks like it’s only a matter of time before the Messenger sports important features like free call all over the world.

Facebook had first rolled out the Free Calls service in Canada to test it earlier this month. The VoIP feature was launched on a small scale to test out how much water the app could hold. The gradual roll out in the US evidently means the feature seems to have done well in controlled conditions.

While the voice call feature was rolled out in Canada, Facebook had added another feature to the Messenger app for the rest of the world on iOS and Android. Messenger users were given the facility to record messages using the app and send it to their friends. To send a voice message, users need to click on the ‘i’ button and hit record within a conversation in the Messenger App.

While it is great that Facebook is adding these features to make their Messenger App become a universal replacement for SMS and Voice calls, it is noticeable that these features seem to be coming in spurts after what seems like really long periods of time.

There is no word yet on internationally rolling out the Free Call feature, neither on when this will be rolled out to Android users either. We can only hope that Facebook Messenger becomes an even experience on all platforms soon.


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