Facebook Messenger For iPhone Now Has VOIP Capabilities

17 January 2013

The Verge:

In early January, Facebook began testing free calling over Wi-Fi and cellular data for all Messenger for iPhone users in Canada, and said that a US launch could be coming soon. Apparently, the test went well — a new free calling button has appeared in the app. Facebook has confirmed to The Verge that the feature began rolling out to US users today, and requires no update through the App Store.

Facebook really wants to emphasise the “freeness” of this feature; the button to call is literally labelled “Free Call”. Although a bit obnoxious visually, I think it is a smart design choice. I am asked all the time by family whether they will be charged for FaceTime, because it’s unclear. I would expect the consumer uncertainty surrounding free ‘traditional’ voice calls to be even greater than ‘new’ Skype-like video chat.