The social network, Facebook is rolling out a free calling feature, the ability to make voice calls in its stand-alone Messenger app for the iPhone. The latest update of Facebook’s Messenger app now lets users place voice calls over Wi-Fi and cellular data.
The feature is only available for iPhone users, and only works if both you and your friend has the latest version of the iPhone app. You can’t call landline or cellphone numbers.
If WiFi isn’t available, users can make the calls applying their phone carrier’s data plans.
The Facebook Messenger app for iPhone can be downloaded free from the Apple Store.
In the app, select a friend, then the “i” icon in the upper right hand corner, and you will then see a “Free Call” option. The feature is especially critical for people with bad cell service at work or at home, and for those who want to conserve cell phone minutes.
It allows people make free calls using Voice Over IP (VoIP) services, which deliver the calls using WiFi instead of cell networks. Unlike Skype or Viber, Facebook Messenger’s free calling service actually comes pre-populated with a list of contacts you might want to call.
The new feature was launched Jan. 16 without any fanfare or announcement was quite a contrast to Facebook’s much-anticipated “Graph Search” reveal two days earlier.
Facebook, its chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has publicly quashed rumors that the company is building a phone, calling such a move “wrong strategy.” He said building Facebook’s own mobile phone is “so clearly the wrong strategy for us” during a keynote conversation in September last year.