Facebook have started testing a new feature in its messenger apps that allows users in Canada to call each other free of charge if they have a cellular connection or connection to Wi-Fi. At the moment the test is only for those who own an iOS handsets, however depending on how the test goes, it will be available on Android and then it will go worldwide.
Facebook Messenger app for iPhone & Android to take on Skype
For users outside of Canada an update will be received on both Android and iOS, which lets users send push to talk messages. The voice messages mean that the Messenger will be in competition with such as HeyTell and Voxer, however VoIP calling is a larger deal and the ramifications of it, if it should be available to all users of Facebook, are enormous.
If the testing was to go well in Canada it might not be too long before the hundreds of millions of Facebook users are able to make calls for free on Wi-Fi. VoIP also works with the cellular network as it is thought that it will use the same data each minute as Skype, Vonage and Viber. This feature would be welcomed by anyone who has bad service at home with their cell phone. It could also help people to save money on cell phone monthly plans.
Of course people have been able to call through cellular plans and Wi-Fi for some time now with Skype and Vonage, however more people use Facebook. Facebook Messenger has been near the top in the App Store and Google Play Store, this means that there are many people who have already installed the app. the key to the app is the scale of things and there is little doubt that carriers will take notice.
One of the largest obstacles for mass adoption is being able to convince people to ditch their phone numbers and put their faith in Facebook calls. However this may not be too difficult as they will be able to save money and/or improve their quality of calls. If the reaction to the app is good then we could see a rise of VoIP callers on one of the biggest networks.