The Verge reports that Facebook has confirmed that the company has added free VoIP calling using its Messenger application for Apple’s iOS. Both parties must be using the Facebook Messenger app to utilize free calling.
The feature apparently began rolling out to US users today, and requires no update through the App Store. To make a call to another Messenger for iPhone user, all you need to do is tap the “i” button in the top-right corner, and tap Free Call.
You can now call other Facebook users for free over Wi-Fi or using your phone’s data connection. When you call someone, a push notification appears on their screen. The WiFi calling feature is especially useful for people with bad cell service or for those who want to conserve cell phone minutes.
Facebook has had a partnership with Skype for video calling inside Facebook’s website since summer 2011, but Messenger still notably lacks video calling. Facebook offered no more details or information about an international rollout, VoIP calling through its Messenger for Android app, or VoIP calling through its website.
Meanwhile, iPhones on tiered data plans will be able to make FaceTime calls over the AT&T cellular network. AT&T previously made FaceTime only available to customers with a Mobile Share plan and those with an LTE device on tiered plans. But customers with unlimited data plans are still left out.
Verizon Wireless, by contrast, has had no issue with allowing FaceTime video calls on its network, reports the NY Times. Customers of its unlimited and shared data plans have been able to use FaceTime over cellular for months now.
Nonprofit groups like Free Press have complained to the FCC, claiming it is a violation of the F.C.C’s net neutrality rules, which say that mobile providers may not block applications that compete with the provider’s voice or video telephony services.