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22 January 2013

Facebook enables free iPhone voice calls

The tech press started buzzing earlier this month with reports that Facebook planned to add VoIP (voice over IP) calling to its Messenger app for the iPhone. The new feature officially arrived Tuesday, when Facebook released an update for its app.

Facebook's app transmits calls using your phone's broadband connection, whatever it is -- 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi. Instead of sucking up your monthly allotted voice minutes from your cellular carrier, it sucks up megabytes from your data plan. That's a boon for heavy talkers with unlimited data plans.

This is nothing new or technologically groundbreaking: Skype was doing it long before Facebook. Facebook has many more active users than Skype, though, and the allure of having to use one less network or app will appeal to some (perhaps many).

But it's not all roses just yet. For now, this is a pretty limited offering.

Your phone won't alert you the way it does when you have a normal call: Facebook calls just show up as a push notification. And right now, you can only connect with a conversation partner who also has Messenger installed on their iPhone.

There's no way to ring up a Facebook friend who is logged in through the website, and there isn't any way to place a call to a ten-digit phone number. Calling is still absent from the Android and BlackBerry versions of the Messenger app. 

http://money.cnn.com/



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