Facebook has begun rolling out a new feature for its Messenger app that allows iPhone users to make free calls via WiFi. The VoIP service works only in the U.S. and Canada, and for now, it’s only available for iOS.
The Verge’s Ellis Hamburger reported, “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.”
The Washington’s Post’s Hayley Tsukayama added, “Facebook’s long-rumored phone is here, though probably not in the way most had imagined. In fact, it looks exactly like the phone you already have. Using software, rather than hardware, the latest update of Facebook’s Messenger app now lets U.S. users place voice calls over WiFi.”
Jordan Golson from MacRumors explained, “To access voice calling, open the Facebook Messenger app, open a chat with someone, and click the ‘i’ button in the top right corner. If the feature has been activated — and the other user also has Facebook Messenger for iOS installed — there should be a “Free Call” button. If it’s greyed out, try tapping it anyway. Facebook is rolling out the feature to all users over the next several days.”
Deborah Netburn with the Los Angeles Times wrote, “To see how it works, my colleague Sal and I tried it out here in the office. The sound was not perfect, and the first time we used it there was a slight delay each time one of us spoke. The connection was better the second time, but the sound was a little weird. Sal described it as ‘fuzzy.’ I’d describe it as ‘tinny.'”