Move over Skye. Facebook Messenger for iOS users can now call other Facebook Messenger for iOS users free of charge using Wi-Fi or their phone's data connection.
“It’s … a huge step for Facebook -- which with a single feature emerges as one of the largest communities of VoIP users in the world,” The Verge reports.
“Facebook has long been rumored to be building a phone of its own, but as we said a few weeks ago, it looks like the social network is already transforming our phones into Facebook phones,” ABC News writes.
“With an update to the Facebook Messenger app, Facebook now effectively has a phone,” The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog writes.
“The calling functionality makes Messenger into more than just an SMS or iMessage challenger,” according to CNet. “Now Facebook is potentially a bona fide threat to carriers. But the bigger play here is for teen attention.”
“This is nothing new or technologically groundbreaking: Skype was doing it long before Facebook,” CNNMoney.com notes. “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).”
Meanwhile, “there are a number of existing voice calling services that are also free, but they require both parties to have downloaded the application,” Inside Facebook writes. “With Facebook’s ubiquity, this is less of a hurdle.”
Bigger picture, “Facebook and Skype have been in cahoots for two and a half years, since the social network in 2011 integrated a Skype video-calling feature directly into Facebook,” PCMag recalls. “But the tool was not made available on mobile, perhaps to allow Facebook to strike out on its own.”