Facebook adds free calls for US iPhone users

By Sooraj Shah
17 Jan 2013 View Comments

Facebook's search tool announcement may not have thrilled investors or many of its users, with both groups hoping for the release of a Facebook phone, but the social networking firm has added a new tool that allows users to make free calls.

The service, which according to the Telegraph, is being tested in Canada, will allow users of the Facebook app on the iPhone to make phone calls to friends over Wi-Fi or a cellular data connection instead of traditional voice services.

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This will enable heavy users of voice minutes to avoid hefty call charges, as they can potentially use connections that they already pay for or are available to them for no extra charge.

"We started testing this in Canada the first week of the year and today we're extending that test to the US," Facebook said in an email sent to the Telegraph. "We were able to expand the test so quickly because it went well in Canada and we wanted to expand the audience".

Facebook is expected to roll out the new feature overseas - and possibly the UK - and on other operating systems including Android and BlackBerry.

The calls can only be made to Facebook users that have Messenger installed on their iPhone - meaning that people using Facebook in a browser will not have the new feature available to them.

A Facebook spokesman told the BBC that the tool was different to the software used in Skype, which is already integrated into the Facebook website.

Earlier this week, Facebook launched its social graph feature dubbed Graph Search, which allows people to use the network as a search engine to find people, photos, places and interests.

But the firm's share price dropped from $32 to £30.10 a share after the announcement, as there was no mention of how it would make money from the new tool. At the time of writing, Facebook's share price stands at $29.85.

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