Facebook just let loose with a new update to the Messenger app for iPhone, which until now was restricted to text messaging, sort of like AOL Instant Messenger or GChat. Now it's something totally different: it's a Skype competitor, except you know all of your friends already use it.
The new feature lets you make phone calls using VoIP, with either a Wi-Fi connection or over your phone's 3G/4G connection, for free. Yep, Skype can already do this, but there's a very good chance more people you know use Facebook than Skype--the Facebook branding and built-in network of people could mean a boost for VoIP like it's never seen before. The only downside might be that calling someone over Messenger doesn't trigger your phone's ringer--instead, it pops up with a notification, just like you've gotten an email or text message.
This also, critically, is a major step backwards for the wireless carriers like Verizon and AT&T, who have been wildly overcharging for voice service and text messaging for, well, pretty much ever. But if you can text by using data--like on iMessage, or BlackBerry Messenger, or GChat or Facebook Chat--and now make phone calls with Facebook? That's a huge knock for the carriers, who could find themselves turning quickly into mere flat-rate data providers. The way you pay Verizon or Comcast or Time Warner for your home internet, that could well be the way you pay for your phone service in the near future. Who needs minutes?
Messenger is available in the App Store for iPhone now, for free. No word on an Android or Windows Phone version yet.
This makes no sense: "But if you can text by using data--like on iMessage, or BlackBerry Messenger, or GChat or Facebook Chat--and now make phone calls with Facebook?"
"and now make phone calls with Facebook?" What about, as the author just acknowledged, that you could already make calls with Skype? Also with apps that use Google-Voice, like Talkatone. Adding Facebook voice-chat to the ways to do calls via data-connection does not anything, besides possibly increase the number of iPhone owners who make calls via data-connection.
notagain: Normally I too find fault with some of the articles on here. However in this case the author is making perfect sense.
The point is not that we can now do VOIP with an Iphone. It's that it can be done via Facebook. Your final line is exactly the point. There are far more people on Facebook than on Google-voice, skype, etc...
I can see through all the disinfo.
This is clearly a marketing ploy, with both initial comments being the "cons" and "pros". Note the final sentence of the preceding comment as an argument for Facebook, with the first comment being totally against.
Who owns these sites? Which big daddy corp wants to make some money off us?
OMG Free Calls on Facebook! Lets all sign up with our Iphones and become Izombies!
And everyone laughed at me when I said the iPhone is one app away from basically uprooting the cellphone industry with no discernible to block or hinder it. This was when the iPhone first came out.
Soon, all our calls will be done over the internet and cellular data. Actual cellular service will be relegated to smaller, cheaper packages for use in emergency situations where WiFi/data isn't available.
The cellular industry will either downsize tremendously or adapt, but it will change. That much is for certain.
Laugh now while you can...
like Jessica implied I am startled that a mom able to get paid $9689 in four weeks on the internet. did you see this webpage http://Bing30.com
Ignoring the sensationalistic point of view of the article (the real headline is more in the direction of 'Facebook FINALLY catches up with everyone else, offering voice chat at long last', adjusted for political correctness), I can't help but wonder how this will affect the telecom industry.
The author writes that you will be able to use this service for free over a 3(+)G connection. Where do you get a free 3/4G connection? Or even a truly unlimited dataplan at a reasonable monthly rate? Voice chat is not going to be VERY bandwidth intensive, but considering how strangled most 'unlimited' plans are, completely switching over to IP telephony will none the less gobble up a noticeable part of your monthly allowance.
Fine, that's the short term situation, you can watch a few less Youtube videos at high speed that month. You'll survive - or even switch to a bigger dataplan. The only serious problem you're likely to face is dropped calls as you - or whomever you're talking with - move about and lose your datalink. It's going to happen a lot more with IP than good old GSM. But it was free, right, so who cares?
But what are the potential long term effects of a major switch from voice calls to IP calls on mobile phones?
Data congestion could increase noticeably - a 3/4G access point has a limited bandwidth divided over all connected users, and unlike a normal voice call where you are reserved the necessary bandwidth, your IP call quality will suffer - or fail completely - as more people use more bandwidth from the same access point.
This could be remedied by placing more access points, at a hefty cost to the telecom company. And this is where it gets interesting! The service provider now has a problematic situation - people are no longer interested in paying for 1500 included minutes of which they might use a third on average, and simply buy a large(r) data plan. A major source of income (high profit at low expense) vanishes, at the same time as a minor source of income (high running cost, low income) becomes less profitable or even hits the red numbers as customers expect to use more of it while paying the same.
The solution will, most likely, either be greatly increased data plan costs, or, the solution we are moving towards here in Norway, a differentiated data plan pricing system where IP calls will cost you extra.
Skype alone has already had this effect on the relatively overbuilt/underused Norwegian telecom network, where the move from GSM-based calls to IP calls have greatly affected our major telecom companies. When Facebook offers IP services here as well - and that's one thing the article got perfectly right, "everyone" has Facebook - we will probably see the final push towards a new era in wireless broadband billing plans.
Tl;dr? No free lunches - or phone calls.
theactualone: You need to calm down. I'm not working for any company that has anything to do with this article.
Hell I probably will never actually use the service.
All I was doing it pointing out the first post didn't actually understand the article at all.
norgeek: I agree with you completely. 4G/3G will still cost, and still need to be provided by the same cellular company's that provide the voice services.
Soooo... you're saying this thing will finally work as a PHONE?
2013 is starting off great!
Now what we need is for someone to come out with an app that will let us use video chatting on the iPhone over a cellular data connection. I was one of the suckers who was first in line for the iPhone 5 because we were told that Facetime would finally be avaiable over a cellular data connection. I didn't see the asterisk indicating that if you were an AT&T customer you'd get screwed out of this unless you have a shared data plan.
Plenty of people simply dont pay a phone bill anymore. They use free texting and calling apps, and this gives them one more option. There are tons of free wi-fi spots, substantially more then there are phone booths. Its feasible in 10-20 years where people don't pay for data anymore. Advertising is the bloated growth industry that could likely foot the bill.