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Facebook as a VoIP Service Provider

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February 27, 2013

Facebook as a VoIP Service Provider

By Ashley Caputo, TMCnet Web Editor

As the public learned in January, Facebook (News - Alert) has added few additional features to its Messenger app that could affect users’ most important financial burden: our monthly cell phone bill.

On Friday, Facebook initiated an update to the Facebook app that now grants all users around the world the ability to access the VoIP features and call friends who have also downloaded the new software version.

Facebook’s update to its standalone iOS and Android (News - Alert) Messenger app allows users to send voice messages that last up to one minute (for now). Users are able to record a message and have it sent directly in their conversation alongside their text messages, or call their friends using the VoIP calling feature. However, the VoIP calling feature was limited to Canada before Friday’s update, with the Messenger-only feature available in the U.S.

Like all VoIP services, its calling feature provides users with a service that is cheaper than the traditional phone service and offers easier accessibility options, as it can be used directly from a mobile device. The VoIP calling uses data when on a cellular network, but as long as user has a Wi-Fi connection the service is essentially free.

Facebook has partnered with 18 mobile operators in 14 countries as part of a promotion to provide free or discounted access to its services, essentially trying to persuade smartphone users to download the Facebook app.

As mobility usage begins to surge, companies like Facebook have been trying to create marketing strategies in the wake of technologies telematics revolution, and with the new calling feature, has discovered a tactic that will benefit it and mobile operators.

According to an article from telecoms, most of the operators that Facebook has partnered with are part of the emerging market, where smartphone usage is low but Facebook is popular. These operators, which provide Facebook as a text-only free version, are hoping to generate subscriber data fees from this new messenger service.

By fusing together the most popular trends in the market (social media, mobile apps and VoIP), Facebook is now a multimedia platform that provides an umbrella of communication tools, like messaging, instant messaging and now, voice messaging.

Working simultaneously with mobile operators, Facebook has discovered a way to use the latest innovations from the telecommunications industry, like VoIP, to reach a new level of customer engagement.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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