Make Free WiFi Calls with Facebook’s Messenger App

Posted on April 16th 2014

Make Free WiFi Calls with Facebook’s Messenger App

Facebook messengerThere is a great news for all you Smartphone users! Facebook is now offering VoIP. With Facebook acquiring WhatsApp a month and a half ago, Facebook has announced another new update regarding its Facebook Messenger app. The feature included in the latest version of the Facebook Messenger app will definitely bring a smile on your face. The Messenger app is now giving its users the ability to make free phone calls over Wifi connections to other Facebook Messenger users. Yes, you heard it right! The feature is no longer limited to the UK, the US, and Canada on iOS and other selected countries on Android. It is for all Facebook Messenger users across the globe. However, the Window phone users cannot enjoy the benefit yet.

Facebook has been slowly building out the features available in the chat - most remarkably with the 2011 Skype partnership that has integrated video calling on the Web version of its site. With its release of the Messenger app calling, it became even clear that mobile applications and messaging are the company’s priorities. Facebook Messenger’s voice calling facility is extremely similar to those of other individual messaging apps, such as WeChat and Viber. You can make free telephone calls to your friends, provided you have a WiFi connection.

How to make a call?

The free calls can be initiated from the chat User Interface. Just hit the ‘I’ info icon in the right side corner of the contact information or conversation page. The panel displays a ‘Free Call’ button that you can use, provided your friend has the latest version of the iPhone app. Once started, the Facebook Messenger will start buzzing in another user’s device. As it is not possible for the Messenger to continuously run in the background of the site like Apple’s Phone app, this is why the company is using push notifications to notify the users that a call is being received. When the icon turns blue, it indicates that both the users are in the WiFi network and that the call can go ahead. However, the Android users will still be able to make calls while in other applications, only if the ‘chat heads’ feature overlaps chats on top of whatever they are doing on their phone.

There are circular buttons and mute and hide options for speakers, standard green and red targets to answer or end a call. However, users cannot set up conference calls through group messaging.

What are the other updates with Facebook Messenger version 4.0?

  • You can now create groups especially for the people you message the most. The new version will allow you to name the group, set group photos, and keep them all in one place.
  • You can also send a photo and message to someone who isn’t there in the conversation. All you need to do is just tap to forward it on.
  • You can create conversation shortcuts to get into any conversation right from your home screen.
  • Last but not the least: talk as long as you want with your near and dear ones, as calls are free over WiFi.

How does it benefit the users?

Not only the users make free calls, but calls via the app will benefit those who do not receive the strongest mobile service in their house or people who are continuously going over their data usage plan. Free calling is especially beneficial to users who communicate internationally because of the high calling rates. So, take utmost advantage of this new feature and make calls without any worries.

I have tried the voice calling feature myself. The conversation was between my iPhone 4 and my friend’s LG Nexus 5. I am very happy to report that it worked pretty well as I had expected. After my call was finished, Facebook also asked me to rate the quality of the connection. It means they are looking for feedback on how well the service works.

Good going, Facebook Team! Keep it up.

Steven Scheck

Steven Scheck

Owner, Inspire WIFI

Steven Scheck is the Principal of Inspire WiFi, the nationwide leader of Wi-Fi networks for the multifamily, hospitality and healthcare industries. He has recently expressed his thoughts and opinion about apartment WiFi and hospital WiFi. He is also very involved in philanthropic causes in Miami and nationally.

See Full Profile >