Facebook expands free voice calling to flagship iOS app

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Roughly a month after Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) added free VoIP calling to its standalone Messenger application for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, the social media giant is expanding the voice service to its flagship iOS app.

The updated Facebook for iOS version 5.5 enables U.S. and Canadian consumers to call other iPhone users for free via Wi-Fi or cellular data connection. To initiate a call, users open a conversation with their Facebook friend, tap the "i" button in the top-right corner and click Free Call. Recipients will receive a push notification indicating someone is attempting to reach them. Consumers should note that VoIP calling uses their existing data plan when calls are placed on a cellular network.

Facebook for iOS 5.5 also touts a new button design to make it easier to like, comment and share posts in News Feed.

In related news, Facebook is teaming with 18 mobile operators in 14 countries to offer subscribers in emerging markets free or discounted data access to Messenger for iOS, Messenger for Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and the Facebook for Every Phone app, which is now optimized for chat. Operators committed to special pricing promotions include Brazil's Oi, Egypt's Etisalat, India's Airtel and Reliance, Indonesia's Indosat, Smartfren, AXIS and XL Axiata, and Malaysia's DiGi.

Three out of every four people on Facebook send a message on the platform each month. Facebook messaging and chat features can be accessed from more than 6,000 mobile phones via the social network's own branded apps as well across other devices with Facebook integration. Facebook now boasts more than 680 million mobile monthly active users in all.

For more:
- read this Apple Insider article
- read this Facebook Mobile blog entry

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