Last month, Facebook introduced video calling from within the Messenger app. Users with an Apple or Android smartphone can call friends and family with Android or iOS phones with a simple tap. However, this feature wasn't available to all Facebook users, having launched in 18 countries across the globe including the United States, UK, France, Greece, Mexico and more.
Facebook's David Marcus now reports that Messenger VoIP video calling is available in all countries save for a few where the service is still being fine-tuned (Marcus didn't specify). Now users from around the world can simply tap the video icon located in the top-right corner within the text message window to make a video call.
"Messenger already offers people the ability to make voice calls to friends and loved ones around the world," Facebook's Stan Chudnovsky and Param Reddy said in April. "Video calling will expand Messenger's real-time communication features, enabling the more than 600 million people who use Messenger every month to reach others wherever they are, from anywhere. It's fast, reliable and high quality."
The Messenger app already pulls in more than 600 million people each month, and the new video chat feature will likely reel in even more. Facebook stressed that Android smartphone owners aren't forced to call other Android owners, but instead can contact friends and family who use Messenger on Apple's mobile devices. Given the nature of Messenger, an Internet connection is obviously required to make a video call.
For now, there seems to be no sign of any fees that may be associated with Facebook Messenger's VoIP calling feature. The biggest competitor, Microsoft's Skype (opens in new tab), charges $2.99 per month for calls to landlines and Skype-free mobile devices in the United States and Canada. Unlimited North America costs $7.99 per month, and Unlimited World costs $13.99 per month. However, like Facebook's Messenger app and Google Hangouts, calling from one Skype account to another is free.
That all said, do we need another app offering free VoIP calling? Apparently so, and as previously indicated, there are a lot of Facebook members who use the Messenger app on a daily basis. VoIP calling from within the Messenger app means that the Facebook brand will be front and center in the minds of consumers each day. That's great advertisement for the world's #1 social network.