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Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 01:39 pm PT (04:39 pm ET)

Facebook activates VoIP calling in U.S. through Messenger iOS app

Facebook on Wednesday began allowing U.S. users of its Messenger app to place and receive voice over IP calls, expanding the feature to a much wider audience following a two-week trial in Canada.

Messenger


When Facebook launched the latest Messenger for iOS update on Jan. 3, it added a feature that allows users to record and send voice messages, but true VoIP calling was limited to a Canada-only trial. At the time, the company said it was planning on rolling out the functionality to more users in the coming weeks.

Facebook confirmed to The Verge that VoIP for U.S. users is now active and can be accessed without any further updates. In order to place a call, Messenger users must navigate to the "i" button found at the top of every chat window and select the new "Free Call" button.

While the feature is similar to other VoIP services like Skype, Facebook looks to set itself apart by automatically turning users' Facebook friends into potential contacts. If all goes according to plan, Europe will be the next region to get the new Messenger ability, though no official timeline has been announced.

To take advantage of Messenger's new capabilities, both users must be using the most up-to-date iOS version which can be downloaded for free from the App Store.