VoIP Provider Vonage Gives Facebook A Voice

Vonage introduces an app that lets Facebook friends place free calls to each other over Wi-Fi or 3G/4G networks on their smartphones

Voice-over-IP provider Vonage is giving Facebook a voice, announcing on 4 August the availability of an application that lets owners of iPhones, iPod Touches and Android-running smartphones place free calls to Facebook “friends.”

Free to use and download—it’s available in the Android Market in 48 countries and in Apple’s iTunes store in 87 countries—the Vonage Mobile App for Facebook works over Wi-Fi or 3G/4G networks.

To get started, download the application from either store or at vonage.com/talkfree. Enter your Facebook ID and password, and views of your Facebook contacts will be automatically loaded into the application.

“They’ll be grouped by friends who can be called for free and friends available for instant messaging on Facebook,” Vonage explained in a statement. “A Vonage logo will appear next to the names of friends who have downloaded the app.”

No dialling necessary

Users are invited to encourage their friends to download the application as well. Once a friend is on the Call Free list, just click on his or her name and a call is placed, no dialing necessary. Even when the application is closed, the user’s phone will ring to alert him or her to the incoming call.

“The Vonage Mobile app for Facebook is a tangible example of our commitment to deliver extraordinary value and a better communications experience for individuals and their social networks, across broadband-enabled devices, around the world,” Vonage CEO Marc Lefar said in a statement. “This is just the start. In the future we will expand on this service to include a wide range of integrated voice and messaging services that change the way people communicate.”

Vonage, an early arrival on the VOIP scene, currently serves 2.4 million subscribers. Facebook, by contrast, celebrated its 500 millionth user on 21 July.