Phones

Free phone calls in Facebook app, for iPhone but not Android

Facebook is adding free VoIP calls to its mobile app -- as long as you're an iPhone user, as it's not for Android yet.

The only thing better than a chat with friends is a free chat with friends. And you'll soon be nattering gratis as Facebook brings free VoIP calls to its mobile app -- as long as you're not on Android.

To call one of your Facebook friends, open the Facebook Messenger app, look up up the chum you want to chat with and tap the little 'i' button in the top right to call up a menu of options. Up until now Free Call has been greyed out, but when the service launches you'll be able to tap for a VoIP natter.

Facebook has had VoIP calling -- including video calls -- on your computer for a while now, thanks to back-end tinkering provided by Skype. But this is the first time it's spread to British mobile devices, following the US and Canada.

That's if you have an iPhoneiPad or iPod touch, anyway -- there's no word on when the Android app, or its equivalents on Windows Phone and BlackBerry, will have you chatting for nothing. 

Although calls are free, you're sending and receiving the sound of your voice via the Internet, so you do use data. If you're on Wi-Fi, chat away without worry. If not, it'll eat into your data allowance.

Other VoIP apps are available, such as Viber, TruPhone and Skype itself. But Facebook's major advantage is that you've got all your friends at your fingertips, listed by name so you don't need to know their number. And for anyone who doesn't know their VoIP app from their elbow, it's built into the familiar Facebook app.

Do you use VoIP to cut out your phone network, or are talk minutes given away so generously these days it's not worth it? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our chatty Facebook page.