French wireless carrier lets you call friends through Facebook

Wireless carrier Orange unveils service that connects users to their Facebook friends via voice calls.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam

Orange, a French wireless carrier, plans to provide a service that will let Facebook users call friends without needing their phone numbers.

The new feature, called "Party Call," will launch this summer in France and will let friends call each other one-on-one or in a group, TechCrunch reported today.

Orange said the feature is the result of a partnership with Facebook. The mobile provider built the service using Facebook's open API, or application programming interface, for developers. The service uses Facebook's open social graph, letting users invite friends and post messages about each call to walls and Timelines.

Unlike VoIP services like Skype or Orange's own Libon, the service provider will route calls to Orange's voice network, Xavier Perret, Orange's vice president of strategic partnerships, told TechCrunch.

Facebook is not commenting on the new feature, and CNET has contacted Orange for more information. We'll update when we hear back.

Orange's Facebook-based phone service is probably the closet thing to an actual Facebook phone. Although Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that a Facebook phone doesn't make sense, rumors continue to surface that the hardware is still in the works.