Yet another company has beaten the proposed Facebook / Skype partnership to the punch. They have plans to enable free telephone calls via Facebook but maybe leaving their run a little late.
Bobsled is a new brand from T-Mobile aimed at providing Facebook’s 500 million plus users worldwide with free, one-touch calling to their Facebook friends from a personal computer and through the social platform’s chat window.
Users will also be able to send voice messages to their friends either privately or via their ‘walls’.
This free download is available for all Facebook users and is repsonse to a recent survey by conducted by Vivox and T-Mobile in March 2011, which found that 88% of Facebook users surveyed want voice chat capabilities within the site.
Brad Duea, senior vice president, T-Mobile USA says:
“Bobsled by T-Mobile takes our communications services innovation to a whole new dimension, bringing simple and cost-effective connections to more than half a billion people overnight, allowing people on Facebook to more easily connect and giving voice to social networking. Our new Bobsled brand will evolve in the coming months to provide even more ways for people to connect, no matter what platform, device or mobile provider they are using.”
Bobsled is a partnership between T-Mobile and Vivox. Previously Vivox’s technology, which is built on “voice over internet protocol,” has been used primarily by a computer gamers who use it to talk to fellow gamers.
Vivox claims it has 52 million users through its partners like Sony and Electronic Arts and this new partnership with T-Mobile will expand its global reach significantly.
Once downloaded, customers can use the Bobsled application for Facebook to place voice calls to their friends through Facebook Chat with just one click.
As a Facebook user you can make calls to to your friends even if they don’t also have the app installed. All that is needed on your and their computers is either a microphone and speakers, or a headset.
There is voicemail if the person you call doesn’t pick up and Bobsled plans to produce further enhancements such as video chat, and the ability to call outside Facebook and connect with cell phones and landlines in a similar fashion to Skype.