Now you can call your Facebook friends for free — if you’re an iPhone user, that is. The company has rolled out a new feature in the U.S. that allows Facebook Messenger app users to place voice calls with friends over the social network using their data connection or Wi-Fi.
The feature started rolling out in the United States Wednesday, and comes as a simple “free calling” button in the existing app. Users don’t have to update the existing Messenger app in order to take advantage of the feature.
Free calls are placed by tapping the "i" icon on the top right side of chat, and then selecting "Free Call" from your friend's contact card. Your friends will need to have Facebook's stand-alone Messenger app installed on their phone in order for the feature to work (otherwise the "Free Call" icon will appear grey and marked out).
Calls have a similar look and feel as traditional voice calls you might make on your iPhone.
Facebook started testing the feature in Canada earlier this month. The functionality was announced alongside an update to the company’s iOS and Android apps that allows Facebook users to send short voice messages to each other.
Vonage launched an app in 2010 that allowed Facebook users to call friends for free, however, the app required that both parties have the Vonage for Facebook app installed on their devices in order to do so.
Messenger is one of several stand-alone apps developed by Facebook. The company often uses the apps to test new features with power users before deciding which features to include in the traditional Facebook app for the social network's general audience.