Facebook Messenger is one of the apps that is causing instabilities in the Telco world. This is set to get even further damaging for traditional telecom service providers as the Facebook-owned app recently added a feature that lets users make group calls.
Initially, users of Facebook Messenger could only exchange messages and make private calls. However, this is no longer the case as the app now lets users add more than just one person to a voice calling conversation. If you are currently in any Messenger group, you can now do more than just chatting with messages, instead, just hit the phone icon and you will initiate a call with your group members. The good thing is that the person initiating the call has the power to pick the group members to add to the group call.
In case one misses the group call and it is still in progress, they only need to tap on the phone icon inside the group conversation to link up with the others. While there were previous uncertainties over the number of users this feature supported, the Facebook Messenger crew has not made it clear that up to 50 friends can be included in a single group call.
What it means for traditional telcos
Traditional telecom service providers have been incurring huge losses as people no longer depend on their services when it comes to messaging services. Now that Facebook Messenger is further adding the ability to make group voice calls, it will get even worse for these companies, which have turned into data service providers.
Facebook Messenger now joins the likes of Asia’s LINE and Viber in offering users with the ability to place group calls over the internet. However, given that Messenger has more than 900 million users and is relatively younger than any the aforementioned apps, the potential it has is immense. In fact, it might just be the service that completely kills off the use of telcos as far as voice calling is concerned.
VoIP services are more dominant in today’s environment than the traditional PBXs and wired telephone lines thanks to their convenience and affordability. In essence, what one needs is an internet connection, be it Wi-Fi or cellular, in order to make a VoIP call. With the many free Wi-Fi zones all over the world and cheap data packs, it is easy to say that Facebook Messenger will see more voice calling traffic than many telcos.
What about Facebook Messenger video calling?
Facebook Messenger only offers voice calling services at the moment. While the video calling feature is reportedly in the works, there is no mention of when it will be here. In contrast, services such as Tango and Skype are already offering this feature. Microsoft-owned Skype made group video calling possible on both Android and iOS this February, with the feature capable of supporting up to 25 people. On the other hand, Asia-based Tango supports up to 50 people.