Facebook phone chatter resurfaces with Orange 'social calling' deal

Facebook phone chatter resurfaces with Orange 'social calling' deal
Enough with the Facebook phone speculation, internet

Orange has signed a deal with Facebook to offer users a 'social calling' service that allows you to call friends from within the social network.

You'll be able to do this through Facebook in the web browser as well as through its mobile apps, with the whole thing working quite a lot like Skype.

It means that you won't need to know all your contacts' phone numbers before you can speak to them, and you'll also be able to hold 'group calls' for when one friend at a time just isn't enough.

The service will be free if you're calling mates who also use the service, so the likes of Skype and BlackBerry's new BBM Voice offerings may need to watch out.


Unfortunately, the calling element isn't quite ready to go – it's set to launch in summer 2013, with France first to get the Skype-alike service.

Orange is powering the whole shebang using the same tech found in Libon, its new internet-calling and messaging app currently on iOS (an Android version is launching next year).

That app works in 95 countries around the world, which bodes well for Facebook-calling expansion.

TechCrunch also cites anonymous sources who claim that this is just the next step of Facebook's thrust into phone-based-offerings after it introduced video calling last year.

Some have hinted that the long-rumoured, much-disputed Facebook phone is still on the cards with Orange on board for that project – but that's all pie in the sky for now.

News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.