Facebook is constantly growing and expanding their list of services. Today I’m grateful to be on Facebook because of their new calling service. Thanks to this, I can now call my overseas family without having to worry about my next phone bill. Plus, since everyone (or nearly everyone) I know is on Facebook, I may never have to pay for long distance calls ever again! This article will detail how you can make these calls for free.

What you need

You need to have either the Facebook app (version 4.0 or later) or the Facebook Messenger app installed in order to have access to making free international calls.

You can use any smart device—iOS, Android, Windows and other Facebook app-supported devices.

How it works

Facebook uses VoIP, Voice Over Internet Protocol, to offer this new international calling feature.

You probably already know about VoIP from using Skype or Viber, which are other VoIP-based international calling services. VoIP is made possible through access to Wi-Fi. So long as both parties on a call have access to Wi-Fi, you can make international calls.

Why use Facebook to place calls?

If you have Skype, Viber or a similar VoIP-based free calling service already installed, you may wonder—why use Facebook too (or instead)? The reason is simple—Facebook can offer access to callers who do not have Skype or other types of VoIP accounts.

With the exception of countries that block Facebook (North Korea, China, Cuba, Egypt, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Pakistan, Syria and Mauritius), any user who is connected to any other user anywhere in the world via Facebook can place international calls to each other free of charge.

Free calling 101

If you’re on 3G or don’t have access to Wi-Fi, placing calls via Facebook may dip into your carrier's data plan. However, if you have access to Wi-Fi, your data plan will not be impacted. Luckily, Facebook has partnered with an increasing number of carriers to waive data plan usage for Facebook calling users.

If you try to access a service within the Facebook app or Facebook Messenger that will impact your data plan, you’ll first receive a warning message on your screen prompting you to accept or deny the action.

How to place calls via the Facebook app

Here is a short tutorial on how to make free international calls using the Facebook app (4.0+).

Pre-requisites for placing a call to a Facebook contact:

  • The other person must have entered their phone number and made it available to view and access by their contacts.
  • You’ll know which contacts have done this when you click on the phone icon and your screen shows a call being placed.
  • If your contact has not enabled the call feature, you can click on "Request Number" to ask them to allow you to call them.
  • You’ll know which contacts have enabled calling via Messenger because the phone icon will be blue instead of grey.

For Facebook contacts who have enabled the call feature:

  • Open the Facebook app.
  • Search for the contact you wish to call.
  • Click on the phone icon to place your call.
  • Your screen will display a call being placed and you’ll hear ringing.